Well, it’s been a while… I didn’t even realize how long until I talked to Grandma Carol last night and she passed on the message that Amy is requesting an update. So Amy, this one’s for you. However… were you to sign up for facebook, you could see all my pictures, too! [They take twice as long to upload here as they do to facebook…]
What have I been doing since the 19th of October? That’s a great question. Let’s make a list of a few things I’ve been doing, as I know I will never remember everything.
.*. I joined a basketball team.
I’ve been playing for fun since I arrived here, once or twice a week with friends. Well, I have joined an actual City League of sorts. We had our first game on Wednesday. I played all but 2 minutes, I think. We won by 7 or so… We were up 15 or 20, then he put a few subs in and the other team started to come back, so we went back in. I also had a great group of friends who came to cheer my team on.
I must admit that although I still looooooooooooooove the games, practices just aren’t my favorite thing in the world. Therefore, though I missed nary a practice throughout my many years of playing… here… Here I’m not quite as desirous of dedicating my life to practice… Perhaps to the chagrin of my coach?
*.* English Classes
My roommate took her vacation for two weeks [to Portugal and Spain!], so I got to be in charge of English classes while she was gone. Not too difficult, but a little time consuming. Our English classes are in the form of Bible Studies. We listen to music for listening comprehension, and play games to reinforce what we learn. But they’re based on Scripture. We have read through Galatians and Ephesians since I got here in September, and lately have been studying the Psalms. Right now we’re trying to decide what series we’re going to do for my last few weeks here.
.*. A Visit to Puno
My wonderful friend Marta and I went to visit her family in Puno, a small city of about 100,000 on Lake Titicaca. It’s about a 5-6 hour bus ride from here in Arequipa. However, the bus was comfortable, and besides a little boredom, the trip wasn’t bad at all. We arrived in Puno to discover it had snowed during the night [we got there about 5:30 in the morning]. It wasn’t extremely cold, even with the snow. And when the sun came out it was deliciously warm and beautiful. However, about 5 pm all three days we were there it began to rain. It poured for hours. One day it even hailed. The evenings were quite chilly as well! The weather was very different than Arequipa.
Marta proved to be a wonderful tour guide, and had no problems acting like a tourist for a few days. We walked the city, ventured into tourist shops, took a tour out to the floating islands [called Los Uros], and even took a three hour boat ride to the Island of Taquile on Lake Titicaca, ate lunch there, and explored the Island. It was a great experience! While in Puno I got to know Marta’s brothers Rafael and Ricardo, and her parents as well. I visited one of Rafa’s English classes, stuffed my face at a Chifa Restaurant [Chinese] when we ordered waaaay too much food, tried Peruvian BBQ [yummo in my tummo!], visited Marta’s house-church, learned how to breathe in a super high altitude… it was a great time. Also, Marta made a rule that I could not speak in English the whole weekend [even though she and her brothers speak wonderful English]. A tiring, but very helpful, rule.
*.* El Hogar
I still go out the children’s home when I have time. There are about 40-45 children in the home, but I primarily work with the boys ages 5-10. I love the days when they don’t have homework, because they are the most adorable children when they get to do what they want! My heart has been divided once again. However, I will admit that when it’s time to do homework [which is usually why I go, to help with homework time] they turn into little devils. And I’m not exaggerating. All except Pepe, who is always smiling.
.*. Nursing School
Since coming to Peru I have had an interview by telephone with Wichita State for Nursing School. I have since found out that I’ve been accepted. Mom is being an amazing help in getting all my paperwork on… btw…. I need to get back on that.
*.* El Fantasmo De La Opera
La Universidad San Pablo put on “El Fantasmo De La Opera” last weekend in a theater downtown. I went with Marta, her mom and brother. Although I didn’t understand it all, I enjoyed it a lot. The music is amazing, and the actors/singers did a very good job.
.*. Jóvenes Group
While still trying to visit many churches to see what they’re like here, I’ve found a wonderful group of friends through Marta’s church. Sarah [my roommate] even mentioned today that I have a lot of friends for the amount of time that I’ve been here. It’s been wonderful to be so readily accepted as a complete stranger, who barely understood a word when she arrived. Thankfully now I can have conversations much more comfortably than when I got here.
*.* Spanish Classes
I’ve continued taking Spanish classes four days a week. Because of these I’m successfully learning grammar, and my comprehension has been greatly helped! Also, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am in speaking/understanding if it weren’t for patient friends who are willing to repeat themselves as many times as it takes for me to understand. I still struggle with talking on the phone… don’t like it at all. But every day gets better.
I am so thankful for technology for keeping in touch with my family. I feel like each of my brothers are going through incredible changes in their lives/doing amazing things right now. I hafta admit it’s hard not to be there with them, but at least I can keep up with what they’re doing.
I have about five weeks left here. At moments that seems like forever, yet at the same time not long enough. My prayer right now is that I can keep my whole self where I physically am [including my mental state] for my remaining time here. It’s hard not to think ahead as to the fact I’ll need a job [and fast!] when I get back, what am I going to do on my birthday and Thanksgiving being so far away from my family, what’s going to happen with nursing school since I’m going to miss all the meetings and will get stuck with whatever schedule is leftover [instead of getting to choose were I there], how my body’s going to react going straight from summer back to winter, what will I do with no health insurance in the States and H1N1 seeming to be hitting most everyone I know… so much to think about. Yet, so much going on here that I greatly desire to be wholly here.
Also, my continued desire is that I would make Jesus Christ my priority: always. It’s so easy to get busy and simply forget to make time for my precious Savior.
And that’s it for this moment… If you’re still reading, I’m impressed! I’ve added a lot of new photos to my album here on my blog, so feel free to check them out!
With love from Arequipa,