What I’m Into: March 2014

The month of March has been my opportunity to try all kinds of activities here in Mexico. I was able to go on a couple of medical outreach trips with the clinic, I helped a little in the preschool and primary school, I taught English, I read a lot, and more. It’s been my last full month here in Mexico, and it has been a good one. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to stay past my Spanish school graduation to practice my Spanish and enjoy some more time living here in Mexico.

Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean

Outreach

One of the best ways to practice my Spanish was translating for doctors on medical outreach trips. It was difficult and challenging, but very rewarding. After all, the only way to improve my ability to speak and understand Spanish is to practice (and make many, many mistakes).

Mixteco village in the afternoon
Mixteco village in the afternoon

On one of the trips, we needed double the translators because we went to a village where many people speak only Mixteco, an Indian language that sounds similar to Chinese and has no relation to Spanish. The patient would speak to a Mixteco to Spanish translator, then the translator would tell me in Spanish, then I would translate for the doctor. Then the doctor would have a question and we’d send the question back down the chain of translation. It’s a long process, but a fascinating one.

I learned two words in Mixteco, because I learned to recognize them in context: ña’ni meant nothing and u’u meant pain. While many people in this part of Mexico in various villages speak Mixteco, learning these two words (or any in Mixteco) is only useful for that particular village. Go to the next Mixteco village, and the dialect is a little bit (and sometimes a lot bit) different: in a different village, the word for pain is different. Language is overwhelming in its ability to change and morph in different settings, even as close as the next village over.

In addition to being able to practice Spanish and learn more about another language, I had the opportunity to see a number of interesting medical cases. I even attempted to explain genetics IN SPANISH to a young woman who had only finished middle school and whose first language was also not Spanish, because the doctor thought she might have a genetic disorder. I’m not sure how successful my explanation was, but I tried.

Books

I finished 8 books in March, including a manuscript written by a fellow Spanish school student. It was so fun to read a book by a friend and then be able to discuss it immediately after I finished reading it. When it’s published someday soon, I will rave about it.

According to my Goodreads Challenge, I’ve read 17 books in 2014. Since I have read an unpublished book, I can’t add it to my Challenge. Hence, I’ve actually read 18 books this year.  I’m not on pace yet, but I’ve decided to stop worrying about pace and enjoy what I’m reading.

Favorites from March:

My favorite published book I read this month was the Poisonwood Bible. I remember being told long ago that it was a book that made all Christians and missionaries look terrible, and it defamed the Bible, so I shouldn’t read it. Well, none of that was true. Instead, once I actually read the book instead of believing what other people thought about it, I learned that it was a fascinating story describing the course of history in the Congo in the 60s through the eyes of a misguided missionary family. I loved this book and recommend it highly.

Next Steps

I have just days left in Mexico. I am sad to leave this place where I have learned so much and where I now know and love so many people. I am also excited to go home and see what will happen next. I really have no idea what I’ll be doing, because sending resumes by email from Mexico isn’t a particularly successful method of job-hunting. I’m so thankful for my time here, but I’m ready for what’s next.

photo (12)

What I’m Into: March, April, May 2013 Edition

This post started out as What I’m Into: March 2013. Well, it’s June now, so whatever. 2013 continues to be an exercise in learning to put up with “things I do not want.”  Stress, disappointment, frustration, you name it, 2013 has brought it.  March has been notorious in my life for being weird and disappointing and great all at the same time. April wasn’t any improvement. May and early June could be classified as some of the worst weeks of my adult life thus far.

Enough about bitter disappointment, that’s a story for another day.  There have been things I’ve liked these past months that have brought some happiness into some of the blergh and awful that seems to be 2013’s watchword.

TV

I fell in love with Parks and Recreation. Leslie Knope/Amy Poehler? I am her, people. I am her. Ok, not all of her, I like to think I’m a bit more self-aware and I don’t really care about parks. But the episode where she visits her manfriend in Washington DC? And she has detailed plans of everything she wants to see and do in DC? That is exactly me. I share her unbridled passion museums and history and other random things. And Ron Swanson? He is literally the best.

Books

I haven’t finished a book in quite awhile. In March, I read a few comic books, Plain Janes and Friends with Boys. They’re so short, but I really enjoy a graphic novel now every once in a while. The best book I read in March, though, was Brain on Fire. It’s the horrifying true story of a 24-year-old woman’s descent into madness because of a rare autoimmune disease, a diagnosis that took time and $1 million of tests.  As I was still 24 when I read this book, all I could think was: This could have been me. Some true stories never hit close to home because they could never possibly happen to me–but what happened to her is not that impossible. This woman’s story is powerful and fascinating: read it.

Music

I saw Muse in concert. It was absolutely magical. The concert was truly an amazing multimedia experience. I had never been to the BOK Center in Tulsa before, and I was amazed at all they could pull off  in one concert. A mountain of video screens coming down from the ceiling. Live video of Muse performing on those screens that looked so polished that it took quite awhile for me to figure out it was live. It was so good, it ruined me for listening to their music on just a plain old laptop.

Movies

I saw one movie in March. Admission, with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. And it was AWFUL.  Let’s never speak of this again.

Other

I don’t know how I neglected The Lizzie Bennet Diaries last month, but I did. Let’s be honest, the LBD was one of my favorite media experiences of late 2012 and early 2013. This retelling of Pride and Prejudice in modern-day America was spectacular.  It ended in late March, 100 episodes of hilarity, happiness, tears, and magic. Watch it. Seriously.

Here’s to the rest of June bringing better things.

Well

Things happened in April. And March. Apparently I’ve fallen out of the habit of reviewing my months.  They’re all seeming to run together.

Things are happening and I like my life, but everything is just such a different speed and tone than the last few years of my life that I don’t really know what to do with it yet. How to process it myself, how to write about it for others to understand. My life is now so intertwined with the personal lives of children, co-workers, volunteers….that I can’t and won’t openly share all my stories on the interwebs. The stories are complicated, personal, detailed, crazy, and most of the time: Business, None of Yours.

And I don’t do much else but work, especially this month. I mean, I got older, but I was sick most of the day. Yay preschool stomach bug. And really, who wants to read about that?

Basically, the last two weeks, I have worked, then gone home and watched shows or slept. Or both. I’ve been exhausted, allergied, and trying to stay healthy enough to keep going to work. Ironically, last week during our devotional time at work, we talked about time management and using our time wisely.  Alas, I can’t always be super-productive.

May will be busier. Graduations, changes, crazy.

Also I watch Doctor Who now. Despite the persecution, I love being a nerd. I love time travel, existential questions, and beautiful music. AND Britishness. Can I be Amelia Pond?

Skipping

I skipped a comprehensive review of February and a preview of March for a number of reasons. One, at first I just forgot.

Two, February was really nothing to write home about. Snowpocalypse. I literally didn’t leave the house for most of the first two weeks of February. Seriously. It started snowing on Monday night January 31…and I didn’t go anywhere until Saturday February 5. Even after that the roads were so bad that I still didn’t go many places.  I watched a lot of Netflix. And rearranged my room a thousand times. And pretended to study for the GRE.  Among other things. Really, the first two weeks of February 2011 will not go down as the most productive period of my life.

I didn’t really go back to work until Valentine’s Day. Whereupon we had VALENTINE’S WEEK at work. Yayyy, the single life. But really, it was Valentine’s week, it was like we celebrated every day, parties, candy, etc. This is what happens at preschool.  We celebrate everything. EVERYTHING.  Even Singles Awareness Day.

The latter part of February got more exciting, with Christmas in February, also known as the Book Fair at a local private school.  I can’t even really count how many people were in my house, because my sister’s friends just kept coming and coming.  15 maybe?  And we woke up super early on a Saturday to buy books. And I must say, it was an excellent book shopping year. Highlight? Our Mississippi, a Mississippi state history textbook from the sixties.  Also, lots of pretty travel books.

[background noise for writing this post is one of my favorite episodes of Bones, Two Bodies in the Lab. and my favorite song from the show is about to play. Hurrah for my love of appropriately used electronica. Who knew I liked Depeche Mode? I didn’t.]

The rest of February was tough.  Children can be difficult after long periods of being cooped up.  Hey, I’m difficult after long periods of being copped up thanks to Snowpocalypse.  I just have slightly more self-control.  My job is great, but it’s draining, it’s exhausting, it’s demanding.  Let’s just say my three week spring break/rest was desperately needed, despite the bonus two weeks of Snowpocalypse.

Also, I was just beginning to build a social life before Snowpocalypse snowed all over it, so I felt like I was starting all over socially in late February. Finding friends without having them right next to me is difficult.

Three (I’ve rambled for so long anyone reading may have forgotten I was listing reasons I hadn’t written what I’m writing yet), I was afraid that somehow March of 2011 would turn out like March of 2010. With bitter disappointment.  With expectation turned to nothing. With growth that was really good but really really hard. I just didn’t want to think about that possibility, no matter how remote. Nor did I really want to think about last March. Or this past February for that matter.

Sometimes I need to write in the heat of the moment, so I will remember how I really felt. And sometimes I need to step away and wait so the heat of the moment doesn’t carry me away to extremes that are just exaggerations of my actual feelings. Last year, I needed to remember how I really felt. Now? A little distance is good for me.

This time last year I was in Jackson. Oh how I miss that time. THAT part of March 2010 was fabulous, but I pretended that was April anyway. And that the hateful part of April was just nowhere. Nevertheless, Jackson and the work the Lord did left an impression on my heart, my soul, my mind that will remain forever.  Like a tattoo, but I detest the word tattoo.  Every word I think of to describe it just isn’t right. It’s not a stamp, not a weight, not a burden, not a tattoo, not a calling, but more than just a simple impression.  Inscription. [I really have a thing for precise language]  The Lord left an inscription on my heart for/with/by Jackson. This inscription has so much to say, but that’s for another time.

March 2011, you’re almost over. Sorry I tried to ignore you, you’ve actually been rather super. Keep going strong.

So much changes

This time last year I was getting ready to do something completely crazy. It did not turn out as hoped.

Do I love my life anyway? Absolutely. Am I glad I did that crazy thing? Yes. Would I like my life if it had turned out as I had I hoped? I’m not sure. Most likely, probably not.

My current tomorrow will be filled with crazy, just of a different sort.  Children, hugs, discipline, grace, cleaning, running, remembering, being.

The best part? The Lord was with me then and the Lord is with me now.  And He’ll be there tomorrow and the day after that. Even when I think He’s nuts. Even when I’m nuts. Even when He prompts me to do crazy things. I like this adventure.

More on February thoughts and March expectations later.

Let’s just say that February 2011 will not go down as the most productive month of my life. Also, March 2011 holds much more promise and much less inner turmoil than March 2010.

April

April has arrived.

It’s already better than March. Partly because it’s just not March anymore. Partly because Senior Seminar will be done this month.

I think I’m going to be spending much of April being of two minds. I will want things to end quickly yet never end at all simultaneously. I think that’s just how the last days of a senior year at college go.

I just want to enjoy April.  April, please be nice.

Fabulous

I just spent a week in Jackson, Mississippi.  As the title of this post suggests, it was fabulous. I want to write on and process all of it.

However.

Real life is here. And sometimes, real life is unpleasant. I have wanted to scream a thousand times in the last couple days. On occasion, I have. Even though I need to process my trip…I can’t. I don’t have time.

I am overwhelmed.  With the exception of the bright and glorious sunshine that was my spring break in Jackson, March has been filled with frustration.  March is almost over. April, my most favorite of months is about to be here.

April 2010. Don’t disappoint. Please be as fabulous as other Aprils (except 2008, when I was sick on my birthday. Not ok, April, not ok) of my life. Attempt to be as fabulous as Jackson 2010.

If April goes well, I will officially remove my trip to Jackson from March to April in my head. If April doesn’t go well…..

I’d rather not think about that possibility.

The end of March has been just as frustrating as the beginning. March held such terrifying promise, only to be more terrifying than promising.  Yes, I realize that sounds crazy. If you lived in my head, it would make more sense.

April means many wonderful things: Easter, my birthday, spring, the winding down of the school year (although this year I have more mixed feelings about that than usual, seeing as this is my last traditional school year ever), the finishing up of projects, flowers, warm weather, and more.

April, come quickly.  And please, don’t disappoint.

Lord, come quickly. And please, send me a memo.

WordPress, you better press this. And please, send me freshly pressed apple juice.