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Monday, October 31, 2011

Angry Birds

Angry bird family growsImage by haikugirlOz via Flickr

I will be walking into season 3 of my adventures in BA armed and loaded with a pile of new weapons. By "weapons", I not only mean just new ESL material but there is one piece of equipment that I consider my "Deathstar". My weapon of mass destruction.........a 8GB 2nd generation ipod touch.  Our North American mindset teaches us that unless its the greatest and the latest, then it's useless but nothing could be further than the truth.

For the past 2 seasons, I have had the privilege of living and learning among people to whom having little resources hasn't stopped them from being resourceful. I don't need to have a 64 GB 4 gen ipod touch in my hand. But rather, it's all about whos hands the ipod touch has found itself in.   With my skill and knowledge, I can make my new friend that i found off "Used Victoria" do wonders.....thats if I ever stop playing "Angry Birds".

Every social media nerd needs some kind addiction that they spend all their time doing that replaces having any kind of  a social life. For millions out there "Angry Birds" provides the perfect escape. It is an addictive game where you launch animated birds at pigs (or monkeys if you are playing "Angry Birds Rio") that have been stacked up on wood, ice, or stone blocks. It sounds easy but it is anything but! If anything, it certainly exercises the left side of my brain....

Because I'm one who easily gets caught up in temptations just like any other bloke out there, there are some ground rules that I have to set for my ipod touch. Bringing it to classes is OK because I bought it as a tool to be used to help ESL. Bringing it to church is a big no no and I will explain the reasons.  You may think that I have some amazing spiritual life. But I am no different from anyone else, I'm not more special or talented. What gives me the edge and is part of the secret to my success is that I have some foundations that I set for myself to stay disciplined and keep to the path.

Knowing myself, I know that with the sermons being in spanish, the most natural thing in the world for me when my attention is starting to drift is to find my hand reaching into my bag for this ipod touch and finding the "Angry Birds" app. And what will happen is that while pastor Gulliermo is talking about bringing down the fortresses of poverty and darkness in our society, I'll be sitting there concentrated on attempting to bring down the fortress of pigs. I'll end up so distracted that I'll barely hear the words "Silly gringa" that all the people around me will be muttering themselves as they shake their heads at the blatant disrespect towards the message being given.

So unless I know that with 100% certainty that the ipod touch would be able to stay in my bag during church services, my little friend will be staying at home. But not to stay that I haven't found some interesting analogies while playing the game. One thing that is interesting is that there are different colored birds and they all have a different special ability. Every level I get a different set of birds to used to bring down the fortress. Some birds break ice, others break wood etc.

Its funny sometimes because when I start a new level and I look at the birds that had been allotted to me, the quantity and the sometimes doesn't make sense. I look at the level and think that there is no way that i can accomplish what I need to accomplish with what I've been allotted. But it has worked out every time that they makers of the game knew what they were doing and I was given what I was given because that would be exactly what I need for that level. Nothing more, nothing less. 

And I'm coming to realize that art imitates life and my circumstances in BA are no different. Whether I know it or not and whether the tools i have make sense or not, I've been given all that I need in perfect measure. Sometimes in the game it takes me multiple tries to properly figure out how all the birds I've been given are supposed be used to bring down the fortress but once I get it, the whole thing is a breeze.

There are days when I look at my tools that I have to use in BA and it all seems so plain. A samsung NF310 that I bought on my last trip, "Red Fish Blue Fish" and "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr Seuss (as well as a pile of dictionaries and grammar books), a discontinued olympus tough digital camera,  my trusty flip cam, a used ipod etc.  If I presented this list of items to anyone, it would sound more like stuff you would find in a garage sale.

But I've read too many fantasy books and and watched too many Disney movies to know that nothing is every truly plain or ordinary if you want it to be. In movies I've seen pens turn into magic wands. And perhaps this ipod touch with a mild crack in the corner could one day be a sword of sorts.......

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