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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Santa Clara Sizzles with a Sexy New Single "Save Me"

Wow I can't believe that I've been in Victoria almost 3 weeks now. And it seems like the journey of growth continues even during this period while I am in Canada. Life has been a combination of taking it easy and enjoying relationships while at the same time trying to keep on top of things with maintaining a blogsite and making it the best it can be. Last night I worked until midnight and all today I've been making upgrades and adjustments all morning until early afternoon now when I am sitting here writing this blog. Alot of the adjustments I make are often behind the scenes and would be things that I would know but this time the upgrades my websites are definitely obvious. So I hope you enjoy it and don't hesitate to let me know what you think.

The obvious addition to the website is the music player that looks like an "itouch" player. I don't have an itouch in real life so at least I get to have one through my blogsite :) Music is such an important part of my life and as I was putting this playlist together, I made the effort to have a mix of songs from all kinds of artists, both well known as well as local. When putting together this list, it was important for me to give exposure to some local artists such as Cindy Davis and Santa Clara. Almost all the musicians are people that I have known and met personally or who I grew up with. And I feel so proud to be able to add their music right beside well known artists like Alicia Keys as something that all my readers can experience and enjoy when they pop by here for a visit. Even as I write these words, I am testing out the playlist and making sure that the songs flow well together for your enjoyment.

If you didn't know already, Santa Clara is a local band who is getting heavy radio play and receiving much attention from the recording industry. I was in Argentina when they broke out and started to get radio play. Because of that, I was a little late in finding about the song and getting a chance to listen to it. But the moment I heard the song, I knew that they had something special to share with the world. And it would be a sound that I definitely would be wanting people to be listening and experiencing the moment they clicked into the site. Their first single "The Fool" captured my heart and I was never really the same after that song.

So I made sure that "The Making of The Fool" would be one of the videos included in the music mix. This is not the official music video. That was recently shot here in Victoria and it is the midst of being edited. You can check out pics of the music video as it was shot on the sidebar. I'll give you further updates as the dates get closer. But one date that I can tell you about is the release of their next hit single "Save Me" You can preview the song on their myspace page. Just click on the picture of the band that I've included at the top of this blog. It's another song that's definitely got my attention and just like "The Fool", it's bound to get attention of both individuals in the recording industry and the public alike when it hits the radio April 12th. Don't forget to mark that date and join in the party!

But the exciting news doesn't stop there! Recently I stumbled across a website called lexiophiles. They are a website dedicated to the art and study of languages and cultures. On their website, they said they were looking for guest writers. I submitted two pieces to them, they the ones you can find at the top of the site entitled "Cultural Quirks" and "Language Learning Lab". I got the response back from the people there that said that both pieces were excellent and they wanted to publish them both at one point. They couldn't publish them at the same time so for now, they wanted to publish "Cultural Quirks' for April 15th. I could not be more delighted and gave them the go ahead.

I feel honored to have my article featured on a public website other than mine. It gives me tremendous exposure and does so much in solidifying my identity as a writer. I'm almost at the place where I'm ready to tell people "I'm a writer" when people ask what I do. It's something that I haven't been able to do before because I felt that I didn't have enough credentials to be able to make a statement like that. What an awesome step it is! But success only taste sweet when you have someone to share it with. I would like to invite each of you to share the success of Santa Clara as they release their new single "Save Me" on April 12th. And I would also like to invite you share in my success just 3 days later on April 15th as some of by best work gets featured as articles on Whether you're the kind of person who enjoys rock and pop music or the kind of person who loves writings and articles on language and cultures..........regardless of what your taste are, success is success and it is time to celebrate and party!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Earth Hour Strikes BA

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Friday, March 26, 2010

Arts + Acrobatics = Argentina

When it comes to shows, the good news is that there is an abundant supply of them in Buenos Aires. Argentina has made amazing strides in rebuilding the country and the economy since the 2001 economic crisis. And they are fast becoming a force to be reckoned with when it comes to performing arts. You can still see regular dinner shows with live tango. Traditionally, that's the most publicized kind of show down in BA. But in your quest for a good evening of entertaiment, don't forsake trying some modern and off the well worn path. Let Buenos Aires dazzle you with a little taste of the other forms of incredible artistic talent that lies deep within the heart and soul of the city :)

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Dancers perform on a watery stage suspended above the audience during the Fuerza Bruta (Brute Force) show in Buenos Aires, March 23, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

La Ciudad de Furia

"Me verás volar
por la ciudad de la furia
donde nadie sabe de mi
y yo soy parte de todo"

"You'll see me fly
by the city of fury
where no one knows me
and I am part of everything [everyone]"

 Lately I've found that the lyrics to the song "La Ciudad de Furia" by Argentinean rock group "Soda Stereo" keep echoing through the walls of my mind and heart.  I became a fan of Soda Stereo while learning spanish in 2009 and the hit "La Ciudad de Furia" became my favorite song. Strangely enough, the words of the song reflected where I was in that point in my life.  The song is all about wanting to fly away to the city of Buenos Aires.  The lyrics are all about wanting to melt away and disappearing into the shadows of this grand city where no one knows your name.  And having the city hide you beneath the safety of it's wings.

"Me dejarás dormir al amanecer
entre tus piernas, entre tus piernas
sabrás ocultarme bien y desaparecer
entre la niebla, entre la niebla"

"You'll allow me to sleep until the dawn
between your legs, between your legs
You'll know how to hide me well and disappear,
into the fog, into the mist"

That has got to be one of my favorite lines in the song!  Just a brief recap here to who Soda Stereo is, they were a popular Argentinean rock band in the 80's with the lead singer and guitar player being Gustavo Cerati. They basically were the "U2" of the Latin American world. In 1997, the band decided to break up due to personal differences in the direction that the members wanted to take. But they all came together and did a reunion tour throughout Latin America in 2007.

There is a ring of truth to the words of the song. It's funny because I almost feel at times the city can be a paradox of itself. On one hand it's big and complicated and you have to be tough as nails some days to get through life there. And at the same time there is something about Buenos Aires that almost seems rather nurturing, as if perhaps the city is attempting to soothe you and wash away the harsh effects of day to day living in the city that almost feels like it wants to leave a dent in you.  Here is a journal entry that I wrote Sept 12/09

"More and more I am finding that tango is not just a dance, it is a way of life in this city even for those that don't dance tango.  The city has a way of wrapping it's feathers around me to comfort and ease all loneliness and thoughts of home and the people there.  Like a mother hen, it soothes me safe and & warm under it's wing."

On that note, I want to tell you a story of a cool moment I had while I was visiting a park in Buenos Aires. I was visiting a park in Buenos Aires where there is a pond and plenty of geese around along with their babies. It was kind of neat visiting the park because I would visit once and then a visit a few weeks later. And each time I visited, I can see the gosling going to the stages of growing up and losing their down feathers in the journey to becoming young adults.

One occasion while i was there, there was a mother duck who was sitting on the lawn and all the little babies were cuddled up all around her and snuggling under her feathers.  And just watching that, I had an unexpected healing moment that came to me. For those of you who don't know, I was abandoned, broken, abused and used. I'm going to spare you all the terrifying details of my childhood but all I can say is that it was not pretty.  But just watching the mother goose there with all her babies touched me. I was like " broken world, nature hasn't forgotten it's role."

The mother goose is just happy doing it's job of nurturing and protecting. The mother goose doesn't say "I've had enough of sitting here taking care of you. I want MY life, MY way!" and then storms off leaving all the babies cold and susceptible. No! They know they can just come to her and trust her.  And that there is a place for each one of them underneath her wings and they are always welcome.

I never forgot that moment that day in the park seeing the mother goose taking care of all her babies.  But what's even more better is that whether I am in Victoria or Argentina, there are people in both culture who extend a hand towards me and do all they can to be nurturing. When I came back to Victoria after my first trip to BsAs, my friends didn't just take me into their home and let me stay there, they constantly made an effort to create an environment where the energy was warm, loving, and nurturing and they always wanted me to feel happy and content and were willing to go the extra mile to make that happen.

This is very healing for me because I have not had a good history with dealings with people who have had alot of time, space, and comfort and it is very easy just to think that only people in the 3rd world are open and welcoming and giving.  But it warms my heart that I have people in both cultures and both continents who extend their hand towards me without second thought no matter how much or how little that they have.  It gives me a great sense of assurance knowing that I will always have a place in this world whether I am flying from or to "The City of Fury"  :)

The City of Fury (English) translation of the song Ciudad de la Furia (Spanish) from Soda Stereo lyrics

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dye Me a River

Today is World Water Day in Buenos Aires and one Argentine artists decided to use dye as a way to try to send a message about pollution. His canvas? The Matanza-Riachuelo river, Argentina's most polluted basin.  Here are pictures of him pouring green dye into the river to make his point.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Who Let the Dogs Out?

WOOF! Other than the language of spanish, that's probably the other sound that you are likely to hear if you ever visit BA. The city has love relationship with dogs and it is very in to be kind to canines. In my early days in the city, I remember stumbling upon a very strange an interesting park in my early days in the city as I was walking around. As I was walking through a park, suddenly I came across at least 20 dogs. They were all in a fenced in area and appears like someone was taking care of them.

The sight that I saw was very similar to here in North America when suddenly you see someone walking a bunch of dogs because they are "pet-sitting" them. But only this time, the dogs were all in one area just playing around and having a good time. Fascinated by this site, I asked a man nearby what this was all about and if they were street dogs. "No" he replied and he explained to me that the owners leave the dogs here during the daytime and then come get them. As it would turn out, that park would not be the only place where suddenly you come across what seems like an army of dogs. There are many spots in BA just like this and after you've explored the city for awhile, it becomes a common sight.

Seeing this only confirmed to me that this was the right city for me, being a dog lover myself. And strangely enough, the there doesn't seem to be alot of strays like you would expect in big cities. But even the strays that are there seem to have found a place in the city. I will never forget once when I was walking back into the residence while Buenos Aires was having another one of it's rainy days. Two stray dogs had found a nice dry spot and were cuddled up together and were happily dozing. And it is not uncommon to walk through the city and see dogs (both with or without dog owners) having their own little siesta.

Never have I lived in any one city where i felt that there was a love specifically for this one animal. Even though at this moment, it is not possible or practical for me to own a dog, being able to live in a city where they are cherished and are everywhere does kind of make up for it in some strange way. It's as if just by living here, we all get to be proud dog owners to every pooch that calls Buenos Aires home. And to honor our 4 legged friends, I have posted a link to an incredible video of our canine companions being filmed at 1000 frames per second. It is the most incredible homage to dogs I have ever seen!

Dogs, Art or Both? Dogs Filmed At 1000 Frames Per Second
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nature by Numbers

A short movie inspired on numbers, geometry and nature, by Cristóbal Vila.
Go to if you are looking for more information: the theory behind the movie, stills and screenshots showing the work in progress. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Live at La Bomba de Tiempo

We all know that there are just some things in life that words, pictures or even video cannot justify the experience of being there live in person. One of them would definitely be Iguazú falls. Months later, I still hear the haunting sound of waterfalls in my head deep into the night as they crash against the rocks again and again and again.....

There are other noteworthy experiences and things to try out while you are in the country. La Bomba de Tiempo at the Konex every monday night rain or shine. I've already written a detailed blog on my nite at La Bomba de Tiempo so I'm not going to sit here repeating what I've already written. Instead, if you would like to know the description of the event, I'll defer you to a link here that will take you to the post of the blog I had written earlier. I'm sure you'll find it quite amusing, especially the fact that it was the first and only night during that trip that I can officially say I that I lost my sobriety :)
And for your viewing pleasure, I've included some Youtube videos to give you just a little taste of the event.

Making the Same Difference: La Bomba a Tiempo

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Alpaca learns to surf in Peru

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Some surf buddy!!!!

Photo from fOTOGLIF

The Secret in their Eyes

"Eyes are the window to your soul"

That has got to be one of the most talked about quotes ever invented. I believe that statement contains a profound revelation of one of the most mysterious parts of the human body.....the eyes.  It's funny that after all the advances in science and technology, we are nowhere close to unraveling the complexity or significance of the eyes and they role that they play in relationships, spirituality, and health both physically and emotionally.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The New 7 Wonders of Nature

Ever wanted the chance to shape history? Or to have say in something of significance that impacts us globally? Now you can! We've all heard of the 7 Wonders of the World. And for the majority of us, we simply had to accept what landmarks other people had decided should have title of being included in "The 7 Wonders of the World". But on 07/07/07 after 100 million votes, a new "7 Wonders of the World" was selected and declared in a ceremony in Lisbon Portugal.

The "New7Wonders Foundation" started another campaign to find "The New 7 Wonders of Nature".  There are three stages to this campaign. Firstly there was a global vote for nominees to which 77 natural wonders were chosen to head to the next round. In the next round, the voting continued and the 77 natural wonders were shortlisted to 28 finalist. And from those 28 finalist, 7 of them will be chosen to be officially names as part of "The New 7 Wonders of Nature". And I proud to announce that Iguazú falls has made it as one of the 28 finalist for consideration to be named as part of "The New 7 Wonders of Nature".

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Argentina embrace Chile

An aerial view shows thousands attending "Argentina embrace Chile" benefit concert in Buenos Aires March 13, 2010. The concert was held for the benefit of victims of the recent 8.8-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunamis in Chile. REUTERS/Martin Acosta

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Friday, March 12, 2010

WE'RE OK! - Vlog from Ushuaia re: Chile Earthquake

Hello people! Just a quick (-ha) vlog giving you an update about our travels. Thanks for your messages via YouTube/Facebook. We did not feel the earthquake at all. I only got wind of the earthquake from your messages in the afternoon.

Our thoughts and prayers have been with Gabi and her family in Concepcion. Very thankful to hear within the last hour from Gabi that she is OK with her family. Although, Concepcion is not in a good state at all.
The next video is of out time in Concepcion with Gabi and her family. You will see that Concepcion was a lovely city to be in. Take care Concepcion!

We visited "Torres Del Paine" National Park - check out some photos on Google Images.

More news later! Keep safe everyone! Be thankful for your safety and your families. :)

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Day 14 - At The Beach With Friends


Today we had a really neat time with Gabi, Caudia, Claudio, and Gabi's mom. We visited a beach local to Concepcion. I think the beach property was owned by Claudio's parents.
The people on the the beach were collecting seaweed for sending to Japan, and also for creating plastic.

Tomorrow we hope to visit the mines near Concepcion, visit Gabi, Claudia, and Claudio's university. Concepcion seems to be an awesome place!


Day 13 - Leaving Santiago


Day 12 - Sunburns Are Hot...


Day 11 - Viña Del Mar


Day 10 - We Gotta Car!


Day 9 - Which Pathfinder?

Today get to choose which car we will buy. We hope to make a final transfer of funds tomorrow, and get going on these South American roads!
Manuel and his wife Lillian have been very very kind to us, carting us around Santiago city to look for cars, and helping us to understand the language better. If you are reading this - we appreciate your goodness to us so much!

Tomorrow's video will prove whether we are successful in our purchase or not...


Day 8 - Withdrawing, Buying, Planning...

We are now getting serious about specific places that we could like to visit, what to buy to prepare the rest of our trip, who to visit, what our time-frames are... etc. It's getting really exciting as we should have our own car very soon!

It was nice to get into the city again. I love this city, it's different to any other that I've been to. I'm noticing some things are cheaper here than in New Zealand - especially food, and sweets on the side of the road :P Other thinks are more expensive like electronics and computers.

I was "getting my geek on" when was fixing one of the hostel's computers. I bought some lubricant for the CPU fan, which honestly sounded like a vacuum cleaner from our hostel room... I HAD to do something about it... :P


Day 7 - Chasing Cars

Today was a good day. Ryan and I caught a subway (metro) and a texi to a car yard to look at a few cars we had researched online. With our lack of understanding for the Chillean car market, we thought we were looking at a lot of really nice cars! Our taxi driver was lovely, and treated us to a typical summer's day Chillean drink called "(will add name here)".

Later in the afternoon we came home, and I edited for a while. Ryan, Elizabeth and Sarah met with Manuel, a friend we made while still in New Zealand, and he helped them find a few more cars. That night a caught a subway into town and met with them at the military hotel and had an awesome feed!


Day 6 - Hablamos con Skype todos dia!


Day 5 - Santa Lucia

Visited Santa Lucia today - the founding site of Santiago. Was a very relaxed day - woke up at 3PM after editing til 7AM the night before. We walked around the city more that evening. I love the side-stalls selling food, trinkets, toys, tools and all sorts of crazy and interesting goods. The people here are always polite and friendly to talk with. I'm sure being European contributes to that response a lot!

Getting more serious about purchasing a car for our future travels. Considering travelling south through Chile first, instead of crossing the border into Argentina to Buenos Aires. Yes, that means I'll get to meet you Gabi in Concepcion in not too long!! :D Very much looking forward to visiting you and your family...


Day 4 - Piñera Wins!

Today was a calm, lazy day in the city... Little did we know what was to happen later that evening! What fun!! ;) We will visit Santa Lucia tomorrow...


Day 3 - That's One Big Mother!

The views overlooking Santiago from Cerro San Cristobal are absolutely breathtaking. This city is seriously HUGE. It was neat getting into my first inner-city subway also. They accelerate and decelerate really fast, so if you're not holding onto a bar, you'll end up on your bum!
We hope to visit Santa Luncia tomorrow, which I understand is a Spanish fortress which founded Santiago City. There was a battle between the Spanish and the natives - the Spanish winning. The name "Santiago" also means "James".


Day 2 - Santiago Baby...

The troop is complete. We picked Sarah up from the Santiago airport today. She definitely brings a fun, crazy (more like totally nutty) element to the group, great to have her here.

Ryan and I walked through Santiago to get a RUT licence so that we may buy a car for travelling around South America. We also purchased SIM cards for our phones - luckily we have Motorola cell phones, so we can unlock them for international use using a software upgrade via computer (Thanks James! - Our geeking around in 7th Form Calculus wasn't a waste after all eh?)

Still having an absolute blast of a time - there is so much to take in still. We're getting better with "sprekk'n el Espaynole", and having a lot more fun interacting with people.

Will give you our cell-phone numbers tomorrow. We're on Skype often also.
Our time is... 4 hours behind, and opposite of AM/PM to New Zealand. Comprehendo? Si! :D

Hope you're all well, love you!
- Andy


Day 1 - Good-Bye New Zealand!

This video depicts the last few days that Ryan, Elizabeth and I have had in New Zealand prior to leaving, our experiences while flying, and our first few hours in Santiago.
It is such a crazy feeling to finally, finally be on the other end of the Pacific Ocean here in South America! Been planning this trip since March 2009... and now we are here. Wow.

Been chilling here at our Octo Mundo hostel this afternoon/evening e-mailing, Skyping family and friends, and editing. I haven´t seen much outside of this hostel, but that´s for tomorrow´s video adventures! :D


Sunday, March 07, 2010

HIV Positive Pizza Party

“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” - Oprah Winfrey

Those are the words that went through my mind as I sat there taking another bite of my pizza at Rock & Vida Cafe. All around me were the sounds of laughter and chatter. And every now and then, a group of people would burst out singing "Happy Birthday" as there were a few birthdays being celebrated that nite. By now you probably already have a question on your mind, what is Rock & Vida Cafe?

You may recall from earlier blogs that CCNV has a major event that they have been hosting ever since 2005 called Rock & Vida. It is a rock and roll concert to create the awareness of AIDS and it's harmful effects. This year, Rock & Vida was held on Dec 5 in the Plaza de Congreso right here in Buenos Aires. The concert is free and the church pays for the artists who are set to play as well as they arrange every detail of the event.

It has been barely 3 months since we did Rock & Vida 09 and already they are preparing for Rock & Vida 2010. Rock & Vida cafe is an event that they hold every Sat in the church. There youth can buy food and drink, play pingpong, dance Salsa and Merengue with some friends. And all the money raised through purchases of food goes towards Rock & Vida. After being around this church and actually getting the chance to see their inner workings, I'm beginning to see why they are so successful.

You see, Rock & Vida isn't something that they choose to do last minute at the spur of the moment. It is something they prepare all year for. And not just the youth here at Rock & Vida Cafe, the fact is that the whole church is in on it. Last week, I was here at Rock & Vida Cafe where we had a rock band come and play right here in the cafe. I was with my friend Diana and she was the one who told me the reason for the event. It is truly amazing how this church is looking after every single detail of the event. And what's even more amazing, the church members are giving whatever they can of their own free will to help make this event happen.

Diana herself told me that she has made a commitment to the church to give 200 pesos towards Rock & Vida. It is about $60 USD, which is ALOT for an Argentinean. The average wage here is 800 pesos a month ($200 USD). Sometimes more and sometimes less. Argentineans may not have alot of money but they sure to have alot of faith! Each individual may not have a big salary but the success of Rock & Vida and many other projects of the church is that they give faithfully and give whatever they can. And it all the giving eventually adds up bit by bit.

The church is also preparing in other ways. They are having Rock & Vida Camp in April to equip the youth with vision and purpose. I also remember about a month before Rock & Vida, all of us hit the streets and went out trying to get people to do surveys to see what they knew about AIDS. That was a real eye opener for me. Never in my life had I ever been part of something like that. In short, they are preparing one whole year to make those 4 hours of that one nite a success. I may not be able to be at some of these events the next few months while I am in Canada but I'm doing all that I can while I am here in this country. Even if it's just sharing a bite of pizza with a friend here at this HIV positive pizza party :)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Before I begin this blog, I want to put a little note here to make it clear that in now way, shape or form do I spoil the movie. So if you haven't seen the movie and you are reading this blog, rest assured that I'm not giving away anything. I know the movie just opened this weekend and it's been one the most highly anticipated films and all I can say is that you will not be disappointed.

But have you ever had a moment in your life where you watched a movie and you feel like you were meant to see it right in that moment. That was what it was like today for me seeing the movie. The film holds so many parallels to this journey I've been on here in Argentina. I feel very much that I was meant to see this movie in this country and at this time where I am closing the chapter to my first trip here.

I'm only going to brief you very vaguely on the story. Basically, before her trip to Wonderland, Alice is in the real world and she is feeling pressured to embrace the lifestyle that everyone expects her to and is typical of that society and culture. Then she ends up in wonderland where she goes on an adventure and goes through personal growth, finds out there is a purpose for her being there and then when she's fulfilled that purpose, it is time for her to go back to her world. Because there are lessons for her to learn there and work for her to do.

There could not be a better movie to parallel my story of my journey to Argentina. Living in North America, I felt the pressure to conform and do what everyone else is doing. Get a good job, settle down, have kids, make sure you have all your bases covered. There is nothing wrong with that. But sometimes in North America they get so obsessed with "Take care of yourself! Look out for number 1! You are the only person you can trust!" But I chose not to conform and instead, decided that having one life to live, I would never be afraid to take risk and live the adventure. And I would also never hold back from the opportunity to give my life to help others and make a difference.

So needing a life change, I came here for a rest. Like in the story of "Alice in Wonderland", I stumbled down a rabbit hole into a strange new world where everything is different. And just like in the movies, little did I know that I had a purpose and a destiny to fulfill right here in the city. Just to recap the story here, I attend Centro Cristiano Nueva Vida. A church network with more than 30 000 people all across Argentina and with a church branch right here on Florida Ave in Buenos Aires.

I have been attending the church on Florida since October and things were going along quite nicely. It was only around January that it began to hit me that something was missing. The church is in the busiest city in all of Argentina, Buenos Aires. and not only that, they are on the busiest STREET in all of Buenos Aires.....Florida Ave. They are surrounded by more tourist and foreigners from the first world than any other of their church branches but hardly any of them can speak english. The people have big hearts to want to touch the world but at this point, they cannot show their love to people that do not speak spanish.

Along I come, noticing this very important thing that is missing. One day, I innocently write a note to the pastor and introduce myself and say "Hey, I'm an english teacher and I have a passion to teach the people english". He jumped on it right away and immediately gave me the email addresses of his co-pastors and asked that I contact them to begin arranging things. I was like "Wow! This guy doesn't stand on ceremony"

It was only much later after multiple meetings with the co-pastors and coordinators that I realized the reason for the pastors reaction. They explained to me that one year ago, the pastor had tried to encourage the people to learn english.....without success. It didn't go much of anywhere and the pastor ended up putting the dream on the backburner, until I came along. It was like one of those movies where the people say to the hero "You're the one! You're the one we've been waiting for!"

It took a long time for it all to sink it and for me to come terms with the fact that I was "the one" I was the one they have been waiting and hoping for. This is why I was brought here, to help see the realization of this dream in the heart of the pastor and the people. And the pastor and all the co-pastors knew it the entire time from the moment I sent that first email to tell them that I would like to see the people here equipped with the language of english.

Last Sunday, the pastor made the announcement that we were going to have a program to get english lessons started. Remember what I said about the pastor not having success last year. I found out through the coordinators at the school that they have easily 8 people that are interested and more people that they have to make confirmations with that they wish to enroll.

Whether it's Alice in Wonderland or the Chronicles of Narnia, they all have one thing in common. A stranger visits from another world, discovers they have a mission and a destiny. Upon completing it, it is time to go back to their world. But though they have to go back to their world, they are never the same again nor are the people of that world.

Whenever I am having chats now about our program to get english started, there is almost a glow that I can feel from others as we work together on it. It is the energy and vibe that you feel when a dream is being realized. And we are so blessed that we are living it! There are others who I have taught personally and whom I will be teaching personally outside the courses of the school. For them too, english is a dream come true.

Now I got back to my country with the sense of accomplishment. I didn't just come to this country to enjoy all that it had to offer. I actually am giving something back to the people. And I am equipping a church that is already at the forefront for making change in Argentina, Latin America and the world. So it isn't now just about making a difference in one person, it is about making a difference in people who are already making a difference. It's the domino affect......

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Joy of Tears

"Promise you won't hide anything from me." I said

"Absolutely not. I fully intend to be clear and upfront about my feelings" She responded

That was a snippet from my conversation with my friend Marisa last nite as I announced to everyone that it was my last thursday nite church group before I head back to Canada. If you recall, she is the group leader who's gotton rather fond of me here at Centro. Last nite was all about breaking that news to her and giving her time to have some closure. For all my friends here, this is a new situation for them. But I fear that Marisa is going to take it really hard my going away.

But even though it wasn't the most joyful news to tell someone, it's very interesting to see how people deal with emotions in another culture. And the one thing that I truly enjoy is that people are very organic and down to earth with their feelings. In the conversation above, what I was doing is that I was like saying "OK girl, this is a new experience. I don't know what's going to happen to you or what you're going to go through or feel. But you need to be honest with everything and don't try to hide anything"

And she was like "Yeah, absolutely. You can rest assured that we're in this together." In this culture, wanting to look good or seem independant isn't a high value. For this woman who openly shows me that she adores me and my presence fills her life with joy for her to say something like "Oh, I'll be fine. Don't worry." If that was her response, I wouldn't have believed her one bit. But I'm glad to be in friendships where people are secure enough in themselves to say "Let's be honest....this isn't going to be easy."

The knowledge of that makes it so much easier for me to go away. Because in everything we do, we are in it together! Another thing that I loved last night was the way people here just take compliments, blessings, and gifts securely and confidently without hesitation. Last night I gave away several things and lended several things to people. I gave away a "Delirious" CD in spanish called "Libertad" to my friend Romina. She was the one who's family took me in for Christmas. It was my way of saying thanks. When I showed it to her and said "You want it? I want to just bless you." She was like "Yeah! Thanks". None of this " don' t have to do that for me."

Of course I know I don't have to do it! But because I love someone I want to do it! I want my friends to have good things. Another person I had a bag of stuff for was my friend Evelin who has always had a dream to learn english. I gave her a tiny lesson on tricks for learning a new language. As well as some DVD's along with a billingual Bible with spanish on one side and english on the other. She was just like "Awesome, that's great!" People are just so humble about receiving stuff. They don't feel to proud to receive it and they aren't on the other end either where they feel " shouldn't have." They just show gratitude securely and confidently

But my favorite one of all was last night when I said to Marisa simply "I'm glad you're in my life". And she was like "Me too." And then we launched into this conversation on how this is her first time with a friendship from someone in North America and things are going to be different and there are going to be many new experiences. And we stood there talking about how we are going to miss each other and that it might be hard but we will make it through.

And the funny part is that when we were having this conversation, it was in a normal tone of voice. It wasn't weepy or overly emotional where we are like crying on each others shoulders like the world is going to end. It was just this calm, logical conversation in a tone of voice that you would hear two people talking if they were going out for coffee. The conversation was open and honest and friendly without needing a dramatic open display of emotions. It almost seemed rather pragmatic and strategic in some ways.

Here we are, two healthy adult women being willing to lay our cards down on the table and be raw and organic and real about this budding friendship that we have and the challenge of seperation that is coming. Are there times that we are going to cry in the next few months? Absolutely! By now, you've probably noticed that I've titled this blog "The Joy of Tears" NOT "Tears of Joy". There is nothing joyful about being seperated and not being able to do anything about it! But I named this blog "The Joy of Tears" simply because I believe that one of God's greatest inventions are tear ducts. It is a joy to be able to have tears!

"Tears are Summer showers to the soul" by Alfred Austin

I cannot tell you how much I love that quote! It makes tears seem like a beautiful thing and the truth is....they are! She and I have developed this beautiful relationship that is open, honest, and deep and slowly we are weaving bits and pieces of both our cultures into a lovely harmony. And the two of us wouldn't be shedding tears in the next few months if our relationship wasn't worth anything. I'm glad that I have someone that means enough to me to make me want to cry about!

In North America, there is so much junk we have to unlearn to even get to where these people are naturally. It's like "Try to look good. Don't let them think you need them. You need to come across as totally self sufficient and independant." What a rare blessing it has been to have someone you can be organic with with no surprises or strings attached. With how messed up society has gotten, it is good to know that people like this still exist.

Yes, being on two different continents, we are going to cry and have tears in the next few months. But in some ways, I look forward to it. Because I know that people who are able to cry are also able to laugh. And the day that we're reunited, you can be assured that sound of laughter is something no language barrier can withstand :)

"And all three stood and wept. Even the Lion wept: great Lion-tears, each tear more precious than the Earth would be if it was a single solid diamond"

quote from C.S. Lewis's "The Silver Chair"

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas