Friday, July 01, 2005

Warning! Chicago people are being bragged upon...

Other than finding out that my visa wouldn't be accepted and that I was short a document that my sponsoring organization didn't even have, Chicago was great. I spent a couple days with M, a friend from college who lives in the suburbs. She fed me Thai and Caribbean food, took me to the youth group she’s a volunteer with, and we engaged in interesting conversations about everything that popped into mind. M is sweet and intelligent and wise. She’s had some intense life experiences –you can see the fingerprints of God all over her. It’s going to be interesting to see where God takes her. I have a hunch it’ll be something international...And to top things off, she let me snoop through her bookshelf! While I was there, I read this book by a supermodel named Waris Dirie (I think) called “Desert Flower.” Shocking and sad, it chronicles her life as a woman in Somalia and England and America, complete with horrific tales of female circumcision and near-slavery. Easy reading level, but not an easy read. Anyhow, after crashing at M’s place, I still had a few days to kill as I waited to hear from the office and my staff members in Brazil about what my next steps should be, so I spent the rest of the time with my friend Scott A and his family. They’re great people. This is the second time I’ve come practically unannounced and they’ve always been the greatest hosts. When I think about hospitality and having my own place, people like the A’s are my role models. They really made me feel at home. As much as I love people and socializing, I am always afraid of being an inconvenience. I was worried that being without a vehicle and so forth, that I’d be a bother. I knew that they had plans and so I was perfectly ready to spend a quiet weekend alone at the house. Instead, they treated me like a family member. I was invited out to dinner with family in from out of town, taken out to lunch and a movie, introduced to scores of friends at a party in the city, and driven wherever I needed to go. We had great conversations (again!), played frisbee, wrestled with the dog, and were generally lazy. I had so much fun! In addition, one of Scott’s friends was driving to Indianapolis the next day. Instead of spending serious amounts of time and expense in plane fares, I rode home for free with two fun new friends and travel companions: Courtney and her adorable kitten, Felix. After all the disappointment about the visa, the weekend was a welcome treat. Thank you all. You were wonderful to me.

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