You can find the final bucket list and it’s step by step fulfilment as a page on top. Today is the day where we are all very aware that another year is coming to an end. Are you a fan of New Year’s resolutions?
Most of my friends brag about how they do not find it necessary to make a promise to themselves which they will only keep for a week.
I don’t know whether it is the German in me – but I am a strong believer in strategic planning. (I think I would have turned out that way even if I had been born in Brazil).
If you can not define where you want to be, what it takes and how long you have to get there, you are leaving your life up to chance.
And chances are, nothing much is going to happen. Believe me, that is a recipe for depression. To live a healthy life, a person needs purpose and progress.
My husband and I love driving together, and we never run out of conversation topics. We have crisscrossed South Africa many times and seeing all the opportunities really gets us excited. This december we found ourselves travelling back and forth on the N1 on several ministry occasions as well as our first date since the kids arrived. Long overdue, it was such a fun outing as we strategized about 2013 and how to avoid getting stuck. I ended up drafting a “stratogram” that will hand over my desk to remind me of priorities. So my new year’s resolution is less a “quit smoking, be kind to aunt Elzie” kind of thing but rather a bucket list of important mile stones that will have to be pushed into place before X can happen. X being the mark on my map of life where I, the eternal pilgrim, might finally find some rest on my journey and establish something that will have lasting value to pass on to my children. I have an exact idea what X is, but learned through experience not to share definitives until the project is well on it’s way. People are so fast to steal ideas and claim them their own! But believe me, it will be mind-blowing.
Finding your feet in a foreign nation kan be a scary thing when you are all by yourself with no handbook to go by. I would recommend the experience to any couple – go together to Japan and live there for a year. Fun. But being the only one from another nation, joining the culture of your spouse, trying to fit into the community that knew him since he was a wee one, is a total different ballgame. Especially if his entire extended family is living in close proximity and your own clan is about 10.000 km further north making it impossible to call for back up. (Really I have seen grown ups play the “I go and tell my daddy” game, especially amongst the Afrikaaners!) I do miss to be able to just visit my baby sister over the weekend and have a good laugh at life together.
Making friends when you constantly have to bridge cultural gaps is not easy at all.
Over tea with lady friends I have found myself wondering “what do you girls talk about with your other friends? I wished I could be a tiny mouse and observing how you do this “kuier” (afrikaans for visiting) thing generally. Because what’s happening here is boring me to death. Talking about little nothings, carefully avoiding any fun subjects that could be misunderstood as offensive – is it because I am a pastor’s wife or because this culture tends to generally be more “fluffy” than the German one?
In Germany we do not have “publicly accepted phrases for every occasion” like the English-speaking world does. I learned over the past couple of years that the Afrikaans culture also consists of typical phrases people utter without giving it much thought, because that is what one says at that particular moment. On the contrary, in Germany we usually say something very unique and original that comes from deep within and is really meant that way – and might appear rude to cultures that expect nothing more than a cute compliment.
I tend to take language quite literally, so when the first visitors arrived to congratulate me at the birth of my son Steven, I was confused when the ladies said “jy kan nou lekker pop speel”. (Now you can enjoy playing dolls). My son was born under dramatic circumstances at only 33 weeks. Because South Africa is not a social state, medical care is extremely costly and we were sent home two days later with a struggling, tiny 1.8 kg newborn. Playing doll was the furthest from my mind, his survival was depending on my care and I didn’t feel equipped enough. My husband had to continue working since baby had been only expected two months later. I found myself without a support system and a lot of stress.
Throughout many subsequent visits with other moms of newborns, one of my favorite pastor’s duties, I observed that “jy kan nou lekker pop speel” is really the most used Afrikaans phrase to comment on the birth of a new baby. And no, I do not plan on using it but rather I insist of uttering my very own, thought-through, unique and honestly meant wishes about the new arrivals. I learned, however, that people around here feel more understood if you do paraphrase what you actually trying to say into their usual contest. Use their buzz-words, simple phrases they often use, it wont confuse them that much.
All my serious planning is laid out in my office, and won’t find it’s way into the blog because it’s my work. I however am going to share my successes and learned lessons with you, as time passes.
King Salomon once complained: “Ecc 7:28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.”
He realised how difficult it is to find but one good friend among a thousand – and that women are mostly full of little games and to find an upright comrade amongst all of his many wives was almost impossible.
I am thankful for all those people in my life who call me sister and friend, where would I be without you. I also realise that I did experience a lot of disappointment in people who I thought were friends but who would easily go and sell my trust for a lentil dish. But the threshold of a new year is a good place to let go of hurts and forgive and move on. I will forever be trying to see the good around me and I am ready to reach out and risk again. People are precious.
So here is my Bucket list 2013 in no particular order:
1.Continue the search for that rare jewel of special friends who won’t gossip, won’t betray trust, understand the darker side of humour, enjoy life in all it’s nuances and is are inspiring even on an intellectual level.
My husband and I have found that in our position as leaders it is almost impossible to find friends who just like you for who you are without needing you to catapult them into a better position.
Friends who have the drive to be nation changers, the diligence to complete a project, to self-motivate and to be able to laugh about it all!!!! Would give all my earthly goods for that.
2.Increased used of the available media.
You want to change the world – be present in it, add your dot of colour, your vocabulary to it. Lend a helping hand. Entertain!
I want to dare to enter doors that open, especially in the area of radio. In a small town community people will always think you are a stranger, if your grandparents moved here from China decades ago you still stay the Chinese rather than the fellow citizen. So deal with it, make it a plus rather than a handicap. I am from Germany, I tick different, so what. I might see the country with different eyes than you, but I also might love it more than you do because I live here by choice.
3.Network and connect. This lone ranger needs to join hands with like-minded passionate christians.
4.Get my husband’s book published and keep his back free to travel and speak more.
5.Go to the USA and learn from Bill Johnson.
6.Have a good vacation with the kids, where the cellphone use is limited to the lesser moments.
7.Host a special event at church. Don’t fear the no-sayers.
8.Go to Germany and see my family. They deserve to see their daughter, grandchildren, sister, once a year.
9.Make a lot of money so I can be more helpful to those who lack around me. A prayer and a handshake just doesn’t cut it in Africa. I keep handing out food and clothes and money, but without a sustainable structure this is like pouring water into the desert.
10.Upgrade my preschool Emmanuel Kinderland to profile itself amongst the local nurseries.
11.Go to gym and look like an action heroine.
12.Make a movie or at least contribute some good ideas to one.
13.Go back to read my bible more. My wandering mind needs a stable anchor.
14.Do something really crazy I would have done 15 years ago.
15.Bake some stunning stuff. Since baby no.2, there was just no more time nor energy left to bake cakes and cookies. I did make some cool desserts for dinner parties and baby showers, oh yes and some real nice fraisier for a wedding, and, and … but didn’t even bake and give away christmas cookies this year. When you can’t make a Sacher torte, make jelly. It’s at least homemade. But i feel it’s part of my feminine existence I shouldnt totally write off.
15 is a good number to stop and post the blog don’t you think?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!