16 December was a wonderful day. I woke up that morning and started the day off with prayers for the people on the trip, for meaningful conversations, for opportunities to be seized.
That morning, our group was supposed to set off for the mangroves after breakfast. As we were walking out of the research station, another Teaching Assistant (TA) and I walked up to Joe and began disturbing her. My impression of her had never been someone who can be so crazy (and annoying) in the past 3 years of knowing her (kept quite infrequent contact ever since I left school though). But through this trip, I got to see that side of her. So yeah, whenever we walked past each other, we would intentionally disturb one another by saying certain things or making faces at each other. So much so that, that morning, the TA who was walking with us asked us, “Do you guys need to speak to each other like that”, ‘that’ as in being mean towards one another.
Not long later, I asked, “So how have you been? We haven’t spoken in such a long while.” The reply that came was – genuinely, I felt – “Are you asking this as a “don’t know what to say” kinda thing or are you really asking?” Of course I’m really asking! So how have you been?
As requested, we walked further in front, away from the pack, and started a conversation. She revealed that she has been struggling with community issues the past few years and tried visiting another church but didn’t find it suitable. I didn’t quite expect a conversation of such a depth actually took place, and for it to take place so suddenly. Offered practical help as much as I could, and thought in my heart, this is a good beginning of an answer to the prayer in the morning. Was kinda satisfied.
That incident also made me feel closer to her, somewhat? The teasing and arm over shoulder and all that still went on after that, and we really enjoyed doing that to each other. One day some of the juniors/students even asked if we knew each other for a long time because we seemed close, but I thought to myself, not really, we didn’t really know each other before this. In fact, other than what she shared that day, I barely know anything about her. That incident, though, did make her a darling in my eyes – first time I’m using this word on someone haha. And no, there’s no room for biasness because the TAs weren’t the ones grading them.
In the afternoon, we had our swim in the mangroves. And the boat ride after was a good time to ponder, giving rise to that post earlier on.
At the end of the field trip to the mangroves when we arrived back on shore, we had our lunch along the beach. I grabbed my packet of rice and saw this girl – whom I’ve been wanting to talk to – sitting down on a log with her packet. I found out that she’s a Christian the day before because of her laptop sticker, so I wanted to find out more about her story. I walked over and sat down on that same log, and we started sharing about our walks with Christ. Had a very meaningful conversation with this girl :) And that’s another answer to the prayer!
That evening, I sat down at the dining table right in front of Pierre. He’s been with us for 2 days now, but I didn’t really have an idea of who he is. Well, no one introduced anyone to anyone on the trip. I sat down in front of him, somewhat reluctantly because he’s a Caucasian and my inferiority complex was just… you know. He was fine with me having my own dinner and him having his too. But after some time I decided, let’s talk.
So I asked him where he came from. That started us off on similarity between languages – French and Spanish to be exact – and then we went on to what he’s doing now. As he shared about his perspectives and his projects, I got really excited. He’s really passionate about what he does, and that’s infectious! Not just that, I felt we had an opportunity to work together when I start on my new job. We ended up having a very long conversation, way beyond what dinner time would have required us to.
All in all, a very fruitful and blessed day. Prayer answered :) Thank You God! I would actually want to remember 21 December as well. Hope I’ll find the patience to write another one for that day.