Tuesday, November 27, 2007

sleep is good.

sleep is a beautiful thing. currently it is an elusive thing. my sleep has fallen by the wayside. in the mad rush to finish my last university paper for the year i managed to disrupt my volatile sleeping patterns where i now find myself inhabiting a quiet house at strange hours. and all those mad thoughts creep up on you when you try and get by on little sleep. last week i rested my head in an attempt to sleep but images of oscar with malaria or dengue fever plagued me- images of oscar shot, alex shot, anyone shot.

note to self: in future maybe don't do a bit of 'light' reading regarding the Timor Leste 1999 crisis before bed.

so i guess you could say that i am now beginning to feel scared. and the weight of the seriousness of the issues in the country we are entering are finally sinking in.and i keep having moments where i think that i could stay in this great house, in this great suburb, keep this great job, keep ducking up the road for great coffees and i wouldn't have to think about tropical diseases,curfews and emergency 'go bags' etc...

and i keep analysing my motivations and expectations over and over and get confused. and just have to back down and surrender myself to the unknown ahead.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

community and travel and ethics and and and (this is a rant)

so we are about to move away from all we know and have known as a family to pursue our dreams. but i have so many issues with doing what we're doing. i have so many issues with travel in general.

there was a day that it dawned upon me that the premise of travel (like much advertising) is that to travel will make you a more interesting person- that of course is playing on your existing feelings of inadequacy in terms of your 'interestingness'. The day I realised this to be false was when I went to visit a couple who are hugely interesting (normally) who are in their 60s, have been activists for most of their lives and have done amazing things for women and workers’ rights.... BUT they had just come back from a holiday in Europe. we should have known what we were in for when they pulled out their laptop with their photos and said 'we'll just have the pictures flicking over while we eat dinner' but of course the conversation revolved around the pictures and the tales of their journeys in Europe.

Listening to these stories and being bored shitless made me wonder why I was bored.... and then it hit me- we've been sold a lie! We believe that travel will make us more interesting, we’ve seen particular sites or been to particular cities and colonised the world with our travels. We take much and leave little - but not in a good way.

But how original or unique is it really to say, "Oh I saw the Eiffel tower"? What is really unique in that? What is interesting about trekking a well-known track that millions have done before you?

I wonder if when we boast about our travel are we really boasting about our wealth. My guess is that the majority world may dream of travel in terms of opportunity and better quality of life but we of the wealthy world dream of travel so that we have stories to tell of seeing things and going to places that... lets face it... millions of people have seen before. My hunch is that by travelling - we are hoping to set ourselves apart from the 'untravelled' and also to share stories with the elitist 'travelled'.

My guess is that the conversation that goes "oh I loved Paris, did you make it to blahblahblah while you were there - wasn't it amazing!!!" is really a modern day keeping up with the Joneses...

And then there is the carbon footprint of travel - of the petrol, of the air travel of all the general consumption.

But there is also the cost to community which is what I'm currently most concerned about. If you are going somewhere for a length of time no matter what your agendas and purpose you leave a hole in a community and you take that hole with you as you attemot to make and reenter another community. Your travles convey that the people that you profess to love and cherish are actually not as important as the particular reason that you have to travel.

You create a fracture of discontentment in your community with your pretence that what you are doing is SO interesting and what they are doing.... well isn't as interesting. What a load of CROK. I know for a fact I felt this most acutely while I was staying at home with Oscar. I felt that I couldn't stomach another travel story while I was washing nappies and trying to get a baby to sleep.

But really raising a human being - bringing into the world a new life- mothering the next generation - what can trump that? and all my teacher friends who put so much work and effort into not just teaching but moral guidance and pastoral care - another type of raising the next generation....

the most interesting people I know are not interesting because they've travelled - but interesting for so many other reasons.

We are definitely going on our journey but I hate to think that I'm contributing to a culture that I despise, that plays on people's inadequacies and lack of wealth or oppertunity.

If travel stories are the new capitalism I hope to not contribute to this. but I also want to share MY stories.

have you ever felt this conundrum?

Monday, October 08, 2007


well there has been a severe neglect of this blog on my part. sadly I can admit that I've sold out and have headed to the superficial world of facebook where you can buy fake things with real money and give them to your fake friends.

but there is another reason that there has been a long time between posts. and i'm not pregnant (thankyou Jesus!).

We are moving to East Timor in January 2008 as Alex has been offered a job with APHEDA (Union Aid Abroad) as a community development worker for Farmers' Unions.

all very exciting. all very scary.

more to come on this.....

ps if you are looking for me on facebook I go under the name 'Rachel Ariel'

Monday, August 06, 2007

the scripture meme

I have been tagged by Byron to share the verse from the bible that I keep going back to over and over.

This was tough. my first thought was the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). I feel like this son returning over and over to a father who against reason accepts me.

But it is Revelation 21 that gives me hope in crazy times.

I want the "new order" so desperately.

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
5He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

We chose this at our wedding to be read out and I think quite a few people didn't understand why you would choose this.

But this is what we wanted to say that were jointly striving for a 'new order' in so many ways.

photo taken by ME (on our new camera!!!)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

This Sunday

Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.

-Anne Lamott "Traveling Mercies"

This Sunday at Glebe Cafe Church I will be facilitating a night of quiet reflection on the places and times that we've found God.
and the places and times we've looked but not found God.

or even the times when God has found us.

We will personally reflect on these 'places' where we've searched for God

or where God has searched for us

and anonymously share our experiences.

I am looking forward to this night. I am going to designate part of the building as areas for particular reflection such as "God in nature", "God in the bible", "God in humanity",
but I'm wondering if I should dedicate spaces for more ephemeral reflections such as "God in pain" or "God in humour"?
Alex suggested that I have an open slather area where people can make up a space.
For me I would have to say that God is in lone long car-trips home late at night when I am tired and the radio is that last thing I want over-crowding my full brain. in this dark silence i can call out to God, sing to God, laugh with God. and i can find comfort and solace.
Are there particular places/spaces that you search and find or search and don't find God?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007