Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Beginnings

I decided to bestow the above title upon this post because of all the new things I'm beginning to do in my life here in Natal. 2008 has just begun and tomorrow is the 4-month mark of my arrival in Natal. As I walked through my apartment just now to water my ever-growing bamboo plant, I thought of four new things in my life that never before existed until I moved down South. I'd like to share:

-I have begun to translate Portuguese into English when I talk to people in the States. Conversation with a friend on Skype today:
Friend: "So how was your New Years?"
Me: "It was good. I passed it at that beach house that the church always goes to."
Friend: -silence-
Me: " you say that in English? 'Passed the New Year'? In Portuguese you say 'passar'..."
Friend: -silence- "Um...I really don't know what that means."
Me: "Hmm. I guess not."

The problem with this is that when I use this kind of reverse-translated English here with my friends, they all know what I'm saying and most likely don't know or don't consider that it's incorrect. It makes sense to us, why doesn't it make sense to you?

-I have begun to lay towels down on the floor next to the crack under my front door because last night a 4-inch albino-looking lizard with colorless eyes entered my apartment and decided to hang out on the ceiling. A friend of mine was here to spend the night, and good thing, because she was able to knock it down and chase it out. Had she not been here I would not have slept a wink. Not. A. Wink.

-I have begun to develop reverse freckles, white spots, on my skin because I am so tan (please note: not burned, TAN.) I think they must have been there before I just never noticed them because they blended in with the rest. But not now, my friends, not now. White Christmases are nice, but I had my own White Christmas with a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic 45+ SPF sunscreen. And how lovely it was... :)

-I have begun to find my inner fish. New Year's day was spent, again, in the pool with the church at the house in Genipabu. The highlight was when all the guys played "Irvaine the Shotput." (Translated: "Who Can Throw Irvaine The Farthest?") Irvaine is pictured to the right, an 8 year old who tops out at like 20 lbs max, and finds no problem with being considered the community toy. More fun for us!

In case any of you were checking back here just to know what the reader count was for today, I'm proud to announce that it was a big fat 0. As in Zero. I passed (ha, kidding. I spent,) 3 hours waiting today, but it was good because I ended up with lots of things to do a the church building. First, the washing machine decided to bust a tube (not to be confused with bust a move) and drain all the water out onto the floor. (This is my washing machine curse...this happened to me four times in my house in Abilene.) Then the line where I dry my clothes decided it also wanted to be on vacation and boycotted my freshly-washed towels, dumping them all over the very dirty balcony floor. Then I decided to just have a little down time from all the stress (ha...what an easy life I have!) to get reacquainted with my buddy James. As in, James from the Bible. I found this gem that stuck with me all day, and wanted to share with you:

Two Kinds of Wisdom
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. -James 3:13-18

If you are looking for something to pray for today, please pray that as I begin the year I will earnestly seek this kind of wisdom in my work here in Natal. I want pure, peaceful, considerate, submissive, merciful, impartial, and sincere wisdom. My prayer is that God will grant it to me and to all of you as well.

Feliz Ano Novo!!

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