Thursday, September 01, 2005

From England With Love (letter 2)

Hi all. Its been a busy week or two. I was in Chicago for a week of training at LSTC (Luther Theological Seminary Chicago). For the most part I had an amazing time. I met hordes of young energetic Lutherans and Presbyterians and bonded with them. We learned a whole lot about other cultures, how not to be the “Ugly American,” shared faith stories, and of course went over the do’s and don’t’s of the program. We also got to listen to some wonderful speakers, especially Winston, from Wartburg Seminary (who I had met previously on a Seminary tour with Pastor Sarah), who’s basic thesis was that one’s Biography changes the way they read the Bible and understand their Faith. He used a lot of comparrisions between Cricket and Baseball to drive the point home. And Rick Ufford Chase, from the Presbyterian Church USA, was another great speaker. He discussed Structural Sin using Mark 5 (Jesus’ interaction with the Demoniac). He gave a brief history of Latin American economics through role playing, and also discussed the Presbyterian Church’s work with Mexican Immigrants.
By the last day of training we were quite drained; pretty much been lectured out. And so we left for England Monday Afternoon. We had a harrowing flight in which a woman flipped out and attacked Stewardesses and ended up being subdued for the flight (very disconcerting, she screamed madly the whole rest of the flight over the Atlantic!). We arrived in London Tuesday Morning around 7AM. I promptly found my bed at Chester House, the Retreat Center outside of London where the Time For God training was held, and fell asleep. Then we entered into more training. It was geared a lot to our non-English speaking colleagues (who make up most of the group), though it dealt with many important issues, homesickness, relating to one’s supervisor, and British culture. We also had a little bit of free time in which I checked out London proper (it turns out when you to London from anywhere else in England you go “up” which, interestingly enough is the same thing that one does when they go to Jerusalem, one “Goes up.” I’m sure there are all kinds of interesting cultural nuances one could glean from the fact that Americans often go “downtown.”). Tonight we had country presentations. The US contingent decided to deal with regional dialects. We covered the North East, the South, the Midwest, and I handled the Northwest. Here is the utterly Northwesternized thing I said:

I’m from Eugene Oregon, also known as Nikeville. Eugene is a pretty dank town, though a bit hippy-wo-wo. Of course I’m kind of Granola, not a Trustafarian mind you, so I don’t mind.
Oregonians take sports seriously. There are the Jailblazers in P-town, not to mention the annual Civil war between the Ducks and the Beavers. I’m gang-green.
In Cascadia we take our Java seriously. As you may know Starbucks was born in Latteland. Most webfeet get a double shot. Of course if they are about to go to bed they order a why bother or a Chi. If you feel like Californicating you ask the barista to fill you with led.

I’ll let you translate that yourself. (just to make sure no one gets the wrong idea Californicating is acting like a Californian, not what you were thinking, get your mind out of the gutter).
Tomorrow morning I go off by train to my placement in Saffron Walden. I’ll get to meet my supervisor as well as my room mates Ian (pronounced yawn) and Victor.

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