Wednesday, February 27, 2013


From this article:

"Your parents might have decided to move into the neighborhood you grew up in as a kid, but Paul told the Athenians you got there because God appointed it as the time and dwelling place for you to live and reach out to find him as the source of your life. This is not a denial of human responsibility or the contingency of history, but a reminder that in biblical thought, contingency and freedom are ultimately realities that are upheld, sustained, and governed by God’s fatherly hand. The point is that God was no more caught off-guard by Ishmael’s birth than by Isaac's."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

ten things i learned in the last ten days

1. The way to beat jet-lag is drugs. Let's say you're prescribed muscle relaxers and pain killers due to some recent bumps and bruises and let's say their effect on you is to make you floppy and then to pass out. You'll sleep all the way across the Atlantic, through your layover and your next flight and then after making it all the way home, you'll sleep during the night like you're supposed to. Normally I can't take that stuff because it makes me so loopy but I'm telling you, nicest flight ever.

2. If you haven't regularly spoken a language in a good while and have forgotten a few random words, when you relearn the word in a third language (and accompany it with a grinning almost-three-year-old who's got it stuck all over his face), it'll become the better word. Rice became orez and is now pilav.

3. Speaking of language-learning, I knew this one already, but if you get stuck in an apartment (the good kind of stuck) with two people, one big and one itty bitty, the itty bitty with more English than the big one, you will learn quick. Well, relative to what you knew before, anyway. Beautiful to listen to, and nearly incomprehensible to me, which means I can still listen to the music of it.

4. If you ask for 800 grams of pistachios instead of 1000, you will get laughed at.

5. If you get a freakish swollen throat for the space of thirty six hours and then fly with it, something that I think is called your eustachian tube will close up (or get stuck open?) and your ear will feel like it's going to explode mid-flight. Not so fun.

6. Izmir is a crazy beautiful city. And I'm no food expert, but that was really really good too.

7. The call to prayer also sounds beautiful.

8. Fifty minutes is not enough time to make a connection at Sabiha Gokcen in Istanbul on a Friday night. Don't try it. You'll need miracles to get through, and you may get them, but it's frazzling.

9. Leaving a country where you don't know the language and coming back into one that you do still know but used to be as foreign as the other is a unique and wonderful feeling. Who would have ever guessed two years ago that hearing Romanian again I'd relax and be relieved and feel at home in a language I know. It's all relative, I suppose. Grateful for this one.

10. Number ten would be the one where I say something icky about why I was there in the first place and how that went, something that I learned. There was certainly plenty, I will say that. And plenty more, from the looks of things... :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

proceeding with processing

Sitting in the airport in Raleigh, about to die because my pants hurt my car wreck baby and in about an hour I'll be flying through Newark and back to Europe. Lots of new things to come.

I've been wondering for nearly three weeks now, will I write here about all the craziness? I can't not, but if so, how?

The short version is that, though I've always been really healthy, I had a mess of a month in and out of the doctor. And the most serious things were because of a car accident. The Colombiana and I have always joked that we were going to die together in wreck. Probably in a bus. Happy to say that we're still alive although the Might Mazda is squashed. (Ew, dramatic, I know--how do you write about this without being dramatic or tacky?) In the end, two days before leaving town, less than a week before flying out, one doctor thought I'd need surgery. The rest said I didn't, and in the meantime--the six months to a year kind of meantime--I'm hanging out in the airport wanting to unbutton my pants because I'll be deformed for a while.

There are so many ways to be wry about this, to shake my head and say something out of the corner of my mouth, laugh about the absurdity. I swelled up so much from the seat belt injuries that I looked about four months pregnant, was forced to sit and stand like I was. And once the swelling went down, I looked like I'd had a c-section. And now I get to fly across the Atlantic with my pants unbuttoned, and we all know how much I hate wearing pants. It's like a dream, sort of.

And then the more serious things come back to that verse, that Psalm: "I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the LORD sustains me." As well as I take care of my body, it's still not me who's keeping it all working together, breathing and beating and all that. I remember lying in the hospital bed thinking about how my body was not only doing a bunch of things to heal itself I wasn't conscious of, but that I didn't even know what they were. There's something in there too about control. Again, I can take care of my body as well as I can, but I can't control whether tomorrow it will all just quit.

So it's a reminder that, no, that's not true, not exactly. Well, it is, but God is still in control. Control is not lost, even if I never had it. And he sustains us in every single way.

We're reaching the ultimate in navel-gazing: a post processing about how I'm going to proceed with processing. We'll see. So: thankful. And wanting to have fun with it too, winking wryly, bright-siding. So maybe there'll be a here's-what-happened post. Or maybe just a bunch of fun-making. Thanks for bearing with me while I figure it all out. Thanks, friends.

Anyway, we're boarding now.