May is two days away and I can hardly believe it. Thursday morning Grace and I are going to sit down and talk through my goals for the coming month, and I'm looking forward to the beginning of something. I feel ready. They finished my bedroom and office today, so tonight Tim and I are going to move the furniture in, unpack a little, and get started on our lives here in Puerto Supe. By Thursday I intend to be in working order, at least to some degree. As Tim reminded me Sunday, it's been too long since we had a (real) job or home. Time for both.
As I remember last week and wonder where it went, I am distinctly aware of one thing: He carried me. I'm ready to give my testimony to anyone interested. It was hell and He carried me. I wish I could say it aloud so that you could here my tone, the intonation, the conviction and love and gratitude in my heart. He carried me. Maybe there was more purpose in last week than that one realization, but if not, I'll settle gladly with what I have. I'm glad to know in my heart of hearts that I can stand on the faithfulness of God. When the next wave comes, He'll carry me.
We've spent most of the day preparing for the worship service this evening. We learned 4 new songs, two of which are translations from English ("At the Cross" and "You are the Rock of My Salvation"). Kyle left today, so he won't be around to guide us through them. Let's hope we've got the melodies down.
Kyle will be in Pucallpa for a week and then traveling with his parents, who are visiting from the States. After that he will be back for a short but undefined period of time before moving to Pucallpa for the next year. Sierra is leaving this Saturday for an 8-day trip to the States. She is raising more support so that she can extend her 6 months in Peru to 9 months. All that to say that we are on our own a little right now. We will miss them. It feels sadder because we know that when they do come back, they won't be staying forever.
In other Peru news, the government just revoked the licenses of 64 NGOs, including the group that helps all missionaries get their visas. This is of course fairly problematic for new missionaries coming in to the country. We're relieved we just finished that process. The move was some sort of retaliation having to do with one particular NGO supporting a humanitarian/terrorist organization (MRTA). It sounds like it will be repealed, but first there will be a lot of griping and red tape. Oh my.
The cookies were a success, we had our first (impromptu) dinner party last night, and we both woke up this morning sick. Much to our relief, none of the other guests showed any symptoms. Must have been the cheese I snacked on before dinner. Our house is really not in a state that it is a comfortable place to be sick yet, but I managed to snuggle up on the couch with Ellie and we slept most of the day. Hope you're feeling better than me.
In an attempt to ease into cooking (and dish-washing) after our long hiatus, we've been trying some very simple things: stir fry, fried rice, pesto noodles, spaghetti. Our oven has 3 temperatures (low, medium, high) so we've been avoiding it. Tim has been looking for an oven thermometer, but no one seems to know what one is. Under Grace's encouragement, we decided today we'll buckle down and test the oven with a batch of cookies. I did a little research and have landed on carrot cake cookies since the carrots here are especially sweet and tasty. First I have to go to Barranca, the town next door, to pick up "queso filadelphia" (cream cheese). I'm super hopeful these will turn out and give us something to celebrate tonight!
I just read a comment on the previous post reminding me how beautiful my house is in comparison to the vast majority of the world population's living situations. Boy is that the truth, and one I forget so quickly. Everyone in town keeps commenting on my great house. I want to scream, "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!" But I don't want to trade for the world.
Monday night we had our worship service for the Christian Community. I was at my wit's end, but looking around, thought, "To whom here could I complain?" Houses are the least of their concerns. They're worried about how to pay for their son's heart operation, where they will find the money to get their power turned back on, what to do if they have to go another day without eating.
There are parts of the world a lot more impoverished than Puerto Supe. Parts of Peru, even. The poorest of Puerto Supe live in straw shacks, but in other parts of the world, even a straw shack is a luxury. There are people forced into poverty by circumstances and others, missionaries among them, who are choosing to follow the way of the cross, laying aside all their rights and possessions to serve and love the needy and unreached people in the world.
We woke up this morning not only to a heavy odor of fish (this is one of the few weeks the local fish factory is open) but also to some more house chaos-- sanding our newly laid parquet flooring and arguing with the carpenter about what in the closet was part of the plan and what is a mistake. We've been out and about all morning because you can't really breathe in the house (sawdust). Too bad all of our furniture and things are in there also, covered by a thick layer of dirt and grime.
I must add that for the last two days my abs have been aching. I think I've laughed too hard, too much, too long. It's about all I can do to make it through the day. Here are some of South America's Funniest (or most horrific) Home Renovation Photos.
Most of the house looked kind of like this pink room (minus the pink) when we moved in.
Interior patio. All windows and open spaces are barred in Peru for security. Not sure why they covered up these water pipes only halfway up the wall. Nor why the bottom half of the wall is wet. Related? Hmmm.
When we asked for sod, we were thinking of something a little different than this. More like lawn, less like little pieces of grass planted all around. The hole is for the grounding rod, covered up because Ellie fell in and got stuck a few days ago.
Bathroom. Yuck. They tried cleaning the floor, but this is the result. We might paint it. Oops. Looks like someone forgot to cover up the exposed wires in the shower! You might also notice the paint on the tiles. We paid for the walls to be painted and got the tiles painted for free!
Which one is worse: cement shelving ... or these gorgeous cabinet pieces? That's a tough one.
Here's the closet. Do those shelves look sturdy to you?
Besides the fact that there are some accidental cuts in some of them....
1. Home sweet home. 2. Our temporary bedroom, the only place of (sort of) sanity.
3 Our bedroom window doesn't have glass yet. 4. All of our most beloved possessions.
5. The office. 6. The back patio. 7. Living and dining rooms. 8. Our real bedroom (closet under construction).
9. Interior patio.
Hope to post some more later of our bathroom and "grass" (and we thought we had it rough in Charlotte). Tim says these photos don't do the disaster justice, so maybe I'll also post some photos of the most horrendous spots.
It's amazing how much can change in a day- not in my house, but in my heart at least. Tim realized yesterday that the guys working on our house just don't see all the things we see and think they are almost done. He decided that instead of pointing out the "details" (like the paint splattered all over the floor and doors or all the windows missing glass), he would just let them finish what they need to go and go on with their lives. From there, he's going to hire some guys to work with him on specific tasks.
Knowing the workers are leaving soon and without finishing (by my definition) has given my spirit a little permission to rest. Although the kitchen and bathroom have disgusting looking floors and holes and things all over the walls, we bit the bullet and put them into use. I'm relieved to have a hot shower and a space to cut mangos and brew coffee.
Bill Ogden and Bob Moyer, our top 2 bosses who work out of Fort Mill SC, arrived Monday and left at noon today. I'm so glad our arrival coincided with their visit. It was a good kick-off to have their encouragement, enthusiasm, wisdom, etc. Bob came over this morning with some advice on the cement ceiling caving in on our office (he's had one fall on him) and with a general gentleness that put my heart a little more at ease. I feel grateful to work under his authority and blessed by his leadership.
As far as team news, Kyle announced to the world yesterday that he is moving to Pucallpa (in the jungle of Peru) to teach at the SAM missionary kid school. We have known for a while I guess and are glad for him but not for us. With him leaving in a few weeks and Sierra in August, we're losing a good chunk of our friends, support system, and work team.
I know you are praying because the mountain-sized burdens on our hearts are lifting. We feel ourselves surviving by humor and prayer. If nothing else, I have seen the beautiful and frightening mystery of God these last few days. I don't understand why we're in this situation but I know that He does. We rest safe in His hands.
We had our first baptism today (for the Puerto Supe Christian Community) at midday in the ocean. I was, as usual, in tears. I haven't had a moment to go through the photos, but if you want to see the collection of them, you can look on my Picasa album.
We are desperate for your prayers. The last few days have been full of wild laughing and bitter weeping. Last night as I was going to bed, I just wanted something to hit to be honest. I never knew how hard this would be- so far not ministering in Puerto but just living here. I don't know what to say except that we need the Lord and need your prayers that we will survive this next month (hope the house "repairs" will be done by then).
I hope also that we will have time to call and write soon. For now, we're doing well to get a shower every day (at the Cubas' house, not ours).
The biggest adventure yet: living in a house 100% unfinished. There are no rooms that are done. The floors are still being laid, the carpenters are building a closet in my bedroom, and all of the walls need to be repainted (for a slim few examples). If you ask me, it doesn't look all the different than it did in December. I've found a room that won't be touched for a while (low priority) and put up my tent. The dogs and I are holed away trying to maintain a sense of humor and a touch of sanity. We are glad to be here I think, but I can't and wouldn't want to go into the details of what a disaster and a challenge this is. What do I do with all my complaints and frustrations?
A few days ago a Peruvian airplane had to make an emergency landing in Lima because a passenger was trying to force his way into the pilot's cabin. Turns out all he was going to do was read his manifesto over the sound system. I think I could write a manifesto myself, and I can empathize with his crazed obsession to have it heard and understood. I want to tell someone how totally ridiculous and horrible this is, but at the same time, I know complaining won't solve the problem. Deep down, I think I'm entitled to having things done the way I want (I'm tempted to say “in a reasonable way”), but the truth is that entitlement is a farce. If anything, all I'm really entitled to today is a little oxygen in my lungs.
When things are going this way at home (well I wouldn't quite say they were ever going exactly “this way,” but you know...) I used to treat myself to something special-- a long bath, a movie, baking a rich dessert. Where can I find a little space of enjoyment this afternoon? Beth Moore. My puppies, I suppose. Maybe we ought to take them down to the beach this afternoon.
Cesar just called to let us know that the truck that was coming to move all of our stuff to Puerto this morning is now coming Monday morning. Oh dear. I guess I'd better put the sheets back on the bed.
There's a little part in me that's tempted to throw a fit at this system that feels completely nuts to me, but after 5 months that part is (fortunately) shrinking day by day. My first thought was "WHAT?!?!?" My second thought, the one I vocalized, was "Yes, Lord." We'll take this as a blessing. There were a few little problems with moving in today after all, like the fact that they hadn't finished laying the parquet flooring, the closet system wasn't installed, we don't have a fridge yet, etc.
I think the housekeeper here at the SAM Guest House is a little miffed at the idea of having the yard overtaken with furniture for two more days. She has Tim on the phone right now calling other moving people. So maybe we'll have another update soon.
PS- That didn't take long. Tim found someone willing to come at 2 today. I'm not 100% certain this is actually going to happen, but I'm chuckling anyway. Another facet of the Peruvian "system": you can hire a moving van the day you want to move.
It's 8:09 and a powerful, beautiful morning already. We are moving today, and I woke up jittery with anxiety and excitement. After a nice hot shower, I went and sat outside on the pink velvet couch to do my Bible study. Mom and I are working our way through Beth Moore's Beloved Disciple. More on that later I bet. The puppies snuggled up beside me- one on each side- and I dove in.
This morning I studied Acts 3, where Peter and John heal a crippled man at the gate called Beautiful. Beth brought out some very meaningful observations that pierced me this morning.
Peter and John were on their way to the Temple that morning. Despite the fact that they were fresh followers of Jesus, it wouldn't have crossed their minds to drop their precious Jewish heritage. So often I want to "move past" my past, but while many things have changed (glory to God!), He gave me each one of those experiences for a reason. I want to be willing to embrace the experiences and lessons of my past as I move to minister in Puerto Supe.
Peter and John were not so busy getting to the Temple that they missed the beggar at the gate. There are so many beggars here, and pretty much everyone in Puerto Supe is in need. I want to be the kind of woman who sees each one and knows that her agenda is loving people, not advancing on the to-do list.
Peter and John gave what they had. I love the power in Acts 3:6-- "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!" There are a lot of things I'm not and many more things I don't have to give. It's about time I give up trying to be other people and minister in the gifts the Holy Spirit is manifesting in me.
After I finished my reading, all I could do was sit on that sofa and sing, eyes wide open looking up at a yucky cloudy sky. I know that the Lord was pleased with my song, even if no one else would have liked it very much.
When I came back inside, Tim was looking up Hillsong in Spanish on the computer. Last year, our friend Sarah D came back from Australia with this CD in English and we fell in love with it. We found out a few days ago that the same songs were released in Spanish, I think with the same singers actually. Tim found on YouTube a video of "Mighty to Save" in concert dubbed with the Spanish track. Before long, I was in tears. I can't really explain what happened, but somehow, I saw all these people genuinely (it seemed) happy in Jesus, offering Him their all, and I was touched. Beyond that, I was moved to hear that worship in Spanish. It evoked in me such desire to see that kind of worship break free in Puerto Supe, in Peru, in Latin America, all over the globe. What could be more precious than people caught up in powerful worship of God?
It brings me back to the breathtaking picture of heaven in Revelation 7:9-10-- "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'"
Oh Lord, you are worth every bit of our praise, our possessions, our lives. I can't wait to see that one day- people of all colors and cultures and languages captured by your beauty and telling you so. Would you show me here on earth a little glimpse of what that might look like? Would you use our offering to bring a few more people into that picture? Would you touch Puerto Supe and send an earthquake of life through it? Would you pour out living water on a dry desert? Show off your power and love, Lord, and let me be there to see it!You're all I want and need, my breath, my food, my life. Thank you for your great love and how it has taken my breath away.
Here's all of our house furniture. In the garden. In one fell swoop, we descended on the used furniture market today and for less than $900, bought the following:
1 beautiful pink velvet couch
1 dining room table and its 12 chairs
1 matching buffet
2 kitchen pieces (top/bottom cabinets with tile surface between)
1 sofa for the patio (no rain means you can put upholstered furniture outside)
1 small patio table
2 bedside tables
2 end tables
1 coffee table
1 extra wide bookshelf
In the process of unloading all this stuff from 4 trucks into the yard, Ellie almost died. We couldn't find her anywhere until she started whimpering and we noticed a little tail sticking out from under the new couch. Apparently she slipped under there when we lifted it up to take off the plastic. Good thing it had some space underneath. Oops.
We are still down a bed (queens are virtually impossible to find), which we hope to have commissioned in Puerto Supe. Until then, we'll be sleeping on our mattress on a rug. The only new thing we have so far (wrapped in the photo) is a couch and two big square footrest things that go with it. Tim is out right now picking up a refrigerator, stove, boxes for the loads of non-furniture stuff we have bought, and three more rugs.
It's been a busy day but a good one. Our home is paramount in our eyes, both for our own sanity and for the kind of ministry God has put on our hearts, a ministry of hospitality and invitation. We're so happy with the things we were able to buy and really believe that they will be a blessing to us and to others. Today I feel deeply grateful for all the people sacrificing financially so that we can have these things and be here to use them. I hope you know how dear you are to our hearts.
Have you ever seen something so pituca (posh) as a toy poodle on a pink velvet couch? Plus she got a new haircut by accident at the groomers and she looks far more poodle-y than we ever intended. Oh well. It's hair; it grows. Ellie is growing very quickly, although she is still smaller than Taza. She loves to sleep, particularly in our arms. She is adjusting far more quickly than we ever hoped. After 1 week, she seems happy to sleep and play outside, rough it up with Taza, explore the garden, etc. We had about 1 day of whining. Here is Taza's portrait with her look. We estimate we have no more than two weeks of photos with Ellie being smaller than Taza.
I'm pretty sure this is Ellie biting Taza, not snuggling up to her. Nonetheless pretty doggone cute.
The construction people are working overtime at our house and we hope it will be more or less done this weekend. Regardless, we are moving in Saturday morning!
I realized this morning that I never wrote about our visit a week and a half ago. Besides being short (24 hrs or so), it was fairly intense. Ten minutes into one conversation with a girl I have met once before, Vanessa started asking me for money for physical therapy. She is in a wheel chair and proceeded to explain to me a little of her history. I didn't understand all of what she said (loud music, soft voice, 2nd language) but picked up that she walked until she was 14 (now 19) and that her disability had something to do with hemorraging and TB at that age.
Round two was the next morning when Bea, another woman I know, asked if she could be my housekeeper. She was respectful and gentle in asking, but I know that she is desperate for some way to support her family. There will be many others interested in the job, in any job really, anything for a consistent paycheck. That paycheck will make a tremendous difference for one family over the next two years. I hope also that our relationship with that family will make a difference for them. How do I even begin to consider which person is the most needy or deserving or qualified or what the criteria would be? And what does that mean for the people I don't choose, who really have no local possibilities for a steady job?
What will my relationships look like in Puerto Supe if they are all based around people hoping I'll give them money? How will I ever have a friend? I guess it is obvious by now that I'm interested in helping in Puerto Supe, but I'd like to help in ways that stretch further than hand outs. I realized that evening that I need to come up with an answer to the money question pronto. As it turns out, there is one. A group from the Puerto Supe Christian Community (our churchish thing) meets weekly to choose individuals or families to support in specific ways. We intend to donate a monthly sum for them to distribute as they see fit. Is it a cop out? I'm not sure. Right now it feels like the right way to help.
Issue #2: health concerns. We found out the next morning that in addition to her TB, Vanessa has brain damage from a prolonged high fever when she was 6. All of the sudden her demeanor and personality made a lot more sense. The same night, Bea told me that her 2 year old was in the hospital and was very sick. He had a fever of 103.5 F for several days, but the hospital didn't really do anything about it. It seems like there is potential for another brain damage case here. The doctors told Bea that Jose had a virus in his blood. Is that even possible? Grace says the doctors don't think that people will understand, so they make things up to give as explanations. Furthermore, they gave her an expired antibiotic for him, and when she brought it back the next day, told her it was her fault for not checking when she got it.
The whole thing makes me angry in a way that I think could be just. The world should not be like this. Children shouldn't be getting brain damage from fevers, because people should be educated and willing to care for them. Doctors shouldn't be lying to patients and parents. The next question, of course, is what can I do about it? I don't have a clue. For now, I'll do what I know to do, love and pray for people one at a time.
It's been a little over a year now since I started "blogging" and four and a half months since I started updating on a mostly daily basis. I don't remember anymore why I started doing this, but it has in that time become a gift to me, a way to record, digest, ask questions, celebrate, mourn. I don't think I will ever write for a purpose beyond my own pleasure, but what pleasure I have found here....
I am continually baffled and delighted by the people who find this blog and the things they have to say.
This morning (in Spanish) I met this guy at the SAM Guest House where we are staying. When I returned this afternoon, he asked me, "Are you Hannah?" (remember that since I met him in Spanish, I was Ani in the morning). He was looking up something on the internet during the day and came across the blog.
A Peruvian (I think) stranger commented on a recent post about Lima, telling me to be very cautious here since it's so dangerous and that Miraflores is a nice safe part of town. Those things are probably both true, but they are also total proof in a hilarious way of everything I've been saying about how cautious (paranoid?) Peruvians are. I love it!
I recently got an email from an Australian stranger with some good reading suggestions.
People from over 72 countries and every state but Rhode Island have visited this blog. I say "over 72" because there are quite a few countries in the "neocounter" on the right side of the blog that aren't mentioned in the Google Analytics list. So I'm guessing Google isn't counting quite right. I pasted the map above from Google. Green and darker means someone from that country has landed on the blog at least once.
People get here the strangest ways. I have found links to my own blog on websites of people I don't know (and people I do know). 8 times people have gotten to my blog by searching "hannah murray naked." You will not find any nude photos on here, and I am not a British actress. Sorry. 3 people have gotten here looking for the Anne of Green Gables quote, "My life is a perfect graveyard of burried hopes...."
All said and done, there have been 9,071 hits since July 9, 2007 (and some more between March and July). Although I bet at least half have been me, my parents, and a handful of my closest friends.
Let me just say for the record that if I singled you out, I didn't mean it to embarrass you. Beyond loving writing for my own sake, I want to write as a means to encourage others to live and live to the full. I'd like to think that my "international fame" is touching that goal, so I'm glad for all my readers who happen to be strangers!
Today I had the lovely opportunity of traveling to Puerto Supe solo to see how our house is coming along, buy paint and make sure the basics would be ready by the time we arrive (hopefully Saturday). This was my first time going to and from Puerto in one day and it was a bit exhausting. I had an hour cab ride to the terminal and then a 4 hour bus ride to Puerto only to return a few hours later.
One tough aspect in Peru is being certain that you're being understood. It seems people love to use the word claro (of course) even when they have no clue what you said. You also find your self asking the same questions and getting responses such as of course and don't worry (no te preocupes) Example: question - Which color of paint would be better? answer - Of course, don't worry)
I was able to experience the result of such communication today. Last time Hannah and I were in Puerto, we asked the workers to remove the broken tile in a patio/hallway/kitchen area and to replace it with colored cement. When I arrived today I found that there was some obvious misconfusion. When Hannah told them to pull up all of the tile and put the concrete on top; they interpretted it not as pull up all of the tile, but rather the entire slab as well. So the workers spent the last week tearing apart about 150 sqft of concrete (about a fourth of which they had replaced recently) with chisels and sledgehammers only to pour new concrete slab. Lesson learned. NEVER leave any point of confusion when explaining home repairs.
Although I ran into many similar issues and points of confusion. I even made sure to write the names of the paint colors on the walls to help eliminate confusion there. Hopefully everything is arranged so that at the bare minimum, our main living space will be ready for us, but hey you never know.
The Bible says that God is "the one who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will" (Ephesians 1:11). It says also that his will is "good, pleasing and perfect" (Romans 12:2). Since I believe the Bible is true, those are important facts for me. Especially today.
Could it be true that he works everything out? Not necessarily in the way I expect or hope for, but in a way that is good, even perfect? Today I had a ridiculously over-the-top reaction to something that happened to me, and since Tim was in Puerto Supe all day, he wasn't here to take care of me. I remembered those verses and all of the sudden it didn't seem like an unfair coincidence that Tim was gone. I felt a peace that God knew and planned those events to coincide. And I knew that he would work it out the way he wanted, which isn't necessarily the easy way but must be the best way.
I know I often use Tim (and other things) as anethetics to my pain. I don't want to confront the way I'm feeling so I run from my emotions to something else. Today I didn't really have that option- no home to hide in, no husband to hide behind, no friends in this city of 10 million to go to for a hug or distraction. So I'm left feeling the hurt and searching my heart with the Lord. Surely he doesn't want me to stay forever with all these insecurities and twisted ways of understanding the world around me. He wants to draw out my impurities and wipe them away. I think he did a little of that today, and I'm grateful.
Last night around 7 we headed out to Sodimac (Home Depot) to pick up another slew of necessities. We filled up two carts with cheap ugly light fixtures, 25 light bulbs, an ironing board, blinds, etc. As we headed out the door at 9:20, we realized we were ferociously hungry from all our shopping (and because we hadn't eaten dinner yet). Tim suggested we roll our carts right into the TGI Friday's next door, so we gave it a shot. Success. The hostess guarded our things as we ate our first American meal since arriving in Peru November 1. The highlight was onion rings.
We spent most of the evening laughing, a common theme in the last week in particular and the last 5 months in general. We rolled out of Friday's with our two shopping carts and a balloon and patted ourselves on the back for making it through another of these brutal shopping trips. It's either laugh or cry. I feel like we've come to that point so many times since we've been here. We keep coming back to two reminders. One is Kyle Y's advice that the most essential ingredient to missionary success is a sense of humor. The other is the example of Buddy the Elf (played by Will Ferrell in Tim's favorite movie Elf). If you set out to enjoy everything and everyone you encounter in a big new foreign city, life is a lot more interesting and most situations bearable.
We visited a great vet today who gave us good news about both dogs. She thinks Taza is not anemic and that Ellie will be just fine despite the fact that she was ripped from her mother's breast at 3 weeks. Ellie did get a foam bath and some deworming medication, which is good since we saw some pretty gross creatures in her equally gross diarrhea today.
Ellie is spending much of her day whining, sometimes just because she is tired but can't go to sleep on her own very well. She needs a good armpit to snuggle up under. She is now 2 kilos (and a little underweight), which Taza just reached a week or two ago. She's not nearly as cute or sweet as Taza, but we'll give her the benefit of the doubt that she'll grow on us. In the meantime, Taza has not been dethroned.
We also bought a couch today and have a plan to get out of here on Saturday if our house is ready. We're pretty sure we don't want to move until then. As you can imagine, this transition will be stressful enough without sharing it with a construction crew for a few days (or a week? you never know). Our friend David is coming back into town (Lima) tomorrow, and we're looking forward to having him around in the evenings.
PS The 1 yr old Great Dane at the vet was scared of Ellie/Gollum.
As I walked up the stairs just now with one under each arm, I felt like the mom of twins. I won’t be carrying both for long, though. Our new puppy Ellie will be the size of a lab at 3 or 4 months and full grown will probably weigh 110 lbs. Right now she is 4 weeks old, which will come as a shock to any of you who know something about responsible dog breeding. We have done our research, considered the options (pet shop, backyard breeder or $1000 show dog), and have a plan for how to care for this little girl. She is weaned and wasn’t living with the mom anymore, so Taza is now in charge of teaching her the ropes. So far it’s a good match- they are having fun playing together, but Taza is also showing Ellie what is and isn’t allowed for dogs and Murrays. Tomorrow we hit the vet for deworming, vaccinations, and advice.
While the people who sold Ellie to us are far from professionals, they are a nice young Peruvian couple who love their dogs. They have two Mastiffs from a previous litter (full siblings to Ellie) and two Pekineses, so we got to see first hand that tiny and giant breeds can live together happily. They have recently started a Mastiff play club with their friends and were sad to hear we’ll be leaving so soon.
It’s amazing to see how different Taza and Ellie are. We got Taza at 6 weeks (she’s now 4 months), and I can barely imagine how small she must have been at 4. Ellie is already probably 2/3 the size of her. Taza loves to prance and run around. Ellie is a miniature beast with a tough bite and a solid body. Plus there is the age difference. It’s fascinating how much Taza has learned in the past 2.5 months, not just responding to commands but also familiarity with us and the way our lives work. I feel like I have a relationship with her, but so far all I see when I look at Ellie is Gollum with fur. Tim is thrilled with her. I’m a little weirded out (but nonetheless excited).
Here's what we have done since we got to Lima (Monday):
Bought all the junk you need for a house-- trashcans, a rolling pin, sheets, overhead lighting fixtures, etc. Really we bought it for a second time, because we have most of the same things in storage in Charlotte. Only this time we bought more or less the cheapest available of everything.
Trapsed around the city to find all available options for wood furniture. Today we landed on what I think is the best idea, to commission most of it from a carpinter.
Began working on obtaining our Peruvian ID cards.
Got a Neopolitan Mastiff puppy this afternoon- more on that later.
Seen some very ritzy parts of town (think SouthPark mall) and some very sketchy parts (the housekeeper here is mad we went).
Spent the better part of each day in taxis.
Here's what we haven't done yet:
Found any feasible options for sofas.
Responded to many phone calls or emails (sorry!).
Rested much. We are taking tomorrow "off" and really looking forward to it. Hopefully that will also give me a chance to update this blog with more thoughts about what's going on and also with some photos of the new puppy!
PS Happy Birthday to my dad (60) and to Jenny (26?)!
As you might have guessed from our absence, things are pretty crazy around here. We visited Puerto Supe Sunday and Monday and I think would have a lot of digesting to do (mentally) after the visit, except that we haven't had a moment to stop and think. Since Monday we have been in Lima getting things for the house and trying to get our ID cards. Since they put my Peruvian visa in my maiden name, things have been a little more complicated. The buying process has been a little frustrating since we are furnishing an entire house with the cheapest options available. The remodeling of our house continues to go well, although as anyone who has done it can attest, the price seems to keep rising inch by inch but through the roof.
This week has felt like a complete whirlwind. I'm not sure where our time has gone, except maybe taxi rides. It's amazing how big this city is. We covet your prayers for progress in this process and even more that we would be at peace.
After five months I'm now very comfortable speaking in Spanish. I still make plenty of errors but I usually can tell I'm saying something wrong and am able to correct myself or ask how to say it correctly. In addition to this, I now understand most anything someone may say to me.
Fortunately Spanish tends to have many similarities to English and I thought I'd share a few.
car = carro incredible = increible possible = posible hiking = trekking full = full stickers = stickers flash (for a camera) = flash
In addition to this, one of my new favorite things about the language is diminutives. The idea is to communicate something smaller/special/endearing and is also used for names (kind of like Timmy for Tim). This is generally done by adding a -ita/-ito/-cita/-cito to the end of a word. For example, a town is a pueblo and a little town is a pueblito and our house brother Pablo is often called Pablito.
The strange thing is people here will use diminutives for virtually anything and although it can be endearing, it also can get carried away, especially when they start using it for adjectives (the other day when I was getting my hair cut the guy said I'm going to be guapocito = little handsome). Here are some more examples:
Jesucito = sweet little Jesus Chiquitita = chica is little and I think chiquitita is itty bitty Cansadocito = little/poor tired thing Felicita = little happy thing Rubiocito = precious blond person Asustadocito = scared, but in a lovable sort of way Tacita = very small teacup or a fluffy prancing toy poodle
Tonight I found out there is an even another level of this, -ititititito. This means really itty bitty teenie weenie thing. I can now call Hannah "Anitititita" which would mean my really special precious tiny lovable wifey. If you have trouble saying it, just start with the first part, stutter a while and end with an a or o.
This time tomorrow we'll be flying over Arequipa on our way to Lima. In my last post I said I wasn't sad to be leaving, but I think I've changed my mind. Tonight we went to dinner with the family etc- Julio, Miriam, Daniela, Pablo, Diego, Saila, Abuelita, Melissa (cousin), German Miriam, and Joseph. Abuelita came later as a surprise, and for the first 5 minutes she was at the table, I was wiping tears out of my eyes. I know I will miss the light she brings into every room she enters. I realized too how I will miss the others and how I have appreciated the blessing they have been as we learned to live here over the last five months.
We will be in Puerto Supe for a few days without our computers and then back to Lima and blogging on Tuesday. Until then, keep us in your prayers. Transition is not my forte.
Tim and Pablo (our host brother) are at the bus station trying to get all of our junk sent off to Lima. Taza is downstairs trying to provoke the other dogs to play with her. My voice echoes off the walls in my room. It's feeling pretty empty and lonely up here. You'd think after all the leaving we've been doing I'd get better at it. It doesn't seem that way.
This leave strikes me as particularly difficult for a surprising reason. I am leaving a place where I don't really have deep friendships and going to another place I don't really have deep friendships. I do know people in both places, people I care about and who I think care about me, people I enjoy spending time with, but I when it comes to sharing hearts and lives, I'm batting pretty low. It reinforces the transience of all of this. When we left Charlotte, we left something significant behind. I felt the same way about leaving my work, leaving my family, even a little about leaving CIT (missionary training). This time I don't feel that in the same way, and the absence of sorrow makes me a little sorrowful.
Will Puerto Supe be different? Oh, I hope so, and I have high hopes that it will be. I believe 100% that God wants to craft of my missionary team not only coworkers but friends. And I believe also that He will give me unique and significant relationships with Peruvians that will be not only a place of ministry but also a place of mutual support and love. If and when we leave Puerto Supe, my hope (strangely enough) is that it will not be easy, that we will have relationships that make leaving painful.
Once again I'm looking at a stack of all my treasured possessions packed up in big black bags. It only took about 5 hours to pack, actually, and I feel a huge sense of relief having done that. I also feel much more clearly that we are really leaving. Because of the weight of all of our bags, we're sending them tomorrow as cargo on a bus and picking them up on Sunday when we arrive on a plane. At least that's what we hope will happen. Lima, here we come!
Sally (the boxer), Chovis (the dachsund) and Taza are providing us with more than a few smiles these days. This morning we took the three of them on a walk and then let them run around the park to play. Sally went running at a wall that was 1 ft or so on the approach but 5 ft down on the other side. She fumbled across the wall when she realized what she was getting herself into but managed to land on her feet. After a second of contemplating carrying her weight to the vet, Tim was glad to see her success. Before we could intervene, Chovis then ran straight after her and made quite a jump for a short little dog (also successfully). Taza didn't dare. Taza, by the way, is growing very quickly. She is of course still a pretty small dog (3 lbs?) but to us seems huge, heavy and tall. We left her with the family when we went to Lake Titicaca and came back to find that they had fed her a week's amount of food in 2 days. No wonder she's growing! Now that we're home, she's back to her normal routine- morning walks, ½ cup of food per day, crate time, naps on the bed while I work- and seems happy about it.
We've been researching dog breeds and available dogs in Lima for a guard dog for the house. While the need for a guard dog seemed a little questionable to me before, it's growing on me. I won't try to convince you, but I know I will feel safer leaving the house, safer at night, and safer when I'm home alone if I have a reliable guard dog. Nonetheless, I never dreamed before of owning what it now seems we will be adding to our family in a week or two: a Neapolitan Mastiff puppy!
We originally intended to get an adult dog, but since a Mastiff is the size of a boxer or so at 2 months, that eliminates the problem of waiting for its guard dog potential. By getting a puppy we think we will have a lot better chance of having a well-behaved dog- socialized and comfortable with other people and animals, trained in obedience, not coming to us with bad habits. From what we have read, the breed is peaceful and steady, doesn't bark, affectionate with family and anyone accepted by the family, has low energy, and is basically a fierce looking couch potato (with the ability to get up and protect you if needed). The down side is that they can be willful and need a strong leader. We're committed to the work.
We still need to talk over the idea with some US breeders or trainers, get some time with the dog, see how we and Taza get along with her, get her checked out at the vet, etc. but we're becoming more and more settled with this idea that seemed ridiculous and crazy at the beginning. And we're looking forward to a family photo with a toy poodle and a mastiff.