My Saga with the "2" beat

When I was in college I was asked to join a gospel choir by my RA (resident advisor for you British people – a graduate student who is in charge of and lives in a fresher hall and looks after them and advises them academically and otherwise.) who heard me singing in the quad behind my dorm. She said “you have the voice of an angel” and next thing I know she drafted me for her choir. Aw bless Kiada! Lol.


I however did not have the rhythm of an angel.


I was the token white girl in an incredible gospel choir and as much as I loved the music and my new friends, they got such a laugh out of me every week as I tried to move with the choir. I was always off beat. Coordination is not my strong suit in life. It is amazing as my sport growing up was figure skating. I could jump and spin and loved the athleticism of it and then sometimes I’d forget to take my skate guards off, step on the ice and fall flat on my face. It was a ridiculous contrast. 


After I joined the choir and had these awkward moments of bumping into the shoulders of the other girls – very much accustomed to my “on1” clapping background in church. I remember some of the sopranos coming up behind me and grabbing my shoulders and trying to get me to rock on the two beat with them as I bumped into their shoulders, a beat off.


I think they got a kick out of their lil white girl who kept missing the beat. I picked up the new music quickly. I picked up the learning songs without music and memorizing it very quickly. I did not pick up the rocking motion of the choir very quickly! Too many years clapping on1 made that semester a bit of a crash course in switching to the 2 that is more common is African American circles.


Many years later most people don’t know I was off beat in gospel choir and that I didn’t make a show choir (think Glee) because my dancing wasn’t up to scratch as a high schooler. Most people think of me as a dancer as I do it very regularly and have gotten pretty good even. 


Well the last year or so it has been a bit like my time in gospel choir and I have discovered something very fun in the world of salsa. 


The two beat is back again! 


Regular dancing on1* for years in my city and then being dropped into a few salsa nights in NYC where I had nothing else but to have a crash course in learning the on2 has made me come to find this on2 thing fascinating.. so this year I have been practicing on2 with some friends. I have even gone to other cities for it. And now I’ll be working in a city for a few months that actually has regular on2 classes.. looking forward to it very much. And it still makes me chuckle and laugh at my days in the gospel choir.. 

*on1 breaking on the first beat of the music versus on2 breaking on the second beat of it..

Sabbatical thoughts:

I am back very briefly in the UK in transit again for work but I thought I’d write up a bit on my sabbatical learning experiences. I am a bit busy this weekend throwing a BBQ reunion of sorts with friends in my short transit through my city as well as a bridal shower (with all the American- cheese) for my housemate of three years this weekend so I will get back to these posts next week and post more on them as well as continue my 30-30 series on the top thirty things I have learned in the last 30 years. I am nearly halfway through! 🙂 


1.) God’s sovereignty (this was personal and not a “Set out” aim of the sabbatical.. but definitely deserves a lot of thought because it was an overarching theme of my whole time in the US. 


2.) What it means to be “born again”.. implications.. a lot of learning about what Jesus is talking about in John 3 the “doctrine of regeneration” some might call it. 


3.) Faulty teaching in prosperity gospel churches.


4.) A lot of random things.. I’ll just do a whole blog on the extras. I got to listen to a sermon nearly every day the first 2 months I was home. I read countless books. Lots of Bible. And learnt a lot from others. The Lord was very good to me. 

Things I like about America

My time in the US of A is winding to a close. It has been the longest I have been in my country since 2006. I have been grateful for a much needed sabbatical. It is time to return to Europe. Before I go, I thought I’d leave you with 


THINGS I LIKE ABOUT AMERICA! 


Sitting in an airport with free wireless (why don’t they all do this?!) I thought I would leave you with my American loves. 


1.) My nephews. Okay this is not really a particular American thing. But they are American and I love them and only get to see them here! They are awesome. I love their giggles, their smiles, their games. They have been my gym since I have been here with demands to be thrown, swung, picked up, bench pressed etc every day. MY NEPHEWS ARE AWESOME. For example.. my 22 month old nephew yesterday made me read him his book.. and as he tried to say new words, as he got them right – HE would turn to me to hi-five me! His tiny lil hand. Loved it. He is officially American. Hi fiv-ing from infancy! 


2.) Customer service. Okay all Americans who I have been overseas have ranted about customer service in other countries (Oh UK you are not devoid of this problem!) I bought a shirt a month or so ago. Washed it. It started discolouring. I thought about taking it back but couldn’t be hastled. Well a month on it’s gotten a bit worse and it really started to bug me. 


I did not have the receipt anymore and have worn it and washed it a couple times. 

I took it back to the store. Told them the truth… no receipt.. it has been getting progressively discoloured, I have worn and washed it more than once etc. They exchanged it and gave me a new one no questions asked. It’s not just customer service. It’s above and beyond. But it means I will continue to shop at that store rather than one that didn’t treat me so generously well. 

3.) The generosity of my church. The Christians in my home church are some of the most generous giving sacrificial people I have met who live out the gospel wherever they are. I have seen this in Christians in other parts of the world too but not compared to my home church. 


4.) Mexican food. Need I say more. I think Mexicans need to move to England to open a restaurant. They’d make a killing. 


5.) The sun. Okay so I am melting and actually looking forward to the 56* F it is in Newcastle so I can actually start running outdoors again. But I am probably massively vitamin D deficient and I think the sun this spring helped. 


6.) Thunderstorms. Rip roaring crashing thunder storms are incredible over here. 


7.) Optimism. 


8.) Friendliness (Okay so it freaked me out for awhile that total strangers would say hi as you walked down the street.. but after awhile it grows on you and is kinda endearing. I also stopped being mortified as my dad walked down the street saying hi to people)


9.) Ice cream. Europe is much better for chocolate. The USA is much better for ice cream. Even generic ice cream is better. 


10.)  Problem solving. This is one of the things I have never ceased to culture shock with in Britain. The USA seems to have more people willing to look outside the box for a solution if there is a problem rather than having a wrote answer and if it doesn’t fit that saying they can’t help you. I like independent thinking, outside the box thinking, and problem solving very much and think most things in the world should have a solution. 


11.) Being able to disagree loudly and having the freedom to do so. Do we Americans ever appreciate how good we have it? I hate election years. I hate the faulty rhetoric, the mud slinging, the straw man arguments, the masses who follow the straw man arguments. I dislike how obnoxious some vocal characters are. But I appreciate that we all have the freedom to be as obnoxious and vocal as we want about our politics and no one is going to put us in jail. The next time you are angry with the rhetoric from the other side, look at Syria and be grateful we all have the ability to be as vocal as we want. Perspective. I’d rather annoying people I disagree with then none of us have a right to disagree in the first place. 

Justice for women in Afghanistan

I read the following article below as I sit in freedom in an airport. Able to travel by myself as a woman. Able to walk through the airport without (as many) stares and sexual harassment as this woman would face… even with a burqa on. There are so many terrible things about this murder – but the one that came to my mind first was she probably didn’t even commit adultery. Most likely she would have been raped. And then accused of adultery. Adultery in this culture would be very unlikely yet for the men’s crimes, she was murdered…

It reminds me of a similar scenario and a very different outcome. A woman caught in adultery was thrown at the feet of Jesus and the religious leaders asked if they should stone her. Jesus wrote in the dirt something unknown, stood and said to the men, whoever has not sinned could cast the first stone. Slowly the men dropped their stones and walked away. Jesus turned to the woman and asked where her accusers were. She said they were gone. Then he said “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” 

The sinless one who could judge turned away her accusers and offered her what they couldn’t. Forgiveness and a clean slate. And her life.  
manhunt is under way in Afghanistan for a group of men who publicly executed a woman accused of adultery.
The video of the execution—which showed men cheering after the woman was killed—sparked immediate outrage. It’s unclear when the execution in the village of Qimchok in the Parwan province near Kabul took place. Afghan authorities said the men were Taliban militants; a spokesman for the Taliban denied responsibility for the killing.
At least nine shots were fired by one of the men with an AK-47 at close range, the three-minute video showed… 
Read article here: 

Afghan Woman Murdered by Taliban Militants 

Watch here 

Refreshing

One of the things I have been so grateful for on my time in the US is moments with people that are absolutely refreshing. I have had them with my family. I have had them with dear friends from college. Some I got to see after 6,7,8 year absences with nothing but email and .. we just pick right back up like we haven’t been away. This week I got to see one of my roommates from college. We had two hours. That was it. Two hours in the three months I had been home. But they were a good two hours. And it was precious. I love her a lot. I’ll take 5 minutes of good conversation a hug from her.


Tonight was another one of those nights with two couples from my church. They have kids about my age but when I started looking for a small group bible study around college/after college time I ended up with their age group on Sunday morning and then decided to stay. So for my first few years out of college my Sunday School class of sorts was people old enough to be my parents. They had groups for my age group but I liked all of them and stayed. Tonight was just.. refreshing again.. we ate great burgers and fruit salad and just caught up and they prayed for me. They love the Lord and are really active in serving him our church and their jobs. They have raised families pointing them to Jesus. They serve all over the world and right here in my area. They are just normal Christians. I love soaking up their wisdom. I have a lot to learn from them. And like my friends from college.. I see them and can have real conversation very quickly even after a long time. Priceless.


I love priceless, honest, real, moments.