Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chapel... tomorrow!

As of 43 minutes ago, it's been confirmed that I am indeed speaking in chapel tomorrow. I desperately want to cancel all meetings and obligations for the rest of the afternoon to seek the quiet of my apartment to just Be. Think. Pray. Write. Listen.

Instead, I blog from my office desk in an attempt to sort out my thoughts.

The physical response of my body is hard to ignore: my mind races, my heart beats a little faster, and my stomach feels like it's training for the Olympic trials for gymnastics.

How do I even begin to decipher/discern what to share with these students... many of who don't even want to be at chapel in the first place?!

There is a lot on my heart and mind and I don't have words for any of it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My ring

A student told me that one of her friends was wondering if I was married. She had seen the ring on my left hand and was curious.
"What did you tell her?" I asked.
"Well... it didn't seem like you had a husband living with you... so I assumed you weren't."

We agreed that a long distance marriage would be really difficult.

I told her I hoped my wedding ring wouldn't be made of sterling silver.
I explained that it is my purity ring - a gift from my dad for my Sweet 16 (or was it 13)?

She's not the only one who has asked which has made me reconsider the ring placement. Now that I'm of "marrying age" I question:
Should I switch the ring to my other hand?
It would be a simple solution except my ring finger is the only finger it fits on. Not to mention, I have a sweet tan line from it and my finger feels naked without it.

I'm saving myself for him. My ring tan and white dress will prove it.



Someday.

14 Dollars and Credit Card Bills

In an effort to be the 'cool, new ARC,' I bought a couple of bags of candy to pass out to residents at the building meeting. The total came to $5.99 and I paid with a $20 bill. The fancy change machine, which I'm consistently mesmerized by, spat out a penny. I collected my one cent with my receipt from the cashier and left...without my 14 dollars in change.

I thought I just paid the biggest credit card bill of my life, and then I peeked at next month's bill. Thankfully, I was sitting down. Now, I'm breathing slowly, mentally preparing myself to surrender my entire first paycheck to pay it off. Oh, money.

It's quite a change to move from a fully-furnished apartment with ideal roommates to a space that is entirely my own and the daunting truth that I didn't own anything to sit on, eat on, put stuff on, or sleep on. And now I own (my credit card bill proves it) a futon, full bed, futon, and bookshelves. I find myself seat-hopping, trying out mattresses and cushions in an attempt to fully believe that this stuff is mine.

And then I remember that it's just stuff...
And I remember my mattress in Bolivia... the wood slats that my hips felt through the thin stuffing.
And I remember my folding table and two chairs printed with a beer slogan.
And I remember the couch with cushions that were hand sewn and recovered, doubling as Dino the Dog's bed.
And I remember my small bookshelf which housed my toothbrush, contact solution, and Spanish dictionary.

And I can't possibly fathom how it's already been a year since I first found out I was going to Bolivia.
Nor can I describe how content I was with a simple life and one suitcase to this feeling of home in Eugene with an apartment full of stuff.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Prostitutes sew lips together in Bolivia protest"

This isn't a happy post...

My heart is heavy this morning as I read and reread the news articles that were forwarded to me yesterday.
"Prostitutes sew lips together in Bolivia protest"
"Prostitutes strike in Bolivia"

These are my friends that I sat with at the lunch table.
I gave her hot chocolate.
I sobbed after I saw her in the brothels because I was so distraught because of the torture and violation she experiences night after night.

In an effort to regulate the distance between brothels from school grounds and other public places, mobs and riots broke out. Brothels were burnt down and prostitutes and transvestites were stripped down, brutally beaten. As though their bodies aren't violated enough as it is, the humiliation and mutilation continues.

The government has since closed down all the brothels located too close to public places but has taken no action to prosecute the angry mobsters who stripped these women of their belongings, their only source of income, and their identity.

Now the women are striking. Some have literally sewed their lips together as part of a hunger strike; they won't eat until they can work. They choose to fast and their families are starving because mom is out of a job...

35 thousand are refusing their routine health inspections. These checkups are required every 20 days in order for them to keep working - they must pass health exams to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Without these inspections, the infections are undoubtedly spreading.

Oh, I ache. I'm frustrated with the inhumanity of it all. Where is the justice?! Haven't these women experienced enough?!

Please read more:
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1675348,00.html?imw=Y
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/oukoe_uk_bolivia_prostitutes?=&submit=Done
(The slideshow on the left features photos of women that I know. I know their names and their stories.)

They continue to suffer, to fight, to live. They continue to work, to please, to feed.
They need our prayers.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Get Your Beac-On

In this frustrating state of "blogging perfection" I'm currently in, I couldn't seem to think of the "perfect" title for this entry. I'm sporting my NCC bright yellow t-shirt with the phrase "Get Your Beac-On" in honor of Beacon Madness which happened tonight. And so, I settled with this screen-printed phrase...

I'm definitely getting my Beac-On here (we are the Beacons, in case you didn't catch that, and instead of getting our freak on, we're getting our beac-on). It's easy to feel discouraged when I think about all the people I don't know yet considering the semester is already halfway over. I attended a retention task force meeting and was so bummed out by how many students have chosen to discontinue their education at NCC before graduation. The numbers are bleak... The budget has been drastically cut. A second RA resigned last week. I spent a huge amount of money on moving expenses.

Impromptu karaoke down the hall finally ended at 11pm last night and a huge pep rally which started at 10pm tonight, were both preceded by 6:30AM meetings. I'm tuckered out.

I just need to write. It's therapeutic to spill my guts and know someone is reading. I've neglected my updates lately due to sheer exhaustion and also the concept of perfection. I've tried to write several times, yet sleep prevails because I end up staring at the computer screen in front of me. The partially-constructed sentences just haven't been conveying what I wish to share. I want to tell my stories in a colorful way that will prompt you to ask questions, to pray for me, and ask for more. But, If I keep cutting and pasting my thoughts in this little section to make it 'perfect,' I won't ever post a thing...

My refrigerator gurgles, the heat vent rattles, traffic roars by, karaoke blasts down the hall, and trains toot their horns. Strangely enough, these aren't the sounds that keep me awake at night or prematurely wake me up in the morning. It's the other things I'm hearing at NCC. The things my ears and heart pick up during 1 on 1s with RAs. Some of it is even what they aren't saying.

I'm lighthearted, though, and my energy level is somehow replenished each night even without an adequate amount of sleep. The conversations I'm having remind me of why I'm here and spur me on to speak more Truth, seek out residents, and confidently testify about what God has done and continues to do in my life. I'm decorating my apartment, laughing a TON (what's not funny about karaoke?) and having amazing coffee dates with students who blow me away with their level of maturity.

I promise to post more specific stories soon -- they are just too thought-provoking for this sleep-deprived mind. :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

I survived my first day!

Things I've learned in the past 24 hours since arriving on campus at NCC:
  • Cheap rugs that aren't specifically labeled as a "bath mat" should not be used as a bath mat. I made an emergency trip to Target last night to purchase a shower curtain. I was so excited to buy matching things in hopes of livening up my lonely apartment. I splurged and spent a whopping $3.83 on a 'bath mat.' It looks great in the bathroom. But, when I got out of the shower, I noticed that my shower curtain had leaked all over the floor and my 'bath mat' was soaked. As I wrung out the mat over the tub, green dye squirted out. Sure enough, there was a green rectangle on the floor where the mat had been. Thankfully, I haven't found any green footprints on my carpet.
  • Water pipes will burst on your first day of work. At lunch today, I was approached by the maintenance man (whom I met 20 minutes prior) and was informed that the dorm's (which includes my apartment) water would be shut off for most of the afternoon and that I needed to notify the residents. I don't even know the residents. Or even all of the RAs!
  • NCC's logo is often confused with North Carolina because most of their insignia contains only "NC" for Northwest Christian.
  • Students like to give nicknames. One resident asked what my last name was. He thought Seybold might start with a C, so he wanted to call me "E.C." to which he turned into "E.Z." Thankfully, we quickly decided that wouldn't be a good idea and I reminded him my last name started with an S. He said he'd call me "E.S." instead.
  • If I turn Left out of my apartment, I'll find Fred Meyer, Target, and Walmart.
  • I might be taking over the Missions component of Campus Ministries in addition to my role as the Area Residence Coordinator.
  • As of today, one of the RAs decided to step down from her role. Now I have 6!

That's all for now; more learning tomorrow after a good night's sleep!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

2 dozen dinner rolls & the card game

The 7 of us celebrated many things this past weekend: Chrislyn is halfway done with her last first semester of college. Parker flew in from New York and we celebrated his new job and 26th birthday. My grandparents flew in from Illinois for my grandma's birthday. I'm starting a new job.... my parents finally had all their kids under one roof for more than 1 hour. The dog even got a bath.

The waitress brought out a basket of warm, delicious dinner rolls before our meal. Our plates were already full from the self-serve salad bar, and yet we managed to finish off the basket. My grandpa, insistent on receiving the best service possible, asked her to bring out a second basket. The waitress gave us a motherly look as though to warn us not to fill up on rolls.

Contrary to what the rest of my family thought, 2 baskets of rolls was not enough. My grandpa asked for a 3rd. This time, the waitress did tell us not to spoil our appetites and although she didn't say anything, the look in her eyes said "you better eat all these rolls, or else...."

The whole situation was rather awkward and strange and I was feeling bad about letting the dinner rolls sit there, untouched. My mind drifted to thoughts of starving street children in Bolivia... And so, I reached for a 3rd dinner roll to top off my full plate of salad and large entree. No one said anything about the rolls until we were in the parking lot. Confessions began about how full we felt and now none of us would have liked to eat so much bread.

We sat around the dinner table a second time that evening. This time, however, it was for a healthy dose of cards called "O' Shaw." There was some stiff competition until my grandpa started playing very poorly. His response? "This game should be called 'O Hell' instead." "Hell" isn't a part of my family's everyday vocabulary. We all looked at each other, trying to stifle our giggles, but to no avail. Belly-aching laughter erupted from the Seybold Family.

I've heard it said that your family consists of the weirdest people you'll ever meet.
The truth?
Well, they sure do make me laugh a lot. :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

P.Pie

P.Pie Chai.
P.Pie Latte.

"P.Pie" (pronounced: Pee Pie) is short for Pumpkin Pie on the beverage list at Chapter's.
It's much more enjoyable to order a P.Pie chai than a Pumpkin Pie chai; it's just more fun to say and equally as delightful to sip.

Chrislyn and I ordered P.Pie drinks today. I wanted to get drenched and begged her to accompany me on a long walk, but she said she was getting sick. We compromised and she humored me by walking in the rain one block to take cover in Chapter's.

We took comfort in the P.Pie - soothing her sore throat and my contemplative mind.

It hit me today that I'm relocating in 9 days...

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Smokers

I awoke this morning to the sound of tires sliding on wet pavement which was immediately followed by a dense 'thud!' and then an obnoxious car alarm. Curiously (and blindly) I peered out my window and then decided to investigate. I quickly put on my glasses, sweatshirt, and sandals and braved the chilly weather and neighbors in my favorite purple-flowered pajama pants. A very disappointed man stood by two parked cars on the street, both displaying fresh dents. He saw me and sheepishly asked if I knew whose car he had just hit. I was relieved to tell him it wasn't mine or my roommates and that I was sorry I couldn't help him identify the vehicle. My car was, however, parked on the street right across from the accident. I wish I could have helped him. Better yet, I wish I could hit the rewind button for him so he could be driving a little more slowly and attentively...

Through this incident, I struck up a conversation with my neighbors. He was smoking a cigarette and she was in her pajamas like me. This was my first interaction with them even though their cigarette smoke has wafted into our apartment on numerous occasions. My roommates and I endearingly refer to them as "The Smokers." As we gag in our living room and cough loudly and indiscreetly out the window, we joke about setting up a truth campaign outside their door with educational signs about the effects of secondhand smoke. I would rather smell cow manure than cigarette smoke.

They are not bad people, they are actually quite pleasant as I learned today. They just have a bad habit and bad lungs.