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