So far we haven't ventured outside of our apartment , but it's a great apartment, don't you think?! Our neighborhood looks like New York City but better. It's quiet, green, and full of hip-looking restaurants and fun clothing stores. There is so much we want to see and do in Buenos Aires, but we also have hopes of spending a good amount of time relaxing.
To create an opportunity for foreigners (regardless of language ability) to participate in the work of the Comunidad Cristiana in Puerto Supe.
To restore the historic Malecón and create an attractive area for to gather.
To improve the existing infrastructure for tourism.
Method: This project is designed for short terms teams of 20-40 people but can easily accommodate larger or smaller teams. Due to the simplicity of the work (mostly painting) the teams can consist of many age groups. Local participants will also be involved. We will run a local campaign for a month prior to the team’s arrival to encourage local participation. We will attempt to receive as much funding as possible from the city and push them to be as involved as we are; however it is likely that the majority of the funding will come from the short term teams themselves. This project has the opportunity for ongoing growth, as multiple teams could extend the work to additional houses/buildings in Puerto Central.
Work Details: 1. Patch and repair the lower wall, stairs and railing of the Malecón. 2. Repaint the Malecón. 3. Retile and repair the fountain. 4. Plant trees along the railing of the Malecón.
Puerto Supe Art Foundation
To provide opportunities for emerging contemporary artists, particularly university students, to create and display their work.
To increase interest and enthusiasm in the arts in Puerto Supe.
To raise awareness of Puerto Supe on a national level as a means to grow its tourism industry.
Method: We will hold multiple contests for university students to design, build and install contemporary public sculptures. Each contest will be open to students from universities across Peru at both the graduate and undergraduate level, with some open to all artists interested in participating. Participants will submit a proposal, resume, design, model and if possible the completed piece to be judged. A monetary prize will be given to the artist whose work is chosen to be manufactured and installed in Puerto Supe. The judging panel for each contest will include individuals within the local community and government, as well as professional artists and art educators.
In addition to public sculptures, we hope to provide a gallery space for paintings, small sculptures and other forms of emerging artwork. The process for choosing an artist’s work will involve a small panel, but the selection process will be less formal. Funding may be available to help the artist prepare and ship his or her work.
Dec 27 10 am- board bus for 4 hr ride to Lima Dec 27 2 pm- arrive in Lima and take taxi to Guest House Dec 27 10 pm- board combi for 10 min ride to Lima airport Dec 28 1:15 am- board airplane to Santiago Dec 28 7 am- change planes in Santiago Dec 28 9 am- arrive in Buenos Aires airport Dec 28 10 am- take taxi (1 hr) to other Buenos Aires airport Dec 28 12:30 pm- board airplane to Iguazu Dec 28 2 pm- arrive in Iguazu and take taxi (30 min) to hotel
It was hard work getting here, but we made it! In the process, we almost got robbed on the street (not an exaggeration), I left my wallet and cell phone in a taxi (and don't anticipate seeing either again), Tim took Ambien and was running into the walls meandering around the Santiago airport, Tim's luggage got lost (hoping to recover it today), and the chauffer sent by the Iguazu hotel to pick us up at the airport never showed up.
Some people call this bad luck. I am more likely to call it spiritual warfare. Tim in particularly really needs this vacation as an antidote to the culture shock he is experiencing. It is important to his state of mind and to our ministry that we have an opportunity to rest and "get away." John 10:10 says that the devil came to steal, kill, and destroy, but we have made a pact with God and each other that we will not let him steal our joy or our peace during this vacation.
We had a great time at the potluck talking to friends and watching all the precious children run around. There are only a few men involved in the Comunidad Cristiana right now, so when Tim got a chance today to chat with a 27-yr-old married guy (dad of the two angels to the right), we were both very encouraged. We said our goodbyes and are eager to learn our Spanish and get back.
Merry Christmas from Puerto Supe! On the 23rd we had the children’s pageant with the most authentic scenery I’ve seen yet for such an occasion- normal stuff around here that happens to fit just right for a Bethlehem scene. My favorites were the angels and the shepherds. Like all pageant angels and shepherds, they were mostly terrified I think. Afterward the angels flooded the manger to play with the Baby Jesus. I wish I had it on video. It was priceless.
In keeping with Peruvian tradition, we ate Christmas Eve dinner at midnight last night and didn’t make it back to our beds until 2 am. We spent all day preparing the meal. Tim and I contributed guacamole, salsa, a very lumpy cheese fondue, a Tollhouse pie, and a strawberry mango pie. I think I will go over the Cubas’s house soon to sneak some more pie for breakfast. The main dish was a massive hunk of roasted pork slaughtered Saturday by their housekeeper. It was amazing.
We had quite a crowd for dinner- from the left clockwise: Meche (Cesar’s sister visiting from Lima), Grace, Mama Rosa (Cubas mom), Cesar, Sierra, Amy (Sierra’s friend visiting from California), me, Tim, and Kyle. Kyle’s friend Melissa who is visiting from Argentina took the photo. I think Mama Rosa was the star of the show. She is just about as precious as our Areqiupan Abuelita, who is giving every grandmother in the world a run for her money.
Today is the Comunidad Cristiana’s Christmas potluck. We are bringing leftovers (shhhh). Tomorrow we leave for Lima to begin our Buenos Aires vacation. We have had a fabulous time here, learned a lot, and enjoyed getting to know our teammates better. We also decided on a home (the same one we posted a slideshow about a while ago). It looks better in real life than in photos and has great potential. Tim has already created a detailed and accurate drawing on the computer complete with furniture (who’s surprised?). You will notice that it is something like a bowling alley. This is pretty standard. People build on their entire lot here, so all the houses are connected somewhat like townhomes. So far the only problem is a flea infestation. Let’s hope we can get that taken care of before March/April.
It’s 4:25 and we’re sitting in our 2nd floor room reading and working on some things. I just heard some drums and trumpets and looked out the window to see what kind of strange parade was passing by. It was a funeral procession. It started with a herst (the only car- not carrying the casket, so I’m not sure what it was for), then a handful of people carrying flowers, and 6 men hoisting the casket on their shoulders. A band of drums, trumpets, and who knows what else followed, and a few hundred people marched behind. As we stood on the balcony of our room watching, I had the distinct sense that I was in an Isabel Allende novel. For how many hundreds of years have funeral processions looked like this? I think we are slowly becoming numb to these kinds of surreal experiences, so I’m trying to make note of them for later. Someday I know I will enjoy rereading all these bizarre stories.
1. The Alpha course. I am particularly interested right now in the ways we could work together with the Catholic Church to use the Alpha course in Puerto Supe. I still feel convinced that the Alpha course has huge potential in this town, and I expect to see many lives changed by God through this vehicle.
2. Knitting. For some time I have been thinking about knitting as an activity I may want to share here. Beyond giving people something fun and productive to do, I am interested in using it as a way to help the poor here. I would love to facilitate a program to knit blankets for the poorest of the town- something practical but also a gift of love and compassion.
3. Support group for families of addicts. Since we first heard about this town, I knew that real progress would not be made until we addressed the problem of addiction that is spreading like a virus through the families of Puerto Supe. I also know that I don’t know much about ministering to addicts. In conversations this week, I am beginning to see that one of the ways that I can (maybe) make a significant difference is by facilitating a support group for families of addicts. I intend to do some research into Celebration Recovery and Al-Anon over the next few months in preparation. I am excited about finding a place to address this pervasive and debilitating disease in Puerto Supe.
Today we followed a friend to a Posada. It’s a big deal in Mexico, some kind of re-enactment of Mary and Joseph looking for room in Bethlehem. Here it was fairly different. Something like 250 children gathered on a basketball court and circled (well, squared really) around a group of young people who led them in summer camp- ish songs with accompanying dances. Afterward all the children received a cup of hot chocolate and a piece of sweet bread. 200 children also received gifts that had been donated- little balls, Barbi dolls, plastic pots and pans, toy cars. The expressions on the children’s faces were precious.
Afterward we met the Catholic priest, Jorge, who was very gracious and seemed eager to tell us about the work he is doing with the poor here. We took the leftover bread to some of the poorer families of the town- living in straw homes without water or electricity. It was exciting to see the young people that were working with Jorge—Peruvians helping Peruvians, reaching out with compassion to their own people. One of our goals is to take what is already working and multiply it, so we have our eyes open for good ideas.
We are enjoying our time in Puerto Supe and keeping good notes of the needs, the passions, and the ideas of the people. We are doing some significant scheming and will be sure to share soon.
I look like I’m 16 and feel like I’m 36. 26 is a strange age here. In Arequipa, it seems to mean you’re living with your family, maybe looking for a job, still in a role somewhat like when you were a teenager. It has some of those same elements in Puerto Supe except that I think most 26 yr olds also have at least 2 children, probably school aged. I guess one reason there aren’t “young professionals” here is that there aren’t professionals. Grace said last night that she doesn’t think there are really any middle class working people here. You are considered well off if you have a job.
So where do we land in this culture? I think the most natural role according to the nationals is that we are something like Grace and Cesar’s children. That doesn’t feel natural to me and even less to Tim. How do we adjust to the culture and still maintain some remnant of healthy personal boundaries? Will it be possible to hold on to the tail of our American value of independence? To me independence is the healthier option, but I am also convinced that letting go of “my way” and accepting the traditions of this culture will make my life a lot easier and my ministry much more effective. Independence is definitely not a cultural value in Peru.
Will we be accepted by “grown ups”? I suppose in a way this would be easier if we had children. It would establish our life stage more clearly, and we wouldn’t be such an anomaly. Ironic since one of the reasons we don’t have children at this point is that we always anticipated that this 2 year “ministry tour” would be easier and more effective without them.
Pray that I will be open to the work the Lord has for me and not so stuck on my idea of what I’m here to do. Pray that I will eagerly accept the friendships he puts in my way and not insist on ministering to a certain type of person (who doesn’t exist here). I am convinced that we are here by the specific call and will of God, and I want to walk into the purposes for which He brought us here.
I called 11 hotels (all the ones listed in Frommers and Fodors) before I found somewhere that had an available room near the Iguazu Falls Dec. 29. I was definitely getting nervous. I think the crowds have to do with New Year's Eve. All of this was in Spanish and on our Skype line that sometimes cuts off in the middle of the phone conversation, so it was doubly exciting to finally get a room.
We got our language school bill today (by Tim's request, not their initiative) and were then asked to pay it... today... in cash.... Too bad we can't get that much money out of the ATM in a day and there is no such thing as talking to the tellers about it. I spent 45 minutes on the phone with Fidelity before coming to the conclusion that the only option was to tell the secretary that we couldn't pay the bill until January. Oh well.
I got a permanent retainer put on my bottom teeth this afternoon. My host dad (a dentist) called his friend Monday afternoon. Today at 4:30, the whole thing was done for $81.70. It was supposed to be $83.30, but I only had $81.70 on me and when I told the orthodontist I was waiting for Tim to show up with the difference, he gave me a discount "because we're friends." Friendship goes a long way here. Even farther than $1.60 really.
And the day isn't over yet. I'm sure we'll have more adventures in the airport. Fortunately my Spanish is getting good enough that I can handle most of them.
Here's the messenger bag I made. Sewing continues to be fun, except that I learned in the process of my classes that I don't like being corrected and I don't mind making mistakes. I am remembering now my first few scarves that got progressively wider as they got longer. Oops.
I also just finished a largish blanket out of Blue Sky Cotton ($1 per skein here instead of $9). It was a lot of fun to knit- super soft. The packaging on the yarn says, "Wrap yourself in a cloud of comfort." I think they got it right. I'm hoping to make some baby blankets out of the same yarn in the future. Let me know if you're pregnant!
Tim also has been painting away, but we decided not to put photos of his work on the blog. Since the only classes available for him were figure painting and figure drawing, they're all nudes. He managed to pawn one of them off on a European urologist missionary. Not sure what we'll do with the others.
This evening we leave for Christmas vacations: Dec 20-26 in Puerto Supe and Dec 27- Jan 8 in Buenos Aires. Please pray for our time away, specifically in Puerto Supe. My #1 prayer is that we will begin to develop friendships with the people there. We will also be looking for a house to live in. Please pray for our time with our teammates to be a blessing to us and to them, and pray that we will have a sense of peace, comfort, and purpose in Puerto Supe, that we will be aware that we are in Puerto Supe with God, doing His work.
While checking out this hotel for my mom's visit in January, I had a funny encounter with a Peruvian guy. He was showing me around the hotel and asking me what I did here. When I explained that I was a missionary, he asked if I were Jesuit. I said I was a Protestant (rather rare here). A little while later, he looked at me furtively and whispered (in Spanish), "Do you believe in God?" Why yes I do! Then, again barely audibly, "Which God do you believe in?" I was baffled. It was surprising, funny, sweet, and strange at the same time.
I told the story to my host family yesterday to get their input. They suggested that maybe he was trying to discern whether I was Mormon or Jehovah's Witness. And as far as the whispering goes, he could have been embarrassed to be discussing faith matters. The macho culture here takes some interesting turns.
Tim and I took some photos today so that we could have a record of all the fruits and vegetables available here and learn their names, especially those that I have never seen outside of Peru. If you want to see the album for some reason, click here.
In our journeys, Tim also discovered a nearly perfect typewriter. His former Christmas list has now been reduced to this one photo (well, two, because I think you ought to see what the store looked like, too). It's a Remington Portable from the 1920s and in great shape. $50
Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead has been on my list for at least six months, but between CIT and the crazy Peruvian literature I’ve been reading, it’s stayed exactly there- on my list. I started it this week, however, with the hopes of rediscovering my favorite way to relax. So far it’s everything I hoped it would be. I’m glad to have something fun to do on my combi rides. Not only fun, really, but provokingly interesting as well. Take this quote, for instance, that I came across in the first chapters of the book.
Men hate passion, any great passion. Henry Cameron made a mistake: he loved his work. That was why he fought. That was why he lost.
Ayn Rand is unashamedly opinionated in a beautiful way. Being a woman of deep passions, I found this quote particularly relevant. But do I agree with it? I’m not sure yet. It is true that some men hate passion. They don’t want to see people who believe something fiercely or love something with a zealous craze. It’s intimidating I guess, and it makes them think, something many people don’t have any interest in doing.
There are others, however, who want to do just that and for whom passion is an attractive alternative to the doldrums of the suburbs. There are men and women from every nation of the world who live passionately and others who are yet searching for an object or cause worthy of their passions. No, I don’t think I’m going to lose this fight-- for a number of reasons, not least of which is that a desire to live passionately is written into our very souls and can only be stopped by an ongoing anesthetizing overdose of materialism, mundane work, and success. I for one intend to forgo the anesthesia, live boldly, and invite all the seekers I encounter to join in a life worth living.
Despite all my best intentions, yesterday was the same as the rest of the days in the past week- busy and frustrating. I think it made it worse that I was consciously aiming for something different. Why is it that my will power isn't enough to give me the life I want?
Ironically, this morning I finished my week study on joy in Living Beyond Yourself. Ironically and beautifully, really, because despite the reality I am experiencing, this week more than ever, I needed to remember that there is another option out there: JOY! I think it finally sunk in this morning that joy just isn't something I can drum up on my own AND YET it's an option for me. Joy is ingrained in the nature of God, flowing out from His person, and available to me through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Could it really be true that there is a power of joy out there beyond my own will power?
Today I am praying and expectantly waiting for something new- for the power to live beyond myself, to live above these circumstances, to live in the joy for which I was destined. Instead of working for a sense of peace (there's some more irony for you), I am receiving it. He has more than enough of all I need.
Holy Spirit, fill me with joy...
as I remember the way you have saved me and continue to save me from everything less than you want for me
as I find your person, power, and plan in all circumstances
Lately I have been hounded by cabs. I believe they think I always want to go somewhere. I can literally step out of one cab and have another cab pull up right behind it and ask me if I need a ride. In addition to this, I've been walking to the language institute from my art classes and for the entire 20 minute walk I have taxis stopping next to me, honking their horn or whistling at me. You would think I was a model in a mini skirt.
On another transportation topic, here is what is required to book a flight in South America:
First, make one reservation on traficoperu.com, which won't actually mean anything. You won't lose money, but you'll lose some time thinking you had a reservation when you didn't.
Now that you've lost 4 days, the prices have skyrocketed and you'll have to change your travel dates to get a reasonable rate.
Make 3 trips to different travel agencies (I've never been to one before, but apparently that's all that the people here use. In the end I discovered I'm much better at finding cheaper fares in less time.)
Make sense of totally incomprehensible emails (Apparently they use a special form of English at airline offices here.)
Take one hour to make 5 phone calls to 2 different countries, as follows:
Call reservations (press #4), who will say you should have pressed #6 on the menu to speak to website customer service. They'll be unable to transfer you and will tell you that the prices you found earlier on the website are only available to people located in Peru (which I am, and furthermore, the website didn't mention this.)
Call again and press #6. They'll tell you that you need to change the website to Spanish. Go ahead and try it. It won't make any difference.
Call #6 again. They'll tell you the flight doesn't exist and to please call reservations to book a flight. Note: When you ask for a supervisor, there won't be one. They will, however, give you an in-depth explanation of how the company works (punch cards, etc.)
Call #4 to try to reserve your flight. They will quote you double the price and then say that you have to call the Peruvian customer service to book the flight.
Call 3 different Peruvian numbers before finally connecting to an agent and buying the tickets. The first two numbers will be fairly problematic because the only thing you will be able to do is press 1 for Spanish or 2 for English. No matter what your answer is, you'll be directed back to the same language question (over, and over, and over....)
In the end we ended up getting our tickets but paid about 60% more than we were hoping. At least now I know what to expect. We still needed to book two more tickets (to Lima, and Iguazu Falls in Argentina) and I was able to get one today after a little less hassle, but I still have one more to go.
On a bit of a lighter note, if you look at the picture you can tell one of my ears is messed up; however I can't determine if one is squished or the other is sticking out.
With Tim in class from 8-4 and me only from 12:10-1:45, I find it hard to say I’m overwhelmed. Nonetheless, somehow I have felt so hurried and busy for the last week. It’s not that I don’t have time to do the things I want to do. It’s more that I have too many different things going on. My mind feels out of control, like I’m trying to juggle fourteen oranges without dropping any. Maybe it’s time to make juice instead.
Last night I tried to explain to Tim what is going on in that brain of mine. He said his initial thought was “Get over it,” but he ventured outside that to entertain some new ideas (look at what 4 years of marriage yields!). He listened to my somewhat silly but also very long list of all the things occupying my energy and gave some helpful feedback.
It’s a busyness of good things, but I know there is more to life than running from one “good thing” to another. Jesus said he came to give life and life to the full (John 10:10). I’d rather have life to the full than a full life. Pray that I would have the wisdom and discernment to sort through all these “good things” and find something better.
PS- Have you ever really loved a shower? I just took my first hot (not warm, hot!) shower today since leaving the US Nov. 1. I even had to use the cold water. It was scrumptious!
Last week we received our first batch of mail. It included some cards from the children at my mom's church. One of the most interesting aspects is that half of them included pictures of Sponge Bob. Here's a sampling of them:
Last week I started sewing classes with a super sweet woman named Norma. She has an old Singer that folds up into a table and is operated with a pedal. It's pretty awesome. Anyway, yesterday we went to the market to buy some fabric. I couldn't pass up a strawberry banana juice on the way. Juice is a huge deal here. They make it all fresh and it's somewhere between our version of juice and a smoothie. There are a million kinds of exciting fruits here, so that adds to the glory.
In my first two sewing classes, I made placemats and napkins (Peruvian-size napkins that are something like a fourth of the size I think they should be). I picked this fabric because it was so Lilly Pulitzer. Then realized I already have some actual Lilly Pulitzer placemats and napkins that look remarkably similar (in storage in Charlotte). At least we know my taste is consistent.
My new project is to make a messenger bag. I picked out the material yesterday- a blue pattern for the lining and flap and brown corduroy for the body of the bag. We'll see how it turns out. So far this is a fun hobby.
PS I just watched Abuelita talking to the dogs and feeding them cookies. I don't think she knew I could see all this. She is a TOTAL riot and everything best that you could imagine in a sweet little grandma. Here's a photo I took of her recently.
As it turned out, The Golden Compass was dubbed in Spanish (with no subtitles). I was pleasantly surprised to find that I pretty much understood the whole movie. Between what he understood, the visual helps, and periodic updates from me, Tim seemed to get along okay, too. All things considered, it was a fun experience.
I went back for my second manicure yesterday. The owner of the shop came over to chat. She asked me if I am Mormon or Evangelical (I guess those are the two types of missionaries around here). I asked her if she is Catholic (affirmative). We got into a conversation about the similarities and differences between our faiths, and somehow she started telling me that the problem with Evangelicals in this country is that some of them (pastors in particular) are people without principles. From there, she told me that the Evangelical church would be better if it didn’t just invite in any kind of person, if we were more careful to only spend time with good people from good families. Wow. While agreeing with her that perhaps the churches need to be more selective when it comes to leadership, I also told her that I think it’s pretty darn hard to be a good person apart from the power of God. I told her a little about me, that before getting to know God, I felt absolutely unable to be the good person I (half-way) wanted to be.
Oh, there is so much more to say in response to her suggestion. For now, I felt a prompting within to leave our conversation at a somewhat impersonal level with only subtle disagreements regarding her advice. I look forward to continuing our conversation next week.
Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Timothy 1:13
1. Tim is currently typing a letter on his ancient manual typewriter again and is thoroughly enjoying himself.
2. The subject of hot showers came up at breakfast this morning, and Julio (our host dad) was shocked to find that we don't have them. Apparently what we're getting is not normal, and because the rest of the family's showers operate off a different hot water heater, they didn't have any idea regarding the torture we have been facing. Someone is coming to look into it today. I still am not fully convinced that anything will change, but it's looking up.
3. Joni finishes school Monday (summer break begins) and we are planning on starting our Bible studies after that. She seems excited. In general, I have gotten to spend a fair amount of time with her recently, and I'm enjoying her company.
4. The Golden Compass came out in our local theater today, and since this is Tim's easy day (only one Spanish class instead of art plus two Spanish classes), we're going to see it. Our first movie in Peru! I think it is even in English with subtitles (instead of dubbed). The cost is equivalent to $3.50, which is ludicrious here but compared to Charlotte seems like a real bargain!
5. Tim lost his check card a few weeks ago and we got new "emergency" check cards from Visa yesterday. They are solid gold (color obviously, not metal) and have no designs on them. They say "Visa Gold Check Card" in plain black type on the top. We are very skeptical that any store will ever accept them, but hopefully the banks will let us get cash out now. There aren't that many places that accept cards anyway.
6. I think South America is in a summer cold spell right now, although it never gets all that hot or cold in our particular town. It's 55 F right now (9 am). It will probably be 65 F by mid afternoon, but I think that may be 10 degrees below average.
7.. Dec. 7. Pearl Harbor Day. The birthday of two of my cousins. We've been in language school one month exactly and in Peru 5 weeks. In two more weeks, we will be leaving for Christmas vacations in Puerto Supe and then in Buenos Aires. I can't believe how quickly time is passing! And still it feels so normal to be here.
Tim hopped on the baking train and made "American biscuits" this morning (as opposed to "British biscuits" which are cookies). No one around her knew what they were, so Tim thought he ought to educate them.
The recipe called for either buttermilk or heavy cream. There was no buttermilk, and the heavy cream was 5 times the cost of the milk. Martha Stewart says you can mix milk with vinager to make buttermilk, so he gave that a shot. What we got were fluffy, rich, and super acidic biscuits. I kept thinking they had to be delicious, but after eating two, I threw in the towel. Might as well throw these out. They're inedible.
After seeing them, our host brother Pablo said he actually did recognize them. He (and his brother Diego) worked in the US one summer (our winter). Pablo worked at McDonald's, so he knows all about biscuits. The whole idea of Pablo working at McDonald's in Portland, ME during the winter is a little absurd to me. He went with a work program for Hispanic students. Pablo speaks English and certainly could have found better employment, but this program was basically the only way he could get a visa to visit the US. To him, it was a great opportunity for a cultural experience.
Allow me one political digression today. What in the world is the US, a country of immigrants, doing in saying that no one from Central or South America can come even to visit? Apparently here you pay about $300 to get to the point in the process where they tell you that you are not welcome. That amount of money is about 2 months' salary for the majority of working people here. As the Peruvian saying goes, "La vaca se ha olvidado que fue ternera" (The cow has forgotten that it was a a calf).
Yesterday we made hot chocolate and these tasty chocolate chunk gingerbread cookies. None of the family had ever heard of using ginger in something sweet, so they were a little skeptical. I think I won them over in the end. Of course, I couldn't actually get all the things I needed at the grocery store. No luck on cocoa powder (substituted hot chocolate mix), molasses (used some kind of dark honey mixed with spices), or brown sugar (raw sugar plus extra honey stuff). They turned out tasty but don't like much like the photo. Oh well.
1. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa. 2.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
to have a conversation for for 3 minutes with out having look up a dozen words
an incandescent light bulb
Ulead VideoStudio 11
a burger that isn't served with a fried egg
to talk to someone in spanish without getting or giving the blank stare meaning "are you speaking esperanto?"
handmade peruvian guitar (only I don't know how to determine a quality classical guitar)
to sit in a chair with a back taller than 6 inches
to figure out which combi actually goes to the center
I decided to list a few things that I miss or would like to improve in prior to Christmas and if you have any pointers in pronouncing long words with a lot of the same sounds, give me a hand (Megan I'm looking to you on this). I believe most of these issues could be addressed once my language is better (i.e. I could ask someone where to buy a incandescent light bulb and then understand their response).
Last night we had an impromptu Christmas sing-a-long (Tim on guitar, me on violin, and 5 voices). It was kind of fun singing carols with people from four different ethnic groups and native languages. Joni (far left) is Quechua; Julio, Abuelita and Miriam are Spanish Peruvian; Anarosa (far right) is German; Tim and I obviously are American. I was also happy to be able to offer my violin in some way, and I think they were glad to receive it.
My favorite part of the video (and maybe of living in this house) is Abuelita. I think she is 81, and her hearing is a little weak. I told her she could only come to the sing-a-long if she promised to smile. Not hard for her, since I think she spends half the day laughing. Anyway, notice that Julio keeps singing into her ear. That's so that she will know where we are and what key we're in.
Joni is from a Catholic family and didn't know any of the carols. We talked some after the sing-a-long about God and what it is like being around all these crazy evangelical Christians. She said she likes to read the Bible but often forgets what she reads. She also mentioned that she loves to read the stories about Jesus, especially his birth and death. We decided that during this Christmas season we will read them together. I am so thrilled to be able to share this season with her. Her heart is eager and sincere like a child. My prayer is that we will be a blessing and a gift to one another while I am here in Arequipa.
It's Christmas season here and across the world. I guess what makes it surprising to me is that it's summer, here at least. And since we moved November 1 from NC, it's been warm for us since April or May (and will be for a long time more).
Yesterday afternoon we had the opportunity to practice with our church's worship team of fun young folks. We learned some new songs, including a handful of Christmas ones. Some of the Christmas songs are the same as our carols (with translated lyrics), but we learned a new one by Marcos Witt. He is one of the top Spanish-language worship leaders and has been putting out music for a long time. We bought one of his two Christmas albums on iTunes last night. If you're interested, you can hear a clip from the song we learned by clicking here. His music has a definite Latin flavor to it, which I am beginning to love but Tim is still resisting. If you don't come at it with an open mind, it tends to register as cheesy I think.
When we came home last night, everyone was in the living room finishing up the Christmas decorations, including a tree! There are no live Christmas trees here, but plenty of people have plastic ones. At church this morning, we lit an Advent candle and sang two Christmas carols- Joy to the World and O Thou Joyful Day (both in Spanish of course). The table is set with Christmas placemats, and Saga Falabella (our department store) is packed.
When I got home, I stuck a few photos from home on our mirror:
making cookies when I was 8
opening stockings with my little brother on the steps
my very first stocking with my mom and me at 6 months
our Christmas tree from my high school years
my grandmother sitting by the Christmas tree at her house
the buffet at the house of my grandmother's former housekeeper, Blumer (we were invited every Christmas afternoon)