Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Aren't you excited for him?"

I had a nice long conversation with my sister yesterday. She took her daughters to visit an accredited college -- hugely conservative, but accredited. The admission person gave them a good sales pitch. My elder niece was planning on going to a place where she would be chaperoned constantly and not taught anything. Really. Well okay, they have a curriculum specific for women that will enable them to support their husband's ministry, in whatever form that might take. It was a bit distressing to my niece because she would rather like to study music. Her pastor was in favor of it in part because my niece is wicked good on the piano. I mean that only in the sense that she is really, really good. He sees her abilities and dedication as the path to pride and sin.

Anyway, the people at the very Christian accredited college told the girls that committing themselves to serve God should mean educating themselves. The heathen shouldn't have all the knowledge.

Sis thinks it convinced the girls and we are both happy about that.

Nephew is well and has his first "date." A girl he has a crush on has invited him to with her and her father the next time they go out and net fish and harvest the eggs.

Most romantic date ever.

My sister is also my source of information regard my father. He has apparently got a one year job teaching in China. That would be teaching English Literature at a university.

I asked when he was going and sis said sometime in the summer. My next question was, of course, whether the trip to the cottages was on. She said that he may or may not be there, said we should all go anyway, but not said whether he will give my sister the traveling money she would need to go. So I was listening to my sister, wondering about whether my family might be there alone. It would mean more work for me, and I would miss my sister, but we would have more room to spread out. That would be nice if Andrew came. Maybe I could even take David and his boyfriend. Of course they couldn't stay in the caretaker's cottage, her being the born-again Christian and all, but I would be happy to give her all the other kids...

Meanwhile Sis has begun talking about Dad's teaching job. I'm trying to pay attention and she suddenly says, "Aren't you excited for him?"

"What do you mean?"

"He's going to CHINA. Aren't you just so excited?"

And I realize I'm not.

Later I told my family and they are clearly influenced by my self-centered, non-caring attitude. They debated whether he would try to take marijuana with him and if he did would he just get sent back to the US or would he end up in a Chinese prison?

I remember when my father came back from teaching for a year in the Middle East (he wasn't in one place the whole time). He had stories to tell about how he offended the administration, got involved in politics, helped and became closely involved with a Palestinian family. I listened to all his stories and wondered how much of it was true. Nothing about working with a refugee family sounded anything at all like my father. Pissing off the administration seemed likely, although perhaps not as dramatic as he made it sound.

I hated listening to the stories because they were all about how wonderful he was. He didn't have stories about things he had learned about the culture or politics or anything. They were stories about his trials, his heroism. The information given about the people and the land were only given to give the context to the story about him.

For some reason this all bothers me more than it does my sister. I don't know why, but it does.

So I didn't spend much mental energy thinking about him going to China until she asked...and then I realized that my emotional response was pretty much limited to dreading listening to the stories about him. Already I see the scene in which I am uninterested, even irritated, tired of being his audience, and then reprimanded for being uninterested in the world.


I let myself go back to the cottages...If Dad is leaving for China and Sis doesn't go to the cottages, I will miss her very much. Brian and Gary though will be relieved not to spend a week with Nephew. I wonder if David and his boyfriend could get off, or if Evan wants to go? One of the possible routes would take us right by the sanctuary where Carl is living. We could pick him up too...


  1. Accredited - does that mean that they allow evolution to be mentioned in the Biology classes?

    Good to hear the girls might be going to a school that at least doesn't push the message that penises=people.

  2. Don't get too excited. It is so religiously conservative that their home page explains why that doesn't mean that the government doesn't tell them what to teach -- they can still serve God.

  3. If it would help you get over the loneliness of missing your dear sis I would be more than happy to come out and take her place. :P

    Awesome news about the girls education! Yay!

  4. Will you do all the cleaning? She and her daughters did. I cooked and everything else just magically got done.

  5. Not with reverence, but yes. Wait, I just realized that lack of traveling funds is the thing preventing sis's presence. Drat. I guess I didn't think this through.

  6. Oh dear....
    sighing with frustration on your behalf. I hope you have a GREAT trip to the cottages though!


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