Monday came and Xara and I ran around town as we scurried to finish up final details for the students to arrive. Our first stop was the bank. I needed to exchange some money and she had some other business to take care of. I learned how to say, “Puede que Puedo cambiar algo de dinero,” which means, “may I exchange some money please.” It was my turn to go to the teller. I approached with confidence. I said my newly learned phrase and the teller mistook my confidence for fluency and began to talk to me so quickly as though he and I were totally on the same page. To his surprise, I knew nothing! I answered, “si” thinking it was the most logical answer. He then looked at me as if he were waiting for something. I looked back, but this time I was not so confident. My look gave my ignorance away. I then said, “yo entiendo, un poco,” I then summoned Xara to come to my rescue. It was goo thing as I basically had lied to the man when I had answered yes to his question.
The teller, Xara and I laughed and laughed. Soon the other teller joined in as well. I’m fairly certain the bank enjoyed our visit to their fine establishment. They were very somber and a little serious. Xara and I made friends that day. It was good.
We laughed our way through the streets, running into people we knew and taking absurd amounts of time to do the simplest of errands. As we finished our errands I came back to the house and finished up a few things here. I then joined Ariana and Xara for dinner (which is lunch time in the US). As we finished we got a call that the first students had arrived! Xara and I headed off to the bus station. We walked the mile there, then found out that they were at a different stop, so we walked another mile, then we came to find out they had actually stepped off their bus at the wrong town all together. We ended up standing around waiting for a bit. I was so curious to meet them as I’d not met them before. e
Soon enough we saw four Americanos walking towards us and we met up with them and it all changed!
In a good way.
Throughout the day students arrived and joined us. Our group steadily grew, until everyone who was to arrive was here.
That night we sat around a table and exchanged travel stories. We laughed, we listened. I watched as the students began to fade as their travels wearied them. The caretaker in me simply wanted to create refuge for them.
The group of students is varied. They are a huge gift. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know them.
I’ve enjoyed our times talking and listening to them, hearing bits and pieces of their stories and getting a sense for their hearts and relationships with Jesus.
I am thankful to be with students again, even for just a month.
Tuesday came and we toured the town. This was my first time to see the produce market as well as the goods market. We fist perused the famers’ market. The fruit and vegetables were incredibly deep in color and I was so in my element. We simply walked through to see what was there, then we traveled to the other side of town to see the goods market. Running through town is a bit like salmon swimming up stream. We stand out like Dorothy when she first arrives in OZ.
Once we arrived to the second market we were given the option of what to do next. One young woman and I decided to stay at this market and then go back to the farmers’ market following. I bought another dress. (I may just be converting to a new freedom of dress wearing) We then headed back to the farmers’ market and I purchased some lovely fruit and vegetables for the week. It was hard not to want to buy everything.
The food is fresh and good here. Tuesday afternoon I cooked lunch for my house. I roasted butternut squash, sweet potato and cauliflower. Cooked some beans. Cut up some red pepper and also put out some bread and manchengo. (I love manchengo) It was a great feast. I’m eating predominantly vegetarian here and am loving it.
Tuesday afternoon everyone had the option of going out and my house stayed together, laughing, connecting and sharing. (I hear them now as I type. It’s a good good sound.)
We then headed down to Casa Tereza for the evening. We held our orientation and heard more about the students. I am so impressed with them. They inspire me and make me laugh and amaze me with their talent and intellect and honesty. I’m excited to get to know more of their stories as the time goes by.
As I sat listening to Ariana talk about her experience as a missionary for over 30 years and the loneliness of the beginnings I could actually feel the lonely and sadness wash over me. I suddenly was struck by the fact that I am going to be out of my home for 3 months. THREE MONTHS! I thought about what it must be like for those who choose to move their lives to a place where they do not know the language to give of themselves to another people. I wonder how that feels when they realize they can’t just go home when they want. I wondered if the students would feel any of this tension. I think it’s a good place to be.
I’m learning more than I thought. The fact that I am going to be gone for three months actually is a part of the learning. There is joy here. There is hard here. There is sadness. There is good… such profound good.
There is much much more to come.