Thursday, March 10, 2011

No matter where you are...

So, first off, I have to apologize profusely for not writing sooner. Even in South Africa, life gets busy. UJ is full of people studying the bible and a small ministry that loves to spend time together. It’s wonderful; our little family of seven. 

Bible studies have been going well, but we have encountered a slight problem. They (the two-person UJ security desk) won’t let us on campus. Since we are still waiting for our society application to be approved, they won’t let the other intern or me on campus. The campuses here are not like those in the States, where anyone can walk on; here, they are completely gated off. So we have been forced to come up with creative ways to continue studying the bible with people. We met at McDonald’s the other day and today we tried registering for a class. In order to register, even if we’re not getting any marks, UJ wants our transcripts…which is slightly difficult to get from all the way over here, and time consuming. So, please be praying that we can sort this issue out quickly. But there are many eager and searching people here in Joburg – it is refreshing and encouraging.

People are constantly asking me, “What is it like over there?!” I’ve quickly run out of things to say because life here does not seem to be that different. But that, actually, makes life surprisingly interesting and entertaining. Since my last blog, I have been creating a list of everything I have discovered to be the same in any country you’re in. No, I have not been to every country on the planet, but I’m pretty sure these things are consistent everywhere. Some of them are saddening (the fact that they exist everywhere), but most of them I have found hilarious. I have enjoyed seeing these things here in South Africa, and I hope you enjoy reading them and noticing them in your own country, wherever that may be.

No matter where you are….
A)     People fall asleep in class.
I started taking a class at UJ (unofficially…this all being before the transcript ordeal); my first one being last Wednesday. It was a decent size lecture with probably about 75 students. The lecture started right after lunch, which I should have remembered was a time that requires a cup of coffee. Although I did enjoy it, I admit, I was struggling to stay awake at some points. (Thank goodness I’m not getting any marks for the class!) As my mind and eyes wander in an attempt to stay awake, I look behind me and notice a girl slouched in her chair, head back, mouth open. A few rows back and a couple seats over, another girl leans forward on her desk, head propped in her hand, eyes closed. Needless to say, my attempt to keep my laughter in side kept me awake for the rest of the lecture.
B)      Girls like boys, boys like girls; girls over analyze everything, and guys don’t.
This became apparent very quickly. As I’ve gotten to know a number of different girls, the subject of boys, naturally, came up quickly…as does, “He put a smiley face at the end of his text! What do you think that means?!” or “Our eyes just locked at the same time, I know he felt the same thing I did,” or “He gave that other girl a ride home from campus, he doesn’t like me anymore.” It’s actually one of the most amazing things to me about people; in this regard, we are all the same. And I love it. I think it is something that allows people to connect so quickly, regardless of skin color, religion, education level, or age.
C)      There will always be the poor and needy.  
Jesus said it, and it is completely true. I think it’s just a matter of the degree to which people are in need. It’s sad because considering the wealth of our planet, there is no reason for anyone to be in physical need. But we will always have the poor with us, which means we will always have an opportunity to serve.
D)     Everyone, at some point, just nods and says “uh-huh” when they don’t actually hear what someone says; and then get caught when what the other person said was actually a question.
This just makes me laugh. I feel like it happens to me more often than it should, but it makes me feel much better knowing that it happens to everyone else.
E)      Everyone has a cell phone and teenagers spend too much time on them.
I have nothing more to elaborate on here, except that it is an unbelievable truth! I really try not to be on my phone a lot; if we’re ever in a conversation and you think I’m not paying attention to you because of my phone, please slap me. I give you permission.
F)      Kids want their parents to pay.
Whether you’re 12 years old and need money to go to a movie with your friends, or 16 and need gas money, or 23 and just want a free meal, every child loves when their parents pay and will probably never refuse such generosity. J
G)     There’s a McDonalds. Shame.

I’m always thinking of and discovering new similarities in people…if you have any to add, post them.

Also, I just have to add that sometimes it just hits me, that I live in AFRICA. When I was packing all my worldly possession to store them for the year, I found a small journal that was first of all, red (my favorite color), and secondly, full of things I want to do in my life. I started flipping through it and one of the first ones I read said, “Live in Africa”. I stand amazed.

Until next time,

Cheers.  J


  1. You make me smile! And I will be more than happy to come to Joburg and pay for your meals ;)

  2. It gives me great pleasure to watch you live this out :)

  3. i smiled at the post about always being able to connect with people from all over about their love life. so true.

  4. I'll be interested in hearing how the transcript situation worked out.

  5. I'm praying for you.

    "math is the same in every language" it's a mean girls quote.

    Also, noticing that you are starting to use lots of african words. "shame," "marks," who says those things? you had better not come back with a fakie south african accent.
    but i would love you regardless if you did.



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