About 20 minutes from leaving Costa Rica for Cuba. I don’t feel bad about leaving. I don’t really feel sad about leaving my families. Should I? Maybe I am just so ready to be home that I have become a robot, or maybe I just legitimately don’t feel sad. Is that okay? Should I cry? That’s about it.
I am back in San Jose. I woke up at balls o’clock this morning and after about 6 hours in the bus I made it back to my house to realize that I missed it and actually enjoy my family here very much. It was great to actually be able to communicate well and not feel like I was barely floating in mumbled spanish.
As you may know I updated the blog with about 3.5 weeks of posts. Some of them included challenging experiences. I don’t plan on hiding that. However, time spent in campo getting hosed = worthwhile.
I just caught up on all my emails. I am planning on presenting on Oscar Romero in february for my senior project. I hope that y’all like it. Maybe lots of you will come…
A taxi driver asked me where I was from today as though he couldn’t tell that I was from the US. 3 points to me. Hope you enjoy the blogs they may be all that there is until I get back from Cuba. I leave on Saturday, then there are 4 hours in San Jose at a compound, then Miami, and then I am home. I am ready to come home. Pray that I will seek Jesus in the moments that remain for me to do so. Love you and miss you.
Boatswain’s Log. November 23rd and 24th.
Well, I failed to do a good job of detailing the past 2 days. A lot happened. So here we go.
Sunday: Went to church. The pastor had the entire congregation bless me. My host brother Heyner and my host grandpa and a few other people here that I know all laid hands on me and the rest of the church prayed for me. Before the prayer started the pastor described me as some sort of walking blessing…I didn’t know what to make of that. I just was here, it is hard for me to see myself that way.
After church we went for a long drive through the countryside. I saw windturbines up close, I saw waving fields of grass, I saw forests, and I saw the place where clouds are born (all from the back of a truck). I say that because I could find no other way to describe the clouds. They were so real and so close, it was as though someone had some kind of primordial cloud mix and was starting all the clouds for the pacific coast of Costa Rica right above us. They looked like moving paintings. Really really cool. We ended up driving around for awhile (we stopped to have coffee at this one dude’s place. His family was nice.) because the pastor wanted me to see the area, we got to a point where my host dad asked me if I would like to see Valle Verde where Andrew Brauer is. I said sure. So almost immediately we jumped off the truck and caught a bus to Valle Verde where my host dad proceeded to leave me for the night. I didn’t understand what was going on. He said “Well, I am going to head out. You should come back home tomorrow.” Very sudden. Very strange.
In any case I stayed the night with Andrew and his family. They are fun, I ate lots of mamochinos, we watched Shanghai Noon, and we played dominos. His host mom is a bit too sassy for me, but I don’t know if it’s better that way or better if I can’t understand half of what she says like my host mom. Andrew and I camped in the same large bed for the night. I was awakened multiple times by stupid roosters that make noise at all hours of the night. They are fiercely irritating at 3AM.
Monday dawned bright and…well wet and dark. I awoke and ate breakfast so I could hitch a ride back to Aguas Claras with Andrew’s host dad in his truck. It worked out and I got home at about 6 something. I don’t exactly know when, I do know that Nano wasn’t awake yet. That means it was before 7AM.
After that I watched some of the hulk and went to work leveling a piece of ground in the corral-in-process. It rained a whole lot. It has been doing that for awhile now. I like it, because it reminds me of home and also because the corral in process has a roof that keeps me from getting soaked to the bone.
After lunch we watched “The Mist” which is an entertaining film until the very end when hero shoots the survivors to keep the rest of the monsters that hide in the mist from eating them, but right after that he discovers that the army owned the rest of the monsters. So he shot his own son for nothing. That sucks. If monsters ever invade my town I will lead a revolution against them and die fighting evil monsters before I ever shoot the people around me to save them from being eaten. Monsters don’t have souls, so I am okay with killing them.
After a bit more work with shovels and my back hurting it was time to go to “farewell to Diego” time at the church. The youth at the church had invited all the people that could come to celebrate my time with them. We played games and had snacks. They also did this circle of affirmation thing in which people gave me affirmations and I affirmed back. It was nice to be affirmed by people and again, it was strange to see how much I mattered to them some people I didn’t even interact with that much. The returning of affirmations was challenging because I didn’t have a lot of time spent with most of these people and also because I lack affirmation vocabulary. The made me a card as well. I am sure that the girl I mentioned earlier (Jennifer) has a crush on me. She is still 15 and it is still awkward. She gave me a present for going away, there was a card, a stuffed animal, and a few other things. I appreciate it, but feel decidedly uncomfortable. On the other hand it was touching to see how much my host brothers really enjoyed having me around. The things they said were very kind. One thing that most people highlighted was my humility. I don’t think that I am humble. I wonder if that means that I am or if I just didn’t talk much because it takes me a bit to warm up to people in Spanish. One person (besides my host family) I will miss is my friend Yehodi, that guy is pretty smooth. Yessir.
After that I came home and watched some crappy film about girls who were running away from abusive relationships and go to live with this crazy lady on a farm. There were no monsters, just crazy people. The end was just about as crappy as the Mist. My host sister and her boyfriend gave me a card and some Costa Rica souvenirs to remember them by.
It is odd leaving tomorrow. I am really excited to be leaving because it means one step closer to home, but while I am not really sad like the Costa Rican folk I am leaving here…I do realize that this experience has been very good. In typical Chauncey fashion, I discover that I appreciate what has been a long, difficult process, just at the time that I leave. Sigh.
I will need people to talk this through with. I am really starving to process verbally with people, maybe that is why I am still ready to go. It sucks not being able to process with people here. I wonder if the person I was before I got here and the person I am now would recognize each other.
Boatswain’s Log November 21st.
So This morning I woke up with a tad bit of a headache. So I slept a bit more than usual then hit the field with Nano. We were sowing rice again. We sowed rice all day and stopped during lunch to watch Lake Placid. On the way there he asked me about my time here and how I have liked it. I answered something to the effect that “The work has been hard, but in general I have liked it.” At first I thought that I was just saying that to be nice and to not tell him that I hated it, but then I realized that somewhere along the line I actually liked being here. Not enough to stay here longer than necessary working in the field, but nonetheless despite the frustration, anger, and long hard work…I can’t say that this has been a bad experience.
I find that in the middle of the storms I experience in life everything is a world of suck. Things are absurdly hard and I dislike them, but afterwards I look back and say, “Wow, all the things that sucked really helped me develop.” So here I am again, less than 5 days left here and I am in a place where (while I have not begun to really process the development that happened here) I can realize that it has been good. I think it has been a test of who I am. I was tested by one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life coupled with a lack of community and a crisis of faith. I am still here. I think that I am learning how to hold on to Jesus more, to persevere in prayer, to have more patience, and to take showers after work because you never know how sweaty the next day will be. I suppose one might say in this situation “Gloria a Dios.” (Glory to God). Indeed I am saying it now.
I have been reading my bible a lot and I find lots of challenging things there. For one, what do Christians do with their money? In Luke Jesus says we should give away our possessions and give to the poor and make purses that do not wear out…I dunno what that means. Does that mean I don’t have a house as a follower of Christ and that I don’t keep a bank account? Some would say yes, but I doubt that they would go to the extreme that they would state as requisite. Others would say “Of course not!” but they would be brushing aside a hard statement of Christ too easily. Just as despite the fact that Christ was using hyperbole when he said we should cut off our hands and pull out our eyes to avoid adultery, it doesn’t mean we get to not worry about it. Perhaps the path for us lies between yes and no…or perhaps I am trying to brush aside the hard call of Christ by pussy-footing around with a bit of intellectual musing. I will keep being uncomfortable with the text until I decide what to do. Even then, I will probably be uncomfortable.
So, I haven’t liked contemporary Christian worship in English for awhile now (in general, not every song. Just most of them.) and I am finding the same thing in Spanish. It still is pretty crappy. Perhaps it brings glory to God, but I don’t like it. It is poor music (not the sort of poor that inherit the Kingdom of God, I mean low quality). Por ejemplo there is this one song in which this attractive woman sings “Como me amas!” (how you love me!) over and over again with a few variations. In the music video it is unclear that she is singing to God. She could be singing to her boyfriend and the song would work just fine. I guess the thing about contemporary worship for me is that so often I don’t feel like the words have much significance. We either sing things to God that are really easy to say (like singing about God’s majesty when we are inside away from mountains or the ocean that reflect that majesty), or don’t think about the hard things we are singing (like singing about giving God everything that we are, but what does that entail? Jesus did that and He died on the cross. Are we really ready to make that sacrifice?). I guess that I just wanted to ponder that one out loud. Maybe you disagree, or maybe you think that we should sing more hymns…If you are in the second party then I agree.
Yeiner and I watched Spiderman last night. I find that he is less annoying when you don’t have to work with him. I think he uses me to get things he wants. For example: sugar cereal. I told my family I missed milk and cereal and they got me corn flakes because I requested cereal without sugar. However, last night he came through the door with some crappy sugar cereal and was pumped about it. This morning he was like “do you want this stuff?” I had some, but I also had regular breakfast. He had cereal too. I didn’t ask for the cereal, either he was being nice or really wanted sugar cereal. Sneaky tunante (rogue).
Boatswain’s Log November 20th.
Well. I got owned again today. I thought that the real hard stuff was done for, but today proved me wrong mostly.
I am starting to notice a pattern that emerges here. I go to sleep and then right at the key sleep time (1-2 hours before I should wake up) I am woken up anyway by some noisy thing. Sometimes it is my host mom making food and I can’t complain about that. However, sometimes it is Yeiner being a loud 11 year old before 7AM. I am beginning to think that he is a morning person.
Last night after sowing rice for most of the day I passed out. I went to bed halfway through the soccer selection game in which Costa Rica beat El Salvador by a hair, and slept hard. I woke up too early though, as I mentioned.
Then I moved lumber around all day. It takes it out of a man (hauling lumber around). I got a break to do homework and I managed to finish my last essay on the book that was trouble for me in my head. It turns out that author guy didn’t really do that good of a job, as I processed what I had read after the fact I found that he was really pretty sloppy. It wasn’t as though he was trying to make a logical argument of any sort, it was more of an emotional lashing out at something he didn’t like (scriptural authority) that in his mind causes violence…instead of the people interpreting the scripture. Negative points for duder.
We were building the corral today and almost got a roof on it. That was nice. My part of the building process? Lifting things. I guess I am okay at that and that it wouldn’t have been good if I had a different role, but it certainly pisses me off when an 11 year old is dicking around at the work site and trying to tell me what to do and what the right way to do things is. I got tired and Yeiner got infinitely more annoying. Sigh.
I seemed to have misplaced the good attitude I found a few days ago. I just got furious in the process of working and therefore found myself with a mental block that derailed any sort of useful mental energy. I did my best to show a good attitude in place of the tiredness and frustration that was my inner thought life. I wish very much that I knew how to like the work I do here, but every day I draw nearer to going home is a welcome day and I am ready to be done. I hear that someone in our program starts work at 4AM and ends around 5PMish…I have it better than whoever that is, but man how do you “consider it pure joy when you endure trials of any kind” like James asserts we ought to? I really hate them. I don’t know how to say I like that life is extraordinarily difficult right now, because I don’t like it. I am 100% sure that I am learning something here, but I have no idea what. I know for sure that I am getting periodically destroyed by work, regularly annoyed by an 11 year old, and overall enjoying time with this family…but apart from that, I really do wonder what Jesus wants to show me and will I be able to learn it if I am consistently frustrated.
I was reading my bible after work ended and it lifted up my day quite a lot. I memorized a verse that is pretty cool. Deuteronomy 13:4 “The LORD your God you shall follow, Him alone you shall fear, His commandments you shall keep, His voice you shall obey, Him you shall serve, and to Him you shall hold fast.” I liked it, and now I know it. Super cool!
My host mom and I talked a bit today about what life was like while back. Apparently they used to live about 3 hours by horse from here in the middle of nowhere. She said it was hard to take babies places on a horse, whether one is pregnant or not. Gosh.
Boatswain’s Log November 19th and 18th.
Well. Still alive out here. I am still counting down the days. Not with a negative attitude anymore, just a desire to get back home thing. It doesn’t eat at me the way it used to, it is just a reality. I am ready to go home (still).
Yesterday was rather uneventful. I sowed some rice in the rain and it was almost cold. Did you know it actually gets cold in Costa Rica? I didn’t. But it does. It San Jose it actually gets chilly. Not overly chilly mind you, but somewhere in the 60’s I would imagine. Out here it is like a 65 degree chilly. We got done about lunch time and I read my bible for a long time before Nano and I went and washed Heyner’s roof. In the process of washing the roof I drank a coconut and in attempting to get another one I broke a piece of Heyner’s antenna. I felt bad, he didn’t seem to mind though.
I have been reading my bible a lot these days. Firstly, because it is the only book I brought and secondly because I have begun to realize just how complicated of a book/scripture/text it really is. It has a lot of things that I want to learn about, especially in the Old Testament. So I have been reading my study bible a lot to try and hash it out. I am coming to the conclusion (like I already did) that I am going to have questions for the bible-profs at school.
After Nano and I washed Heyner’s roof we stopped by to move some tile for the lawyer (Melvin). We did that and then talked to his receptionist (Nano’s cousin) who allowed me to use the internet again. I didn’t ask, she offered. I thought it wouldn’t be a bad thing, and indeed it wasn’t. I sent people a few messages, but it makes me miss people.
After that we went back to the house for dinner. I had a migraine starting, so I took a couple of Excedrin and magically the migraine went away long enough for me to watch both Anaconda movies (one and two) with Nano and host-dad. Not great films, but quite entertaining. There was one thing that was getting to me though:
Yeiner doesn’t care about his schooling. He didn’t study for his English test and subsequently didn’t do well, he also didn’t seem to study last night. I have no idea what the deal is. Does he want to work on the farm his whole life? I know that I wouldn’t if I were him, but maybe he likes it and thinks it is great. Nonetheless, no one really seems to make a fuss about him not studying. I was the only one who told him to go study and even then he didn’t really want to do it. Education is valuable, if and when the Lord issues me/blesses me with kids they WILL study.
Then it was bed time. The power went out and almost stifled the anaconda movies, I was almost glad…
Today dawned anew and we sowed more rice. It is now 1PM. I expect to be sowing rice until about 5 whenever we go back out there. While we sowed rice Nano and I decided to throw rocks at a wasps nest…bad idea. If you were somehow watching from a satellite I was the one running around swatting myself. There weren’t really that many, but they hang on to you and I am pretty sure that they bite and sting. One got in my hair and stung my head. I was consistently nervous about getting hit again for the next hour and a half or so. The wasps here are angrier than they are at home.
While I was putting the rice out there I came to a realization. I am involved in another process. I was thinking about my life and the things I have been through and how at the beginning so many of them sucked a lot, but by the end I really loved them. In the moment I realized that while I may dislike working on a farm, the mindless labor is probably the most helpful thing I have ever found to spur myself to talk with Jesus. It isn’t always coherent, sometimes it is just whining, but I am talking to Him…quite a bit actually. So, while I may really dislike being out where the blood sucking flies and angry wasps are…I am finding that the Lord is doing something in me. It just isn’t fun in the midst of it, as always. Hurray for being bad with processes! I guess…
Another thing I was thinking about is that I don’t know what my dreams for life are. I don’t know if I need them or not. Nano has dreams of having his own recording studio and helping young artists succeed in Costa Rica. What are my dreams? He asked. I told him that I wanted to go to seminary and then whatever Jesus wanted, but is that a cop out or just the truth? I was thinking about it and I guess my dream is to keep loving the Lord and loving other people. I want to help people, but I can do that in anything. I would like to see US policy change, but I can help that happen in a variety of ways. Essentially…I have tied the rest of my life and my dreams to following the Lord. So I don’t know what I want really, apart from the fact that I want what God wants for me (sometimes when I am not a selfish sinner).
Should I want something though? Should I pick something and go with it? I dunno, I don’t suppose that there are a whole lot of things that fill me with unending satisfaction that are jobs. At least none that I have thought about. Everything I have done thus far has its downsides. The best job thus far has been being a Peer Advisor, but I can’t do that all of my life and it was also one of the hardest jobs I have ever had. Waterfront director was good, but that was because I was paid to play in the lake. Frick. I am graduating soon and I don’t have my head filled with ideas about what I must do. I would like to go to Colombia if God wants me to and work with MCC, but apart from that and being a CIT lead at camp…that’s about it. Maybe that is good enough. I have flexible medium range plans. I think that is good. At least I hope so. Still Martin Luther King had a dream…should I have one?
Boatswain’s Log November 18th.
Typically in the US we are used to 2 day weekends. Here however, work is a 6 day endeavor that ends for a day (Sunday). Very biblical view of farming I suppose. Nonetheless, I like 2 day weekends better.
Sunday we went to the pool called Guayacan. It was a series of pools that used agues terminals (or water heated by volcanic activity). Andrew Brauer was brought by his family as I was brought by mine. We played soccer barefoot (a game that hurt lots of people. I got kicked real hard in the leg by Andrew), ate tasty food, swam, and chatted with the families the whole day. It was great. I actually got a chance to talk to Andrew about the war I was fighting in my head while working and almost immediately afterwards I found relief from the frustrating tiredness of asking myself what I belive. Quite honestly, talking to him for 5 minutes was better than 3 days of thinking in the field. When I was talking I discovered that I know what I believe and I think the author of that book is still a chump. All that to say, it helps me more to talk than to think…or perhaps better yet, I think while I talk. Something I already knew, but had partially forgotten thanks to about almost 3 months without a significant sense of people to talk to.
Yesterday, I woke up and it was raining. Rain stops work. So, I ended up not really working most of the day. The people from LASP came and instead of raging at them or desiring to vent…I was just really happy to see them. I almost didn’t remember the 2 weeks of frustrating destruction in the field and the parts that I did, well…it didn’t matter. It was nice to see them and I found myself honestly saying that I was doing quite well. Our intern Lindsey is beautiful. Just an observation. It was surprising to see the way Jesus had shifted my outlook. I have 8 days left as of today and rain is still slowing the job.
After the visit, they wanted me to email my papers to them. So I went over to the lawyer’s office and surprise surprise…he has wireless internet. It was almost unbearably slow, but it got the job done. I watched as my advisor registered for classes for me, that Ben Weins is a champion. However, some of my classes didn’t work out. For example Dave Neinhuis isn’t teaching Ufound 3100 anymore. Which means that I am going to take it from Kerry Dearborn at 1:30PM. Also, Micro-finance has a prerequisite which I asked the prof to remove…hopefully there is still space in the class when and if he says I can be in it. I sent him a convincing email, hopefully he can’t just say “no” to a student in another country. It took a long time because of the slow internet to get it all done, and by the time I was finished I was pretty pleased with what I had and there wasn’t much work to be done afterwards. Schedule for winter quarter is as follows.
11AM: 4 Gospels: 1 Jesus with Dr Neinhuis
12:30PM: Currently discipleship with Dr.Smyth, but hoping that I can get into microfinance at the same time.
1:30PM: Ufound 3100 with Kerry Dearborn.
3ish: Spanish with Dr.Vogt.
I am pondering several other options like: working with the youth group at UPC with high school kids this time, doing choir for the heck of it because I like to sing, or doing a play. I can’t do all of them at once…I hate raggaeton. It just came on loudly and it is currently 7:30 in the morning. No one needs to listen to this crap so early. I guess that it is actually merengue and isn’t that bad, but it is too early. Raggaeton does suck though. Anyhow, back to the issue at hand. All my options are good, choir or the play would be for me and they would take up lots of my time that I want to be spending with people I have been missing these past almost 3ish months. You can ask Jesus what He thinks I should do. I’ll do the same.
If you people want to take the same classes as me, there is still time. You can do it.
After internet time I learned how to make tortillas in the fullest sense. I helped make the dough and made multiple tortillas, the last one was almost circular. In your face everyone.
Then we watched standing tall with the Dwayne “the rock” Johnson. Frikkin’ sweet film. He kicks some serious butt and it is just quality. About the time for bed I decided to take a shower and while I was there the lights went out. No power. Luckily Nano bailed me out with a flashlight. Then I went to bed. Today it is still raining. I had a 2 day weekend. Sooner than you know I will be home.
Yeiner is doing that stand over me and watch me type thing. Sigh…