Monday, November 30, 2009

stop signs in mexico. .

are on the opposite side of the road. take note.

a bit of a background--i worked for two summers in Matamoros, MX for a missions organization called Adventures in Missions. it was your basic paid internship, helping to lead hundreds of youth and their leaders on week-long mission trips throughout the summer. i was 20 and 21 at the time, the oldest intern amongst our about 12-member team. that meant i was legally
allowed to drive the 15-passenger vans, toting the youth groups from site to site all throughout the long days. this wasn't exactly a job everyone was jumping up and down for. . traffic in mexico is pretty chaotic. not to mention the 'job sites' (construction, VBS, evangelism, etc) are all over the frickin city and my directions, quite literally, would be a hand-drawn map given to me that morning. yeah.

i loved this experience, let me add. and without it, i'm pretty sure i would be a lesser person. the friendships, the discipleship, the experience was one i pray my daughters have one day.

but the preparation to drive these big ol' vans full of youth groups in a foreign city was nill.

for example: i had a youth group packed into my van (affectionately called 'Big Bertha'),

(here is Big Bertha stuck on the interstate between Mexico and San Antonio, TX. it was 115 degrees out)

and we were on our way to their evangelism site. i came to what looked like a big intersection, but with no Stop sign at the usual place, i crossed the street and continued on. suddenly BLAM. we were T-boned on the left side. a youth leader told me later she instantly peed her pants. i think i did, too.

thankfully, no harm done to any youth persons. we were rescued by another AIM staffer who actually paid the guy who ran into us to go on his merry way. and he did. what i didn't realize at the time, was me being American, if the authorities had become involved, i could have landed myself in the local prison.

my parents would've loved that phone call.

anyways, i drove back to that intersection and sure enough, on the opposite side of the road and on the left-hand side, was my Stop sign. nice.

you can tell i had several run-ins with Big Bertha, as in me running into something with her. but she remained faithful to me, as her summer intern driver. i love you, Big Bertha.


Anonymous said...

I will say it again - the more I learn about you the more I understand you! Did you know I did two years in mexico too - mexico prison that is, not really - to the prison, but seriously about two summers in mexico. Maybe we passed each other on the road - maybe not! You would have been like 9 0r 10 - wait were you one of those poor village kids wondering the villages with your fly down and a dirty face with no shoes.... I'm remembering... get back withme on that!

Mandy said...

HI-larious. So, yesterday I drove in Acapulco. I have driven a little with the corner store... around a block here or there, but yesterday I DROVE. Like across the city. Terrifying.

jenny said...

michelle, there was a block of time i've forgotten. i would've been 9 or 10. . maybe, maybe. did that dirty kid you saw happen to be wearing a flannel shirt? cause yep. that woulda been yours truly. hm. always wondered about that.

mandy, congrats are in order. it is truly nerve-wracking. i think that's why i am a bit of a crazy driver today. i have no problem driving up on the curb to go around a slower vehicle in front of me. what's the problem with that?? once in mexico, i was doing just that & knocked my side mirror completely off. no turning back.