If you have a weak stomach, I suggest not looking at one of the following pictures (freshly killed guinea pig). ;)
I won't lie, today wasn't a very good day for me. Every 2-4 months, the student's families come into the city and everyone cooks together. All of the students had their families here today, except for me.
We woke up really early today (Delia came home at 5:30 from an all night church service and was yelling at us to get up). We got ready, had a quick breakfast, and began cooking. We started right around 9, and we didn't eat until 2. The majority of this time I spent standing around watching, because I don't speak Quechua like everyone else.
On the bright side, I ate cuy today! This means guinea pig! As long as you don't focus on the fact that you're eating someone's pet, it's really good! The rest of the food was amazing too, noodles, a root (I don't remember the name but it tasted like potatoes), a fried veggie mix, a stuffed chili pepper, and a big slice of homemade cheese.
There were also visitors here from the U.S. coming to check out what Sandy and Albino do, and it was kinda fun to talk to them about it. They were typical American tourists though, and were quite loud and obnoxious. It was a little embarrassing.
Once everyone left at around 4, we all crashed. We watched a movie and cleaned up a little bit. Sandy and Albino were going to the mall to get some things for Doriana, and I went along. I bought some house shoes, regularly 50 soles (about 30 American dollars) but turns out they were on sale for 15 soles (about 5 American dollars). That was a nice surprise. However, they forgot to take off the security tag, so I have to go back tomorrow before I can wear them, haha.
I've still got some studying to do tonight, so I'm going to get to it.
I hope everything is going well at home, praying for you all!
Today was a really amazing day. Despite not sleeping well again, we didn't have to wake up super early today! (The original plan was to go to market at 5 am to buy food for the weekend). Delia, Edison, and I left the house at around 7:30 and Albino dropped us off at the market. We were there for a long time, there was so much to buy! We took the bus back and got home a little after 9:30.
I can honestly say that I am beginning to feel accepted, and it feels amazing. I cannot thank God enough for that. Edison is really good about asking good questions that really tests my Spanish. He is learning English also, so we were working on some different words while we waited for the bus. The three of us just talked about life and I enjoyed that a lot.
When we got back, it was into the kitchen. We had breakfast, bread (yay) and something that reminded me of liquidy oatmeal in a mug. It was definitely filling! We started getting a few things ready for lunch.
The last Saturday of each month is the house event. Which consists of everyone being here, cooking, and just doing life together. Another part of it is a little seminar where Albino does a lesson on important things to know in life. We made some goals for the month and the rest of the year, and it was really kind of fun to share how we all do things differently.
1 o'clock rolled around and we were all starving, so back into the kitchen we went to finish lunch. Edison is going to culinary school, so he taught me a little tips and tricks with cutting vegetables. We fried up potatoes, made rice, cooked up some beef and peas, and sautéed onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Everything but the rice was mixed together and when it was time to eat, it was the mixture on top of a bed of rice. We didn't end up eating until around 3:30. While we ate, we watched Shrek.
As we were working on lunch, Delia, Edison, and Misael were asking me some things about the United States. I got to share with them some things about it, and even some pictures. They can't get over how tall people are in America! I told them that I'm considered pretty short, and they explained that I was taller than average here in Peru ;)
Misael and I got to talking a little bit more about Peru, and now I have a "date" next week! He offered to take me out to eat (which I can't turn down) and to show me around the city, which I'm really excited about! He also said that if I ever wanted to go sit in on any of his classes that I could join him whenever!
Since lunch was so late, I don't think we're eating dinner tonight. That's ok, I'll munch on some snacks! One of the goals I made today was to study my Spanish for at LEAST 20 minutes a day. Once this post is done, that's what I'm off to do!
Thank you to all who have been praying that I find acceptance and belonging here, it was a huge 360 for me!
(Still am frustrated because I can't rotate pictures!!!) Anyway, the first four pictures were from the walk I took yesterday. It was a pretty enough street, but I just got a weird feeling from it. Could've been the weather and the fact that I was breathing in exhaust fumes the whole time! The fifth picture is coming up the street that I'm living on. If you look closely, you can just see the front of the house. I went down to the bakery myself yesterday too, and the bag in my hand in the last picture had all of our bread in it. The bread here is AMAZING and I already have a favorite. It's called mantequilla (which is butter in Spanish). The cover the bread in butter and then bake it. I've never had anything else like it, but it's my favorite and great with tea.
I'm a little frustrated right now, I was about half way through writing this when I accidentally closed out of the page and lost it all :/ So here we go! Part two starts now.
I feel like I missed a lot from yesterday even though I posted twice. It's all a blur though. My big event was moving from the Rodriguez's guest room into my new shared room. I have the top bunk, and it was tough making the bed, considering that there's about a foot of space between the top of the bare mattress and the ceiling. I have two drawers, three hangers, and a shelf in the bathroom for my things. I've gotten really creative with space! This'll help a lot when I go off to college, I'll be a pro! I didn't sleep well at all, and I think it's because of another big change. A new room, shared with two girls I hardly know and who don't speak English. I'm thankful that God is giving me the strength to handle this!
This morning, I was up early again. It's hard not to be up early, since the sun rises at 5:30 here. I went upstairs for breakfast. Since the jovenes haven't been around much, there's hardly any food left in the kitchen. I'm pretty sure that rice is all that's there at this point. So until we get out to get groceries, I'm eating with the Rodriguez's.
Sandy invited me to go on her weekly walk with a couple of her other missionary friends, and I'm so glad I went! It was nice to meet new people and, honestly, speak English and not have to constantly be embarrassed about how poor my Spanish is (I've definitely been struggling with this). We went uphill for a long time, it seems like halfway up the mountain! It was refreshing though, the air was clearer, the houses are beautiful, and it was so quiet! At the top of our walk, we stopped and looked down the mountain. We were so high up, that we were eye level with the planes that were landing and taking off. Sandy said that I can go higher, and be able to see the tops of the planes. That hike is DEFINITELY on my to-do list. One of Sandy's friends, Rebecca, suggested a Spanish tutor for me if I ever felt behind or like I need help. My basis in Spanish is good enough at this point, but I can definitely change my mind later on. This was also reassuring to hear! Sandy and I had some good heart to heart talks.
When we returned from the walk, I had a little bit of time before I went to the market with hermana Carmen, who is the maid that comes on Thursdays. We talked for a little bit, and I found out that her sister and I share a birthday! This was the first time that I've been able to take the bus. It was a shorter trip so it only cost 50 centimos. The market was PACKED. There were people everywhere! We walked through the meat part of the market, and I was so intrigued by what they had. I'm glad I don't have a weak stomach when it comes to these things. There were cow noses (fur and all), whole pig heads with the eyeballs open, whole pigs cut open wide, and none of it was refrigerated. All of this sits out in the open, with the flies and the dogs and random people touching the meat! And yet, I'm still going to eat it ;) We were there for about an hour and a half, there was so much to get and find.
When we got back, I had a little bit of downtime, so I started working on making a little schedule for myself. I also began updating my planner.
Sandy went and got Tobias from school, and then we had lunch. Albino put all of my money in a safe place, and I'm thankful for that because I have nowhere safe to put it.
After lunch (it was a late lunch) Sandy and I went to get Doriana from school, and I got to go in and see what it was like. It's huge! It's a pre-k through grade 12 school, so it has to be!
The two headed home while I decided to do a little bit more exploring by myself. I went down one of the nearby streets until it ended. I did not like this street and didn't feel very safe. It was a good experience though and I'm glad that I know now what is over there. I'll post pictures later!
When I got back, I talked with Albino a little bit about some more duties I'll have. Every Thursday night is bible study with all the jovenes. So my job is to boil water for tea and get everything set for that, as well as go down to the market to buy bread. It's fun and easy and it makes me feel useful!
I was telling Sandy that one of my goals is to start eating better, because I haven't been really. It's SOOO nice because food and produce is so cheap here! An avocado is less than 50 U.S. cents. I can't wait to start cooking on my own and stay accountable.
Bible study rolled around, and turned out to be just us girls! I of course have my bible in English, so when my turn came to read the next verse, I was stuck trying to translate it on the spot. Let's just say that was wildly embarrassing and difficult. BUT I was vulnerable and took a risk so I'm proud.
We're reading through the book of John (in Spanish, it's San Juan). We were in chapter 3, I can't quite remember the verse, but it basically said that God gives life to whoever his wants to. So who does God want to give life to? Everyone! That was really encouraging to me.
After bible study, Delia showed me the kitchen where I'll be cooking with them. It's very small, but cozy! I'll try to get some pictures this weekend!
I've noticed that I end up posting a couple of times a day, oops! That'll probably slow down once I get busier. Right now is just a really slow transitional time.
Anyway, I've got a huge prayer request.
I was talking with Sandy a little while ago. She had been talking with one of her friends about the ministry that they do in the villages. The family of 3 go every Saturday to a village about 45 minutes away and minister to, play with, and help care for the children. There are 45 kids, to the 3 adults. This ministry really does need help. They also send two other girls on Fridays to a different village about and hour and a half away. There are only 15 kids, but an extra hand would always be nice.
My big decision here, is deciding between this ministry and the after school program, Corason. Sandy and I talked a little bit, and Corason get help from all over the world, there's never a shortage of volunteers.
Right now, I am going to switch over and accompany the family and the two girls to the villages to work with those students. I really like the idea of this one because it is lesser known and the truly NEED help. Also, I'll be able to travel around and explore more. I'll get to experience more of the Quechua culture as well, and maybe even pick up a little on the language! If I choose this ministry, I could potentially go with the two girls as early as this Friday.
Your prayers are greatly appreciated this time as I wonder if this is the right choice!
I haven't even been here for a week yet, and there's already a list of things that I TOTALLY could have used. Here's a few of the things I should've brought (and why) but I didn't:
Sandals: Like most American homes, you take your shoes off in the house. However, most Peruvians have house shoes, or slippers. The Rodriguez's have crocs (which I love). I'm borrowing Sandy's and I'm so thankful that she's letting me until I get my own! I was tossing up buying crocs before I left, but didn't think I would need them. Oh well. That just gives me another excuse to go out again ;)
An extra phone charger: Today, my iPhone charger broke! Thankfully, I have my laptop charger, so I can text, email, blog, and FaceTime off of that. But I do want my phone for pictures. Today while in town, I discovered that electronics and accessories are very expensive, so I'm not looking forward to forking that over.
A book of my favorite recipes: As I cook with the other students, there will be times that I'm going to want to cook them something that I would typically eat in America. Thank goodness we have technology so that I can look them up, but sometimes, it's much easier to just have it written out.
A purse: I did bring my little over-the-shoulder backpack, which is great! However, there's something a little unsettling about having your things out of your sight. I would love to have brought my purse so I can have it next to me rather than behind.
Today was full of adventures and big steps (in my opinion)! This morning started off like the rest of them have: Felicity calling my name and knocking on my door when Albino and Sandy aren't around ;) I threw some breakfast together and got ready.
Albino, Ana, and I went to the village of Urcos to take care of some business (as I said in my last post with the pictures). While they were doing that, I was able to wander the streets by myself and explore. I wasn't nervous at all, and I thank God for answering those prayers! The trip there was about an hour, and GUESS WHAT I FINALLY SAW?! That's right, I saw a llama. It was tied up in front of the police station. Every time we go somewhere, Albino asks if I want to drive, and I definitely do not think I'm ready for that yet. Someday maybe ;)
When we got home, we had lunch and I took a nap. Sometimes I think I'm finally used to the altitude, until I go exploring uphill for an hour and come back absolutely exhausted!
Afterwards, I decided to brave the city by myself, so I headed to the store. I needed shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, body wash, and the like. At stores in Peru, those kinds of things are in display cases behind counters, so you have to ask for them. I did okay, until I got home and realized I got body LOTION instead of body WASH. Oops. There's always tomorrow. Besides that and almost getting hit by a taxi, it went well!
Dinner was leftovers, and soon after the kids went to bed, the rest of us had a meeting with the jovenes. I met Emanuel, Ana, Anita, Delia (Day-Leah), and RuthMary. We talked about the gatherings that we're having this weekend. FINALLY I get some pizza on Saturday! And on Sunday, everyones parents are coming for dinner. Except for mine, which makes me sad :(. But, I'll get to finally try guinea pig!
Albino also shared some of my jobs, some I didn't even know I had! I am going to spend a week with each of the students, going to work and school. Then, I'll write a short biography on them for the website, which I'll also be managing and taking pictures for.
Tomorrow I move into the room! Delia is one of my roommates. She's really outgoing and funny and I'm sure we'll be fast friends. She drives a front end loader for her work, and there's a chance I'll be going with her to work, yikes! Thursday, her and I are going to go grocery shopping for everyone.
I will be eating with the Rodriguez's still, since there is nothing but rice in the kitchen for me to cook! Sometime next week, Sandy and I will be going to visit Corason, the after school program, to see what that's like.
I'm not going to lie, I was DREADING moving into the shared rooms. I was still so afraid of being disliked and judged and excluded. After meeting the other students though, I am much more at peace.
God is SO, so good!! :)
Today I went to Urcos with Albino and Ana, one of the other jovenes in the house. While they were working on some different things, I got some time to do some exploring on my own. I went through some construction and down a little neighborhood street, which are the pictures from 1 to 7 and the last one. Itrurned back around at some point and went up the other way, and you can see that in the 8th picture. On the way back to Cusco, we stopped in the plaza and bought a bag of pancitos (little bread loaves) like in the 9th picture.
We got emails back from the after school program! Sandy and I will be heading there sometime this week to check the place out, see what they need, and then I'll be able to begin my time volunteering!
I was starting to get a little bored today, so any chance I got, I was out. I watched Toby and Felicity while Albino and Sandy took Doriana to school, then got a little alone time at the house while they took Toby to school. When Sandy came back, she took Felicity and I on a walk down to the exchange house to change my dollars into soles. I was really worried about the condition of my bills (they aren't perfect) but the woman barely looked at them other than to make sure it was all there. We took the long way home and Sandy explained how the bus system works and what would be best for me. It was a lot to take in but I think I'm finally ready to take these things on by myself!
After going with to pick up Toby from school and lunch, I watched him and Felicity again while everyone else was away, and even had a little time to watch tv.
Tomorrow, Albino, Sandy, and I are headed to a different village about an hour away (I'm terrible at remembering names) for some business. While they take care of that, I'll be able to explore the area on my own a little bit, which I'm excited about. Maybe this time I'll remember my camera!
If there is enough time when we get back, I'll be heading to the store! (A girl can only use a travel size toothpaste for so long! ;)
Pictured below are soles! The coin is worth 5 soles.
The sun comes up SO early here! I woke up this morning thinking that I had slept until the afternoon, but in reality, it was 6:30. We had probably the best pancakes I've ever eaten for breakfast (I had brown sugar on mine ;).
On Sundays, the Rodriguez's like to try different churches, but today we went to one of their favorites called Vida (meaning "Life" in Spanish). There were less people than at LifeQuest, but the feel was very similar. I was greeted by so many people, and felt very welcomed. I didn't recognize many of the songs, but I loved them all the same. One song I did know, and it was the Spanish version of Big Daddy Weave's "The Lion and the Lamb". One of the well known lines in English is "For who can stop the Lord Almighty?" In Spanish it is "Quien como el señor Dios fuerte". I love the line in English, and love it in Spanish too :)
After church we went home for a late lunch of hamburger casserole, with marshmallows for dessert and a gussanito (gummy worm).
Once rest time was done, I helped get Doriana and Toby ready for school, we packaged all of their candy up to give to their classmates.
The kids were occupied and I had a little bit of time to talk with Sandy about my plans for while I'm here. She is sending out emails today! One to the orphanage (yay!) and another to one of the area schools who are looking for some after school help for the students. In addition to these two things, I'll be helping the family get the community center up and running, and watching the house while they are gone, just to be sure that at least someone is in the house. I'll also work with the other jovenes (young people) who live in the house doing group discussions as well as leading a bible study! I'm really excited about these opportunities, because both teaching and youth ministry have been interest of mine as far as pursuing a career. I get to experience both while I'm here!
I got to FaceTime with the youth group tonight too! (If you're reading this, I love and miss you :).
Right now I'm sitting in a chair writing, but also watching the candidates for the Cusco elections, which are coming up in October. The way that the candidates campaign is something I've never seen before. There are literally parades, with everyday people putting balloons, flags, banners, air horns, and speakers on their cars and driving through the streets as they honk and play music. Today, Toby, Felicity, and I watched one of the parades (I couldn't tell you who the candidate was) and one truck had a whole band in the bed of his truck. Could you imagine if that happened in the U.S? I think we could have even bigger problems than we do now!
Tomorrow, Sandy and I will be heading into town to get my dollars changed to soles, so I can finally go shopping and get more shampoo!