Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I'm still dealing with hardcore feelings that I would liken to homesickness. You know the feeling. You're away from home, maybe it was when you went to church camp when you were little or the time you were separated from your fiance for three weeks while he wandered around Ireland (oops, another personal experience...). Anyway, you know the feeling. Pit of your stomach, meloncholic, I-just-want-to-be-back-in-my-comfort-zone sort of feeling. It makes absolutely no, I mean NONE, no sense to me why I feel this way about Mexico and I'm sure you all are sooo sick of hearing about it from me by now, but I feel like I need to vent.
In my Chicano studies class today we had to read a very interesting article. One of the founders of The Association for Hispanic Journalists (I believe that's the name), wrote an article in which he addressed the fact that he calls himself "Hispanic" though his parents are both clearly white. Very controversial. He worked in Mexico, he marched for Mexican-American movements, and for this he calls himself "Hispanic." Interesting, huh?
We had a very VERY interesting debate in class and about 99% of the class felt that was wrong. It was like someone saying they could make themself Italian just by going and living in the country. There's so much more to the debate, but wow, it makes you think.
I definitely wouldn't ever call myself "Hispanic" just for loving the culture, the country and the language, though the language often times confounds me. (However, grasping a language was never thought to be an easy thing to accomplish nor meant to be, especially considering God separated us with the language barrier.) But for me it's all the more satisfying to be able to break that barrier and communicate with even more people and learn more about people who have led completely different lives, hold many different values and celebrate, interact and mourn differently than me. It's a celebration of diversity and taking lessons from others and learning that your way is not always the "right way" and that maybe, just maybe, there isn't a "right way" to do things.
My soul still hungers for my Mexico/border time. To wind through the roads, talk with the people and take in the atmosphere. Gosh.
I keep wondering when the desire will go away or at least dissipate, but it hasn't. Something's hooked me and I can't logically figure it out. I'm sure I've written this a million times, so here goes a million and one; I have no freakin' clue why I love the Mexican culture so much. Why? And who chose this? I certainly couldn't have forseen this happening, especially if you had talked to me in the fall of 2001, shortly after high school graduation, starting my first semester of my required foreign language; Spanish. I had thought to myself "well, clearly French wasn't all that beneficial to me because I never use it, but Spanish, yah, I'll use Spanish. I'll get my 4 classes done and know a sufficient enough amount of the language to get by." Little did I know that a mission trip in the fall to Hermosillo would change all that...
I saw the people. I spoke with them, my broken tongue and sheepish smiles amid nervous, embarrassed laughs. It was hard. And I craved more. I wanted to tell them about God, about the happiness I had, about what had changed me for the better. But I realized that I would not only need to overcome language barriers, but cultural ones as well. When will the cravings be satisfied? I'm not sure.
I'm studying Spanish literature right now in my SPA 325 class, however, what I should be studying is mi Santa Biblia so I can learn the Word.
Most importantly, in regards to my first trip to Hermosillo, I learned to love someone I couldn't even understand. I realized my inability to help and anything I was able to communicate had to come from God. It taught me dependence, though even now I strive for more knowledge so I can depend on myself. But as with many things I'm learning, it will never be perfect. I have to trust.
So who knows what comes from my love, the special afinity I have for Mexico, especially the border, but I'm willing to go where God wants me.
I thought I left my heart in Hermosillo, but now I realize that it's just in Mexico. I just need to figure out how I'm going to get it back or if I even can...

Monday, August 30, 2004

Nogales: Mi amor---j.g. 8/30/04

It washes over me,
The nostalgia, the memories,
The dividers, the flood lights,
The smell of the air, drenched in los perros calientes.
The lines of cars, wading into the gaps,
The begger and her small child, the trash bags.
The ribby dogs digging through half-eaten remnants on the ground,
The men sleeping in the parks, under trees, on benches.
Filth, poverty, hunger and pain
Sitting on a balcony, eating, enjoying the rain.
A city full of life and death
Drugs and dreams.
The other side of the world
On the other side of the fence.
I long to venture back
Breathe in the taste of the air,
The sounds of the streets
The sights of the city
And the eyes of the dreamers.
Nogales, la frontera
Estas en mis suenos
En mi corazon
Y por siempre en mi vida.
Te amo, mi amor, Nogales,
Nunca voy a olvidarte
Siempre estas en mis suenos
Siempre estas en mis pensamientos.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Child's Song--jg 8/26/04
I can feel you creeping back in,
The walls tumbling down along with the sin.
I turned my face and walked away,
Feeling burdened, unable to pray.
I knew you were there standing right beside me,
Waiting for me to return from the blindness to again see.

This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine...

The child's song echoes again in my brain
Oh to be back in that place, in that time again!
My biggest problem back then was sharing,
Sitting in Sunday school just learning about caring.
Believing the teacher when she said Jesus loved me
That he died on the cross to set me free.
Free from what? me, the child, asks
Free from all the household tasks?
I'm sure my teacher only smiled and told me "from sin"
But how could my small mind understand or even begin?

This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine...

So easy to believe that there's more out there than what He gave me,
Wondering what I'm missing out on, unable to see.
As He again enters, I rejoice with each new victory,
I cry to him with happiness as I relearn his story.

This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine...

There is hope.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Mourning Shadow--jg 8/25/04

My eyes were blurred,
But I met with you,
Curled up in your arms
And asked you what to do.
I find myself
In the shadow of your wings,
And I sit at your feet to listen
As time's pendulum swings.
I wish I could stay here forever,
Where time seems to stand still
And revel in the moment of that day
When you relate to me your will.
Search my heart
Define my soul
Tell me what I need to do
To kneel and be made whole.

I've searched for empty answers
From logic that couldn't fill
And I continue reaching for the things
That are so clearly outside of your will.
My ever-wandering heart is calm
As I look to you and sigh,
No matter how far I wander
It is to you I will confide.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

So guess what my only class tomorrow is...take a guess, just one guess...
No, not Spanish...math? Ha! Yeah right!
ULTIMATE FRISBEE!!!!! WHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOO! I'm more than excited to take this class. Every Wednesday and Friday at 9:40 I will be running around with a frisbee playing one of the greatest sports known to man. However, I have met a handful of people who had never heard of ultimate before. I feel sorry for them. They're missing out.
Anyway, so my big goal is to learn how to throw the Frisbee over-hand so that it, like, twists sideways in mid-air and goes where I want it. That would be boss! I hope they can teach me that because I need to figure a strategy out to overcome the "shortness" factor. What I mean by that is, ultimate seems to attract really tall, big guys and I'm not so tall (5'4), so it's really hard to get around them, you know? I'd love to get better and then go beat the pants of the Grace Community players--oops. Did I say that out loud? Nah, I'm just kidding. Those guys are great and honestly, they only doubted me until they saw that I could run, catch and throw. Then they were cool and I was the secret weapon. Kind of.
Classes went well today although I was very close to embarrassing myself. It's a really short story to tell orally, however I've already written it in an e-mail and realized that it takes a lot more to write it out and, though I am fearless when it comes to writing long blogs (as most of you "regulars" know--I think I have a few "regulars" out there...), I would rather not write it out because frankly, it's not all that great. Suffice to say I was very close to catching foot-in-mouth syndrome in front of a class of about 150. No problem though. I'm confident in myself.
My classes will be busy this semester with lots of reading and I have to balance this whole Mexico trip class and State Press Magazine stuff, but all in all I think it'll work out. I suppose we'll see how it goes later on in the semester.
Alrighty kids. That does it for me. I'm starting to get a little sleepy--maybe I'm finally starting to fall back into my "normal" sleep schedule of 10 p.m to 6 a.m. Well, it's 11, but it's close enough, right?
Hasta, gente. Quiero regresar a Mexico para hablar con la gente y pasar el tiempo cerca de la frontera!!!!!!!!!! :*(

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Hope my "monster poem" didn't scare anyone--it tends to scare me from time to time, but as of right now, the monster has left the building. Keep me in your prayers that God would strengthen my walk with Him and that I would be able to get back on track with my own spiritual growth. It's the only way to fight the monsters off or at least keep them at bay...
It's been a decent weekend, but as usual, it felt very short and this week doesn't look like it's going to be a bowl of cherries either. (Did that make sense?)...I'm still tarrying on with the wedding plans--I think we've now figured out what we want for the cake, but the most important part, at least to Obadiah ;), is how it's going to taste, so I suppose we'll be trying out cake flavors or debating for the next several weeks...
We also met with a DJ today, and unfortunately, he's not going to be ours, but the company's good and supposedly his second-in-command is excellent as well, so we'll see. At least that's been squared away and it's a great deal.
Still waiting on the photographer and the caterer; the two biggest things aside from figuring out guest numbers. And we're doing our premarital counseling, though right now it consists of going through studies together. I'm really enjoying the studies except for when the book says things like "romance tends to die after the first six months, though some say it's more like after two or three years and then you'll see the REAL person." yikes! Who's safe to marry if THAT's true???
How will you ever know what you're getting yourself into, so to speak? Seriously, am I the only one who finds that little sentence just slightly disturbing? I mean, I feel like I'm making a great decision here and then all of a sudden WHAM! "By the way (said in an ever-so-sugary-sweet-tone), the person you've agreed to marry? Well, he's not going to exist three years from now."
Dude, why aren't there more books for engaged couples out there, by the way? Does someone just not realize how friggin' hard it is to be engaged and in that limbo stage? It's like in college group the other night. All the singles can stick around to watch the movies and all you marrieds just go home and have sex...WELL WHAT THE HECK, WHAT ABOUT US??!!
Anyway, my theory about the lack of encouraging and guiding books for engaged couples, is that those who are experiencing the engaged-couple-planning-a-wedding-syndrome are too dang busy planning a wedding to even THINK about writing a book, much less READING a book. Which brings me to our next wonderful topic: School.
Yes, boys and girls, tomorrow is my first day of my Senior year in college. Wait. That means this is my last first-day-of-school...ever. Unless I go back, which I highly doubt. Wow. Last first day of school ever....
So I'll be cracking the books open this week and also preparing for the Mexico trip class, taking Media Law, Chicano Studies, Hispanic Literature (in Spanish, of course), and Ultimate Frisbee (the best class in my schedule, if you ask me). Plus, as I've said before, I'll be writing for the magazine section of the paper at school. Whoohoo.
Enough of my rantings and ravings. You get the gist. My life is busy. I'm planning a wedding. I'm going through emotional turmoil yatta, yatta, yatta. Blah blah blah. I'm really not trying to complain because I really do love my life. I hope that comes across here and that it's not just about my frustrations or difficulties. But then again, you've entered my thoughts, my heart and my own reflections so it's not always going to be sun-shiny and rose-colored, is it?
Better get going and start cleaning a room that hasn't been touched since I got back last Sunday (que terrible!). Tomorrow's class doesn't start until 4:40--oh woe is me! :)
Hasta gente!

Friday, August 20, 2004

In the Absence of Perfection--j.g 8/20/04
Three months without it,
The monster has returned.
Scratching at the very foundations I've built,
The ones I couldn't seem to control.
The hateful words long etched into my brain,
The rippling words of defeat.
You're not good enough,
Take the next step and your life is over.
Swirling attacks from nowhere creep up beside my bed
As I sleep,
The monster returns.
Where did its foothold come from?
Where did it get its invitation?
How do I close the door
To the meloncholic sadness that inevitably follows?
Not good enough
Never will be.
The fight never ends, nor will it ever.
My heart will continue grasping for his words
And His Word.
But when will the monster be gone forever?
And take the rolling agony away.

The unattainable perfection I long for
Sits neatly beside the door.
Too heavy to pick up, serenly out of reach.
Grappling with this idea of imperfection.
Siempre to be flawed.
And me

Thursday, August 19, 2004

So I see there are no takers on the investment opportunity I noted yesterday in my blog...bummer. I really wanted that house. After more thought, I realized we can't put it here in Arizona, no, we'd have to put it somewhere exotic and the rainforest. lol, there ya go, I'm a quick one I tell ya. Maybe like Costa Rica or something--that place is rainy right? Or England? My vote's for Costa Rica, personally...
My fun toy of the month, maybe even the year is my new cellphone. My mom got an upgrade after renewing the contract so now I'll have a smaller, more professional-looking flip phone. I think my favorite feature (aside from personalizing each person's ring) is the speakerphone. I already cracked up over it because I didn't realize it was on. The Verizon lady and I were trying to activate my phone so we had to call it and do all this junk. We ended up hearing all of the elevator music over speakerphone--k, so this is more difficult to explain than I thought it'd be. It was funny, but I guess you'd have to be there.
My dad leaves for England tomorrow--maybe that's where I'm getting my England-glass-house thing from...anyway, he'll be gone for quite a while which kinda stinks because we haven't been able to get back onto our daddy-daughter-dinner night for a while now. We sort of made it a tradition to get together at Souper Salad every Thursday evening for dinner to catch up on the happenings of life and transition our relationship a bit. I'd say it's worked, however since last semester between my schedule and his traveling and me being gone this past summer, the dinners have been postponed. But it's cool. I know we'll get back on track again...
So I'll take him to the airport tomorrow...4 o'clock, 4 o'clock. I have to remember. I'm just terrible about remembering things sometimes.
Tomorrow night is college group night, which should be fun. It took a little adjusting the week before when I was there because the dynamics are just so different from what I'd gotten used to in Tucson. I cherish peace and quiet now. In fact, I think I've voluntarily turned on the television maybe twice since I've been back, which has been about 5 days now. That isn't too shabby. I just hope that it remains that way because over the break I realized how much it can take over your life. All of a sudden I only had the "regular" channels--i.e. no cable. That meant no MTV, no TLC and no NBC. Well, okay, so NBC was still there, but I was trying to be clever with the call numbers. Anyway, after a while I noticed that I didn't miss it that much and then when it came to sitting down and watching TV for a little while, I got bored with it and grabbed a book instead. Great huh? I say, let's ban television for good. Movies every once-in-a-while, but otherwise, nada. Who needs it huh? I can waste my time blogging instead, which, I have to tell you, like Ben, I really missed it. I couldn't really blog for a week and I was going stir crazy. Now that I'm back, I'll be trying to write as frequently as possible. But between jobs, school and wedding planning, I don't know how often that will be this semester.
Congratulations to my friends Robert and Angela on being pregnant! So awesome! I'm so incredibly excited for them and just awed and stunned. I was really shocked when they told me because it felt like it was from out in left field. Wow. Amazing. I think it's also finally hit me like a ton of bricks: That could be me in a year or two or less. Please God, don't make it in less than two years!!!! I get this feeling of slight panic by the thought because I just don't feel ready, like i have so much more growing to do both spiritually, mentally and experientially (is that a word?). What I mean by my last word, if that is a word, is that I feel like there's so much more of life I want to experience before a kid enters the picture. Don' t get me wrong, I am soooo looking forward to having kids--but someday. I'm talking maybe when I'm 25. That might be nice. Gosh, Lord, help me with these thoughts. Why do I fear those things? Take my life, give me peace, for I know you have plans for me, plans to prosper me and care for me. You desire to give me strength and wisdom. Lord, I want to be your servant and I want to do it when you want it. If that means I have a kid on my hip, around my ankle and hanging on my arm, so be it. I just want to be where you want me and doing what you want me to be doing. I know that will be the perfect place; maybe not the easy or fun one, but the place where you want me. Show me what you want of me, guide me along that path. I'm yours. Take me where you want me.
Nighty night. Hasta.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Just got back from youth group and it was great tonight. I ran into an old friend I went to high school, church and all of the church conventions and camps with. It's such a crazy thing to me, how small this world really is. You never know who you'll run into. In fact, I ran into my first boyfriend the other day who told me he had run into my sister a few months ago and she had told him that I'd gotten engaged. So the first thing out of his mouth was "congratulations! I heard you got engaged!" It's funny to think back on those juvenile memories, you know? The awkwardness and the whole cheesy junior high thing of just holding hands to designate that you're "going out." I can't help but smile a little over that whole escapade. He was one of three boyfriends I've had in my entire life and really, the other one didn't count. And the last one counted the most ;)
Anyway, I affectionately refer to myself as "tangent Jen" from time to time and I'm sure it's very apparent why I call myself that, especially on this blog.
Tonight, as I drove home from the church, I couldn't help but have that feeling in my gut that I should just keep driving on a night like tonight. The sky is so dark and clear and yet there was a steady rain. I know a lot of people say you shouldn't be out driving when it's rainy or whatever, but for me, I feel like that's what I should be doing. Drive somewhere and just park and stare. Keep good ol' Norah Jones on and just cruise for a while. Feel like time is standing still, that the night will never end and responsibility will never again come knocking on your door. Reckless abandon, just keep driving until the gage reads "E" or the gaslight comes on. On a night such as this, I wish I owned a room that was just basically a box made of glass. I'd love to build one of those way out in the middle of nowhere...maybe put a lightning rod on top or whatever you have to do to keep from being struck...and just sit in there on a couch, wrapped up tightly in a comfy blanket looking around as the raindrops cascade down the sides and patter onto the roof. I've looked for a similar place in Mesa, but I don't think one even remotely close to that idea actually exists. How very disappointing. Someday I'll build a glass house in the middle of nowhere---a nowhere that's completely absent of any rocks or heavy, throwable objects that may ruin my perfect rainy place. My heart longs for that place of solitude in this moment. I can't see the rain from where I am--just the wall and a computer screen, a bookcase in my periphery.
Oh Norah, take me to my glass house! Keep the sunshine away for a few days and let me just lie there and stare at the sky and the rain and the tiny beads of water sticking to the sides of my house.
Anyone want to invest in a glass house in the middle of nowhere? We could partner up on it...I'd be willing to share my perfect rainy place as long as everyone stayed perfectly quiet. It'd be my perfectly quiet writing rainy place. I wonder if I could get wireless internet expensive do you think that'd be? I bet I could find investors...
I'm going to retreat to my not-so-perfect rainy place, otherwise known as my single-window bedroom. I love it, but now it just doesn't measure up to my perfectly quiet writing rainy place in the middle of nowhere. But I'll survive and I'll keep dreaming and thinking about it.
A mi me encanta la lluvia y mi lugar de lluvia. En el futuro, tendre mi lugar de lluvia. Hasta.

Today's been a busy one. Researching on the computer, getting little errands taken care of and writing an article have kept me on my toes, not to mention gearing up for other articles and classes I have to prepare for. Man, I want to go back to my layed back life in Tucson! Help me!
Tonight I'll go to youth group for the first time since May 20something when Obadiah proposed. I've been so caught up in school and articles and whatever else that I haven't been able to make it for a while. I really hope that changes this year, but I suppose only time will tell...
One thing I didn't mention last night because I thought it was minor, was that I kinda, well, biffed it while hiking yesterday. I mean, it was graceful, from what my dad said, and to me, it felt very slow-mo. The tread on my running shoes are toast from running on concrete and all that jazz, so stepping on a semi-slippery/smooth rock did not help me much. I fell onto a rock and thank goodness, I didn't keep sliding otherwise, who knows? Maybe I'd have a cactus stuck to me or something. Anyway, my graceful fall did not feel so graceful to my backside--I don't know what I did, but it sure feels like I fractured the very tip of my tailbone. I can't plop into my car the same way and I get a nice big twinge of pain if I cough or sneeze. Who knew?
So hopefully that feels better soon, but what do you do for something like that? I think it'd look pretty strange if I was sitting on an ice pack....okay, I'm not taking this discussion any further than that. Forgive me!
I better go get ready for youth night. Hasta!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

So I went hiking with my parents tonight. It was a lot of fun--beautiful night to do it. We went to South Mountain and hiked in a few different areas. I think my favorite part of it (aside from running some of it) was seeing the sky change a million different colors as the sun set. I love how one minute a fluffy cloud near the horizon will look pale and grey and the next a brilliant orange or red with the sky offsetting it with a majestic purple or deep blue. Gorgeous. I love God's creation!
Anyway, we went to dinner after hiking and then I talked wedding stuff with my mom. The whole planning this is quite a struggle just because it feels as if there are always a million things to be done or looked into, you know? It's like, great, we figured out the church, but now we have to figure out how to decorate it, when the ceremony will be, how the ceremony will be, how long it's going to take...shoot, let's just go elope!
And I would, but I love my family and my friends and I want to share that day with them. Not just a reception, but that moment of saying "I do." The culmination of over two years of seeing a friendship and then a relationship blossom. It's a beautiful and special and meaningful thing to me at least.
Like I said, we talked wedding stuff a little bit and then I came in here feeling slightly "harried." So I've been online researching things, looking up e-mails and figuring out just how much I can spend on favors and how much of this wedding will come out of my pockets gradually so we can have those we want at the wedding, at the wedding. No where in this process have I gone to take a I can smell myself. Hey, guys do it all the time, so don't tell me that me sitting here reaking is anything worse than a guy doing it...
So just a few more moments of "reaking..."
My stories are rolling a little bit and I can't wait to set off on my fun-filled journeys for my cover stories. I'm stoked about both because they're definitely "edgy" for me, but they're things I think will be news and will be very interesting. Both are sort of underground activities that some may be aware of...but I can't get into either. Suffice to say that at least one of them involves Mexico directly and indirectly. I love that...
I'm starting with the dot, dot, dotting again, forgive me. I'm sure it's slightly obnoxious.
So if you see anything wedding related around or happen to think of me and my wedding, send up a prayer to the big guy for me cuz things are a little crazy. That Little White Wedding Chapel sounds better by the minute, but I know I'd regret it to an extent.
Time to hit the showers. Tomorrow is another day of reporting and hopefully writing. I'd like to get at least one of my stories done tomorrow and then completely focus on the other one and get it done by deadline Saturday. Very strange to have deadlines on Saturdays... (again, the dots...shoot.)

I'm going through withdrawals.
Visions of Altar and Nogales filled my dreams last night. I saw them again. I was back at the bus station. Their backpacks were slung over one shoulder, Coca Colas from a nearby vending machine perched in their hands. Waiting, again, to leave.
The truck bouncing down the dirt road on a night filled with stars and darkness. Vans speeding down the stretch on their way to a place of no return for some. I felt the heat, the stickiness of that night. I saw the rows of backpacks, toiletries for their survival.
I'm coming down from a sleep hangover of sorts from sleeping too much...dreaming too much. My body seems to crave the sleep deprivation that came from those adrenaline-filled nights. Maybe it'll go away in a few days or a few weeks. Maybe the grip of the border is just tight from the newness of the separation. The addiction is tightly wound by a sense of longing today.
The questions resurface. I thought I'd clearly answered them over a month ago when the adventure had first begun. How could anyone love the crowded streets, the mangy dogs, the cracked pavement and dirty towns? Filth in the gutters, in the "massage parlors," the strip clubs and transvestite hang outs.
I saw the towering police chief and his chronies. I heard the music from the discotecas floating into the streets; Usher crooning "yeeahh," Nelly, "it's gettin' hot in here." Nogales, porque te amo?
I'll go back to school in less than a week, but I'll miss the schooling I had this summer on the border where the subject was less about books and more about life. A tale of survival and corruption.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Today was fabulous. I love the new staff I'm going to be working with so far. But then again, those are only first impressions ;) . Anyhoo, we were brainstorming ideas and yes, many were along the college lines--stuff that'll appeal to the college-aged and my hope is that if we can draw people in, then if we do things that are more political or serious, then we may get their attention and they may just read those articles. We'll see.
I'm looking forward to just stretching my creativity and myself. I have a few good ideas, but my favorites are the quirky ones and I can't wait to find more of those throughout the semester.
Back to school shopping. It's not the kind of shopping I'm most fond of.
I had to peruse the college bookstore today to get my books for class. I ended up with a $200 tab. And that was just books. I still had to get school supplies and all that jazz. I finally bought a business card holder--had no idea they existed until I saw Michael the border reporter carrying one. Thanks Michael. So I'm set there...
Still trying to figure out what's going on with the nannying thing. So very confused, but we'll see...
Well, I'd like to talk about all of my fun ideas and the more investigative, serious ones, but that's not a good idea. I do trust you all, you know, but you never know what eyes will see these things...
I don't know why I keep dot, dot, dotting....shoot, there I go again! I guess I'm just doing stream of consciousness and don't have a lot of "deep thoughts" today.
All right, I'm resisting the urge to dot, dot, dot, so before I do it again, I'm putting an end to this blog. I hope to continue blogging as often as possible throughout the semester, so forgive me if I end up slacking.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

I'm back home for good now, y'all! Crazy huh? The summer flew by and was awesome. I'm definitely going to miss Tucson, but I'm very happy to be back home and getting back into the groove here.
Yesterday the other intern (Lynn), the border reporter (Michael) and I, hit Hermosillo, Altar and Magdalene, Mexico. It was a day of lots of driving, but it was so great to get back to Hermosillo and also check out Altar. Altar is known for being THE staging town for smuggling. Kiosks full of backpacks, tables full of deoderants, soaps, shirts, pants, kids underwear, hairbrushes line the roads. The shops say "Every clothing accessory" on signs worn by years in the arid desert.
We followed a road back a little way that led to Sassabe. (I think I may have misspelled that...) That's the specific area where coyotes and their followers try to cross, but it was about 60 miles from the point where we started, so we just took a quick look and went back. The mini trip to Altar was about 2 hours out of the way, but worth it. You can't just read about these places and not see them. At least that's how I feel about it.
My summer traveling the border, exploring another world there but also in Tucson, was in a word, great. It was freeing and I felt like I was able to learn many things and also dash some stereotypes. It was a growing experience and it's going to take a while, like I said, to completely readjust to life up here, especially with school starting up in a week. A week. Yikes. Nah, I'm actually looking forward to doing and learning new things. I'm most excited about snooping around for more story ideas. We'll be discussing those this week at our "State Press Camp" at school. The only bad thing right now is I can't remember where it is we're meeting...I somehow misplaced that information...
Good ol' Norah Jones. She's so good for tuning out a much-too-loud television. That honestly is one thing I haven't missed one ounce. Television. Especially blaring television. Bleh. Waste of time if you ask me. I need to be reading, running around and reporting. That sounds good. What do you accomplish watching TV? I'm not criticizing anyone who does, heck, I'll probably end up watching more of it as I grow more accustomed to my new old world here, but seriously, if there's a more unproductive thing out there, let me know. Write me a little note...okay, so I've just thought of a few things: watching paint dry...watching the grass grow...staring at the wall...No, they're not nearly as "entertaining," but you get about the same amount of stuff done; nothing. But sometimes it's just background noise or whatever...okay, no more tangents...
Back to Tucson and Mexico.
I didn't have fancy computer equipment to cart around with me yesterday and, stupid me, I forgot the two things I practically had sown to my hands all summer; a pen and notebook. I had the "writer itch" and was going nuts in the car because I needed to write and had nothing to write with or on. There's nothing worse for me than to not have something to write on when I get "inspired." Most of the time the inspiration is just me getting stuck in my head, being semi-contemplative. Anyway, fortunately, Michael had a notebook and pen so I spent a little time in the truck bent over a notebook, trying to write as steadily as possible and at the same time straining to see what I was writing in the middle of dusk on our way to Altar. Anyhoo, here's my old-fashioned blog; started with paper and a pen--go figure. I think someone used to call that a journal entry or something...

Returning to Hermosillo --j.g 8/14/04

Peace. We're driving down a highway moving away from Hermosillo. The place where my heart be forever. I remembered Patty today as we were driving in. Her 6-year-old face washed over my mind's eye over and over, like a never-ending ripple in a massive lake. A stone face. A bright pink jacket with white trim. She was hesitant of me at first, but somewhere between conversations hampered by a language barrier and the large, fluffy marshmellows she and the rest of the kids would stuff into their mouthes, she grew fond of me and me of her.
She and her other girl friends at the orphanage crowded around me wherever I walked. Even for photos.
They all smiled; she did not.
The night is blanketing the sky now, the reds and oranges fading into the horizon. Marizco and Lynn are chit-chatting about road construction and coworkers. Michael's face is serious as he stares at the road--intent, focused. It's better to make him, anyone, smile.
But Patty didn't smile and it didn't get any better when she found out I was leaving. Por favor, ¿Vas a regresar muy próximo?
Tears. Pleas that I return, that I stay.
I told her I'd try to come back. Back to the orphanage. Back to Hermosillo.
Our day was filled with a little bit of coffee and a little bit of a mango-flavored margarita, tortillas and grilled meat, shopping on broken, crowded streets. It's a place "only a mother could love," so why am I so smitten? I have no blood ties, no reason. All I know is I'm hooked. Desperately in love with an unattainable goal.
The trees raced by as I watched the white lines on the black asphalt jog steadily behind our green truck. I could see the Big Dipper low in the sky. The city was long gone.
I had betrayed her. Hadn't even looked for her. Two-and-a half years past the date when I first met her...She had remembered me one year after the meeting. She asked my friends who were able to go where I was. She remembered me. I remembered her, but that's all.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Waiting for my article to be edited. Man, heavy one today. I'll let you know about it later.
I can't believe tomorrow is my last day here. Time has flown by. I'm really excited though because Lynn, the other intern, will be coming back to the plant tomorrow. She's been at the other office for the last week and a half. We've been hanging out though. Last night I made manicotti for dinner and she made homemade carrot cake. It was soooooo good. I have leftovers--whoohoo!
I'm still deciding if I'm going to come home Saturday or Sunday. I was thinking Sunday, but now I'm not sure of how Saturday's going to work out. I guess we'll see what happens (I say that a lot, don't I?)...
Sorry for such a brief, but gotta get going.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

No computer at home really messes with the time available to blog. Forgive me, kids as I have not had the chance to get on here and write briefly.
So I'll be returning to reality as of Sunday. How fun is that? Friday night we'll be going out with the crew from work for a night on the town--let me know if anyone wants to join us. It will be a lovely night of dancing and maybe a little bit of bar-hopping...did I say that? Hey, it's okay to go and do that if you're not getting trashed. Like I said before, it's interesting the stereotypes I placed on those who partook of the "sins" of bar-hopping and/or clubbing. Anyway, if it makes you stumble, don't go, however, I don't find it all that bad for myself and I'm not dragging anyone along with me who doesn't want to go.
Sunday was pretty crazy. I really felt a call on my heart while we were watching the video of the kids and teens in Ireland. I so want to be there and direct and help, but I also know in this time i need to grow to be able to better do that someday. I wish I could just move there now though and start the work. I was praying about the possibility of doing that; being a full-time missionary in a foreign country and all on Sunday and the last few days and was reading my Bible in good 'ol Matthew on Monday morning when I ran across Jesus telling the disciples "the harvest is great but the workers are few." Send me! Let me be a worker! I can't imagine a greater thing than that and then who knows? Maybe I could write a book about ministry in Ireland and the perpetuating myths about the community. Who knows? I'd really like to go over there at least someday. Honestly though, I'm just interested in the world and meeting people and helping people, so wherever I end up, that's where I'll be. Sounds kinda silly to say it that way, but seriously, God, just take my life and take me where you want me! You've got the best planned for me so I just want the best there is. Tough? Yes. The dark side was wandering in the other day reminding me about having kids and them not growing up around their grandparents if we were to move to another country--what about their schooling? How would they adjust? Having kids would really affect how much time you could devote to the ministry, in fact, it'd hinder it because you'd have a kid on a hip the whole time...But those things don't bother me much because I know God will give Obadiah and I kids someday at the appropriate time. Maybe our "kids" will be the kids we work with for a while, who knows? All I know is kids after two years of marriage seems kinda quick to me now, especially when I think about all of the adjusting and changes we'll be going through...again though, that's in God's hands.
It was fun hanging out with everyone on the river Saturday, in case anyone missed that. The tops of my legs below the knee burned a little, but aside from that, I'm good as gold. Good tan, finally. Office life is not particularly conducive to deep brown tans and tan lines, you know?
Anyhoo, I should get back to doing what I should. Just thought I'd drop a short note to let y'all know I'm surviving, having fun, missing everyone and coming home on Sunday.
Toodles from Tucson! (only 3 more days...)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Post number 80...

Coffee and nicotine. I never thought they'd become so routine to so many. I walk out of the newsroom; cigarette in one hand, coffee in another as they walk to the designated area. Fifteen minute break means grabbing the smokes or grabbing a cup of joe. Driving means a swig of caffeine and a few puffs.
The room is dark, filled with college-aged hipsters playing pool over cigarettes, workers yelling out "small, light whip!" over blaring rock music. What are they saying? The bass drowns out the deep screams of the lead singer.
Light from a lowly hung, tiny lamp brightens the green and purple table, empty coffee cup nearby. There's a guy in the corner who casually sips his joe and watches the table from beneath his baseball cap. Now a cigar.
Darkness floods the other side of the window, plastic tables and chairs crowded on the small sidewalk outside of the cafe. A large safe door is behind the pool players, one of them has a dark mop of hair draped to the side of his long forehead. I wonder if this is the life...
"You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals.." the song I hate more than anything is playing loudly over the speaker system now. A winding staircase is to my right and it leads upstairs to who knows what. There are neon lights up there, a few tables and chairs.
Is this a 'safehouse?' Yes and no.
I still haven't gotten my share of coffee. Then again, I had some earlier in the day. Another little habit I picked up at the paper. Caffeine...hopefully nicotine is not soon to follow, but I've seen the ill effects so it's highly unlikely.
Smoke drifts across the room. How did I get so used to this smell, this feeling around my lungs? Maybe it's all of the reporters I've been hanging out with...and the college-agers...and the bars...but there haven't been that many; bars that is. It's an interesting phenomenon. You think all that goes on at "those sorts of places" is just drunken debauchery, but it's not true. It's all about socializing, though some do choose to get hammered.
The beat is melodic and has an 80s feel to it now. My eyes burn. Maybe I'll go get a cup of joe...

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Another day to blog. What to blog. Well, it was your typical day. Got up. Went to work (skipped the whole getting dressed part, didn't I...). Worked until 6. Ate dinner. Started to clean my room. Spied my computer. Checked out the other blogs. I have to say, the only thing I hate about blogs is that they are not eternal. They're just put out there into cyber space and my kids won't get this. Not unless I print all of them out. To an extent, your written words could be lost forever. However, if I did this in a physical diary, that'd be there forever...unless a terrible fire swept through the house, annihilating everything. Worst case scenario though.
So I guess I'm coming home this weekend. Part of me doesn't think I should because I only have this weekend and next until I'm back home--actually, not even next weekend, although I'm debating on which day to come back. I know that the group from work wants to take us out on the town for a last hoorah as a sort of going away thing, but that may be a Friday night. That'd be fun though.
It's really weird to think I'll be leaving this place to go home. Home. Hmm...this kinda feels like home to an extent. I've settled and like it here. I miss my family and my friends, but I also like my little taste of freedom. I feel almost completely on a different planet. Anyway, I'm yammering about stupid things tonight.
No border this weekend. Michael has a family emergency. Please pray for him and his family as his mother just found out some not-so-great news.
I thought this semester was going to be easy, but I was wrong. It's going to be insane. I need to start brainstorming more story ideas, especially on Monterrey, Mexico. I'm really looking forward to that project and exploring another part of Mexico as well. It should be cool. Oh, for all you who don't know, the depth reporting class I was selected to be in will be putting together a media package that represents the Cronkite Journalism school at ASU so we're working with Monterrey Tec journalism students to produce articles, photos, and video of Arizona and Mexico and their ties through Monterrey. I'm not sure why they chose Monterrey for immigration issues--it seems awefully far-removed--but we'll see.
Vision's getting blurry so i better go to bed.
Toodles from Tucson

Monday, August 02, 2004

Only You Could Know --j.g 8/2/04

Searching for the answers,
Grappling with defeat
The world seems so blurred,
How history does repeat.
Turning upside down and over
Again I look up at you and sigh
Things just seem so crazy
Without an answer to the why.

You saved me
But how?
If you love me
Why allow?

The pain it stirs so deeply
The poison slowly draws
I'm aching in my being
For you to slough off all the flaws.
My imperfect, dying being
Sits wrapped up in this shell
Tiredly crying out from the depths
To heal me and make me well.
Please take my hand and lead me
Beyond these briars, beyond the black
For I know the need is there
Though at times I've turned my back.
So easy to run and hide
Continue on as life takes its toll
Before long it seems I need no comfort
Nothing seems to make me whole.
I reach for empty meaning
Desire overtaking my heart
And I know that in this uncertainty
I've already done my part.
But I cry out to you again
From the core of my being
Please take this life and transform me
Give my life some meaning.
Praise quickly leaves me,
Her graces seem to fade
And pride only leaves me lonely
After all the compliments have been paid.
Selfish I have come
And helpless I will go
For time is not what I hold
It's something only you could know.

He's home safely! I'm so happy and so relieved. :sigh: No more worries...
Today has been a good day (so far), but it isn't over yet. I have cop shop duty tonight from 2-11pm and it's now just about 7 pm. I had an interview early this morning at 7:30 so I had to leave Phoenix at about 6:15. That wasn't the most fun, but I survived it and after the interview, I hit the hay for a couple of hours. That made me feel a lot better.
My UA grading story finally ran today and though it was stuck on the metro cover, it's gotten a lot of attention from other media outlets. I heard it mentioned on 3 different evening newscasts tonight, so I was sort of mad at them, but at the same time very flattered. It took quite a bit of time to finish and I'm so glad that it turned out the way it did. If you want to read it, here's the link:

Aside from that, just chilling down here in Tucson. Looking forward to hopefully going to Altar/Hermosillo with the other intern and the border reporter this Friday. Because I'm working so much today and worked a little overtime last week, I may actually have Friday completely off which would be rather nice. We'll see what happens with that.
Only two more weeks here, I can't believe it. I'll be moving out of the apartment and into Chelsea's house for my final week here because the lease is up on the apartment after this week. It's a little weird and crazy, but it'll be fine. Hopefully I'll get to see Chelsea and hang out with her a little, but I don't know how busy her schedule is. Anyway, I'm very torn right now between wanting to be back home to move on with things, but on the other hand I just love what I'm doing now and have really settled into everything. I've finally built some relationships with coworkers and have gotten quite attached and fond of this place. I don't care what everyone says about Tucson, it's not that bad.
So that's what's up with me. I'm so glad everyone had a great time in Ireland and I hope that everyone grew spiritually as well. It sounds like it was a beautiful place and I'm hearing rumors that a few people are considering moving there...? Lol, I guess we'll see what happens in the future and where God leads us, right?
Love y'all and so glad you're home. Missed my community, my family. That's the hardest part about being down here. I lost my support system!!! :*(
Toodles from Tucson