If you put your arms around me, could it change the way I feel. I guess I let myself believe that the outside might just bleed it's way in. Maybe stir the sleeping past lying under glass. Waiting for the kiss that breaks this awful spell. Pull me out of this lonely cell.
Close my eyes and hold my heart. Cover me and make me something. Change this something normal into something beautiful.
What I get from my reflection isn't what I thought I'd see. Give me reason to believe you'd never keep me incomplete. Will you untie this loss of mine, it easily defines me. Do you see it on my face. That all I can think about is how long I've been waiting to feel you move me.
Close my eyes and hold my heart. Cover me and make me something. Change this something normal into something beautiful...
And I'm still fighting for the world to break these chains. And I still pray when I look in your eyes. You stare right back down into something beautiful.
Close my eyes and hold my heart. Cover me and make me something. Change this something normal into something beautiful...
We have a group of 21 from Rhode Island right now on a mission trip for a week. There are quite a few girls in this group addicted to myspace. Probably some guys too, but it's mostly the girls buying up the internet time. Let me backtrack. Our computer that is available for guests is cranky at best. There are many notes in the reception book referring to dismembering the computer, or various references to its likely disappearance in the near future. This is because it makes guests upset, chooses to work only half the time, and needs to be restarted about five times a shift. Often we just hang the "out of order" sign on it after having to give guests their money back after the computer wouldn't work after being restarted again. Shame. So, the other night I was working evening shift and the computer had bit the dust for the night. I put up the sign, pointed a guest in the direction of the nearest internet cafe, and went back to work. Then the girls came in, and I thought, "why not give the computer one more shot?" (I was feeling a little generous towards it at that moment) so I kicked it back into gear and gave them some time. Didn't work. There were a bunch of them, and it's not pretty to mess with young teen girls, so I restarted it again. As it churned it's way awake one of the girls was almost shaking in anticipation. I heard her say, "I need this computer to work! I'm going through myspace withdrawal!" I almost wished it wouldn't work at all. But it did. *shakes head* Tonight as I was leaving the hostel, one of the girls came to buy more internet time. "It's not for me, it's for my friend" she defended. I challenged her, and another girl with her, to a myspace fast for the next few days. Good grief, they're on a 10 day missions trip that's halfway over and they can't give up myspace for a few days? They can use the e-mail instead. I know it's difficult when you're 14 years old to be separated from your friends, and staying connected via myspace must be a comfort, but there are 21 of them here! They have friends with them! haha, I love these girls though...they're not always logical, but that's ok. I think these two at least are really going to try to give up myspace for the next few days, and they asked me to pray for them and keep them accountable, so that's pretty cool. I hope they stick with it, because I think they will learn something from the experience...
I love watching the Olympics with people from different countries. Last night we were watching the hockey game and there was a girl from Sweden cheering on her country (which beat the US, yay!) and it was so fun. Yeah, and watching women's speed skating was fun too because the Dutch girl got first (deservedly. it's a Dutch sport after all) and the Canadian girl got second, so happiness abounded. I love how much pride we take in our countries when our athletes win, as if we had something to do with their accomplishments. Haha. Oh well, it is a fun experience to be such a multicultural group enjoying the Olympics together.
Hey, thanks to all who prayed for the outreach on Friday. It was a stressful afternoon, but of course God pulled us through and brought it all together. He is so good. There were quite a few guests who came, and we had some cool conversations with many of them. One of our cleaners seemed to be impacted by the slideshow also, so that's very cool. May the Lord continue to be glorified, and may we do the work He has called us to do.
On Friday my small group is doing the outreach, and it's a Hostel Night, which means that we give our guests free dinner. We decided to do a Hunger Banquet again.
Before you become confused by the oxymoron, a Hunger Banquet is when we divide the people into rich, middle class, or poor, and they are treated (and fed) according to their social divisions. It's supposed to be the same ratio as the world, but I don't think it's completely accurate, but with 50 people it's hard to be accurate. Anyhow, the poor people will sit on the floor and eat rice and water. The middle class will have more of a family style dinner, spaghetti or something, and the upper class will have a 3 course dinner with candles and waiter and sparkling grape juice. The poor people also won't be served their food right away, but will have to wait. The only rules are that you can't change to a class higher than yours. The people in middle and upper class are welcome to share with those in the poor class, but they are not obligated to do so. We don't instruct them or give them permission; we simply assign them to their classes and see what they choose to do with that. The poor are allowed to go to the tables to ask for food, but they are not allowed to sit there with them. Last time a girl at the middle class table ran over with her food and gave it to the poor people; she couldn't eat a thing. Her friend was sitting at the wealthy table enjoying her dinner, and didn't so much as blink an eye in the direction of the poor souls sitting on the floor. After everyone has eaten, we discuss how each group felt. The poor share their anger and frustration ("I thought this was a free dinner! Why didn't the rich people share! They had too much to eat! Look at all their left-overs!") and everyone has a chance to express what they were feeling the whole time. Last time a man who had been sitting at the wealthy table said, "I didn't feel anything, I didn't even notice the poor people until they complained. Now I feel guilty, but I'm full and don't have any food left to give them." After everyone has had a chance to speak, we watch a slideshow which just breaks your heart about world hunger and stuff...but it's cool because we talk about how there is enough food to go around, we just don't share it. Marco will give a talk, which is good because he is able to put into words the conflicts everyone is feeling, but he does it so eloquently and honestly. After everything, we all join together at the middle class tables and eat the extra food.
Anyhow, that's a brief summary of what is going to happen on Friday night, so I'd love it if you prayed for this outreach. Pray that we are prepared with all the information. Pray that we have good conversations with the guests. Pray that guests come! pray that staff are unified!!
I received a cute e-card from my parents today for Valentine's day, which was very nice, but it effectively destroyed all hopes I'd still entertained about possibly receiving a nice little Valentine's package, or even card, in the mail. But at least Dave shared his fruit snacks the other day from his. That counts, a little. Also, I can't complain since I still haven't sent anything for Christmas.
Matthieu is the hero of the day. He cleaned an incredibly nasty toilet (Andrew had spent an afternoon cleaning it already, and still it was completely disgusting, not to mention the reek it emitted.) and a bunch of drains. Also, he checked in a group of drunken Romanians (they weren't drunk yet, but they all smelled like alcohol) who proceeded to drink and smoke and do drugs in the dorm. I doubt they'll stay tonight, because they've received warnings and if even one of them messes up they're all out...but I suppose this isn't as bad as the guy at City yesterday who decked Jan. Crazy days, these.
If Susana's blog was still an open blog, I'd post this story there, but since it's not...I'll put it here. This morning at reception Christina got a phone call and the lady said, "I'm working on street corner. I think one of my clients is staying with you." Umm, awkward! But it was all just a big miscommunication...there's an organization called Street Corner we used to work with...it wasn't a hooker or anything.
I've decided to learn guitar. Dave convinced me. I just played an electric for the first time. I don't think I'll do that again for a looong time.
I was just looking in the concertgebouw booklet for February and saw that there's a Tsjaikovski and Brahms concert tomorrow night...only 7 euro 50 if you're under 27. and if you're not that young, it's 65 euros. So probably you won't wanna go. but if you do want to go, let me know and we can not be losers together on v-day. Otherwise, I'll just be a loser and go alone, but it'd be much more fun with other people. ok, end of the pathetic post.
random quotes: Sara: but the new Pride and Prejudice probably can't be as good as the old one because of Darcy--You know, Firth Colin or whatever me: You mean Colin Firth?
Dave: Yeah, John Elton or...Elton John maybe?
Referring to Pippi Longstockings Adeleida: She can marry a horse, of course Me: Marry or carry?
newho...I interviewed a guy today who was really nice. He got out of prison yesterday. It's funny how I come into contact with people I was completely isolated from before. And I like these people. That's really cool.
Ok, I think I'm going to eat dinner and attend outreach...should be good!
So tonight Nicole and I went on a little adventure to Leidseplein hoping to "run into" Heather Armstrong because Nicole is addicted to her blog. Heather was the first person to get fired from her job for having a blog. Now thousands of people read it daily, she gets over 200 emails a day, and she made a new word (dooced) in wikepedia. So we thought it'd be fun to try to find her in Amsterdam only knowing that her hotel is near Leidseplein. So what are the chances of actually finding her? Slim to none. But it was fun anyways. We went to the Marriott and asked if Jon and Heather had checked in yet, and they said not yet. We weren't sure if that was code for "freaks asking about guests, better shoo them away politely" or if they were being honest. Considering the fact that Heather blogged about being at their hotel already... We then jaunted through wind and rain to the American Hotel and asked them the same question. The girl looked a little upset as she kept searching and searching and kept coming up with nothing. She double checked their name with us and asked what time we thought they were supposed to check in, and then suggested that maybe it was the Crowne Plaza and we misunderstood, since they used to be a Crowne Plaza also. Nicole said something about not being sure, but it was possible and we attempted a smooth exit. So, our efforts were in vain, but it was fun, and on our way back we ran into Nick (former cleaner at the City who disappeared one day) who was smoking something questionable and invited us to a bar. Nicole smoothly refused and we chatted about life and when he'll come visit the Shelter and he wondered why everyone was avoiding him (which is strange, since no one knew where he was...) and so forth, and then we escaped and returned home to tell of our adventure. the end.
Magda...haven't seen Guido in a long time. Sad, because he has 2 pieces of mail (one from you of course). Maybe the new people have been working reception in the evening and don't know who he is? I'm keeping my eyes peeled. Maurice...strangely enough, I'm going to miss your "compliments" like "You look like a 2nd grade teacher" and "you smell like sunscreen" I'm praying for you lots
Funny that at home they just got 4 feet of snow and today I went out without a jacket. Lovely.
Today Tina said, "I found something for us to do" which reminded me of Browning's poem "Porphyria's Lover" due to the line "I found/ A thing to do..." and so yeah, that's a random connection because Tina did not attempt (or even think, I am sure) to strangle me, and regardless my hair isn't long enough. It's a good poem though, so it was fun to reread it again.
Umm, yeah, anyways...we decided to go for some exercise. Tina on her rollerblades and me on my bike...haha. So Tina was the one who really exercised, but I pulled her along sometimes when she was getting tired from the relentless wind. But it seems like everyone here went running...all separately. Funny. The doorbell kept ringing because none of them tied their keys to their shoes *except Nicole*. Anyhow, I think Tina, Nicole and I are going to go swimming now...or if not, then I'll take a nap.
oh, Rala, Tina and I will call you soon. Maybe tonight after my evening shift?
Today our neighbours decided to give their wall a shower. The dirt which previously resided on their wall changed lodgings and occupied my bike. So my bike got a bath today. Exciting, I know. Oh, but school was really good today...Freek did a good job, and I have to make a copy of his notes or powerpoint or something because I didn't take notes. Good things to think about though, thanks! Tina and I went shopping this afternoon...Cecilia, I bought those scissors finally, so we just need to find a time when our schedules mesh and I'll cut your hair. And Paulus' and Christina's...haha. But yeah, Tina and I had fun trying on dresses (like Miel and I used to...aww, miss you sis!) and stuff. And I found boots (which were cheaper and nicer than the ones you tried to convince me to buy Dave) but I didn't buy them because winter has passed and it's not worth it anymore. Ok, so today was kinda uneventful, but one funny thing happened. I got this hoodie from the lost and found that had been there for months and I washed it and whatever, so I was working tonight and was a little cold so I put it on and Ricardo said, "Oh, you have the same sweatshirt as I used to have." haha, I was like "Umm, I think this is yours. You can have it back, just not right now cuz I'm cold." Well, I thought it was amusing at least.
On the way to IKEA yesterday I taught Ryan the 8 parts of speech. He spent his time there analysing sentences trying to figure out what each word was. Good for him.
You know, all growing up when we had those calendars with the seasonal picturesque backgrounds I was alway annoyed when March had all these pretty flowers. I mean, usually there are some pretty big snow storms and a couple feet of snow waiting to melt away come March, so the whole budding and blooming didn't make sense to me. Now it is February and it's beginning to feel like spring. There has been no scent of spring in the air, unless spring smells differently here, but the air is feeling warmer and they days are getting longer (which really helps to cheer one's mood). I haven't checked the weather or anything, so probably there will be a cold snap coming still or something, but it's just an adjustment for me to understand first hand that flowers and blossoming in March may be a reality. I wonder if they still say "April showers bring May flowers" here? Except not in English with a rhyme, but who knows, it might rhyme in Dutch too?
Ok, enough blabbing about the weather. Congratulations if you've made it this far through my post. Not only because it was probably somewhat boring, but also because you've reached the end!
My friend Josh sent me a really encouraging email this morning and in it he quoted part of a book he's reading. The book is called "A Glimpse of Jesus" by Brennan Manning, and here's the section I received this morning.
It ought to be noted that the Kingdom of God is not an abstraction. It is a concrete, visible, and formidable reality forged by the personal commitment of many members. A commitment that does not issue in humble service, suffering discipleship, and creative love is an illusion. The world has no interest in abstractions, and Jesus Christ is impatient with illusions: "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand." (Matt. 7:26)." The one who talks, especially if he talks to God, can affect a great deal," writes philosopher Maurice Blondel, "but the one who acts really means business and has more claim on our attention. If you want to know what a person really believes, don't listen to what they say, but watch what they do."A life of integrity is born of fidelity to the dream. Daily we make choices that are either consistent with or contrary to the gospel vision. The mature Christian harmoniously integrates her faith, intellect, and feeling in consistent and fairly predictable behaviour patterns. The sense of serenity that springs from this internal continuity is self-acceptance. The need for approval and hunger for human respect diminish in proportion to our integrity. (The Scriptures call it righteousness, but the word has a pejorative tone in our times, as does piety, and both ought to be scrapped until such time as words are restored to their original meaning. They conjure up notions of legalism, spiritual superiority, and sanctimonious moralism that would make Jesus shudder.) Each Christian gives flesh and bone to the dream with her unique, mysterious, and irreplaceable personality. The Word of God calls into being a faith-community characterized by unity without uniformity. Jesus is the way, but his light is refracted in myriad ways by multiple personalities.
So thanks for the quote Josh. And also for making me laugh out loud...wow, I'd completely forgotten about that incident with the doorframe and the vase...maybe due to the large bump on my head?
Ok, Christina wanted me to post this story. So hopefully it's not too confusing.
Last night Marco and Sander had me over for a lekker dinner *thanks guys* and then after small group we all cycled here together and I showed them the Willem. We were in the hallway by the kitchen/library/living room I think about to go into the living room and Christina saw Marco from behind and said, "Hey Marco!" and then he turned around and she was like, "Oh, you're not Marco, sorry, nevermind. I thought you were someone else because you have the same hair as him." And then Marco was like, "Actually, my name is Marco." So it was funny because there are 2 Marco's with similar hair. the end.
Ok, hope that made sense to you. Probably it's not as funny as if you were there in person, but that's always how things work out.
Oh yeah, speaking of Marco and Sander, let's throw in Eric for good measure...check out my links with your names.
Tina just said to me, "You know what? I think we are so complicated. And then we will end up old smelly ladies with no one. Do you know how many guests we have at the hostel?" haha, I love the randomness!
Also, Zac welcome back to the blogging world! So funny. To the rest of you, click on my "shelter blogs" link and then click on Zac's name. It's worth a read.
Hey, big thanks to all who have been praying about the staff situation...we've just gotten I think 3 more people here, and 3 or 4 at the City, so woohoo! Praise the good Lord Jesus! Who knows? I might even get a vacation this month...if EasyJet decides to give me the tickets I paid for *frown* haha, but that's another story...