Monday, November 7, 2011

This is Catastrophic!

My friend Jonathon has had some neighbor problems over the years. Specifically, noisy neighbors...noisy drunken 3:30 in the morning.

When we moved to Korea, Jonathon had already been here for a couple of years. He lived in the second floor of his building, right next door to his landlords, an elderly couple who often made smelly soups and would deliver armfuls of greens from the garden directly to his door. Jonathon was very respectful and made it a point to keep quiet. The room in which he lived, was once upon a time attached to his landlord's apartment, and the door connecting the suites had been sealed...well, it had been covered up with a thin piece of plywood on both sides and wallpapered, anyway. 

His upstairs neighbors on the other hand, were neither respectful nor quiet. He went through quite a few, too. Every time a noisy neighbor would move out, we'd pray that the next neighbors would be a family of Japanese cranes with styrofoam feet. However, our prayers were met with a gentle "nah-ah" from on High, and another computer programmer with club-feet of iron, an apparent caffeine addiction and an affinity for techno remixes of Abba tunes would move in upstairs. 

After some time, Jonathon had the brilliant idea to request that when the room above his was next vacant, he himself could move up. It was quite a while after that initial request that it was actually able to happen, though. Somehow, two or three more DJs with insomnia were able to move in and out before Jonathon was able to move up. First our managers forgot...then there was the miscommunication...then the landlords forgot...

Eventually, Jonathon was able to move upstairs. However, he didn't tell us about it. We were going out of country and he didn't find out until the day before we left that they wanted to move him that next week.  So, he decided to keep it a secret from us. Instead he told our other friends Luke and Shelby what was going on after we had left, asking them if they'd help him make the move. 

Shelby's reaction was priceless. 
You can't script this kind of thing. 

You see, Shelby has a knack for using the wrong words from time to time, and when Jonathon told our friends the great news that he was going to get to move up to the third floor, Shelby's eyes got wide, she looked around from person to person and exclaimed "You guys! This is catastrophic!

Jonathon and Luke decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, but when she went on to describe what great news this was...not what a horrible calamity it was, they gently informed her that she had used a completely inappropriate word to describe this wonderful situation. 

In the end, though, after a couple more moves and a series of wonderful providences, Jonathon ended up leaving that building entirely and now lives in a glorious top-floor apartment, in a building that sits on the edge of a wooded hill. We now call his apartment Rivendell, and it truly is a kind of sanctuary in the woods. We love going to his house for home-baked bread and vanilla rooibos tea. 

This week, however, my dear friend Jonathon gave his resignation notice to our employer. After more than 5 years in South Korea, he will be moving back to Canada, seeking to follow the call God has placed on his life. He will be sorely missed by those of us who have been blessed enough to have had him as a part of our family over the years...

Truly, you guys, this is catastrophic. 


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