Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blog moving.

Hey everybody, there was no way for me to reconcile the title of this blog, with keeping a blog here in Rosedale, Kansas City, so I have not kept it up.

However, It turns out that here in KC, I work as a Mennonite Voluntary Service worker in a community development organization, so it actually makes sense for me, partially as part of my work, to start a blog about what it is like to live in this community. It is unlikely to happen, but it is possible that the blog could become something that members of the community latch and that can help change the image of Rosedale within Kansas City.

So the blog won't be purely about my personal life here in KC, but also about the life of the community.

So I am going to try this and we'll see what happens. the new blog is here:

it is tiled at the moment Live Rosedale (KC)

if this blog actually were successful, then I would turn it over to the next MVS worker when the time comes.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why I Used to Live in 1998,

even when it was 2008.

On the occasion of me joining Facebook and recently getting my first American cell-phone, I thought it would be a good idea to restart up another form of social media- my blog. I'll have to think of a new name, but I think about that later.

So anyways, on the occasion of me getting Facebook, here is something I wrote a while back about all the reasons that I can be a Facebook hater.

I hope this isn't too vindictive, but just remember, there is a reason that I am on Facebook now, and that is that it also offers lots of cool/useful functions. So useful that every business and NGO nowadas has to have one.


I live-happily-without either a cell phone or a facebook account. I will grant that both of these things have definite positives that no one can deny, but the longer I spend without these conveniences and the smaller the minority of college students without them becomes, the more I become convinced that they are having very serious, and negative, social effects that we have failed to notice.

A lot of my views on communication were formed during my semester abroad in Ecuador. While in Ecuador, I watched as friends of mine seemingly spent their life waiting in anticipation for the next email or facebook message from home. After the brief period of joy that apparently always accompanies the message, “Hey Lucy! Was thinking of you! Hope everything is going great!” my friends were forced to go back to **gasp** the real world.

My American friends in Ecuador were maddeningly obsessed with facebook. To me, this long distance communication was basically substanceless, like cotton-candy, as Staley lecturer Shane Hipps called it. More importantly, this substanceless communication had the tendency to pluck ones thoughts away from the present and into the past. It felt like the ease of this long distance communication was taking away from our experience in Ecuador. It was way too easy (even for me) to, in effect, stay at home, rather than engaging in what was right before our eyes: Ecuador and our new group of friends-two things for which, even without the distraction of facebook, one semester was not nearly enough time.

Far more troubling, however, than the way in which facebook and cell phones can keep us insulated from a challenging world, is the insecurity that I think rampant use of facebook and cell phones can create. I have come to the conclusion that extreme use of cell phones and facebook is an indication of, and an ineffectual stopgap for, our own insecurity.

Maybe it is just that I value my time alone more than other people, but when I constantly see people walking to and from class on their cell phones, texting in class, and basically filling up any downtime with their cell phones, it makes me wonder if we all have just become afraid to be alone.

Along with other emotions (like sadness and discontentment) I think our society is teaching us that being alone and bored is simply not acceptable. If you are feeling alone, you must be a loser and not have any friends. You have to have your cell phone at the ready to prove to yourself that, should things not be super exciting where you are, a friend of yours is there to keep you company. We end up living our lives trying to figure out where we could be having the most fun or being the most productive instead of making the most of our current situation.

Egregious use of cell phones also reveals insecurity in our friendships. Why do parents buy their high-school kids cell-phones: because they don’t trust them and want to be able to keep tabs on them. Now I know most of you aren’t calling your friends or significant others because you don’t trust them, but this aspect of keeping tabs is defiantly there.

Constantly checking up to see “what’s going on,” sounds a lot to me like, “you’re not doing anything without me are you?” As if friends doing something without you means you are suddenly not friends. It is simply not true. I think true friendships would allow space for our friends to fully engage in their current surroundings.
Maybe without cell phones we would all be a little bit better at making new friends, or simply enjoying the company of strangers. Texting, short phone calls, and most certainly facebook surfing can be a fruitless way of hiding our insecurity from ourselves.

I know cell phones and facebook are not going away, and one day I myself might find myself with one or both. However, I think we should all take a moment to make sure that these new technologies are not, in fact, hindering our social interactions by limiting our ability to engage our present surroundings and fostering insecurity in our relationships."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I´ve been away

Team meetings, Livingston. lot´s of fun. 4 or 5 days
visiting students in their communities. Awesome and reewarding.6 days
traveling with Jenny. lots of fun. week, two weekends.

now I am finishing up, doing my final reports and enjoying as much as I can my last days at school, at home, and with Jenny before we go to seperate countries... again.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Host Famly part. 3: Carmela

Carmela: Host mom, some 40 years old. A leader of the women at the church. As a mother she has to spend a lot of time in the oftentimes smoky kitchen, making tortillas over the wood fire (which she sometimes does to the beat of a song), but when you are in the kitchen with her, she is a fun person to talk with. She is not as much of a jokester as Matias, but she also laughs rather easily and is easier to have a sustained conversation with. I have had some very fun chats with her in the kitchen. Along with normal cooking duties, she also sometimes has to chop wood into smaller pieces sometimes too. She is very dedicated to the church, very confident in God and his work on earth, and she is an extremely good prayer. I have watched her launch brooms like spears at ducks and chickens in part of the never ending battle to keep them out of the kitchen.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Memory and coming to terms with the end

I have always known that one year sounded short, even if at times it defiantly felt long. But about a month ago MCC sent us information on preparing to come home, two days ago I sat in one of my favorite places in Cobán, drinking a strong mixture of some of the best coffees in Alta Verapaz (famous for it´s coffee fincas) along with cake and surrounded by beautiful and rare orchids and wrote a list of things I should still try to do, personal and work related, and then sat down to writing what might serve as my toast to Elijah at his and Sina´s stateside wedding reception. Beginning to prepare for something outside of Guatemala is probably the most notable sign that soon I will leave.

I still have a month and a half, but the middle part of that month and a half will be taken up by travel with MCC, travel to visit some students, and then travel with Jenny. And the months have been passing by flying. May past by as fast as its´ frequent afternoon showers come and go. One losses himself in the overwhelming power of the rain and thunder, and in a few hours, its´ chaos seems like a strange dream.
Yesterday I went running along a little route along a river. The river is bigger and faster, and if possible, maybe even a little bit greener than the last time I ran along it. I ran past recently seeded corn fields, hills that have been replanted with trees, and a group of women or two doing their washing. There was a beautiful light sprinkle perfect for running, but I did not push myself but went slowly and enjoyed my solitude on the small path which sometimes is simply the path that a water line going to Carchá follows. I wondered what this place will look like in my memory. Memory lies, but I think in the case of a traveler, photography is the bigger culprit. I thought as I ran that it would be nice if I could have my camera along, but I am sure that I would take no picture that would be satisfactory. At the same time that I don´t trust my camera to capture what I see, I also know that I need to take some more pictures, and fast, of my host family and students at Bezaleel. It really is too bad that here people do not smile for pictures. Even the people who otherwise seem to not be able to stop smiling and laughing, will turn dead serious for a photo.

Thankfully, in my memory, they will be smiling. And in my memory, the river I run along side will still look like melted jade. And the water from the spring at the end of the run will be sweeter than I can describe. In my memory, my host mom will be looking down at me, while in my photo I´ll be head and shoulders above her.

Photos really are such liars.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I see all these Hollister “CALIFORNIA” shirts around here in Guatemala and I have to wonder where Hollister gets off selling me so shamelessly. Where did it find the audacity? I was born and raised in California. I am a living part of the legend that Hollister so shamelessly uses to sell it´s T-shirts. I have even visited other states, Europe, South America, and now Guatemala, in effect, spreading the coolness and popularity of California all around the world. When people ask me where I am from, I don´t say the United States, I say, California.

And now Hollister is taking the name California all around the world (right into the lonely Guatemala mountains), printing it on T-shirts and in the process turning what was once cool about California into factory produced lameness. Who gave Hollister the right to make the name California synonymous with preppy, act like I am too cool for school, pretend to be rebellious high schoolers with nothing better to do but shop in malls for shirts that are too tight. I feel like Snoop Dogg and every rap enthusiast in Los Angeles must have felt when the author of “Gin and Juice” went on to sell “Big Macs and Apple Pie” at that wonderful joint, McDonalds.

Betrayed. We can only hope that the people from Hollister are a bit more ashamed than Snoop Dogg was.

At least anybody who has to pay bills can understand Snoop Doggs selling out, but I don´t see a fat wad of money in MY pocket.

That´s right. Betrayed once again by shameless business practices. Hollister is stealing. Not only are they not giving me and my friends from California the money that we deserve, they are doing something far worse: They are stealing my identity. How am I supposed to continue saying that I am from California when hearing the name fires of the same synapses in peoples brains as those ugly little letters, “AF.”
Hollister is, metaphorically speaking, doing the same thing that Canadian gold companies are doing in Guatemala. That is ripping apart mountains, contaminating water, and paying small wages in exchange for gold being sold around the world. Myself and other Californians are the gold being sold around the world, and it is our souls that are being ripped apart.

Obama, your governmental regulations on business practices are not nearly tough enough. I want money for property damage. Essentially Hollister is lowering the value of all California property. I want money for the time I spend with a shrink trying to find a new identity for myself that isn´t bottled up and plastered onto high school boys chests. I want Holister charged for identity theft, and I want them to pay. I want a shirt that says, I am California, and I hate Hollister.


Ps. I used to have no answer to fellow students in Kansas when they would ask me why I decided to move (in a baffled tone of voice). Now I do… and it is written on thousands of 20 dollar shirts.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Host Fam part 2: Matias

Matias: host dad, 40 some years old. Works hard everyday either with his construction job or on a house which the family is building for one of their children. Matias loves to joke around and is also very energetic. Every other Sunday he leads a sort of pre-service Sunday school. Often times he comes home from work and we shake hands while we talk about our day and how we are. I have gotten way better at shaking hands since I have been here in Guatemala (one usually shakes everybody´s hand in a room when he walks in, and handshakes can last a long time. He has a slight. Once I turned around in the bath house to see him in the chicken pen holding one limp rooster and using it to attack another rooster, I watched for about five minutes and I think it was as much for the fun of it as to make the one that was getting beaten to stop attacking the one that my host father was using to beat it up. He eats his food fast and then drinks his glass of tea in about five seconds flat, leans back and lets out a long “wwwoooooww” wipes his mouth and moves onto the next activity. He is always concerned for my well being. Sometimes he will grab his nephews, and hold them very clothes, cheek to cheek, for fairly long periods of time.


ps. and I also had a very fun trip following Dave Janzen around the mountains surrounding Nebaj. Rachel and friends were also along for the fun.