Saturday, April 22, 2006

This week.5 in pictures

Easter Breakfast

Easter Breakfast at school last week.

I sent the kids out while I decorated the table. They weren't supposed to be looking, but they are just curious kids after all.

Even after a big breakfast some were still hungry it seems.

The Hague

My cousin Adriana came to visit us from Houston. Mom and I took her to The Hague. This was a cute little train ride by the beach in Scheveningen.

It was sunny, but still way too cold for a little Caribbean girl to jump in... and for some Dutchies as well. This is a sunny day!!!

The posh Hotel in Scheveningen.

Some nice sculptures by the sea.

Sculptures by Tom Otterness

Peace Palace.


Tourists on a lovely Canal boat tour. Each week one car falls into the canals in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Police warning all Pocket-pickers. Who knows what the bunny did.

Souvenir shop.

My cousin, the Easter Bunny, and mom.

Just had to take a picture :D

Then I got tired of walking.

Train: Amsterdam-Den Haag

Holland.... nice and flat.

...straight lines, even trees, keeping with the flat landschape.

This is around Lisse, where there is a beautiful tulip garden called Keukenhoff, which most Dutch people I know haven't been to.

I think these are daffodils?

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

- William Wordsworth

(>.<) . (o_0) . (^_^)

Angry Jimena! This is a little work project I'm doing. Some Autistic children I work with have a hard time reading facial expressions, which could put them in awkward social situations. I don't have a lot of resources and here in Holland it's not easy to find affordable material, so I'm making my own facial expressions book. I also ask people to send me their own facial expressions if they feel like it. It's all for a good cause folks!

Yesterday was a lovely day so we took the kids to a park. You can see that the tulips have started to bloom and it's making everything more colourful and warm.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Happy B-day C.D!!! \(^_^)/... op z'n Japans

Carlos David.... Feliz CumpleaƱos!!!!!

I was just sitting here looking for a nice picture of my brother to put on my blog. Today is his 20th B-day, and I'm so very happy for him. I saw some pictures I took of him when he was here with my mom on Sunday, and I saw this picture of him drinking and it reminded me of his 2nd B-day. I remember clearly that he was wearing white clothes; my dad was filming him in our back yard in Bonaire, while we waited for people to come to his party. I remember that while my dad was filming him he was drinking something but even when had finished his drink he kept holding the cup up, so all you could see where his big brown eyes smiling at the camera. My dad would ask him... "How old are you?" and he would raise one finger and then he would quickly correct himself and put two fingers up. Well, I guess today you can put two fingers up and make a zero right next to it. No voy a decir mucho, (to not embarrass you) pero espero que sepas que eres una de las bendiciones mas grandes que tengo en la vida. God bless you much.

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. - Jeremiah 33:3

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cut more... please?

I mentioned in my last post that I was looking for a place to cut my hair. I wanted to have it cut very short, but the lady that cut my hair was afraid to because my hair is curly and she thought it would curl too much. I told her that I have already had very very short hair and I could assure her that I wouldn't look like a Poodle. After asking her three times and her not doing it, I think that maybe she just wasn't feeling like cutting hair. I walked out of there looking like Queen Beatix. Her "bob and flip" look looks great on her, but would only work on me if it was "Koninginnedag". (Queen's day). So today I went to get my hair cut again... and this time I got in such a deep conversation with the guy that was cutting that I almost forgot to look at what he was doing. It was still too long, but he also told me he didn't dare to cut it more. ... I am glad I won't be on TV looking like a snoot.

Here with my long locks... nice and all, but it just had to go.

My first hair cut. Like I'm going to be bothered with snotty children looking like this!!!

Somebody please get me some tea!!!!!

So no, the hair cut was not going to work. I have to look safe, and be myself.

Today's haircut. Not short enough, but child-friendly.

The Yellow School Bus Happy Incident

So on Thursday, after work, I walked to town to get my hair cut. I was getting tired of it and decided it had to go. I had already cut my hair once very short and it was sort of symbolic at the time. But this time, I was just tired of it and I felt like a new kind of start. So, I was walking along looking for a hair salon, when I saw the yellow school bus I had already seen before. Some months ago I saw it and I found it interesting because it said "Saved" and I knew it must be related to a church. I never went up to the people, but I did take a picture of it. On this Thursday I saw a woman standing next to the bus and she was being interviewed by a guy with a camera man. I was looking at them when two guys stopped me and asked me if I was "Latina". I had seen one of them before. I had been at the train station and he came up to me and asked me if I was "Spanish". I saw he had a little flyer with young people on the cover and they seemed to be dancing, so I wrongfully assumed he was going to invite me to some 'mucho caliente' Latin party. So, I said "No...", it was a lie but then again, I thought, well it could be that he's asking if I'm from Spain, and it would give me time to get away. But then I saw he was inviting me to a Christian youth event. I felt like a "shoe". So, anyway, this same guy stopped me and asked if I was "Latina"; this time I said "Yes". And then he asked me if I could speak Spanish... and I said "Si". Then he invited me to go to a church. The other guy he was with was younger and he didn't seem to want to be there. Maybe he was a bit shy or embarrassed, he didn't say anything. But then the older guy said, "Can we pray for your foot?" And I said "sure". So the younger guy looked at me and said, "Is there something wrong with your foot?" and I said "Yes... sure." And he kept asking... "How did he know that? How is that possible?" Anyway, I followed the older guy and we got on this yellow bus. The camera man also followed. So, I'm in this bus with the two guys, the camera man, and then they called the lady that was being interviewed before. They asked me what was wrong... what had happened to me, so I told them my story. Then they said they were going to pray for my healing and that it would be cool because it was all on camera!!! So... ok, the older guy put oil on my forehead and they prayed, and I listened. It was all going so fast that I wasn't really in the moment, but soon enough I also started to pray in my heart, for them, for their ministry. At the end, they asked me how I felt, and I told them that I felt good. So, the guy was telling me how God had started His healing process right then. So I thanked them and told them that I knew I would be healed if it was His will. When they prayed they didn't say for God's will to be done, and that's very important for me. So the older guy said "It is His will for you to be healed!". So, I told them that I and many people have prayed for my healing, but I also reminded them of Paul's thorn in his flesh, and how he asked the Lord three times to take it away, but the Lord said. "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." The older guy had sort of stopped listening because he thought it was important that I had been filmed and that they would be able to show my healing later on. I could sort of sense that he was getting a bit impatient with me. The younger guy was all ears and eyes, and so was the lady. Then I told them that I had actually stopped praying for my healing. If people want to pray for me, great! I appreciate it, but I have stopped. It is not because I don't believe God can heal me, or is not willing to heal me, nor is it because I don't want to be healed. But about three months ago, while I was praying for my healing a thought hit me. When Jesus resurrected, when he rose again he appeared to his disciples. He was talking to them, he was alive, and he even asked for something to eat, but he still had holes in his hands. Why? All I know that if he hadn't had those scars and wounds Thomas wouldn't have believed it was Jesus. And then I thought about myself, and I thought that if my wounds and pains can help someone come to Christ, then so be it. A Christian I've heard is like a little Christ. - Anyway, I shared this with them and the lady looked at me and said, "You do love God!", and I said "Yes, I do. I really do." And then she told me that she had been blessed an encouraged. The older guy gave me a hug and told me he could tell that I loved God. I walked out of there feeling light. I think their prayers did help me. Here is the thing though...I'm going to be on TV. I don't know when, it's going to be on a Friday, and that's fine and all, but I was thinking, "Lord, I'm blessed once again to see how you have planned my day, but couldn't I have been filmed after I had gotten my hair done?" - You will see the answer in my next post. Bless His name.

Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ'’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - II Cor 12:8-10

Friday, April 14, 2006

"eScopala Leonardo!!!"

Yesterday was a lot of fun. We were able to use the gym, so the PE teacher told me he could take us and play some games there with the kids. Last time we were there I told him we should play a "kicking the ball" game, so he suggested we play Football. (I hadn't suggested football because I didn't think all would understand the game, so I thought we should just do a simple game which involves kicking a ball) We didn't have a lot of kids because some are away on vacation, but we were able to make two teams. In one team we had a Dutch/British 4 year old, an Italian 4 year old, a Nigerian 4 year old, and a Polish 2.5 year old girl. Two of the older kids have special needs. The other team had a Dutch/British 4 year old (twins), a Spanish 3 year old, a Spanish/German 2.5 year old, and a Spanish/Dutch 3 year old girl. So, one girl in each team. Now... I love Football and as soon as I saw the teams I started to get into the World Cup spirit. Germany, Spain, Italy, England and Holland are all good teams. I'm not sure about Nigeria, but African football is strong as well. No South American countries were represented, but hey, I'm Colombian... so it's ok. (even if Colombia is not going to the World Cup) The game starts. Now, these little 2.5 year-olds didn't get the game, and whenever I pointed to where they had to kick, they thought I meant that they had to stand over there and would leave the ball behind. The Polish girl sort of gave up half way through when she saw the boys were a bit too rough. One of our goalies quit as soon as the other team scored their first (and only) goal. We replaced the goalie and the new one miraculously stopped the ball by just standing there. The ball would hit him and bounce off. Then he got tired of standing so he started to play with the orange cones we had put up. The autistic boy just followed the ball and kicked it all over the place even scoring reversive goals if that makes sense. The other girl kept running up to me so I would pick her up and smile at her, then she would skip around unaware of what was going on. The 2.5 year old boy thought he had to pick up the ball whenever it was near him and throw it to one of the teachers. Add to all this language problems. You have to throw in Spanish, Dutch, English, Italian, and an occational "Tak" for the Polish girl. I ended up screaming things like "eScopala Leonardo!" Which is Spanutch or Dutnish in this case for "Kick it Leonardo!". Was it a disaster? Yes, but it was a lot of fun. And, as in every team we had a star. My little Nigerian boy was amazing. He was one of the goalies at one point and he knew to stay in his place, he would catch the ball whenever it was near him, and would even dive in to stop it. When he had it, he would kick it as far away as possible in the opposite direction. A real star. Then once we were back in class, after we had lunch they were all tired so I read them a story; "Peter and the Wolf" with music and all. Then we played musical chairs. This time I played some samba (can't leave Brazil our of the World Cup) for the game and after the game they said they wanted to dance some more, so I gave them maracas and tambourines and we danced some more. I don't really want to post pictures of my kids, but I hope you can imagine how much fun and colourful our days can be.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Consider the flowers

Today was a great day; the kids were amazing. Actually, I knew it would be a good day as soon as I saw one of the little boys come in. He's one of my special needs children and last week he wasn't talking at all, and he was very sad and didn't want to play much. I was wondering if maybe he was just too sensitive to what was going on, but today he had a big smile and talked all day. I thought I would just write a bit about Saturday. On Saturday was Vicky's cremation ceremony. I was asked recently what people here in Holland believe about life after death. I can't generalize, but it's been my experience that most people don't really believe in God or life after death. There are some Christians and there are also some people who believe in the cycle of life for example... I've been explained that there is this cycle where your dead body goes through it's process and becomes food for plants or animals, and so forth... so part of you ends up in a flower, tree... or river. But then, even though a lot of people talked during the ceremony nobody mentioned where Vicky's body would probably end up. Nobody even thought of her as being dead. Her daughter mentioned how she was somewhere away on vacation, the others also talked about how she was on a long trip, and one said she was sleeping... Vicky also left a note that was read at the end. She thanked everybody for all they did and meant to her. She said she wished she could have had the opportunity to thank everybody personally, and also told us to look to the back.... so we all turned around, and after a long pause everybody laughed as she had just made her last joke and fooled us all. I don't remember but I think she mentioned she was going to a better place.

The ceremony wasn't religious in anyway... but it does raise a lot of spiritual questions. You could ask..."What happens when she wakes up, if you say she is sleeping?" or, "What happens when the vacation is over?", "How long is this long trip going to be?" - There were over 300 people. I was trying to sort of blend in and push my tears back as most people did, but... at the end, when we were asked to walk by Vicky, I followed the crowed, and then I went to where her daughter and husband were. Most people gave a hand so I also went to do so, but the girl got up and hugged me, and then I gave her husband a hand and he said "Thank you." Then... I saw my colleagues and I told one of them I needed a hug and just cried. Everybody else seemed to be calm, and they weren't crying as bad as I was. Her daughter was as cool as a cucumber, her husband's eyes were all red and watery, but I think... maybe I just felt something else. After I got home I got a message from my boss telling me that Vicky's husband had invited us all to a pub for a drink. I know it sounds bad to some of you, but for some reason it didn't sound so bad to me as I wanted to go back and be with them. I thought he had just invited a few people and I wanted to be part of it. So, I walked to the pub which is close by. There were tons of people, the music was loud, it was smoky, and there wasn't anyone from work. People saw me walk in so I thought it wouldn't be polite to turn around and leave which is what I felt like doing... so, I greeted some people and then I thought I would drink something and leave. Her husband also saw me and asked if I wanted something to drink, so I told him I was just going to the bar to get something. I sat at the bar looking around. Nobody seemed sad, because we weren't there to mourn, we were there to celebrate Vicky. As I looked around all I could think was "Drink and be Merry, for Tomorrow we Die." That's just what I was reading in their faces. All those nice "long trip" and sleeping stories are fine and all for a memorial service, but we all know that we die... and that's it! When I had drank half of my beverage some of my colleagues came and I stayed to talk to them. Most were making toasts to Vicky and talking about work. Then a very nice thing happened. Vicky's husband came up to me, and thanked me for my e-mails. He said they were appreciated by Vicky. He didn't know if Vicky had replied, but he had read them all and wanted to thank me for them. I think maybe he felt something in his heart. I don't know, but for that short time it seemed as if we were having a simple, sincere conversation in a quiet garden. Then my colleagues left and I actually stayed... well, see, I was talking to my boss who was very talkative so I figured I should stay with her until she began to sing and I didn't know the songs. When I was about to leave I went to say bye to Vicky's husband, and he thanked me again for coming and asked if I was going to keep writing e-mails. I was a bit surprised but I told him that I would if he would read them. He said he would.

I really want to encourage everybody to always share and share whatever it is the Lord puts in your heart. Because one time a friend shared with me what he heard from a pastor, then I shared that with Vicky on my last e-mail to her, and when she called the school the day before she died she shared what I had told her with another colleague, who then shared it with me. This is almost perfect expect that I'm human and in my excitement I forgot to be humble and I said..."Oh, that's what I told her in my e-mail!!!!" That was dumb... but do share!

I would also encourage you to pray for us, even if you don't know them, even if you don't know me. I don't know that I can or am always willing to share in my heart, but I do know that we all need to know of the great hope that we have in Jesus Christ. That we don't have to just eat, drink and be merry in our flesh because there is nothing more to life. There is more to life, and I dare say that if we all look within we would also think so.

"In Hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began..."
Titus 1:2

By the way, the pictures are of two beautiful bouquets my mom and I got. My mom works with flowers and sometimes she is gets beautiful bouquet's like these. I got the pink one!!! :D

Friday, April 07, 2006

On being a child

Yesterday I started a drawing course. I like drawing and painting so I figured I should learn how to do it properly. I really do hope I finish the course... please Jimena! I've had this book for quite some time and it always seemed interesting but I just never took the time to do it. So, the first assignment was to draw yourself by looking in a mirror. It took me about 20 minutes; I was just drawing lines here and there, some curves before really looking at the picture. Then at the end I looked at it and I didn't really think it looked like me, but it still looked vaguely familiar. Turns out I think it looks a lot like my dad! I saw a picture of my dad when he was younger some months ago and really... the mouth, the nose. I know that of the three of us (siblings) I look the most like my dad, so it was really funny to sort of recognize him on my drawing of me. I think it must be amazing to recognize yourself in your children. The other day at school I was really touched when I made a realization. I have mentioned this verse before. Jesus said:

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

He also said:

"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
(Matt 18:3, 19:14)

I've always thought these verses to mean that we have to be innocent and honest like children, and that was a good enough explanation for me. But something hit me the other day at school. The kids had just finshed making drawings and as we were about to tidy up they ran to me so I would write their names and... maybe you can guess, to write "For Mommy" or "For Daddy". On some rare occasions they will offer them to me, but I practically see this everyday. So when I was putting their drawings away, I was thinking about how most of the children in my classroom show that they love their parents and look up to them. And I thought... wow, this is what being a child is like as well. Loving our Heavenly Father, wanting to be like Him, wanting to offer Him praise and worship. Wanting to walk with Him, eat with Him, play with Him. Talk to Him.... tell Him all about your day, your friends, your pains, your joys and tell everybody else about Him.
I remember that when I was a child I wanted to be just like my dad, and I remember how once he went to work and he forgot to say good-bye to me, and that just broke my heart. I cried and cried until my mom called him to tell him that he had to say bye to me. When he got back home I was so relieved to see that he wasn't upset at me, that it was all a mistake and not that he didn't love me anymore. Now as an adult I can also relate more to my mom and I admire her for being a great mom and hope to one day maybe be able to be even if only a bit as good a mother as she is. It's incredible when I think about what my mom and dad mean to me, and how there are times when only their comfort or support will do. Like when I was trying to bike again last year. My balance is very bad and I'm so afraid of falling, my legs are weak and I was scared to death almost, yet knowing that my dad was there... just his presence was enough to give me the confidence I needed. And off I went... just like a bird. So too, we are told that when we put our hope on the Lord, our strength will be renewed and we will soar on wings like eagles. How fortunate I am to have 19 wonderful little models of what it is like to be a child and love a parent with all our heart.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The day after

Yesterday I got to tell the kids about Vicky's death. I thought it would come as a shock to them or I was sort of expecting confusing reactions from them, but the only comments I heard were these. "I know how to say 'dead' in Dutch!" and, "Did she die in a car?", bless their hearts. I guess I'm relieved that the news didn't really hit them too hard, or perhaps they just don't really understand, which is ok. Then we talked about where to put Vicky's leaf and some wanted it on the cloud, some on the sun, I wanted it on the rainbow so it would stand out and all agreed except this little girl what wanted it on the cloud, so... I just told her that if it was on a cloud, it might be blown away by the wind... and she didn't think that was good. So... she's on the rainbow. I don't know how long we'll have her there, but I think it's good for some time in case they have questions and want to know more about it. Today they made some drawings for her. On Saturday there will be a ceremony for Vicky, and she wanted the kids to make a lot of drawings for her. Most of them wanted to make rainbows, or rainbow spaghetti. I still find all of this very bizarre and it's still very sad, but a mom made my day today when she told me that she wanted me to know that she was really impressed with our work with the kids. She can see a very big change in an autistic boy we have in class. She mentioned how before he would bump into her and not really realize it, but now he is looking at her and smiling and just seems more 'there'. She is also happy about how her daughter is doing and told me that the girl really looked up to me. Joy!!! :D

I'm still working on Vicky's song. Now it's just called "Heavenly peace". I was thinking that if I can get it all ready I might sing in on Saturday. We are going to be planting a tree in Vicky's office. I don't know if I will, but I will pretend I will so I keep working on it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Rest in Heavenly Peace

Miss Vicky passed away today at 14:30. This day has just been unreal. I was told in the morning that Vicky had decided to leave on this day, but we didn't know at what time or any other detail. Then during outside play one of my colleagues called me to tell me that they had gotten a message from her. She had sent the other teachers messages on their mobile saying good-bye, and they wanted me to check my mobile to see if I had gotten one too. I checked for them, but I didn't get one. So, ok, we cried a bit in the office and after resting a bit I went back to be with the kids. I was painting with the kids when the doorbell rang at about 11:30 and I saw my colleague just ran out the door. I didn't know what he had seen and just continued painting with the kids. Then he walked back in and told me that Vicky's daughter had come to school to bring Vicky's key and to bring something for me. So, I went out, my hands all red and green from paint, and I saw her daughter. She went to the office with the director and I went right in with her. So, she told us that Vicky had decided to drink her drink at 14:00. She also told us that when they had been to Egypt on vacation some time ago Vicky got a something from a lady there that she had been carrying in her wallet, and she wanted me to have it. She pulls out this little card with the face of Jesus on the cross. On the other side it has someone that looks like a priest or a king or so, I can't figure out what it is. It surprised me very much that Vicky, of all people, would have this in her wallet. I obviously thanked her for it and I hugged her and told her to give Vicky a big hug from me, and to thank her for it. She left and I just sort of crumbled all over again. I had to be back in class but while a teacher read a story to the kids I went to the kitchen and found a corner to sit and cry and thank God in my heart. Then the psychologist came after me to comfort me and that was nice, but I did tell her that I was very thankful in my heart. I finished work at 14:00. When the kids left we all went to a little garden outside where Vicky used to smoke...(she used to call it her office), and we just hugged each other and I prayed in my heart. I find that it is really interesting to see how people cope with death and dying. Some wanted to smoke in her honour, some were making jokes, others cried silently... We were there until about 14:30. Then I left to go grocery shopping. When I got home I sat down and started to play the guitar and I just made up a song. I don't know where it came from and mind you I only know how to play like 4 chords, but I just sang for a while. Then a colleague called to tell me that Vicky had passed away at 14:30. Now that I think of it, it intrigues me because, as I understand it takes about 4 hours to die from taking this drink, so 30 or less minutes is a short time. I guess it has to do with a person's physical condition, but most people that take it are probably in bad shape anyway. I say all this because I wonder if the Lord just didn't decide to take her sooner. Anyway, I was here at home not feeling well, so I just walked back to work, and I cried a bit more with some people there, and then I got to work. I made a rainbow, some clouds and a sun and put it over our tree in the classroom. I thought I would do it today so that when the children come in tomorrow it will already be there as I know I'll have to tell them about it. While I was making it Vicky's daughter came back to school to see us and tell us how it went, and she told me that she had to give me a kiss from Vicky. Her daughter is only 17 and looks just like her. After I got back home I just worked a bit more on the song, which I called "Rest in heavenly peace", (which by the way doesn't sound like, 'Sleep in heavenly peace') and... that's all folks. I feel peace in my heart. Perhaps it's the kind of peace God gives that surpasses understanding, but it is peace, and I will rest in it.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Remember me

This morning at work the school psychologist came up to me to ask how I was doing and how my weekend was. I told her that I was feeling very good, that I got a message from Vicky and that I felt peace in my heart. I was able to share with Vicky and tell her what was on my mind and the fact that she responded means a lot to me. Everybody else seems to have had a very difficult day because today could have been "the day". I don't know at this point, and maybe we won't know tomorrow either, but I think by Wednesday we will know what happened. She also told me that I really had to talk to the kids this morning about what was happening. I really didn't feel like doing it. There were also 4 way more experienced professionals at school that also know the kids and I thought they should be the ones to do it, but as none of them wanted to I went ahead and talked to the kids during Circle-time. I had been praying about how to talk to them about all this. Anyway, I think it went well and the other teachers also said that it had gone well. I have a 'tree' in my class and I also have some birds with the names of the children and leaves with the names of the teachers on them, and whenever we have Circle-time the kids can come up and put their names on the tree. We still have Vicky's name on a leaf, so I took it out today and I showed it to them and stuck it on the tree. Some recognized Vicky's name, and they commented on how she hadn't been at school, and I explained that she was very very sick and wouldn't be coming back to school. One of the little boys said he would make her some juice... Apple juice to make her feel better. So, I told them that indeed when we are sick sometimes our mommies and daddies do make us juice or soup to make us feel better, but sometimes people are so sick, like Vicky, that Apple juice just doesn't help so much anymore and they can't come to school anymore. So, I took Vicky's name and showed them how just like the trees outside loose their leaves so too, Vicky's name (leaf) was going to fall off the tree, and I put her on the ground for now. They seem to have understood that being on the tree means that you are in the classroom, and Vicky being on the floor means that she won't be coming to class anymore, eventhough we can still see her name and know who she is. I didn't really plan any of this but what my colleagues want now is for us to put up some clouds over the tree and a rainbow and once we know that Vicky has passed away we can put her name up there in 'heaven'. I find it interesting that they suggested this as none of them are believers of... anything it seems, but if there is a great thing about all this it's that we are able to share how we experience things and I can share about how having faith does help us cope. One thing that has helped me in particular is that though we are all saved by grace through faith in Jesus, we are all unique and things are going to work out differently in each of us. One story that has been on my mind is that of the criminal on the cross next to Jesus. He might have never seen Jesus before and perhaps had never heard about Him, but yet while being there close to Jesus he understood that he was getting the punishment he deserved for his deeds, but Jesus had done nothing wrong and was still willing to die. The story is in Luke 23, so you can check it out if you want, but what touches me is how open Jesus is, how there are no but's. The guy said, "Jesus, remember me when you are in your kingdom", but Jesus didn't say... "Well listen, first you must become a member of our fellowship and buy our Heavenly Team t-shirt. Or, "First you have to send in an application, and once you are accepted you must learn all the commandments by heart and share with at least 20 people. Mind you there is a waiting list." He didn't say..."I understand you want to, but remember what you did that one time on this and that day? We could maybe get you into paradise, but you really messed up back then... I don' t know man, I'll have to talk to my Dad first." What did Jesus say?

"And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." - Luke 23:42-43

I don't know about you, but that really touches my heart. To think that Jesus already loves us no matter what, that He already desires to be with us eternally even when we haven't even thought about it before, and he accepts us as we come. All we have to do is reach out to Him... that's all.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Eku Ojobi!

I almost didn't go, but then I changed my mind... or a friend sort of changed my mind. He mentioned how kids Birthday's are so few, and that's right. They are kids and then they grow up and no more kid parties. Besides this was his first one. I didn't really think I would be in the mood for a party, but life must go on. It was just a bit odd to think how in the same city a person was celebrating his first Birthday, and another person might have just lived her last day. Anyway, Tariq is half Antillean half Nigerian and the party was of mostly Nigerians so they played a lot of Nigerian music. Nigerians are very lively people and eventhough I kind of stood out they really made me feel welcome and I really enjoyed myself. I thought everybody was kind and also very funny. They played some salsa for me, but too bad I couldn't get up and dance. I'm going to have to get some Nigerian music for fun. I have a little Nigerian boy in my class, and I think his parents have a cool accent, so everytime I try to speak with a Nigerian accent he smiles, but also looks at me like I'm crazy. Ok, an now a go an have som sleep.

Tariq had a super cool cake with his own picture on it! I have to figure out how they do that. I guess they scan a picture on munchable paper. The colours are amazing though.

And here we are. I like him because he doesn't cry when I'm holding him and he's a cuttie! He's also starting to walk and dance.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu...

Today was the last day at my old apartment. This place wasn't really my style, but there were some things about it that I really liked and will miss. The gnome, the dinning room, the 'womb' and the wild garden. When it was nice weather I would sit with the gnome in the garden. Maybe it's lazyness but I personally liked knowing that I could have a little piece of land where plants grew wildly in the centre of a busy city. It felt like a secret garden/jungle. In the dinning room each chair was different. I used to have fun chosing which chair I felt like sitting on for dinner, breakfast, or lunch sometimes. I also liked the black chair I called the 'womb', because everytime I sat on it to watch a movie I just automatically curled up and it felt nice and cozy... sigh*

This is the "Womb". Some people didn't think it was comfortable, but I really liked it.

This was is the "Queen" chair. I think this chair is elegant and I loved the colour. I liked to sit on it when I felt like a queen. :)

This is the "Bread and Tea" chair". It was just a simple kind of chair that I enjoyed for breakfast.

This was the "Standing chair". It wasn't very heavy and it's stready so a great chair to stand on whenever I needed to change a light bulb or reach something up high. Also very nice to sit on.

This was the "Throne"... king of the chairs. A very comfortable chair.

This is what they all looked like together.

And this is the garden. Can you see the gnome?