Friday, June 26, 2009

We have carnéts!

It is hard to believe that we passed the first month marker already. I thought I was started to be a little more brave about speaking Spanish; then we went to immigration yesterday. I was afraid of saying something wrong or ending up in the wrong place and not being able to meet up with our helper, but God was faithful and we were able to get our carnéts. The security guards were definitely laughing at us because I always look lost.

Life is beginning to fall into a routine. Classes, buses, directions...I wouldn't go as far as saying that I am confident, but they are proceeding well. The bus system has been a blessing. The five of us took our first trip to downtown Lima without Pastor Jim or any other guides this last week. We made it home before dark (which is at about 6pm), but it was close.

I don't know if people in the states are still scrambling over A1H1, but it is a big deal here. Just this morning, my hostess lectured me about making sure that I wash my hands a lot and am careful about the air I breathe on the bus. She takes good care of me. I think she is a little more concerned that she would normally be because Rochelle and I both have colds, but we are recovering quickly (possibly from all of the fruit we eat).

A special blessing of language learning has been learning to communicate how great my God is. This morning I asked Vicki if she would help me learn words to praise God and pray. We got out my Spanish Bible and starting looking up verses. I can't think of anything better about which to talk. I am enjoying learning to communicate spiritual things. My Christian friends here have really been a blessing.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Me Quemé

Well, it has happened. My first Peruvian injury. We were cooking late Sunday night, and Zerela tossed a "hamburger" (chicken patty) into the frying pan next to where I was frying eggs. The oil splattered on my left hand leaving some pretty purple "stains."

We just finished the Prison epistles. If Linguistics was to help us learn how to learn the language, this class was to help us learn to live more and more like Christ. Next week we only have Spanish class, so we can really dig into language learning! After that, we have Anthropology to help learn how to learn and understand a new culture. Thanks for all of your prayers.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Poco a poco

Time is flying here (as I am sure it is there as well). We have our midterm tomorrow (I am writing this Thursday night) and then we will be halfway through our second class! I am enjoying studying the prison epistles with Dr. Newman. One of our assignments is to journal everyday how what we have been learning applies to our lives. It has been really good for me to be transparent with myself and to help me to remember that I am studying for more than just a mental exercise. Spanish is still going full steam. I think it is kind of like trying to drink out of a fire hydrant (maybe not quite that bad, but you get the picture). When I was in high school, my Spanish teacher told our class, “When learning a language, you have to make a million mistakes before you are fluent.” I am trying to use all of my mistakes in the first two months, and I think I might make it. I really get in trouble when I try to translate sayings, but my new mantra is, “Poco a Poco” (little by little). I am reminded of that daily. It is not uncommon for a four year old to correct me, and kids can’t understand why I don’t understand what they are saying. I am learning about other types of communication and learning to be okay with not knowing/understanding what is going on around me because God knows what he is doing and I can trust him. Sometimes my brain feels like it has completely turned to mush and I cannot formulate sentences in English or in Spanish. That is when I know it is time to take a break.

Now I just wish my stomach could take a break. I think it is boycotting. I thoroughly enjoy the food (although I wish they drank more water with their meals…most drinks contain a lot of sugar). High carb diets are right up my alley. I have started to implement a more rigorous exercise schedule to try to keep up with it. My hostess takes me for “walks” at night. We usually go to the park and run around the concrete soccer field (of course we have to climb part of a mountain to get there).

Friday, June 5, 2009

As all of you are beginning to pull out your lighter clothes, we are starting bundle up. I have only seen the sun for two days since we arrived in Lima. The Peruvians are wearing winter coats, scarves, and gloves. I am wearing my sweaters, but really the temps are still in the upper fifties. It has misted a few times (maybe I should have brought that umbrella). Mostly, it is like living in a cloud that smells like exhaust fumes. I am living on a mountain (with a great view of the city from my window).

The first two weeks have gone really quickly, but looking back I can’t believe everything that has happened in two weeks. We are starting to take off in our Castellano (Spanish) and feel more comfortable striking up conversation on the bus. I am still struggling with verb conjugation, so I try to stick with present, past, and future conversations. I am frustrated by my lack of vocabulary options, but we are learning new words everyday.

Food: Our diet seems to be mostly carbs and fruits with a little bit of chicken and an even smaller amount of vegetables. I enjoy the rice and potatoes. I love all of the fresh bread and the variety of fresh fruit available in the “winter.” For breakfast we often have a drinkable oatmeal to start our day out right. Of course, to be truly Peruvian, it contains a lot of sugar. Peruvians are known to add sugar to everything even Pepsi! I haven’t tried any really weird food yet, but I am looking forward to some of the local treats!