Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Islands and Mountains and Argentina....oh my! part 3
Hey guys! So, I am officially halfway through with outreach. I have been for a few weeks I think actually. But isn’t that crazy! It has been FLYING by. I can not believe I only have 2.5 months left here! As you guys know, we took a vacation to Argentina for 6 days last week. It was so good to just relax and get some things done that have been piling up on my personal to do list. And it was just a great time to refocus and prepare for the last leg of this great adventure. So I will fill you all in a little bit :]
On Tuesday morning, we all met at E’s house for prayer for our little trip. Then we headed out and caught the bus to Puerto Montt at around 7.15. Let me add just a little detail here. When I came to Chile, I had one suitcase and a backpack. That is it! I was actually pretty proud of myself. Granted, these two things were very full, but I knew that I would be leaving some stuff here and then I would have room for the souvenirs I would be buying. So anywho. Since I only brought those two clothes carrying items with me, I only had those to use for Argentina. And I decided that I was not even going to try to pack ultra light in my backpack for a 6 day vacation. Just wasn’t going to happen. So I ended up taking the same amount of stuff for 6 days as I did for 6 months. It felt a little bit ridiculous, but it all worked out in the end. The bus into Puerto Montt was a bit crazy with all my crap everywhere and people trying to find room to sit around me, but we managed.
We got to the bus station a little before 8, and our bus didn’t depart until 8.30. So this gave us plenty of time to chill and watch the other travelers around us. Most of us did this inconspicuously, but some of us (cough Jean cough) like to be a little more adventurous and stand on chairs to watch others. This was a little bit funny. I am pretty sure everyone saw the crazy gringa who was watching for a pickpocketer to steal so she could save the day. Heehee.
So anyway. We got all situated on the bus and started the voyage to Bariloche, Argentina. After a few hours, we reached the Chilean border and had to get out and formally leave the country. This was a nice little break, seeing as to how we had been sitting for quite some time. I enjoy bus rides tho, and spent my time sleeping and listening to music. Then, we got back in the bus and drove for a little before having to do it all over again, only this time we were formally entering Argentina. Luckily, our bus went directly from Puerto Montt to Bariloche, so we didn’t have to go through the hassle of unloading all of our luggage and finding another bus. So we then spent another 2 hours or so on our way to Bariloche. Thankfully we made it there without any incidents. When we left the bus for the last time in Bariloche, it was about 5.30.
As we were waiting for the bus that would take us to our hostile about 10 minutes outside of downtown, a woman asked us where we were from….IN ENGLISH! She was from Canada and her name was Darcy, and she had just been traveling South America for the past few months. And as we talked to her for a few minutes, we found out that she was heading to the same hostile as we were! Looking back, this was truly a miracle. And I’ll tell you why. Bariloche is a VERY touristy city. Just a quaint, pretty city with lots of shops and hotels and hostiles EVERYWHERE. So the fact that she was going to the same one as us was just crazy! And, there is another reason that it was a miracle. We had directions for which bus we needed to take to get us to the stop that we needed. So we get to that point. And we started walking down this road that the hostile is on….or so we thought. At this point, it was drizzling and we had all of our luggage and we had no idea where this hostile was, and it was just starting to look a bit ridiculous. But thankfully, Darcy had a pamphlet with specific instructions with how to get there, and after taking a few more side roads, we managed to find our hostile. Honestly, we would have been screwed without her as a guide. I don’t know what we would have done.
So then we get to our cute little hostile. It was…perfect! We had our own room of 6 beds, so we didn’t have to be split up. It was warm in the hostile and very clean. There were over a hundred movies that we could watch whenever. Wifi was free and there were 2 desktops available to use. The kitchen was very spacious and equipped with quite a lot of stuff to use for dishes. We had HOT SHOWERS!!!! (I have now had 7 hot showers since being in Chile :]) And, the owner of the hostile spoke really good English! It was such a blessing! He helped us so much, and it was so good to be able to understand him perfectly. Actually, while we were in Bariloche, we spoke SO MUCH English. It was great! There were so many tourists and we met some really cool people at our hostile, and it was just good to give our brains a little break and communicate without thinking so much of how to say what we wanted.
Basically, Beth is AWESOME and did a FANTASTIC job at planning our vacation. It was such a relaxing time. That first night, we went to a pizza place like 5 minutes from our hostile. It was really good! We picked some random pizzas, and although they weren’t your typical “American” pizzas, they were still really good. Mom, you should be proud of me. I ate whole slices of tomatoes on the pizza, and it wasn’t even awful. As I have mentioned before, this experience has been stretching me so much in practically every area of my life, and food is no exception. I have learned to eat just about anything, and although I don’t prefer some things, they aren’t really as bad as they used to be for me. There’s the random tidbit in this story.
So yeah. Vacation was just so good for relaxing and getting things done that have been on our to do lists. I know for me personally, my to do list was getting pretty long and kinda stressing me out. But for the week, we had no internet limitations. The only rule was that you could only be on the computer for an hour at a time and then you had to switch with someone else that wanted to use it. So it was wonderful for getting stuff done. As you guys know, I love getting emails from home, but with a limited amount of time to reply back, it takes a little while for me to send replies. And for this I am really sorry. It is just a fact of life though. I still do really appreciate it, and I read them and think of you all a lot. So anywho. I got caught up on some emails….not all….but a lot. And checked out some scholarship options and things and skyped some people. It was just so good. I felt so relaxed and refreshed. I also had a lot of time to read. I love reading and Kindles make it so easy. It is definitely one of my best investments. And we watched a few movies. Just very good.
Most of the week was just very chill. We didn’t do very much while we were there except rest and just chill. For me, this was great. Others got a little restless after so many days. But I think we all enjoyed our time. And we did do something pretty exciting. On our third day there, we all got to go paragliding! It was so fun! Beth and Jean went first while the rest of us waited in this little yard for them to land. Their flight was a lot shorter than the rest of ours. I feel bad about that. The wind just wasn’t very good at that point of the day. But they still had fun they said. Then Clay and I went next. We drove to the top of a mountain and then walked for a few minutes up to this area for take offs. Clay went first, and it was interesting to see how it was done. Then a few minutes later, my guide person was telling me to run and before I knew it, we were in the air. So cool. Basically, I was sitting in a chair ish thingy with a big wing above me and Ernesto was behind me. He was very cool. I talked to him pretty much the entire time we were in the air. He had been flying for 19 years….my entire lifetime! So it was as easy as breathing for him to fly and know all the wind changes. It was pretty interesting, the things he was telling me about paragliding. From the take off point, we couldn’t even see the area that we would be landing on. Instead of landing in the yard place, we would be landing on the beach. SO COOL! So we spent about 10 minutes just circling the mountain and riding the wind currents. And then we started descending a bit, making our way to the beach. The view was beautiful. So much fun. And at one point, he let me steer! I was like….of course! So that was really cool. I was flying a huge kite in the sky….with me attached! Haha. Also, he asked if I was feeling sick and I said no. So he started doing really tight, fast circles. It was so fun. Like those swing rides you can go on at the fair, but like 23948 times better. Then after about 25 minutes, we landed on the beach. I think I was the luckiest one of us, I gotta say. And I feel a little bad. But, nothing could be done about it.
So that was our little adventure while in Argentina. Very cool. I think that those are the only two adjectives that I know….cool and fun. Sorry about that. But that’s what it was!
Also, Bariloche is very touristy, as I told you all before. But, another thing that Argentina is known for is its chocolate. I guess the Swiss were the first people to inhabit the area, so the chocolate is DELIGHTFUL. So good. So there are tons of chocolate shops everywhere. And the coolest part is that all of them have free samples! So, we just shop hopped and got a bunch of free pieces of chocolate! I did buy a few pieces to eat as we walked around, but I never did bring back any with me. Such a stupid mistake. I don’t even know why I didn’t! And at the very least, I could have brought some back for our friends! I really don’t even know what I was thinking. Obviously, I wasn’t. But anywho. Chocolate was a delicious addition to our trip.
But now on a bit more of a serious note. While we were relaxing and catching up on things, I was thinking back on our time here in Chile. The highlights, lowlights, our ministry in general. Just replaying my time here and reminiscing. As I thought back, I realized that towards the end of these past 3 months, I have been not been pouring out like I could be. I have become so accustomed to life here and how things work and have sort of lost sight of our purpose. I mean, I love it here and doing stuff, but I have not been soaking up and taking advantage of our opportunities like I can be. I need to be digging into the Word and hiding it away in my heart. I need to be diligently praying for people we are ministering to here and at home. I need to be spending my free time enhancing the lives of others as well. I just need to take my eyes back off myself and onto the face of Jesus again. I need to be seeking Him with all I have. So this was a wake up call for me, and I am very grateful for it. It is not wrong to spend some time reading and shooting hoops occasionally. Not at all. That is not what I am trying to say. But I know that I personally have not been taking advantage of life here in Chile like I could be. So since we have been back, this has been on my mind. It’s a challenge for myself. I want to be consciously striving to go deeper. Deeper in my relationships with the locals here, deeper with my teammates, and deeper with the Lover of my soul. HE is the reason I am here. HE is the one who has saved me. And HE is the one I want to glorify with my life. I need to cut more pride and selfishness out of my life, and I am really striving for more of that over the next 2.5 months we have here.
On that note, I think I will share the song of the post. This week it is On My Cross by FFH. Such a BEAUTIFUL song. I love it so much. And the words really make you think. My punishment was taken from me and served by the Creator of the Universe! He suffered….for me. Just take that in for a moment. Listen and really reflect on the words. Very powerful and just beautiful. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bT-TG79htPg
So that was a little peak into our vacation time and some of the thoughts I had while we were there. And here are a few pictures. They may not make much sense or really give a very good overview of things, but at least something I can show you guys to give you a little feel.
So on Monday, we got on the bus at 12 and started back for Puerto Montt. The ride was pretty much uneventful. We got back to E’s house around 8 o’clock. Vacation was really good, but we were all very glad to be back in Alerce with our family. We missed them a lot, and it was good to chill all night in their house and just talk with them.
Ok. So moving on. So the next day, I don’t really know what we did. I mean, I just cant remember anymore. But, that night, we, meaning us 3 girls, started working on our snack for E’s birthday party the next night. He was born on leap day! Yay! Finally 9 years old. So anywho. We were going to make those peanut butter cracker thingys covered in chocolate. You know, the kind you normally find around Christmas time. So we started the endeavor by melting what we thought was chocolate. When we first bought this stuff, which happened to be quite a long time ago, I had specifically asked Jean, “Now you are sure that is chocolate, right?” And she replied, “Yes, my mom uses this stuff!” So I didn’t question it any longer. So as we are melting this stuff, Beth keeps saying, “Chile chocolate is weird. This looks nothing like chocolate. Why is it so scratchy?” We agreed and thought it might be old or wet or Chilean. We just decided to keep going and see how it tasted when it was all the way melted.
During this whole melting process, Jeano was working on making a fire and I was in the middle of peanut buttering lots of crackers. After a little while, Beth finally decided to give it a try. “This is NOT chocolate,” she said. So Jeano went over to investigate. After her taste, she said, “You guys. What would you think if I told you that what we bought was molasses?” Yes. Molasses. Actually. We now think it was brown sugar in a hardened cube. The stores here don’t have brown sugar and from what we can tell from asking, it sounds like a chunk of hardened brown sugar. So at this point, I am racking my brain for things we can do for his birthday, since now our snack is useless. And Jeano is just losing it. She can not stop laughing. Not because she didn’t care, but because that is just what Jeano does sometimes. So she is all upset with herself and just cracking up and I am standing by a table full of useless peanut buttered crackers. I was not in the best of moods at this point since it was getting late, and I thought I just wasted a lot of time. So I just went to take a shower. Meantime, Beth and Jean decide to try to make use of this strange melted liquid and crushed up a bunch of the peanut butter crackers in a bowl and added some molasses stuff. I came out of the bathroom to see them chowing on this mush with a fork and some MnM’s mixed in. And actually, it wasn’t bad! So we decided to make little round cookie things of this substance, and Jeano ran to one of the little tiendas and bought some Chilean equivalent MnM’s to put on top. And wouldn’t you know. Most of the people at the party the next day really enjoyed them. We actually had one of our friends stuff two in her pockets to save for later, which was QUITE hilarious since she was all sneaky about it. I guess its like Beth said. When life gives you molasses, make fake monster cookies. (the cookies kinda looked like monster cookies)
The rest of the week was pretty much normal in the work we did, but with an added little twist. On Friday, all three of us girls felt pretty sick. Our stomachs just hurt. At first, we thought it was because we had fasted the day before. But now, we know it was not that. You see, we actually had to take a trip to the hositally clinic place this weekend for Beth. She got REAL sick. Her fever was super high and she couldn’t eat anything. It just wasn’t good. And we all were suffering from diarrhea and just not being able to eat things without our stomachs feeling like they were shriveling and cranking over. That description probably doesn’t make much sense to you all, but for us, it was exactly how it felt. So anywho. Basically, up to this point, we have been pretty sick. You can continue to pray for Beth and the rest of us here. We are slowly but surely getting better. Jeano and I are fine now. But Beth is still recovering with her prescriptions and rest, and Clay and E are now not feeling well. Seems to be a pretty nasty little virus that we might have picked up from some sketchy looking lettuce. We aren’t sure. So if you all could just pray for the health of our team, that would be great!
All this recounting details has gotten kinda long and again, I am sorry. But I am happy to report the end of this post has arrived. Thanks for the support and prayers. We appreciate them so much! You guys are truly the best. Love you all and God bless!
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