Saturday, August 22, 2009

La Gripe

Well, it has been an interesting month. The first week of August was vacation from school for the whole family. The second week Christian went to Lima for a church planting conference and the kids and I went back to school after three weeks off for fear of "gripe porcina", swine flu. Christian had a wonderful time in Lima getting to know some of the guys from the Mil Palmeras church and I had fun driving for the first time since we've been here. I managed to get the kids back and forth to school every day until I tried to fix the problem with the blinkers and I accidentally left the key on and drained the battery. Needless to say we took public transportation the rest of the week. The kids were in school 4 days before Gavin came home with a fever. Our house has had a fever ever since! Christian came home and one by one they dropped like flies. High fevers that lasted 3 days plagued everyone (except me. I got to be Nurse Cratchet all week). The 4 youngest returned to school Friday after spending all of week three of August sick and delirious. Christian and Gabe are still feeling a bit under the weather but are slowly improving each day.
I am studying for my drivers exam right now. It is amazing how sensible the driving code is yet how NO ONE follows it. It is crazy. Driving here is crazy. It would figure however that as I study for my drivers test I see a headline yesterday that states, "No Drivers Licenses Until 2010". They are tightening the rules and changing regulations so that me they just aren't going to give out licenses until 2010 sometime. Sounds logical to me. So that leaves so big questions. It we take the test here in Arequipa do we have to come back with the paper work to get our licenses after we've already moved to Pucallpa?? Probably because the regulations are a such . . .so do we bother doing it here? I am told it is nearly impossible to pass the driving exam in Pucallpa. People want bribes so they fail you over and over again. So many questions.
We also just found out that we have to make an unexpected visit to Lima to pick up the kids resident cards. We thought we could wait till we moved but apparently not. We have chosen the over night bus trip experience. We will go in September and managed to get the appointment we need a immigration the same weekend friends and fellow SAMers arrive for their first term in Peru. It will be fun to see them in Lima and greet them when they arrive.
So, that is the latest from this side of the equator. You are all up there getting ready for school to start and our kids just finished their winter break. Actually, the kids have one week of school left before we take them out. We have 2 months before we head to Pucallpa and we are going to work on their studies at home to get them all caught up and ready for SAM Academy. I guess that means I only have one more week of language school . . . Christian has 2 more months and then we will be done here in Arequipa.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spanish Homonyms

La Playa:

where you park your car

where you play in the surf

Thursday, August 06, 2009

La Playa

We made the trip out to the beach today . . . you'd think that would mean bathing suits, sand buckets and suntan lotion . . . . but this is Peru. Nothing here is as it seems or as you would expect. We left Arequipa on a coach style bus (our Kombi would never make it back up the 8,000 ft climb back to Arequipa) - Less than clean, but adequate. Really, you can't expect much more for a 2.5 hour bus ride that only costs $2.67. The weather leaving the city was beautiful. We had swim suits and towels all backed just in case we found sunshine at the shore.

The road leaving town toward Lima and the coast felt curvier and bumpier than the road to Colca Canyon. I was sure I was going to lose my breakfast before we even spotted water. We drove through some very interesting landscapes. Pretty much just desert but an occasional strip-mall-style town or farm. The kids thought the little houses that dotted the mountain sides looked like Legos scattered on the ground.

As we approached the very hilly horizon we could see this strange gray stuff above the hill tops. We were hopping there was an enormous garbage pile burning some where producing this amount of "smoke" but alas, no burning rubbish just a thick, dark cloud line. It was rather astonishing to leave the sun light behind us and plunge into such a distinct cloud line. The road began to descend and the overcast sky, that we were driving through, rose higher and higher above us.

We finally arrived in Mollendo. The bus station is located on the outskirts of town. We decided to walk to the beach instead of take a taxi. We donned our sweatshirts and chose the road less traveled. I think we saw parts of town that only the local residents see. We were quite a spectacle for the locals as well. Our family of seven, plus our friends with the cute two year old and the baby are quite a sight where ever we go, but today was extra special for the people of Mollendo. Though Meghan and baby Mark were not with us, we still made up 9 of the 11 gringos in the entire coastal town. It is really funny to hear people yell out, very loudly, "Que gringuitos bonitos!" We were imagining how that would work if the roles were reversed. You would never hear some one in the States yell, "What sweet little Mexicans!" or "Look at the cute Chinese kiddies!" It just gives you a deeper insight into the culture we live in down here.

After our detour through the more "scenic" part of town we made it down to the plaza that over looks the ocean. Absolutely beautiful! While we were there we ran into one of Max's class mates and her family. They were visiting the beach for the day as well. It was fun to chat and get to know them better. We talked about school and family, the weather and beaches . . .then some how the conversation turned to birth control (I think the mom asked if we were having any more and how were we preventing it) I told her we were done and had a full house and that my hubby had visited the doctor and we have no worries. She had a million questions. I found it quite amusing that I having a conversation, in Spanish, over looking the Pacific Ocean, with people I had just met, about vasectomies. God works in mysterious ways. Hopefully he will believe us that he won't be impotent if he has it done (that is what the doctor had told him) and their marriage will be blessed.

We then went to eat lunch and splash in the ocean. A great time was had by all. Of course the kids all got there clothes wet after we had asked them not to - reminiscent of afternoons at Lake Michigan. The bus ride home was crowed and long. We are very thankful that no one got sick and nothing was stolen. Other than a lack of sun it was a great day for the beach, in the middle of winter, in Peru.