Friday, November 1, 2013

A Big Weekend

I'm sorry these blogs have become so infrequent, but I've been getting busier every day.  Anywhoo a lot and not that much has happened since the last post. However I really just want to recount the past weekend.  So, last Friday Krystle came to visit.  She is the country coordinator for all the YAGM in Argentina and Uruguay.  It was a very pleasant visit and also very welcomed.  I was so excited to speak English with someone.  It's the little things, I reckon.  Anywhoo the congregation was also excited to receive her.  She got here Friday morning and met me at the ol' office.  She then had a meeting with Ricardo and I sat outside.  The entire time I felt like I was in school and a parent was talking to a teacher and I was in trouble.  I went over everything in my head to make sure I'd done all they've asked of me.  I guess it's just me being paranoid because when she came out all was well.  We then went to lunch.  I had spotted this restaurant a few times but never been inside so I figured now was the perfect time.  We went inside and I was very excited because the front door said paella.  However, I found paella nowhere in the menu.  I also felt very guilty because this place was kinda pricey.  I kept saying we could try somewhere else, but we decided to stay and share a pizza. It was SO good and garlicky and wonderful.  We talked about program stuff checking in on how I was doing etc.  Then we discussed what her and Ricardo spoke about, I wasn't in trouble. Phew. And finally it was siesta time.  I took a quick siesta and we then met up to go to the mission.  I had said a little prayer in Spanish to hope I had a great day with the kids.  Also I wanted my language to be on point.  Even in a volunteer job like this it's always stressful when a boss visits.  I guess big homie or in is case grande vato heard me because I had my A game all afternoon.  The kids were interactive and great and I hope she really saw me thriving.  I felt like I was in the zone.  It came time for her to leave to go to a church board meeting and me to have youth group time.  The notion of being in trouble again crept up but I pushed it aside.  I really think I'm doing well here, but I always get transplanted to child Tyler in trouble at school. The kids slowly came in and we did a group building exercise, thanks GIC and Lutheridge.  At first they thought it was lame but then the challenge of untangling themselves approached and they slowly but surely began working together.    It didn't totally work but they tried a couple of times and that just means I still can use the activity down the road.  After that our time was over and I took the long bus rides home.  Saturday began with meeting Krystle in the morning to go shopping for a fan for my apartment.  We went from store to store in the center squares comparing and contrasting.  She also told me of the discussions she had with the board the previous night.  The overall grade was a good one and they are happy to have me.  They do also want some more stuff out of me in the future, but have a roundabout way of expressing these things.  I guess I'll get to put on my detective hat this year from time to time.  We landed on a good, big fan which was also under budget and made the purchase.  Thank you ELCA and Krystle because it is getting super hot here.  Now I will just need to figure out how to assemble it.  Maybe I can ask someone from church to help me since the main message I've received is that the people here are dying to help me in any way possible.  I think it's the culture here they just love being helpful and useful.  I can appreciate that, but it is something for me to have to try and accommodate being that I'm used to faring on my own.  I don't ever want to feel like I'm being a burden to someone which makes me hesitant to ask for help at times.  I'll just need to realize that these people and this community really wants to assist me in any way possible.  Anywhoo after all the fan stuff we met up with Norma to help with preparations for the nights festivities.  I cleaned many a white plastic chair which I don't know why but just seemed silly to me.  After that we were off to Norma's house to share lunch and some get to know you time.  After a brief stop at the grocery store and a half hour bus ride, we were there.  We were welcomed by her two children whom I'd met before.  They then proceeded to tell Krystle about the 'estudiantina' which is a huge festival I can really only compare to homecoming.  Each school competes with music (drums mostly) dance and float type things like a parade.  They have kings and queens and all that jazz too.  This is something they prepare for, for most of the year.  The costumes and everything are definitely something to see.  It's also cool because its pretty much specific to Missiones.  I was lucky enough to attend it one weekend night and it was crazy but crazy cool.  As they went through the facebook pics and costumes Krystles reaction was funny to me.  She just seemed very infatuated, which I get because I was too when first learning about it.  After a big lunch we all just kind of hung out did some of this and that and chatted until it was time to go to the church.  We got there and I was tasked with entertaining the kids for two hours, Krystle was put to work setting up.  The kids and I got together and played some soccer and basketball outside on their playground area.  When in doubt with a kids activity here, soccer always soccer. The time came for church to start and I changed my clothes but I sure still smelled and we all attended service.  It was a packed house for the 65 anniversary, which included some past pastors in attendance.  I had told Krystle about the services and everything I said before hand was done the opposite way that night.  Ricardo even preached from the pulpit.  However the sharing of the peace was still a pretty much hug everyone deal, and communion as always was a free for all.  The two other pastors helped with communion, and one of them, Pastor Alvarez, was like a rock star.  People were taking pictures of him doing it, the whole 9 yards.  He was a good body of Christ giver though, I will say that.  He was pastor here for 15 years so I guess the admiration makes sense.  After service it became party time. One of my specialties if I do say so, myself.  I was to help Carlos who brought wine, champagne, and soda to sell if people wanted to partake.  I believe all profits went to he church, which is cool because we sold a ton.  He gave me an apron and everything, it was fun just like old times at the restaurants of my past, but no tips haha. We also got fed which was cool. Half a chicken rice and greens and bread, 'twas delicious.  Carlos also had a champagne glass for us to share which is always nice, he loves his wine and champagne.  I guess that's a good thing because he works selling the stuff haha.   I had found out that Pastor Alvarez is now the president of the Lutheran church in Chile which was awesome.  I went to ask him about my orphanage if he knew anything.  After waiting in a line of his adoring fans I finally got my turn.  I get it, he has a way about him, if he lived in the states he would definitely be a Pastor Tim.  Only other two men I know that just make you feel that welcoming and warm feeling with any interaction.  Shout out to Pastors Tim Gamelin and Canniff-Kuhn.  Anywhoo he told me that he was still getting familiar with the city but asked for my email address and told me he would respond with any information he gathers.  So that's exciting for my travel time at the end of the year.  The night was definitely a success.  There was a guy who played guitar and sang some local favorites.  He was quite good, but the girls from the mission who came said they liked my voice better, woot! There was also a woman who danced a traditional Paraguayan dance with a pot on her head.  I will upload what pictures I have to facebook.  The night came to an end, Krystle left for Buenos Aires, and I helped to clean up and load leftover drinks in Carlos's truck.  I was a very sleepy boy and went home.  It was overall a great weekend.  I'm glad to have shared it with Krystle. Also I was glad to see a familiar face.  I am now in countdown mode to our reunion which is in a week. So excited to see everyone, relax and speak my native tongue.  That's all for now.... Hasta

Monday, October 14, 2013

Lean on Me works in every language

Another week or so in the books! There's not too much to report, but I'll shoot for the highlights.  Last Friday started another weekend of happenings.  First we had our youth group night.  After another non eventful study time came play time.  The beginning of the night started with me reminding the kiddos of our empenada sale the following day. The kids seemed as excited as they could, but  they were not excited about getting up early.  I can't blame them for that. I don't like it either, especially on Saturdays.  We followed that with the celebrity guessing game Devin had previously recommended.  At first they were far too cool to play.  Middle schoolers.... Right? However it only took a few to get the ball rolling, also my unfamiliarity with South American celebrities helped.  I am always completely down for making a fool out of myself so kids have fun.  They finally gave me another card, Eminem. This helped with the few boys who still didn't want to play.  I played up my poor understanding referencing the candy M&Ms to get some laughs.  After that the game became a hit with them, everyone wanted a turn.  I was barely any help with clues. Twice I tried to help with just genders and twice I guessed wrong much to their amusement. This time unintentional but still my fault with language.  The night ended and we were all off.  I reminded the, that we needed to start bright and early on Saturday morning.  The other volunteer letiana agreed to get there at 8:30. This meant I needed to be out of my apartment by 7 so up even earlier.  It's these nights I feel I always sleep the worst.  I arrived a little late, 8:40 due to missing a bus, and was super worried. When I arrived I remembered the mañana attitude and realized I was most likely very early. I was right, letiana came in at around 9:15.  We then went to buy all the ingredients.  About $100 pesos later we had everything and returned.  Kids started coming in slowly but surely and we began our preparations.  I was on fire duty for the grill.  I gathered the necessities and got to work.  Everything was going well, but the fire was not doing great.  I guess I should have been a Boy Scout at some point.  No worries though, Brian to the rescue.  I saw a mischievous look in his eye and then his eyes led mine to a bottle of alcohol (medical not for drinking).  Normally I wouldn't condone this but who am I to delay the empenadas as well as deny a 16 yr old boy a little fun.  I told him I was the only one to administer the fire juice though since I'm an "adult" and all.  He stood back and Woosh!  I traveled back in time to my 16 yr old self and felt the pure joy every adolescent boy gets from fire. The empenadas were now officially a go, the girls were folding em and the boys putting them in the frying pot. Like a well oiled machine, ha.  I think we made around 80 empenadas and they started to go sell them.  It was a hit.  Families were buying them by the dozens.  I also bought a dozen to share with the kids so they can eat the meats of their labor.  Before I knew it, hours had passed and we were sold out.  Clean up time has never been my favorite and I'm proud to report it's still the case here.  I helped as much as I could but they all knew the drill.  At 1:45 they all left, and I had a few hour break until bible study time with the wee ones.  I came prepared that day though and with a few swift actions I had a hammock all set up for a siesta.  My alarm went off at 3:45, but I think the kids at the gate were yelling even louder.  All I could hear was "T ler." I got up and opened up shop again.  Today's theme was Noah's ark.  I was charged with cutting out animal shapes from different sheets of paper for craft time.  They made some adorable arks which I think I have pics to upload for y'all.  My 10 hour day at the mission had come to a close and I was off to my neck of the woods.  I stopped off at the kiosko on my way home to see uga score, and I wasn't shocked to see how close TN was playing us.  Devin, bless that woman, skyped me again so I could see us eek it out in OT. Another big win, another big Saturday.  I woke up Sunday for church and gathered all my dirty clothes for some laundry time.  I was lucky enough to be able to use Rosi's washing machine after church.  After another good service we were off for my brazilamily time.  I was shocked and a little relieved to learn lunch today was not a party just a normal lunch with the fam and a few friends.  Carlos is a bad man on that grill, I'm telling you.  Lunch was great, not surprisingly.  Afterwards we had some chill time and I helped Sofia with English again and played around on the piano a bit.  Then I skyped Devin a little watched some Netflix and had myself a lazy Sunday.  Since we didn't feast at lunch, we actually had a Sunday dinner which was rice and meat.  It's like they've known me forever haha.  Monday was really chill to, Rosi had lots of piano lessons.  This was because her mom comes this week for a visit so she's doing all lessons on Monday.  I watched some more Netflix and then had some language time with her and Larra.  Finally the time came to leave. Guillermo took me and my clean clothes home.  It's always a bit sad to leave them.  I think Monday night I truly felt homesick for the first time.  It's like having a family tease every weekend, but it is better than nothing.  I talked to some great people back home did a little venting and decided to put it behind me.  Tuesday came and went and I did my home visit but not much else.  Visit was good its nice to always receive a warm welcome despite having two strikes right off the back.  I'm both Chilean and from the USA neither are great things here. Haha. Luckily I am getting by on my swag, charm, or bewilderment.  It's probably a mix of the three with emphasis on bewilderment.  Wednesday was business as usual, the morning focused on final needs for our trip this weekend.  And in the afternoon I helped with some math, English, and I got to color. Score! Thursday I got to the office early and discussed the coming events with Christina.  We have a lot of congregational stuff coming up.  Afterwards letiana was there and it was time to talk about our trip.  We went over the final list of those going and gave pastor our earned funds towards tickets.  I did have one issue with a child not being allowed to go, apparently it's tough for him to listen.  I understand this, but denying him opportunities will not make things better.  Plus I was charged with giving the bad news, which made me less than happy since I thought he could go.  Can't win em all I guess, but I'll try to win everyone over with his help for the next one.  Thursday ended with me getting a lot of chat time with Devin which is always a plus in my book.  Friday came as did vacation time(kind of).  The kiddos all leave at 7 at night, however I don't leave until Saturday at the same time.  I have a presentation on women in America for the ladies of the church on Saturday.  I thought this could wait, but Ricardo thought otherwise so letiana was to be with them there Saturday all day solo.  The morning Friday was filled with me buying groceries and assembling necessities.  The afternoon was like a school morning on the day of a field trip. Controlled ish chaos, and no one had any homework, go figure haha.  The time came to roll to the bus stop and I accompanied everyone as we waited.  Time came to leave and I told em I'd see em tomorrow.  Saturday was relaxing for the beginning at least.  Cooked some noodles and got ready for the trip and my presentation.  I walked in the down pour to church and got my presentation on.  It went well, my lead in joke was a hit too. Thanks Devin.  That brings me to now, I'm on the bus to El dorado made it all by myself on the right bus and all.  It's a 3.5 hr trip and we are off. I'm going to meet the associate pastor at the terminal and he will take me to the camp for the evening and first half of tomorrow. The best thing right now though is Desperado is our bus trip movie. I love this movie, so I must go... More tomorrow on the ride back, hasta...  Well it was an eventful trip to say the least haha.  I was only there for about half a day, but it felt like a weekends worth of stuff happened.  Lets see after the Robert Rodriguez marathon happened I arrived and met my ride and host.  We went to the church which doubled as the camp ground, it's a big piece of land. The kids had already eaten but it didn't look like I missed much. I was welcomed and then dominated a game of electricity, thanks lutheridge mealtimes.  The rest of the night played out like a normal youth group retreat. Laughs, games, bugs, and some short lived tears.  I walked up to the girls cabin just in time to find two girls crying on the stoop.  I didn't know what do to, but knew I shouldn't just leave.  I asked what was wrong, to no avail.  I asked if they would feel better if I danced they smirked, I busted out the white man groove for some laughs.  There were still some tears though so it was time for big guns, I began singing lean on me.  None of them had heard me sing before and before I knew it I was putting on an impromptu concert.  All the kids came out requesting another and another.  I did a few other songs which was helped by the fact that they do not speak English so I could replace some words here and there. Afterwards we played some late night volleyball and soccer.  1:15 rolled around and I decided it was bed time since we had to be up at 8 to get ready for church.  Also knew it would take em a bit to get to sleep but by 2:00 snores were bountiful.  If they had warmed up to me the previous night this was all forgotten the by me waking them up at 7:45 in the morning.  Atleast they could somewhat understand that I wasn't happy about being up early either.  We had a little breakfast and went to church.  Afterwards we did some group chatting about the upcoming camp in January which will be at the same location.  Did some discussions on improving things for camp and then cooked lunch.  After that it was time to pack up and go.  We hit the bus right in the nick of time and were on our way back to posadas.  It was the exact same bus I had taken there, with the same crew they remembered me too, haha.  Got back and then dropped some stuff off and it was time to relax and watch some futbol.  Well I hope I got it all covered, much love ... Hasta

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Boots with the furrrr

Welp, it seems Thursday is becoming blog day.  It's been a week since we've last chatted.  I'd say a lot has happened, but honestly I just don't know what classifies as a lot anymore.  Last week rounded out in a pretty fun chain of events,  Friday night we had our youth group meeting as we do every Friday evening.  This day in particular, I had received a great game idea from Devin.  I was all ready to get it started, and pretty excited because she's so creative. When out of nowhere what do I hear? A child crying? A tire squeal? The ice cream truck? None of the above. Out of nowhere I hear, "shawty had them apple bottom jeans, and boots with the fuuurrrr." To say I was slightly taken aback would be a fair assumption.  Accompanied with the t pain song I looked over to see a circle forming with all the guys who had showed up that night.  That's right ladies and gentleman, we had ourselves a dance off. Some of you may have seen the footage on facebook, others of you definitely should. It was quite the experience which I also found amusing because this dance off was a male only affair. Anywhoo that occupied a good bit of time, then we had a snack and it was time to rollbounce.  Saturday consisted of some hang out time with some kiddos from the church. My Saturdays alternate from mission to helping out with first communion class and catechism.  I do really enjoy these kids as well, they are all super excited to know me which feels great.  At the same time I'm not too sure what my role is.  I think I am the time filler which is ok, because I don't know how to teach about communion in English.  We had class for a bit, and then it was time to break out my skills and fill some time. To keep the activity somewhat religion class related I decided we should play a rousing game of horse, bible style.  Instead of horse we used words like Jesús, pan, vino, cuerpo, y dios. (Jesus, bread, wine, body, and God). The kids really enjoyed themselves, however the activity was losing muster.  It seemed like I had more time to fill, since the 15 minute time limit had come and gone.  The kids love their soccer, so we decided to play some three on three.  I was the referee. This seemed like a good plan, however both girls took roles as goalies which I cautioned against but was overruled.  This would come back to bite me, and one of them.  As the game progressed I could see why they all wanted one boy, Faco, on their team.  He was very good, I'll give him that.  Anywhoo the other team was going to tie it up with little time remaining when boom! Left foot connects perfectly with ball. Ball soars towards goal. Girls eyes turn into saucers. Ball collides with girls face.  THUD! And here we have the biting in my butt.  My first child crying of the trip and I didn't know what to do. Though even if I had it would not of helped because she ran off seeking comfort from Cristina.  Tweet! My imaginary whistle sounded and the game was over.  I told the boy to apologize, and accidents happen.  Other boys agreed but they said he shouldn't have kicked it so hard cause she was a girl.  I'm not touching that one and starting a battle of the sexes.  We found her being tended to by Cristina, pastor Ricardo asking me what happened.  My first real uh oh so far.  He vaguely understood that accidents happen and I could do nothing short of jumping in front of the ball.  We sat down for marienda and she joined us tears no longer flowing.  I came up, offered her a glass of soda and did my best to cheer her up.  (I said this in Spanish, but here's the jist) "you know, on the bright side if your face didn't stop that ball your team wouldn't have won... Your the MVP, in my opinion."  The other children agreed and she smiled. Phew! Crisis averted.  We cleaned up, and the kids went home and I was off to my kiosko to unwind.  This is the highlight of my week, because I knew the second half of the UGA vs LSU game is just starting, and it's close.  I almost race there sit down and find at I can only see the game on game cast. It will have to do, until dum du du dum!!! Super girlfriend! Devin lets me Skype her and watch the game as she's streaming it on her laptop. I haven't been so happy in a while, sorry kids, but you'll get it when river plays boca this weekend.  I got to see the final quarter and man was it a great game! Even better because the good guys won, GO DAWGS! Anywhoo that wrapped up, and I finished a beer and it was off to bed.  Sunday came, as did church and we had another packed house.  I guess words gotten around that I'm in town.  No big deal.  Joking aside, it was great to see the pews all filled up.  It was another good service and I made it through the apostles creed and Lord's Prayer with my least amount if stumbles yet.  After church we gathered again to celebrate two birthdays, it was fun and emotional.  One of them belonged to the former president who gave a heartfelt speech on how she felt so loved by the congregation and many thanks.  It was great to see and hear, the other gentleman was very appreciative as well.  He and his family are from china and have an adorable little girl.  We sang to them in Spanish, Portuguese, German, and I had an American solo with some humming background.  I was cautiously warned not to eat too much for there was another celebration to attend with Rosi and Carlos after this one.  Oscar's life partner also had a birthday and we were grilling out in the neighborhood common place for her.  This was a fun filled experience meeting even more new people. Joking and ripping on each other, it was like I was at home.  They even said if I ever got tired of hearing Portuguese I could find another adoptive family in the neighborhood.  Don't worry Carlos and Rosi, I love y'all Too much.  I am proud to report I ate all parts presented to me of the cow including both intestines, kidneys, and liver.  I prefer the normal cuts, but these weren't bad at all.  Afterwards it was time to siesta,but before that I face timed Devin.  I showed her the house and then Rosi came home and they chatted which was adorable, also I was on my A game translating.  Thanks to confidence from the party. It was really great to introduce everyone to everyone.  I then napped and woke up in time to go to the store with Rosi and Lara.  The night was chill and I watched some Portuguese news show and went to bed early. Monday came and as did another omelet, gosh they are great people.  Then I did some piano review and learning.  Playing with both hands is getting the best of me, but it is just my second lesson.  I can atleast read the music for the most part.  After my lesson began the revolving door of neighborhood girls and their lessons.  I met one, Sofia, whom I'd met at the party and said I would help her with English homework.  She took me right up by showing up early with her notebooks, she is absolutely adorable.  We chatted a bit and we got to work. It felt good getting my messages correctly across and her smiling when I could describe the answer leaving the response to her.  I could see her sense of accomplishment, maybe she could see mine too.  After that I watched some Netflix and then taught Rosi some English before it was time to go home.  They've offered me another mattress and a mini fridge which is super exciting. I just need to find space this week, which I have by now. The rest of Monday was relaxing a bit of journaling and some reading.  Tuesday I cooked me some noodles with the help of wiki and Devin.  I'm not very domestic.  Besides being a little salty they were delicious.  I then had my home visit with Alejandro and Rita.  I met the whole family and there was a bit of them to meet. They have 5 other siblings and their mother and two nephews all living modestly by the mission.  But this family was not lacking in love whatsoever.  I felt instantly welcomed and loved.  I taught them some paper toss we shared some mate and I was off again.  Tuesday was great and those were the highlights for sure. Also any day I can sleep in is a great one always in my book.  Wednesday was a gooden as well.  The morning started pretty typically.  Talked to Ricardo a little and ran some errands.  Then as we ended he dropped the bomb. By the way tonight it will be just you at study time as Gloria nor Norma can make it.  Letiana will come to help with marienda, I was informed all of this two hours or so before it was time to go.  I spent the next two hours making some English and math excercises and hoping for the best. Also prayed for some help if Big Homie would oblige.  He did, but in his Big Homie way of presenting me opportunities a plenty upon my arrival to be patient.  It was a trying day. When they realized it was just me, it was like all at once they decided to try and pull one over on me.  Suddenly nobody had homework and everyone could just play. Oh how convenient this was.  However, I was prepared with my exercises.  This kept them occupied a while but I could see them getting restless, even after having to use my firm tone a few times.  It was time for a break. This was solved by some tag and some tug of war. Oldies but goodies. Then more hw time and some marienda, and low and behold I had survived.  What a sigh of relief I had when I got on the bus to leave.  Also a silent hope that no older people or pregnant women needed to travel at this hour.  Of course they did on both busses I stood the whole way. Win some win some. I checked in with some folks and went to bed.  That brings us to Thursday.  Today I was presented with a few new opportunities.  Starting in November I'm actually going to teach two classes. One in the mission and one at the school to help the English teachers. Tips and tricks are welcomed in my inbox.  I am super excited about this chance.  I'm also glad I brought my TESL book from college with me, time to dust it off and get to work.  Speaking of, I best be off.  Until next time. Stay classy bloggerverse.  Also go river and go dawgs! And step ur game up falcons! Hasta

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pass it on

Man, it's been a while.  I feel like tons and nothing has happened in the past week or so, so I'll try to give you the highlights.  The rest of the work week was good.  We did some general homework help Wednesday and Friday and then Friday night was youth night at the mission.  We used out first 30 minutes going over the upcoming trip to El Dorado that I'm planning, ish. Haha.  Afterwards, they kind of split off and did their own things and I monitored back and fourth with the help of a sick Leti.  At 7:30 I was ambushed by three girls and a boy with token sad puppy eyes asking if we could make pizza.  I looked at my watch and realized we only had thirty minutes left, nowhere near enough time to make it, however they begged and I caved.  I know, I rule with an iron fist. They left out the part where they needed to go buy tomato sauce but they were already off so I acknowledged I'd be there a bit later that night.  They returned, and we made three pizzas which had been prepped so it wouldn't take as long.  Some of the girls helped prep the ingredients while the guys played some soccer. ¡qué machismo! Haha.  Pizzas were done and getting sliced at about 8:30, but then I looked around at the disaster zone that was the mission.  It was time to switch to boss mode, I announced that only Leti and I would be eating any pizza unless the mission was spotless.  I also let them know we were short on time. At first they didn't think I was serious, then I busted out the materials needed to wrap up the pizzas and made myself more clear.  It was like a fast forward montage of a 90s movie with kids cleaning their room it got spotless, quick.  We served the pizza and said grace.  after grace I went back in the kitchen to clean.  This was so we could go sooner than later and I wouldn't be stranded. The last bus came and went around 9:15-30.  They polished it all off at lightning speed almost as fast as they cleaned, but saved Leti nor myself even a slice.  Ohhhh kiddos, I'll take the smiles for now and remind them next time they ask me to stay late.  Anywhoo we left, I caught my bus, and made it home after my usual hour long bus journey.  I was quite tired so went home to bed. I knew Saturday I could sleep in, so I was pretty pumped.  Saturday was a super fun day back at the mission, it was a celebration of students day and the first day of spring (though nobody told the weather).  I spent it with Norma and the younger kids and after we did a little bible study and some learning about international peace day it was time to play.  Norma went to work preparing some foods and I was tasked with occupying the kids.  This is what we signed up for, Tyler.  I had nothing planned and was drawing a blank, of course, but en saw the CD player. Lightbulb! Musical chairs,who doesn't love that game? Though still not better than live musical chairs we played at orientation, but it was still fun.  It killed about thirty minutes the kids could not get enough of it, however they did eventually tire.  As did the CD player.  Norma saw we were approaching a crossroad and they may get a little crazy, not to worry she's always prepared.  She motioned me to a box that contained carnival games, and we were back in business.  It occupied all the time we needed, and then it was food time.  What was for lunch? Pizza, of course, and this time there was some for me too, I guess that whole all good things and waiting situation came into play a bit.  She made around 6 pizzas for no more than 8 kids, myself, and her and her husband.  We ate and ate and ate some more, yet it was delicious so we didn't leave any left overs.  Then she brought out a cake with dulce de leche icing, my gosh they take their student and spring celebrations seriously here.  I had to eat some of that and I'm both happy and sad that I did. It was so delicious thus happy however I was sooo full, sad. Haha. Afterwards we played the game where everyone holds hands in a circle and passes the hula hoop around the circle.  I found the timing of this pretty interesting considering they all probably just consumed their body weight in pizza.  Though I'm not sure about the conversion rate of pizza to child because I still don't understand kilograms.  Thanks America. Haha.  The time came to leave and Norma offered me a ride instead of having to take the bus, so I put my bus pants away and got in her jetta.  If you check the facebook you can see where I posted pics of this day including the barrios we passed on the way home and also pizza time. That was my Saturday.  Sunday was another good one, I experienced my first baptism of Argentina.  It was great to see the church so packed, and Ricardo brought his preaching A game.  You know what's great, whether it be here or back home I've never had a pulpit preacher as my own all of mine have always paced talked and rocked it on the regular.  ¡Qué suerte!  Also, I find it interesting that each pastor has their own way of doing things regarding baptism. Although, I think my favorite will always be Pastor Tim and his lion king version.  Thinking back I wish I snagged a pic, but it feels odd taking pictures during church.  After church we had our first after church social which was for those whom had birthdays in September.  This was a fun time filled with empanadas, cake, wine, and champagne.  Even a lovely version of happy birthday played on the violin, however I did not know the words so I hummed the familiar tune. It was like they were force feeding me empanadas which was great, because they were delicious.  However I knew that I was going to have asado shortly after at Oscar's house (a neighbor of my brazilamily Rosi and Carlos).  I politely stopped and kept some room in my belly because I heard great things about the asado coming my way.  We finally left and went to my brazilouse (that one was a stretch).  Dropped our things off and it was off to Oscar's house. It was easily identified by all the smoke pouring our of the front entrance.  This guy was going to town on his grill haha.  We had some amazing cheese and I met a few new faces as we all sat around and talked through the smoke and tantalizing smell coming from the grill.  Finally it was time to eat. Oscar said the blessing and we were off, it was yet another feast for this guy. Which was well received after my week of hot dogs.  We had salad, some spinach, grilled potatoes, sweet potatoes, grilled bell peppers, rice, three or four types of asado, sausage, blood sausage, and more it was intents. Like that party in the woods.  But man oh man was everything absolutely delicious, I ate far more than I should have and this time I'm completely ok with it.  I'm telling you I really miss my fall Saturdays of grilling and watching UGA football, but these guys are absolutely grill masters in their own right.  After well caught our breath it was time for some lemon  pie which I passed on because I was filled to the brim. After some more great conversation filled with laughs and smiles and some napkin throwing it was time to go.  I am proud to report at I understood the majority of the conversations.  I just had to tune into one conversation at a time because all that Spanish across tables made it confusing if I tried  to listen to everything.  When we got back it was time for some me time.  Everyone at the house went down for their siestas and I stayed up, despite my longing for a food coma to watch the UFC fights from the previous night.  I'm glad I did there were some barn burners.  However when I was done Devin was sleeping and Gio wasn't on facebook so I couldn't talk to anyone about them so I tried to convey the message of awesomeness to the kids at the house.  I say kids but Lara is 15 and her boyfriend Guillermo is 16.  Every time I think about it and say kids I feel super old, but I guess I'm not young anymore.  They appeased my excitement and then offered to take me to the market to buy stuff to make a cake.  I joined them, because this is my year of saying yes, also fights were over.  This place is massive it's like their Walmart I guess.  However in their Walmart you can buy a car upon entry haha.  We found what we needed and were in and out relatively quickly. When we got back they asked me how much a certain amount of grams was for the butter needed, I shot from the hip (per usual) and guesstimated my butt off.  More butter doesn't hurt right? We will never find out because we forgot about it and it burnt whoops. A baker of tasty treat, I am not. Mama and papa bears woke up and I went for a walk with Carlos and their dog who has stopped barking at me.... Progress. We returned and it was time for dinner, I couldn't think of eating more but they really didn't want to either so we had some toast crackers cheese and tea. Perfection.  I stayed up and watched River win, however caught myself dozing off here and there so it was time for bed.  Relatively early bed time for me, but I was exhausted and wanted to be up early for my piano lesson.  This did not happen because I slept in a real bed for the first time in over a month.  Not that other beds are fake but the ones at isedet had been through the ringers over the years, and my mattress is tiny and sits atop pieces of wood that I'm sure will break at some point this year.  This baby was a queen and a firm mattress I slept for almost 10 hours more or less. Another whoops.  It was all good, I came down and Rosi made me a sausage egg and BACON omelette.  The words I love you came out in English without even thinking haha.  It was delicious I digested and we started my piano lesson.  It was very cool, she is a good teacher, and I think I'm on the same level as the elementary school kids she teaches.  It worked out well.  After that I watched a little Netflix and it was time for lunch which was awesome it was baked spiced chicken some rice some potatoes and some arugula salad.  Good stuff, though I couldn't imagine being hungry after Sunday's feast.  Afterwards I drank a corona with Carlos and took a siesta.  Well kind of I rested and watched some dexter.  Around 4 I went down and had an impromptu English lesson with Rosi and Lara.  It was good and very fun, I enjoy teaching them especially considering they are helping to teach me Spanish, piano, and Portuguese.  After that it was time to go, I came to the church got a pillow that was left for me and went home to do some reading and cleaning.  Shocking, I know.  Tuesday was my first home visit to a kid from the mission.  I went to Gonzalo's house.  It was very nice, I met his sister and mom and then we adjourned to the front yard with two other kiddos from the mission and shared some tedere (juice and mate).  We also traded some music time and talked about a lot of this and that.  I really enjoy those kids because they are just so nice and patient and happy to have me.  After a bout an hour and a half it was time for me to get on my way. I returned home and was planning on going to sleep early.  This was until I found a unlocked wifi signal close by and used it to watch some archer and justified on Netflix and just chill.  Wednesday things got back to normal with my office work in the morning and mission in the afternoon.  I talked with Ricardo a bit then he sent me to the grocery store and to make photocopies.  I accidentally purchased juice instead of jelly but such is life.  I went back and got the jelly on my break.  At the mission I helped with some English and had my first session of helping with math.  They do math similar and very different here.  Long division is the total opposite of how we do it.  The bar goes under and the number you are dividing by goes inside.  Complicated.  I remembered my disdain for fractions when a high schooler asked me to help him understand them.  I did as best I could but felt like I was accomplishing nothing with language barriers as well as math difference, but he really started to get it after a little bit.  It was a great feeling that I feel lucky to have experienced.  It was a high for the day, as was the bus ride home. Like other buses there are signs that state certain places are reserved for elderly or women with children, etc. However I've only seen this enforced when the bus driver has had to ask someone to move.  Tonight I was sitting and glad to be doing so after running around and doing fractions, I was beat.  Then an older lady got on walked by everyone and not one seat available she stood by the stairs  and I decided to be the guy. "Señora, puedes tener mi silla" or, "ma'am you can have my seat."  She smiled at me and thanked me and we traded spots.  I felt good about myself for doing a little thing, even though my feet were mad at me.  A few stops later, the bus was still full but one man exited as a very pregnant woman entered. Instead of sitting down in the seat the guy who was standing by it waved her down and gave her then seat.  Not to be outdone another girl offered hers up to an elderly lady a few stops later.  Now this probably would have happened no matter what because thems is the rules.  But I couldn't help but think I could have helped start the chain of events. So I will leave you with this oldie but goodie, "kindness, pass it on". Hasta

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ring around Posadas

What a weekend! So Sunday morning started pretty normally in my new diggs and I woke up early so that I could get to church early and send Devin a message because she's a super cool chica... However I did not take into consideration the difficulties I would face when trying to open the lock on the fence to get out and on my way, but let me rewind a second.  When we looked at the apartment every single one of us had at least 3 minute attempts at this lock and fence combo and nobody succeeded for at least 10 minutes, but then afterwards we found out it just needed a little push when turned to unlock and you were golden. My first entrance and exit went without any problems I even re entered like a pro however I put the lock on at an angle which is apparently a no no which I'd come to find out in the morning.  So here I am trying at first quietly so as not to disturb the guy that lives down stairs to open this thing and be on my way, enter the key slight push and turn to open... Nada... Not even a budge.  Ok that's fine so I guess I gotta use some elbow grease which I'm cool with maybe it needs a harder push we try this again and again getting overly aggressive at some points muttering things under my breath kicking (at this point being Quiet has gone out the window, like maybe I should have) I do in fact start sizing up the gate and other surroundings to see if I can get out another way... About 20 minutes has gone by... Finally out of pity or wanting peace and quiet out comes Martín, my downstairs neighbor, I let out a sigh of sweet release and great him with my now famous "turns out I don't know what I'm doing sorry" look on my face.  He pleasantly greets me and tells me not to worry that the lock was a tricky one, and goes to open it for me... Still nothing... Ok so maybe I created this problem but at least I wasn't this dumb American who couldn't turn and open a lock because he went to work another solid 15 minutes changing from my key to his with the same results I had... None.  Finally he retreats into his apartment, "is he done" I think to myself, "has this lock beaten two of us and dictated that today I stay home and not go to church?" Never fear he returned in a jiff wielding a hand saw in his right hand and stated to me it was his back up plan.  He sawed off a piece of fence so the lock could be at a level angel tried to open it again and boom open, we were free.  We exchanged thank yous as well as formalities and I noted not to put the lock on at an angle in the future.  I was finally off to church however rather than being 20 minutes or so early which was my original plan I now was probably going to be late which isn't the worst thing because I was pretty sure I had the same service the previous night and I had a fun story I could tell in my less broken more glued together Spanish.  After service it was back over to the brazilians house for lunch which I think is going to be a weekly thing and I'm not going to lie I truly hope it is they are super great and cook like champions.  We hung out and ate and talked at the table for a while like old friends including some neighbors who came over this Sunday about everything from pop culture to politics (Obama) to music and how Americans owned a lot of the tv channels here which is why the shows are mostly in English which I found pretty interesting. Like 50% of the things they watch are in full on English with Spanish subtitles including Big Bang, house, 2 1/2 men, movies and more.  After lunch I tried to help clean but was swiftly stopped by Brazilian mama (Rosi) as well as the neighbors so I adjourned to the living room with the kids to watch tv and check up on some Internet happenings i.e. falcons game and some other sporting news.  I spent the whole  day there and while Rosi and Carlos siesta'd I chatted with their daughter and boyfriend about all things including lacrosse which blew their minds and what soccer teams I should really be fans of, they say boca but I'm staying true to river.  When night came I joined Carlos for the nightly walk of their dog, Thomas the sharpee who one day will be my friend, and afterwards they took me home.  We talked of lots of things like why i decided to to this my tattoo and Nick among other things he told me of his family in Brazil and showed me their hood. It was another great Sunday and I look forward to doing it again.  Monday came and it was my day off so I decided today would be the day I explored the new area of the city that I was in.  Though first before everything closed on me (I may have slept in a little) I went to the grocery store to get some stuff for the apartment and kitchen so I could start cooking and finally stop eating out since I now had my own kitchen and means of cooking.  I picked up the essentials some noodles, rice, fruit, spray, tp, everything. An apartment needs and I was on my way.  I can't get any meat unless I plan to cook it that day because I don't have a fridge or anything to keep it cold, also I only have pots no pans so can't really cook meat too easily ... for now I'll stick to deli meats.  Came back set everything up and organized which I'm not sure why cuz I'm sure in a week everything will probably be everywhere but it was a good effort.  I was ready to explore (or so I thought) I gathered some things and my water bottle and I was on my way, first things first I decided to find the coast and walk up that bad boy.  On my way I was confronted by various obstacles including construction zones, mean dogs, no entry roads, among other things but finally made it to the coast in basically one piece.  It was pretty sweet there is even a beachy area right about where I would enter when construction is done so that's cool cabanas and umbrellas and whatnot, also there is a big walkway area for those who come down to jog and walk the coast so I started walking.  Some of the cool stuff I quickly found was what looked to be gym equipment they had like an elliptical, shoulder press, bicep curl, pull up, etc all made out of metal and no weights to add but still pretty cool and pretty free maybe I'll put these to use on some future off days and times but for now I kept walking.  After investigating each machine I made it down a ways. I past lots of people and saw lots of pretty cool stuff (pics on facebook) including the other side of the water which is Paraguay, some cool street art, a giant indigenous hunter/fisherman statue and more.  I kept walking and walking and realized an hour and a half had passed I could see the end and knew that it was just the border patrol and I didn't want to go there with a lack of full confidence in the language.  So I decided to walk up towards the inside of the city and explore that way as I found my way back, this idea sounded great in my head.  Downtown areas of cities are tricky because they all look pretty similar which gives you a sense of false confidence and security like you've been here before, after a few turns this way and that with no more coast in sight I quickly realized I had not been here before. I reached for where my pack pack usually is and realized today I just brought my water bottle so no local phone and no map of the city, it was time to test my metal.  I started walking and walking in what I felt like was the opposite direction of the way I had used to get there and after about an hour realized that due to some bonehead turns and routes I was passing buildings I had already seen, I had done a big ol loop for about an hour... Score. Ok well now we know which Way to go and not to turn, I was off again and not to outdo myself did separate loops at least two more times, by now it was dark and harder to find my bearings.  I decided maybe I should try and find the coast because that is a straight shot I can't screw up, however with hills and loops I was as close to finding the coast as I was to finding my apartment. Finally after a big hill I saw big buildings and what looked like the center, I thought when in doubt walk towards the big buildings because that's where the city is, and after about another hour I felt like I was getting close. Looking at street signs to see if I saw anything that resembled familiarity out of nowhere I was at the pharmacy right by the church. I couldn't tell you how I did this but maybe God was done watching me play ring around posadas and I was glad for it.  I found my bearings and went to a cafe to sit and relax a minute and use some wifi on my phone because they let all people use theirs and watched the river game which I didn't know was on tv.  5 or 6 hours later and I defiantly did some exploring and adventuring and I think I know the town better now or at least more of which roads go which ways in and around the city.  It was time for me to head home because Tuesday was back to work and my dogs were barking.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sweaty first meetings like WOAH

Tuesday morning:  I'm here at the school today but its a one time thing since teachers day is tomorrow and no one will be here we pulled the old switcharoo (more on that later) Yesterday was good kind of bland but good, we went and saw two apartments both of which were still in the construction phase neither had a bed or an oven.... It's a process down here, I reckon.  They were located kinda out there about ten minutes outside the city via Car so they were about in the middle of both my work sites but right across the street from a bus stop.  So that's a plus but really nothing going on out that way so it'd be tough they said they'd keep looking but these are great for back up plans since neither are finished but would be by the time I'd have to leave the hostel.  So it's something which is much more than I currently have haha.  The rest of the day was filled with sporadic Internet and a premade sandwich from the grocery store since I'm still not allowed to use the kitchen. They cook for a ton of groups here I bet it's good stuff it always smells as if it is delicious.  Today I came to the office as stated and then watched the school kids perform for teachers day which is a pretty big deal here, I reckon.  They even get off school tomorrow so that's cool. For right now I'm just sitting waiting for the pastor to get back from whatever he's doing so I can give him the receipt for the copies of keys I made before I forget haha.  Hoping to get to go a little early too since gotta grab lunch somewhere before I go to the mission, Anywhoo that's where we're at for now.... This afternoon I came back ate a little and then went to the mission though not to work with anyone. Tuesdays I go there to walk around make house calls and check in with people outside of the mission so I really just explored since I don't know where anyone lives.  I walked and walked and walked and it was hot haha good thing shorts are allowed there, that's for sure.  I saw all types of farm animals although no farms just in people's land areas the stuff that they use here for houses and whatnot is interestingly inspiring to say the least.   I did that for a few hours then came back here and went looking for a burrito place I read about online, and I found it woohoo bad news however they were closed so that was lame.  I'll try again at some point though it did look sketchy even for Mexican food but I can't pass it up forever. What if this walk in barely move around while inside place is the Argentinian chipotle haha can't miss out.  Anywhoo Tuesday night was where the real fun started I was met at the police station by three older men (50s ish) and we together with some other cops gathered in the main room and proceeded to watch the Argentina vs Paraguay soccer game to see Argentina punch their ticket for the world dance, and they did not disappoint.  I think the final score was 5-2 and the celebrations kicked off also because teachers day on Wednesday meant a lot of people didn't have work.  I had fun joining these guys and felt like a big dog with all the cops for a while haha then the conversation turned towards martial arts and one of the older gentlemen identified himself as the grandmaster here who teaches all the police officers here (this was confirmed by all others) and he expressed an interest in teaching me.  We spoke about this for a bit and I'm going to his dojo tomorrow for what promises to be an eventful time of pain and learning I'm sure haha. Better get to bed hasta .... Well I went I saw and they conquered haha but I had fun they blended me like a pretzel but it was all in good fun and with the hopes of me learning this and that. I hope to go back soon and start learning more but time will tell as these upcoming weeks are super busy for me.  My Wednesday was very relaxing and I I used it to do a bit more explorining and chilling out and connecting with other yagms and reading some blogs also so much loved FaceTime with Devin.  Anywhoo that's all for now ... Hasta
Thursday was also a relatively chill day but it was back to work. I got to the church at 8:30 to meet with Christina and go over what we wanted to do this weekend with the kiddos after their catacism class.  Since this was the first time I was going to meet them we decided on some get to know you games and some playing soccer, basketball, and mate which were all more than fine by me more on that later.  After that did some general work around here cleaned out some storage space and organized some of this as well as some of that then I went home for some lunch time (home is still the hostel)   For the afternoon I met some of the youth members of the church as well as a few from the school as they were helping the pastor and me on our project concerning Anne frank and tolerance which was nice. They all seem great but I won't be working with any of them that much except for on this project. I've found myself understanding more and more no matter how fast the people at talking to me or one another so that is definitely a plus all things considered. It was nice to have this little group together learning about Anne frank because honestly I didn't remember too much from what we studied in school as it was very long ago that we studied these concepts and times.  We also watched a little movie in Spanish which was likes brief overview of what happened to her and her family.   One thing I have noticed through this and other things that've have seen here including the camps here we saw in buenos aires is that it doesn't matter where they were located or the time of history people (certain people) have always been dicks to one another and it's pretty lame to think about.  However they Make the stories of those who resolved against the oppression that much sweeter and more heartwarming for sure.  To go back a little bit concerning the people who were held and tortured here in the 80s "the lost ones" when I had dinner with Lillian and her family her husband talked to me of those times it was one of those conversations that were obviously difficult for him to have but thought it important enough to share which I was more than grateful for. He recounted the times and living through it as he was a young man at the time.  One night he said the military came into his house demanding answers to whereabouts of others as well as scouring their house looking for people hiding or any anti governmental material that they could then use to prosecute him and his family.  He stated how well prepared they were for this and had a clean house but he said he's never felt the same feeling in any of his years as to when he had a gun pressed to his head by a frantic solider no older than him following fierce orders and ready to shoot on a wim, "I had accepted death as a possibility and was right with God at that moment in my life" I could muster no words to let him know how powerful this was nor there was no part of me that could honestly say I understood or related to that plight, but we did share a look, it was deep and painful yet at the same time real and powerful it was all that needed to be done, and phew right after Lillian brought our dessert.... As I said some people suck but the ones who come out man are they incredible... Sorry for my digression just wanted to share.  Anywhoo after Anne frank I went home to eat some dinner and snooze.  Friday is one of my busier days with pastoral meetings in the morning and then the whole afternoon at the mission, but I love it because this is why I'm here working with the kids and helping any way I can.  I arrived to what was described as a disaster by Gloria.  Apparently people there Monday (my off day) didn't clean and left food out in the kitchen well some animals got in and went Hamm all over the place leaving a mess of epic proportions and poop ... Poor Gloria I tried to help but she assured me that she had already gotten the worst of it done  and told me to head to the library and get the kids started on their homework so I did.  Everyone worked on this and that for fear misbehaving today would result in a Gloria wrath from having to clean that whole kitchen so everyone was on their best behavior. We went over some English stuff I proposed the idea of pen pals with Devin's kids which I think was well received but time will tell then after what felt like 20 minutes 4 hours had passed and it was time to go home.  Norma and I took the same bus to the transfer stop and chatted though it was tough to understand her with all the other people and the loud bus I responded mostly with my now perfected smile and nod technique.  Saturday morning came as did a text from Lillian, could it be?!?! Oh yea we found me an apartment it was time to move woohoo I'll give you a second to celebrate with me.... ... Ok so I packed my things and waited for her Til about 3 which was calling it close because I had a youth group thing at 4, but this had to get done and Ricardo understood we went first to the church got me some things for the place like a table some chairs (crude drawings included from middle school classrooms haha) as well as gas and a dual stove top thingy.  Also some pots pans plates etc. then it was off to her daughters house with the help of her brother in law and his pick up truck to get my bed which we hauled down three flights of stairs haha this thing is quite rickety but it'll do for sure and Lillian said if it breaks we can get a new (er) one haha.  After getting everything tied down it was off to the apartment which is nice and spacious (pics on facebook) with a view to boot. Everything went up rather easy except the table which was way to big for the door... After myself and Juan wrestled with it for 20 minutes on the stairs it became clear that wouldn't work but then he had a lightbulb moment we took it back down I propped open my deck door and I pulled it up via a rope tied to the legs boom... And that's that I now have an apartment.  I went sweaty tired and smelly to the church to make what I'm sure was an awkward impression on the kids there but we made do and I was only two hours late haha.  We played some soccer and some basketball which I dominated on the 6 foot rim, I felt like Lebrun James which is an odd feeling for a short Latino but I relished the feeling for sure.  Just after I got good and even more sweaty and smelly Ricardo informed me it was time to meet the lady's group which meets once a month on Saturdays.... Whoopsie another group that thinks Americans based on me are smelly and gross haha (sorry y'all) They were all very sweet and understanding and didn't even scoot away when I sat down, I enjoyed some coffee and some tea with them as well as some cookies while answering their questions to the best of my abilities about the USA and my home congregation.  Pastor Ricardo informed them and me that for the October meeting I was to prepare a slides how about women in America and the normal or typical life of them since all they Know is about those in Hollywood which to me seems like a daunting task but I have a month to think about and make it.  Everyone left and it was time for Saturday evening church which consisted of myself Ricardo and another mid 20s guy who showed up about 10 minutes in, it was great though very intimate and wonderful to share this with just the three of us for sure. Afterwards we chatted a bit about the sermon which helped me because when that man starts going on his rants and raves (which are amazing) he speaks almost too fast for the natives to understand haha... Anywhoo afterwards.  I stuck around for a bit and chatted with Devin about our upcoming days since we wouldn't be able to for a few and then it was time for me to find my way home and sleep in the new place for the first time.  
      More to come from an exciting Brazilian Sunday and an exploration filled with dogs and getting lost many times  on my Monday off ... Stay tuned for now.... Hasta

Monday, September 9, 2013

Saturday:  I really hope this is the week we find a place for me to live.. I've now been moved 3 times this past week room to room to a back room with plus and minuses plus it had a great view minus its with cleaning supplies and toiletries haha it's just getting a little silly. I ask people when if we are close to finding anything and the pastor informed me that he put up a flyer and sent an email I feel like all things are being done thhat can be done... patience really is a virtue eh? Don't take that the wrong way please i mean its only been a week sure and the fact that  people are nice enough to even let me stay here is awesome I just feel stressed and wanna unpack my ripped suitcases and move them less  haha ok I'm done whining... In other news I got to go to the mission yesterday afternoon which was great.  The morning consisted of, u guessed it... More logistics... I'm so logistically savvy it's unreal.  Anywhoo I left here at 2:15 (too early) and started me bus trip in missiones for the first time which I think went relatively well.  I had pretty great bus timing for it being my first time too I took both the ones I needed no problem and only missed my stop by one stop so that wasn't bad just got to walk and explore a little since I was about 30 minutes early.  The contrast between the city and the mission area is really vast I mean within 10 km everything changes.  The area is very modest but I didn't see anyone frowning quite the opposite actually kids were playing and smiling and happy with what they had absolutely living simply (makes my storage/bed room seem better actually now)  i even saw a rooster cross the road but the picture was way out of focus, also i dont speak chicken so i couldnt as why he was doing it but weve got some time to learn.  There were also back yards with sheep in them just an interesting thing to see remindes me somewhat of blue ridge or north GA but everythings way more packed together and land is all red not as green as the lakes... as for my time at the mission when it opened, there were less kids for the most part or maybe it just seemed that way but it was definitely more tame than the other day, I don't think pastor Ricardo really can control them that well, but the ladies of the mission rocked it especially Gloria she is a no nonsense kinda lady and I dig it.  I'm going back there today at 4 for two sessions first with the younger ones doing bible study then the older kids were having pizza maybe and hanging out they keep asking about soccer so one of these days we'll do that but I'm following the lead of the ladies now while I'm still getting comfortable.  The kids there are all great it's definitely the highlight so far, I mean I've only been there twice and those have easily been my two favorite experiences so far.  I wish I could sub out all the logistics and just do that but oh well we can't win em all hopefully we'll start doing things and I'll get to learn more rather than just learn about what I'm going to do I'd rather just do (if that makes sense) but maybe that's just me, again it's only the first week I've got atleast 50 more.  I guess that's it for today I'd love some Internet but I guess I'll have to do without I mean its not like I'm dependent on it by any means I just want to be able to talk to devin she can put things in perspective for me and has a way of making me happy at all times but for now I'll settle with reading my book....

Monday morning.... I've moved back into a bedroom with a bathroom woot, I think I'm still sharing it but its all gravy it's with one of the guys who work here so we have totally different hours of functioning. So the mission Saturday went great again with the younger kiddos we had a bible study and made some crafts I helped where I could but Norma ran the show which was good cuz I'm still getting acclimated to everything it was good though a kids smile from learning and creating is absolutely amazing they just get this look that they've accomplished so much and can do so much more because of it, this year I hope to strengthen those feelings for them in all ways ... The crafts were pretty cool they were made for teachers day this coming Wednesday however two of the fellas gave theirs to me which rocked especially after just a few meetings with them,one thanked me for teaching them English, in Spanish.... We'll get there lol... The other said Tiler thanks you for come to teaching us English boom one weeks work kids got skills haha it was really great though a good feeling a starburst if you will #YAGM2013 ... Then the older ones came and the younger ones left as did Norma here's the test of the week rangling middle schoolers together to cook dinner for one another thankfully I did have some help from letiana who is 20 and helps with the older ones ... We made pizza one of the moms donated 12 handmade crusts there were 14 of us but we were off, I delegated tasks some of the girls prepared the tomato sauce as well as prepped the ingredients while the fellas collected wood so we could make the fire under the oven it went well however I'm a doofus and left the oven door open for the first 10 minutes of fire so it did nothing to heat the oven and then I went to check something BOOM banged my head on the pole coming out from the door nice bruise I saw estrellas for a minute but no worries we got back to it closed the door and made some fire (in a controlled and supervised way of course) I told the girls we probably didn't need to make all the pizzas they looked at me like I was speaking nonsense and we'll chalk it up to communication problems tho I'm fairly sure they understood me but were having fun so what the heck we made 10 haha problem was the oven only cooked 4 at a time so they were cold by the time we started eating them, I reassured them that cold pizza is an American delicacy we ate some while heating 4 or so back up ..... SOO many leftovers haha.... Oh well they divided them up and took em home for families which I was totally down with, some were cheese some were cheese and onion others were cheese and ham then loaded ones with all the above and olives they were all pretty good.... I've become less picky over the years and food tastes better when u help to make it so I ate all types and they were pretty delish... After some cleaning we called it a night. I waited about a half hour for the bus I was scared it stopped running but finally it came and I was off ... I came back and checked for Internet, no go oh well I was sleepy just missed Devin we hadn't talked in a few days silly wifi... Sunday morning I went to church and snuck on a computer really fast to alert her I was alive and would try to reach out later service was good he preached about equality and included some MLK stuff shout out to the American in the congregation haha after church I went to a Brazilian couples house for lunch it was great also got to use their interned for a while but man was that some good food it was tradional Brazilian food he had constructed a grill for himself a lil piece of home in their argentine house and I'm glad he did .... We talked a lot I met their daughter and her bf and Ricardo joined us for lunch also got to try some vintage Argentinian wine since he is a wine vendor I couldn't say no, it'd be rude right? That's my reason and I'm sticking to it haha they sent me home with parilla for dinner too gosh it was so amazing I want to write them today to say thanks but I'll have to wait Til Sunday when I see them again however they said I'm welcomed every Sunday because they can identify with being newbies like me they've only been part of the congregation for 2 months also the wife (Rosi) loved learning English with me so I'm totally down with hanging with them. Anywhoo after lunch I came back to no Internet still so it's off for the weekends for sure, I siesta'd and then went out looking for a signal walking around posadas with my iPhone out looking for wifi that doesn't have a lock next to it haha found a cafe at the center of the city and we were off.... Got some good chat time in with Devin and emailed mama bear all is good another night here in posadas.  Today I'm sticking around the hostel because I think people are reaching out to me with possible options for living and it's my off day, though I shoulda saved parilla for lunch haha oh well that's all for now, thanks for stopping by, you stay classy readers....
PS River won last night3-0 the team is on a rare Ignacio was right gotta get me a jersey at some point haha that's within my stipend right? Hasta

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Today is Thursday and I'd like to say I'm starting to get in the swing of things I know which bus stops to take and which ones are the right colored busses with corresponding numbers for me, that's a win.  Problem is as I realized today I am still in that transitional phase so when I get permanently placed in an apartment or house I will most likely need to relearn everything but atleast I'll be more familiar with the city by then.  So yesterday started some sort of police incoming for the city many new arrivals at the hostel, I think there's a festival this weekend for immigrants or something so they may want to beef up security however knowing my Spanish at this moment they could have just as easily told me the pope was coming to stroll around the plaza in his neat little car he rolls in...  Ok so my Spanish isn't that bad, actually I'm pretty comfortable most of the time but there have definitely been my fair share of deer in headlight moments.  This morning a woman was asking me who was using the office I was waiting outside of and I got to say "I don't know" and it actually applied and was the correct response to her question at that time, I'll take it.... She then asked me if I was from Sweden I guess I can't win em all but I'm still counting this as a victory.  Anywhoo yesterday was my first day at 'work' for two of my placements.  In the morning I met with pastor Ricardo in his office for a few hrs and went over logistics again for what I'll be doing this year ... with him as well as all that orientation in both countries as far as logistics go I think UPS could probably learn some things from me these days...  I digress... There was also a 30 minute segment when a woman came in with the desire to have her son baptized at the church it was very interesting to listen to as Ricardo let me sit in.  I found myself totally comprehending both parties but also found a lil ADD happening with my wandering eyes around his office. It felt like she was in a job interview for her son but not a tough job to get so that was good she passed with flying colors and Alexander will be baptized on September 22 I'm definitely gonna come watch although my favorite baptisms will always most likely be the ones performed by Pastor Tim Gamelin growing up.  It was like he was introducing a king and we were watching the human version of the lion king as he walked through the congregation with the baby held so high, never a dry eye in the house either.  After Ricardo's office I went back to the hostel for a lil lunch and nap... I'm not doing great with my budget but its tough cuz I'm not really supposed to use the kitchen so I usually go buy pre made things at the supermarket however once I get settled I'll be able to cook and save some money, maybe I'll have a Madagascar week to honor my chi town orientation roomies and crush a ton of rice, I do love me some rice,boy does that uncle Ben know what he's doing maybe today ill look for some Tio Juan or whatever the Spanish equivalent may be.  At 3ish Ricardo picked me up and we went to the mision Santiago apostel where I'll be doing a lot of my work.  The kids were just as excited to meet me as I was to meet them which was a great start however when u have 8-15 kids at a time clammering for your attention all going a mile a second in their native language which is not mine it's difficult to keep up.  I said si more times there than I have in a single setting ever.  A lot of the time it didn't apply but it was great.  They taught me how to make a paper boat which is way cooler than a paper plane because this bad boy floats. I'm going to try to recreate one later.  During this whole time Ricardo was talking with the other two ladies that work or help out there so it was me and about 25-30 kids ranging from 7-17 I was definitely thrown in the deep end to see if I could swim which is how I like to do things, as Devin says I'm such a "shoot from the hip" kinda guy also good thing I was a lifeguard, and am a strong swimmer.  After some get to know you stuff it became evident that when I go back without Ricardo on Friday I'm going to need to be firm and stern first for the few weeks otherwise I won't be able to accomplish anything this year cuz they will be runnin all over me.  After we had a marienda it was time to clean up and go home.... Some good old fashioned peace and quiet was a welcomed idea but it was not in the cards tonight.  I came back and chilled for about a half hour to forty five minutes and got to Skype Devin so that was nice. Even on tough days for her or me I love cracking wise and making her smile it gives me a sense of peace as well so I did that for a bit and then a thunderous wave of high pitched noise came rushing through the door like someone had announced bieber was just upstairs and ready to greet the 30 or so high school field hockey players who rushed in for dinner at the hostel.  It was loud and interesting to say the least they were all go go going and I think they thought I was someone a tad more spectacular than Tyler from the USA (though I am pretty great to toot my own horn a little bit) because I kept getting waved to a couple sneaky pictures were taken similar to the one I took of argentine rammathorn drinking a liter of cola and lots of giggles happened.  It was then I realized what a great purchase my skull candy noise canceling headphones were cuz those suckers drowned out everything.  I helped the people clean after the girls ran off like a whirlwind to the next of their teenage dreams.  And it was time for me to get some snooze time so a little here comes the boom and I was off to bed.  I woke up at 8 to get ready and walked over to the school where I am to wait for my meeting with a lady named Cristina do go over what I'll be helping her out with this year, the meetings at 9 and its 10:17 now no sign of her, but it's ok cuz I had time to ramble on and on for y'all's reading pleasure.  Today I'll wait a bit longer and then I have to go because I'm going on a field trip with the high schoolers this afternoon to watch them perform German dances and songs they prepared at a festive about 100 kilometers (no clue of the distance equivalent in miles) away which wil be an all day thing with what Ricardo called a schmorgesbord (I'll never spell that right ever tips welcomed) of European cuisine for dinner so here's to maybe a nice lager and a more chill day of observing before its off to the mission again tomorrow... So like I said I'm getting into the swing of things but its more like a rope swing into a freezing cold lake terrifying for every moment up until you let go and realize that it's exactly what u wanted it to be and maybe more.... Hasta