Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The next five months

Okay, so here's the scoop:

August 1-14: Roanoke, VA: working at Bed Bath & Beyond, idolizing Grand Rapids, listening to music, watching TV, cooking food for my parents.

August 16-23: Grand Rapids, MI: staying up late, drinking wine, having fun. Staying with Joke and Tonya and maybe some other people.

August 23: Fly from Grand Rapids to Washington, DC; from DC, fly to London.

August 24-28: London: staying at a hostel and doing fun things.

August 28: Fly from Heathrow to Ghana with the Calvin group.

August 28-December 13: Ghana: living at the University of Ghana's International Student Hostel. 18 other Calvin students are going on this trip, as well as one Calvin professor. My parents are coming to visit me over American Thanksgiving!

December 13-14: Fly back to the US, make photo albums.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Jesus loves me, but I don't like my customers.

This was today: I am learning to knit, so I got up early and did that for a while and read The New Friars: The Emerging Movement Serving the World's Poor by Scott Bessenecker. It really is a wonderful book. It's giving me hope for an authentic future in the Church. My aunt and uncle spent the night last night, so we had a big breakfast, and then I piddled away the day knitting, reading, and organizing pictures on the computer. It was not the most thrilling day that I have ever had. However, it was relaxing.

I went to work at 5 pm and was greeted with a tidal wave of customers. One customer was extremely particular about her coupons, making sure that I was doing it exactly right and giving me directions for the best way to scan them. I gave her the ::deer in the headlights:: smile for the whole time and nodded, saying "Yes, Ma'am" and "No Ma'am."

When I gave her the bag, she said "Jesus Loves You, you know." I smiled, with the same look on my face, and said "Thank You." It was such a strange interaction... I wasn't sure how to take it. It was almost like the families who leave tracts instead of tips at restaurants.

And then, when we get down to it, my reaction was strange. Why did I say "Thank You" with a half smile/ half grimace on my face instead of something else? I could have said "I know, and I'm so glad! What church do you go to?" or "I know that. But this is a strange time for spontaneous ministry, after you have just belittled me by telling me how to do my job." or "just because I have short hair doesn't mean that I don't know Jesus." Instead, I said "Thank You" because it is a conditioned response, said a hundred times a day after people wish me good day.

Coupons do strange things to strange people. Retail has made me cynical and reductionistic. I am ready to get out of this country.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Everybody's doing it

This seems to be the thing to do when one leaves the country. I am leaving the country, so it naturally follows that I will keep a blog while I am away.
I leave for Ghana in about a month. Before I go, I will have a four day stopover in London. There, I am staying at a little hostel in Deptford called The Bird's Nest. It sounds like it will be interesting. Bands play there on the weekends, and it's in a working class neighborhood that has a reputation for being artistic.
This summer has been an experience for me. I've been at home, feeling like a bit of a friendless oaf, but this is only applicable while I am in Roanoke. In other parts of the world, I assure myself, I have plenty of friends. To pass my time I work at Bed Bath & Beyond, selling sheets and dinnerware to people who do not need anything more in life, but who feel the desperate need to spend $500 on their credit cards. I have become judgemental and petty, and have begun to dress like a dowdy Aeropostale employee. That is to say, I look very normal, but it is a boring kind of normal.
Anyway, that's about it. I have been positively horrible to my poor mother today. I am a resentful daughter. Oh well.