Monday, December 19, 2011

A fellow Gambian PCV produced this documentary.
It sums up my two-month stint,
as well as what the other volunteers are accomplishing in The Gambia.
Thank you, Marta.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

In Between

A quick Google images search of "in between" informed me that many musicians can relate to the phrase. There are countless album and songs containing that title. [That was for free.]

Between The Gambia & Jamaica

The past two months of being back in California have been a weird in-between. 
So weird, in fact, that I search for words to describe what life's like now.

I have grown tired of communicating my short Peace Corps stint.

I've come to the rude realization that I will never be able to recall every last miraculous detail in any one given story-telling situation. Those miracles are what really matter.

No one I know will fully understand or be able to relate to what I went through.
(A special thanks to my fellow med evacs: Christy, Sharon, Pete, & Jessica, for coming close.)
I'm not a big deal to my medical doctors here in California.
Just another chart number and appointment on the books.

To the people who have asked
"Are you sure you want to go to Jamaica and continue service in Peace Corps?"
No, I'm not sure. Thanks for bringing up my insecurities.

There are no creative ways to tell people that I'm a successful college graduate living at home again.
I love my parents. It's not's me.

I'm slowly understanding how messed up my body really is,
and wonder if my health will ever be the equivalent of what it was pre-Africa.

All this in-between can get pretty discouraging when I lose sight of the goal. 
The theme of Philippians 3 is having no confidence in the flesh, pressing on toward the goal.
My flesh is weak (as if I needed to be reminded), and my goal is Christ.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Saint Nicholas

No child really understands what they have in their family lines until they are cultured and mature enough to realize it later in life. Such is the case for me. My paternal grandmother is a born-and-raised German who moved here after she married my grandfather in 1958. She not only brought her thick accent and some wooden cooking spoons, but also her German holiday traditions.
Thus, I grew up celebrating Saint Nicholas Day.

Every December 5th eve, my sisters and I would run to find the biggest shoe possible to set outside our bedroom doors. We knew, without a doubt, that St. Nicholas would visit us in our slumber and fill our shoe with a new pair of socks, chocolates, and perhaps a small toy. One year I was even adamant that more goodies could be stuffed into a sandal than a regular sneaker. It goes without saying that we were always jealous of the size of Dad's shoe.

Saint Nicholas was the only son born to wealthy, Christian parents in Asia Minor. His parents died when he was just a lad, and he was raised by his uncle (also by the name of Nicholas). It is reported that Nicholas was interested in religious studies from an early age. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him. The legend of Santa Claus evolved from the habits of Saint Nicholas.

There are a few weird legends reported about Saint Nicholas as well.
Catholics and Orthodox Christians have different views on his importance as a human.

My parents have instilled the tradition of Saint Nicholas in me.
After I moved away to college I would get a "St. Nicholas" package every first week of December.
And yes, my shoe is set outside my bedroom door tonight.

Though shoe-filling in our family is a mere tradition,
we can all be inspired by the memory of the man who secretly gave gifts.