Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tuesday, pt. 2: Lunch with a Star

When I got back to the Muizenberg center, I was told that my friend Verity had come by and would meet me at a cafe around the corner (back on my late schedule). I found her at a little table in the sun; it looked like a scene from a foreign movie, only better because I could walk right into it and exchange a friendly hug with the star! After a cup of tea there we walked to a cafe not far away and I indulged myself with the kind of meal I can't easily afford on U.S. dollars in the States; the exchange rate was definitely on my side. We had been in touch via e-mail since the 5 month period she had spent in Nashville last year, which is when we met, but it's always better in person, so we spent the meal catching up on each other's news and sharing all manner of deep thoughts. It was a nourishing time for me (and not just because of the steak).

I'm fascinated by the fact that, despite very different backgrounds (geographic and otherwise), philosophies, and so forth, Verity and I can "connect" so easily (still talking "mere" friendship, mind you), and yet there are people with whom I have much more in common here at home that might as well be total strangers when it comes to trying to have a conversation.

Of course to be brutally honest, in our case part of it may be that we are so clearly separated by the aforementioned factors that there is no question of it being anything more than a long-distance friendship, so we are "safe" to share on a deeper level than we would be otherwise (speaking for myself, anyway). But this is not a bad thing, as far as I'm concerned...I doubt it will surprise anyone that I find it hard to see a down side to spending time with a beautiful single woman! As long as we're both clear on our intentions (we are), I suppose it never hurts to stay in practice.

A similar principle applies to the short-term mission experiences the church offers; being in an "alien" place for a short time with a specific purpose to share the Gospel in some way calls out instincts and impulses in ourselves that would probably remain dormant if we never left home. This doesn't mean we aren't our "real" selves on the mission field; we're allowing new facets of ourselves to come to the surface, and hopefully the positive aspects will stay active after we return home, and we'll be better servants as a result. This is the transforming nature of missions.

Anyway, after lunch Verity allowed me to "put her to work" as a model, so I could capture a shot of her next to her cool little car. As someone pointed out to me, there are hardly any SUV's in S. Africa so it's slightly less dangerous to tool around in these tiny vehicles...but no more comfortable for us tall folks, I would assume. Then it was goodbye until one of us might cross the ocean again for another visit.

I took the opportunity to browse the craft items for sale at the shelter, and interrupted something important that receptionist Siske and Avril were working on to take a picture of the two. They kindly obliged, though Avril's expression seems more one of tolerance than thrill, understandably!

I got back to the Team House well before the team and thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet and solitude. I had had enough sun and wind for one day, so I finished my steak over a book in the dining room, then took a nap and did some e-mail. I had taken the approach of "pacing myself" in an effort to keep my health from getting too much worse (though the inevitable cough was coming on), especially since Matt Allison had set it up for me to do a half hour or so at an open mic downtown. Unfortunately after getting there we found it had been cancelled, so Matt gave me and Justin, the team member who had come along, a driving tour of downtown. Good conversation, and since I could barely sing at that point I was more relieved than disappointed.

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