Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Life in the Barrio

So most of you know that basically, we moved to the mexican ghetto (aka the barrio). I absolutely love it here. A couple posts back I mentioned the neighborhood ministry we've started here, and I just wanted to give a quick update.

Things have been going well. Obviously, there are some kids we are getting to know better than others. Today might have been the coolest day yet. I got home from work to find 4 kids playing in our front yard. So I talked to them for a minute, and then asked if they wanted to help me make rice krispy treats. Clearly, that was a hit. The next thing I know, we've got 8 kids in the house eating rice krispy treats and begging us to go play in the yard with them. Liz and I took them outside and played games - soon we had 12 kids in our back yard.

After the mosquitoes started to attack, we came inside for sweet tea and I popped in a movie to chill them out a little. Like I said, there were 12 kids, ranging in age from 6 to 13. They were all just thrilled that they got to come over and hang out - it's so cool to have the opportunity to build solid relationships with them. I'm so excited that they LIKE us! It's amazing how well kids respond when you spend time with them.

Anyway, if you could pray about that it would be greatly appreciated. For guidance for us, for the kids, and for our relationships with their families, so this can continue.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Trees... trees... TELEPHONE POLE.... trees... trees...

This weekend I decided that it would be fun to take some of my favorite kids camping at the beach. Harmless enough, right? I knew it would be chaotic, but figured I could handle it and we left Friday after work. We got there late and set up the tent, grilled some hot dogs, walked around the beach - it was pretty laid back and all was going well.

12:30am. The kids decide to go to bed, the boys in their tent and the girls and I outside on a tarp with our blankets.

1am. A SUV rolls up full of people - 3 guys and 3 girls, roughly my age. They're loud. Really loud. Country music blaring from the car, starting fires, and generally being obnoxious. I gave it half an hour before I about lost it.

1:30am. I go over to them and ask them to turn down the music. I get a non-commital "What? Oh sure." I go back and lay down again.

1:45am. Pretty sure it's getting ridiculous. I decide to go find one of the cops patrolling the beach. When that failed, I called the non-emergency Carolina Beach Police line. They said they'd send someone out. We go back to our site and lay down, waiting for them to get there.

2am. Random guy from SUV approaches. Drops his pants. Our conversation went something like this:

Guy with his butt hanging out: Where's my bon fire? I seem to have lost my bon fire. Can you tell me where my bon fire is?
Me: You really need to leave.
Guy With His Butt Hanging Out: I can't find my bon fire.
Me: These girls are 13 years old. You really need to get out of here.
Guy With His Butt Hanging Out: (voice cracking) Really?!
Me: Yeah. Go.

Meanwhile, Girl In Bikini is kneeling beside the boys tent taking picture of the whole thing. Because you ALWAYS want to document your flashings. Duh.

The slight panic in his voice was definitely classic.

I grab the girls and we walk down the beach a little, not wanting to hang out by random half naked guy.

2:05am. Cops arrive. Complete overkill, two huge vehicles, one of which is a ridiculous humvee. Blue lights flash all the way down the beach. The kids and I wait in the truck and watch them bust the drunkies... one girl burns her foot on a hot coal, general ridiculousness ensues. The verdict? Can't put them on the road and make them leave, so they drive them down to the other end of the beach away from us and all was well with the world.

A night in the life... you wish you were me. Don't lie. ;-)

PS - if you're confused about the title... don't be, it shouldn't make any sense to you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Out of My Element...

So let's talk about the real world vs. the music industry. Because seriously, I am so out of my element here. I'm adjusting. Slowly. But anyone who knows what the music industry is like can understand this... in my office, I could pretty much wear whatever I wanted. There was no dress code. If they'd ever asked me to wear pantyhose, I probably would have laughed. My dog came to work with me. We broke out wine for meetings at 2pm and served it in coffee cups. Dog walking breaks were totally normal, as were random popsicle and smoothie field trips. And that's pretty standard fare on Music Row.

This month, I'm temping at a medical firm in RTP. Which is great, don't get me wrong. I really like it here. But this whole 9-5:30, pantyhose-requiring, grown up office is taking some getting used to. The scary thing is, I'm sort of enjoying it. I always thought I'd hate the corporate world. The idea of a real job always irritated me... but oddly enough, the routine is nice. I've never had one of those before. I'm enjoying the relative stability. For now, I need it. That will probably change - I'll get restless and want to do something more challenging and more exciting, and I will, I have no doubts. But having the time and money to go to the beach and go camping is pretty sweet, I'm not gonna lie.

I don't think it's sunk yet in that I'm not a college student anymore.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Want To Do It All.

So yeah, now I've got my degree. It's great. Sure. I don't have a job.

Suddenly I'm obsessed with the medical field. I don't know why. I just filled out the FAFSA so I can go take some more classes. Granted I'll hold off til next fall, but I want to do this. And the english thing, too...

Why is school so addictive? I love learning. I hate the structure of classes. I think now that the pressure's off, I have the piece of paper, I can explore and learn what I WANT to learn. I can take whatever classes I want to. And it's so exciting for me. I feel like a kid - I wanna be a DOCTOR when I grow up! I wanna be a TEACHER! I wanna be a PIRATE!

Seriously, I feel like I should have gone through this phase already. I think at this point I'm going to get me a job and just take some more classes when I can... I'm so excited to see what doors open up!

Jesus rocks my world.

So today was probably the coolest day I've had in a long time. First, I finally caved and went down to the Carolina Ale House to apply for a job. That's the one stipulation I had for moving back here - I was not going to work in a restaurant. But I started to panic about money and went back to what I knew. So as I'm standing in the parking lot I get a call - the temp agency had a great paying month long job for me. Yay God.

Since we moved in, the roomies and I have felt lead to do some sort of children's ministry in our neighborhood. Yes, we live in the hood. There are about a million little Hispanic kids that run through our yard every day. Yesterday, they show up on our doorstep - selling school fundraiser type stuff. Basically God did the work FOR us... today they came back, just wanting to hang out. We took the dog for a walk, went to the park, gave them some cookies, watched a movie... they were absolutely adorable, and I know we're all way excited about them.

The next step will be to throw some sort of neighborhood event - a block party, something - for all of them. I'll most likely bust out the clown stuff, twist some balloons, paint some faces... it's going to be a good time. Let me know if you want in.

I love my life.