Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Culture shock is a funny thing. I always thought it was what you experienced when you visit another land or culture that is so different from your own that it can make you uneasy. My culture shock is always the worst when I get back to the States. Sometimes I'm even excited to come home, but as soon as I set foot in the airport, back into a city or a car, I feel completely out of place. I feel like I need to run away back to where I was, because that's where I belong. Maybe that's because MY culture isn't necessarily the one that exists where I grew up or in the country I reside in.

So I had offered to a good friend of mine to come and help her as she prepared her mom to relocate to San Diego. That involved packing, purging and selling her belongings and her house in the Hamptons. The Hamptons? How did I just go from what's-it-called-town-that-doesn't-even-make-the-map-on-an-island to a beachfront village that people flock to and are dying to go to? Maybe my culture shock is self-inflicted sometimes...A familiar face always helps though, and seeing Tracy, who befriended me in Italy actually (I know, doesn't get much more convoluted: two Californians who meet in Italy and then get together in New York) was so refreshing. Not to mention the beach, the fresh air, and the surprisingly small-town feel that exists when it's not a weekend or mid-summer. It's not exactly an exciting adventure to tell, just that in between sorting, boxing, and cleaning, we got to enjoy the beach, the views, some sunsets, and good times together. It's been a time of closure for her, seeing as this is where she spent so much time growing up; and for me it was a good opportunity for reflection and serenity. A couple good runs, a bike to see the town, and I was happy as a clam. :) 

Here's Amagansett: 
View Larger Map

Me and Tracy

Amagansett Beach

A new meaning to waterfront property...

Give a girl wheels, she'll be gone before you know it!

Sunset from the back porch

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Meaning Behind the Journey

So yes, Dominica is the land of rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and beaches; but none of that is what I really came for. My friend, Darcy, has been living in San Sauveur for 2-1/2 years, and decided some time ago to focus her ministry on the deaf and ASL. She's been forging her way alone for some time though; the only group of signers is on the other side of the island. Since Rob had decided he wanted to spend his leave on the island, it was the perfect time for me to go and support her in her goal....I forgot how much sign language moves me.
In just a matter of weeks, the relationships and trust that are formed are indescribable. It's a concept that is so, SO difficult for us to imagine. Thirty, forty, fifty years of life with NO formal means of communication. These families are amazing, because at least they try and communicate with their deaf family member. But you can see what an insurmountable task that is when there are no resources available. Their eagerness to learn, their hospitality, and their determination are amazing. Many times, when we first come, the family member who is deaf is very shy, and may even hide from us. It's understandable: these people they've never seen before show up waving their arms and paying more attention to them than they've have in a lifetime. Oh yeah, and we're white which makes it even more suspicious. :) When my last week arrived, and we started to tell them it would be my last time teaching them though(at least until my next visit), you would have thought their best, lifelong friend was leaving. It is one of the greatest blessings ever to share such an amazing gift with people, to give them a language that allows their whole family to communicate. Words really can't express fully the life-changing experiences it gave me, so I'll leave you with some pictures and urge you to take advantage of every opportunity you have to change the lives of those you can.

Katie, Robbin, Ruth, Aisha Aubrey, Mary, and me
Darcy, Mary and Aisha

Us with Suzanna and Francisca

Steffany, Athea, and Jamael

Steffany's house
Lambert & Ruthin

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Getting Coffee Educated

I'd like you all to meet my friend Tifwe. He's an amazing man in many ways, but on Sunday, I began my true coffee education. Just wanted to share it with you all. Now I can really call myself a barista ;)