>It is nice to be back in class. This term I am taking power encounter, Hebrew II, church ministry and mission, sociology of language, and Reformation thru modern church history. Unfortunately I don’t have a blow off class (like postgraduate research) this term, although sociology of language looks interesting and easy. Last term I was able to get through church history by relying on the wonderfully comprehensive notes provided for us, and um focusing my attention in other ways during class time, keeping track of the main points but able to accomplish many other things as well. Hebrew remains my GPA arch-nemesis.
People have been very welcoming since I’ve been back. One thing I noticed is that everyone greeted me with “Happy New Year,” even up through January 6th! I mean, yes I hadn’t seen you since before the new year, but really, that was like a week ago. It seems that most other place a great deal more importance on New Year’s than the US. I know Japan and China does, and now I’ve seen that Kenya does too. I think a big difference is the centrality of Christmas: I wasn’t here, but the impression I’ve gotten is that Christmas is not as big of a deal here. In the US, Christmas is so huge that for New Years most people can only manage go out to drink and by 12:00 has passed its over. Christmas really is the capstone of an entire month, which here does not seem to be true in the same way. So New Years gets the lion’s share of the attention.
I still marvel at how many people here know my name. The other day the lady cleaning the classroom building said, “Hi David! How was your Christmas?” And I was thinking, how do you know my name, I don’t think we’ve ever met. Probably about 30-40% of the people who greet me by name I don’t know, have no idea who they are. But they all know who I am. Its to be expected, I shouldn’t really be so surprised.
One more story from Heathrow. I was sitting, waiting for my flight, on much nicer chairs than most US airports can boast, when I noticed what this really cute girl sitting across from me was saying. She was talking about the difference between being in graduate school and her undergrad, and she made a lot of good points; I could relate. Then she started talking about ministry, and Sunday school, and various opportunities she thought the church was missing. So she seemed to be a Christian. Then she started talking about Swahili, and I was like my goodness, you have got to be kidding me. How much more could we have in common? I debated it, but I couldn’t bring myself up to go over and introduce myself and inform her that we had many similar interests. Maybe I’ll run into her sometime, I don’t think the world of white English speaking Christians attending graduate school with at least some experience of Swahili is really that big…