3.10.2012

Hopeful Living in Questionable Conditions

Lovely picture courtesy of:
Julia Manzerova

For some time now we've been in a limbo that has caused us to ask a lot of questions about our wants and goals in life.  Many of the things we had planned for our lives over the past two years have not come to pass and some might argue we've endured a good deal of hardship, but compared to others we are really quite well off.

We are involved in our local church and we try to hear and understand God, like most people, and hope for the best.  Sometimes, however, you really wonder what He's doing and like many other historical figures we've asked Him things like, "Hello, up there, if you don't mind too much please don't forget about us." and we're probably really meaning "...don't forget about our dreams and plans we made for ourselves."  I think that is how I feel sometimes and to tell you otherwise I'd be a liar.

I have wondered quite a few times over the past year and a half since we returned to America why others seem to make plans and pursue them and they accomplish their goals.  I cannot say that they do not endure difficulties but they do accomplish what they have set out to do.  For me, I've started to wonder why others are able to accomplish what they've planned to do.  It's almost funny, but whatever I plan has a way of failing fantastically, and in a way that I had no control over.  I wonder what I'm doing that's so special that I get blocked so often?  

Please bear in mind that I'm just thinking out loud.  It's not that I doubt God, but it's more like a healthy questioning of why we're being redirected so drastically from our plans.  Most assuredly we know that they are our plans and even those who could care less about God know that we plan and we don't always have the luxury of achieving our goals.  

There are a lot of good reasons for all of what we're experiencing now but it is something else to be in the middle of it and not know the result.  I feel very strongly about what I love and want to do and when you hear people talking like "Just give it all to God, man!  He'll work it all out!"  I cannot disagree, but I can tell you that letting go of what you hope for makes you feel like you're dying.  I really want to be alive and to experience all the richness of culture and language the world has to offer me together with my wife.  

Everyone deals with similar internal struggles and they almost always turn out well in the end, of course, but how do you get through the hard parts?  I'm certain it is as simple as asking God "Why?" but He doesn't always just pull up a chair and remind me of the good parts of the story so far.  I have to remember those myself--that's why it's important to journal!  

For those of you who do not believe in God, what do you do to get through times of uncertainty?  These must be the sorts of times that make us all human.

**A couple of days later I've had the pleasure of a great analogy, courtesy of my job**
I'm a programmer and work often with ordinary computer users.  They sometimes place demands on system requirements that are very bad ideas.  I design systems so it's hard to argue with a system architect about what is necessary and what is not.  It is difficult not to be frustrated with others when their goals for the system seem so short-sighted in my mind.  I realized that I must be the same way about my own destiny in relation to God.  I want what I want, good or bad.

Inspirational Songs:
Josh Groban's "Don't Give Up".

With Collaborative Imagery From:
Julia Manzerova: Flickr.

1.30.2012

Alpaquita

     Many of you are familiar with the South American Alpaca and this, my friends, is that, but in miniature.  Often referred to as 'una alpaquita' which is the diminutive form of alpaca, making it very cute indeed.  Who could possibly argue with that?  Is this not the cutest thing you have ever seen?

This beauty was purchased on the road somewhere between Puno, Perú, and La Paz, Bolivia, but before arriving in Bolivia, therefore we can call it unequivocally: a Peruvian Alpaquita.

While I was on a tourist stop purchasing this very alpaquita I had the opportunity to feed and pet a live version and let me tell you, it was territorial as could be.  You cannot just march up to a baby and not expect to be considered a threat by its mother.  It scared the crap out of me.  Who even knows the damage an alpaquita can do?

Hay que tener mucho cuidado cuando alimentas a las alpaquitas.  Tal vez sea tu última vez. (?)


Feeding a baby alpaca.


Taunting the mother of the alpaca behind me, who charged at me.

1.24.2012

Gorilla Munch Much?

Some time ago I wrote on connotation and a bit about how words have two meanings, one is connotative and the other is denotative, or one is going to have some negative/positive spin and the other is the dictionary meaning.  The word 'munch', well, according to dictionary.com:

verb (used with object)
to chew with steady or vigorous working of the jaws, often audibly.

That is denotation...That's what I think of when I look at that gorilla going at it up there.  I can see in the background the baby gorilla and I really feel like I'm in the jungle, pounding my hands and bantering, even hissing at those non-alpha males that want in on the action.

What about connotation?  I don't think there is really anything that is positive about this word in that regard.  If you don't think that there could have been a better word then why don't you visit urbandictionary.com and see what they have to say about it?  I'm sure you'll be pleasantly or uncomfortably surprised, depending on your convictions.

Sources, and such:

1.07.2012

In L2 Everything is Exciting

Izq = izquierdo, Der = derecho
Spanish for: left and right
While living abroad and acquiring another language it is absolutely necessary to become infatuated with the language and culture being learned.  It will likely be a result of your interest as opposed to an active decision to become enamored.  You can't help it, you just fall in love.

When living in Chile I became fond of a store called Casa & Ideas, which carried many common household goods, such as Bed Bath and Beyond, but with a bit less of the bath and bed, and more of the 'beyond'.

I purchased these slippers, having abbreviations of the words 'izquierdo' and 'derecho', both adjectives following the word 'pie', such as pie izquierdo and pie derecho, meaning 'left foot' and 'right foot' in Spanish.  This was the coolest thing to me since I was in love with Spanish, so I bought them immediately.

An interesting fact about the word 'izquierdo/a' is that it has its origins in Basque, or Euskera, the language of the Basque people in Northern Spain.  What's really great about this language is that it is a language isolate, which is a fancy way of saying 'Where does it come from? We do not know.'  It is broken down as follows, esku (hand, From Basque) and kerros (Celtic word, meaning 'twisted').  The left hand has long since been the 'worthless hand' and been associated with all sorts of bad; not surprising considering that 'derecho' in Spanish also means 'right, or correct'.  Apparently the Latin words for 'right' and 'left' are 'dexter' and 'sinister', which are passed down to us in the roots 'skillful' and 'evil'.

Learning words in foreign languages can be fun and buying simple things--such as slippers--can make it even more exciting.

Sources: