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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Ugly Duckling

Recently my thoughts have turned into who I have become, not just after living here in BA but as a whole. My whole life I felt like I was some kind of misfit. Others were out shopping and talking about what they wanted to buy next while I volunteered my time and donated money to charities both locally and internationally. I sat at nights with a spanish grammar book while my friends parties, went to restaurants, and watched TV.

And as touched as others were by the way I was living my life, I really felt like the Ugly Duckling, out of place completely. But everytime I drove my little sister home after volunteering my time with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, I would tell myself that this was all part of my development. And that I was actually toning my mental, emotional, and spiritual muscles to get ready for something. And every single time after I closed my spanish grammar book, having chosen to be home studying voluntarily instead of doing what most people in their 20's and 30's do and going out and having a good time and spending their money.....I would just tell myself that it would all pay off and that my day was coming. And you know what? My day came with a BANG!!!!!!!! You know how when someone works 8 hrs a day and when they receive their paycheque, they receive money for every hour that they have worked. Well, in a sense, all the friends I am making now are my "earnings". They are what I have earned for all those hours I spent working hard at learning the language.

But that is not the only "wage" that I am receiving for all my hard work.I just said earlier that I was developing into someone very different than the people around me and even my family, my community, and my culture. It is hard to become a person with a big heart in a society that is really consummeristic in North America. And I didn't get here all at once. I took baby steps. But the more I gave of my time and of my money, it got easier and easier and easier until it became second nature. That's nice you may say...but what does that have to do with my destiny?

Here is the catch, I didn't fit into my community back in Canada but when I joined Centro Cristiano Nueva Vida here in Buenos Aires, the person I had become is EXACTLY like the people here. The person that I had become fitted into this church like a glove. Over in Canada I may have been an Ugly Duckling but in CCNV, I am a big beautiful swan who is spreading her wings and flying gracefully through the air. This is why the title of my blog is "Making the Same Difference". Because I enjoy making a difference in our world. And you know that saying "the same difference", meaning that it all turns out into the same thing in the end. So I thought "Making The Same Difference" would be a catchy original title that would really be true to the heart of my life story. Because everything that I've done that makes me different in one culture, made me fit in and be the same in another culture and in this church.

These people and I are exactly alike. All they every think about is getting out there and making a difference. In fact, in reality there is only one sermon that gets delivered every week and it is always the same message. And the message is this "There is a midst in our society that is stealing hope. But we can change the world and we can be the difference" Seriously, I have never attended a church that really only has one sermon. And they don't just sit around talking about how nice it would be to give hope to others. They actually get their hands dirty and are often the first ones to jump into the action. For example, earlier I wrote about a trip to a little cowboy town 1.5 hours away from Buenos Aires called San Antonio de Areco. This summer the water level rose, flooding homes and destroying buildings, leaving people without food or shelter. And I am so proud of a church that jumped in without hesitating to deliver food and supplies and to aid the community in rebuilding.

CCNV has taken all the growth and character I've built up while in Canada and brought it to a whole new tier and level when it comes to wanting to giving and loving on others. I was watching TV once and someone who worked as a cook was saying that in a restaurant, a good kitchen is one where everyone is just working together quietly as a team together. The people who are making the soups are doing their job while the people who cutting the meats are doing what they are supposed to do but everyone just works together with a nice ebb and flow. And it results in well formed and beautifully crafted dishes that come out on time. In a good kitchen, the team can handle little orders as well as big orders that come all of a sudden.

Well I would say that the people here in CCNV are like a team in a kitchen that is working well together. The truth is that, you could throw anything at these people and they would be able to pull something together in the blink of an eye. I've seen them do it so many times. They did it with me. When I came along, it was a first for many of these people to have someone now who has spanish as a 2nd language. But these people were so well versed in the art of loving that they didn't skip a beat. Not being able to speak a word of english did not deter them for even a split second from making someone feel warm and welcome and at home. They make you feel like you've always been here and that they love you so much that they couldn't imagine their lives without you. They are living proof that language barriers don't exist when it comes to love.

It's all about making the same difference!

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas