Thursday, December 10, 2015

I came across this photo today when I was organizing some files. Before I finally said my last farewell to this watch  I had to snap a photo of it. For you see this watch is not just an ordinary watch; it is a story.

It begins with a great find with some retail cash a a major retailer in CA. Ultimately I spent about $5 on this watch. My Preschoolers loved it and I just about always wore it. If I forgot it, they asked about it.

Then it traveled with me to Papua New Guinea. There I met new friends in Ukarumpa orientation. Seeing this such bright yellow watch sparked the interest of my new friends' then 6 month old daughter. So I unstrapped it and let her at it. After a few days of class and a 6-month-old tasting and banging, the second hand rattled off the center post.

No worries, it kept my young friend entertained and it still kept time except when the second hand would get caught between the hour and minute hand. Still, not a big deal. Simply unstrap the watch and tap on the table until the second hand was loose in the case again.

I'm not sure when exactly it lost the clear-plastic-cover on the face, but it did. This solved the second-hand dilemma. Now the hour and minute hand were free to keep track of time.

Except when occasionally, something swiped by the yellow face, moving the time around.

Still, it was a bright lovely watch so I wore it to Buka, and Hiovabon in The Autonomous Region of Bougainville. There I had the exciting experience of getting wet when our outrigger canoe took on too much water. There rust began to form around the watch face and winding post. Incredible how salt water will do that.

Meanwhile back in Ukarumpa  my rusting bright yellow watch gave in to cracks pushed by the rust around the winding post. The watch looked like the photo does now. It happened while I was at the teacher's lunch table. A fellow teacher volunteered his son's glue and expertise to put it back together. Within a few days I found my beloved bright yellow watch in my mailbox nearly as good as new (minus a plastic case and second hand).

I enjoyed this watch through the end of October when it went on it's final adventure. I was biking home from a friend's house when I came to a speed bump at the bottom of a hill. I couldn't decide whether to brake of brace and I tried a bit of both. I ended up on the ground in front of the bike. Lucky for me I had a helmet and a family who came to my rescue. I wasn't thinking about my watch at the time, but it gives a new meaning to the phrase "time flying."

After a visit to the clinic and a night of rest, the father and son of that family brought over my damaged bike and a grocery bag containing my helmet and these watch fragments.

And that's when I decided it was time to saw farewell to the bright yellow story.

True story taking place from some time in 2011 through most of 2013

I kept trying to find the time on my empty wrist until my mom sent me a new watch for my birthday in February 2014. Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Intercultural Communication Course (ICC) October 2015

One of the main ideas of ICC is having a learner’s attitude. I was fortunate to have an excellent teacher in PNG, Wendy, and maintaining a learner’s attitude was easy. Yet, there’s a lot I need to learn about “saving face.”

A facilitator, Bryan, shared a story from his own life in the Philippines. He was walking along in town and tripped. Everyone who saw him, laughed. Initially he thought everyone was laughing at him, but he decided to join in and laugh with them. Without the learner mindset of wondering what is going on in a culture we can completely misunderstand events. Bryan learned from a cultural insider that saving face” is important in Pilipino culture. By laughing, the bystanders were lightening up the situation and ensuring that Bryan wasn’t shamed.

Two of the participants illustrated Bryan’s story in their summary poster:

Joining in and laughing was the right action too. Being a participant observer is another big principle that participants practice at ICC. This means watching and imitating to the best of your ability. Participants get to try out their skills at a public auction.

Another way to honor those we’re interacting with is to offer openness by suspending judgment. This is done by gaining more information before deciding if actions are right or wrong, or maybe even in the gray-zone. I was challenged to “suspend judgment” regarding my southern community. Personally, guns scare me, but they’re an important hobby and right for many people in this area. Is my distaste for guns something that I should really get hung up on or publicize? This is a simple example of being culturally sensitive even to those in my own culture. Of course there are still biblical absolutes. Yet, we have to ask ourselves are those absolutes we hold dearly to, biblical or cultural?

You can also see two other parts of openness hanging on the wall in the background: tolerate ambiguity and think gray or long. The final piece to openness is: assume goodwill.

Learning language also honors those with whom we’re interacting.

We also had fun thinking about some other multi-cultural ways of using the toilet, wearing clothes, greeting one another. How close do we get to each other? So many questions come up and often the answers come through asking and observing.
 Participants practice their Language and Cultural Acquisition skills (LACA) by listening to the nouns and acting out the verbs
Personally, my absolute favorite part of the course is the focus on spiritual vitality! We’ll never be able to share the love of God if we aren’t drenched in his love ourselves. I’m thanking Papa for using ICC to speak his love to me. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Working Title

New location, new blog. I'm looking forward to getting more involved at the jaars center.