Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Venga, amor, venga.

I've started to despise that word "venga". It means the command come but they use it out of love too. Come eat, come help me with my homework, come over at this time, come, come, come.

What made me think of this was a conversation I had with Jenny. We were just chatting, and of course she asked me some very hard hitting questions such as:

[11/15/10 8:25:05 PM] Jenny Simburger: how was pooping in a hole?
[11/15/10 8:25:35 PM] Jamie Harling: pretty relieving, actually
[11/15/10 8:26:35 PM] Jamie Harling: I'm being beckoned now, sadly. I have to go!
[11/15/10 8:26:50 PM] Jamie Harling: look at it this way, the less we talk, the more fun stories you get to hear when I come home :)

but then, I was being "venga"'d my way into the kitchen, to eat, againnnn! One thing I'm coming back with is a bigger stomach. I'm still not sure if that's a good thing! :)

So today marks the one month return of me. I didn't realize it until I was skyping with Phil and he says:

[11/16/10 5:06:35 PM] Phil Ruppert: man oh man, i am gonna see you in a little over a month
[11/16/10 5:06:51 PM] Jamie Harling: shoot, its a month today!
[11/16/10 5:07:11 PM] Phil Ruppert: holy crap it is!!! get excited my friend

How can I actually be excited about leaving? I love it here. I love my families, I love my friends, I love my job (for now), I love the mountains, I love the beaches, I love what I'm studying, and I love what God is doing for me here. I might hate being venga'd every five minutes, but I just love it here.

The thing I have to look forward to is not only a baked potato from Ruby Tuesday's or a corn dog from Park-n-Eat, but also quality conversations about this trip and what actually happened behind pooping in a hole. I'm ready for that, but that's just about all I'm ready for.

I am here in Costa Rica and my heart is here in Costa Rica with me. In a month, right about this time, I will be stepping foot into St. Louis Airport and that statement will have to change, for now, I am here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Paz y Amor

Peace and Love. A phrase used oh-so-often by a little girl named Andrea, who I thought a lot about today as I looked down at my pink notebook and saw the sticker she gave me. Then again when I went to open my book and a picture she drew me fell out. That’s just what my trip here in San Juan has been so far, Paz y Amor.

So I'm here, in San Juan de Poaz, next to the prettiest volcano, and surrounded by mountains. I took a run (which I usually hate doing) just to see the overlooks and unbelievable mountains and it was incredible. Oh yeah, and obviously since you have already heard from me, you must know that I have internet. Scratch that, I have WIFI. :) Though I did do a bit of downloading of Dexter, today was simply packed full of fun and love. I got here and ever since then my mother has been showering me with an endless amount of love. Then I opened my devotional and found the verse in Romans 12:9 that says “Love must be sincere.” As weird as it is to be thrown around from family to family, it’s so easy to love. My family’s love is so sincere and my love for them is also. My dad met me at the bus stop, my mom made everything perfect for me at home, my dad fixed the shower the minute I walked in the door, my mom made me food, my mom rubbed my back and told me stories, my mom took me on a walk around town, my brother lets me call him mae, my sisters let me listen, my parents took me to their cabaña, my parents stopped on the road to simply let me see the scenery, my parents asked me question after question, my mom skyped with my real mom, and most of all, my family loved me from the first minute. What in the WORLD was I so worried about? Everything is good.

Yesterday I did all of the listed above, but I also took a pit stop at my school to check it out. I met the english teacher, Roxana, there that I’m working with and she spilled her secret to me....she’s leaving San Juan early and wants me to take over the class. Umm... well.... I’m in TESL and am an Ed major, but I’ve taken little to no classes to be prepared for this. What do I do? I call my mom. She always knows what to do and of course has lesson plans popping up in her head the minute you give her a theme. So that’s what I did today, I set out a lesson plans for teaching english because tomorrow, at 7 am, ready or not I’m teaching. Crazy. Thankfully I was able to talk to a dear friend tonight, Shalya, who put my heart at peace.
She said:

“just keep reminding yourself why you're there, and how wonderful you're gonna be, and that God blessed you with this wonderful talent for spanish, and you're just gonna love on these kids (i think it's kids) by teaching them english.
don't worry about it being terribly formal..just be you.

So that’s it. Tomorrow I’m going to be me and pray that it works :)

Time to brush my teeth for the fourth time today. My family has excellent teeth hygiene.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Things have changed...

Looks like I’m not going to Jocotal anymore. Road are closed, my school is closed, everything is completely flooded. Instead?...I’m headed to Poaz bright and early tomorrow to start a new internship. I’ll still be in a school, just no longer a school house. I have exactly 12 hours before I board my bus to get really, really excited for this internship! Sadly, I already put my heart in to Jocotal and I left a piece with the grieving families there. I am still praying for them daily and I know that soon enough their lives with be back in place and they will receive next semesters student with the same enthusiasm. For now, I’m just hanging out with my family, soaking up the few hours I have left here.

Here are some verses I’ve been meditating on:

“The one who has faith can do all thing.”- Mark 9:23

“Let the peace of Christ have power over your hearts. You were chosen as a part of His body. Always be thankful.”- Colossians 3:15

So that’s it: With faith I can do this new internship, I can embrace it and take in every moment. I am thankful I’m here, I’m thankful for what I have, and I am really, really thankful that I have this internship.

Dios le Bendiga, Jamie.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And I'm off...

....or almost off. I’m headed to my internship for four weeks. For weeks of solitude, with a new family, probably no internet, and no friends within hours. What am I going to do for these weeks? Well, I’m going to work, finally! I have missed work so much and now that I get to enjoy 4 long weeks of it I am beyond excited! I will be working in a school house with 14 kids Kindergarden-6th Grade. There’s one teacher and I will be her assistant and will be teaching some of the grades while I’m there! I’m glad I am going to such a small community because it means that I will be forced to get to know all 100 people of the village!
Right now all I know is that I have 4 brothers and 1 sister and a mom and dad. I know that one or two of the kids goes to the school too but that is about it. The problem is that today, the 7th, I was planned to leave at 5am to Jocotal Abajo de Asserí but it has been delayed. Asserí’s highway and then the road to Jocotal is also closed because of the landslides. The rains have been horrible here lately because of the storm on the coast and it has flooded Asserí and my town completely. Keep them in your prayers as they grieve from death and attempt to rebuild their homes. Also, there is a group of us 7 that are awaiting a time that we can leave for our internships so be praying for our patience and that everything clears up in the near future.
For now I’m just soaking up the extra days wrapping up hanging out with friends, doing some homework, and finally being able to sit down with my family and relax. I’ll be back in a month and I’ll write you all then. After that, I’m off to Panama, Miami, and before you and I both know it... I will be home in the little town of Hillsboro once again. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

God is good.

Today, today was a fantastic day. I just thought I should blog the minute I got home. I was able to just share with people today and I don't know why but I felt like a 12 year old girl on the way home, skipping and listening to music. God was present today and I needed that. Man, He's so good. So, sooo good. Thanks God for today and the amazing night I'm about to have. (aka free tickets to El Teatro Nacional to see a modern dance!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sólo Ser.

If I had to sum up Nicaragua in just a few words I would tell you all that I finally learned how to stop doing and just be. It took me the whole two weeks, but I finally have it completely down. Like Manuel, my 8 year old brother said, “You just need to be here when I get back.”

I did some crazy things in Nicaragua and I have no idea where to even start to tell you about my adventures. I guess I’ll start with where I lived. My little village in the middle of nowhere was called La Montañita 1. I lived with Hermana Ana, her daughter María, and her grandson, the cutest little boy ever, Manuel. They took me in the minute I walked in through the door and I will forever be thankful.

So what did I do? Well, my job within the community was to play with kids. I just would like to say, thank you GOD for that one. I was child-deprived. I am so used to being constantly surrounded by kids in the states and here it’s not like I can ask my 23 year old brother to play with me or my 20 year old sister if she wants to play hide-n-seek. To say the least, I would have been content with that being my only job, but it wasn’t :)

I was also able to work with the youth and children within the church. We lead Bible Studies and were just able to share our own beliefs and evangelize with those in and outside of the church. I led a children’s service twice, once in the church and once outside. We also had meetings with the youth and had a special Bible study where we simply just poured out the love the Christ has to offer. Other mission trips you’re working on a fence, or painting a building. This is essential to some trips and that’s how it was like for the majority of people on my trip. For me, it was completely different. I had to take charge to do something but I actually left knowing that I personally had left an impact on the children, the youth, and the church in general. They were so willing to learn and that made my job easy. All I needed to do was come up with a Biblical way to play “Go Fish” and I was set! :)

Of course I cannot leave out funny stories...I always have those.

Day 1: I get there and I can already tell that it’s going to be awesome. I have been on a bus for hours and I also just walked a while to get to my house so I need to go to the bathroom. Take into consideration that this is my first time going to the bathroom in a hole. I was a little worried so I was barely squatting, skirt pulled up and tucked into my shirt, and of course, underwear at the ankles. Little did I know that my trash bag door would swing open mid-pee and I would flash my 13 year old neighbor boy that I had to then play with the rest of the week. There was nothing I could do, I was standing, fully showing...so what did I do? I waved with both hands and said “lo siento”. Gooooood idea.

Day 1: 3 hours later....I feel pretty gross. I’ve been traveling around Nicaragua and I’m already dirty from just traveling there. Obviously, I need to take a shower. Little did I know that Manuel was going to scare me and I was going to jump up and flash my brother and my neighbor. hahahahaah

My house might have been tarp, cardboard, and steel. My bathroom might have been cardboard and tarp and hole in the ground. My shower might have come up to my chest and been made of white sheets full of holes. I might have slept on a hard bed on a dirt floor. I might have flashed my neighbors, ate a lot of nasty pig/pig hair, and almost killed a chicken. Oh, and I might have left a chunk of my heart in La Montañita. But over all of this, I learned that in any circumstance, it’s all about how you approach it. I wanted everything listed above and now Nicaragua rates #1 on my best experiences here.