Tag Archives: Adjusting

garden of the gods

being the international woman of mystery that i am, i run into friends just about everywhere i go. while staying outside of monument, colorado this week (near colorado springs) i had visitors just about every day. kim came up monday, sharing with me the VERY exciting news that she and scott are pregnant! then art and lois came up on tuesday, taking me to the exact same restaurant as the previous evening (but i didn’t tell them that because i loooove mexican food). then leslie came up wednesday (she only just moved to colorado two weeks ago) and we ventured off to garden of the gods.

you may remember leslie visited me in benin back in march. it was great to talk to someone that had actually witnessed the craziness of my life abroad. we had a lot of good laughs. we also took a lot of ridiculous pictures, fitting in to tight crevices, acting like idiots, the usual. it’s great to have friends all over.

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identity: mine and God’s

hmm. 7 months without posting. maybe i should give “phos” up and stick to my journal. but just in case…

i did a little exercise this week, discerning both my identity and God’s. i basically answered two questions:

1. what have you learned about yourself as a result of your experience with God?
that i can withstand more than i think; that i’m extremely unique and unusual; that it’s better for me to rely on God than on myself or others; that i can be quiet, be alone and be slow–and enjoy it; that lessons are harder and hurt more when i’m stubborn; that i like the sunshine; that affirmation doesn’t satisfy me like God’s love does; that in any given moment, i have enough; that i don’t have all the answers–and that’s okay; that i’m easily distracted by relationships; that i struggle with pride; that my worth is not determined by others; that i’m amazingly complex and beautiful all at once–a mystery.

2. what do you know about God as a result of genuine encounter with yourself?
that God loves me and lavishes blessings on me; that God hears me and knows my needs better than i do; that God thinks i’m special; that God will patiently challenge me again and again till i learn God’s truths; that God is always present; that God loves me better than anyone; that God is sufficient; that i hear God best when i’m humble; that God is so much more interesting than i make God out to be; that God is not afraid to put me in danger; that God’s dreams are bigger than mine are; that God is everywhere–but in my stillness especially; that i’m relieved God doesn’t fit in a box; that nothing can shake God or take me from God; that God is big enough to cover all questions, hurts and losses; that God is freakin’ hilarious at times.

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totally sucks awesome hated it beautiful

yes, this week i’m exploring a series of paradoxes with a bunch of other missionaries just returned from the field. a little thing called “debriefing and renewal” in the mountains of colorado. some people have come “home” for good, others are just here for a year before returning to assignments abroad. all are totally grateful for their experiences and are struggling now with varying degrees of home-sickness (for “adopted” countries) and identity crisis. yet all have been burned, bruised, and battered; the side of being a missionary that is rarely shared outside the safest of circles. this place is definitely a safe one, and i’m glad i made it out here, albeit (slightly) grudgingly.

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perfect score

north carolinians everywhere might as well roll out the welcome mat to their newest resident; yours truly just got her license.

this is a big deal for 2 reasons… a) it’s symbolic of the fact that i’m putting down roots here (though i confess my heart is still mostly in maryland), and b) in order to get a NC license, you must first pass a driver’s test. the test is full of obscure questions like, “what percentage of driving accidents are due to drunk driving?” is it really necessary that i know the exact percentage to be a good driver? isn’t it enough to know not to drink and drive?

lucky for me, someone in my office mentioned that one could find a “study guide” (i refuse to call it a cheat sheet) online. thus, this little lady got a perfect score… booyah!

(really, what ever happened to people saying booyah?!?)

when i got back to my job, at the church, i was amazed to find kids moon-bouncing inside. yep, you can fit two moon-bouncers in our “multi purpose” space (which happens to be used for our contemporary services). who knew? and when can i bounce?

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google hearts walkers

i use google maps a lot… mostly because i’m new to town. i love how when getting directions, you can use your mouse to drag your route onto smaller (less trafficky) roads. great for bikers. but NOW there’s an additional option! when getting directions, you can click “by car” or “walking.” not only does it automatically move your route to roads less traveled, but it also estimates your walking time! i think this change denotes some serious behavior changes in the US. i’m so proud.

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salsa hurts

i went salsa dancing last week… twice.

wednesday i went with a guy named ricardo. “lauren laughs” regulars will understand the humor in this small coincidence. anyway, ricardo took me to a place that starts with lessons before moving to just plain dancing. we did the first (beginner) lesson. easy… a tad boring. we asked one of the instructors if we could do the intermediate lesson too. she hesitated and said yes, but just to sit it out if we felt it was too advanced. psha. we rocked the intermediate class so well that the same instructor walked up to us later and asked us to audition for the advanced class that will be starting later this month: “just throw something together.” okay. maybe…

i danced with the other instructor at one point, a man in pointy white shoes (mandatory for all male salsa teachers). sadly, i stubbed my toe on his shoes, breaking my toenail and spewing blood everywhere. that was fun. i really need to invest in salsa shoes.

but you can’t let a broken toe nail keep you on the sidelines of life. no sir. thursday night i was back at it, only with a group of latinos. (ricardo is not latino… well, he’s half… but it’s a repressed half). anyway, my new latino friends all speak spanish. it was great to be in that environment again, and i understood everything, i just kept responding in french. shoot! till a moroccan guy joined us, then i had a french buddy. oh, the woes of a multi-lingual lover. still, i hope to hang with (and eventually hold a coherent conversation with) these new friends every once in a while, if only i could get used to the festivities starting at midnight.

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progressive kitchen 1

i don’t so much have a “fully functional” kitchen yet. i’m reminded of this at odd moments… like when i bought a can of beats to eat on a salad, but then realized i had no can opener. nothing a pocket knife can’t fix. or when i decided i’d make brownies this weekend, but had to do so without measuring cups. the result: brownie goo the entire staff made fun of.

so i’m on a mission this week/weekend to set up my kitchen. i’ve got dad’s monster van parked in the driveway till sunday, so i might as well make use of it! so far, i’ve purchased a spice rack (including 20 spices), a liquid measuring cup and a strainer. odd mix, i know.

this would be so much easier if i were getting married. bridal registries are so discriminatory.



two awesome finds this week:

1. paste. the magazine. they send you a new cd every month with new releases! how cool is that? and it’s only 20 bucks for a year subscription. awesome.

2. wrnr online! in case you didn’t know, the very best radio station of all time happens to live in downtown annapolis. life without wrnr has been a sad void of sound, till carolyn told me to just plug-in online! it’s so much easier to get out of bed in the morning knowing “planet alex” is just a click away.

good stuff.

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fun with paint

i LOVE the vintage wallpaper that adorned my bathroom up until this weekend. it was so super cool, but it was peeling in the worst way… so it had to go. let me tell you, taking wallpaper down from the wall is no easy task. goodbye lovely little butterflies on yellowed background…
and then i painted, which was also a bit of a task… mostly because i had no step ladder so i did all kinds of acrobatics to get from one high corner to the next. painting has always been a social event for me, usually helping friends, but this time i was going it alone, and that was quite nice too. i kept thinking, ‘i’m doing this just for me.’ sounds silly, but it’s a rare occasion that i put that much effort into anything that’s only going to benefit me. i’m still debating if i like this blue, though…


go cats!

sometimes my mom likes to remind me that i was a cheerleader by thrusting her finger up in the air and shouting, “go keeaaaatts!” because that’s how we used to say it in high school.

this is a different kind of cats. this is the city bus.

after my woe-is-me-i-have-no-social-life moment yesterday, i did indeed email some friends to see what was going on this weekend (the answer is EVERYone is leaving town), and someone tipped me off about an outdoor music venue downtown. so i pulled out my bus map and went downtown. easiest thing ever. even coming back in the dark and rain wasn’t a problem. i kept thinking, i’m on a reputable city bus with lots of people, and that’s got to be safer than riding on the back of a motorcycle with a stranger in benin, right? i am lovin’ me some public transportation.

not to mention… i met someone last night that likes both biodiesel AND salsa. i mean, what are the odds. thank you city bus, for expanding my social horizons.