Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Program in Peru

The Christmas rush for us started on Tuesday night at 8 pm with the second and last Christmas program rehearsal (smaller groups had been working for the last few weeks). The rehearsal went pretty smoothly, although I must admit I wondered how the actors would do with their lines.

The invitations for the Christmas program said 7:30 pm. We intended the first 30 minutes to be meet and greet time. In typical Peruvian style, most of the programs participants were there by 8 and the program started at 8:30. We had many visitors and the actors surprised me with how well they had refined their lines in just one day!

A few first: I went to help with the costumes and was asked to sew the lead child's tunic. I broke the needle (first time I have ever broken a needle), the only needle they had. I whipped two bobby pins out of my hair and pinned up his shirt. This is also the first program I went to where we cut a hole in the side of the church to give the actors a secret entrance.

When the program was over, Pastor Luis preached a "short" sermon (almost an hour, lasting until 9:50) presenting the plan of salvation. I've heard rumors of people snoring, but I think that was just the kids. It was a great sermon.

After the message, we rearranged our seats, and I went to help serve pork, panetón, and hot chocolate. MMMmmm... so good! They bought the whole pig (head to tail). The women were joking around and taking pictures in the kitchen, when Devie said, "People from other countries are going to see these pictures and say what savages the people in Peru are!" (she was pretending to eat the pig's face). It was a fun time that kind of reminded me of the camp kitchen (but maybe that was just serving drinks from a five gallon buckets).

Christmas Eve was filled with laundry, homework, and some Christmas present wrapping. I felt a strange urge to be busy baking, but decided against going to the market as I had heard that it was full of people. We finished cooking our special dinner at 8 pm. We finally ate the baked chicken, hot chocolate, and Panetón at about 10:30. We waited until midnight to exchange gifts, but were interrupted by the sound of a firecrackers. We went out on the balcony to watch for a bit. After opening presents, we went for a walk and visited the cousins. At 2 am Christmas morning, we were walking through an alley eating ice cream sandwiches in our short sleeves. :-)

Christmas day we celebrated with the Gringos (the Stilwell clan met in Chimbote this time). It was a blessing to sing carols in English and have a brief devotional, eat a wonderful dinner of Ceviche and Chicharrón de pescado (fish and fried fish), go to the beach, and play some fun games. Definitely different, but fabulous!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Time is passing rapidly. I realized today that I left home seven months ago. That wasn’t as big of a shock as when the math hit me that that means that in four months Arriba is over. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I have a renewed sense of needing to take advantage of every moment and soak up all that I can.

We are settling in nicely with our family. Let me introduce you. My host, Miguel, is a former fisherman who recently opened a hardware store (the one above which we live). He is very curious about life in the States and English. It seems as though he cannot ask enough questions, (or does that just mean that I am not asking him enough questions?)

My hostess, Gina, is an elementary school teacher (she just recently finished her degree). She is constantly busy working in the hardware store, cooking, and cleaning. Her love for her family is obvious.

My oldest sister, Gina Elvira (18), is in her second year of studying psychology at one of the universities in town. She goes to classes in the morning and studies in the afternoons. She is quickly becoming one of my best friends here. She takes me with her when she has to go to the market, bakery, or any of the little stores new our house. She is starting to open up more and more, and I am learning to ask questions and share (without being asked). She is one of my best Spanish teachers. She not only corrects me as I speak, but also questions me later to make sure I am remembering. Some of my favorite times with her are when we are talking about what we are learning from the Bible. Everything is so new to her that it is a huge encouragement to me to keep studying.

Angie (13) is the youngest. She is a giggly one. She enjoys chatting with her friends online, watching TV, spending time with her friends, and exercising (if it doesn’t mean getting up early). She thinks that her family looks out for her too much and would like to get a break from their constant care, but realizes that they only do it because they love her.

It is an adjustment living with three girls (counting Rochelle) instead of three boys, but I am enjoying having sisters.

Hicimos la vaca

(slang for skipping school, but literally means we made the cow)

This is just for those of you who questioned my artistic abilities. After drawing the cow and sheep, I am considering switching to an all-out art major. Well, maybe just elementary education (all they do is color and paste anyway, right?).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Traditions

Is it really December? Are you sure? I've yet to hear a Christmas carol, and where is the snow? Why am I not stressing about finals or trying to find a ride home? Oh, wait, that's right; I'm in Peru (and very content to be here). We have started a few Christmas preparations at church. We started working on our program last weekend. I am helping in the stable group (Apparently I will be drawing a cow today...). The ladies and children will sing, and, of course, the Christmas story will be acted out. Afterwards, we are planning on having Panetón (a bread with raisins and candied fruit...the Peruvian Christmas cookie rival) and hot chocolate.

For family celebrations, I have heard something of eating duck, panetón, and hot chocolate at midnight on Christmas Eve. Then the Trujillo missionaries are coming down so we can eat fish (and maybe head to the beach??) for Christmas day. I will have to remember to journal.