22 October, 2010

Thift shop - not just a big garage sale

CAJ's biannual Thrift Shop is much more than a fundraiser. It is a school community get-together. A festival where the wider community of the school gets together.

Here are some snapshots of people I met today and interactions I had as I shopped, snacked and worked at one of the cash registers.

Two home-schooling mums talked to me in passing about doing an OT assessment their children.

In the electrical section I ran into the editor of Japan Harvest magazine, who I'll be working with. He's just returned from home assignment. We quickly caught up and he plans to email me soon for a longer catch-up and to start planning the next edition.

I worked across from another mum from my middle son's class. It was the first time we'd met.

I met a lady whose been a missionary in Japan for many years. She's recently returned after a break of four years. She effused about a trip to far north Queensland that she made nine years ago.

I worked with the mum of a graduate from last year. She laughed as my 5 y.o. came to hang out with me and charmed everyone with his grin.

My husband and I had morning tea with one of the missionaries from our mission (to be our regional director from mid next year).

On a break from the check-out I chatted with a couple with whom we have a multifaceted relationship. They are fellow missionaries with OMF. His wife is acting head of middle school, our eldest got sent to her office this week after misbehaving in class. A couple of years ago she taught with my husband. I invited them over to dinner in a few weeks time.

I served the elementary principal. The headmaster's wife. My son's music teacher. The first grade teacher.

I joked with one of the leaders of the youth group my 11 y.o. attends. And laughed as a friend tried to buy baby clothes for a friend ("They're not for you?").

I massaged the shoulders of a friend. Prayed and grieved with the mother of a friend of my son's.

Phew. What a day. An extrovert's day out!

But now I just want to curl up somewhere and not interact. For tomorrow I'll do it again, but with a difference. Tomorrow the rest of the community comes. Today, only PTA members were allowed to shop (this means that the school has a wider-than-usual PTA membership, as many missionaries who aren't attached to the school are members, just so they can shop at Thrift Shop).

Tomorrow we'll speak a lot more in Japanese. It will be more business-like and less joking around. More concern about security (people love to get away with not paying) and less networking. The joy of tomorrow is that we can serve our local community. And our prayer is that they'll read the tracts they'll receive in their bags. That they'll come back at Christmas and hear why we call ourselves the Christian Academy.

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