Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vacation Begins in Trujillo

        I am in Trujillo for 3 weeks on vacation from language school. You are probably thinking that is a little excessive and why do I need 3 weeks of vacation? That is what I thought as well but God worked it out perfectly for me to have some rest, fellowship, and reminder of why I am spending the time in language school to learn Spanish for 3 months. 
       Peru's Independence Day is July 28 and all the schools here get an automatic 2 weeks off of school. I didn't know this until a few weeks ago but when I found out I thought I would take advantage and make a trip to Trujillo to be with my team. I then found out my church in Greenville, SC would be coming to Trujillo the week after my vacation ended so I worked it out with my school to stay a week longer in Trujillo and stay a week longer in Arequipa in September. 
        My first week in Trujillo was an awesome week but a whirlwind of activity! I got the privilege of working the whole week with a medical team from Trinity Pres in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We had 4 days of clinics in different neighborhoods that have limited to no medical care. There were 4 doctors,1 peruvian nurse from our clinic here, me, and the rest of the team who handled the waiting kids, pharmacy, and organization of people. 
Dr Lovely, Brooke, Maggie, and Andrew running the pharmacy
       It was a great time for me to put my Spanish to work as a Peruvian nurse and I a were the only ones to do triage for the patients. I definitely had moments where I didn't know words and needed some help but God helped me through. It was encouraging to be able to put some scrubs on again and do some medical work again as well! 
Me, Dennys, and Meliza 
     The week ended with a relaxing day of olympics on Saturday and then church on Sunday with a missionary hymn sing and prayer time Sunday night. :-)
     This week is half work/ half play. I took over the lease of an apartment the girl interns used to live in here in Trujillo. It has been vacant for a month or 2 and has gather some dust so I'm working on cleaning it up some this week. I also am doing some normal everyday stuff this week too like paying bills, team meetings, doing my homework for school, and catching up on blogging. I am also getting to spend one on one time with fellow missionary families and friends here in Trujillo. 
     So thankful that God know's exactly what I need (like a vacation to rejuvenate me to finish school) even when I didn't know! 
      Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
The whole team with the Mayor in the village of Magdalena de Cao 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Not Accustomed to Customs

      I have been waiting on a package for a couple of weeks now. Mail from the USA can take a couple weeks to get here but I was starting to wonder where the package was. Finally last week on Wednesday, my Peruvian dad had gone to the post office and delivered the goods to us afterwards. A package and a letter for my housemates and I got....a piece of paper from customs saying my package had been randomly selected to be checked. Seriously??? My housemates had gotten several packages that made it through no problem but mine was not so lucky haha.
       So the next day I went into town early around 1030 to pick up my package. I talked to the lady in my limited Spanish and found out that I came too late and would either have to come back at 2pm when the line started over or come back another day. A little bummed out, I left and decided to try another day.
      Monday morning: I get up early and try to leave my house by 8, but let's just face it....I am not a morning person so I left at 8:30 :-). I got to the post office by 9 (only 30 minutes after it opened) and presented my customs paper to the lady at the desk. She said I needed 2 copies of my passport, not just one and to go make copies and come back. "Donde?" I said, not knowing where a copy machine was around here. "al frente blah blah blah la libreria blah blah blah." ok she didn't really say blah blah blah but that's what I heard in my head because she talked so fast. I pretended I understood and headed back out to the street. I see a libreria(bookstore) across the street so I head there. No success. I asked the lady there and her response was "blah blah siguiente blah blah." hmmm ok "Gracias!" So maybe she said the next block down? not sure so I just walked some more and after a few minutes found a big sign in a doorway that said "Copias." Sweet! So I got my 2 copies of my passport and headed back.
     Upon my arrival back to the post office I presented my 2 copies to the lady at the desk. She said something really fast to me and all I understood was "catorce..." "hmmm 14?" So now I am wondering why she said 14...surely I am not the 14th person in line because the office has only been open for 45 minutes and there are only 4 people standing outside the office. She took me back outside the office and told me to fill out this form (in spanish). So there I stood with my translator application on my phone and went to work. "Am I the declarant or exportantante?" I finally asked another guy in line who's name I put where and finished filling out the form.
     I stand at the desk with the forms and show the lady the forms as she walks by. She says "blah necesita esparar has blah blah catorce blah blah." "Hmmmm I must wait longer and there is that number 14 again....I must really be the 14th person in line!"
     So I sit...and sit...check my Facebook on my phone, text a friend from the states, and sit some more.
People come and go and get called back into the office. 2 hours go by....it's almost time for me to leave for school and then I hear it.... "Catorce!" WOOOOHOOO! That's me. :-) I go in and fill out another form and open my package of candy and notecards from my mom and after 10 minutes, I leave with package in hand!
      An experience in Peru that was probably not my favorite but I can now say I have done it! :-)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Old parts of town, old rocks, and a sweet old man

          Sunday was a national holiday here in Arequipa. It was "Day of the Farmer" and so the school canceled classes to take us on a field trip to show us old parts of town and teach us about the farmer. It was school about the culture :-)

           We went to a couple old plaza's in town and then got to take a little tour of one of the old churches that was built around 1718 I think? I took a lot of pictures so I will put most of them in my Picasa album on the main page if y'all care to peruse them. After the tour, we went out in the country to basically a rock quarry. The rocks, from what I understood of the spanish explanation, are hardened lava from a volcano explosion in the 1800s. We met an 88 year old man named Marcelino who works every day chipping out huge bricks by hand. He does more manuel labor in 1 day than I do in 2 weeks probably. It was amazing to see the vastness of the quarry and to think that all the stacked up bricks were made by hand!

Me and Marcelino 

          After the tour we went back to school and ate potatoes and traditional food of Peru made for us by the school staff. There are pictures of an oven made out of rocks in our courtyard. This oven (horno) is the traditional oven of the farmer. The farmer children would gather small potatoes and put them in the oven and then when the farmers came in they would make the fire to cook the potatoes, peel off the skin, and then eat them. Our oven collapsed on us in the middle of the operation haha so we had to improvise. We put the potatoes underneath all the rocks and covered with dirt so it could cook while we were gone. We also got to eat 2 other types of potatoes, fried Yuca, corn, and chancho (pork). It was delicious!! :-)
The Oven in our courtyard :-)

The potatoes cooked in the traditional oven. 

        After the festivities, I stayed with all of the German students(which is most of the students right now) and we all watched the Germany vs Greece soccer game. Germany won 4- 2 so there was much rejoicing haha. 

The weekend was then spent doing homework and relaxing at home. It was lovely :-)

        Oh! 1 more thing! The 2 other girl students that live with me and I have started a tradition of baking something yummy on Saturday. Last week wasn't a group effort but 1 of the girls made an apple pie and then this week we made Carrot cake with cream cheese icing!! It made everybody happy on Sunday when we ate it with our family. :-)

Thanks for reading y'all! Comment or email me know if there is something in particular you would like me to blog about!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Am I here to learn Spanish or German?

Week #2 completed! The week at school started off slowly but sped by quickly. I have started to settle into a new routine at school with my new class schedule. I get up each day and each breakfast with most of my housemates, do devotions, shower, study, and then head to school at 11:30. I have my first class 12:10- 1:40, a 1 hour break to study and each lunch from 1:40-2:40, and then class from 2:40-4:10. Then the evenings consist of studying or hanging out with other language students and peruvians.

This week I ventured out to the girls Bible study on Thursday night. It was pretty much completely in Spanish and I have to admit I didn't get much yet. Thankfully my new friends had pity on me and explained every once in awhile what was going on. Hopefully each week will get a little bit better. :-)

The weekend consisted of waiting for 2 hours for a "fashion show" with traditional type dress and dance to start in the town plaza on Friday night. By the time it actually started, everybody was disappointed by it so my friends and I left within 15 minutes and went home to watch a movie instead. Saturday was relaxing at home and then walked around the plaza some in the afternoon. I took some pictures which are below so y'all can get a feel for downtown Arequipa. It's really beautiful and one of my favorite parts of Arequipa so far :-). 

Today, we went to church and I understood a little bit more of the service which was encouraging. There were even 1-2 songs where I understood pretty much the whole thing so that was a big deal for me! (I know that doesn't seem like much but its the little things.... :-) After church I came home with my German housemates and our other German friends came over to watch the Germany vs Denmark soccer game. It was fun but I was surrounded by 7 Germans speaking in German for 3 hours....Every once in a while I would catch a word I knew and try to figure out what they were talking about. I wasn't very successful but who knows...maybe I'll understand some German by the end of my 3 months here as well as some Spanish! 

This weekend also was a sad one for me as a very close friend's father died. It was hard to be so far away during a time like this but God is teaching me every day that His plan is best. He can take care of me and my family and friends better than I ever will be able to so I need to be content where I am for now. God is good. 

Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy. Have a great week and Happy Father's day!!

                                           Here is the front of my school - ABC Espanol :-)

                          The Basilica Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas in downtown Arequipa.

                    All the people that were waiting with us on Friday night for the "Fashion Show"

                              Birds and kids playing around the fountain in the Plaza de Armas

                                                      Basilica Cathedral during the day

                                                    Looking down the street of the main square

                                                   Bell tower of Basilica Cathedral

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Life in Arequipa

So I am still trying to figure out the picture posting thing without much success but here is my feeble attempt at showing y'all some pictures of happenings in Peru. Last post I mentioned my travels and I thought I would show y'all some pictures to make you feel like you are more involved. :-) The 1st picture is the scene you walk into as soon as you exit customs in Lima. I actually really like this part because you walk into the mob of people waiting and saying "taxi!!" and trying to help you. It makes me feel kind of important or something. :-) 
This next picture is all the luggage I took. :-) 2 huge suitcases, 1 huge backpack, 1 small backpack, and one small carryon! Thankfully, I found one of these little carts in Lima when I had to push my bags around all night until I could recheck them. I must also give a shout out to my mom for helping me pack those 2-3 days before I left. Thanks to her my bags came in under the 50 lb limit with one being 50 lb, one being 49lb, and one being 47 lb! All the hard work paid off!

This Is Julio's car. He came to pick me up from the airport and I didn't know it at the time but he ended up being my host dad and I live with his family now. The main reason I took this picture though was because the car was so packed that Julio and I could barely get in. Fun times :-)
 The next few pictures are pictures of El Misti and surrounding volcanos that are in Arequipa. El Misti is an active volcano and apparently has put off steam and ash in the last 10-15 years but most of the time it looks like this - beautiful and snow capped.

Now what have I been doing my first week you ask? Well I met new friends, mostly German missionaries , who are also studying here and went to church with my host family. Then all last week I went to class from 8-12 and studied in the afternoons and evenings. I found out last night that my class schedule changed for this week and now I would be going to school from 12-4 each day. That is totally fine but that meant that I would have to take the bus to and from school by myself! This made me quite anxious because I every day I rode to school with my host dad and back to the house with my house mate Katya.
So I got directions from one of the German girls in the house who speaks excellent English and away I went. Thanks to her good directions and all your prayers, I made it safely there and back and really didn't get lost! God is good. :-)
    Other happenings that made me excited this week:
         1. Got my phone chip so I can now make in country phone calls!
         2. Got to talk to many good friends on Skype and FaceTime - If anybody is ever bored I love phone calls from home at night!
         3. Learned some Spanish (hopefully this continues haha :-) )
         4. Bought a blanket for when I'm studying in the living room so I don't freeze during these cold nights in Arequipa.
         5. Have had time to read God's word and pray like I didn't in the US.

Thats just a little bit of whats happening. I am happy to talk to anybody who wants more details! Email me @ Lizej31@gmail.com, leave comments, text me (its free to my old number cuz its a google voice number now), or Skype me!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Moving Day

June 1 - the day I moved to Peru. The day that would change my life forever.

So I had a really long informative blog post typed out and then my internet connection went out and I lost it so here is the really short condensed version because I am too sleepy to write it again. :-(

This morning started with tearful goodbyes with my family and closest friends. I got checked in without any problems, got to sick next to a GHS employee I know who happened to be going to speak at a mens conference this weekend, and was completely distracted and encouraged by that. 

My other flights from Charlotte to Miami, and Miami to Lima were relatively uneventful and I'm thankful everything has gone so smoothly! 

I got to immigration in Lima and told the person I was volunteering with a non profit mission work and very easily got my 6 month visa! I then proceeded to customs and got the red light for my bags to be sent through the X-ray machine. Thankfully that was all that happened and no bag search was done. I don't know if I would have been able to put my suitcases back together if they had opened them so that was an answer to prayer!

Then it was time to go upstairs and find internet and food and a place to sleep on the floor. Before all that happened I got to walk out of customs into the mob of people waiting to pick up passengers. It really is the closest I will ever come to feeling like a movie star I think....all faces are set on you and you have all these people asking if you need a taxi....it makes me smile. :-)

So I made it through the mob, got some papa johns pizza and some Facebook time in, and now I am going to go find a corner that I can curl up in for a couple hours and try to sleep. 

Thanks for your prayers and thoughts. I definitely felt them today in getting me thus far!

Monday, May 28, 2012

1 week to go

I can't believe it but I leave on Friday!!! Saturday was move my furniture day. My older brother, Nate, and 3 year old nephew, Andrew, helped my move my furniture, load the truck and unload. Took us a little bit and lots of sweat, but we did it! Now I just hav a big pile of clothes and odds and ends that I have to go through and pack. :-)
After all that was done, Nate and I drove out to pick up the tent for my going away party on Monday. The place was a little ghetto and so was the tent haha. We got most of it up and then realized that they forgot to give us the piece the hold the middle bar together so I drove back and picked it up and we finally got the tent up and ready to go! I'm so excited!!
I'm going to try to post some pictures from the move and tent experience so let's see if this works! :-)