Saturday, December 25, 2010

¡Feliz Navidad!

Oh, well, it wasn't his presence that made Christmas truly meaningful, anyway.

May God richly bless you, encourage you, comfort you, and keep you in His constant care and affection.
Take some time today to reflect on the immensity of His gift to us in his Son, Jesus, who loved us and died for us, so that we can have life and the forgiveness of sins.
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
Oh night divine, the night when Christ was born;
Oh night, oh holy night, oh night divine

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Winter in Tijuana has none of the traditional road-closing snow, white-out conditions, and driveway-shoveling common to Canada, but that doesn't mean that we aren't at times held hostage by inclement weather.

This was the scene in downtown Tijuana when I went to pick up my daughter Jo from the airport.

You can imagine how deep these waters were for my little Mazda3.

Especially when the über-manly Hummer in the next lane raced through to prove... well, something, but merely accomplished dousing my car completely in what we quaintly refer to as "black water".

For the record, "black water" means "sewage". (Suddenly, I have a whole 'nuther angle on that famous Doobie Brothers song...)

But when daughters are involved, fathers find a way. Jo is here, Christmas is coming, and aside from the cardboard jungle we are creating as we anticipate moving back to Canada in a couple of weeks, life is as normal as it ever gets around here. :)

Including all the leaks in the roof of our rental house, but that's another story.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Time to Let Go

Winnipeg, I really enjoyed my seasons of living in such a great Canadian Prairie city (1982-87, 1997-2004).

To this day, I am a die-hard Blue Bombers fan, no matter how many years it's been since we last won the Grey Cup.

Your music and arts scene is lively and I miss it.

But the Jets are gone. Get over it. No matter how many times it looks like the Phoenix Coyotes are in financial crisis, they aren't the Jets and they aren't coming back.

A friend of mine is fond of saying, "You have to let the old dreams die, grieve them and let them go, before you can dream of new things."

Listen to him. The dream is dead. Pack up the nostalgia, celebrate the memories, but please, enough already. Move on.

It's time to let go.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

One Little Wrong Turn...

(actual speed of vehicles in typical Tijuana traffic circle)

It was a great time of celebrating the marriage of a young couple -- Sergio & Laurena Montes -- in Tijuana last night. They were DTS students here back in '08, and then staff ever since. It was a cool wedding and a privilege to be there.

Then came the long, multi-vehicle caravan through Zona Rio to the reception (ten vans/cars, I believe). Only the lead car knew where it was, and we ended up threading our precarious way through Friday evening rush hour traffic, being cut off and cutting others off in the traffic circles in a valiant effort to keep the vehicle each of us was following in sight. At last, we all arrived, with only one car missing due to a fender bender (they wandered lost for awhile but eventually found the rest of us).

Mission accomplished. And the reception was great.

(this map is an under-statement)
Then came the reverse journey. The traffic, if possible, was even worse. We were following the Australians who were following the Mexicans, and we got trapped in a merge lane, and by the time we got going, the cars we were following were long gone.

We tried to guess the route, but made one little wrong turn, and instantly groaned as we realized that we had accidentally joined the one-way funnel leading to the USA border.

Well, no biggie. We'll just wait in line here for the next hour or so, and then explain that we made a wrong turn, and they'll let us return to Mexico. Piece o' cake.

Oops. None of us has our passports. We weren't planning on crossing any international borders when we left for the wedding, after all. Still, they'll surely understand about an innocent little wrong turn.

No, it's worse. Only the driver (me) has any identification at all, and we have one of the Australian kids (my daughter's friend) with us, who also has no ID of any kind. And her Aussie accent clearly says she's not our kid. But hey, it's just a simple wrong turn, right?

(actual conversation not exactly as shown)
The guy at the border doesn't believe we made a wrong turn. No matter how many times we tell him that we just want to return to Mexico, he's convinced that we're trying to sneak into the USofA.

We are sent to the black hole known as "Secondary Inspection", where time has no meaning.

The second guy makes some rather salty comments about @#$%! Canadians, or people who claim to be Canadians but they suspect really aren't, and leaves us to ponder our sins for another 2.5 hours as we are ignored by the clone army.

Three different guards came and looked at the accusatory orange note tucked under my windshield wiper, which made much of us "claiming" to be Canadians -- with a BC license plate on the car, a BC driver's license, my Canadian birth certificate (which made them even more suspicious for some reason), and Canadian accents that were, like, beauty, eh?

Finally, after each of the three guards had heard our "wrong turn" story, and then wandered away muttering dark and dire predictions on the seriousness of it all, they came and took my wife, my daughter, and our daughter's Australian friend to another building for interrogation, and photographed Wendy (because she's really pretty, obviously) and finger-printed her (sort of like getting her nails done, but on the other side).

I sat in the car, listening to "Refugee" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.

And then, finally -- glory hallelujah -- we were escorted to that special gate for all those being kicked back into Mexico at the border. The other drivers in that line-up immediately waved us in. I guess there's some kind of sympathetic solidarity among people entering Mexico when they see someone being denied access to the USofA.

When we finally got back, there were quite of number of highly agitated and worried friends and family members (our son, the Australian family, numerous other YWAM staff) waiting for us. Being AWOL in Tijuana for over three hours, especially after midnight, has that effect on people.

All because of one little wrong turn...