Talking of seasons and timing my dream is to build a house and live out on the land, well actually we would both love to do that but timing is important. The time is not right yet (now where have I heard that before?), we may start building sometime next year once we get all the relevant details together, at least it would provide much needed employment which is badly needed here at the moment but to actually move out there on a permanent basis - no not yet and not for a long while either. We can take our time finishing the house off but we can't move out there until we have built up some sustainable relationships which will be far easier living in the village itself. Building relationships is far more important than building new homes as much fun as that will be and I have my desires and dreams and collecting pictures but at the moment that is all they are going to be, and there is definitely no building in winter.
Building relationships is going to get a bit easier as we have finally managed to find a teacher to teach us Latvian, in fact like buses wait around long enough and two come at once. One of our neighbours is a teacher at the local school but she teaches maths not a language subject but she did manage to get us a phone number of a teacher who does teach Latvian to children who do not speak Latvian themselves - perfect! I rang the number but totally confused the poor woman as I asked for English lessons - duh! I had to get a Latvian friend to ring and apologise and request Latvian lessons instead and arrange the first lesson. At the same time another neighbour of ours agreed to help us with Latvian too, so we now have two one hour lessons at the local school with the structure set by the teacher and our neighbour helping us to practice what we have learnt. Only problem is that now I have to get organised as I am still studying two courses plus I have an exam in three weeks time - at least I have now finished my assignment for my first course. Just glad this is one season that will not last.
Our treasure hunt for the elusive piece of paper to have a flue installed so we can have a woodstove has kind of come to an end this week. We now have the papers which have been paid for but I still have to hand one copy back signed by us both. We had been told by the architect which papers were needed and we took them in to her and she said she needed to come out again and visit but could she borrow a tape measure, "no problem we said", is there access to the roof she said, "errr yes up a metal ladder" we said (well through an interpreter). The strange thing is that our apartment building is like any other apartment building in Latvia built around the same time in Soviet times, they are all the same design with the same access so we weren't quite sure what else she was expecting. When she turned up she wasn't exactly dressed for the occasion as she was in a fur coat and had shoes with heels on. Our roof space is frequented by pigeons but up she went in stockinged feet, brave lady! She measured up and left and I went back to see her the next week, only to find she wanted more papers, why didn't she tell me that earlier? Managed to get all the right documents and she called round to our home again! Luckily this time it was just with the papers for us to sign - maybe she just likes our home.
It is amazing how a sentence can unexpectedly grab you and impact so deep that you don't even understand its implications and what it will mean for the future but you just know the meaning and significance will grow, well just such a sentence grabbed me this week, all it said was "Come closer friends, this house is yours". I have absolutely no idea why this sentence grabbed me, I have no idea what God is trying to say through it but it is whirling around my brain now. One thing that resonates is that "this house is yours" not "this house is mine but your welcome to use it" or "this house is yours but you have to behave a certain way" no it says "come closer friends, this house is yours" it is welcoming people into relationship as well. It will be interesting to see where this one leads.
A headline from a book title had a similar impact that is still working its way through me now and that is "What got you here, won't get you there" It is a management book to encourage managers to realise that sometimes you have to take a different trajectory to the one you are on in order to meet the goal you are after, but for me it was just the realisation that life was never going to be the same again to reach the goal that God had in store for me. I read that sentence when glancing at some papers of a fellow traveller on a plane going to Brazil whilst living in America and although I knew we would eventually end up in Latvia I didn't know how or when at that point.
Had to share this email with you from Amazon, it read: "As someone who has purchased or rated Human Ecology: Basic Concepts for Sustainable Development by Gerald G. Marten, you might like to know that International Trade Regulation and the Mitigation of Climate Change: World Trade Forum will be released on 30 September 2009. You can pre-order yours for just £57.00 by following the link below." Sounds like a riveting read but I think I will pass on that one. Just wondered what other riveting combinations anyone has had?
This week the IMF are visiting Latvia to "help" them draft a new budget because the one they have now does not meet the loan criteria - I thought that the new fluffy IMF was supposed to give states freedom to choose how they implemented cuts, well that is what they say, it would seem that the practice is somewhat different. Prayer is needed and it will be interesting to see what comes out of this meeting, whether the poor will indeed be supported or whether they are in for a difficult winter and an even gloomier new year.
(Photos from around our apartment building and some of our autumn produce)