Looking Past the March
This is a post about what is coming in the next few months.
Now… I know what you’re thinking: “Come on, Kyle, did you expect us to appreciate or be impressed with a punny post title including the name of the month in which it is written?” I know the caliber of my readers, and they demand more of me to be impressed by such a simple pun (someone tell me I’m wrong!). I realize this.
But perhaps it has gone unrealized that there is another layer to the title. Hmm…
I recently got my hands on the newest trilogy by Stephen R. Lawhead. While I highly recommend his earlier Song of Albion trilogy… that is not the one I recently got my hands on (just a free plug from an admirer of English Lit). The books to which I am referring are The King Raven books, based on the historical facts that feed the legend that is Robin Hood.
No, it just seems that I’m losing you.
Never fear, I’m getting there. (And I see you rolling your eyes at me!)
Before I was politely interrupted by Youtube, I was saying, or writing rather, that the story surrounds Robin Hood. Never mind how I came to possess these books. The important “how” is how Robin Hood is connected to this post’s title.
It’s like this. In Lawhead’s account, Robin Hood is a Welsh prince (actually, British, since “Welsh” is actually a slur to the hero and his merry men) who must either despair or desperately fight for his people. At multiple points, he decides–much against his will–to protect his people and be the leader that they need him to be despite his doubting victory. And the forest in which he takes refuge is part of what the English know as “The March”… a heavily forested border between England and Wales where thickly grown trees make horses useless against the quick-biting Welsh longbow and where a hooded phantom dwells in the dark forest, awaiting its alien prey.
The Admirable Man in Tights Himself
After reading on each of my hour-long bus rides to and from work over the past few week, I was able to complete the all three books (about 1500 pages) and I can say that before I read the books I was already beginning to identify with the plight of this version of the famous outlaw.
Not that I have been an outlaw, FYI. I was referring more to the hardships associated with being a leader and protecting people who look to you as an authority or compass. Ahem, my students as well as other youth at church.
To help you understand, here are some more details. Get ready, because I’ve not shared such detail before on this blog.
I have two jobs currently. One is at Positivo (Colegio Positivo Internacional), a private school for children, and the other is at Centro Europeu, a private language school where my students are college age or older (I have mentioned my work at CE in earlier posts.)
I am a “giver of services” at Centro Europeu, and as such (according to my understanding), I gain a little more money per hour, but I do not gain any of the many municipally-required benefits due to a Brazilian worker because I am not technically hired. Hence, I have no job security, but slightly better pay. I am VERY blessed to have this job for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that I get hours at night, when my second job is not open for classes.
Positivo, on the other hand, has officially hired me. This statement = job security + many benefits = amazing. For those of you new to Brazilian job benefits (me, three months ago), it is pretty simple yet also surprising. As a registered Brazilian worker (yes, I have a “workbook” that every business I ever get hired by in Brazil must write in, like a sort of unexpirable job passport), I have the right to require certain certain services of my employer. These services include vale trasnporte (public transportation (bus) vouchers or money for said service), and vale refeição (food vouchers, or money for said service).
Note: Having a registered job does not mean I have the benefits outlined above totally free. Instead of engaging in a polemic discussion on taxes and funding, let me tell you my situation.
At Positivo (my day job) I do get free bus ticket credits on my bus card. I do not have to pay to get to and from work (one hour each way). Pretty awesome, since last semester my bus fair cost me about 10 percent of my income. However, I do not get free food or so many free Reais to spend on food in a given period. Instead, because I am at a private school with a cafeteria, I have access to an lunch buffet at the reduced cost of… about 1 USD per meal. And we’re talking a solid buffet, not some public high school lunch line.
With bus tickets and lunches (Brazil’s biggest meal) mostly out of the way–I still pay for bus tickets to and from CE, my night job–I am practically “saving” 10 percent of my income. In other words, my income effectively has increased by 10% in the last few weeks (the semester in Brazil starts in mid-February or early March depending on Carnaval), and I have recently received proposals to do some translation work, which is always welcome.
I was recently told by a reader that my posts need more pictures. Also, some of my notes for this blog did not save in my mad scramble to write a post by the end of the 15th (which didn’t happen, as you can see), so my structure for this post is partially improvised. By improvised I mean that this paragraph and below was done in less than half an hour because that is how long it takes me to make three galleries and insert captions.
If you want the long and short of the last month it’s this: I’ve been enjoying a lot of good food. Inspiring, right?
Here you are then.
Belo Horizonte: Where I went on vacation during Carnaval (instead of a church retreat, which is a very wise option for Christians in Brazil for reasons obvious to people who know about Carnaval).
Curitiba: Walking the streets, seeing the sites, eating the food… reading the Torah (???)
Witmarsum: One reason why I delayed the blog; I wanted you to see what you were missing. All in good fun.
Now that pictures are on the Web, let me close.
For the next few months I will be teaching children and adults of various ages. The semester ends in June, around the time when the World Cup begins. It will be a pretty short semester. So, looking past March, it is pretty sobering to think that I have so much to do in so little time. But I will remain vigilant… hopefully not moody… and most definitely not skittish as a ferret. If that reference makes any sense.
In regard to looking past the March, a dense borderland between here and now and there and then, I ask you to please continue to uphold me in prayer. That I would be a merry man knowing that my King is not off on some distant crusade but rather close and home, in my heart, and my strong Rear Guard equipping me with all that I need to prosper in right relationship with His Majesty.
Amen, amen, and amen.