January 29, 2015

all is well here in the homeland

All is well here in the homeland. The weekend was peaceful. Spreads of good food over familiar tables with loving, teasing folks. Winning a game of Settlers of Catan (finally, finally! the standing is 8:1 now). Two friends who decided that the fact I did not know how to drive stick shift was unacceptable and spent an hour driving around a parking lot with me. Celebrating my cousin's birthday with extended family and long time friends. The almost Mr. & Mrs. waltzing in the kitchen.

This week I am interning at a home for mentally disabled adults in the village. I had no idea what to expect going in, only that I thought the whole week would be uncomfortable and awkward. It has been uncomfortable and awkward at times, but it has also been eye opening and enjoyable in ways I did not expect. Otherwise I have been doing schoolwork, stapling pennants on string for The Wedding, hanging out in the sauna, and reconnecting with friends. This weekend I'm spending two days with friends at their grandparent's home in the heart of France, and a large American brunch is in order. Off to read psychology. Happy Thursday!

January 19, 2015

It's Monday and we have snow.

Snow fell last night and this morning, and now the ground is sprinkled with white. The sky, too, is white, girding us in from the world and providing the quintessential January sky. Inside, I have a fire blazing and just moved to the kitchen table after sitting on the couch chairs in front of the window for the past hour, reading lifespan psychology. I have a yellow and tan mug emblazoned with the words “Seattle, Washington” to my right, within easy reach of my hand. The dishes from my fried egg this morning are in the sink, and before I wash them I think I will make lunch from the chicken breasts in the fridge and the butternut squash on the counter. It is a day of rest, today. I have a list of school work and college prep work that needs to be done, and no plans other than a possible shopping trip tonight for shoes for The Wedding and a fleece sweatshirt of some kind since I forgot to pack one. I have my Seahawks Superbowl Champions shirt on, too, joining in the frenzy of “my people” who are cheering on our team to the Superbowl for the second time in two years. It’s actually not mine. I borrowed it from my brother's friend, since I left mine at home.

Yesterday the sun burned away the morning fog and we sank into ecstasy over having its beams resting on our shoulders. I went to church and my soul was filled not only by worshiping with loved ones, but also by seeing those loved ones. Our pastor welcomed by name of a few of the out of town visitors: our previous pastoral intern and his family, a speaker who taught a class on Saturday, and me. At the end he wished them all safe travels home and said, “Marina, on te garde.” Marina, we’re keeping you.

I came home and had lunch with nine other people in Tattinette’s dining room: her children, brother, friends, children in love. We were together and talked all afternoon long. Over port and appetizers, spaghetti and salad, cream cake and coffee, a long walk into the fields of the next country, and back home for tea and chocolate.

Here, there is a deep sense of community and freedom with one another. My friends are quick to welcome me home and pull me back into their lives. Life moves along as surely as it does anywhere else, babies grow into children, friends get married, people pass out of this world, yet much remains the same, or at least retains a familiar taste. We can pass more than five minutes talking about somebody’s new car or which of the three bakeries in these two towns actually sells the best bread or your coworker who she goes to church with who he saw at a county wide prayer meeting on Thursday. That’s not to say that we don’t talk about big things, too. This weekend we talked about how the ceiling was taken off the Swiss Franc on Thursday and what that means, especially for us who live near the border, until we turned to the more interesting and certainly more important topic of “The Wedding” of Tattinette’s daughter in three weeks. We bare our hearts a lot, too. Sometimes I think that since we talk so well and long about everything, it enables us to talk more easily about ourselves in an honest light. 

It is good to be home, in a place that value long Sunday meals and walks together in the sunshine and the fact that breaking bread together over a table makes you family. The familiarity of life and speech is deeply comforting, not stifling, and it is surely some part of what makes these towns feel like home.

January 14, 2015

2 AM

Did you know that when dealing with jet lag, during the first few nights there is a window of time when you get really, really tired. My tendency is to just push through in an attempt to get my body back my normal hourly clock. The problem is, when you miss that window, your mind thinks it's time to be awake and nothing can convince it to go to sleep.

I missed the window.

It's past two am here. Everything is dark and quiet, except for in my little room--which is quiet but not dark. I unpacked the rest of my bags, wrote out a rough schedule for my days, and now, after yet another attempt at sleep, am sitting here, working, and waiting for fatigue to come. In the meantime... Some pictures from the flights over. I will never cease to be amazed at what God can do to the sky.

Sunset in Seattle, sunrise somewhere over the north Atlantic, and sunset over Basel.