Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dear American Concept of Customer Service

I appreciate that you want to help. I understand that you have been trained to introduce yourself, ask certain questions, and say certain friendly phrases. But there are a few things that you should know:

•Go away and let me shop. It's creepy being followed.
•I didn't need anything five minutes ago, and I still don't.
•I promise I have a good memory. I know you work here, and if I need you I can find you.
•If I am looking for something in particular, I would rather look for it than talk to you about it.
•Again, I promise that if I need something, I will ask you.
•Cutting someone off in your rush to open the door for them may not be as polite as you think.
•Just actually be nice. Not fake rehearsed cue card nice.
•If I say I want something specific, don't try to sell me something else that costs way more.

Thank you. I assure you, if I need anything, I will let you know. Don't call me. I'll call you.

Valued Customer

I know, it's been forever

We're alive. Sorry about the delay. Come to find out, there is so much to process that it doesn't fit in a blog. Here's a basic rundown of the past 3 weeks.....

Week 1 (ish):
Apartment hunting, staying in a weekly rental, jet lag, buying a car, getting phones, signing a lease, moving in, exploring.
We loved:
•Midtown! Beautiful old houses, big trees, funky cafe's
•Mud Island River Park--and the Mississippi River in general. Gorgeous sunsets.
•Sleeping. A lot.
•Meeting a few new people
•Pei Wei--cheap asian food and a gluten free menu.
•Getting to talk so much to family!!!!

•In the grocery store--labeling is ridiculous here and it's practically impossible to tell what could be contaminated with gluten.
•Leaving a church service realizing that I feel ridiculously foreign and don't know
anybody. Missing a family of internationals that tends to swarm new people.
•No house, not much money, no friends, new country, etc. Feeling stranded. Lots of tears week 1.

Week 2 (ish):
Week 2(ish) was our "transition" week. We signed a lease and moved into the new duplex--we love the apartment and the location! My "gluten free shopping guide" book came in and made life at the grocery store much less stressful. Then the big storm came, possibly tornadoes, and the power was out for a week.

I'm actually super thankful for the power outage--we went to our new friends Kara and Johnpaul's house (seriously new friends--we had met them in person once) for dinner Saturday night and ended up staying until the next friday b/c of the power outage. What a great way to make new friends! We connected well with them and their adorable girls, and actually miss them now that we're back in our own place. As we were leaving I told them it felt like a cultural adjustment halfway house.

•Staying with the Moses family.
•"Vacation" days where we just had fun. We even went to the zoo!
•Indian food. There's so much you can do with it and most of it is gluten free!
•I finally had time to go to the social security office and tell the government that my name is Kelly Jennemann now. Much less confusing to only have to sign one name.
•Video chatting with Christine and Lisa.

Week 3:
Week 3(ish) is called "Reality." Paul started work. Stephen brought us a couch. (Thanks, btw). I can't find a job and am home all day.

•Paul really likes his new job and the people he's working with.
•I got a haircut--and found someone to go to regularly for haircuts.
•Met up with some great girls on Wednesday night. I was proud of myself for
actually leaving the house and not holeing up all homesick and shy. It was fun.
•I broke down and bought workout videos b/c we can't afford a gym membership yet
and it's too hot to run. I feel much better emotionally and physically for it.
•Central air conditioning.
•Video chatting with Christine.
•I've done better than expected health-wise. Haven't gotten really sick from gluten.
•Easy Way grocery store--fresh produce, mostly local, cheap and friendly. And
around the corner.

Not so high-lights:
•I think I've sobbed and yelled "I want to go home" 3 or 4 times now.
•Marriot hotels told me I wasn't qualified to work front desk. They're the only
people who have actually bothered to even return a call.
•It's hot. Not just oh it's uncomfortable hot. I'm about to throw up hot. And
humid. Today there was literally an "Excessive Heat Warning" for our area. Evidently that's the next step up from "Heat Advisory." It looks beautiful outside, but it's frustrating to not be able to enjoy it since our first week here because it's miserable to go outside.

We're doing well, all in all. I miss Spain. More like a constant dull pain in the background. I miss walking, and our market, and lack of humidity, and Spanish. But mostly I miss Oasis. I miss our church, our family. I miss the familiarity of calling up to Casa Tetuan 30 minutes before dinner time and planning a feast with our "neighbors." I miss all the girls who have known me for years and are happy to see me. I miss parties and games. I miss good food, good wine, good conversation. I miss Phill and Lydia. I miss the couches and the company of the Cady's, knowing that I am welcome, known, and loved at their home. I miss community group, the gathering, and services. I miss leading worship.

I know that it takes time. We're liking Memphis and I know that one day I will feel at home here like I did in Spain. I'm thanking God for all the relationships that we've already been able to start, and for lots of time together with Paul.

Ok, I hope that catches you up. Thanks for praying!

Monday, June 8, 2009

it's been one week

With apologies to Barenaked Ladies, it's been one week since we've moved from Madrid to Memphis, so I wanted to share what we've been through, uh, I mean, done in the past week.

-Moved out of our apartment on Dr. Santero to stay with our pastor's family for two days. Relaxed on their lovely hammocs!
-Ordered shuttle to take us to the airport in Madrid.
-Leave Madrid for Memphis for a new job and missional living.
-Happen to have the exact same flight as a friend we know in Madrid who's going to Memphis!
-Land in Memphis, rent a car, so to weekly rental.
-Deal with lost luggage (actually a blessing since the two bags that didn't come from Madrid would be delivered to our door! They actually came the next day.)
-Day 1 in Memphis: have two appointments to see apartments and get mobile phones.
-Day 3 in Memphis: buy a car (2007 Nissan Versa from Dobbs Nissan. They worked with us from Spain, so definitely visit them!)
-Day 4 in Memphis: have dinner with a couple I know who live here, but I know him from church in Augusta.
-Day 5 in Memphis: visit a new church. Quite a different experience since Kelly has been working for a church the past five years.
-Enjoy an afternoon at the Mud Island River Park on the Mighty Mississippi.
-Day 6 in Memphis at noon: sign the lease on our new home (duplex).

Can we go on vacation now?
Adjusting back to America has been hard work this past week in finding a home--finding confirmation as to why we moved from a city we loved and a culture we were perfectly integrated in to a city in America we had only been to once and knew very little about. We are excited at the new opportunities God has given us here in Memphis, and yesterday's message at church about using the unique talents God has given us to work for his glory in the church and in the city.

But seriously, can we go on vacation yet? ;)