I don’t have anything profound – but here are a few vignettes of life here – a few things that I have learned this last week – enjoy…
1 – When you eat something messy (like pizza sauce, or yogurt, or guacamole) you will spill it on yourself. If it lands on your skin (like your arm or your chest), it is still ok to eat it. Lick it off and continue. If it lands on your sock, it is not ok to eat. It does not matter if the sock is on your foot or not. Do not eat the guacamole. Not only will the guacamole taste funny, but you will sit there asking yourself “Why did I just practically lick my dirty sock? I disgust myself…”
2 – When you decide you want a coke float, and you put the bottle of coke in the freezer and forget about it and then take it out a few hours later and try to open it and it starts to fizz up all crazy like, don’t panic and put your mouth on the lid. You can stop it from fizzing over and making a mess for a little while, but you won’t be strong enough to keep it in the bottle. The fizz is stronger than you are. Eventually your mouth will get tired, you will have to pull away, and coke will explode all over your face. It will also, (if you’re lucky) shoot up your nose and make a huge mess all over the counter and floor as well.
3 – Even though I have almost reached the quarter century mark, I still get the heeby-jeebies when confronted by huge scary cockroaches running all over my house. Thankfully, they aren’t on of those Madagascar hissing cockroaches (although I do believe they are distantly related.)
4 – When you leave your house, close your windows. You never know what might come in. It could be a rat, a cat chasing the rat, or cockroaches. It could be an inch and a half of water on your floor and water all over your bed, books, couch, the phone, papers, and camera…
5 – On that note, take an umbrella when you leave the house. Tonight is the second night this week I have arrived home soaking wet. On Thursday I had to wade home through several “puddles” that were over three feet deep. That didn’t count the wakes from the buses driving through. The waves made the water higher. My clothes got wetter. It wasn’t just water too. It was trash, sewer water, and (as a friend from church told us), “rat pee.” I’m thankful our house is high enough that we didn’t get flooded. Sometimes I hate it when it rains. Maybe I should get a boat…
6 – I love the ocean. We went to a friend’s house on Saturday about an hour outside of the city – she lives on a military base, about 20 yards from the beach. It was a beautiful day – it was quiet and peaceful, the waves were strong, the water was cool, the sun was hot. A strong breeze was pulsing over the waves, and at the end of the day I sat on the beach and watched a lightning storm roll in over the waves. I did flips on the sand and stood on my hands and got tumbled by waves. We cooked out on the grill and walked and talked and laughed. And I want to live in a place like that someday.
7 – I have a friend named Jamie. In college, I really enjoyed scaring her. (I enjoyed scaring others too, but she the most fun.) One time I put on a creepy Halloween mask and jumped out at her from a dark house. She screamed, and I thought I was going to give her a heart attack. I felt bad. Another time, I contrived to slip a dwarf hamster into a shoe, and then asked her to hand it to me. As she was picking it up, the little guy stuck its head out of a hole, causing her to scream and throw the shoe across the room. It was great fun because I could always count on a reaction.
Now I’m on the other side of the equation. This morning as I left my house and walked around the corner, a group of PMs (Military Police) jumped out at me. Or at least it felt like they did. They were just standing there next to their car, backs to the wall, big guns in their hands. But my heart jumped up into my throat, the adrenaline started pumping, and I was breathing fast. “They’re not supposed to be here!” I thought.
I then thought of Jamie (and the many others) who I used to get so much pleasure out of scaring – jumping out of closets and surprising them and making them scream. And I was sorry. So Jamie, Sara, Laura, Tam, and the rest – I’m sorry. It’s not as funny as I thought it was.
8 – Will Ferrel is a funny, funny man. I wish he were a Christian.
9 – “The Power of One” is a great book.
10 – I hate red tape. Especially when the jerks who run the prison won’t tell you where they transferred the guy to, or rather they tell you, but they tell you the wrong place, and then you ride two hours in the bus w/ an emotionally unstable woman only to find that you might be at the wrong prison after all. But they don’t know, so just come back next week. NEXT!!!
11 – When you’re tired and frustrated from a long day, and the red tape is giving you a headache, there is nothing better than walking down to Lapa and seeing little Christiane, who is four, come running up to you and leaping on you from five feet away, clinging to your legs and hugging you, and then begging you to pick him up. And then when you sit down, he just wants to sit on your lap and color – he doesn’t ask for things, or tell you that you are stupid and came to the wrong prison, or yell or complain. He just loves you. I love him. We’re going on Wednesday with him, his baby sister, and his mom to visit his dad who is in prison now. I can’t wait to spend the day w/ them.
12 – I am incredibly blessed to have friends and family like you all. Thank you for being a part of my life here. You are out of sight but not out of mind. And you are loved from afar. Thanks.