I ate Bob

The sky was placid blue, sleeping in the sunshine of a perfect San Diego afternoon. It was just the kind of day for an adventure. I stepped lightly in white patent leather low-heeled shoes, clutching a fistful of my orange-cream colored dress fresh off the Wal-Mart rack. Eleven-year old me was about to have High Tea at the Hotel Del Coronado.

My sisters and my best friend at my side, mothers in tow, I waltzed into the grand lobby of the old, seaside hotel.

We each had our own tea pot, chose our own tea, and had multiple options for silverware, of which I used as few as possible.

But the highlight for me (and anyone who knows me should not be even a little surprised) was the huge stacked tray of delicious cookies, crackers and biscuits. No ordinary snacks, were they. They were laced with fresh salmon, dill whips and vegetables sliced so thinly you could have used them for printing paper. At the bottom of the tray, somewhat overshadowed, deviled eggs sat patiently waiting to be tried. Ordinary and undecorated, they were easily overlooked. Their only ornament was a berry-sized sphere of a pepper-gray hue. It looked like a tapioca ball like we use in boba tea.

My sister had already eaten one and said it tasted spicy.

“Like pepper,” said my friend’s mom.

I had the egg and it’s mystery topping half-way into my mouth when my friend asked, “What is it?”

“You don’t want to know,” said her mom.

I pulled the egg out of my gaping jaws. What was that now?

Some hem-ing and haw-ing and finally my mom explained, “It’s caviar.”

That sounded elegant. What was the problem?

“They’re fish eggs,” said my friend’s mom.

Oh. That’s the problem.

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Teacher Moments

Courtesy of Hosanna Alm, photographer and friend extraordinaire.

Courtesy of Hosanna Alm, photographer and friend extraordinaire.

The glint in her eyes told me she meant business. The banana she was pointing at my chest told me it was serious. Plastic trays clattered in the emptying cafeteria and laughter could be heard in the hallway. But next to the deserted food line all was quiet, save her infectious, Calvin-like giggling. Her Hobbes, also armed with a banana-gun, had just returned from stacking their lunch trays. Two to one. I didn’t like my odds.

I pulled a banana of my own from my cardigan pocket. Aha!

BAM!

I clutched my chest as the pain of the fake bullet made its way deep into my ego, serenaded by the devilish laughter of the two fourth graders responsible for my wound.

Our banana war continued into the hallway where we were met by boys, also brandishing fruit. They were slightly more Viet Cong in their approach, coming behind the girls and pretending to slit their throats with banana-machetes. That’s where I put my foot down – partly because I can be a serious adult and partly because the teacher monitoring the hallway had just rounded the corner.

I’m collecting a series of memories that I call “teacher moments.” They’re the scattered minutes throughout the week that make my job so … gosh, so worthwhile.

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A place like home

How often do we have to be told ‘there’s no place like home’ before we believe that it’s true? And once we leave the welcome mat on our front doorstep for good, looking for our own windows to hang curtains in, what do we really lose?

Most of my friends left home for college at about eighteen. They didn’t only move out from under the roof they grew up under, but away from the churches and communities they grew up with. Transplanted into entirely new surroundings, they start over, making new friends and entering the next exciting stage in life.

I never left for college – I got my A.A. from a school ten minutes away from my house, so I stayed home after graduating high school. When I finally “got out on my own” – and believe me, I was aching to spread my wings a little – I was surprised to find the things I missed most from home weren’t my friends or my siblings or Little Caesar’s five dollar pizzas. I missed my parents, the women from my Bible Study, and the families in my church who provided me so much encouragement as I struggled to make this mission trip to Prague a reality. I yearned for the continual springs of wisdom and encouragement I was blessed with in San Diego. (Jerry and Marilyn have been incredible in this area and I go to them almost as much as I would go to my own parents – though I think they appreciate that I don’t flop into their room at 11pm and say things like, “I just can’t handle this anymore!” …Mom and Dad, you two deserve sainthood).

What I’ve also discovered is that there are people who will help shepherd, comfort …and feed you wherever you end up! So about once a month, I visit one such family who’ve been good enough to open their arms and their fridge.

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