Monday, February 23, 2009


First day back. I can't lie... It was brutal. Returning to life as usual after an experience that has essentially altered who you are is akin to attempting to shove a round peg into that square hole. It just doesn't seem to fit. Even if it was something that fit previously, you now have new edges, new curves, a new shape that simply will not match up to the person you were before. It is unnerving, frustrating, disturbing. This change is something that was needed. Desperately. I longed for it, invited it, welcomed it. But, the question to be asked now is... Where do I go from here? Where do I fit? What do I do with this new me that is unfamiliar, in a sense, a stranger?

It was well known to me that I would come back a different person. It is impossible to go through experiences such as I have had the past week and remain the same. Impossible. But when one is longing and desiring that change, I dare say that it brings even more of an effect than perhaps expected.

I almost felt like a teenager today. One that was going through that time of life when the body is changing at a rapid pace. There is that awkwardness, that self-consciousness, that unknowingness that accompanies swift change. How does one act? How does one react? How does one adjust, compromise, realign with this new person that is unfamiliar?

All these questions have been running through my mind today. My dislike of the materialistic and selfish lifestyle that we call the American Dream has been nothing but a burden today. Its difficult hearing of money and resources being wasted when there are children around the world that are literally starving to death. Its hard having people look at me like I have two heads when I say that I plan on returning to the ghettos of Guatemala, and other places around the world, soon. What I simply do not understand is how people do not understand that. We have such an opportunity as citizens of a wealthy nation to make a difference in the lives of fellow human beings around the world. How can we sit idly by while knowing that there is such a great need? It baffles me. It angers me.

I know that I will re-acclimate to my life here. I just pray that the change in me will stay. I do not think that the difficult things in life are worth it unless the change they produce remains. My true desire is that my life, my heart, and my soul will not return to the way they were. That the imprints left on my soul will continue on throughout the rest of my existence.

That... is my true desire.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dia Siete- The Last Day

Today was the last day of my being able to see and smell all the things that makes Guatemala everything that it is. This week has flown by at a velocity that was incredible. In a sense, it feels like I've been here no less than a month, simply because there were innumerable experiences packed into a mere 8 days. I have seen, felt and encountered more than anticipated. My heart has hurt more than it has in all my 26 years on this earth. My mind has been chaotically skipping around in every direction, burdened by the thoughts of poverty and tragedy that consumes La Limonada. Every sense that I have has been bombarded on every side by the faces and voices of the ravine of the ghetto. I wish that I could do more, be more to these people. To be able to provide a salve for pain, for the injuries that life has caused them. I know that I cannot reach every person, but I will do my best to help the ones I can. There is so much need. So much hunger. So much pain. Yet so much hope for tomorrow, which can be seen in the eyes of the children. They simply need a chance.

At 9:15 tomorrow morning, the soles of my feet will leave Guatemalan soil, headed towards the country I call home. I know that the transition back into my life will be difficult, but I also know that is where God has me for now. My heart will ache, my mind will constantly wander back here. But I can only pray and do what I can to help the tiny voices of La Limonada to give them a hope for a future.

My life has been forever changed. It has been an incredible, amazing experience. One that I will cherish the rest of my life.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dia Seis- Last Day in the Ghetto

Today came with the sad promise of another goodbye, this time to the ghetto and rest of the children in Las Esquelitas. Whoever would have thought that saying goodbye to such a filthy and desperate place would be so difficult. My heart went out to the small faces of the ghetto the moment I laid eyes on them, and I believe that it may stay here with them. These kids just give so much love and are just looking for love in return.

It has been an incredibly difficult week. I have been exhausted in every way possible, my body simply aches with physical stress and lack of rest. But the thought of leaving, of returning to my life as usual, is enough to make me want to cling to a chair in Tita's dining room and scream if anyone tries to drag me away. While I miss my family, I miss my friends, I will miss this place horribly. There is something about just pouring everything that you have into other people that is so fulfilling. It is unlike anything else. This week has really been a reminder to me of the important things in life, how success is really measured in the lives that you touch and the relationships that you hold.

I have spent so much time this week in prayer and deep thought about my calling, about what God has created me for. I believe that my experiences here have brought some passions and desires of mine to the forefront. It has been an eye opening experience. I'm not sure where I will be going from here, but I know that I was called for a time such as this and with these passions for a reason. I don't know where God will take me, but I do know that it will be places that I never expected. Its amazing how God works that way. You can always expect the unexpected with our God.

As I said goodbye to the ghetto today, I knew that it was not for long. I can't come here, meet these amazing people, kiss all the tiny faces and then leave forever.

I will be back... And soon...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Each Tiny Face Has a Story- Ismael

This is Ismael. He is about 4 years old. And he no longer has a daddy. His 8 year old sister found their father after he had hung himself this past weekend. His mom dropped him off at school today, only 5 days after his father's death. He clung to her, while sobbing hysterically. Leah picked him up to comfort and pray him. I have never, ever seen such sadness in a child's eyes. Especially not one so young. There was a desperate sorrow that words cannot express. They were devoid of any other emotion. He will now go through his life without his father, a figure that each boy needs during those critical years of growing up.

His father had been involved with the gangs, with a history of alcohol and drug abuse. Despite repeated attempts to change his lifestyle, he was unable to break the ties that bound him to his demons. He lost his battle when he took his own life, leaving behind his wife and children.

Thankfully, he will be loved and fed an taught the love of Christ at La Esquelita Limon. Please, pray for this tiny face and its story.

Dia Cinco- The First Goodbye

I had to say my first goodbye today. Dulce is in the morning session at La Esquelita Limon and due to teachers meetings there is no morning session on Fridays. Because of this, Monica (one of the teachers and now my friend) took the class to the park so that I could spend more time with Dulce and romp around with her and the other kids.

After a wonderful time at the park, we headed back to the school, myself with sore shoulders from pushing the kids on the swings for somewhere in the ballpark of 45 minutes. At this point, I wasn't sure if I could possibly be blessed anymore on this trip. I've had an amazing time with amazing experiences that have left me forever changed. But, as life often goes, just when you think you couldn't experience anything more.. it happens. Dulce's mom shows up a few minutes early to pick her up with a gift that her and her husband had purchased for me on their extremely limited budget. Surprised. Blessed. Humbled. None of these words suffice. I couldn't even begin to thank her.

I was reminded of the story when Jesus and his disciples were in the temple. Many wealthy people entered the temple and put many coins in the offering box. Then a shabbily dressed woman enters and places in the box a few coins, worth less than a penny when combined. Jesus told the disciples that the poor woman's offering was more of a treasure than the others, because "they all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on." (Mark 12:44)

The small gift that I received from Dulce and her family was worth so much more than any gift of wealth, because I knew that they gave out of their poverty. That it was a sacrifice of greater proportion than I can imagine. It was such a consequential gift to receive. It will always be something that I treasure. Siempre.

I am in disbelief that my trip is starting to wind down. Tomorrow will be my last day in the ghetto. I honestly have a sense of dread about returning to my life of comfort. Even though I am exhausted, mentally, emotionally, in nearly every way possible, I have been so touched by my time here. Even though I have always known of the poverty in the world, living among it for a week has opened my eyes, heart, and soul to the needs of the people of the world. They are hungry. Not just physically, but spiritually. Being in a position to be able to help those needs is unbelievable. I sit here writing, with tears rolling down my cheeks. I am so blessed. I know that I will never be the same, and for that I am so thankful to my Father in heaven for that.

I wouldn't trade this time for anything in the world.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dia Cuatro- Darkness and Smiles

Day four. One would think after spending a few days in the ghetto that the heartsickness would taper off just a little, allowing some relief for the feelings of dread and pain of seeing people living in such conditions. This wasn't the case. As I made the trek into the ghetto to La Escuelita Mandarina, my heart quickly began to ache once again.

Living in a nation with a more stable economy and an active, albeit declining, job market, it is hard to comprehend the poverty seen in the ghetto of La Limonada. This section of the city is seen as an embarrassment and is largely ignored by the more fortunate population on the outskirts of the ravine. Even the work that is being done in the ghetto by Tita and Lemonade International is largely funded by churches and individuals in the US. There is not much concern by many of the natives of the city for this desperate ravine that holds sixty thousand people.

Today, I saw an even darker side of the ghetto. We visited a man who was shot twice over the weekend. He had been involved in the gangs, but had walked away from them and returned to his faith in God. In the past year, he stumbled in his walk with God and started mixing with the wrong crowd again. On Saturday, he was shot once in the abdomen and once in the thigh. After less than 48 hours in the hospital, he was back at home, surviving through the pain on only ibuprofen.

His house consisted of two rooms,that are separated by a walkway covered only by corrugated metal, each containing two double beds. Seven people share the space, 3 of which are children. The one boy, I sadly cannot remember his name, was born with Down Syndrome. The kids' faces and clothes look like they haven't been washed in at least a week. Dried mucus covered their noses and lips, and their coughs came from deep in their little chests.

Its incredible, though how, amidst all the constant hardship and pain of living in the ghetto, the children continue to smile. Their faces reflect the glow of the love that they are given at Las Esquelitas Limon y Mandarina. Leah will sometimes point out one of their smiling faces to me and tell me how that child never used to smile. One would never know that now.

Amidst the darkness... there is light.

"Let your light so shine before the world that they would see your good deeds, and glorify your Father, who is in Heaven." - Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dia Tres- Dulce's Casa

After breakfast ("desayuna") and a time of worship for the little ones, Leah, Monica, Dulce and I headed out for a visit to Dulce's home. My stomach was in a bit of a knot from a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Its an interesting position to be in, going to visit the home of a child who's education you are helping to support. I wasn't sure of what to expect, I wasn't sure of what her home would be like, how I would react to seeing the very core of the ghetto.

Dulce held my hand on the walk, stopping and waiting very patiently as I paused to take photos of the sights on the way. She quietly rattled on a few times, which I mostly didn't understand, so I just smiled, nodded and said "si!" Its the best cop out answer ever. If you just pretend to know what's going on, no one else will ever know that you are completely clueless.

We stopped at a black gate on the walkway. Dulce opened it and walked through, letting her tiny hand run on the solid concrete walls of the house next door. Up another small walkway and we were at the door of her house. She knocked timidly and waited for it to be opened. Her mother opened the door with an enormous smile and a greeting of "buenos dias!"

We were given quick tour of the house, which consisted of 2 small bedrooms and the kitchen. Dulce slept in one room with her parents, and her older brother and sister shared the other bedroom. On Dulce's bed was the monkey that I had given her the day before. Her mom informed me that she slept with it in her arms the previous night. We headed up to the roof, where her mom brought up an orange drink for us. The view from the rooftop showed most of the ghetto. The house was located up towards the top of the ravine and looked down onto the other homes and trash heaps.

As a surprise to me, Dulce's father showed up to meet me. He greeted me, telling me how blessed he was for what I was doing for Dulce and for the love I was giving her. I didn't know what to say besides, "de nada" and "gracias tambien". It was just so humbling.

Dulce and her father snuggled for a good portion of the rest of our visit. Considering that most fathers are absent in Guatemalan culture, it was an incredible sight to see. Even in homes where the father are present, there tends to be a lack of an affectionate relationship. Seeing him hugging her and the look in her eyes when she looked at her father... Amazing.

Before we ended the visit, I had the greatest honor of my trip so far: I was able to pray for the family. Standing in the kitchen, laying hands on Dulce and speaking the love of Christ over the family was phenomenal. It was evident that this family relied completely on God to get through every day by their response to the prayer. I am so incredibly blessed to be able to experience that kind of bond with a family to which I have a unique tie.

As we all hugged goodbye, Dulce's parents asked when I was coming back again to visit. They said that I was welcome in their home any time with open arms.

It was just so, so, so humbling...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dia Dos- La Limonada

On the drive from Tita's house this morning into the ghetto of La Limonada, city streets gave way to barely paved pathways. Billboards were left behind and trash and decimated houses filled the landscape. La Limonada is located in the center of the city, in what is essentially a ravine. Tita dropped us off on the outskirts of the ghetto, since there were only walkways between the buildings. Stray dogs came close, some following, looking for any morsel of food they could snag. As we moved further into the barrios, the streets narrowed even more, people mingling on the sides of the walkway, stepping around trash and dog feces.

When we arrived at the La Escuelita, some of the children were already there, waiting to get in. Several of them nearly bowled Leah over as they rushed to greet her "buenos dias" and give her a hug. Even though they had never met me, I was next in line, bombarded on every side with small arms, heads lain on my chest and back, greeted by the small voices of La Limonada. A few of them started rattling on in their native tongue, and I quickly explained (as I did many times today) that "hablo solo un poco espanol." They smiled and nodded, while touching my face and the cartilage piercing in my ear.

Probably my favorite question of the day was, "que color es sus ojos?" What color are your eyes. My blue green eyes stand out like a sore thumb in a sea of brown eyed children. I was informed that mis ojos es "verde", green. My eyes were the center of attention for at least 5 minutes.

Shortly after we arrived at the school, a woman came up to me, and practically threw her arms around me. I couldn't understand what she was saying to me. Leah stepped in and found out that it was Dulce's mom, the little girl I sponsor. She kept hugging, thanking and telling me that I was a blessing. I cannot even begin to describe the emotions that flooded me. After seeing the small part of the ghetto that I had, seeing a tiny glimpse of how these people live, then knowing that I am able to help ease life just a little bit for them... Completely indescribable. I was nearly overcome, and had to struggle to keep my emotions in check.

Leah and I settled into the classroom with the 4 and 5 year olds, since that is where Dulce was. Leah caught her eye and pointed at me. Dulce got the most adorable look on her face and quickly hid her eyes behind her hands. She barely moved for the next 10 minutes.

The kids are fed a breakfast every morning. Today it was eggs, beans and bread, along with a cup of milk. For some of these children, it will be the only meal of the day they that they receive (the school has 2 sessions every day, morning and afternoon, to allow the children to attend public school as well. Because of this, each session is fed one meal). Looking at their tiny faces, knowing that their bellies will go hungry for the rest of the day... it was simply heartbreaking.

I went over and sat next to Dulce after a while, and she shyly asked me if I was her "madrina" (they call sponsors "godparents". Madrina means godmother). We sat and put together puzzles, she educated me on the Spanish names of all the animals in the puzzles.

We eventually walked over to the "new school" on the other side of the ghetto. It has only been open for about 6 months and the building is mostly gutted. The rain was leaking into some of the rooms. The back of the building is barely finished, showing the mountains of trash and raw sewage rushing past. Typically, the sewage is stagnant, but heavy rains caused to flow past rather quickly. Looking at the scene, knowing that people are living in these conditions... it just ripped my heart out of my chest. Its hard to imagine anyone living in this squalor, let alone the children.

On the way back to the car early this afternoon, we came across a woman that Leah and Tita know. I discovered on the ride home that her husband had been shot and killed 3 days prior. There were no leads as to who the murderer was. Tita told me that this was the third murder of someone that was connected to in the past week.

Tomorrow, I will be visiting Dulce's home at the invitation of her mother. I'm sure that it will be another eye opening experience, getting to see the inside of one of the homes in the ghetto.

I have yet to be here for 48 hours, and I can already tell that my heart is being changed, filled with a different breed of compassion for the poverty of Guatemala. I can only hope and pray that this change continues and spreads into other areas of my life.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dia Uno- La Antigua

After a somewhat restless night of sleep, Leah and I spent the morning kind of bumming around, drinking coffee and looking like dorks sitting next to each other with our MacBooks. We certainly are nerds, and I love it that way.

This afternoon we headed out to La Antigua, a very old town about an hour outside of Guatemala City. This area attracts many tourists from all over the world, due to its incredible beauty and historical ruins. It is home to several of the best language schools in Guatemala, bringing in many students from all over the world. There are also several volcanoes surrounding the town, two of which still apparently spew some lava and smoke, but alas and alack, it was too foggy today and thus could not be seen.

What was seen, however, were brilliantly painted buildings. Incredible shades of yellow, orange, red, blue and purple assaulted your senses left and right, but in the best of ways. Women walked around dressed in traditional Guatemalan garb, some nursing their children right out in the open. They were stunning. Also to be seen were people sitting on the sidewalks, with a cup extended out in front of them, begging for a few coins. The drive to and from Antigua also showed a bit of the poorer side of the city, with people walking through traffic at stop lights with baskets and cups. While this is something that can be seen in the States, it still struck me hard.

We were able to take a horse and buggy ride through a section of Antigua, costing 10 Quetzals (approximately $1.25 USD). It was a beautiful way to see the sights of the town, without walking for miles. There were vendors on the streets, hocking their wares. We passed many BMWs, Volkswagons, and Suzukis on our ride, along with tourists galore all over the place. Women with their diamond jewelry, men with leather shoes. There were unbelievably beautiful hotels, restaurants that made me drool just smelling the food.

After roaming around the town for a while, being drawn by nearly every vendor in the mercados, we headed back to Guatemala City. On the way back, we passed over a bridge that overlooks the slum of La Limonada. It was dark at this point and hard to see, but the contrast between La Limonada and La Antigua was very clear. It was tourist rich versus local poverty. Tomorrow will be my first day heading into the ghetto, and I'm sure it will be even more consequential after my experience in La Antigua today.

I will be meeting my little girl that I sponsor through Lemonade International and I am so excited about that. How incredible is it to be to be able to put my arms around a small child that I am able to help! I can't wait:-)

Anyway, I will be posting pictures on once I have a chance to edit them. The photo above is of the Catholic church in La Antigua. Absolutely gorgeous!

Thank you for all of your prayers. I can feel them:-)

The Arrival

Wow, what a long day of traveling! I left my apartment yesterday morning at 7AM, with two very large bags in tow (mostly full of art and craft supplies that were donated for the school). My backpack was filled with other necessary items, including my laptop, camera, and whatever other important items that needed to come along.

My parents dropped me off at Philly airport at about 8:20AM, and I (thankfully) flew through check in and security, leaving me seated at my terminal at 8:40. Unbelievably fast! I can't say I had ever made it through security that quickly, and I was definitely not complaining that it left me with some time to hop online and watch the past week's episode of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. God bless free wifi:-)

I landed in Miami right on time for my connecting flight with no problems on the first leg of the trip. I then had 5.5 hours of... time.... To do nothing. I don't always do so well with being bored. There wasn't much to look at in the airport, so I spent a bunch of time texting and talking on the phone. Miami does not have free wifi, in case you wanted to know. Lame!!

I spend a good chunk of the time in prayer, just asking that God would prepare my heart for what I will see and experience here. I know that hearing the stories of the tragedy of this culture will be very difficult.

I've been fighting the beginning symptoms of a cold since Friday, which came to fruition during my long wait. Not cool. I'm on my way to a third world country, and I come down with a cold! I guess it will give me an even better perspective of how it is really is to live here.

My flight was delayed for over an hour in Miami and didn't get to Guatemala City until about 9:30CST. My first sight of Guatemala City was the golden arches of McDonalds! Nothing like familiar fast food to make you feel right at home:-) I was able to get through immigration and customs with no problems. I can't lie, it was a bit nerve wracking. I've never traveled internationally and the whole thing was an entirely new experience.

By the time Leah and Monica picked me up from the airport and we drove the 15 minutes back to Tita's house, I had my initiation into Guatemala.... my very first bug bite. Right on my face, too! I'm sure I'll get many more during the next week, so I was almost glad to get it over with right away.

I still haven't gotten to see much (the ride from the airport was about it so far), but today we are heading to La Antigua see the gorgeous sites of the ruins and to see the dormant volcanos. I'm so excited! I just really want to get immersed in the culture here and see as much as I can. I want to know how the people here live and the country they are surrounded by. I am certain that I will have an incredible experience here and I can't wait to get started. I know that God is working in my life already, and I simply cannot wait to see where this goes.

Buenas dias, mi amigos! I covet your prayers over the next week:-) I so very much just want my heart to be broken for these people and the children...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Last day in the good ol' States

So, tomorrow is the day. Finally. I've packed my bags (mostly) and am all set and ready for the big journey to the currently unexplored (to me) world of Guatemala. I can't lie... I'm pretty nervous. I've never traveled internationally before and I'm just not sure what to expect, how I'll react, and how my life will be changed. I know that I will never be the same after this experience. That is scary and exciting and uncertain, and a whole host of other emotions all at the same time. I covet your prayers and will be sure to keep you all abreast of my exciting adventures!

Hasta luego!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Those Hillians Love Their Porkulus

And so, the Einsteins on the Hill have done it again. They've reached a new low of idiocy that I didn't think could exist. This whole "stimulus" plan has taken center stage in the news recently, and for good reason. It passed the House with out a single vote from any representative from the GOP. Thankfully. It is now stuck in the Senate, with quarrels and squabbles amongst both major parties. Why, you might ask? Allow me to enlighten you.

This "stimulus" plan (or "Porkulus" as it is being called) includes several (or tons) of very interesting line items of funding for special interest groups. This includes $200 MILLION to replace the sod on Washington Mall. Yes, my friends, it is true. Nancy Pelosi has deemed it necessary to spend $200 MILLION on mulch because it was trampled due to an expansive turnout for the inauguration. I'm sure that a few hundred mil on sod will really help stimulate the economy. And while we're at it, let throw a few hundred million in there to supply contraceptives. Oh, and a few more for Planned Parenthood. Because, clearly, with the downturn of the economy people simply can't afford to kill their babies anymore. Naturally, the government should step up to help them do that.

We are trillions of dollars in debt as of right now. Most people blame the Bush administration for that. Now, I know that he is far from innocent in helping to lead us into the greatest deficit we have ever know. But, let's look at this from a different angle. We have a democratically controlled Congress. Both the House and the Senate have been overrun by the Donkeys for the past few years. Congress has to approve ANY budgets that are proposed by the Presidential administration. So, what has happened these past few years with the budget proposals sent to Congress? They have been not only approved, but added to! People who pointed the finger at Bush for our deficit should perhaps review the situation and understand that it was the democratic Congress that is even more to blame.

So here we are, massively in debt. And our President and Congress are pushing to pass the most expensive bill ever, not to actually stimulate the economy, but to put money into the pockets of the special interest groups that Nancy Pelosi and other Hillians want to promote. Its awesome, isn't it? We are now at the lowest unemployment rate in 25 years, and its more important to put new sod on Washington Mall than it is to create new jobs and maybe put some money into the coffers of the American people. Absolutely unbelievable.

Also, whilst Congress is funding abortion, they are also looking to where they can cut expenditures elsewhere. Like national defense. While Obama had promised to increase the Army and Marine Corp numbers, its is being proposed to drop somewhere in the ballpark of $50 billion from the defense budget. Does this scare anyone else? Iran just put a satellite in space and is claiming breakthroughs in nuclear technology, and our defense budget is being cut. Awesome. Also, it is being researched to increase the price of insurance on military dependents. Mind you, the stimulus plan is looking to increase the insurance benefits to the unemployed with the price tag of $36 billion, which sounds great. Except that it runs the risk of actually increasing unemployment because people will be less likely to take a job if the government is already taking such good care of them. The welfare system is completely screwed up.

Anyway, maybe we should all write our Congressmen and beg them to not pass this special interest bill. If passed as is, it will not help the American people and could potentially make an already bad global economy much, much worse. Maybe they should take that $900 billion and put it into the hands of the people. Even the last bailout measure, if put into the hands of the people where it belonged, would have been a better idea. I think every American would have gotten something like $200,000. Want to stimulate the economy, oh thou Hillians? Maybe you should reconsider where that money is going....

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'll Take That With a Side of Censorship, Please

I seem to have developed a reputation for being "passionate" about politics. I put passionate in quotes, because its the nice way that people say "Bethany, you're completely insane. Please shut up." I was never like this before. I believe that certain circumstances in my recent past have awakened in me a zeal for politics, or more specific, a crazed obsession that causes me to spout out my opinions on things happening on The Hill. Typically said spouting is neither asked for nor desired by the parties that find themselves victim to it.

I often try to censor myself as to not offend anyone with my opinions, but I'm beginning to believe that perhaps censorship is a farce. Perhaps, people should be able to divulge their thoughts without fear of reprehension from others. It is, after all, a constitutional right. The right to speak one's mind is one that should be taken advantage of, in a proper way. Now, don't get me wrong. I am not speaking of self-righteous blabbering that has no concern for anyone else's feelings. I simply mean that one should be able to talk about one's opinions in a thoughtful manner and not feel fear of needing to be "politically correct."

That being said, I have become very afraid about our country in terms of foreign affairs. There is a gent by the name of Oliver North that some of you may have heard of who seems to have things spot on in terms of our President's knowledge on foreign matters and the history surrounding it. Apparently, President Obama has been quoted as saying that he wants to restore the "respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago." Funny... History shows that such "respect" and "partnership" between the US and Muslim countries most certainly did not exist 20 or 30 years ago. 1979, 30 years ago, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran returned to his country and led the Islamic Revolution, and declared the US "the Great Satan." I don't sense any partnership or respect here. Oh, and also, the US embassy in Tehran was attacked and 53 American citizens were held captive for well over a year. Partnership? Respect?

OR, how about 20 years ago? Maybe there was some respect and partnership there. Let's see, shall we? Yeah, pretty sure that the Libyan dictator attacking a US Navy ship isn't exactly a sign of a partnership. Or, Khomeini issuing an order for a British novelist to be killed because of a book he had written. Nope... No respect there.

Now, mind you, currently in Iran there are college students setting themselves on fire as a demonstration against the US. There is propaganda covering the streets, store fronts, school campuses... all calling for the death of the Great Satan. Obama wants to have a diplomatic relationship with these countries that loathe and despise us. I can't blame him for not wanting to go to war, but seriously, this isn't exactly a schoolyard squabble between friends.

How on earth can he know how to deal with these nations that want to destroy us if he doesn't know the past? If he wants to get back to this mystical existence of tolerance and peace and love and happiness... Maybe that time should have existed in the first place. If it did, it certainly wasn't 20 or 30 years ago as he seems to think.

This is really a frightening fact... The President of the "leader" of the Western world is basically ignorant as to our past relationships with the nations over the big pond. Ones capable of building nuclear weapons to wipe us off the face of the earth. I guess we can only pray that his advisers and cabinet are more informed than he is.

I am not saying any of this to bash Obama. After January 20th, he became my President just as much as yours. I will respect him for the office that he carries, but this does not mean that I have to agree with him or appreciate his ignorance. All presidents have their faults, but he is coming into office with a massive handicap in the form of inexperience. His lack of a background in politics and his obvious inattention to detail in history is putting him in a danger zone with the potential to make some staggering mistakes.

We can only hope and pray that he does the country good on the domestic side. We may be completely screwed otherwise. God bless America.

Click to read Troubling Talk by Oliver North

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Language of Stupid

Again, I have been slacking in my blogging duties of blogginess. Life has been very spastic and random the last month, and I'm afraid that my brain has not has much room for thinks like... well... thinking. Ergo, actually writing something that would make any sense whatsoever is a rather difficult task.

I leave for Guatemala in 1 week and 6 days. Not that I'm counting or anything. I am officially EXTREMELY excited and also VERY nervous. Being my first international trip and also traveling alone has my nerves in a bit of a tizzy. I tend to do well with traveling independently, however, so I'm sure that I will be just fine. I bought a pocket Spanish dictionary today, along with a phrase book. Whoever thought up phrase books should get a gold star, and maybe even a cookie. Its just fabulous! I shall carry it everywhere with me, so that I shall not forget how to say things like "where is the bathroom" or "does that come with caviar"? Just as long as I don't mix them up and ask if there's caviar in the bathroom, I should be okay.

I purchased some educational CDs for the purpose of refreshing mi Espanol and learning some new phrases back in the fall. My self esteem still has not recovered. I started on the final lesson in that series yesterday and still feel that I am equally as stupid as I was back in October. This is highly disappointing, if for no other reason than I spent money on those darn CDs. Had I had the motivation to keep up with that and listen religiously, it may have actually worked. After the bombardment of a bazillion and a half vocabulary words involving food couldn't even keep me going, I knew that the situation was pretty hopeless. If talking about food can't get me excited.... I'm not sure anything can.

I really need to just take a class. I work much better that way. Plus, its incredibly difficult to really learn how to speak another language when... oh.... you know... you can't actually PRACTICE with anyone. My cat isn't exactly the most beneficial study partner. I think meowese is a universal language. Lucky cat.

But, alas and alack, I cannot join a class and magically learn to speak fluent Spanish in a little over 2 weeks. Hence, I will need to keep my nose in my flashcards and my ears glued to the nice lady on the CDs and pray fervently that my head will not explode in Guatty due to foreign language overloadiness.

May Jesus bless my poor brain. It needs it.