One million words, probably more

I think pictures of kids are worth more than 1,000 words. They're just too freaking cute. 

Pumpkin spice potatoes n' eggs

This morning breakfast was pretty usual. Arroz con leche, platanitos, mandarinas, pan con mermelada, and papas con huevos. The surprise came when I bit into the potatoes and eggs. They were abundantly seasoned with the pumpkin pie spice that Jenessa's mom had sent us for Thanksgiving. Jenessa and I looked at each other, thinking the same thing. But we didn't say anything to Elias, our Peruvian friend had woken up early and completely against his will to make us breakfast. I looked at Elias. He was just sitting at the head of the table eating his potatoes contently. I looked down at my plate. I had dished up too much. Mmm, pumpkin pie potatoes and eggs. When I walked into the kitchen, I figured out the mystery. The black pepper tin and pumpkin goodness tin look exactly the same. I have come to this conclusion about food mixing: Pumpkin pie is good. Potatoes are good. They are better together. 


This face

This is the face of a little troublemaker. She had a lot of fun running around the classroom and coloring on the chalkboard behind my back when I was substituting at the school at Santa Elvita. But then she ran up to me and gave me a huge hug at the end of class. And it made it all better. It was all worth it. Those are the moments that I live for. 

So far away

Yesterday I was listening to my iPod. The first time I had busted that thing out since I got here. It was because I was working by myself and I wanted some tunes. This was my job. Background: That morning during breakfast, the Doctor had come bursting in (he always bursts into a room, never walks) with a bag in his hand. A huge bag of keys. “Quien puede organizar las llaves y hace un plan de las llaves tambien?” My big fat mouth opened and I said I would do it. So the rest of the day was spent going through every key that we own and trying them in all the doors. And making little stickers to put on them saying which door they open. And then hanging them all up in the key cupboard. I’d say that’s a pretty excellent job. Anyways, that was my day yesterday. Trying out keys. And I so since I was going to be walking around by myself all day, I decided to listen to some music. As I was listening, I began to miss home. I’d listened to lots of music before yesterday. My computer is usually playing some sort of tunage while I’m working on the newsletter or board informs. But it just felt different yesterday. I think when you listen to music in headphones it becomes more personal. Cause only you can hear it. But yesterday, when it was just me, the music, and all those hundreds of keys, I started getting really homesick. Pretty much every song that came on reminded me of someone. Someone that I loved, someone that I missed. Someone that wasn’t with me right now. And I couldn’t share the song with them. This song called So Far Away by Donavon Frankenreiter came on and it was exactly how I was feeling. The lyrics are something along these lines:
Remember those times on the telephone line
Trying to break through to you
I’m on the other side of this world
I wish I was there with you
All these days and all these nights
Thinking about you my friend
I can’t wait to get back home
And do it all over again
Even though I can hear your voice
Don’t you know that touch is my choice
Even though I can hear your voice
You’re still so far away
So far away
Remember those times driving down the coast
Stopping at the stops we love the most
Watching the wind blowing through your hair
And living our life like we just don’t care
All these days and all these nights
I’m thinking about you my friend
I can’t wait to get back home
And do it all over again
Even though I can hear your voice
Don’t you know that touch ifs my choice
Even though I can hear your voice
You’re still so far away
I know that you’re still
So far away
Yeah, I have to say that yesterday I felt pretty far away. Maybe I shouldn’t listen to my iPod anymore. But I still have a whole bucket of keys and a whole lot of doors to check. I guess today will be another day of missing home.

Drips of heaven

“I think heaven overflows and drops on the earth sometimes. This is one of those drips.” ­­­—Dr. Matson talking about mango smoothies.
I love that. Drips of heaven. That got me thinking about other little things, other drops that are dripping down from above.
Jenessa and I just got back from Lima. I had to apply for a new passport, because mine was stolen. Jenessa is such a good friend to come all the way with me. Just to keep me company and make sure I was safe. Chris Clouzet was also there to make sure that everything was okay. He even came along to the Embassy with me. And waited outside for a couple hours because he forgot his ID. His hospitality and humor are amazing. His taste in cookies, however, I beg to differ. People like Jenessa and Chris, good people whom you can have a good time with, people who care; those are drips from heaven.
The trip to Lima went really well. We rode 15 hours on the bus from Pucallpa over the mountains. There were so many twists and turns on the route that it felt like the whole bus was spinning in circles. I got a little nauseous along the way, mostly thanks to the guy who was sitting right behind me, barfing in my ear. We had bought some altitude sickness medicine in Pucallpa before we left, only to later find out that it was basically just a giant dosage of Benadryl. We all conked out and didn’t even know what hit us. So after our severely drug-induced bus ride, we arrived in Lima. We got to Chris’s apartment around 6:30 in the morning. I took my first hot shower in 2 months and then curled up in my sleeping bag and fell asleep on the tile floor. We went to the Adventist Union with Chris and saw all the work that he does. Jenessa and I got Starbucks, we met up for a way-too-expensive lunch at Chili’s, and then passed the afternoon walking around the city. It was just like being at home again. Except not. Something was different.
Observations: Lima is a lot like America. Which, I guess, was a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing was that it kind of reminded me of home. The bad thing was that it kind of reminded me of home. I realized that I don’t know if I even want that anymore. Example: We went into a supermarket in Lima. It was just Walmart. Only all in Spanish. I was so overwhelmed by all the food choices, the selection, the excess. I couldn’t handle it. In our little market in Campo Verde, there is one type of cooking oil. It comes in a water bottle without a label. And that’s our oil. Well in this supermarket in Lima, we walked down an aisle full of cooking oil. Different brands, different labels, different prices, different sizes. But all the same thing. Immediately I longed to be back in Campo. Back at our little market, talking to our friend Saul who works there. Back to our home. The big city is so impersonal. And then I got to thinking, America is so impersonal. No one really cares how you are or even who you are, for that matter. You mind your business and I’ll mind mine. And we never have to cross paths. Because it’s better that way. Even within the church. That’s the mindset and I can’t stand it.
I’m not saying that I had a horrible time in Lima. I had a great time. I ate a lot of really good food. And I bought some cool pants at an Incan market. I guess it was just a time of realization. All of the things at home that I take for granted. Like hot showers. And Walmart. And Wi-fi. That was all in Lima. Being there quenched a little bit of my homesickness for the States. I definitely miss the convenience of things back home. Like how here at Km 38, I can’t just get online and Skype my friends. But in Lima, I was able to. But more than that, going there made me realize that something inside me had changed. Something has changed. I realized that our simple way of life in the countryside – how we wash all of our dishes by hand, how it takes 2 hours to prepare a meal, how we go to the bathroom in outhouses, how we take freezing cold showers, how we burn our trash, how we play futbol and voleibol together on Thursday nights, everything – is good. It’s a good way of life, something that, after growing up in the city, I prefer. I like the simplicity. I even like how everything takes forever to do. And everything always breaks. It gives life more character. More spice. So, at least for me, right now, I know that I’m living in a drip from heaven. 

Gross things

Everyone has things that bother them. Things that they find gross. Disgusting. Revolting. Sicky and icky. Insert your choice word. Por ejemplo, my good friend Jenessa cannot stand it when people clip their nails without using a bag or trashcan. She also has a thing with bathrooms. And not wanting to sit on dirty toilets. That’s her thing.
Gross Thing #1: My thing is dirty dishes and stacking food on top of food. I can just hear the nasty squishing sound. Especially food like oatmeal, which we eat a lot of here. I cannot stand looking at the food stuck to the plates after a meal for very long because there are so many flies. Millions, if I dare say. And I think they have all called their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and nephews to take up residence in our dining room and kitchen. So when I see the flies crawling all over the dishes left on the table. And all over the pots. And all over everything, for that matter. Being gross, cleaning their little dirty poop hands. Yeah, I can’t take it.
Gross Thing #2: Imagine walking your kitchen late at night. You see that a stalk of celery has been left out on the counter. I should probably put this away, you think to yourself. You reach for it to put it in its rightful place, the refrigerator. You think that this should be a very simple task. The moment you pick up the stalk of celery, time seems to commence in slow motion. The soundtrack of your life is playing in the background. At the very same instant that your hand makes contact with the vegetable, about 50 cockroaches come crawling out of every crack and crevice of the stalk. Disgusting. Gross. You put it in the fridge anyway. We’re going to have to eat it. Oh well. That’s life here. I’m sure your kitchen probably isn’t like that. I’m sure you don’t have roaches living in your fridge. But we do. As I’m typing this, there is a roach crawling on the hymnal next to me and one about to crawl on my leg. I don’t even try to kill them anymore. There are just too many.
Gross Thing #3: Spiders. Our house has an open ceiling area, so that means that we’ve given the spiders plenty of room to cozy up and make themselves at home. There are spider webs everywhere. Cleaning the spider webs with a dishtowel at the end of a broom is scary. They all come crawling and falling. I take the broom outside and wack away at the sidewalk like a raging maniac. These spiders have huge butts. And so when you squish them, a lot of guts come out. It’s gross.
Gross Thing #4: Not flushing toilet paper. Yeah, even the number two stuff. It’s really quite lovely. If the person who uses the bathroom before you for some reason doesn’t put their toilet paper face down, there is a nice little gift waiting for you when you come to use the bathroom. And while we’re on the subject of bathrooms, I can easily transition into Gross Thing #5.
Gross Thing #5: Frogs in the bathroom. So it’s 4 o’clock in the morning. And I’m peeing. I’m barely even awake. I see a couple little frogs hopping around the walls of the bathroom. All of a sudden, Splat! One of them is on my back. Oh great.
Alright, I’m done with all my complaining. I guess from this you could probably deduct that I’m not a huge fan of the creepy crawlies here. Maybe we can cohabitate. The thing is though, I don’t want to. I want them all to die. Well, maybe not the frogs. They’re kind of cute. But the rest - the rest can all die.