Sunday, December 15, 2013

Frohe Weihnachten!

It's been awhile between posts because it's been so crazy. I moved apartments several times in the past few months, had to go to Croatia recently for visa stuff, went on a weekend trip to see mom in Italy, and still don't have internet at my apartment. Even trying to send everyone letters and raise support has been stressful. But Merry Christmas to you all and I'm sad I won't be in Texas this year for the festivities! (I plan to hang out with some friends I work with who couldn't go home and an Austrian friend for Christmas.)

School is going good. My kids and I are starting to really understand each other (some of them think I'm too strict but I'm okay with that) and I'm enjoying the work I do at the school. They recently performed the play Guys and Dolls, Jr. and I went to see the show Friday night. They were very talented and it was pretty impressive for a high school production.

To say a little about my missionary work, I have to admit I do more 'Oh that's what you believe? Well this is what I believe' than in-your-face 'Repent or you go to Hell' conversations (although I know that is also biblical). There are teachers who hit the hard topics with the kids and debate and stuff, and I'll debate if engaged in one, but I don't go around seeking opportunities like that. Some of my Muslim students try to tell me Allah is the same as God but I disagree with them because Jesus is not included in their idea of God, so He (or They) are not the same person. I also am pretty good at knowing who is down and out and needs extra prayer, so those students I see struggling I usually pray for. And those are the ones I relate better with.

Some of you know that I had planned to be a missionary back in 2009 when I graduated college and that didn't pan out. And I was bitter for awhile and didn't go to church for about a year. Because of that experience I shy away from cookie cutter Christianity and cliche behavior in the church. And I detest fakeness. So my approach is a bit more hands off and my goal is simply to be myself and let Christ shine through instead of shoving the Good News down people's throats. (And for the record, I am not bitter anymore and have forgiven others for what happened in the past and hold no grudge against the church.) I hope you can understand what I am trying to say, and if you have any questions for me or would like to talk about what I've said feel free to email me.

Yesterday I had the chance to hang out with two of the student teachers who are leaving and another friend from school. We went to see the Christmas markets and the Belvedere, where I saw the original The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. These Christmas markets are all around the city, and people come here to buy ornaments, children's books, trinkets, and all kinds of holiday foods and cider. It's a bit expensive, but it's fun to look at all the knick-knacks and drink something warm in the cold weather.

That's the Belvedere behind me, where I got to see this original:

A little sweet shop on one of the main streets

 A typical stand at the Christmas markets, with open-air tables for people to stand around and drink and talk

Me in front of Rathaus and the Rathaus Christmas Market. If you look closely you can see in yellow it says Frohe Weihnachten, or 'Merry Christmas' in German.

And a few pictures from Italy. Thanks Mom and Johnny for financing my short stay there. Glad I got to see you both!