Santa sells in November everywhere
The view from our rooftop- Misti, an "active" volcano of 19,000 ft.
Sorry for no news in a while. I made a video tour of our host home and have been trying to upload it for a few days. No luck yet. Instead, I'll offer a few other thoughts:
There is another student now living in the room next to us. She is German but speaks Spanish well enough to communicate comfortably. For some reason, she keeps trying to speak German to us by accident. I think it's Tim's hair and height. Anyway, it's always a shock and a little bit confusing. It takes us a moment to determine whether she is speaking Spanish (she has a strong German accent in her Spanish too) that we don't understand or something entirely different.
Our first and second days of school were pretty fun! We started with 2 classes each, conversation and grammar. Tim is getting a little tired of conjugating stem-changing verbs but sees the benefit I think. My first grammar class was with a couple that was returning to the language school after a year for a review. We spent 90 minutes covering 11 questions about ser and estar. There is so much that I need to learn, but the pace definitely seemed slow to me. Fortunately, on day two, the principal told me that he thought I should drop that class. For now, I don't have a grammar class because there isn't a teacher available. Sooner or later I will start that again.
For now I am just in a conversation class (one on one), which has been AWESOME. We just spend the 90 minutes talking about Peruvian culture. It's an open invitation for me to ask all my random questions and find out more about what the heck is going on around me. Yesterday my teacher had me go out and buy two Peruvian novels, also, so maybe we will be reading those. I feel like I'm back in my college Spanish classes! I have asked for a second conversation class in the meantime (waiting for my grammar class), and I may soon begin with one on one pronunciation help also.
In our expeditions we have seen a lot of pirated material around here. DVDs and CDs are everywhere, and not just sold by street vendors. There are tons of permanent stores that just sell pirated stuff. I also discovered recently that half of the bookstores are "illegal." I bought Tim a Spanish-English dictionary for $2, but once he took a look at it, he noticed that it is missing a few pages. It also looks like the rest of the pages were photocopied or something. Yesterday when I bought my novels at a legal bookstore, they were more like $10-$20, which for a Peruvian would be outrageous. The bus costs $0.15, a taxi $1, so the gap is pretty huge. After thinking about it for a second, we decided that we need to stick to the legal stuff here. Besides supporting legitimate industry, we are also getting paid a decent wage in American dollars. We can afford to respect American laws.
Last note. I would love your prayers for spiritual renewal. It feels a little strange to ask for that, since I am here living out the dream God put in my heart, surrounded by precious, encouraging people who also want to put God first in their lives. Nonetheless, I kind of feel like these past weeks I've been living on the fumes of past friendship with God, not desperate as of yet, but approaching a problem. I am convinced that God has something new for me each day, that He wants to do a "new thing" here in Peru, even during this time in Arequipa. Pray that I would make myself available to fresh wind and fresh fire.