Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tok to Me

"Yes, we are all different. Different customs, different foods, different mannerisms, different languages, but not so different that we cannot get along with one another. If we will disagree without being disagreeable." ~J. Martin Kohe

"We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary." ~Booker T. Washington

Back when we were "headed to Cameroon," a Haitian friend at church began trying to teach me French. I'm not sure if he noticed or not, but every time I would see him he would end up teaching me the same phrases over and over again. It is my opinion that I don't really have a "thing" for languages, if you know what I mean.

I say I am not sure he noticed because last Sunday at church he told me that he just knew I "have a better mind for learning languages" than my husband does. (excuse the outburst...) BWAAAAA HAA HAAA!

I disagree

All I really mastered was "Bonsoir, Messieur," and "Comment ca va?" Just enough to get him to rattle off a paragraph or two of meaningless French, in response to which I would smile hesitantly and reply, "Pardon?"

Today, for the first time, I got to hear a taste (sorry to mix senses) of the language we will learn in PNG, a Pidgin English called "Tok Pisin." In this two and a half minute YouTube video, a Papuan woman (woman = "meri") tells the story of the seven days of creation. Though you probably will not catch every word, if you listen closely, you can follow the story.

Just as a refresher,
Day 1: Day and night
Day 2: Heaven and earth
Day 3: Separated water from land
Day 4: Sun, moon, and stars
Day 5: Water and air creatures
Day 6: Land critters (including humans - what was he thinking?)
Day 7: Sittin' back in the easy chair with his feet propped up, holdin' a cold drink, eatin' chips, and watchin' football on the big-screen


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Progress at the Power-Tool Black Hole

Welcome to my side of the galaxy. Be careful to dodge the debris.

With apologies to those from whom I have borrowed power tools, we am now on our third weekend of this project that really should have taken two days. I skipped last weekend entirely, putting as much distance between the floors and my hormones as possible. Oh, and trying to figure out how to proceed.

To answer your questions, no, I have not pulled out the floor I previously installed, yes, it still moves to some degree, yes, I did try leveling the rest of the floor before I started laying planks, yes, the table saw works beautifully, no, I have not cut off any appendages, yes, I plan to finish the last 200sf of the task before deciding what to do about the first 300sf, yes, this part has many more angles and requires significantly more cutting, no, I will not come help you install your laminate, yes, I will tell you enough so that you can learn from my mistakes, yes, I have tracked Ike for an entire week, yes, I am disappointed that we did not get more of Ike, yes, I am a weather junkie, no, I do not have a long lost cousin named Allison in Cleveland, and yes, I am finished with this post.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Match Made in Heaven?

"Few people even scratch the surface, much less exhaust the contemplation of their own experience." ~Randolph Bourne

"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." ~Auguste Rodin

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." ~Matthew 11:29

I love a challenge. On my own terms, that is. This is why I start these outlandish projects such as tiling (having never tiled before in my life.)

My husband is always more hesitant, asking, “Uh … are you sure you want to rip that [baseboard, linoleum, carpet, etc, etc] out?”

Yes, I do. Because if I don’t I will never fix it.

Excuse the random comparison, but I am like that with socks, too. If a sock has a small hole, it is wearable. If a sock has a large hole, but stays on the appointed foot, it is still wearable. Therefore, I cannot throw away an old sock unless it is completely beyond use or repair. What, you ask, if it is getting close and, though most sane people would just throw it away, it doesn’t meet my definition of destroyed? Aha! I destroy it! Yes! I must rip the hole in the sock so that it is, say, large enough to step completely through, and then, and only then, can it be disposed of. The same holds true for undergarments, T-shirts, and the like. They must pass the point of no return before they can be trashed.

As for home improvement projects that are beyond my expertise or skill, well, I can Google with the best of them, … and follow instructions. I made a few minor goofs with the five tile projects back in the spring, but I was able to get them straightened out, or at least repaired so the error was all but unnoticeable.

Yes, a challenge I like. But, after this past weekend, I have to say I have met my match.

There really are no other words to describe it: I have met my match.

After several false starts, true starts, rip-outs, and re-starts, I believe we have made just about every error we could possibly make. On Saturday, the day I originally hoped to have the entire project knocked out, I retreated several times to my son’s room (most rooms were inaccessible, blocked by various living room furniture pieces) in tears. I will spare you the details of the fits I threw, but let’s just say, I gave up for good. Repeatedly.

(living room in the kitchen)

Each time, the surrender lasted approximately 5-10 minutes before my other personality, Mrs. Stubborn Face, emerged, determined that she would not be beaten by this ridiculous project.

Mrs. Stubborn Face would set her jaw and grit her teeth and try, try again for, oh, say, 20 minutes before Ms. I-Can’t-Take-This-Anymore would take over and run crying down the hall.

Mostly, I just wanted to set the whole house on fire.

Sunday, my husband and I (with the kids’ help, yes) managed to get the entire Living Room (about 60% of the job) finished and the furniture replaced. I even washed the curtains that had been hanging for almost four years without being laundered. Life was grand.

Then we began to notice the soft spots. By Monday evening, I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“I can’t live with this,” I told my husband. “I am going to have to take it out and fix the floor.”

It was his turn to consider burning the house down.

Meredith, remember the conversation we had late last week? About how wonderful I am? (Sorry, everyone … please don’t read anything into that. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give my friend Meredith a good laugh.)

Another friend asked me what I thought God was trying to teach me through all this.

What? That I should have slit my wrists on Friday?

If I have indeed met my match, I do hope it is a match “made in heaven.” I’d hate to waste such a “great experience” (uh-huh) and not have learned something that was divinely inspired. While I am still working on it, I have identified a few of the lessons God may be trying to get me to learn.

1. There is no substitute for having the right tools.

2. Measure twice, cut once. (Oh wait - that was Genny.)

3. I still have some residual “fear of failure” issues.

4. Sheer stubbornness cannot replace “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

5. Never schedule a project with this much potential for stress during hormonal surges.

6. I can’t do everything.

7. I can’t do everything … and it’s okay.

OK, Meredith. You can stop laughing now. =)

We are missionaries serving God and the task of Bible translation by serving the missionary community in Papua New Guinea through Personnel Administration and MK Education. We thank you for your prayers!

For the Bibleless Peoples of the World ...

(Updated 13 April 2013)