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

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hey y'all so I've got Internet up and running for the time being so I'm trying to do a million things and one of them is finally setting up this blog.... I've got some things that I've jotted here and there on this ol ipad while we have been on this experience so I figure what better place to start then there... Check back here and there for updates also I'll post things on fbook enjoy or read or scan whatever floats ur boat...

We're on the plane honestly I don't know what I feel.  In one second I'm beyond excited to go on this journey and know how close it is, yet in the next second I'm flipping out terrified and worried that this is all going to go horribly wrong. I know that the faith everyone has in us is there and not in vain but at the same time I'm scared to screw this up.  This opportunity is amazing and wonderful and so I hope I can exceed expectations but I guess only time will tell. It is hitting me but I don't know how I'm about to react so that is something that I'm unsure how to react to, here we go is all I have.  ... Totally jinxed myself claiming that I can sleep anywhere cuz I can't sleep worth poop on this plane ride... I think we're getting close but honestly there's still probably at least two more hours so that's no fun whatsoever.  I've tried sleeping but to no avail the only times I think I've dozed off is when I was trying not to sleep... Wackness.... Oh well I still may be in a little bit of shock 


We're here... It's been a long day we got to the airport and finally out of customs by around 945 am and then it was about an hour bus ride to the place where we are staying.  I immediately took a very needed nap before a feast of a lunch.  so that's nice and here's hoping for that I really miss my devin but I know in my heart it's a good miss so that's a plus. Today after lunch we went to a park and goofed around a bit played lacrosse/beach hili thingy that was fun then came back and did some orientation stuff not too much stuff today but with my level of sleepiness I could barely make it through.   Now as I'm lying in bed hoping my Skype message has sent I don't even think I can process anything other than being tired. On that note its time for sleep


I've arrived in posadas the view is good however I'm still stressed over the logistics cuz I dunno if I have a house yet or if I'm staying in a hotel or what but pastor Ricardo and Norma are very nice so I'm sure they won't hang me out to dry and if so.... I did bring my hammock for a reason haha just kidding I'm sitting here just wanting to connect to Internet and get some stuff done before sleeping and relaxing for approximately 48 hrs haha until later....

Well it wasn't quite 48 hours but I absolutely caught up on some sleep for sure...I've found temporary living at what I can only best describe as a hostel but its specifically for police officers and their families so at least it's safe haha... Everyone is nice from what contact I've had, which included a breakfast or two and watching some futbol where they've tried to convince me the team I've chosen to like is absolutely the wrong one, but I'm staying river.... Housing here is temporary and I can be for 30 days if needed which I've been told is ample time to lock up a permanent place to live. Of be lying if I said I wasn't incredibly excited to unpack my bags and stop living out of a suitcase but it hasn't been bad by any means.  The people I've met from the congregation I'll be working with have been beyond nice and welcoming I've been invited to share a meal with members at least once a day and have def been eating well for sure.  As of right now I finally have been able to get the Internet working here so I've started this blog thang.  Tomorrow starts my year of work and all my different things I'll be doing first things first visiting the Santiago mission apostal which is about 10 km outside of the city I'll be there to help build relationships, confidence, and anything else I can with the kids of that area .  I'll also be working with the youth of the congregation a few days a week and preparing them and generating interest for camps we have going on this year so hopefully that'll work out although I think I woulda done well to work at OAP a summer or two but we'll get by... That's really all I got for right now so these three tidbits can be my first post I'm satisfied thanks for checking in and we'll keep ya updated with what's going on and what's coming next