Saturday, June 30, 2007

Most Ardently

Well World,

Come follow me to Guatemala, I leave on Tuesday at 3am. That’s in…61 hours. Goodbye Canada, you are a glorious land. Goodbye asparagus, you have filled my tummy to a glorious girth. Goodbye sand cliffs, you have delighted my skin with the softness of your grains. Farewell dear Erie, the twinkling moonlight upon your surface has lapsed waves of gratitude in my soul.

Oh my.

Things are wrapping up over here. Last minute errands, wrap-up meetings, laundry and packing have, and will be, the agenda until our departure. I will impart the lovely adventures of the last two days with you, and then prepare yourself for some shockingly exciting news that you can each be apart of!

Well, it started with the Konrad’s. You’ve already met them, and I’ve mentioned their lovely country home to you. Well, in the backyard of this country home stands a delightful little cabin, equipped with one of those old bells that you call toll, a lantern above the door, flower beds all around, and enough space to sleep…..six girls. I call it the hobbit-hole. Anyways, we decided to have a sleepover in there, and so we slapped down some mattresses, had a photo shoot, pulled out some locally brewed fruit wine, played a few games of Dutch Blitz, invaded the Konrad home for a cup of tea, and then curled up on our mattresses while falling asleep to the recent Pride and Prejudice. Favorite quote: "I love, love....love you. Most ardently". No commentary needed.

Moving on...here are the hobbitesses outside their hole. We had a delightful sleep until…..

Imagine our groggy awakening to the sound of violin music. Confusion. Is that live music? No, that must be the alarm clock. Wait. The alarm clock is playing the Shire theme song from the Lord of the Rings? On the violin? No, that must be live. (Kat crawls to the little window in the door and peers out). It’s the boys! All lined up like little groomsmen wearing their Sunday best! And there’s Cam! Standing on the front porch playing his violin! (insert excited giggles and squeals here). (mad scramble to become modest). The boys lead the girls out to the Konrad’s patio set, where they’ve laid the spread and promptly serve them breakfast. Ah, they looked so dashing. And those chocolate pancakes were good. But my favorite part was the Shire song via violin. Etched in the memory indefinitely.

It was a beautiful start to the day. All of us hit the road by 9am for a road trip to see St. Jacob’s market, just near Waterloo. It was lovely. What a great place, open air, cultural, diverse, sorta reminiscent/prophetic of Guatemala. Steph and I got preoccupied with one stand where initially we thought we’d get some tanktops, but instead…..we walked away with Anne of Green Gables shirts. Go Anne. I’ll think of you everytime I where it ‘LiZZZa. Here we are, sporting our lace. I feel a bit like a doily in it. It’s fun.

Our second stop was Elora’s gorge, a beauteous gorge caused by all their greedy limestone digging. The water was pristine and the cliffs ripe for jumping off of. After our water time, we walked around the little town of Elora, which is charmingly similar to Europe. The stone buildings, cute store fronts, it was remarkable. Ashley and I felt like we were in France. So, here we are, on the edge of the Seine.

From France, we set off for Millgrove, just outside of Guelph, for a BBQ at Jenna’s house. Terrible backed up traffic en route home caused us to inquire of various cars, “excuse me, do you have any toast for this traffic jam?????” Mah mah mah. Our very favorite response was, “what the #*ck are you talking about????!?!?” followed by laughter. Ah yes.

And so, we leave soon. We are very excited. There is much excitement, some anxiety, some sadness, but much excitement in the air. And we’re pretty ready. As ready as can be. And Andrew and I are very ready. I have, according to him, converted him to my “religion.” Here’s a pic of what our religion does to us: insert caption “ I sold my soul to Starbucks”.

Soon to go South, Kat

Post Script: I guess I forgot to write about my very exciting news that you can all take part in. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Konrads

Hello Friends,

I feel quite at a loss to make even a mildly interesting post for those that follow this blog, but I will try my best. Actually, I reject the notion of feeling the need to be interesting. I am what I am. And some days I am just simply not interesting.

As such, I shall talk about those that I love and not myself. There are several people who have my affections out here on Erie, but this post I dedicate to Robert and Carolyn Konrad. Here they are. They are one of two couples who founded the Global Shore program, and also Sandy Shore Farms, the asparagus packing house that we work in. Robert runs around the barn, wearing a bright orange hat so he can be easily found amongst all the machines and employees. I am often at my little table in the middle of the barn, writing numbers, numbers and more numbers, and sometimes he’ll walk up to me singing some country ditty or, my personal favorite, a remake of the Mama and Papa’s song: “This is the dawning of the age of [asparagus] age of [asparagus]…” it is quite humorous.

He is quite an eclectic man, running a farm year round (asparagus, cauliflower, cherries…), heading up a student summer program, planning new projects down in Guatemala…and that’s not even getting into his hobbies which including hunting (they supply us with summer sausage from the caribou they caught up in northern Quebec….plus deer and turkeys), he also plays JC in his spare time, being a fabulous carpenter, forming little coconut rings for us girls, making some of the furniture in his home and here at the ark. He has an arrow head collection and a shark tooth collection, one that I have now too, after the delightful gift that he gave me of a hand-made wooden bowl filled with the shark teeth he had gathered on their recent vacation to the beaches in Florida. Which leads me to make mention of his extremely generous nature. I think that is one of the ways that he loves people, is by doing what he can for them, pleasing them with little gifts that he can make, it is very loving and very delightful.

Miss Carolyn. I think many of us girls look at Carolyn and think to ourselves (or to one another), “now that’s the kind of lady I would like to develop into”. Peaceful, caring, hospitable, wise. Thoughtful. Loves the earth. Loves people. Loves God. Pensive. Open. Reverent of God. Finds the beauty in life. Finds the beauty in others. Her home is her sanctuary, and what a beautiful home it is. I find a lot of ways of inviting myself over to their enchanting abode. I think I might find some excuse to go over for tea later today. Lots of tea at the Konrad’s. Carolyn introduced me to Rooibos Citrus Spice loose tea. (it’s delicious. Go find it at your local grocer.)

Despite these notably charming characteristics, Carolyn also has this spicy side to her. She drives a Volkswagon Passat. Her first hunt after receiving her hunting license was to shoot a ten point buck. I didn’t know what that meant, so maybe you don’t either, when you see a deer, if you could the number of points on their antlers, the higher the number, the greater the buck, literally in size. A ten-point buck is quite a catch, she made it into the hunter’s prize book or some such business. Incredible.

So now you’ve met them. Two tremendous people in my life. My life is better to have known them.

Love Kat

Monday, June 11, 2007

Anne with an 'E'

Nick, Nat, Jenna and I are sitting in my sub-arctic, corner motel #1 abiding place, with music and recording on our minds. Thank God for Saturday nights. I think there’s a bonfire on the agenda for later, somewhere down a sandcliff, on the water, with driftwood for fire starter. I want to be there. You want to be there too. Admit it.

Maybe I’ll take some time to give you a better glimpse of what our weeks look like here in Ontario. Monday through Saturday, we work in the asparagus packhouse from 7am – 5pm or so, sometimes a bit later. There are six asparagus lines in the barn with about twenty workers on each. One night a week we have Menno Night (girls night/guys night), doing girl/guy things and sharing with one another. For the last five weeks, we’ve been having a night for testimonies, and Kris and I wrapped that up this past week. And there's other team such stuff, and of course, some general chill time to end a long day in the barn. There is, thankfully, adequate time to run to the lake for a dip. Always enjoyable. And, let us not forget, The Sabbath. Truly a holy day, what else can I say.

Now, on a more morbid note...Allow me to introduce you to Anne. That's part of her tombstone in the pic. Here is my confession: I have a mild obsession with this tombstone. It’s true, Sometimes I run there and then just sit there looking at what, in my opinion, is the most beautiful tombstone I’ve ever seen in my life. I should precede this story by saying that I have thoroughly enjoyed the presence of graveyards for about...oh, the past five years or so. Graveyards and Laundry. This graveyard in particular is a bit of a sanctuary for me. Anyways, Anne died in 1853, at the age of twenty-three. I’m quite certain that had I been alive 150 years ago, Anne and I would be the greatest of friends, and as such I’ve gotten in the habit of depositing lilacs and other such favourable flowers at her grave. Andrew laughed hysterically upon discovering this and I suppose it does firmly place me in the category of lunacy. I have no defense other than an unexplainable connection through the centuries.

To end this entry, I give you a portrait. Of myself. It’s entitled “Kitty”. Yes, Kat the feline, how clever. Thank you Dan for having too much time on your hands and being a master at Paint. Later, Feline

Post Script: Laugh at the small things, let the big ones go, and love, love, love even when you don't want to. (thanks for that Linds).

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Criks and Drugs

I must share a memorable experience with you all. Last Sunday, several of us went canoeing on Big Creek (Big Crik if you pronounce things like a hick). In short, it was a delightful, tranquil paddle on the creek with overhanging trees, and birds twittering everywhere until….John threw a mudball at me. He missed of course, due to his severely underdeveloped motor skills (burn), but the action, obviously, demanded retaliation. Our canoe paddled ahead, loaded up with our own sludge balls and strategically planned our attack. As the enemy canoe approached, we suddenly turned on them. Kat, with her above-average motor skills, threw a well-aimed mudball at her opponents, and all four of them, John, Steph, Cam and Dale, simultaneously leaned left to avoid being hit and…..capsized! Oh it was brilliant, brilliant! Unfortunately, our canoe, in our attempt at a quick get-away, ended up capsizing ourselves (hmmm, didn’t plan that one), and all ended in a full out mud war in the shallows. The only downfall to the day was the saturation of my newly purchased pack of cherry Prime Timers, however, I am happy to say that once dried out they were still quite smokeable. Since I don't have any shots from the mudfight, I offer another fog shot. I really need to start pulling out the camera a little more.

It is now Sunday again, so let us recap the week. Ummmm, asparagus and…..some more asparagus and…..asparagus! We seem to have hit a plateau and days are going until around roughly 5:30 – 6:00pm, so it leaves sufficient time to enjoy the outdoors, run to the beach, and plan some group nights. I finally made time to get lost with Jesus outside, and that was a needed evening watching an orange moon rise over the lake. I think I will have to make outdoor Jesus-dates at least once a week.

What else. Today eleven of the twelve of us started our four month drug dose. It’s quite an intensive schedule of taking two pills a day for a week, and then three, and then four…at the end of the summer, we’ll have injested something like 350 pills. What kind of preventative measures is that????? You may ask. Well, Global Shore has done some experimenting with Essential Oils and one of their products, called Parafree, is a pill containing all kinds of essential oils and a family that was on it in Guatemala for three months didn’t get sick even once, not even stomach sickness (and that is quite something). And so, most of us have taken the plunge and deem it a worthy endeavor. It fights parasites, and cleanses us of parasites that we likely already have (the stats show that 85% of Americans contain parasites….wow). Anyways, the whole essential oils thing is quite interesting, and the presentation that we saw was very thought-provoking. Ask me about it sometime.

your drug addict, Kat