Saturday, June 27, 2009

Before leaving for Argentina I remember talking to my mom and saying how I was really excited to get to know the group of students from Wheaton who will be here. I told her that there was one girl in the group that just kinda rubbed me the wrong way, and I couldn´t put my finger on it, but I thought it was that she intimidated me. Anyway, it just so happened (coincidence - I think not) the other day that the group I was in split apart and I found myself sitting in a coffee shop with this same girl to do homework before we needed to be somewhere in 2 hours. We had planned to study and write some of our papers, but ended up talking for 2 hours over coffee and medialunas. We shared our hopes and fears and stories of things God has done in our lives and lessons we´ve learned through the years. It was amazing. One of those talks where you come away refreshed and envigorated. What a joy to begin a relationship with this sweet girl! Of course it was God who orquestrated this coffee date. I am still learning about the damage that can be done when we form opinions about others and don´t take the time to get to know them and better understand. I almost missed out on getting to know this friend. There are applications for this lesson all over. I went to a Pentecostal church service the other day. And the lady everyone was staring at on the bus because of the ¨strange¨things she was doing. I really want to allow God to change my thoughts, to humble me so that I can look at His people through new eyes that love regardless and yearn to understand.

In other news. I went to Iguazu Falls today. The most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. Words can not describe the majesty of God displayed here. We leave in about 2 hours on a 24 hour bus ride back to Buenos Aires. One more week there with my family, and then off to Southern Chile. Half of our group will be traveling with a band to various churches to do projects and give concerts. I am excited about the group thats going and what God will do with this great opportunity!

There is a boy here who asked for my email, and my friend is trying very hard to set us up. She told him that he has 8 days to win my heart since we leave soon. Haha! we will see. . . .

Today I stood in Argentina but could see both Paruguay and Brasil, so now I´ve ¨seen¨ the majority of the South American countries! : )

I really miss my family. They are the best and I can´t wait to see them again.

Love and besos from Argentina!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Greetings from Uruguay! Went to Rosario, Argentina last weekend, we´re in Uruguay now, and next weekend we head to Igyazu (def spelled that wrong) Falls. Yep - we´re really busy. During the week is class and life with families. I love it here. On Wed after class and lunch (I have this new goal to always order things from the menu that I don´t recognize, so I ate a ham sandwich on pumpkin instead of bread!) I went with a couple friends to a really nice coffe shop and had a submarino. It is basically a huge glass of hot milk and cream and then a big bar of chocolate is dropped in like a sub - AMAZING! : )

In other news - my hair is short now. Prepare yourselfs. I like it, but it´s taking some getting used to.

I also rode on a motorcycle the other day, which was pretty fun. I screamed a lot and the whole town of Pacheco, Arg came out of their houses to see what was up.

As I walk home every day from the bus stop, I see this group of 5 black cats in the same spot every day. It´s weird. I don´t know why I´m writing this, but there you go. I decided that rather than be scared by a black cat, I would try to scare THEM instead. It´s kinda comical. : )

Anyway, I´ve been thinking a lot today. I´ve heard the stories of many people during my time here. They are just like the stories of people in the States - stories of loss, broken hearts, abuse, addiction, poverty, hopeless . . . Life isn´t always hot milk and chocolate. This morning I needed to be at the ferry station at 8am to catch the boat to Uruguay. Since I live so far from the city, I needed to leave my house before 6am. I knew it would be pitch black outside, and not entirely safe. A man who lives at Kairos accompanied me the whole way to the boat station. It was so incredibly kind of him to do. He didn´t need to, but did out of the kindness of his heart. He watched out for me and my safety on the crowed train, and as we passed through a rough neighborhood. As we traveled, he told me bits and pieces of his ¨story¨. He has not had an easy life, and has been through so much. Anyway, long story short, I met up with the group and he left. A girl from the Wheaton group began to tell me her opinion of this guy, my friend, based on his rough appearance and her impressions. The words she spoke cut me and brought tears to my eyes. I started to think about how many times we make judgements on others, voice our opinions, think thoughts, without knowing their stories. Who am I to have an opinion on others. My awesome God loves them. I need to just shower them in love as well. And listen. This experience has changed me. Hopefully, you can also take something away from it. . . .

Anyway - my thoughts here are scattered, but maybe you can make some sense of them. I´m sure I´ve said this before, but I am learning not only Spanish, but also about people and culture and life. For every day here, I wish I had 5 to process, but I´m doing the best I can with what I have. I am so blessed to be here and have this experience. It´s not always fun and it isn´t easy, but it is good. I am so blessed with the friends I am making. Real, true friends. It will be terribly hard to leave them. I´m just gonna keep living in each moment - it´s the only way. I love you all and miss you. God bless.



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I am sitting here with my friend - that´s right - I have legit Argentine friends now!!! : ) It´s pretty cool. I´m getting to know two girls named Kayla and Celeste, and they are gifts from God. It is also so cool to get to know the family that is the community that lives and works here at Kairos. Christian men and women in all different places in life who are incredibly loving and lovable.

Saturday I spent the day with my family and then went to the Argentine soccer game in the huge stadium in Buenos Aires. It was wild. There was so much energy and noise and they WON! Such an incredible experience.

On Sunday I went to my first asado which is like an Argentine barbeque. The meat was cooking on the grill-thing, and it was more meat than I have ever seen at one time in my life. I helped prepare food with the women, we ate, and then out came the guitar and singing and mate. It was so sweet. Then I went to church with Kayla and my family. You all should have seen my face when I chugged my ¨cup¨at communion and realized that it was real wine, and not this grape juice stuff. : )

Classes are good. The transportation to and from school is long, but worth it. It is so fun to go to class, eat new food out for lunch and then spend the rest of the day with friends in the city.

My Spanish is improving A LOT. It isn´t easy and is discouraging at times, but this is so good. I am getting a lot better at understanding, and speaking as well. I am to the point where I don´t always have to think before I speak now, which sounds wierd, but is a very good thing. : )

Yesterday I babysat for the children in my family while the parents went to a class. They had never had anyone other than their grandparents stay with the children before. We had tons of fun. I love these little ones, and it is getting easier to communicate with them. The funny story is that after they had been asleep for 2 hours, and I had been working on homework I decided to shower so I could go to bed. Within minutes of my becoming soaking wet and soapy the little girl started screaming in here sleep, and I went to her, dripping. In retrospect, it is funny . . .

Anyway, I´m outta time. God is good. I love this city, and the darling people. Wish i could write more. I have so many stories. Praise God because my left eye started swelling up again (don´t know if you remember when this happened before), and the swelling is gone now! Tomorrow we leave for a weekend trip. On Monday I am going to bake chocolate chip cookies with my family! They are very excited.

I love you all. Hope you are well. Be good. Know that you are loved and in my thoughts and prayers. Goodbye for now . . .

Un Besito,


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Okay - I´m warning you now that this is gonna be a stream of conciousness post . . .

I am on a computer now, but I don´t know how much time I have, so here we go. I now live with an Argentine family. The father is the director of Kairos so we live in a house behind the center. I brought a couple pictures from home to show them and I was embarassed to show them a picture taken in our dining room cause it is the size of a couple rooms in their house. The house has hot water and I am safe and loved. There are 2 children - Juaqin (don´t know how to spell it) is a 6 year old little boy and beautiful Julieta is 5. They are so sweet and adorable - well behaved and loving. Julieta holds my hand whenever we go anywhere and oh, I just love them. My parents, Ariel and Nancy are incredibly hospitable, loving, and caring. They worry about me while I´m at school during the day, and are just so kind. After dinner, which is anywhere from 9 to 11pm, i stay up and talk with them about everything. They are amazing. I go to class at the Instituto Biblico Buenos Aires in the city Mon-Thurs. We learn Spanish with other Wheaton students and professors. It takes me over an hour by bus to get to school. The transportation system here is incredible. I took 4 different buses just today to go various places in the city. It´s really cheap though. I eat lunch for, like, 2 bucks sometimes. Lots of meat. Coffee. Dulce de Leche and Matte. If you don´t know what these are, look them up - very interesting cultural. The people here are so nice - we have to talk to random people often for assignments, and they are so kind and love to talk. My Spanish is improving a lot, but I still have a long way to go. It is easier to undertand and speak as well. My parents here are very helpful. We have a lot of homework - the afternoons involve exploring the city and we write a lot of papers. This city (the capital) has incredible culture and history. I have a lot to think about. Some people from our group are living with families who have opened up their homes, but have no hot water, little food, 2 rooms for a house, and live in very dangerous neighborhoods. I worry for the girls placed in these neighborhoods. This is life for so many, though. I am so blessed to be where I am now with a hot shower every day, plenty of food and a loving family in a safe neighborhood. The gender issues with this culture are very different from the US. I have had a couple uncomfortable occasions with the men here. I stand out with blonde hair and imperfect Spanish. I hate how some men treat some women and that women in this world ever need to be scared. My family takes care of me, and the boys in our group help and I am safe, so don´t worry, but it is something i need to think about. The city is beautiful, very European, but I am not only learning about Argentina and Spanish, but about life. If you are reading this, you are blessed. More so than MANY people. This is an incredible experience and I am learning so much. On Saturday, I will be going to the huge soccer game between Argentina and Colombia. It´s a big deal. Soccer is a religon here. I am excited. I love you all. Thank you for being in my life. Congrats on getting to the end of this. : ) Till later, me.