-“It’ll be good once you start work. Once you kinda get...uh…once, you know, you get into a…uh…”
-“Once I get into my groove?”
I was skyping with a fabulous friend and discussing how, as of Friday, August 12th, the official portion of language study would be over, and I’d be transitioning to my actual job [insert happy dance here]. I was talking about how it’d be nice to finally get started with the task that I came here to do. Sure, there’s still plenty of learning and training to be done, and I’m sure it’ll take a while yet before it’s completely comfortable. However, after a year filled with more change than the ’08 Obama campaign, I have begun to idealize anything stable, or at least anything with a longevity beyond two months. It feels a little like I’ve been living in a constant state of transition almost since the day I was offered this opportunity. The end of 2010 was spent largely with wrapping up things at work and beginning to prepare for this adventure. I started 2011 in Florida, moved to Virginia for training for two months, went back to Florida for a month, moved to Costa Rica for language school for 4 months which ended up being only two months, was moved to Peru on 4 days notice, went straight to a week long General Meeting out of town, came back to Lima and lived in a hotel for a while, restarted language study and have attempted to cram every verb tense of the Spanish language into a few weeks of study while setting up our apartment and learning the ins and outs of Lima life. Until now there has been something in the back of my mind saying, “Listen kid, don’t even bother getting comfy. You won’t be here that long, anyway.” So it’s nice to think that, for now, I can give myself permission to mentally unpack. And that’s what we were discussing, how it’ll be nice to be busy, have projects and goals, invest in relationships, and start to find my rhythm…my groove.
I laughed when I said it, “My new groove!” And that’s when I realized that I never have taken the time to explain the title of this blog. Hopefully you’re familiar with a quaint little film called The Emperor’s New Groove. If you are not, you’re missing out BIG time, so GO…NOW! Go watch it right this minute, I’ll wait….
You back? Ok, good. Excellent movie, right?! Yes, it has been one of my favorites from the first time I saw it. Funny plot, nice moral, and of course…LLAMAS. You can’t lose. To be honest, those caricatures of indigenous life here were some of the only things I knew about Peru when I accepted this job: Machu Picchu, Incas, Andes, llamas…the end. But thankfully The Emperor’s New Groove had given me such positive associations with Peru that it was easier to get excited about moving here when South America had never been high on my list of places to go. But even more than that, the movie has a lot to do with change.
In the film the elderly man in the beginning gets tossed out a window for throwing off the Emperor’s groove. Pacha asks what he means, “groove?” The old man replies:
“His groove! The rhythm in which he lives his life! His pattern of behavior!”
We all have a groove, a certain way we live from day to day. It’s our home, our food, our friends, our music, our activities, our T.V. shows, our sports, our stores, our relationships, the way we talk, the way we think, and a thousand and one other little things that are part of our typical life. I knew taking this opportunity and making this move would mean giving up all of that. It would mean starting from scratch and trying to make a new life in Peru. It would mean finding a new groove. And thus, my blog was named because I hope it is a bit of a chronicle of that new way of life. I want to share the new parts of my physical life that are shaped by living in a different culture doing a new job, but also the new parts of my life in Christ. No matter the outward changes that take place in our lives, the real “new groove” comes from the way God changes us on the inside. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away, and all things have become new.” I have been following Jesus for more than 15 years, but I’m still in the process of being molded and shaped to reflect more of Christ and less of me. I’m still learning to live in His new groove.