Friday, July 31, 2009
We are each writing a book of our lives. Each of us chooses what to write in that book and when to start a new chapter. We hold the pen poised each morning as we faced with a clean white sheet that waits for us to continue the story. Will we follow a predictable story line or will there be unexpected twists and turns around the corner? Will today be one where an exciting change is clearly seen in us or will we be predictably dull? Will we laugh uncontrollably or cry inconsolably? Who will we declare our forever love to and who will be crossed out of our books with thick black ink? Will we be satisfied with the experiences scribed on the page at the end of a long day or will we wish it were not indelible ink and we could erase a section here, delete a section there?
R.D. Cumming said, "A good book has no ending."
I don't know what to do with myself with all this free time! I do know what I should be doing, which includes packing, vacuuming, doing some last minute spot cleaning, and maybe watching a movie or two. Maybe I'll even take a little nap! I've got a long list, as usual.
But for now, I relish the hours that stretch deliciously long. . .and smile. . .
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I think I know what hell is like
'cuz I've been there & I've been back
to Boston in the summer
Humidity is never low
though thunderstorms may come & go
in Boston in the summer
The East Coast is sure welcoming
as clouds of mosquitoes blow right in
to Boston in the summer
At night the lightning strikes around
as rain pours and pelts the ground
in Boston in the summer
A California girl I'll always be
and swear I'll never ever leave
for Boston in the summer
(c) maria Lombart, 7.28.09
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
The final week of classes begin tomorrow and I know it will fly by. I have only 5 more days and then it's the day I leave!!! I'm sooooo excited. To know that I'm going home is the most exciting part of the six weeks I've spent here :P I will be busy, though, with 5 position papers, 1 personal bioethics paper, a presentation on critically ill newborns, two ethics-in-the-news oral reports, and continued reports on the textbook we are slowly working our way through. It tires me out just writing it! At least I have a focused 9 or so hours after class in which to work on homework, though by the time I've eaten lunch, done necessary cleaning and shopping and laundry and cooking, caught up on my favourite TV shows and called home for hours, well, let's just say that my allotted time is drastically reduced!
I am feeling a touch of a breeze so I must take advantage of it and attempt to fall into dreamland before it passes! If you're bored like me, enjoy previous episodes of The World's Biggest Loser online. Go to www.nbc.com and click on Shows in the top left-hand corner, then select The Biggest Loser.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I shall write more later, but simply had to blog a little since it's been 4 days n' I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms!!! This weekend was exactly what I needed. No classes, nothing. Just 3 straight days of fun. I went to Martha's Vineyard, Winthrop Beach, Boston, and Salem (NH). The best part of it all? Still haven't decided if it's driving a cute little bright red Chevy Cobalt 09, seeing the amazing scenery, or enjoying my independence. I think, though, the best part would have to be getting off campus and getting away from it all. Now I feel fully rested and ready to start classes tomorrow. Not really. But it sounded good. Naw, I think I'll just stress out for the next 2 weeks about going back to work! Okay, enough with the wisecracks. I'll post a couple of pictures later but for now. . .g'nite!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Today was a difficult day. It's been getting hotter and hotter this week and I think the all-time heat wave has struck. I discovered the exciting world of yahoo messenger's webcam with mic at about 10:30 last night and started happily talking away to my family. I don't know why it is that when one is on camera, one feels the need to make weird and amusing faces, but I saw sides of my family I had never seen before! (or would you call them angles? hmmm, maybe dimensions or perspectives. anyway!) When we signed off an hour later, I was still not sleepy so I wasted more time on Facebook and watched America's Got Talent. Oh yeah, if you're super super bored, you can watch it on www.hulu.com. So after seeing a man who "made salad" by having someone throw cabbages at a running lawnmower that was balanced upside down in the man's mouth, and hearing a judge try to sing "When you walk through the rain" except it sounded like he was walking on sharp nails, and he couldn't sing to save his life, and after watching a bunch more people who had absolutely no talent to speak of, try to convince the judges that they were the world's next best act, I finally decided it was time to try and sleep a bit. . .after midnight. . .and it was closer to 1 am before I nodded off. As I've said before, I have a bed that could rival Noah's wooden board in the ark and it's probably been around as long! This makes for rather uncomfortable sleeping quarters, especially when my feather pillow looks so perfectly fluffed, but as soon as my head hits the pillow it flattens to a thread and I find my head bouncing off the military-issue puke-green mattress.
Suffice to say, with an 8:30 am class, I was seriously lacking sleep today. Class was worse than usual and by the time break came around, I had had enough and I was ready to go home, straight away! I headed for a walk, scrolling through my limited friend list on my cheapy cell-phone but realized that with the time difference I would have to get someone out of bed to hear my frustrations and decided I would spare my friends and family, for the moment at least! But God is always there and He is always ready to listen, for which I am most grateful. Then at lunchtime I called home and my dear mom got to hear all my gripes! The older I become, the more I realize how important it is to treat others with respect, to show oneself friendly, and to think of how I would like to be treated and treat others accordingly. The Golden Rule.
By the way, the humidity is 71% right now with 77 degrees F. And at Weimar it's 17% humidity with 97 degrees F. I'll take the 97/17 any day! Plus there's airconditioning at home. Here, not even a fan dares to show its face in the building for fear of being mobbed!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I've discovered that I could become a teacher. Okay, when I was small I decided I was going to become a missionary-doctor-nurse-teacher when I grew up so I could heal people and tell them about Jesus at the same time and of course I would teach all their little kids about Jesus too. Now that I've "grown up" I no longer want to be any of the above, naturally, but I do remember those teen years when I was trying to decide which career to pick and everyone thought I should become a teacher. Being a good teenager, I rebelled against the thought, and to this day, reply vehemently in the negative when people ask what I studied in college/am studying now and ask ever so sweetly, "Oh, and are you a teacher then?" I don't know if I exude "teacherness" or if I just look like a teacher or if perhaps it's my natural bossyness that comes from years of practice as the oldest of three, but I do know that being a teacher has usually been one of the farthest things from my mind. Until today. Now don't get all excited and go running to the next person and start exclaiming loudly that Maria is now going to become a teacher, because it is still not #1 on my list of things-to-do-in-my-lifetime! But let me explain.
This week we're sitting in Research Methods (thankfully it's almost over!) and as a practical example of how to do a research project, we are hearing from 4 different students who completed a project over the last year. The presenter today, a Mrs. Smile, got up and started her PowerPoint presentation, and while she was rambling on about differentiation and inclusion in a grade two elementary school, my mind began to wander. About three quarters of the way into the presentation, a light bulb went off. I could do this! Not a research project (which I could do if I had to, but it isn't required, yay!), but be a teacher. I could be a teacher. I could even be an elementary school teacher. All I have to do is teach. It is that simple. See, I'm not one to talk about something unless I'm absolutely sure that what I'm saying is correct. So I always thought I could never become a teacher because I would have to do know absolutely everything about the subject(s) that I was teaching, especially if someone asked a question about the topic. But here was someone who was just getting out there and teaching. She may not have been the world's authority on every single area that grade two inquisitive minds are eager to probe, but she was a willing teacher, learning right along with them.
Definition of a teacher: someone who is organized, loves to share knowledge, cares about people genuinely, and is determined to help others discover while learning. I can do that.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Here is an awesome clip from America's Got Talent, Kevin Skinner singing a Garth Brooks song. Skip to 2 minutes if you don't want to hear the intro, but listen to the song, he has an amazing voice! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lzul5rxd-i8&feature=related
Oh and by the way, I got 103% in my first class this summer (Christian Marriage & Family). Yaaaay! (I would have gotten even higher except I missed the first 30 minutes of class on Monday rushing madly about trying to figure out how to register). Hopefully I'll do as well in my second class—fingers & toes crossed!
I think I need more sleep. This morning, in a rush to get to class on time, I flew down the stairs and into the kitchen, hurriedly pulled a pita out of the fridge and grabbed a mini spreadable cheese. You know how the individual slices come pre-wrapped? Well, I rushed over to the disgusting trash can that houses multitudinous fruit flies along with all kinds of unmentionable and unsmellable garbage, and in one swift movement I unwrapped the cheese, pushed open the trash can and flung into the depths of grossness. . .my cheese. I looked and there, in my left hand, was a now-empty cheese wrapper. In my right hand was nothing but in the trash can was my once-tasty Garlic and Herb slice of La Vache Qui Ri. Needless to say, I was a little more careful as I unwrapped a second slice!
In case you haven't been there lately, head on over to http://instoresnow.walmart.com/In-Stores-Now-Free-Samples-And-Trials.aspx and pick up free fun samples.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Today Heidi and Serai and I walked in to town to pick up some groceries. I had a few things on my shopping list, of course buying about 50 more than I really needed. Then Rosemary called Heidi and said she'd take us in to the Market Basket, a cheaper store. I absolutely loved it! Found some prizes, like a 99 cent English cucumber (this one's gone in the vegetable bin where hopefully it won't freeze!), La Vache Qui Ri (the laughing cow spreadable cheese), apple sauce with no added sugar, ramen noodles!, my fav TLC soft granola bars (splurged and bought a box for $3), and Near East Couscous. My best find was a tub of hummus and soft "baladi" type of bread (like the kind we get in Holland!). I was super happy about that. Now I can eat a baladi with hummus and cucumber rolled up in it. Give me a sandwich of any kind (salty of course!) and I'm happy :)
Here's a question for you: if you're in a place where you are starving and all you can eat is unclean meat (eg. pig), what will you do? Will you eat it or will you abstain?
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Till tomorrow then,
Monday, July 6, 2009
Kind of like a square hole. You can put water in it or you can put a square peg in it. One fills it; the other completes it.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
In the last five minutes 20 women were battered in the United States and 1050 children died from abuse or hunger around the world. What are you doing about it?
As I reflected on the tiny things that we obsess about, and read the statistics about how many women and children are being abused daily, every minute, it made me take a step back and think. Here I am, complaining that the bathroom isn't clean, that it's raining when I wish it would be dry, and that I can't sleep because the door keeps banging from the wind, when people are struggling to take their next breath or to find the basic necessities of life like food and shelter.
In class yesterday, a group shared the following clip from YouTube that hit home. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvBKlBhfgPc I was shocked first, then angry. Now I'm trying to figure out how to channel those emotions into positive actions to help educate men and women so the cycle will stop. I realize that as long as we live in this sick world, it can never completely stop, but one cannot give up hope and say, "oh well, since I can't save the world, I might as well not try to help one person, or two, or more." I have a responsibility, I cannot turn a blind eye and pretend the problem isn't there, and now it remains up to me to decide whether I will choose to stand for right and condemn evil.
I believe that if every single person out there who had a conscience were to do something about it, abuse could be eradicated. Everyone may not be going about it the same way, but we can work together for a needed intervention. One can write articles, one can open up a homeless shelter, one can raise funds, one can be a counselor, one can volunteer, and another can pray.
One of my favourite ministries http://www.adra.org/ helps provide for basic needs and education. There are other ministries out there who are active also; we do not have the market on helping others and we cannot do it all. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming, I know I want to do it all and I worry that even the small things I can do now aren't enough. But God doesn't ask that we do it all. He says,
si tu donnes ton pain à celui qui a faim et si tu pourvois aux besoins de l'opprimé, la lumière luira pour toi au milieu des ténèbres, et ton obscurité se changera pour toi en clarté de midi, (French)
Geef de hongerigen te eten! Help mensen, die in moeilijkheden zitten! Dan zal uw licht vanuit de duisternis schijnen en de duisternis om u heen zal zo helder worden als het licht overdag. (Dutch)
你 心 若 向 饥 饿 的 人 发 怜 悯 ， 使 困 苦 的 人 得 满 足 ， 你 的 光 就 必 在 黑 暗 中 发 现 ； 你 的 幽 暗 必 变 如 正 午 (Chinese)
si te dedicas a ayudar a los hambrientos y a saciar la necesidad del desvalido, entonces brillará tu luz en las tinieblas, y como el mediodía será tu noche. (Spanish)
إِن بَذَلْتَ نَفْسَكَ لِلْجَائِعِ، وَأَشْبَعْتَ حَاجَةَ الذَّلِيلِ، فَإِنَّ نُورَكَ يُشْرِقُ فِي الظُّلْمَةِ، وَلَيْلَكَ الدَّامِسَ يُصْبِحُ كَالظُّهْرِ، (Arabic)
und wirst den Hungrigen lassen finden dein Herz und die elende Seele sättigen: so wird dein Licht in der Finsternis aufgehen, und dein Dunkel wird sein wie der Mittag; (German)
주린 자에게 네 심정을 동하며 괴로와하는 자의 마음을 만족케 하면 네 빛이 흑암 중에서 발하여 네 어두움이 낮과 같이 될 것이며 (Korean)
if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. ~Isaiah 58:10 RSV
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzmnTnMCODU for an excellent clip on cross-cultural marriages.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Today was not one of my good days. It started out okay, the weather had cooled down and there was a lot of fog, we had class as usual, and then right after class Rosemary, an older lady and classmate, invited me out for lunch. We went to McDonalds (fries and apple pies are about all I can eat there), then back to main campus to work on our group powerpoint presentation for tomorrow. I ended up staying there 4 hours while we worked on finalizing and refining it. After a rather greasy lunch (sorry Michael, I really didn't have a choice on where to eat!), I was feeling slightly queasy, plus I'd missed my regular after-lunch walk and had spent those 4 hours sitting on a hard wooden chair, so I was also feeling a tad bit grumpy. We finally finished and I headed to my room as quickly as possible. I contemplated watching a movie, for about 10 seconds, but realized I needed to get walking. . .and soon! It was the best thing I'd done all day.
Being here alone has really taught me a lot. When I went to Korea in 2005, my first time away from home for an extended period of time (10 weeks!), my mom told me one thing. She said, "Remember, wherever you are, we may not be able to be there with you, but God is always with you." I took that simple advice to heart and always went to God with my frustrations, fears, and joys. This summer has been no different. I am truly a homebody and the day I leave on a trip, I'm thinking about the day I will be coming home again (you understand, LaVonne!). I like having time to myself. I think I am actually at a stage in my life where I need hours of alone time each day. I used to think that I was so sanguine, I always had to have people around me, but strangely enough, I find myself relishing quiet time, time to rejuvenate, time out in nature, even just down time reading a book or watching a movie, because it's "me time." I realized today that I'm an overachiever in everything except when it comes to me. I am learning that I love to learn, I need time to get to know people, and I am happy in nature when it is on my terms and I don't have to go hiking up hill and dale or rushing around in wooded forests teaming with mountain lions, rattlesnakes and bears! I would also like to know the answer to one question: why do all the needy people come to meeeeeeeeeeeeeee???? And why does everyone feel comfortable enough to spill their life story within the first couple of weeks? Maybe because I am not afraid to tell them mine, so they feel comfortable?
Anyhow, the journey continues, and I can't believe it but tomorrow is Thursday already which means only two days left of this class. I'll admit, yesterday morning I was tempted yet again to go online and find a ticket home, and right now, the only thing keeping me here for the full six weeks is knowing that I can't go back and face everyone (plus I really don't want to go back to work yet!). Next week we'll probably, hopefully, have a more challenging class, but it's also not in my realm which may be why this last class wasn't as difficult, because I'd read so much about the topic before coming. Well, you'll be happy to know that I have a 110% overall score so far in the class (in 2nd place, 1st place is 113%) so I'm keeping my straight A average. The goal is to graduate Summa Cum Laude. . .we shall see!
Here's to hoping tomorrow is a brighter day. . .and that I get to eat in the caf for lunch. . !