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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Andy Spandy is WORTHY!!!!!


Remember that cool dude who filmed and cut those videos of Chile & Argentina while I was on my last trip? His name is Andrew Strugnell and he is a fine young filmmaker from New Zealand who has entered into a contest for filmmakers. The lucky winner will get sent overseas for a whole other 12 weeks to do some filming around the world. There were many entries but Andrew has made it into the top 3 by sending this amazing entry video that I have posted on my blogsite. Now it's all up to the public to vote for who they want to send overseas. Voting will continue until November 19 and on November 19, the winner will be announced.

Please vote for Andrew! He's already told me that if he wins, part of his schedule will be in South America and it looks like there is a good chance that he will be able to arrange to be back here in Buenos Aires to do some filming of this amazing city. The first time he did some a great job capturing South America on film and we want to see more! Vote for Andrew! This will be the first and only time I'll ask anything of my fans and readers. To vote you have to go to the facebook fan page of "Downunder Worldwide Insurance" and vote for Andy's entry. Here is a link that will take you directly to the page where you can vote.

The Downunder World Challenge

Andy Spandy is WORTHY!!!!!




strugsnotdrugs youtube channel

Friday, October 29, 2010

Consoling Cristina


As you know, I went down with my camera and video camera to capture all that was happening at the Casa Rosada and put it up on my blogsite. But there is a second part to all this, after coming back to my apartment to edit the footage and write the blog I actually went back again to the Casa Rosada to line up to view the body of the president that was lying in state.

It was about 11:30 in the morning when I arrived back at the Plaza and the lineups were insane. What you saw on the video was only the tip of the iceberg. The lineups went from one end of the city to the other. Originally when I asked how long the wait in the lineup would be I was told 2 hrs. That turned out to be a SEVERE miscalculation. It would be actually 9:30 at night before I actually reached the Casa Rosada.

Many times during the lineup I really wanted to leave. But I had to keep telling myself that this will happen only once in my life and I don't want to regret for the rest of my life that I had the chance to be a part of history but I didn't because I was tired. It is not often that you get to be a part of something that everyone else gets to see only by watching the news. It would be an experience in itself and something that I would be able to talk about for years to come.

Being in the lineup itself was an experience. There were vendors walking up and done past the line of people calling out "Ice cream! Drinks! Sandwiches!" and selling food and drink to people in the lineup. As well there were people selling flags and patriotic items with pictures of Nestor & Cristina as well. Amongst the items being offered were also roses available for purchase that people could lay at the Casa Rosada when people reached there.

It truly was amazing to see how many people were willing to turn up at wait 10 hrs in line just for those few moments where they were able to pay their respects. 10hrs in line may seem long and it was long but I can tell you that time goes by alot faster when there is a high spirit of patriotism in the air and people are singing and chanting. And before I knew it, I found myself ushered by security to the front entrance of the Casa Rosada.

The presidential palace never looked so beautiful as it did that nite. It looked proud & strong, like the spirit of the people in this country. As I entered in, there were hundreds of gigantic boughs of flowers that were sent by ambassadors from different countries and organizations in and out of Argentina.

The lineup moved at a moderate pace. Every so often the line up would stop and I could hear cries and applause coming from ahead of me. People were exclaiming "Cristina! Fuerza Cristina! Strength Cristina!" followed by a round of applause. I could not see what was ahead of me so I didn't know what was happening......until I reached the main hall.

In the main hall there were a multitude of diplomats. In the centre of the hall was a closed coffin and there beside the coffin dressed in black was Cristina Kirchner herself. People were being ushered quickly through the hall but just before being leaving the hall, they would take a second to speak words of strength to the president and applause for her. It was really touching to see the people's efforts at consoling Cristina :)

I was in that hall for about 30 secs before being ushered out but those 30 secs were worth those 10 hrs in the lineup. Sometimes when you watch the news, it is easy to become desensitized and not realize that these events are real. But when I saw that coffin and Cristina dressed in black with glasses, it really does hit home all that is happening in this country.

And I wasn't the only one who felt that way, many Argentines began bursting into tears the moment they exited the Casa Rosada. Argentines are not your stereotypical latinos and are actually not prone to dramatic displays of emotion. So to witness them beginning to cry uncontrollably the moment they got into the open air again upon exiting the presidential palace is really something else.

I will end this blog by saying that we need to give honor where honor is due. Many tourist are coming to Argentina now and enjoying the benefits of this wonderful country. What many tourist and visitors do not know is that this country would be a very different place without Nestor Kirchner and his presidency. It was his leadership that made the difference between life and death in the area of politics & economy here in this country. None of us would be enjoying all that we are enjoying right now without the sacrifice of this great man. For him, I would gladly have waited in line a week.....
"The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases." Proverbs 21:1

Spare Rooms BA
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Don't Cry for Me Argentina


October 27th saw Argentina's first national census in 10 years. By law every person (including non-residents like myself) was required to stay home so that they could be counted by the census workers. A census as well all know is to for the purpose of counting how many people we may have gained or lost within the past few years. Unfortunately for the country of Argentina, they would have to count ex-president Nestor Kirchner as a loss.

Shockwaves went through this country as it was announced that the president had passed away due to a heart attack. Not only was his passing a complete surprise for all but his death ushered Argentina into a new political era. Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Kirchner were equal to Juan and Eva Peron. Together the couple worked as a team to accomplish much social work and ensure that the middle class workers and poorer families in Argentina were receiving proper assistance. Nestor Kirchner was also a significant leader in Latin American political scene and now with him gone, there is a huge vacuum that needs to be filled now as Cristina has to run the country alone with nothing but the help of some close advisors.


Today it was incredible to go down to the Casa Rosada to get a first hand look at what was going on. There was an incredible spirit of support for Cristina's government coming from the public. With Nestor gone, the coming year is going to be a challenging one in the area of the economy and political arena here in this country as well as in all Latin America. But Nestor Kirchner left such an incredible legacy on this country and if he had the chance to speak to the people before passing, I'm sure that he would have left us with those same words that Eva Peron spoke from the balcony of the Casa Rosada.....
"Don't Cry for me Argentina"





Spare Rooms BA

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Twiddle Dee & Twiddle Dum


This week begins with the introduction of two new characters to the plot. Things started when I was in the church cafeteria chowing down on rice, chunks of meat and washing it down with coke. A lady and her sister came by and asked me what I was eating. It must have looked good because she decided to order the same. After I had done my meal and was just leaving, the sisters started up a conversation with me. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of a series of life changing and eye opening events that afternoon.

As I began conversing with the sisters, there were several things that set them apart from any other person I have ever dealt with here. They spoke fluent English and were educated and cultured. Their mannerisms were quite European. And if that wasn't enough to set them apart, the sisters were identical twins. Their accents to me sounded a little French and they explained to me that they do have some connections to french ancestry but the accent that I was hearing was that of one you would find of people who are upper middle class with education. Both women live in the higher end parts of the city. One lives in Retiro while the other lives in Palermo.

It would take volumes of books to write about all the things that we talked about that afternoon. But what caught my attention most is these women's involvement in social work in the city. They are involved in many things like shelters and transit homes for kids as well as working against human trafficking. The sisters are using their education as a means of finding ways to make a difference in the city.

They were headed off to a parador (that's spanish for "shelter") to do some work with kids that afternoon and they invited me along. I was feeling like this is another adventure God had hidden up his sleeve so I couldn't resist the opportunity. Before I knew it, I was in their car driving deeper into the outskirts of the city towards what you and I would term a transit house. It is a youth centre with some kids who have been removed from their parents home due to circumstances. And what is happening right now is that they are awaiting the judges decision to what will happen to these kids. In the meantime, the kids live here until the court decides on a verdict.

The twins decided that they would like to introduce me and have me participate in a little english class that they do for the kids at the shelter. But there would be one catch, I could let on that I knew spanish or the kids would speak to me in their own native tongue. So when I went in, they introduced me and said that I didn't really know spanish, forcing the kids to speak english to me. It was really hard at times not letting spanish fly or that I understood what was being said. But it worked and the kids looked at me with wide-eyed curiousity and began trying to speak english phrases.

To make things even more interesting, after we were done with the kids and were cleaning up, one of the sisters gave me a free tango lesson. She actually dances tango and teaches tango as well. She spent a few minutes working with me on my embrace, my ochos and practicing the basic. As well she has invited me to a practica about 10 blocks away from my apartment. How bizarre my life feels like sometimes dancing tango in the middle of a transit house with a woman who has an identical twin. I feel like Alice in Wonderland who has just gone down the rabbit hole and is now at the part where I have met Twiddle Dee & Twiddle Dum. I sure do hope that a "mad tea party" is just around the corner...

Spare Rooms BA

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Blind Leading the Blind

A blind man is led by his guide dog in Brasíli...Image via Wikipedia









"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision"
Helen Keller 

The other day I stumbled on a very interesting article about an event that is happening here in Buenos Aires. It was on the website of Landing Pad BA and it was about this theatre group called "Avitantes". I'm not going to describe what it is about because the article explains it clearly. Instead I'm pasting the link to the article and I encourage you to read it before continuing on with the blog because there is a theme here that I would like to tie in.


It is a fact of life that people who are blind have actually developed their other senses beyond that of an average human being to compensate for what they lack. I can relate on some level because I was born with alot learning disabilities and because of that, I've had to work extra hard and develop heightened awareness beyond that of my peers in order to survive in this world

But it's been interesting seeing how things that I thought would be challenges or hindrances to some of my relationships here actually have caused us to want to work harder in our friendships. This has been true of my friend Diana and my friend Marisa. Within the past few days, Marisa and I had to work out some cultural differences that were affecting our friendship. Originally I thought that our relationship would be more difficult than my friendships from my own culture but it seems to me that the opposite is happening, our friendship is actually better because of all the challenges.

You see, in this friendship she and I have to compensate for the fact that we speak different languages and are from different cultures. And I think that it's actually resulted in her becoming a better listener when she and I are ironing out the wrinkles in our friendship. I can feel when I am talking to her that she isn't just hearing the words I am saying but she is listening extra carefully so that she understands exactly what I mean. I do the same for her and it is making all the difference! I am truly amazed that a friendship where we have next to no time and are from different cultures and languages is turning out so well.

I think one of the reasons is because in my friendships with people from my own culture, it is easy to get spoiled. It is easy to assume that just because we are from the same language and culture that things will turn out find and that we understand the person. As a result, there is a tendancy to talk more and listen less and still think we are being a good friend and an active listener.

This relationship is teaching me so much and I am finding that she has an amazing natural ability when it comes to dealing with foreigners. One day soon I'm going to let her know because out of all the people that I've dealt with, I've never seen anyone who knows how to deal with foreigners the way Marisa can. As we all know, in our society people aren't as open and it takes a much longer time for someone to open up.

Coming to Argentina I think people here are used to openness and I think that it is what they expect of you. Once you become friends, they tend to be really innocent and think that you're just going to open up and speak your heart because that is the way Argentineans are. But in our society, there are levels of openness and I've been in friendships where the other person won't open up to me immediately and I have to kind of work the friendship before I get to that level where they will talk about stuff and to be fair, I do it to other people too, I can be extremely tough to get to know when I want to be. This side of me has not been easy for my friends down here who sometimes are not sure what to do.

Someone both Diana and Marisa have a way with me where they understand that friendship is something that is developed and over time with hard work and perseverance, they do see the fruits of their labor as I start to open up. What makes it interesting is that these girls are both born in the year of the Ox and in Chinese culture, that is the personality of the Ox. People that work hard towards their goal and know that slow and steady wins the race.

 In our friendships there are moments where in our struggle to understand each other it feels like it "the blind leading the blind". But in the same way that a blind person has heightened senses, these things have only opened our eyes so we see each other clear as day :)
"Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read"  
Mark Twain

Spare Rooms BA
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory



The other day I wrote a blog on how the movie "Blue Crush" was symbolic of my life and journey. But if I had to choose a book that symbolizes my experiences right now, I would say that it would be "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". A journey through Wonka's chocolate factory where there are surprises waiting around every corner. And speaking of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", that is the book that I'll be using to be as teaching material for private lessons in my home with a 12 yr old girl.

I really need to thank God right now for the little ways that he looks after me. I totally want to acknowledge that while I was packing and deciding what to take to Argentina while in Canada, it definitely was God that put the idea in my head to pack this book. I originally packed it for my reading pleasure because it is hard to find literature in english to read down here but this book gonna become the perfect tool for one of my students in helping her in reading, comprehension, & pronounciation etc

The other area where God constantly surprises me and comes through for me is with this spanish course I am wanting to take. I signed up for courses through the Vamos Spanish Academy They have several different type of courses available. One is a 20 hr a week intensive course that has classes Monday to Friday from 9:30-1:30. The other is a course designed for expats and people who live and work here who may not have as much time to study spanish but still want to take lessons a couple times a week.

After completing their spanish placement test to determine my level, I informed them that the expat course would be best for me because my schedule is quickly filling up with people wanting lessons in english. But there is one catch to this expat course, there needs to be enough people wanting to enroll in the same course who have the same level of spanish as me in order for me to be able to start. If no other person was available at that moment, then I could be possibly waiting weeks before I can start.

As of last nite, I was informed that they found someone else who wanted to do that course who was found to have a similar level of spanish as me. And if both of us were available, we could start on Tuesday the 26th. The class would be twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 90 mins. And I need to acknowledge that again, God provides for me. I'm going to be starting as of Tuesday instead of waiting around for weeks praying and hoping that someone else of a similar level would be interested in taking a course as well.

Just like in Wonka's Chocolate Factory, there are surprises around every corner and I am learning to expect the unexpected. But no matter what, God is behind every surprise. Right now, the school and I have a big conundrum. Yes, I made it here to Argentina but it seems as if the students that showed interest originally in the program really don't want to put in the time, effort, and commitment to learn english. In the cases of some of my friends, they are simply too busy to learn english but this is a case whereI think that they are simply too lazy. I love it that Argentineans like relaxation and free time but this is a circumstance where this aspect of their culture is not benefiting me or the school.

But I have informed the school that God wants me here in this time right now and that the vision will be realized in the end but it may look far different than what we thought originally. If this were a movie, I would say that we would be finishing the first 25-30 mins that are supposed to be exciting and attention grabbing and now we are at the middle part where things slow down abit and the plots starts to thicken and unfold in more subtle ways.

I give thanks to God that my schedule is filling up with people wanting to pay me to teach them. In terms of my relationship with the school and this vision we had, I have absolutely no clue what to do. There is nothing for me in Canada and there is nothing for me here except tango english classes, spanish lessons and the occasional church event....surface-wise that is. But it's only making this plot more interesting because now the big question is "What exactly is Angelina in Argentina for?"

You'll want to stick around as new characters get introduced, curveballs get thrown and like Charlie in Wonka's chocolate factory, I find myself weaving my way through a series of twists and turns in the plot. In the same way that on a trampoline no matter how high you jump and go flying through the air, you know you'll come crashing down back onto the safety of the trampoline (well...at least most of the time) at the end of the day I know that I will always fall right back into the hands of my maker. It is ultimately the place where all plots begin and all plots end....

Spare Rooms BA

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

El Ateneo



So here I am sitting in my 12th floor apartment writing again about my adventures. My apartment may be on the 12th floor but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually I feel like I am on the Mezzanine floor. For those of you who don't know, the mezzanine floor is the floor that is sort of between floors. And that is where I feel like I am, I'm not where I was and I'm still not quite yet where I'm supposed to be in seeing the vision realized. So I'm kind of at a funny place where I'm like "OK I'm here in Argentina....now what?" I'm know this is the time where I'm supposed to be here but what does God want me to do with my days because nothing has really kicked off yet. But I am trusting him that he has my whole agenda for the next few months and he knows how to fill my day.

At the same time, there is lots I can be doing to improve myself while I am in this city. Monday I found myself in the building of the Vamos Spanish Academy registering for spanish classes. As well, yesterday I found myself once again in Confiteria Ideal in Eduardo Saucedo's weekly group class that happens every tuesday. It was lovely to be tangoing again. I haven't danced tango since March and it was great to see that I haven't lost anything. With a guide like Eduardo, you are only guaranteed to get better. It happens that the Vamos Spanish Academy is located very closely to the studio where Eduardo lives and works. I am thinking that 4 hrs of spanish classes followed by a private lesson with Eduardo one day soon makes for a perfect day.

one of my favorite places to pass time is a giant bookstore called "El Ateneo". It was formerly a theatre that has been converted into a bookstore, making it the most unique bookstore in the world. It is a place I can go to sit and relax and get lost in a book for hours and hours. I could go on and on about this place but this is one case where a picture is worth a thousand words so I created an album for your enjoyment along with the mini movie that I shot of the bookstore.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blue Crush



So it looks like you all out there are really digging the blog and the footage that I wrote on the Argentine church! Well the good news is that this is the first of many blogs and footage to come. There will be many more meetings and services where you'll get a chance to have an upclose and personal encounter with the Argentine. Especially with Rock & Vida coming up in Dec, you can be sure that I will be there with my camera in hand.

It really gets crazy at times the things I need to do to get this footage to you. On Sat, the afternoon before I headed off to church was wonderful. I strolled around around a quaint little barrio called Cabalito. In spanish it means "little horse" but I think that it should be renamed so that it means "a little piece of heaven". In terms of tourist attractions, there isn't much in that direction. But there are parks, cafes, greenery and a sense of calm and tranquility. For me it makes for a perfect getaway nearby when I need a break from the craziness of the big city. Or in the case of saturday, it is a great place to go when you need to experience the calm before the storm.

After my time in Cabalito, with all my heart I wanted to just go back to my apartment and watch TV. But I knew I couldn't do that, tonite was a really important nite for my church and plus it would be a great opportunity to finally get some footage. I already had my nice afternoon and it was time to get to work and do things that God placed me here for. So after a brief moments rest at my apartment, I then hopped on a bus that was to take me directly to the area on the outskirts of the city where the service was being held.

All was good, until I got off at the wrong stop. Something got lost in translation and I thought that the bus driver was telling me that this is where I was suppose to get off. So I got off and found myself in some subarb in the middle of nowhere.  I realized I had made a mistake after flagging someone down and asking them where Estacion Lanus was (the bus station where I was supposed to get off). To my horror, I was told that it was quite far away (30 blocks walking) and the only way to get there was through the bus that I had just gotten off.

To make injury to insult, I missed two more of the exact same buses as the one I got off and I could feel my frustration growing. As I stood there waiting and hoping for a third bus, I remember praying "God...I'M TRYING!!!!  I'm trying so hard for you, please help me". And did you know that when you ask you receive? As I stood there at the bus stop, a car pulled up and an elderly man spoke something to me in spanish. I told him I needed to go to Estacion Lanus and he beckoned me to get in.

Just before I go on I want to tell you that I do NOT recommend you do get in a car with simply anyone. But something about this felt different somehow so I held my breathe and got in. And it ended up that my instincts was right!  You see, earlier when I was walking around talking to locals and explaining my situation, one of them was an elderly woman who was trying to help me get a bus. Although I was unsuccessful in getting another bus on time, she definitely turned out to be my angel.  This old man is actually neighbours with this woman and after I had left to go stand at the bus stop, she had told him my plight. That is why he stopped in front of the bus stop and told me to get in.

I remember just sitting in his car thanking God that God always has a way to get me where I need to be. In the end I managed to get to where the event was being held and got some decent footage to use on my blogsite. But looking back, I can see why God allowed me to go through so much frustration in Canada. Because I needed to learn to deal with situations where there is high level frustration and little resources. Standing at that bus stop, I really wanted to cry as I thought about how I could be at my destination by now if only I had not had that misunderstanding and gotten off the bus into the middle of nowhere.

A few days before, i stumbled across the movie "Blue Crush" being played on TV. And I think that it was so timely that I watched it because I feel that is an exact representation of my journey. It is about a girl with an amazing ability to surf and gets the opportunity to partake in a competition with some of the best surfers in the world in some of the highest and dangerous waves on our planet. But to get to that place where she's even competition material, she has to go through strict training and rid herself of all distractions.  She has to push herself to be higher, faster, deeper, better than she could possibly fathom.  Enough said.....just watch the trailer of the movie "Blue Crush" and I think you'll agree that it pretty much sums up my journey in a nutshell.

Spare Rooms BA

Monday, October 18, 2010

Subte Singing Sensation

Everyday is a new day on the subte here in BA!

video

And now for an encore presentation.....

video

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Uncut...Uncensored...Unrated...

Coming from a culture where people can hardly wait to get OUT of church, someone might find it hard to believe that there is an actually a culture out there where people can't wait to get IN to church. But after the 28th birthday bash of Centro Cristiano Nueva Vida, the proof is in the pudding right here in the video footage I shot of the event.

video
                                      
When push comes to shove, there is no other group of people that knows that any better than the people of Latin America. I had to practice a few of my pushing and shoving skills to get into the building but in the end I made it and I was there to share this magnificent moment with thousands of people....

video

And what church service in Latin America would be complete without powerful prayers by the pastor and the congregation? The approximate translation to what he is praying is "Lord, we pray for restoration in our economy, in our families, in our society. We pray for hope..."

video

This will be the first of many videos that I will be bringing to you in my attempt to capture the spirt and the heart of the Argentine church.

Uncut...uncensored...unrated and totally unapologetic.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Contending for Contentment

Today's blog will begin abit differently than how I normally start my blogs. I am beginning this blog with a spanish lesson and will then be tying it into the theme of the blog. In spanish there is something that students have to look for called "falso amigos" (false friends). These are words that look very similar to english or may look exactly like an english word but mean something totally different.

The example I'm going to use to demonstrate this is with the word contento/contenta. Our first impression when looking at this word is that it is similar to the english word "content". Yes and no. To be "content" in english means to be satisfied or to have satisfaction. But the word contento or contenta in spanish has an almost similar meaning but not quite the same as what we are thinking when we look at the word "content". Contento/contenta in spanish means to be pleased or if in a verb form you can use to say that you want to please someone. If you say "voy a contentarte" it means "I'm going to please you". Saying "Estoy contento/contenta" means "I am pleased". So the meanings is very close to the english for content and it almost could means satisfaction. But if you are intending to let people know that you are content with something, then it might be better to use the adjective satisfecho/satisfecha instead.

But the are a few rare and beautiful moments in life where either word in both english or spanish can easily be used to describe our circumstances. In the case between me and my best friend Marisa, I would say that both the meanings in english and spanish for "content" in being "pleased" or "satisfied" would be a great description of how things are going. Before I go on and write about what is going on, I would like you all to know that I am writing this blog based on your stats. Right now my stats are showing that all the blogs I am writing on my friendship with her are ranking quite highly and it appears to me that my audience is following the story of my friendship with her the way you are following a story on television. So I am writing in response to you all out there because updates on my relationship with her seems to be both popular and pleasing to my fans and readers.

On thursday nite, I found myself at Centro again where she goes once a week to do her cell group on the basics of Christianity. There is so much going on and it's hard to get a chance to chat with her for more than a few minutes. But I was able to sneak in a few precious moments with her and in that short time, I was able to give her a small gift that I brought from North America as well as really get a sense of her energy and how she was feeling. I gave her a small make up bag with some words on it and I wrote on a piece of paper the translation of the words. Before I write down what the words say, I want to thank my friend Elizabeth for giving me the translation of these words. Without a proper translation, the moment wouldn't have been as beautiful as it was.
Be you: Se vos misma
Be beautiful: Se hermosa
Be Free: Se libre
Be young: Se joven
Be Loved: Se amada
Be fun: Se divertida
The moment that she read the translation of the words, she was obviously touched. Then we briefly chatted some more and talked about maybe spending time together and then parted ways. But in that brief interaction with her, I was able to get a sense of her energy and I felt something that I have never felt before in our relationship. It was a level of peace and contentment and a sense that someone is extremely pleased.

In spanish, if you want to make an emphasis on something, you can add "isimo" at the end. For example, if you want to tell someone that something isn't just easy but it's SUPER easy, you take the word "facil" add "isimo" to it so it becomes "facilisimo". It's like saying "easy peasy". If something is expensive (caro) but you want to tell them that it is super expensive, you would say "carisimo" to say that it is outrageously expensive. And in describing how I feel right now in this friendship, I would have to say that the word "contentisimo" fits perfectly.....pleased beyond words.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Tao of Café

If you're wondering what the title of the blog means, I'll break it down abit. "Tao" is an ancient Chinese word from Taoism meaning "The way of". As for the word "café" I don't need to be translating to you what café means! So "The Tao of Café" would mean "The Way of Coffee" and I don't think that there is phrase that describes any better the coffee culture here in BA

This is a city that literally lives & breathes on café and it isn't hard to see why. With good coffee (whether ground or whole beans) being available anywhere from grocery stores to coffee shops, café is the other commodity that is about as plentiful as meat is in this country. Recently I had a very interesting encounter with the coffee culture of Buenos Aires when I went out for coffee with my friend Valeria Pasmanter of Spare Rooms BA We met at a cute little cafe in Palermo and it was there and then that it became obvious the differences between how North Americans do coffee and how Argentines do coffee.

She order a "café con leche", coffee with milk served in a demitasse, traditional style. In that moment I was craving quantity, not quality so I ordered a cup of coffee that was more or less "american style" in average sized mug. When the orders came, her café came to her in a tiny demitasse while mine came to me in 16-20 oz american style mug. I will never forget the look on my friend's face when she saw the size of the mug, her eyes went wide for a split second. For an Argentine who is accustomed to thinking of coffee is something that gets served in a petite demitasse, my 16-20 oz mug must have looked like the empire state building. I had a good chuckle when I thought about my friend's reaction. 

So tonite I did a little experiment involving both the coffee culture of BA and North America. I had bought some coffee at the local grocery store. When I was buying it, I consulted with the people at the store to which brands were really good. I wasn't about to buy the most expensive stuff but I did want something good because this coffee was also for my friends and students that are coming to my home to study english. I ended up picking a brand that wasn't the most high end but was still definitely a step above what you would find in our grocery stores in North America.

I was in the mood for some coffee tonite after an intensive week so I broke open the bag that I bought from the grocery store. The moment I opened the bag, I knew I was in for something special. The smell of coffee wafted up from the bag and wasted no time permeating the air around me. Like a snake to a snake charmer, the aroma worked it's hypnotic charm onto each one of my fast succumbing senses.

The apartment came with a coffee maker and I decided that it was time to make good use of it. I scooped 2 small heaping tablespoons of that glorious stuff in to the coffee machine and added enough water for about 4 cups of coffee and then pressed the button to get the machine going. While the coffee was brewing, I had an idea. Originally I was going to have coffee american style in a mug but why don't I try having coffee in a demitasse like they do here?

As soon as the coffee was done, I poured it into a demitasse with a little bit of milk and sugar. Then I sat down to sample my magnificent concoction. All I can tell you is that it was heaven in a demitasse. My café con leche tasted almost exactly the way it does when I order it from a café. I didn't hesitate to pour myself a 2nd cup of coffee into that little demitasse. It tasted just as good as the first time.

There was still quite abit of coffee left, just enough for a mug of coffee American style. I wondered if the taste would change if I poured it into a mug. So I grabbed a mug from my kitchenette and proceeded to pour the rest of the coffee into a mug and make it the way I would do back home. And the results were to be expected, there was a much more watery taste in the coffee when poured into a large mug.

My conclusion is that "less is more", just like everything else here in BA. Pouring café into a little demitasse actually resulted in the coffee having a sweeter, creamier, richer taste that is commonly associated with European style café. This little experiment has once again proved that here in BA, you don't need alot to be alot. If the path of enlightenment can be found through the Tao of Café, then consider me a faithful follower.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wild Wet Week

This is turning out to be a wild wet week in Buenos Aires! So much has happened in so little time and I am still trying to take it all in. On thanksgiving Monday, I moved into my own little apartment and for the first time in my life felt that I finally had a space all on my own that reflected who I am. But everything I have is given to me for a reason and I truly believe with all my heart that this space was given to me not just for my own comfort and pleasure but for the enjoyment of the people God is bringing into my life to teach english.

With this knowledge in mind, I wasted no time in heading down to the local supermarket to stock up on items like coffee, tea, coke, water, juice & snacks that I can offer to visitors and students that come through my door. The offers are coming in and I already have 5 people who have confirmed wanting lessons and a 6th person whom I am set to meet with to discuss classes with me. I have set a rate of 3o pesos per hr ($10 CDN) but depending on the situation, I am also accepting donations of food for certain people in the case that they are unable to give me cold hard cash.

One of the people I will be teaching is my friend Diana and I actually have made a special arrangment with her that I'm going to give her 2 hrs per wk free of charge and if she wants any more than that, she will pay me 30 pesos per hr. We will be beginning with the 2hrs a week that I am doing for free but she has told me that in November, she's going to have some cash and she would like to pay me to have another 2 hrs per week. In addition to that, her mother and brother are going to start paying me for lessons in Dec so in addition to the 6 people that I will be teaching, that number will be bumping up to 8. Also bit by bit the school is integrating me into their schedule and finding a way to use my talents and skills. Eventually it looks like I will be teaching there at least once or twice a week.

To add to all this, I have the challenge of trying to maintain my space and sanity in a foreign country and culture. The other day I experienced the joys of living in another country when I was trying to pay rent for the apartment and my bank account in Canada put a suspend on my bank card the day that I was to meet with agency to give them their money. My bank in Canada thought some kind of fraud was going on because my account indicated that I was pulling large amounts of money in a foreign country multiple times on the same day. In resulted in me having to arrange with the agency to come back another day for the rest of the money while I head down to the Locutorio to grab a phone so that I can experience what it is like to call customer service in Canada while in a foreign country. But all is good now and everything has been worked out with the agency and the rent payment as well as with my bank.

And as I sit here in my pad looking out the window on this rainy day and reflecting on this wild wet week, it is becoming more and more important for me to find ways to take some time out for myself in the midst of all this chaos and madness. I'm going to be on the go alot and it's not going to be like Victoria, BC where one has hours and hours to go to the beach and sit there just to watch the waves and reflects. But I am learning to take little moments for me that don't require alot of time.

Things like finding a program in english on TV for a show that I liked or was following while in North America and watching it for an hour or two or even buying stuff through itunes. By the way, if any of you are looking for a great way to bless me while I am here, an itunes giftcard that you can send through me online would be fantastic. It would help so much because I can then use the giftcard to purchase stuff and be able to have some creature comforts from home. Little things like that go a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG way!

The way things are looking, it seems to me that so far tuesday is the only day that I don't have anything on my schedule. Group classes for tango with Eduardo Saucedo happen every week Tuesday 3:30-6:30. Eduardo is such a vessel of life, you can feel it when you get around him. It doesn't matter how relaxed or intensive the actual class is because he just loves life & people and the energy that he gives off is just revitalizing whether you're doing a group class or having a private lesson. I'm thinking that those weekly group classes would be a fantastic way to see old friends, make some new ones and take a breather.

Am really looking forward to making Argentina come to life through pictures, videos and of course blogging through words. This weeking marks the birthday of my church, Centro Cristiano Nueva Vida. There is apparently a massive church service happening on the outskirts of the main city. I'm going to be there with both my digital camera and my mini video camera. If all goes well this weekend, one day soon I may be bringing you a rare glimpse of behind the scenes of the Argentine evangelical church, uncut, uncensored and unapologetic....

Spare Rooms BA

Monday, October 11, 2010

Turkey Talk!


Happy thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends out there! And to our neighbours on the other side of the border, I pray that as you celebrate thanks giving in just a couple of weeks that it would be a wonderful time of feast and family. Being in Buenos Aires this year did not stop me from having my one little taste of turkey, although it did come in a rather unusual form.

Needing a breathe of fresh air, I took a brief rendez-vous at Café Margot on Boedo Avenue. At first glance it may look like any other café but there is once twist....they are famous for turkey. Turkey is not common in Buenos Aires and it is not a food that is part of the culture here. But there are a few spots in the city where you can get turkey sandwiches and food products made with turkey.

Whenever I visit a cafe, I always ask them what is popular or what they are known for and most often I will just order whatever they recommend. From reading a few articles, it seems to me that this cafe had quite a popular dish that consisted of dark meat of turkey that had been pickled sprinkled with pieces of white meat. It was such an unusual offering on the menu that I could resist dropping by the café so I could satisfy my curiousity.

As for the taste? Well, the only way to describe it is to say that it taste like dark meat dipped in gravy that has had lemon juiced mixed in for good measure. If I ever found myself barefoot & pregnant and craving something pickled in the middle of BA, I would definitely would hesitate to make my way over to Cafe Margot for this little delicacy.

Not that I have any plans to get pregnant while I'm here so don't be starting any hot gossip about my activities down in South America. Speaking of gossip, I'm learning that gossip isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially when there's a rumour going around that there is a new gal in town who has a proven ability to teach english. It's the kind of gossip that will end up resulting in me suddenly finding my pockets lined with pesos...

Spare Rooms BA

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Love = 0

(continuation of the previous blog)

She was sitting in a circle with a group of other people. The first church service had just ended and now everyone had split up into their different cell groups. We made eye contact and I nodded at her to acknowledge that I had seen her. But as much as I wanted to and probably as much as she wanted to, there was no way either of us could get up to give each other a proper greeting. She had to continue with her cell group while I would continue my descent to last stairwell that would take me to the bottom to where the church was.

Within the next hour, I would find myself greeting old friends, making new ones as well as having the life, power, and strength of this dynamic church pour itself into me. One week ago I was on the verge of total exhaustion. But there I was, almost one week later going to meetings, teaching classes, attending church and cell groups all in another language. Life was being poured right back into me. God found a way for me to receive back all that I put out during a dry season in Canada.

How it works is that the cell groups go until about 9pm and then another church service begins. Knowing that Marisa doesn't stay for the 2nd church service (she goes to the earlier one at 6pm) and found an opportune moment to make my way back up the stairs to the mezzanine floor so that the moment she has been waiting for could finally happen, the moment where we would make a connection after so many months in Canada.

I'll tell you what happened in a sec but I want to take a brief pause and let you know that from this experience with her and with all my friends, I've learned alot about how Argentines deal with emotions. And it is very different from what idea of what Latin Americans are like. I think from having so much exposure to the Mexican culture, people think all latinos are dramatic and expressive with lots of hugs, kisses and tears. It may be true of the Mexicans but Argentines are a whole different breed of people.

I have to do some more observing before I blog more on this subject but for now what I will say is that they are very open and loving people and have an amazing spirit of warmth and hospitality. But when it comes to having any kind of exuberance, they at times will actually go towards the other end of the scale and be more conservative about having an huge outward display of emotions.

For example, if this situation happened in Canada and there is someone you love that you haven't seen in a long time, there might be cries, shrieks, hugging and all sorts of outwardly expressive behavior. Argentines don't feel any less or love any less than other cultures but the way that they manifest what they are feeling inside is very different. When I walked through those doors, no one was shrieking or crying or doing anything of that sort. But there were alot of raised eyebrows and I could feel people's absolutely surprise and pleasure at my being back without them having to say or do much.

Now that I've armed you with that piece of information, let's get back to the good part....my moment with Marisa. She was still seated in a circle but the cell groups were done now so everyone was chatting. She saw me and stretched out her palm towards me. I gripped it momentarily while we gave each other the traditional Argentine "cheek to cheek" greeting and then let go. I was still fearing that I was interrupting something important in her cell group so we just ended up chatting briefly and I said "Pray and then maybe we can talk afterwards". She nodded happily and then I bid her and the other people in the group a good nite and went back down the stairs.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Me, Myself and Marisa


It's hard to believe that I've actually been here for one whole week now. But in just this one week, so much has happened in every area of life in both my dealings with the church, my dealings with the school and the dealings in my own personal life. I've had many interesting days, some trying moments, while other days and moments are filled with joy and wonder. I wouldn't trade a single second of all that I have now for all the job security in the world.

But I would have to say that thursday goes down as being probably the most intense of all. It wasn't a bad day, don't get me wrong. It was an intense day. You see, I had been trying to make arrangments to meet with the school to hand over the books and none of the dates kept working out, until it was settled that Thursday would be best. Thursday is also the day where the cell groups meet and the church in Centro has their weekly service. So basically I would be doing everything all in one day. I had no problem with that, I just had to brace myself.

The day in the afternoon when I left the hostel to take the subway to the school. I arrived at the school shortly before 4pm and was graciously greeted by the staff with the typical warmth, and hospitality that the Argentine spirit is quickly becoming famous for. Soon the staff member I was supposed to meet arrived and we had our meeting where I handed over the books. She was highly impressed with the quality of the teaching material and it was a pleasure to know that I had made the right choice in my selection of the material that I chose to bring from Canada.

It was around 5pm when the meeting ended but that was not the end of things. The staff member whom I met with was scheduled to do a level 2 english class and she wanted me to come along to offer support. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to get involved and observe what was going on and begin to take part in the life of the school. The class went from 5-7 and from observing and participating in what was going on, I got tremendous insight into the current state of the program and ways that we could improve. I have another meeting Sat at 2pm where I will be sharing my observations and suggestions. As well I have an opportunity to do some teaching early in the morning Sat 10am.

I will be blogging more about all that I've seen in the coming weeks but for now I'm going to skip ahead to after the 2hr class is finished and it was time for me to go to Centro to participate in the church service, the cell groups, and reconnect with old friends. So as soon as 7pm hit, I was out of there and on my way. One thing that I must say is that Buenos Aires has such a great subway system that I was able to get from one end of the city to the other in a reasonable spans of time. It was about 7:45 pm when I found myself staring up at the front foyer area of the shopping arcade where the church meets. The church meets below the shopping arcade. I felt my heart skip a beat. How would people react seeing me for the first time in more than 7 months? I took a deep breathe and went inside.

Now I want to explain to you the set up of the church so that you understand. There is a first set of stairs that you go down. When you reach the bottom of those stairs, you'll find yourself on a kind of a mezzanine floor. On that floor is a door that leads to a big grey room with a concrete floor. The walls are completely transparent. You know the way that when you go to a zoo the animals are behind glass? That is exactly what the first room looks like when you go down so when you can see all the people inside and they can see you. And someone did see me the moment I began my descent down those stairs, that someone was Marisa.

To be continued......


Spare Rooms BA

Friday, October 08, 2010

Grocery Day in BA


As tempting as it is, I know that I cannot be eating my own weight's worth of meat all the time. So I made today a day to run errands and take my stuff to the laundromat as well as do some grocery shopping. The first time I ever really took a good look around a supermarket in Argentina, I was in there for two hours. Today I must have browsed around for 90 mins before finally making up my mind on what I wanted and then heading to the check out counter. I took some pictures of all the items I got here on my first shopping spree of my second trip. All this cost about 60 pesos which at the current exchange rate amounts to $20


Just like in North America, some supermarkets in Buenos Aires offer already made food available for take away that you can pay for by the gram or kilogram. Some of the stuff that they were offering as food items were pretty wild. There was like cows tongues in vinagrette which I became a fan of on my last trip. On today's trip to the grocery store, I was trying to find something that would be a healthy compromise between my disdain of cooking and my desire to stay healthy. At last I bypassed all the other food offerings that they had and spooned some stewed lentils into a small plastic bowl to be weighed and wrapped. But I'll be back for those cow tongues one day soon....



Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Artifactualy Authentic


A couple of years ago there was an exhibition at the Royal Brtish Columbia Museum on the titanic. The whole point of the exhibition was to give you an interactive experience and allow you to have an up close and personal encounter with the story of the titanic. There were replicas of the different rooms in the ship, a cold chunk of ice that you could touch to feel how cold it was the ship sank and many other things. What interested me most was that the exhibition featured artifacts that had been dug up from the bottom of the ocean.

Some of the artifacts could be laid out in the open for anyone to see while other artifacts were behind glass cases. But it was the reason that they had to be behind glass cases that I found the most interesting. To the naked eye, they seem like normal everyday items e.g. china, silverware, vases etc Nothing really out of the ordinary, until you took note of a little sign explaining the reason that these items had to be incased instead of out in the open.

The artifacts had to be incased because they had been at the bottom of the ocean for so long that it caused the actual chemistry and molecular structure of the object to change. If any of these articles were to be exposed to air, there would be a chemical reaction that would cause the object to dissolve. I found that pretty fascinating when I was there looking at these beautiful plates that had been brought up. They looked rock solid to me and it was hard to believe that they would dissolve if exposed to air.

But I think that this makes a great analogy on the subject of authenticity. Being authentic is something that I am challenging myself to do more and more each day. Many of us are from a first world culture where looks are important. The idea is that if that person looks and talks right then underneath they must be right........right? Dead wrong.

I cannot tell you how many times I have taken people at face value and gotten involved only to find out that I was being played and people were displaying what they wanted me to believe they were. It gets difficult at times because we don't have that problem here in Argentine. Argentine society is very much "in your face". What you see is what you get, nobody is trying to create an image, they are too busy trying to get by in day to day life.

And I want to be a person who people can count on to be genuinely everything that I am displaying. Not like one of those beautiful pieces of china behind the displays that look pretty but will dissolve when taken out of their controlled environment. I don't like dealing with people who are like that....nor do I want to be one. My hope and prayer is that my life will be as honest, transparent and authentic as possible. And that I won't be one who looks pretty but is unable to cope due to lack of character and will dissolve the moment I get removed from my safe controlled environment. I'd choose a good set of dishes from Walmart anyday.


Spare Rooms BA

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Bite of Beef Bourginon in BA

Beef bourginonImage by catfordCelt via Flickr









It's only been a few days but things are going beyond simply being "good" and it just keeps getting better and better. I checked into this little hostel here into one of their rooms with shared accomodations. But it ended up that there was only one girl who was staying there and she left the nite after I came. I ended up paying $13 a nite for this hostel that puts breakfast out all day long and got this big huge dormitory style room all to myself for the first few days. Also there was an added bonus of having an ice-cream shop across the street. I had a very funny incident when I went in there to order ice-cream and I ordered "coco" flavored ice-cream thinking that it was "cacao". When they handed me the ice-cream, I was wondering why it didn't look like chocolate until I remembered that "coco" in spanish means "coconut". So I found myself spooning mouthfuls of coconut ice-cream with dulce du leche into my mouth. Now that is what I call a delicious mistake!

Boedo at this point is what I would probably call "Buenos Aire's best kept secret". It is a bohemian barrio with historic buildings, restaurants, cafes, parks and so much more. The barrio has an authentic argentine feel and is almost completely unspoiled by tourism. I'm also finding that there are several advantages to choosing to live in a barrio that is off the beaten path. The prices for services and utilities are slightly less than when I had stayed in the city centre the last time. There is plenty of space and privacy without the noise that often accompanied living in the downtown area. Not only that, Boedo boasts it's own little mini strip full of shops, cafes, restaurants and museums. And when I do need a little bit of action, the city centre is a subway ride away.

The other day I went into the big city for the first time since I got here. I took a walk down Defensa. I was craving something meaty to eat but I wasn't in the mood for an Argentine style parilla. So I just kept walking and walking looking for ideas and inspiration. At one point I was tired out and couldn't walk anymore and I literally stopped and then turned around to see a restaurant called "Brasserie Petanque". It was a french brasserie fused with a latin american flair. I went in and the moment I sat down, it was love at first sight.

As soon as I was seated, someone put a small glass of white wine in front of me. I thought that it was as very welcoming gesture. Then I proceeded to look at the menu. The menu was in spanish consisted of classic french cuisine combined with latin american culture. I found it pretty amazing that Buenos Aires is so diverse that you could find "beef bourginon" in the middle of a city in South America.

I ended up tasting "steak tartar" for the first time ever in my life. It was kind of fun and cool to see a raw steak get brought to me with some dijon and an egg yolk on top of it and having the waiter mix the dijon and the egg into the raw meat. And it came with a side of papas fritas (french fries) just to remind me that I was experiencing a piece of paris with a latin america twist. And at latin american prices too........with a coke and 10% tip the whole thing came to a whopping $22 CDN!

It was really a neat experience to dine in and atmosphere that carries the formality and class of Europe but has the warmth and openness of the latin american spirit. Simply stated, there is nothing like it and you can be sure that it will be no time before I'll be blogging away about having a bite of Beef Bourginon in BA

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Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Elefante Rosa Hostel


video

One useful tip to keep in mind about life here in Buenos Aires is to never judge a book by it's cover. Quite often behind the doors of something that looks ordinary lies people, places, and things that are beyond extraordinary...

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Hanging with Princess Di

I cannot believe that it is only the first day and already friendships are being formed and memories are being made. There was a very funny story that happened this morning when I got into the Buenos Aires airport and a friend was suppose to pick me up. My friend's name is Diana and she is a girl from Peru who I connect really well with. For the past few weeks, we had been making plans to meet up at the airport. Many times I told her that I could just take a taxi straight from the airport but she was insistent that she wanted to meet me. She kept telling me to phone her when I got to the airport and that she would leave to come get me. I thought that the plan sounded kind of strange because it would really be faster for me to grab a taxi as soon as I got in. But if it meant something to her, then I would be willing to do it.

So my plane arrives in the airport and after clearing customs, I get into the arrival area. She is nowhere to be seen. Eventually I find some public telephones and attempt to get into contact with her. It was quite a hassle to figure out how to make a call because when I put the coins in, sometimes the coins didn't register with the machine. And also the phone numbers that I had to call were like 12 digits long and consisted of the area code, city code, and actual phone number. I had no idea what I was supposed to press or not to press to get through. And I kept getting an automated voice telling me in spanish that my phone call had not gone through. Eventually I ended up getting some assistance from the information desk and they told me how to dial Buenos Aires.

I tried both her home line and her cell phone and at first there was no answer. I wondered if she was on her way to the airport and that is why she wasn't answering. I kept going back into the holding area for the arrivals to see if she was around. This went on for about 90 mins the joy of touching down in Buenos Aires was quickly turning into frustration over having to deal with a foreign culture. But finally around 11:30 am she picked up her line and I was able to get through.

From her voice it sounded like I had woken her up and indeed she was still in bed. After a brief conversation in spanish, we both agreed that I should just go ahead and take a taxi to the hostel. At this point I was feeling frustrated that I waited for my friend to find out she was still in bed and I could have taken a taxi the moment I landed and have checked in to the hostel by now. But alas, there was nothing I could do and I proceeded to hail a cab.

150 pesos later, I found myself checking into the elefante rosa hostel in Boedo. I'll write another blog to give you more details on the hostel itself but for now, I'll skip out on those details and just talk about what happened between me and my friend. Once I was checked in, I got connected to the internet and several friends of mine in Argentina were online. They gave me a heartfelt welcome and were so eager to connect with me that I had barely time to get on with my day and get some errands out of the way so I could actually make a real connection by paying a visit to someone......and that someone was going to be Diana.

She and I connected through windows live messenger and we talked about the mixup at the airport. She kept saying that she thought I was going to notify her of my landing. I had already told her in the previous weeks that my plane lands at 9:25. And I couldn't figure out why she couldn't just catch a cab and be there waiting at the airport already. I still had no clue where we had gone wrong in our plans.

It was only later that nite when we had our heartfelt reunion that I figured out what exactly happened. And my detective work involved one very simple question "Diana....have you ever used an airline before?" She answered "no". It was then that I learned that she didn't know that when I am on an aircraft there is no way I can communicate whatsoever. In her mind I was supposed to contact her a few hours before I got into the airport to let her know I'm coming and that would have given her ample time to take the bus to the airport (which would never have worked because there is no way that you can fetch someone using the bus who has 4 massive suitcases)

The mixup that happened this morning was initially very frustrating but now she and I laugh about it and it opened my eyes to another persons world and realized that an experience that we think would be the norm in one culture may be totally foreign to another person. But it has been a total blast hanging with "Princess Di" and we are already planning more great adventures in this grand city together so stay tuned.....

Spare Rooms BA

Friday, October 01, 2010

The "heart" of the matter




"Guard your heart for in it flows the wellspring of life" Proverbs 4:23

For the longest time, that was just thought to simply be a poetic prose from the Bible, nothing more. But new scientific research is beginning to show that the heart actually stores memories and events, even after a person's death. In recent years, there has been several accounts of people who have received a heart transplant and began to experience a phenomenon where they experienced characteristics of the person from whom they had the transplant.

There was one story where someone received a transplant from someone who had been a murder victim. Soon after receiving the transplant, that person began to have nightmares and flashbacks. They began to see visions of their murderer and feel the sensation of terror that the victim had felt just before they died. The account of the person who had received the transplant actually led to the capture of the murderer.

Other cases that I have heard of where someone received a transplant of some sort (not necesarily the heart) and they began to take on the characteristics of the person they received the organ from. In one case, a person who had never like rollercoasters suddenly found themselves with a strange affinity for rollercoasters that they had before. And there are others who reported changes in their personality shortly after receiving a transplant.

It was one thought that science and philosophy were incompatible but the more we learn, the more we are seeing that the two actually compliment each other as oppose to compromise each other. When the Bible says "Guard your heart for in it flows the wellspring of life", it was more than just a poetic prose. Now we see that there scientific value in the meaning behind those verses.

As I sit here in the Vancouver airport on the verge of my destiny, I wonder what would people experience if they got my heart in a transplant. Joy? Fear? Curiousity? How would it affect their personal lives if they began taking on my characteristics? Would it be positive or negative effects? During the next 10 months, there is going to be a whole whirlwind of memories that my heart is going to store. If one day my heart were to makes it's home in someone else's body, my highest hope is that from my heart would overflow a wellspring of life like a rushing waterfall.

Best Buy Express

video

Canada and America may be neighbours but once you cross the border there are definitely some obvious changes to let you know that you aren't in Kansas anymore. This is one of them. Dear Lord, lead me not into temptation....

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas