Baby It’s Cold Outside…
The temperature is read in celsius here… so that means I’ve gotta recalculate the temperature in my head. Those who know me well… I’m not quick with numbers. Sadly, converting celsius to fahrenheit requires multiple steps and just does not aid in determining the temperature as I know it… quickly. To convert, I “simply” multiply the number by 9 and then divide by 5 and then ad 32. Ooookkaaaaayyyy…. one digit numbers, got it… two digit numbers… waste of time in calculating quickly for me in my head… it’s just “cold” is all I know.
This weekend was our last three nights of Journey to Bethlehem. I’ve loved participating as a shop seller in Bethlehem for multiple of reasons, which I will get to soon, but I want to convert the temperature just so you all know how cold it was. It was -18 below on Saturday night I believe (the coldest we had). I must multiple -18 by 9 (-162) and then divide by 5 (-32.4) + 32 which equals -0.4… or in other words it was just below zero. I didn’t bother trying to convert this in my head as my head explodes in this line of work, but at least we all know… baby, it was cold outside. We are in a deep freeze, much like many areas in the U.S. right now!
However, I have to say I’m pretty darn impressed with how Polish people aren’t fazed too much by it. I was shocked with the number of people who were still outside… on their bikes or in their high heeled boots. Cancel things? Bah… It’s all about layering and that is something they do well here.
So- we layered well (don’t use cotton material as a base layer!) and hovered around the fires (which were much bigger this past weekend) in between the groups. From 4:30pm to roughly 8pm we were outside braving the cold. The other thing we did to keep warm was we sang and danced. Saturday night the electricity went out (it was probably more fun for us than the staging area for all the groups and their ensembles of entertainment), but nonetheless, more candles were lit and we just made up silly songs of animal noises (we lost the ongoing recorder of background noises!) and beats (hear the hammers?). Then, we started counting down once we found out that we only had 10 more groups to come through. After each group passed through, we created some dance moves to celebrate the new one coming. It was a riot and truly created an enjoyable atmosphere that otherwise could have been so incredibly long.
This was one of my most enjoyable memories and although the coldest, longest weekend to get through, it was the funnest. Another reason I’ve enjoyed volunteering in Bethlehem is the Polish I’ve been able to learn. It’s not much, but I’ve learned the words for baskets, rugs, salt, fish… oh, and “the best”. As I have to say “I’ve got the best “rugs” or “baskets” in Bethlehem. The very first night they tried to put me in the stall to sell the fresh fish. Trying to say the word for fish was incredibly hard and I quickly determined I was not the one for the job. (It requires rolling the r, which I can’t (yet) do as I studied Latin in high school and missed out on that practice with Spanish) 🙂 Yes, yes, yes, Bethlehem was “international” back in the day of Jesus, but I didn’t need the crazy constant looks from the people coming through! I got those looks anyways when I tried to sell rugs. 🙂 I think my most satisfying place to be was selling the baskets. I got the least odd looks. I didn’t feel like shouting “Bethlehem was international! Stop looking at me like I can’t speak Polish!” Ha
OR… perhaps by weekend #3 I was better at mastering the intonation.
Nonetheless, we are now officially done with this outreach event. The thought did cross my mind… couldn’t we just keep doing it, but for only 1 night a weekend? Selfishly, I’ve enjoyed the relationship building that took place as a result, but trust that God will continue to build from what was formed.
This weekend I also had a unique cultural experience. I’ve been blessed with a new friendship (Important note… this friendship is a direct result of having been placed in the position to teach elementary, which was not something I had planned to do nor wanted to do!) She’s a mom of one of my elementary students and we’ve gotten together for coffee and lunch and now breakfast… at her home… with some killer soft boiled eggs. We do a pretty good job of laughing together… or at me… I’m not quite sure which we did more of on Saturday morning. Needless to say, I’ve officially eaten my first soft boiled egg properly… or almost. Somehow I didn’t get the knack of being able to eat it in a way that didn’t cause the egg yolk to pour over and out of the shell or the little ceramic container it so grandly sat in. My friend and her husband had some pretty good laughs… I’m apparently a first at their table of needing 3 clean plates just to eat soft boiled eggs. I’ve already declared a retry for another Saturday morning!
But… the laughs didn’t stop there. After moving to the couch and in the midst of a pretty deep question, I somehow managed to spill my drink on my lap… yet I saved it from getting on her beautiful tan couch! THIS…. is just so typical for me. Josh is always moving glasses/mugs away from me as I am a hands talker. I’m not sure as it happened so fast, but I bet my hands just got tangled up with my mug.
Needless to say, this has been a memorable weekend.