Musical Me

I’m a music addict, and I’m not seeking a cure.

I’ve always been that way.

In first grade, I stalked a kid who played the violin. He brought it to Sunday School and played a song for the class. From that moment, I was his crazy fan girl. I’d hang out with him at every church event. He was homeschooled like me, so we got to see each other at large homeschooled family gatherings (we do that a lot).

Around sixth grade, my family moved away, so I didn’t get to hang out with him any more. But we moved to a place where my besties rivaled the angels in their music making abilities. We’d get together and sing Irish Tenors songs, sitting between two speakers that were bigger than me, our soprano voices blending beautifully with the tenors.

During that time, I also picked up the violin. A friend was gracious enough to have pity on me and passed off her used Yamaha violin. I played that thing till the tips of my fingers were numb. Couldn’t afford lessons, but I was able to saw out some lovely songs. I had aspirations of being the best violinist in the world (look out, Joshua Bell). That didn’t quite happen.

Moved away again, and this time, didn’t have so many musical friends. It’s ok, I listened to tons of music. Alasdair Fraser’s Traditional Gaelic Melody, discovered during this time, still brings me to tears. If you’re brave and want to hear it, click here.

I fiddled around with it in high school (fiddled – haha!), but didn’t do anything too serious. I was only self taught.

Then, in college, I fell back in with my angelic friends. We were in choir together, and sang in spanish, Hebrew, Latin – oh, our choir was heavenly. We also were in musicals – an opera “The Elixir of Love” by Donizetti, and “The Mikado” by Gilbert and Sullivan. I learned a ton about music and singing then…

My junior year, I had one extra credit hour that I could fill with a class. It was going to be a music credit, DUH! Classical guitar was full, so I picked harp.

Oh goodness.

I fell in love.

For the next four semesters, I MADE time to take harp. I scheduled practice time just like it was another class. I firmly believe that having harp therapy kept me sane in the busiest of semesters. That heavenly plink is just….well, wonderful.

I played in Wednesday orchestra, Sunday night orchestra, church specials, whatever they would let me do. I loved playing, and it was the best thing ever …

Then I graduated.

No harp at home, and no idea where I could find one.

So I bought one. I graduated college debt free, and promptly took out a loan to buy a harp. I found a gorgeous Salvi Sinfonietta, and just lovelovelove it. My mom and I road-tripped to North Carolina to pick it up.

Worth every penny

But I’m overseas now, and it sits in my parent’s living room. A new friend is going to go this week and tune it and play it up a little bit, so I am very excited about it…it’s going to get some of the TLC that I can’t give it.

Today though, I found out good news. There’s someone in my city who has several harps. And she knows someone who might be interested in renting theirs out….oh, I just get chills with the possibilities.

That’s my exciting bit for today. I might get to regain my finger callouses…I miss them.

Things I like about China (a list post)

Last weekend, I went to China. I went on Thursday night, and got back to my city in Thailand on Monday morning (after a sleepless night in several airports – but more on that later). I thought I would share a few things that I liked about China with the rest of the world.

1. The food was flipping awesome. Holy cow, it was so good. I stuffed myself stupid with Dim Sum. And dofu (for those who do not speak “Chinese,” that means “tofu.”

2. Approximately 10% of the men were taller than me. That’s amazing to me. I’m 5’5 or so, and look down (literally, unfortunately) on most Asian men. The fact that I had to tilt my head upwards was amazing – plus, I walked away with a crick in my neck.

3. The metro. Have you heard the joke, “Q. How many Chinese can you fit on a bus/metro car/mode of transportation? A. One more.” It’s so true. I’ve been on the metro at the end of the line when it was practically empty, and then, at other times, during peak riding times, when it was so full that if you inhaled, you couldn’t exhale without hitting someone with your stomach.

4. Awkward eye contact. I have this game that I play, where i try to make eye contact with people doing embarrassing things. You know, when folks have a finger buried deep on their nose, or are picking a wedgie, or whatever….it’s always funny to make eye contact, and they realize they’ve been caught, and kind of give a sheepish grin. I let it go, and not a word passes, but we both know I caught them.

Not the Chinese. They just don’t give a flip. In fact, a little old Chinese man won the game when he held the eye contact, and finally I broke it and made myself scarce.

You win, sir. You win.

5. Overnight flights. Ok, this isn’t really specific to China, but I have a love/hate relationship with overnighting at airports. I mean, I just can’t sleep. So I’m on the airplane at 2am, sobbing over the season 2 finale of Dr. Who (hey, it’s traumatizing!), while the guy next to me is gently snoring.

At three am, I’m mildly watching Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on my ipod, and watching people pass. The most interesting thing about this hour is that … wait, there was nothing interesting.

About five am, a guy walks off with someone’s luggage cart. A man with a beard a full foot long ran down the terminal searching for the other dude. It was totally an accident, but rather exciting. It entertained me for a full five minutes.

I’ll leave it at five for now. Let’s just say that I loved China, and have this funny feeling that I’ll go back. Any readers been there, and what did you love about it? I’d love to hear what else I should have loved.

Evening at Thousand Friends

Last night was an exciting night at Thousand Friends village. We actually gave the kids cartoonized versions of the old testament. They were so thrilled to receive them that they spent most of their time looking at them rather than listening to the story that we told.

It was a strange night in the village. Esther backed out and was unable to go because she had an appointment with a friend an hour away during the time when we would be at the village. It ended up being a friend and I who went.

This friend has been going with us a few times, and has expressed an interest in being part of the work in the villages. He gets along great with the kids, and some of the boys there just love hanging out with him, so I think that’s a great thing. He’s also an Asian-American, which makes it interesting – I think that some of the kids connect so well with him because he is Asian-American. I’ll have to think on that and if that’s the reason.

Anyway, I have a realistic view on my Thai skillz. They honestly aren’t the best ever – I can get along great, and have elementary conversations. I can follow a good percentage of conversations, but sometimes miss the main point. It just gets lost in a sea of new words sometimes. But that’s just part of learning a new language. It’s all good.

So it was just my friend and I, without a translator. So what we did was use the kids as their own translators. We had a copy of a book with stories, so we had them read in Thai as my friend read in English. That way, we had a Bible lesson as well as the English lesson.

This week’s lesson was important, cause it shows that Jesus has power over evil spirits. It’s about the man with many demons that Jesus casts out, and then the demons possess the pigs, who run off a cliff. Crazy story, but it shows how Jesus has power over spirits.

That’s super important in Thai culture, because most of their lives, Thai people are working to appease phii, or evil spirits. It’s a dominant part of their religion. Everything has a spirit, so they must work hard to appease them. Even my Christian Thai friends deal with the terror of the spirits. They won’t go out at dark, because that is when the phii are loose. It’s a terrible way to live life, and Jesus offers freedom from that fear, because the Holy Spirit is the MOST HIGH SPIRIT.

So this week was important, and I wanted them to GET IT.

Two of the girls helped us. They consulted the lesson book that we had, and worked through our clumsy Thai to make a workable lesson.

I find myself so thankful for grace at times like this. When a thai person can’t go with us, I’ll be honest, I find my heart discouraged and heavy. But God provides. And these two girls are going to know the lesson so much better than they would have if they had just been passively involved, writing down the words we shared.

Pray that the story took root in the kid’s hearts this week, and that they will be reading their Bibles this week. I’m going to be out of town for a week, but I’ll keep you guys posted on what happens!