Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me."
--Psalm 3:5

Thursday, January 24, 2013

since we're on the topic

True love, y'all.

weddings: equal parts celebration and panic

So let me tell you all, January 2013 is the month of engagements. Two of the four girls I've lived with in the last three years got engaged, and another girl I lived with some growing up. My question for all, particularly the ladies with whom I've lived, as posed on facebook: who wants to be next?

With two of these girls I've already gone dress shopping. And actually it just needs to be made known that, since being in Romania, almost every single wedding I'd want to be at has happened. And I didn't grow up going to weddings, had only been to two ever before leaving. So I have nearly no experience. And all of a sudden, up to my ears in all things weddings.

It's been a blast. I'm thankful to even be here for it, having missed all the rest, these being the most important--our God's a good one and he knows us, knows how to give good gifts.

The other hand--there is one--is that it stresses me out more than I can even say because it's forcing me to turn their questions back on myself. And the truth is that I'd honestly just elope. And being in a position where I can't very responsibly ignore the the topic of my own wedding indefinitely, there it is: how do I love my friends without giving myself an aneurism or swearing off of marriage altogether
? (Neither being a very nice option, eloping not actually being a third possibility.)

Thankfully all this wedding stuff is currently about them and not even a little bit about me :)) And all the questions floating around are mostly hypothetical, at least for the moment.

So, besides that I love my friends, here are some more reasons to celebrate these weddings, all to do with my duties as bridesmaid:

Gangnam Style
Booti Call
The Wobble

And some we're shagging to:

Wagon Wheel (heart a-flutter!)
Mama's Drinkin' Liquor
Sugar Cookies

All of which I've got about six months to learn. Richlands, Town of Perfect Water and snakes in the woods and weddings with cowboy-boot-wearing girls: watch yoself. We're bringin' it. And my girl is getting hitched.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

a post in which i am grateful

In no particular order except as I think of things:

// the pile of books in my room right now

// skype

// being a part of secret plans

// the (no longer secret!) engagement of two beautiful friends

// cats, particularly one i have been calling ron weasley the wizard cat whose real name is chewie

// good friends, and getting to share lots of good things with them for a little while longer

// a heart that's still managing to beat blood through me every morning

// sundrop (let's be real)

// the town i grew up in and the family that almost adopted me once

// the way words like aunt become aint in that town (and how my ear can have me saying wuhter just like i'm eleven again)

// the margarita i had the other the night (let's be even more real)

// february and everything that might (could) be

// a wet, atlantic sky

to be continued, i'm sure...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

richLANDS, ambuLANCE

Was getting lunch in the tiny little town from whence I come and saw a (printed out) sign in the bathroom that said this:

Please do not set your kids on the sink. Thanks, Management.

Except someone had written an i over top of the e in set.

And I am not even hating. I just wrote 'over top of.'

Friday, January 18, 2013

the one involving a federal investigator

So, I have said it many times: my life is a circus. And not just in the great and wonderful land of Romania. Been waiting to post this one until it was sure the police would not be calling, but as it seems we are in the safezone, to you all I present: the one involving a federal investigator.

About five weeks ago I was sitting in a coffee shop, early in the morning, skyping with that guy I like. Mostly a normal morning apart from trying to pay the cashier in RON. I'd been there about an hour, headphones in, when I realized the guy next to me had asked me a question several times. Pulled out a headphone, looked at him attentively.

I'm sorry?

Would you like a coffee?

Oh no thank you, I don't like coffee.

He had been smiling politely when he made the offer and as soon as I declined, his face dropped just like that metaphor you read sometimes about an egg or butter sliding off someone's face. Anyway his face altogether changed. But I thought nothing of it, typed a dumb joke about it into the skype window and then carried on with my conversation.

Twenty minutes later a woman with a badge (guess we're tense shifting) walks up to me and hands me this note and tells me to just read it. It's folded, so I look up and ask if everything's okay, she assures me it is, but to just read it. So I open it, pictured below:

For those of you too lazy to read backwards, apologies, I am too lazy to figure out how to flip it. Anyway it says that she is a federal investigator and tells me not to leave the store alone, she has noticed the conversation between me and the gentleman across from me.

I look up and the woman is gone. No idea where she's disappeared to. Start typing a bajillion miles an hour on skype explaining what's going on. An employee then comes up and asks me if I'm okay, I assure him that I am, that I had no idea there was a even a problem, inform him that I'm to stay put until I've got a way to leave, etc.

Except that's the thing. This is before I've gotten a phone and I've got no real way to call anyone. So I tweet the Colombiana a private message with the essentials enough to send her into panic at work (ie hey this weird thing just happened involving a federal investigator, I'm trapped at PCJ, maybe swing by and escort me out over lunch), but otherwise am not bothered enough to not go on talking on skype. However, over the next half hour, I begin to realize, okay, there's something serious going on here.

The gentleman in question--by the way, I had assumed since he looked younger than me and was dressed like a college student that he was in fact a college student--starts to talk pretty loudly to himself, something about the military, something about shooting somebody in the knee. Intense stuff. A few minutes go by, and then.

Then. All of a sudden he starts smacking himself in the face really hard, his glasses go flying, he jumps up from the table and coffee splashes everywhere, gets up in the faces of both men next to me and screams I'VE GOT A HIT ON YOU, turns back around and grabs his coffee, slings it everywhere, shouts that he did that on purpose and stomps out.

Meanwhile I haven't left the table for three hours and have really got to pee, got scared which made it worse, still wondering if I'm able to leave--really wanna leave--and if it's safe, if dude who stormed out is okay, if the two old men are okay, all meanwhile skypefriend gets to watch and not be able to do anything. And still little way to contact the outside world. So glad this happened in public.

Anyway, the rest is that the employees made a copy of the note and eventually I got too antsy to wait on being walked out and booked it out of there doing laps of the parking lot first. So for everyone expecting this sort of thing to happen in Eastern Europe, good old Wilmywood got there first.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Seventy-eight degrees today, warm and bright enough that at four in the afternoon you feel like it should be seven thirty or eight at night, that it should be early May, tilting back toward long days, shadows that stretch across fields and into woods. I can feel the distance of an ocean, the span of another continent. But it is good to be here, so many reasons it's worked out so well to postpone the trip back (which I will write about as soon as I'm allowed!). So no complaints, none of the tendency of my eyes and heart to trail toward the far-off. I might finally be learning to be where I'm at. So there's that.

And there's this weather. There are few things that so overwhelmingly feel familiar and good than walking outside barefoot in short sleeves. The other night, mid-January, I walked down the driveway to take out the trash, mild air, a city on the coast and decided right there to drive the seven minutes it takes to get to the ocean.

The sand was cold (a reminder: we are bookended by December and February) and it was darker than I remember it ever being. Lots of stars, but not enough of them or of clouds to light anything except the breakers. And let me tell you, they sounded so much closer than 100 meters away. So much bigger. I'd been afraid to go out to the water by myself because I could barely make out a trash can twenty feet away, so I sat on a bench and watched the sky, listened, and there it was, what I felt standing next to the Bay of Vlore one night in March, except multiplied by ten. Afraid of the bigness of something I couldn't see, afraid of something I've thrown myself in constantly since I was two or three, that I've swum in on better-lit nights.

I would have laid out there all night listening to it if I hadn't been alone. Eventually I walked out nearly to the water and realized, I'm not afraid. But I am exposed, I am the highest point for hundreds of feet, and in Romania everywhere I go there are buildings reaching up beside me, mountains growing upward. There's little conclusion here. I watched the sky a while longer, reorienting to being at a different point under it, thinking about how it had looked in Colombia, a warm, breezy night.

There's a newness to the Atlantic, or maybe a newness in me--I think of reading Into Thin Air, how the writer had to become reacquainted to his wife after two months and everything that happened on Everest. That hesitance and uncertainty in the newly changed. And I'm seeing it in other ways, seven weeks in: being unused to American twenty-something male-female dynamics. Feeling like I've got to make my sentences more polite when I speak to strangers, the you so direct. The music wherever you go--stores, in people's houses--way too loud. Maybe I'm just getting old.

But it's beautiful here and I'm grateful for it, for the ocean and walking outside barefoot, a feeling of freedom coming from, what? Knowing a place, its culture? It hasn't really changed, even if I have, and stepping back into things that have been true my whole life of this specific place, that comes easy. Ce ma bucur de asta, in the sense of being glad in, of rejoicing.


"If I went north, would it be possible for me to build a new life then? But how could a man build a life upon vague, unformed yearnings?"
--Black Boy, Richard Wright

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

book recommendations?

All right, people who love reading. I will trade you real true posts for good book recommendations.

Fiction, nonfiction, memoir, theology, whatever. I've got the time to do it, some Amazon giftcards and have basically been devouring books in the last week. Help a sister out.

Thank you!