Saturday, September 29, 2007

Back from Nicaragua

I arrived in the United States on Thursday afternoon. First shock: people speak English. Second shock: the incredible variety and diversity of foods. Third shock: you flush the toilet paper, you don't toss it in a little garbage can in the stall. Fourth shock: all the soap smells unnecessarily great.

My godmother was waiting for me at the very edge of the security line. I hugged her. It felt so good. She has known me since I was 3 or 4. That is longer than anyone in Nicaragua has known me. She brought me a piece of chocolate cake and a fork. It was really, really good chocolate cake.

My dad came in on the Marin shuttle and met us in the baggage claim. He hugged me. He's my dad. It was wonderful.

On Friday my godmother and I went to all these Burts Bees-selling funky rich grocery stores and a Mexican grocery store, buying raw milk and plantains and cabbage and poblano pepper, which FYI is the closest thing to Nicaraguan chiltoma I found. We went to the post office on behalf of one of Beth's friends in Guatemala who needed some mail sent. Another shock: stamp prices passed the 40 cents mark while I was away.

I made the following Nicaraguan foods for my family: rice, beans, guacamole, tortillas (from scratch), cheese (yes, I made cheese with a Nicaraguan cheese pill and raw milk from the store), tostones (fried plantains), cabbage salad, and jamaica-flavored Tang. I wanted to bring jamaica flowers from Nicaragua and boil them to make the beverage, but I thought customs would give me a hard time. Thanks to the Nicaraguan cooks who trained me, everything turned out delicious. It was way more food than we usually ate in a meal in Nicaragua, though. They thought I couldn't find salsa inglesa here. But thanks to the power of the Bay Area, it was easy.

I called Benjamin, of the Benjamin's piƱata blog post, who lives in San Francisco. I needed some information while I was on the phone but couldn't find Dad's laptop. When I called for Dad, Benjamin interrupted me. I have the information highway right here, he said. Another shock: lots of people have computers.

Today I wanted to mail a letter to David. Did I rush out of Chacocente to make it to a far-off and out-of-the-way post office before its obsenely early closing time? Did I bike to the bus stop and take the bus and buy a couple baggies of water and readjust my backpack for the walk from the bus to the post office? Did I get whistled at, did men I passed make kissing noises, did they say they loved me in Spanish, did they call me white girl? Did I weave in between vegetable stalls to stay out of the hot hot punishing sun? Were my feet tired and dirty? Did I have to have remembered to pack an envelope, did I have to buy stamps at the post office?

No. Dad had an envelope. There were stamps IN THE HOUSE (!). I addressed the letter without specifying "USA" in David's address. Then, get this. I CLIPPED THE LETTER TO THE OUTSIDE OF THE MAIL SLOT ON OUR FRONT DOOR, AND THE MAIL CARRIER JUST PICKED UP THE LETTER RIGHT FROM OUR HOUSE.


I felt nervous and sad or a little overwhelmed or something this afternoon. Praying for my friends in Chacocente helped. I prayed that their planting would go well, that working together in the fields would increase their sense of community, that they would work together well and enjoy fellowship. I prayed that Wilma's body will nurture the baby it carries, that being parents again will strengthen her marriage, that her seven-year-old will welcome the baby and feel just as loved as when he was an only child. I prayed that Esperanza and Wilma and Calin and Nelson will be transformed and ignited by their upcoming Walk to Emaus retreat. I pray that right now, as I write this, Charito's wedding to her Costa Rican fiance will be a blessing to them both and to their community. At this very moment they are a half hour into the ceremony. Or, knowing Nicaragua, ten minutes into the ceremony. I pray that her dress fits her well and the food tastes delicious and that the skies are clear beyond the palm branches on the street my church is on in Nicaragua.

I owe you posts on the following subjects:
1. the well
2. the teacher who is with my students now
3. my street flooding
4. leaving Nicaragua
5. visiting Beth in Guatemala.

So, stay posted! Get it?

Friday, September 28, 2007

managing empire

I preached at Grace Baptist Church last Sunday. My friend Lisa the animator videotaped it and put it up on youtube. It's in three parts.

Here's how Lisa described them:
"It is in three parts, because of the length being too long for youtube
to allow one cut of it. Part one is the introduction complete with the
taking down of Jesus. Part duex is talking about our privaleges and
using them, as well as David's experiences with the face of God in the
hospital. Part three has a lovely song."

I was following the revised common lectionary, so the gospel reading is the first part of Luke 16, and some doom and gloom stuff from Jeremiah and Psalms.

Part III has a recording of that song I posted here a while ago.

take it easy but take it,

Sunday, September 02, 2007

the most amazing thing anyone has ever done ever

So, on Friday I stopped by Lisa's room. Lisa is a cool new member of my co-op, and she had been animating on her chalkboard wall. Yes, that's right.

Anyway, we decided to make a music video of the Gentle Revolution song I wrote for Emily's birthday this spring.

Then we played with chalk for the next eight hours. While I was working my last shift at the hospital yesterday, she edited it.

I just can't say enough about how awesome this is. Basically, you have to see it for yourself. Thank you Jesus for inventing Youtube. And to Josh for recording the song. And to Lisa for making (much of) the movie.

Some of you might know that I tried to do stop-motion animation in middle school, and loved it, but had really, really crappy equipment. I've always wanted to do more. Long live my new home, where amazing stuff like this is happening all the time.

Can't stop the Spirit.

(If it doesn't work above you can go see it on youtube: