Thursday, April 26, 2007

No-Man's Land

The first time I ever went to France at the age of 14 I walked through these... No-man's land by the Somme: the expansive empty tranquil fields divided by several trenches that used to be the battlegrounds in the first world war. No one wanted to go out into them because the likelihood of your coming back was so minimal...
I feel as though I'm in no-man's land right now though my situation doesn't quite look like that. It looks more like a busy month of what will be more countless goodbyes, celloings, bits and pieces of travelling than much else... part of me just wants to skip the goodbyes, to skip this long drawn out end to what has been an experience of a year and get on with the next part... or at least be in either one camp or the other... not in between the two... hrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrumph (an elephant sigh)

But I know God has a purpose for me being here, and even though I'm finding it hard to do what I love best i.e invest in people, because either they're leaving or I am, I've to make the most of it, and live, because that's what he's called me to do, for better or for worse...
Whether I like it or not this is no man's land season... so no reason to be de-motivated by it. Rather, quite the opposite: ...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 5:18

God please make me joyful.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

the funny moments

Had my last 8am start today... got a lovely card and some chocolate from the english lunch club which was immensely touching... one student wrote this

"Good bye. It was very funny the moments with you in the club.

Sums up the year of teaching pretty well really...

only 4 hours to go...

Monday, April 16, 2007

On BBQs and Being tired.

Trying to organise a surprise barbecue in France I discovered this weekend, is both a tricky and delicate process.

- Firstly there is the surprise element... The surprise victim was Canadian party organiser Court. Unfortunately it is rather difficult to keep a serial party organiser from organising a party when you're trying to organise one for him. I think he smelled a rat or two when I very tactfully asked him to meet me outside a shop at 6pm (about 4 hours earlier than our usual rendevous) and wouldn't tell him why... When I did actually meet him, he then went on to tell me exactly what he suspected we were doing this evening, and hit the nail on the head. He had every detail right, right down to the exact location. Impressive considering...

- we had a few problems getting everyone together at the same place at the same time. Especially when 3 people are doing the main inviting, and all of them tell folk to invite whoever they want. The set barbecue place was at the Bastille (for those of you who do not know Grenoble that is on top of a big hill in the middle of Grenoble). Now there are a lot of possible BBQ spots on top of a hill thus it was decided that meeting on the bottom before getting the cable car up would be a better idea otherwise we would just get lost and waste credit trying to find one another again. Now trying to get people turn up on time was always going to be a problem. People don't eat in France on average till at least 8. In fact restaurants aren't even open until 7 in the evening. But we were wanting to start while it was still daylight. And then there's the face that in France when you tell people to meet you at a certain place you have to add another half an hour on in your head. The Germans were the only people to arrive at the arranged rendevous on time... :)

- Then there was the getting hold of a BBQ and getting it in a tiny cable car up to the top of a mountain. Unfortunately disposable BBQs don't seem to be too common here, so after a lot of ringing around we thought we'd got hold of 2, and then lost them half an hour before expected rendevous. Our fortune turned when we stepped out of the tram in front of Monoprix (the Marks and Sparks of France) and decided to go in "just to check" since we had 5 minute till rendevous time.

- Now the weather in Grenoble has gotten ridiculously warm of late. Yesterday in the afternoon the temperature was over 30 degrees celsius. A little too much for a Scot like me (even one with Sri Lankan genes). We were expected good weather for the BBQ but climbing up the mountains as the sun began to set, winds began to pick up in both directions, which meterology expert Hannah informed us was normal due to hot air from the valley coming in contact with cold air from above (or something along those lines :P) I had to hold my couscous down with my fork to stop it flying off my plate.

- Oh and just so you know, there are no lights in the mountains.

All in all a quality experience, a good meal, 10 nationalities represented, awesome view... doesn't take much to make me smile :)

Surprisingly all that organising (followed by silly dancing till silly hours) seemed to have little effect on my level of awakeness at church the next morning, managed to maintain wakeful cheeriness in fact until that awful post-lunch period. Unfortunately I spent several hours lunching with three generations of an Italian french family and thus was very very very well fed! Weighed down by the contents of my stomach I struggled to maintain adequate communication levels in conversation on this hot Sunday afternoon, acutely aware of the rapid deterioration of my french linguistic skills, and trying as hard as I could to concentrate on adult conversation whilst being highly in demand as chosen playmate for the only member of the third generation (age 3).

If there's a lesson in any of this ramble it's this... When you organise a BBQ in Grenoble, tell everyone to come an hour earlier than when you actually want them to come (everyone that is except Germans), don't have it in a mountain and if you make it a surprise for someone, don't pick the habitual party-organiser. There is a time to be silly and a time to be sensible (re:bedtime).

Saturday, April 07, 2007


My Appamma (dad's mum) died yesterday, she was 92 years old and has had dementia for longer than I can remember. She's no longer trapped in her body or mind and although I don't know exactly what she's doing right now, I know for certain she's now with Jesus :)
Ironically yesterday was also Good Friday... The day we remember the cross... the price Jesus paid for us. It brings it home really... it was for this that He died, it was for this He rose again. I can be certain of Appamma's future, of my future because of what He endured.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." (Jesus, not long before the cross, John 14:1-4)

We can trust Him, we can trust His words because He did come back. He did rise again on the third day just as He has promised! And so I can and will trust Him in His promise of eternal life with him. It is because of His death that I know I am forgiven, it is because of His resurrection that I have hope. And life starts now!

Thankyou :)

one month...

Goodness me... this has to be a non-blogging record! What excuses do I have...?
Well in the last month I've had several highs and lows, 3 lots of visitors, 3 Glasgowers (none of whom got to see les Belledonnes due to mist!) and the family... that makes 2 bastille trips, several café and restaurant stops, various mountain trips, a ridiculous amount of tea received, far too much musicing (I'm learning to say no), stolen bags, police station visits, concerts, many communal meals, the odd spillage...
Throw in there the usual record-long phone convos, some jamming at church, cooing over toddlers in the street, discovering a Christian community I didn't know existed and finally having some proper deep chat in french has made for an interesting and educational month of March.

And this week...
- A fruitless trek to find an open functioning swimming pool (ok so waterslide may have been on the specification list but it honestly wasn't me that made it!) with 2 near giants in which we found a random tower unmarked, unlabelled and ungoogable apparently and this ----------->
...apparently one of the 7 wonders of the Dauphiné region! hmm

- Saying the second of what will be many sad au revoirs to a lovely allemande in Lyon (à mon avis quite possibly the loveliest city in the country!)

- Being a visitor myself, to a little town of Tournus, NOT Toulouse, but Tournus, a little town in the region of Burgundy.
- Spending time there with fellow Glasgower and assistante Rebecca, sitting in sunshine, drinking tea and laughing at her being toilet-papered by her terminale students on muck-up day! :)

The days are swimming by, the temperature steadily rising... Il reste une semaine des hols, deux de school, un mois de randonmness et puis... c'est tout, fini, le fin, the end! Crazy!

I will blog/flickr related photos soon... just when I remember to bring my cable to the internet café!