Friday, August 31, 2012

Updates from Travels

Sorry it's been a while. First we were leaving Paris, then we were in Salzburg and I had just about no internet (unless I dragged Artemis to McDonald's) and then I've been getting settled in back here in Osna. So first, I'll post the old entries that I wrote while I was traveling and then I'll write a more recent update. :)

It’s nearly 4 am on August 11, 2012. I’m just going to bed. I think I need more nights like this one. I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow but I had so much fun. There was a house concert tonight and I got to see part of it. I watched Nuria and Yael for part of it when Yael got too tired to pay attention. We came to my house and Yael watched Aladdin while they both ate croissants. (Oh now that I’m laying down, the sleepy is starting to hit…) When food was almost ready, Kathrin came to pick up the girls. I had changed into a different shirt and put on some eyeliner so that I felt like I fit in a bit better. Everyone else was dressed up so at least I could look like I didn’t come from a day schlepping around. I got to talk to Dahlia (Daniel’s sister) during dinner. We switch back and forth between German and English. I don’t want people to think we’re trying to be secretive talking in German but it’s also nice to talk with her in German. My German seems to flow better when I’m comfortable with the person I’m talking to and when I don’t start thinking about it and criticizing myself. When I think about it, I start to fumble.
Considering the time, I’m making an outline of the important things to write about tomorrow and I’m going to bed. My alarm goes off in five hours. I can sleep in the car.
The concert the girls put on
[P.S. I never did flesh out that outline. I'll flesh it out later.]

So it’s now less than an hour later and I was just woken up by a Columbian man trying to seduce me. Seriously. Nikols (I think that’s how to spell it) and Angelica are sleeping in the other room of the house and he just came into my bedroom “because my laptop was making noise”. Well yeah, because I fell asleep with a movie on. Duh. But it’s way too quiet for him to have ever heard it. And then he decides to try to kiss me. I rolled over and thought he left. Then he starts talking. Great. He seriously asked me if I enjoy sex. I know he’s drunk and all but seriously. That is not an appropriate question. Apparently earlier when I was talking to Dahlia about all the sex shops on Montmartre he took that somehow to mean that I was interested? I honestly cannot think of anything I could have said that might be construed as “come crawl into bed with me tonight” in even the most perverted of minds. Now while we were playing charades he had his hand on my back and he was being slightly affectionate but I assumed it was just his culture, his personality. It wasn’t anything at all to even think about. But apparently that was his idea of foreplay. I don’t know if I can let myself sleep again tonight. I sure as hell don’t want to wake up to him in here again. And it’s already 5am so I’m seriously considering just making it an f-ing all nighter. If we weren’t leaving tomorrow, I would honestly demand that the living arrangements change. I am not at all comfortable with this. Not at all. Every fiber of my being is on edge right now in a way I cannot describe.

It’s now the 14th. I think it’s Tuesday? We’re in Austria now. I spent the day trying to figure out how to get a new iPod/get it fixed. I managed to drop my iPod on the floor of the restaurant and completely shatter the screen at the bottom. It’s to a degree that it’s dangerous for me to use it without risk of cutting my fingers. How lovely. Tomorrow’s a holiday here so everything is closed thus the next day I’m going to “iDoctor” to see if they can repair it for 89 euros instead of buying a new one for 300 euros. If I need a new one, I’m going to either have to go BACK to the mall-where I was today-or get a new one in Osnabruck. I managed to drop it after a night when I had 3 hours of sleep. I just could not fall asleep. I was up til 5:30am and my first alarm went off at 9. It sucked ass. I was tired all day long. I managed to sleep a bit in the car though. It was a long weekend. We spent the weekend in Bern. At first I thought, well we’re only here for a day. Why bother exploring? I was honestly going to spend the day just hanging out in the hotel. But I finally left because I needed breakfast (at about 4:45 pm… hey I slept until 2pm). I went to Starbucks then wandered around for a while. It’s actually a beautiful city. (One of these days I’ll update my Flickr and then tell y’all to check it out if you’re not on facebook. If you’re on facebook, they’re already there.) We drove to Salzburg and ended up going like 50km out of the way. It took forever to get here but we finally made it. My room here may be smaller than my house in Paris but I don’t have spiders here. I don’t have creepy men to butt into my room. I have a twin mattress instead of a full but it’s more comfortable. Kathrin’s mom is so nice. She keeps asking if I need anything, to help myself to something to eat, that I can take what I want from the kitchen. I went to get a piece of cake before bed and when she asked if I want tea, she helped me get everything together, take it on a tray to my room, and brought a little kid chair so I could set it down on that. She’s very helpful. I’m very much looking forward to going home to Osnabruck but I’m going to enjoy this week here in Austria. I speak the language, I’m comfortable, I’m able to manage what I need to do. I don’t have to ask “Do you speak English?” because I can just start talking in German. Yes, it’s different dialects but it’s the same language. You don’t know how good it feels to speak a language I know! I felt so uncomfortable in Paris not being able to speak fluently. Speaking broken English is not conducive to communication. And an inability to communicate is not conducive to feeling right in the world. I have work from 9:30 to 1:30 for the next three days and then I think I get Saturday off. Sunday we’re traveling and then Monday we *should* be back in Osnabruck and going back to a regular schedule soon. School will begin in about two weeks then we’ll have our routine for the rest of the year (except for breaks from school of course). I’m going to drink more tea and either watch more Grey’s Anatomy or read Love in the Time of Cholera. G’night. :)

Afternoon of 8/15: It’s my first work day here in Salzburg and it was a short one. I went to the playground with the girls and with their gramma. Nuria fell asleep in the traggatuch on the way home after I sang “Ring Around the Rosy” about fifty times. Today I’m hanging out. It’s a holiday so I might go rent a bike and ride along the river. Tomorrow I’m calling iDoctor to be certain they can repair my iPod or to see if they have another solution for me that’s not going to cost me 300 euros. That’s more than a month’s wages. I’d really really rather not pay a whole month’s wages to get a new iPod because I didn’t sleep the night before due to my own stupidity. If they need time to do it, maybe they can ship it to me for a slight additional cost. If I can get it done and shipped to me for less than 200 euros, I’ll do it. If it’s more than that, I’ll probably go “eh f-it” and by a new one. I don’t know. If I could get by with less GB, it wouldn’t be so expensive. But of course, I need the 32 GB model. Actually the 64 would be great but that’s not happening. And I just realized that Kathrin still has my key so it’s not easy for me to go out. I can’t let myself back in. Damn. I don’t like feeling like I *have* to stay in. I could go out but I’d need to talk to Kathrin’s mom and be sure she’d still be here to let me back in because I don’t want to HAVE to stay out either.

Friday night the 17th
I rented a bike today. I have it for 24 hours. It’s been so long since I rode a bike. Today I got on the bike to try it out and just explore I bit. I ended up completely lost. As in had no clue where I was and couldn’t have backtracked. Normally on foot if I don’t know where I am I can always back track. Biking I went so much faster that I didn’t really have time to notice where I was. But I knew eventually I’d figure it out so I wasn’t scared. I made my way back to the river and found my way from there. I have such an amazing G-d. A G-d that I can find even on a bike ride through a city I barely know, when I’m completely lost, when I’m listening to my iPod. If I can find my Saviour along the river just as easily as in a cathedral, and sometimes even better, what does that say about the amazing Father I have? He is always there, no matter where I am. No matter where I am or what I’m doing He is always ready to meet me. Always. I’m astounded by that.
I’ve been eating junk food non-stop the last like two days and I wasn’t sure why. And then I get home tonight and figure it out. My period is four days early. How wonderful. I’m sticky and sweaty and feel gross in so many ways PLUS I get the gift of being a woman. So I’m drinking and watching Grey’s Anatomy. Tomorrow I’m going to the “Festung” and to Alpenstrasse again to do some shopping.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

G-d Help the Outcasts

It’s Tuesday night and I’ve had one hell of a day. I’ve been pushing myself so often to go out and do and to spend time with the girls when I’m home and so on. Today I was supposed to go to Montmartre but decided at the last minute when the times for the day changed that it was too much to try. I just didn’t feel like it. The morning work time went from 11 til 2:45 instead of 10 to 2. Then we had lunch and I worked again from 3:45 til 5. Trying to go to Montmartre after that was just too much for me. I’d have to go to the RER station, buy a ticket, ride the train, explore, and THEN ride the train home, eat dinner, go to bed, work tomorrow. It was just too strenuous. And the housing arrangements were further clarified to me and it was aggravating.
I was asked last week or the week before if I minded people living in this house with me for a few days. Of course not. Not like I can say no anyhow lol. It was clarified to me today that basically we’ll be cutting the house in half. The kitchen? Is in the other half. I don’t mind using the downstairs bathroom. I don’t mind switching rooms. But even if it is basically for one day it bothers me that I won’t have the kitchen at all. I can’t make tea. I can’t have something for the girls to drink. I can’t have yogurt and museli for a snack if I want. It’s annoying! That’s one of the best parts of having my own place: the ability to eat what and when I want. URGH! So between that and Nuria being very tired but fighting sleep for half an hour, I then managed to SLAM my hand in the baby gate which made me shout which scared Nuria (who was in the sling on my chest but not yet asleep). And then I tried running cold water over it but that didn’t seem to get cold enough. So I wrapped my bottle of vodka (that I keep in the freezer-tricks learned from dating a Ukrainian I guess) in a towel and used that. So I had two little girls on my bed, one in my arms, and a bottle of vodka in my hand. I’d messaged Jalil (the guy I went to Montmartre with before) if he was interested in going tonight but didn’t feel like it. Luckily, he already had plans. So I went to the supermarket and bought hair dye. (Noemi had told me I ought to dye it red. When I told Kathrin she basically said, “If you want to, go right ahead. It won’t bother me.”) Then I went swimming. Noemi was my little cheerleader tonight. It was so nice to have encouragement. :) Yes, she’s six. But when I asked, “Do you think I can do 20 laps?” She said, “Yes! You can do it.” And not only did I get the 20 laps that I wanted minimum but I did five more! 25 laps! That’s 300 meters. And at the end of it, I felt so accomplished. I pushed through the wall where I didn’t think I could do anymore and I managed to surpass my goal. I watched some Grey’s Anatomy (yes, again) and we had dinner. Now I’m sitting here with hair dye on my head watching the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The song that Esmeralda sings, “G-d Help the Outcasts”? I must have played it three or four times. I love it. And now that I’ve BEEN to Notre Dame it’s even more touching. The statue of the Virgin she sings to is actually there. It actually looks like that. And it actually has white flowers in front of it. I honestly got goosebumps and almost started crying. The lyrics to that song are:
I don't know if You can hear me
Or if You're even there
I don't know if You would listen
To a gypsie's prayer
Yes, I know I'm just an outcast
I shouldn't speak to you
Still I see Your face and wonder...
Were You once an outcast too?

God help the outcasts
Hungry from birth
Show them the mercy
They don't find on earth
God help my people
We look to You still
God help the outcasts
Or nobody will

I ask for wealth
I ask for fame
I ask for glory to shine on my name
I ask for love I can posess
I ask for God and His angels to bless me

I ask for nothing
I can get by
But I know so many
Less lucky than I
Please help my people
The poor and downtrod
I thought we all were
The children of God
God help the outcasts
Children of God

Shouldn’t that be our prayer? G-d help the outcasts. But I don’t believe that G-d is our last resort. I believe that G-d will use us to help the outcasts. Because Mary must have been an outcast once upon a time. G-d uses outcasts for His purposes. And you know what? I’m an outcast. I am. Don’t try to tell me I’m not. I’ve never fit in. But I’m not meant to! This world is not my home. G-d use this outcast for YOUR good, YOUR purposes. Let me help the others. And use my mistakes to become a ministry for You, Father. Use my path to reach others who have been broken in similar ways. Use this outcast…

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Glimpse into my Heart

Written August 5, 2012

Father, tonight I sit here and my heart is heavy. I don’t know half the reasons why but G-d I know that you can hear my heart. You know the reasons behind every tear I am shedding, every moment of sorrow. G-d I made a made a mistake the other night. We both know what it is and I know that it’s something you’re going to continue teaching me about. Father, my boundaries have been in flux the last few years and I discovered aspects of myself that were previously hidden. G-d, I’m not a little girl anymore and frankly I haven’t been in a long time. I’ve struggled almost half of my life with depression that’s sometimes overwhelmed me. I’ve had moments when there was very little keeping me from ending it all. But G-d you are helping me through this. And tonight, as I lay here and I cry over this weight in my heart, I know that part of the reason I cry is because I’m seeing in part how you see me. How every sin I commit hurts you. How much you love me. How hard it must be for you to watch me repeat my mistakes over and over again. I can just picture you watching me, Father. Sitting on the edge of your seat as I approach a choice. You see me weighing my options. You see me start to say no, to think about how it’s not a good idea and for all the reasons why I need to resist temptation. And then, you see that moment of weakness. That instant when my guard falls and I think, “Oh what’s the harm? It’s not that bad. And I’ll have fun.” But my thoughts don’t go to the aftermath of my choice. I don’t think of the consequences. And as my guard falls, when I give in, I see you sit back, like a sports fan seeing the stupid mistake of his team exclaiming exasperatedly and throwing his hands up in the air. “How could you do that?! Seriously!?” And G-d I know you have more patience with me than my brother does with the Eagles but I don’t know how you can watch me over and over again and not jump in to stear me away. It’s like me baking with the girls. I want to jump in and make everything perfect. But then they don’t learn. It’s so difficult for me to hold back and to keep from correcting. But they need to make messes sometimes so they’ll see the results. And G-d you let me make my own messes… You have patience with me, Father. And I am both so thankful that you don’t give up on me, that you still love me and care for me. That nothing I do can ever make you love me less. But I am also frustrated sometimes, Father. If you would step in and prevent the mess, you could save me from hurt, and pain, and bad moods, and hurting my relationships with those around me. Because my sins don’t just affect me, G-d. My sins hurt my girls when I’m in a bad mood and spend my afternoons hiding in the kitchen watching Grey’s Anatomy and surfing Pinterest instead of goofing off with them. My sins hurt my family when I don’t talk to them. They hurt those I make the mistakes with because it then impacts their loved ones too. But G-d my sins hurt you too. Every time I make this mistake I sin against you. I reject your plan for my life and I reject your guidelines, your rules for how I ought to live. I tell you that my ideas are better. My plans are greater. I know better. And G-d I don’t! I’ve tried my way and you know what I got? I got pregnancy scares and bad grades. I got a broken heart and regrets. I got suicidal thoughts and darkness in my heart. I got crappy relationships with everyone around me and I got hurt. Father, I don’t want that anymore. The next time I think I might be pregnant, I want it to be with my husband. And I want that baby to be the source of immense joy and not angst. I don’t want to let my heart run away again. Not every man deserves me. Not every man is right for me. And flirting is not innocent fun. It’s not just a way of talking. It’s just stupid. The men of this world are my brothers in Christ, or they could be at least. And I need to respect them. I need to treat them as I would treat any family member. I need to love them and help them grow. Flirting doesn’t point anyone towards Christ. G-d, give me your eyes. For one day. Let me see this world as you see it. Let me see my behavior through your eyes so that I will realize all of my sins and ask for your help against the sins I don’t realize I’m committing. Let me see how you see me. Let me see your love and your patience. Let me see the person YOU want me to be, that I can be with YOUR strength. Father, make me the woman You want me to be. Make me want to be that woman and make me want it for the right reasons. Heavenly Father, be with me… Don’t let me walk through this world without you. Please G-d… Be with me.

Shopping in the City...

(This is from last week. Exact date I don't remember.)

I went out tonight to shop. I’m in Paris after all and I am a girl so I went to the big department stores on the outskirts of the tourist zones. Still plenty safe and still touristy enough that there was a Hard Rock cafĂ© and tour buses toward the end of my wandering. The big store, Galleries Lafayette, is ridiculous. First of all, think of a high class brand name. Seriously. A runway name. It was there. Louis Vuttion, Gucci, Levi, Chanel, Dior, Rolex, all of them. I wanted a pair of shorts and a HUGE purse/small suitcase to replace my beatup old backpack. I didn’t realize that it was so high class. I didn’t get anything there. I was completely turned around anyhow. Seriously the place has a map and like 9 floors. With stained glass. I wandered down the street and ended up in H&M where I did get a pair of shorts (I need to check the size conversion. It says the US size compared to the European one but I know that often those aren’t quite accurate. If this one is, well my workout is getting kicked up a notch!). I also picked up an eyeliner, forgetting that I’d already gotten one at Sephora an hour before!
Speaking of Sephora, I tried to get Mom a tiny bottle of Chanel No. 5 like what I got when I was little since I knew it’d be expensive. No such luck. The smallest bottle was like 50 Euros at least. So I used the tester and wore it around in her honor instead. It was the best I could do. I also picked up something else for her as well as something for Sami. I had a Big Mac from a French McDonald’s for dinner. Not so bad as an Italian one but not so good as an American. I was going to keep shopping but I was tired. I need to wear better shoes next time I go out. I walked around a lot for not a lot of progress.
It’s now 11pm and I’m laying in bed watching My Fair Lady. Audrey Hepburn is so good! Such a good actress and so pretty. Oh and I’ve been switching my rooms again. For the last week I’m here some of David’s friends will be here and they’ll be staying in my little house with me. Since they’ll want to stay together, I’m switching to the back rooms. And I might as well switch now. So tonight is my last night in “my” bed and tomorrow I get a new one.