Archive for the ‘ Adventures ’ Category

Music Monday: Albertine by Brooke Fraser

For the past month, I have been at a cross-roads, struggling to discern my own desire from God’s and my own fear from the Spirit of wisdom. And my decision has only been compounded by my mom’s fears. As I wrote in a previous post, I have had a tendency to identify with my mother, and because of that, I have to a certain extent struggled to become my own person, to become what I would consider fully independent. But that said, I also don’t want to choose one road due to some subconscious desire to rebel or break free.

Maybe all of this would make better sense if I am more explicit. Haha. So, in early April, I received an email about an opportunity to go to Haiti. Of course, I was absolutely psyched! I immediately emailed one of the directors for  more information on the program, but he never answered me back. After a few more inquiries with no replies, I wrote it of as an impossibility and forgot about it. A month later, I received another email about the program from another school department and this time the directors of the program would be visiting to hold a meeting about the program. After learning more about it, I decided I wanted to go! The program is not related to any of my immediate academic interests (health, health care), but would still give me the opportunity to interact with native Haitians, learn about their experiences living in Haiti, and improve my Haitian Creole (very important!). In fact, I’m hoping that 1) independently continuing on in my Haitian Creole textbooks + 2) 3-weeks of practice with native Haitians will allow me to skip the second level of Haitian Creole and go on to the third! (Here’s hoping.) Besides language, it may also help me further develop a non-profit idea that God gave me a few weeks ago.

So when I don’t think about the potential danger, I am so excited to go. I have been able to bring my mom on-board, but I can tell she is still very concerned. But I just don’t want my fear to limit me. I feel like I am so fearful of… everything, practically! And that is no way to live. Since high school, I have had an immense desire to work abroad with communities in extreme poverty. But over the years, I have seen that goal uprooted by fear. My mom has had angst about this goal and has pushed me to consider staying in the US instead. Her reasons are sound:  “There is so much poverty here. People need help here. Why are you running to another country when people in your own country are in need?” Logically, that makes perfect sense to me. But it doesn’t erase the pang in my heart to do something for those abroad. I feel like I need an experience in order to confirm either God’s calling for me to serve abroad or His intention for me to serve populations in the US. I just don’t want fear to usurp the decision and rob me of clarity.

Last night, I shared some of this with an old friend who I haven’t seen in… at least 2 years! We had a wonderful conversation. And I realized how much I have changed as a person through my conversation with her. I am so much more open and talkative now… but I’ll spare you details on that. Maybe for another post 🙂 But, yes… our conversation was so encouraging. She went to Haiti last year and was able to share about her emotional transition to living/working in the country. It was especially comforting to me that she could relate to my expressed desire to have an experience to call my own, one that would positively challenge me to grow and become independent, and one that would give me clarity on where to go from here (international vs. domestic). After listening, she strongly encouraged me to go and embrace this opportunity. When I push the fear aside, I feel that it is the right thing for me to do and I believe that it will be a positive experience for me.

So what does all of this have to do with Music Monday? Well, last night my friend told me about Brooke Fraser’s solo album, Albertine. You brothers and sisters out there may know Brooke from Hillsong United. She’s the front-woman for the songs “None But Jesus” and “Lord of Lords.” Well her solo album is absolutely beautiful and I have especially fallen in love with the title track, “Albertine.” In 2005, Brooke went to Rwanda to work with World Vision. In her visit to a Rwandan orphanage, she met Albertine, a young girl who was orphaned by the 1993-94 Rwandan genocides. This song is a promise to Albertine and this album is dedicated to her.

This song (especially the chorus) expresses my exact sentiments about engaging work in the international community. After learning about disparity, how can you just sit down and do nothing? And in doing nothing, how is your mind not plagued by the truth and how are you not guilted by your unwillingness to do your part to help?

I have a dear friend at school who seems fascinated by my interest in Haiti. Because I have no direct connection to the country, he cannot understand why I feel compelled to help them. Akin to Brooke’s chorus, because I know the history of injustice the country has experienced and know of the extreme poverty that millions of Haitians live daily, poverty that their parents lived and their parents before them, and poverty that their children will have no choice but to endure… how can I not be responsible to do something? I may not have seen this (yet) with my naked eyes, but isn’t the knowledge that it exists enough to be mobilized to do my part?

“Albertine”

I am sitting still
I think of Angelique
Her mother’s voice over me
And the bullets in the wall where it fell silent
And on a thousandth hill, I think of Albertine
There in her eyes what I don’t see with my own

[CHORUS]

Rwanda
Now that I have seen, I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead
Now that I have held you in my own arms, I cannot let go till you are

I am on a plane across a distant sea
But I carry you in me
and the dust on, the dust on, the dust on, the dust on, the dust on my feet

[CHORUS]

[BRIGDE]
I will tell the world, I will tell them where I’ve been
I will keep my word
I will tell them Albertine

[CHORUS]

I am on a stage, a thousand eyes on me
I will tell them, Albertine
I will tell them, Albertine

Tabs“Albertine” @ UltimateGuitar.com

Today is My Day –> Saturday, June 21

I’ve had an iCal alarm set since May 19, telling me, “Today is Photograph your Day Day!!! So do it! and make an album!” but every time it’s gone off, I’ve delayed it. It first started off with “remind me in 2 hours”… then 2 hours became 1 day, and one day became 1 week. But, one month later, and rather spontaneously, I finally made time to document my day in my summer city! And it was a great day.

I slept in and then had to go into lab for a couple hours in the afternoon, but after that I had the urge to set off into the city to explore. I stopped by a vintage clothing store, 1793. I love rummaging through other people’s garbage. Total believer of the saying, “another man’s trash is another’s treasure.” It had some pretty interesting things inside. The expected 1980s fashions, outdated shoes, gaudy dresses, jackets that require a someone with a superhuman degree of confidence to dare wear it in public… or with a killer buzz. ::smile:: But you always have to rummage through the muck to uncover the true find beneath. And behold my find:

I’m really into bohemian fashions, so you can imagine my pleasure when I found this 1970s India top.

The picture really doesn\'t do it justice.

I felt like I’d stumbled upon a treasure. And only for $14.99. It crossed my mind to try to bargain it down to $10, but, what can I say… I haven’t fit into my haggling shoes on yet. But I have a feeling I’ll get there one day soon. Here’s a closer look:

The designs are so different, from the butterflies on the shoulders to the paisleys on the chest and hem to the leafed vines and yellow flowers… and yet it doesn’t clash. It all goes together so well. And it’s so light and airy and just a tad see-through. But not in a trashy way. The pictures really don’t do it justice. It looks even cuter when wearing it. Maybe I’ll post a shot when I finally do take it off the hanger. Ooo, it would be perfect for the beach!

Leaving 1793, I continued walking around for a bit and then it dawned on me! “Oh my gosh, this is my ‘Today is Photography your Day Day! Why don’t I have my camera!?'” I debated on whether to just forget it and photograph another day since I was a ways from my house, but I decided to head back after all. It was worth it because I finally had this day for myself.

After a couple hours, I headed back out into the city and found out that it was Pride Day. Walking around a festive block, someone said, “Happy Pride Day” to me, and not knowing to what they were referring, I just smiled back at them. It was actually kind of funny because I was walking through this block, noticing little things… some people were dressed a little more outlandishly than usual; lots of men with the small lap dogs; rainbow-colored Hawaiian leis… Although I must say that the tell-tail indicators were the drag queen and this man:

Then it hit me. “Ahhh! Pride Day is for gays and lesbians!” Yea, took me long enough. Hahaha. Walking throughout the city, there were so many block parties sealed off. I can only imagine how long into the night the parties lasted. I think this is my favorite shot featuring Pride Day:

The colors are so vivid, the angle is interesting, and you can see the action of the wind in the flag. Needless to say, it’s a good shot.

Walking around the city, seeing displays of so much pride, I couldn’t help but feel pressured to face the topic on which I’ve so long avoided forming a firm opinion. For a while, I tried to suppress the thoughts rising in my mind, but then, as I approached another Pride Block party, I happened to turn my head and saw this:

And a short walk from there, I saw what the next photo shows at the entryway of a different church:

I just knew that it was time that I start sorting this out for myself.

I’ve been sitting on the fence… or rather, hiding in the background while I let both sides of the gay/lesbian debate duke things out so that I don’t have to form an opinion. But really, I feel the worse for not making up my mind, and swaying with whatever crowd I’m in. It’s cowardly.

I am a Christian and believe that God’s Word is true. I believe that God views homosexuality as an abomination because he says it is so. But I also believe that I, as a Christian, am not to judge ANYONE and that a man/woman’s relationship with God is personal and his/her sins are between him/her and God. Heck, who am I to judge anyone? I’m too busy dealing with my own spiritual baggage to go looking at what someone else is doing. I feel secure in these beliefs. Where my personal struggle lies is when I consider queer culture + spirituality + politics. I have yet to resolve what the word says on advocating political limitations on the freedoms of non-Christians. I believe in free will. And God is a God of free will. So considering that, it doesn’t settle well with me to limit other’s free will if it goes against God’s mandates because at the end of the day, that violation lies with that person. But then, a part of me feels wrong in saying that. Of course in my ideal world, everyone would know Christ and choose to follow Him and His ways. And I know that as a Christian, it is my duty to affect the world for Christ. But wherein lies the boundary between affecting the world for Christ and forcing others to follow Christ? At most, we can force them into the motions of following Him, but then they’re not really following Him, are they? Exactly. This will take some more personal sorting out on my part. This is a topic that I just can’t leave untied.

After walking through the city, I prepared to meet a few friends for a viewing of the famous Waterfire. I’ve visited 3 times before and every time has been nothing short of wonderful. On my way, I was glad to be able to walk along the river before the sun set. I love getting shots before the fires are lit. And I even made a new friend:

Male? Female?

He/she came up behind me while I was snapping a shot. I was so intrigued to know the sex of this person, but didn’t have the candor to ask… Also, that would have been pretty rude, I decided. “Are you male or female, because I just can’t tell?” That would have felt offensive just leaving my lips, let alone hearing it.

Making my way along the river, I saw the gondola rowers, who I so admire!

They must be in amazing shape, rowing up and down the river all night (no “that’s what she said” comments, please! ::smile::). When I finally met up with my friends, we decided we’d take a ride the next time we visited. Unfortunately, my camera died once the show began. Go figure, haha. I’ll have to steal the pictures from my friend.

To finish off the day, we got dessert from the Cheesecake Factory. I had never been there before and feel like I’ve been introduced to this big secret that everyone else knew about except me! I’m very indecisive when it comes to ordering (among other things), and was craving every chocolate delight I came across in the menu! And to my surprise, guess what?! They had a cake that had EVERYTHING I was craving! The masterpiece is called Chris’s Outrageous Chocolate Cake, but my friends and I joked that they should have named it after me. My friend took a picture, but to avoid the delay in uploading it, here’s a picture from the internet:

Chris\'s Outrageous Chocolate Cake

This delightful treat that will keep on treating you for days later (I still have yet to finish the one piece I ordered!) includes the following yummy layers: brownie, chocolate mousse, cheesecake, coconut, moist chocolate cake, and chocolate chips… and of course, we cannot neglect to mention the side of whipped cream. Every bite is a surprise of flavor! All I can say is “”Mmmm, mmm! Thank you, Chris, whoever you are!”

I usually don’t like cheesecake, but turns out that cheesecake layer rivals the coconut layer in best layer of all! I am highly anticipate my next visit! We’re supposed to eat dinner next time we visit. If their cake is this good, I’m excited for their meals.

All in all, it was a good day… good day.