Thursday, June 27, 2013


There are some experiences that we have in life that make us sit up and take notice.  Today was one of those days.  Something happened that brought a lot of things together for me, so I figured that because only God could do that for me, that you, my friends and family should hear about it.
You are all aware that some two years ago I decided that I would no longer shackle myself with a job outside the house.  I had just been blessed by the return of my health.  During the down time when I was thinking about a lot of things, is when I made the decision.  
Even before I was fully recovered, I began to look for work in the ethereal world of the Internet. I have shared some of my out of this world experiences with you. I have also shared the fact that through it all, I was blessed to find work doing translations for an honest company based in Europe.  It has been going on for nearly two years and I still help them and they like my work and my attitude.  That last part is because they don't "really" know me.  But they do give me good references and because of that I now have other translations from other agents and companies coming my way.  I never thought that God had any patience left in his bag, but He evidently has.  Not only that, He even gave me a little.  Now that, boys and girls, is a true miracle.  Now, today I finished a very demanding project for one of the newcomers into my life and in my down time after 4 very intense days I got to sharing my thoughts and emotions with Belle, my grace from God through the miracle of Holy Matrimony. Here's what we talked about: 
The project that sucked up so much of my life was a 35 page report from the person in charge of seeing to it that a sky train type metro ($500,000,000.00) will come to reality in Casablanca, Morocco.  What a lesson in management that is.  It is but one of the wonderful experiences that I have had over the last 20+ months.  I have gone to so many places in my mind that it is truly gratifying. It's cheaper than buying a ticket.  Heck, they even pay me to do it.   I have had to translate papers that ask the Dutch government to tighten up the standards regulating varietal cheeses.  Not just the cheese, but the labels too. Now, while we are in Holland, I have to tell you the story of the touring company that takes people for tours on the canals in Amsterdam.  I was on their boats for at least four hours.  How many of you have done that?  I will also now take bets from anyone who can prove knowledge of what the average summer temperature in the Algerian desert is.  I do!  I had to translate a "request for quote" from the Algerian government to the world to build a windmill farm to harness the energy of the winds in the desert there.  Oh, the wind there averages about 125 kilometers per hour (70 mph).  Lest I forget the average summer temperature is 45 degrees Celsius, that's around 115F.  Remember, I said average.  A few translations ago I was in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast, Africa)translating a do-gooder from Belgium who was there to teach people how to get more yield from their "back yard" victory gardens.  40 pages of this stuff...not for the people to read, for the governments of the world.  It was really nice, until the mosquitoes got the better of me, so I left.  Oh yeah, he mentioned the mosquitoes.  He had to, they kill a lot of people to whom they give malaria.  The other day I was in, of all places, Nogales, Mexico.  Some lady was emigrating from Nogales to Sweden, I think it was, and she needed her university transcript of records translated from the Nogales vernacular to English.  The agency sent it to me, figuring that if I ran into trouble I could just shout across the Rio Grande and get the answer.  Heck, I could see her house from here! I have a ton more, but one of the more interesting things I had to translate was a contract between a Belgian company that transports cattle on the hoof to places all around the Mediterranean and even to Eastern Europe and the Middle East.  Imagine, they do that for a living, and they seem to be doing very well at it...and in French to boot! Except that this time they got into a crunch and someone wanted to dispense with the French and stick with English.  I forget all the details, but they carried on quite a bit about the health of the animal at the head of the trip as against the same animal's health at the terminus.  Can you just figure out the hankie-pankie that lives in those transactions?
There is also human consolation that comes aross my pixilated reality.  There is the story of the person who got to be a medical doctor to live out her dream as a little girl.  She has a problem.  She is quite a distance away from being an "A" student.  I was able to follow her entire career from high school through final board exam.  I lived her whole educational experience through her grades and through the written evaluations that form part of the European report card.  The only reason I knew that she had not dropped out was that I had her entire file by my side...all 20 pages.  I suffered through the numbers that she was making. 
I shuddered at some of the slyly insulting comments of some of her teachers. She would come back and retake the course and pass it with a middle level grade while at the same time she was struggling somewhere else. I think, perhaps, that added to her own grit and courage came the love and dedication with which most of her teachers showered her.   Even in university she struggled although in university she never failed a course, but she kept her hours down so that she could manage her study time better. I have to admit that I shivered through the emotions that flowed through me during that project.  One night, just some 6 or 7 hours before my deadline I came across one comment on her final report for the year.  It was preceded by a passing grade at a very low percentile of the class performance as a whole. It said, "Remember that just because you are in a top notch school becoming a doctor is not guaranteed." True enough.  But I wanted to choke that person.  I was wishing I could go there and cut the handle off her brand new broom handle. I took an hour off and then got back to work. The little girl, by now a woman, got through it, came back and got what she had worked for. 

This is the life that God gives me these days.  That's my life, economics and emotions at the same time.  I thank God for it because He is giving me time to do what I love to do.  When I am not translating I'm over at His place schmoozing with His people, talking about Him, swapping stories from His book, eating from His table of Sacrifice and of course patting Mama on the back for doing such a great job.
I told you these things because I want you to know that I have not changed my mind about my first and last will and testament:  No Crying at MY Funeral!

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