Friday, September 27, 2013

Second Semester Dreaming

I still have moments of amazement  that I live here in Chile. Who would have known that this california girl would find her home in a country so far away from her own? But here I am. I love my apartment. It has become exactly what I dreamed. A refuge for me, beautiful and tranquil. And at the same time, a center of social life among my community. Every week, dozens of people pass through my apartment. For one-on-one discipleship. For birthday parties. For our weekly bible study. For watching futbol games. I love it.
First semester (March- July) was pretty rough for me. There were too many conferences to coordinate. Too many details to remember. Too many events to coordinate. I broke down in tears more or less every week. It wasn't exactly healthy.
But second semester has been much more reasonable in terms of pace of life. I am finding that I love my jobs. I love the coordinating. And I love the pastoral work. I love getting to be a part of developing pastoral leadership in the Church here.
One of the downsides to having such taxing jobs is that I tend to not have much of a non-church related social life. If I have "free time", it tends to be used to catch up with women in the church.
So now that second semester has calmed down a little, I've tried to get out a few times to meet new people, outside of my beloved circle.
A month ago or so, I went to check out a cafe on the other side of town. It's owned by a gringo and it has a lot of the character that I love about cafes: good coffee, live music at nights, and a general community of people who frequent the local. It was so sweet to be in that context. Most cafes here dont have those qualities. So we headed out across town to visit those cafe and see the live music that the cafe was hosting that night. And it was... DELIGHTFUL.

Then the owner told me about a monthly latte art competition that a bunch of cafes host. Ummm.. YES PLEASE! So I used all my social capital and got a group together to go check out this competition! I think it was pretty lost on the chilenos. They didn't seem to get the concept, nor the charm of such an event. 
But I was right in my element. How could I not be? It was hosted that month in a small cafe just across the street from my church. The tiny cafe was filled with the best and brightest of barristas from all over Santiago. All these guys (and the one token girl of course) covered in tattoos, obsessed with coffee, and smack talking about how they were doing to win the competition. 

Fortunately I had met one of them at the other cafe the week before. And I used my beyond ridiculous social confidence to walk right up to him and act like we were old buddies. It worked. He ended up introducing me to some of the other barristas. And I can't quite put words to the feeling, but I was home. I am not a barrista. But I it right in. I left with three new facebook friends. And a ton of connections. My chilean friends didn't quite feel the same, but they enjoyed the free cappuccinos. 

 As many of you know, I've dreamed of opening up a cafe here in Santiago. And moments like those make me think that I am moving the in right direction. I want to be part of my community. I want to make a difference. I want to know my neighbors. I think this is how I do it.

Who knows, maybe someday I can even host one of these competitions! Have all these barristas in my little local, showing off their newest tattoos, and thick rimmed glasses. Who knows.

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