Sunday, November 27, 2011

Theology and the Princess Bride

After a ridiculously hectic week, I was glad when I could use my favourite film for "Movie Night" after English Conversation Class on Friday night. I decided that I wanted to share with my friends and others here the joy that is "The Princess Bride". It really is a cultural phenomenon in the English speaking world that most people around the world have seen it, enjoyed it, and love to quote from it!
I guess it is also something that connects me to my oldest friends. It was something we watched together as teenagers and now still, every time I am in South Africa, we try to do a "Princess Bride" night! Good times...

It was fun watching it with people who had never seen it before, athough I was worried maybe wouldn't understand the humour - especially as we just used the English subtitles (do it sometime: it is actually quite funny: "ominous popping" in the fire swamp!). Luckily I think they mostly "got" it and seemed to enjoy it! Or they were being polite... 

Anyway: while we were watching it on Friday night (I can't even tell you how many times I have seen this movie - seriously, countless!) I was this time struck by one quote in particular:

Buttercup: You mock my pain. 
Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something. 

And I just thought how sad it would be to live a life where one believed that to be true. And there are probably many people in this world for whom it is seemingly true (at least for now). Because God didn't promise us a pain free existence. Instead He tells us "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18) As CS Lewis said: our lives here are just the front cover when compared to the book we will live in glory. 

And yet, life is NOT pain! Because we know that this is just temporary, we can be full of hope and joy and longing for the day that we will be living a life where there will be no more tears or pain.

I lost my Dad and my Gran this year. It hasn't been an easy year in other ways as well. And yet each day I am reminded of how faithful God is. How He is carrying me. How I couldn't be here and do what I am doing if He was not with me.

And I just feel sad, sad for people who live their lives believing that "Life is pain" when it doesn't have to be. When there is sooooooooo much more to life than that!!

And there you have my little piece of theology from The Princess Bride. I hope you enjoyed it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The whirlwind trip...

Rick came, he saw and he made risotto... and a dang fine one (chicken and leek with a lemon and wine sauce... mmmm) at that. He also experienced for the first time the wonderful movie that is "The Princess Bride". It was good to educate him on one of the best movies of all time (every time I am in South Africa my friends and I try to organise a Princess Bride watching session together). And luckily he really liked it.

We also went on a road trip to the waterfalls and monastery at Krupa na Vrbas and to the town of Jajce and back over the mountain Manjaca. It was very pretty and we had a great time. I think Rick's impression of me knowing people all over the place (wherever we go I seemed to bump into someone I know) was completely confirmed by the following: Now to set the scene: We are at Krupa na Vrbas (about 1/2 an hour from Banja Luka) where I always buy flour from the Water-Mill guy. They have mills on the waterfalls and so it is completely natural flour! I always chat with him a little, but I didn't even realise that I had left such an impression on him. I went to buy some flour from him... And he said to me (I am translating our conversation into English!):
"Hey, where have you been? You haven't been here for a long time".
I replied: "No, I haven't had many guests. I think I haven't been here for at least two years".
He responded: "No, actually you were here last year in the spring."
Not only did he recognise me, he REMEMBERED when I had been there last...

We also had a funny conversation with the Monk at the Krupa Monastery. I had never seen a Monk there and so when we spotted one we got really excited. He looked particularly Rasputin-like and so Rick really wanted his photo taken with him. So I asked him, but he really was having nothing of it: because he was too dirty and his jacket was torn... Who would have thought a Monk would be vain? Sorry Rick, no photo. I tried...

Otherwise I think he had a really good time here... as did we, having him around!

Teaching English in the dark...

I have been teaching this Beginner's English Class since mid-September. It is a fantastic class. We have LOTS of fun (and learn a little English along the way...) On Tuesday Rick came in and took some photos:

Now last night, we were half way going through the homework when the electricity went out... I remembered when that happened to my friend, Mary - she got her students to take out their mobile phones and carried on... And so that is what we did! I wish I had a photo of that, but of course it wouldn't come out. After getting through the homework I used one of the student's mobile phones with a "torch app" and we just did some revision of numbers, days of the week, etc... hoping the electricity would come back on, but it didn't... so we continued English in the dark!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Czech Concert at Ihtus...

Last night the team that is here from Prague gave us a lovely concert of Czech Christian music and shared some of their life stories with us: Here are some pictures: 

David translating...

The music was good, the atmosphere was relaxed and it was a great evening. Part-way through the evening, I realised that, of course, Rick didn't understand anything: neither Czech nor Bosnian! He said it all sounded the same to him ;-) I had mercy and did some translation so he could understand them...And while we were listening Rick took a lovely picture of me with Ljilja, in the Ihtus Library:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

latest triplet...

I just returned from a lovely trip to Zenica, Budapest and Zagreb. I went to two conferences/retreats in Budapest and they were completely different, but both wonderfully uplifting, encouraging and restful.

I started off with good friends in Zenica because I could catch a ride from there to Budapest. It was so fun catching up with old friends and playing with their growing kids... Then Budapest: the first conference was in a four-star hotel complete with spa/sauna/steam baths and I made good use of them! I did manage to get out and see some of Margit Island where the retreat was held - but didn't get out much more than that into Budapest or beyond... Here are some of the lovely autumn colours: 

The second conference was in Csomor outside of Budapest and the only bad part of the whole trip was on my way to Csomor:
I had to catch a bus there and get off at the last stop and then someone would come get me there. As I was getting off the bus, the bus driver started to shut the door on me: I thought I would make it all the way out or manage to push the door open, but unfortunately all that happened was the door shut on my foot (so the foot was in the door and the rest of me was outside the bus). This probably wouldn't have been a problem if he had realised and opened the door, except he didn't and he started to drive off! So, with my foot stuck in the door I was kind of pulled while hopping and then as I fell to the ground, dragged along for about 10 metres... all I could think of to do was scream at the top of my lungs (which is quite a loud scream actually... luckily for me!) and the driver either heard me or the people milling around managed to wave him down... but whatever, he stopped and opened the door and came running towards me. Now the screaming was out of proportion to the pain, so it sounded as if I had broken every bone in my body (which PTL, I hadn't!) so he was looking very worried as this could mean his job... I managed to get up slowly while all around me people were jabbering and asking me stuff in Hungarian. Eventually one lady came up who spoke English and I managed to convey that I was ok, and that someone was coming to get me and I didn't need an ambulance... And out of all that I have a coin sized bruise on my leg and it feels like it has been stretched out, but other than that I am mainly ok!!! I did rest up and ice stuff and that has helped, but seriously the only explanation I have that I didn't get more injured is that God had His angels protecting me!

After a wonderful time in Csomor, I then travelled to Zagreb by train and stayed the night with some other good friends. In the morning I met up with a good friend, Richard Asher, who had flown in to Zagreb to come visit me in Banja Luka and just lucked out that I happened to be in Zagreb when he arrived, so he had a tour guide there and escort back to Banja Luka... He is staying until Friday and is fun to have around. Here are some photos from yesterday in Zagreb:

Fawlty tower's moustache with statue dude

So excited about the weather station
And another excitement is that we actually found a Biggie Best outlet in Zagreb! It is a South African brand - and we went into ask and the stuff comes all the way from South cool is that... And I had to get a photo as I kind of matched the Santa in my red jacket:
I am sorry I didn't have more photos, especially of all the people, but suffice it to say it was a good time of catch up with a load of people, and I came back with my love tank completely filled...

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Alice in Wonderland... or Belinda in the land of OBI:

So, today I went to get a few things for some home improvements. We have a very good friend who will do it for us, and has told us what to buy, but it fell on me to go and do it: I volunteered even! Oh boy...

I was a woman, blonde AND foreign in a man's world and did I feel silly! I had to get a certain measurement of wood, hooks, screws, the things screws go into: you see I don't even know the vocab even in English, let alone in this language! So you can imagine the looks I got from the guys at OBI (a HUGE hardware store here in Banja Luka)...
I really did feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland: completely and utterly out of my element, but thankfully I did manage to get everything we needed (at least I hope) and I feel quite happy that I managed to get my point across: I did tell them I was foreign so they wouldn't think I was retarded!!
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