Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another Day, More Rain

O.K. - it rained again today. the second time since we've been here. I convinced its because I washed the rest of our bed sheets . . there was plenty of sunshine but as soon as I hung the last one the clouds rolled in.

We had quite the experience today. We had to go see about the kids uniforms for school. We went to two places for prices. The first one right down the street wrote out a price list for us. The prices for everything vary based on the size. Seriously, a size 8 shirt will cost $.60 less than a size 10. This makes getting prices time consuming because we have to give every one's sizes for each piece. The first place was pretty fast but we realized later that we didn't get a complete list. We spent well over an hour at the second place, which is on the other side of town, having the kids try on everything. Poor Christian has never taken the kids to buy clothes before - he was tired, hungry, and overwhelmed by the amount of clothing getting passed back and forth. The nice lady in the shop kept a good list and managed to get every one's sizes.
The kids need a uniform and a gym suit. The lady at the second shop offered us the minimum amount of everything and she'll through in the school hats for free. Even still, the total was 2,000 soles (3.16 soles = $1). We need to talk to someone tomorrow about what is REALLY required and what is extra. We don't want to buy more than they need. Then we have to buy books and we have lists with two million bullet points of things the kids have to have for school. Gavin has to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste among other things.
That reminds me, today in the public bathroom at Sagafalabella, THE fancy store in Arequipa, the girls and I had to wait in line to wash our hands because at 4:00p.m. there were 10 ladies brushing their teeth. Not quite sure what was going on there but is was certainly odd.
The kids and I cleaned the house yesterday. There is a constant layer of dust/ash on everything. We swept and washed all the floors. It reminded me a lot of our house on Wopowog Rd. in CT. Our house here is spacious, has a strange layout, and tons of windows. Very much like our old house. We are enjoying Arequipa very much. Our outing today fried our brains - all that Spanish and we need to understand and be understood. Afterward we went to find a place to get Christian hair cut. We found a place, Christian brought pictures and tried his best to explain what he wanted but it didn't quite come out like he wanted. But lucky for us when it was over and we asked how much we were told, "5 soles." His hair cut only cost $1.58. I guess that was a good price for a not so good hair cut.
I took a lot of pictures while we were out to day I will try to post them later.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I will have to bring my camera with me the next time I go to the market - my words won't give you the full effect. I have made a second visit to a very sweet lady named Adela. I am going to make couscous tomorrow. The price of food here is flip-flopped from the States, which is good for us. It makes eating well a lot cheaper than at home.

small jar processed peanut butter: $5
10 white flour tortillas: $4.50
Betty Crocker cookie mix: $5.00

2 eggplant, 2 red peppers, 2 yellow pepper, 2+ pounds carrots, fresh basil, 3 turnips, 3 leeks, 4 cucumbers, 2+pounds onions, 1+ pounds of green beans, 3 zucchini, and a bag of hand washed chick peas: $10
She also threw in a free pepper for mi esposo. Last time she gave me some free ginger root.

I have to say that I probably look pretty silly with my dictionary in the market and at the grocery store, but oh well. I am managing to get what we need and am even managing to speak and be understood rather that smiling, pointing and grunting.

School is going well for the kids and us. I know Christian is looking forward a break this week-end. We are both studying hard. The kids are doing great and working very hard on their studies. They have a few more weeks to work on their current schooling full-time before they start at the International School.

Keep praying for us. Honestly, everything is going great but I am very tired. The air up here at 8,000 ft is a bit thinner. I get winded going up to do laundry. It actually rained a little today. That was only because I decided to water the lawn today and wash our bed sheets . . .

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crazy Gringos Play Ball

Well, Christian is feeling much better today. Thanks to all of you who prayed. We had an adventurous afternoon and evening. After siesta we went to the park down the street and played a little soccer with the kids. We played half court (the field is a basketball court) because some other kids were playing on the otherside. Well I noticed that eventually they stopped playing and just watched us. I think we were better than T.V. - A large family of gringos playing soccer was a sight to behold. We were slipping and sliding on the painted concrete. It was fun and I'm sure the Peruvians had a good laugh.
After a little futbol we headed off to get a taxi and go to Plaza Vea. It is like Walmart, kind of. We were able to get some school supplies, a froggie trash can (for all that toilet paper), and hair clippers. It is a little embarrassing that the lady working at the store spoke more English than we did Spanish. But we got what we needed and then headed of to the centro. We walked many streets looking for a bookstore to by a Spanish/English dictionary. Funny we didn't own one. Now many streets and two book stores later we own two.
We took a taxi back across town to Pollo Real. Picked up 2 chickens, 2 fries and 1 Inca Cola and headed home. The chicken was great but I feel a little sick to my stomach - maybe it is because the chicken man put five raw chickens on a spit, tied them, wiped his hands on a towel and put our food in the containers with his salmonella ridden hands! Oh, well. I'm sure its not the first time and I know it won't be the last.
Spanish classes are going well. I am thoroughly enjoying going to class, and so is Christian. Really, we are blessed in a very special way to be living here and learning Spanish - it is such a blessing - parasites and all. There have been many moments since we arrived that I have wondered why we are here. We, in and of ourselves, have nothing to offer Peru. They don't need our culture, habits, cooking, language . . . .nothing. We have nothing to give worth anything except Christ. I pray HE will be seen in us.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Revenge of the Germs

We've been here for two weeks and we have all been fairly healthy until now. Christian has a terrible gastrointestinal issue. He can't eat, can't sleep, can't study, can't throw up . . . .he is just down right miserable. Please pray for his health. I don't think I ever seen him quite like this. Nothing seems to help, so just pray, He has class at 8:30 in the morning.

We started our Spanish classes today and the kids started home school again after a month and a half break. It has been a busy day. I still have a couple of hours of home work to do so this will be short. Christian is in class for 4 hours a day, 2 hours of practice and 2 hours of grammar. I am only doing 2 hours of practice in the afternoon right now so I can be home with the kids while Christian is at class, then we switch. We were supposed to do 2 hours of grammar together so I will do that at home until March when the kids start at the International School.

Please pray for good health for all of us.
Homework is calling me . . . .

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rock concert

Hi this is Gabe on the Sunday be for we left. I went to a concert staring Toby Mac and Hawk Nelson. Dad,Emma,Kenny,and I went. It was at the Bob Cat stadium we sat really high up. Here is picture of Emma, me and Hawk Nelson. The movies are of Hawk Nelson and Tobymac.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Tid Bits

Here are a few more things that make our life here all the more interesting and comical:

The washing machine is plugged into an extension cord that runs down the side of the house into the kid's bathroom window.

I have to unplug the washer to plug in the nightlight so the kids can find the bathroom in the dark.

The meat counter at El Super is self serve - pick your steaks and scoop your own ground beef.

The garbageman rings bell so you know he is coming - he doesn't come even close to the time marked in the paper.

Our district in Arequipa, Yanahuara, is Quechua for "black underwear"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tid Bits

As we were landing in Arequipa Tuesday I pointed out El Misti to the kids and told them it was an active volcano. Gavin's first question is, "Are we going to die?" I quickly explained that the volcano was sleeping and we had nothing to worry about. A few seconds later he looks at me and says,
"We're going to die here? I hope it doesn't happen (volcanic eruption) because we'll all die and that will be the end of our mission . . but we'll be in heaven so that's O.K."
Boy that kids keeps us laughing and on our toes. Today he went to hail a taxi for me w/o permission. No fear . . .
Classes start on Monday for Christian and me. The kids are all registered for school, too. I will be going to school 1/2 time until March when the kids will be in school all day. I will then go the full 4 hours while they are at school. Until then We will continue to home school in the mornings while Christian is in class and then I will go in the afternoon. The kids will have to wear uniforms to school. All the kids wear white shirts, gray pants or skirt. and a green sweater. Gabe get to wear a green Blazer and a tie instead of the sweater. I am looking forward to seeing this.
I wish you could all be here and see, smell, and experience everything with us. I will do my best to share all that with you.

Here is a short list of things that make life here different and interesting:
I do the laundry on the roof.
I look at a volcano when I do laundry.
Toilet paper goes in the trash can.
Paper napkins are single ply.
Cold water only to wash clothes and dishes.
We have cable T.V. - first time ever.
The meat counter at El Super was self serve.
We live 8,000 ft up and the air is thin.

View of El Misti from our roof.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Nice Steady Closet

Getting out of Lima was not as simple the second time around. We had a taxi pick us up around 9a.m. to take us to the airport. Our flight to Arequipa was supposed to leave around 11:20. We planned to have enough time to check our bags, eat breakfast at the airport, and get through security. All was going very well. We checked our carry-ons so we wouldn’t have to lug them around, not to mention that they we VERY over weight for carry-on luggage. We took our time at the food court (did you know Papa John’s serves breakfast?we opted for McD.), paid our airport tax of $6.25 a person (tickets are invalid w/o the paid tax sticker), got down to the gates, checked the board only to find written next to our flight CANCELADO. Even you non Spanish speakers can figure that one out, CANCELED. The flight had been canceled while we went through security.
So back to the ticket counter we go. The line at the LAN counter was huge! So being resourceful Christian put the Latin culture to work to help us out. He got the attention of a LAN worker and pointed out our predicament : canceled flight + last in line + 5 kids=remove blockade and put family with kids at the head of the groups line. People down here don’t like to see kids cry or make them wait. We were thankful to not have too long of a wait. However, it almost didn’t matter because the next flight to Arequipa was at 3:50p.m. we now had 5 hours to wait in the Lima airport.
We found the nicest spot we could near a fountain, under a skylight and set up camp. We ordered the most expensive cookies (not realizing what we were ordering) just to sit in this cafĂ©. The price was worth it since we spent a good 2.5 hours sitting there playing cards and trying to figure out how to call the school in Arequipa to tell them our change in plans. With that dome we made our way back to security to head to our gate. We bypassed the tax booth since we had already paid several hours earlier, well – since our tax stickers had already been scanned once they weren’t valid anymore. I was about ready to scream. The lady at the counter said it would be fine but now we were being told to go back down to the ticket counter to get it fixed. The kids and I planted ourselves on the floor along the glass wall in front of the security entrance. Christian returned in about 10 minutes with new stickers and we were on our way – through security again and to our gate. At this point all went well. We got on the plane – got to Arequipa just fine, and so did our luggage. People from our school meet us and brought us to our house where we meet the owner and signed our lease, we went shopping for some necessities, moved around a lot of beds, and got to bed very late.
The next morning we left the house at 9:45a.m. to go to ABC (that is the language school)to talk with some people there and see where it is. It is about a 15 minute walk from our house. We then proceeded to walk all over Arequipa. It is a beautiful city – we walked 4.5 hours that day. At almost 8,000 feet up the air is thinner and the sun stronger. We were all exhausted and sun burnt by the time we got home. Our boxes also arrived in Arequipa without a problem. It was nice to unpack our things and make this place home – even if it is only till August. As Gavin put it when we put his laundry away, “It is nice to have a nice steady closet.”

Monday, January 19, 2009

More Bus Pictures

Emma, Hannah and Tasa in front of the Murray's purple house.

We leave tomorrow and are not sure when we will have stable internet again. We are heading to our new home and are looking forward to getting settled. Please pray for our Spanish - we want to learn quickly and we want to learn well. Here are a few more pictures of our bus trip. Ciao, I am off to pack.
They looked thrilled, don't they?

Th view of the ocean off the cliff on the side of the road.

The Road to Puerto Supe

We had a great time with Tim and Hannah - it takes a lot to host the 7 of us.

Not many people hop on a bus to P.Supe during their first 5 days in Peru, but we did. With some much needed help from Adela we caught the bus in Lima, traveled to P.Supe - everyone on the bus thought the gringo kids were so cute (they would pat them and touch their hair when we got on and off) - everyone made sure the gringos got off at the right spot. They were almost cheering for us as we pulled up to the bus stop. We managed to get a taxi and arrive at the Murrays house.

Sunday morning Tim and Hannah took us to the next town over, Barranca, to catch a bus back to Lima. We got tickets and got right on the bus. We were lucky that the returning bus was cleaner than the first. We followed Tim's directions and got off at this plaza in Lima and managed, on our own to get a taxi, go to the store and get another taxi back to the house. We were tired but very happy we managed to do all that. The little boys fell asleep on the bus and wouldn't wake up when it was time to get off. Max sleep-walked off the bus and I had to throw Gavin over my shoulder. We were quite a sight. A very nice lady asked about the kids while we were figuring out where to catch the taxi. It was great how much I could understand. It is frustrating how little I can say (for those who know me well, that is exceptionally difficult for me.) The lady did warn us not to pay more than 6-7 soles for the taxi. Glad she did, the driver tried to charge us 12 soles.
Christian went back to the bus station today with Julio to drop off our boxes. We are going to have them bused to Arequipa. We leave tommorow for our new home. I can't believe we've only been here 6 days.

Here are some pictures of the road we traveled on

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Ocean in January

There is nothing quite like swimming in the Pacific Ocean in January.

This movie was taken yesterday on the beach in Puerto Supe, Peru (3hrs north of Lima), where we came to visit fellow SAMers, Tim and Hannah Murray. The sky was white as usual here but we still managed to get burned. P. Supe is a small fishing town - the fishing industry is in decline, however. It is a pretty depressed area. The trip on the dirty crowed bus was well worth it. We got to catch up with Tim and Hannah, go to the beach, and to watch Prince Caspian (in Spanish). The kids have been dying to see that movie and it is kind of ironic that they had to come to Puerto Supe to see it. God seems to blessing them that way - the kids are being great about everything. They got to see Hawk Nelson and TobyMac last Sunday night in Charlotte. (Gabe is working on a post about that.) When Tim said they were showing Prince Caspian for the town (only 3 people came besides us) the kids were so excited. I am so glad knows the desires of our hearts and shows his love in such small but specific ways. You can't doubt his love when you remember all he does.

Good sleep after playing hard -

A few more pictures of Puerto Supe

Friday, January 16, 2009


Well, we went to INTERPOL this morning. They are the ones who put the warning at the beginning of all the DVD's warning you not to pirate them. It actually went quite smoothly. It was a challenge to find a taxi. i guess no one wanted to drive and hour across town. Once there we had our mug shots taken, several sets of finger prints made, and had our mouths examined so they could map our fillings. Loads of fun. We got our passports back, which was very nice and were told that we should get our visas when we come back through in March. (We have to go to Pucallpa for the field conference in March.) At that time we can begin the paper work for the kids. It really couldn't have gone better.
Tomorrow we are going to visit fellow SAMers up in Puerto Supe. We are taking a 2.5 hour bus ride. It should be interesting. I have finished REpacking our boxes. I made the 6 boxes into 5 because we are going to have them shipped by bus to Arequipa. I took out all the valuable things and put them in the carry-ons. I will be very glad to unpack once and for all when we get to our house in Arequipa.
As I sit here and type I am wondering if I shouldn't have been more careful about eating local produce. You really shouldn't eat salad and things that you haven't properly washed - but while out we've all eaten a few tomatoes and some lettuce. My stomach isn't so happy right now. Everyone else is fine (thankfully). The kids are all outside playing crazy jumping games. We are waiting to go out and get some dinner - pollo a la brasa. (That is Peruvian fast food).
I have to admit it is a bit frustrating not being able to speak Spanish . . but not as much a you might think. We are getting along pretty well for our few semesters. I am really looking forward to learning and speaking well. The kids are already picking up a few things. I hope we learn half as fast as them.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Taxi Trouble

I wish you could all be here to experience some of the crazy things we are doing. We just went to see the man who will help us get our resident visas. The office had piles of passports and paperwork everywhere. It was a bit scary to watch as people came in looking for their papers and the man dug through drawers and piles looking for them. We are learning that nothing ever goes as planned and a quoted price means nothing. We ended up paying twice as much for the papers and leaving our passports (C and A) and the kid's legalized birth certificates. I am so glad God is so much bigger than the government of any country.

We went with Adela, she is the house help. She is very sweet and speaks no English - the man at the visa office spoke no English . . . it was interesting. We all piled in a taxi to get there - kids in back hatch-grown ups in seats. Well, on the way home we stopped a taxi drver with a sation wagon purposing to return the same way. He said the kids couldn't get in back so we quick piled in the back seat, all 7 of us. We did it fast and the kids aren't so little anymore . . . we were squished. We couldn´t move at all. Seriously, there was zero movement. I made it two blocks before I started to freak out. I have never had a panic attack or any such thing, so I don't know what happened to me. I couldn't breathe and the thought of riding for 10 minutes like that was too much. I started shouting, "No puedo! No puedo!" I can´t, I can´t. Christian thought I was kidding but eventually we stopped and reloaded a little better - I was fine but that was scary. Next time we will take our time and get in the cab well.

New Friends

We have now been in Peru for a full day and night. Other than being a little tired we are all doing well and enjoying the sights, sounds, and new friends. Our flight was late getting in so we didn’t get to the guest house in Lima until 1 a.m. or so. Julio, Olga, and Heather meet us at the airport. We got all of our boxes back to the guest house without a problem. There was no meal on the flight so we were all quite hungry when we got in. Christian and Julio went out got us braised chicken and fries. We all ate together at 1:30 in the morning. Gavin was so tired he was like a zombie walking in circles. Then we all went off to bed. The house is really nice and having been to Africa and Indonesia nothing here has really surprised us. I have to remember that this IS all new for the kids. Things smell and bit different and look abit different but they are using “all their courage” and doing a great job.
We spent the day out and about with Olga, Julio, and their two youngest girls, Miranda and Natalia. Mimi is Emma’s age and Nati is Beth’s age. They seemed to have a great time together. We saw some sights in Lima. We went to Miraflores (I thought of you Shelly W.) Then after a long day we came back to the house. All the kids played crazy games of tag in the yard (VERY small walled in grassy area.) while Olga, Heather and I went to the grocery store to get things for dinner. I made the kids quesadillas with avocado on the side and watermelon for dessert. Not to different. Baths for all and then off to bed. I have to get the boys up – they are in a separate room across the hall. Today we have an appointment for our resident visas. Pray that goes smoothly. Emma and Miranda (Mimi)
Beth and Natalia (Nati)

Olga and Me

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gabe - Live from the airport

Hi I am Gabe were in the Fort Lauderdale airport in this restaurant called Nathan's. It is soooo boring max fell a sleep bye gaBe.