Wednesday, October 27, 2010

i could sleep

So I went to bed at about 6:15pm for a 45 minute nap, a half an hour after I got home. I planned to go to the gym for a while after mynap. However, I set the alarm clock in my bedroom incorrectly and woke up at 9:14pm thoroughly confused. Only when I stumbled into the kitchen and saw that I was still wearing the shirt I had worn to work did I realize what had happened. I had thought it was morning time and I had overslept because my cell phone alarm clock, which is what I usually use, didn't go off. Guess I'll go eat some food and stay up late tonight....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Today I feel pretty good about myself and my job. I arranged 3 volunteers to take 5 families to Walmart to buy winter clothes. They are all families that have arrived within the past 4 months, and they have no idea what winter really is. I had to coordinate 3 womens' schedules, then inform 5 families that speak zero or little English to what was going to happen, then explain the plan of attack to all volunteers via phone and email, and then meet the volunteers in the morning with the checks for the families. I would usually expect 1 or 2 families to pull a no-show, or some other communication failure to occur. But everything went off without a hitch! Everyone got coats and other winter necessities with their money! Each family had at least one representative to shop for them! There were no problems at the banks! Miraculous!

I'm pleased with how things went today. Two more volunteers are taking 2 more families on Friday, and one other volunteer is taking 1 more family next week Tuesday, so I guess it's not all over yet. But this has been in the works for a long time, and it's getting cold, and I'm glad there are a few more warm refugees out there tonight. :0)

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Today while waiting for Amanda's henna to set in her hair, we turned on the TV, and Saved! was on! I had forgotten how awesome of a movie it is. It makes the Christian world look as ridiculous as it often is. The people who are supposed to show God's love are the bad people, and the people who are supposedly the "sinful" people are the ones with the most compassion and love and capability to forgive.

One of the best scenes...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

of Montreal/Janelle Monae

I went to this concert tonight at the Sokol Underground in Omaha. I was looking forward to attend my first concert in Nebraska and the first concert I have been to in a long time (that I was excited about). I expected a great voice from Janelle Monae and a spectacle from Of Montreal, and I was not disappointed.

Janelle Monae has a set of pipes. Whoa baby. I remember reading that she tried to be on Broadway, but she ended up with a record deal instead. This song has not gotten old for me yet. I love it every time.

I have been a fan of Of Montreal since I saw them at Rothbury 2008. I don't really know how to explain the odd things Kevin Barnes concocted for this tour. There were many people wearing full body leotards of various colors and patterns flailing around on stage. For most of the show, on the bottom, all he wore were pink tights and what looked like a lace apron. Then later, he changed into some gold lame' cape and astronaut type headdress. There were the people running around with pig masks. The 8 foot tall bird heads with fake guns were strangely unsettling. And it was all so loud I do believe I lost some hearing. I kicked myself for forgetting earplugs.

(Don't listen to this song if you're offended by the F-bomb).

What a busy week. I feel like I have hardly been home at all. I joined Snap Fitness this week, which I'm happy about. I have been feeling rather weak and blah lately. Some exercise and weight lifting will hopefully make me feel better. It usually does!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I have a new hobby. I just randomly saw a commercial for it on TV and was sitting at my computer, so I went there. I typed in my grandma's name, and I was sucked in. The website is mind-boggling. I found information about the lineage from my mom's mom's mom (maternal great-grandmother?) and her decendents back to the 1700s. Most of my ancestors were born in Dwingeloo, Drenthe, the Netherlands. It's pretty awesome to learn about.

Also, I got a haircut today. The first professional haircut I've gotten in a long, long time. I shall post pictures at some point, but it's not that earth-shattering or exciting.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

insurance and immigration

Congratulations to me, I now have medical and dental insurance! I'm very thankful to have been in nearly perfect health for the 2 1/2 years I didn't have insurance. My appendix can burst anytime now!

I went to another arrival yesterday. It was family of our Bhutanese caseworker, Kumer. I learned how to say "Nice to meet you" in Bhutanese while we were waiting for them to get off the plane. I look forward to learning lots of phrases in a bunch of languages while I work at Lutheran Refugee Services.

This morning, I went to a forum on immigration reform, put on by this group in Omaha called "Omaha Together, One Community"...aka OTOC. It was inspirational, and now I'm all hopped up on justice for immigrants. Lucky for me, my job is working with people who are completely and totally legal in the USA. I don't have to battle that stigma of the "illegals". However, I find many people are incredibly ignorant regarding refugees. It is my quest in life to decrease that number. :0)

At the forum were two people from the church that is sponsoring the family that came on Tuesday: the pastor and a retired lady who chairs the missions team named Dee Maycock. Dee just might be my new hero in life. I'm not sure exactly how old she is, I'm guessing around 65 or so. She uses a walker, but moves pretty well with it. She is sharp as a tack and has bumper sticker promoting justice on the back of her car. So, after this meeting, the pastor, who is the silly, irreverent type, came over to Dee and put his arm around her shoulders and said, "I am eternally grateful to you for introducing me to the importance of justice to my faith." I was touched. Dee is the bomb.

At the forum today, I was reminded of the importance of immigrants to the identity of the USA. My own grandma grew up speaking Dutch at home and at church. Her family was nervous to put her in school because she knew no English. It was frequently mentioned today how funny it is that as each new wave of immigrants assimilates into the culture, they begin to vilify the next wave of immigrants as lazy, unwilling to assimilate, and a danger to their established way of life. This pattern repeats itself over and over in the history of our country, and it's unfortunate that people don't see that. It's unfortunate that the government believes that enforcement of laws is the way to deal with this massive and decisive issue, instead of immigration law reform.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

new arrivals

OMG, I love my job.

Today I had a meeting at 10am at a local high school to discuss with the Honor's Society about options for their service projects. Then, the rest of the day was pretty normal. At 6:30, I got to go meet LFS's newest family at the airport! It was very cool. There were about equal parts Bhutanese and Americans. The Americans were shy and seemed a bit uncomfortable, while the extended family and Bhutanese community members were chatty and happy. The family consisted of a mom, dad, two teenage sons, and a 6 year old daughter. Someone from the church had brought their young daughter, who had packed a backpack full of her toys to give to the little Bhutanese girl. It was so precious to watch the American girl show the Bhutanese girl how to play with some of the toys that I started to tear up a bit. I had forgotten my camera, unfortunately, so I just snapped a picture with my cell phone camera, which I don't know how to load into the computer yet.

Also, today at work, I played Spanish interpreter. While I was poking around in the file room after most people had left, I heard one of my coworkers trying to communicate with a woman about energy assistance, but failing. I listened for a while (because cross-cultural communication with language barriers is common and our staff is skilled at it), then I went out to them and said, "I can speak a little Spanish." I was impressed with my ability to speak and listen that well after all these years. It was exhilarating!

One of these days I'll post a detailed explanation of what exactly I do. I got home at 8pm today, though.

Everyone on our staff is cleared for overtime this week, prepping for the PRM audit, so I will probably be home late most nights this week. I still love every minute of my job, though, so I'm not complaining yet.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Today was a monster. I had to go into work at 8am, which is an hour earlier than usual. (My office mates usually begin showing up at 9am. It's pretty awesome.) We had a bunch of people from central administration coming to help us review the 165 files from fiscal year 2010 to prepare for the Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration audit. It's amazing what a group of determined people can do! Everything was done around 2pm...after I had been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for 4 hours. I'm not even really sure what I did during that time, except answer a lot of questions and move around a lot of files and paperwork. I guess I did eat some pizza and candy, too.

At 5pm, I met some Clarkson students at a refugee's house to start their volunteering hours. When I went in, the mother was showing them music videos. It was very fun to watch music videos in Karen. Apparently, much of the footage was shot in a refugee camp. I kinda feel like a zombie after today, but I still love my job.

Enjoy a Karen music video!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

And begin

I decided to start another blog. Many of you might not have known, but I kept a blog religiously for about 3 years, one of which was my year in South Korea. I love that I have those blogs now. I've always been a fan of journaling, perhaps because it's so easy to forget what your daily life was like. I like remembering.

Also, since I am, yet again, far from my place of birth and separated from many people I love, I think it will be a good way to share what is going on in my life, so when I see people, it won't go something like this: " have you been up to?" And I will admit, when I moved to Nebraska, I sort of disappeared from Michigan, with nary a "Goodbye!" or an "I'll miss you, friend!" It was a difficult and strange in-between point in my life, and I'm glad it's over.

In case you didn't know, the current title of my blog refers to the nickname theme that has started since I've moved to Nebraska. It must include both my name and another word that has the long-a sound toward the beginning. Examples:

Renadio (the first and most enduring)
Renapist (the most offensive)
Renanal (the most hated)
Renalienated (the most brilliant)
Renainbow (the most adorable)

Which ones am I forgetting?

Anywho, I'm off to try to find a jogging route through my new little hometown of Waverly, Nebraska. Then, I shall watch the U of M vs. MSU game with my Michigan homies.