Sunday, November 13, 2011

Interesting week

Sunday, 13 November 2011

This has been an interesting week! It seems like more of my office skills are being used now, while still copying documents and scheduling literature orders to be shipped.

We had a bad storm Tuesday night with LOTS of rain and heavy winds! Usually I enjoy a listening to a little rain on the roof but, with the outside of this house being MOSTLY roof, the auditory enjoyment was a little lost when it sounded like the wind was going to REMOVE the roof! We lost power at about 4:30 a.m. We got up as usual anyway (to Dan’s phone alarm) and showered and fixed breakfast, thankful that the hot water heater and the stove are NOT electric!! After morning staff devotions, the power came back on – AND the Internet, just in time for all of us to get on our computers and work!

It’s actually fun to go grocery shopping here, but it takes lots longer than at home. When we go to the Jumbo, for instance, after the guard opens the big security gate for us, we walk across the street from our compound to the bus stop. When we see a bus coming comes, it must be flagged down (arm outstretched) or the driver won’t stop. We get on, telling the driver how much we will spend according to where we plan to get off (uno cinquenta usually, which is 1 peso + 50 centavos) and each insert a prepaid bus pass into a machine that deducts that amount from the total left. Cash (coins) is OK too! We ride the bus to the stop at the large intersection where the Seminary is; we have to be paying attention, getting up and lurching (there are plenty of speed bumps and uneven pavement) to the back of the bus to press the buzzer that notifies the driver we want to get off at the next stop. Then we walk a block getting around the corner to a place where we can cross this very busy street, hike across the Easy (like Home Depot) parking lot, through the entire shopping center (it’s beautiful, all open-air with palms and planters and fountains) to the big grocery store on the opposite end! We’re acquainted with the store now, but still search for things we haven’t purchased before; they’re not always where we expect them to be! Fortunately, this store takes credit cards, so we don’t have to rely on having enough cash on hand.

But we do have to be careful how much we buy, because we’ve got to carry it all back on the bus! Reverse all the previous instructions and we’re finally back at the Alpina, our A-frame home, ready to put the groceries away and fix some dinner!

Saturday is getting to be our outing day – and it’s been so much fun to spend a day with Cindy Downey! She’s still working on getting gifts for folks at home and wanted to get some things from the zoo gift shop and, besides, it had been a while since she’d been at this zoo, so she invited us to go too! Bioparque Temaik√®n is in Escobar, a short drive from Pilar. We drove past quite a few gated communities (locally they’re called “countries” since they might have their own country club inside the walls too).
Once there, we could see from the cars in the huge parking lot and the line at the ticket counter that there would be many families enjoying this wonderful zoo! It’s quite large and very well-manicured, hosting many different animals and birds. We took our time, all day, and tried to see everything from the farm to the zebras and all the birds in the aviaries. There are over a dozen places to get something to eat, so we had empanadas, chips, and Cokes at a picnic table at about 2:30 p.m. And Cindy insisted (I’ll blame her!) on following that with some Munchie’s ice cream before we went on to more exhibits. We took lots of photos as you can see in the sidebar slideshow. If you want to see more, look here online, clicking English at the top of the webpage…

What a fun day! That evening, there was a school choir staying in the compound (they’d had an early evening performance). I’d been asked to take some photos, for the website, of the dining hall when they were there. Having had permission granted (from the parents and leaders) to take the photos, Dan and I went over at the appropriate time and did that, after greeting the kitchen workers and getting them to pose for us too!

Sunday morning, we took the bus to the Seminary intersection with Sarah and Thea to walk a half-block to Altos de Pilar for Sunday School. There’s worship time for the children and youth – almost an hour of singing along with a skit. Then a few more adults show up and the class time begins. We’re still understanding only a little of what’s spoken, but we can usually follow along with our Bibles and get a general idea of the topic. I’m not embarrassed at all to get out my Spanish-English dictionary and figure out what’s going on! People are very friendly (Argentine cheek-kissing, and all) and we’ve heard that they’re actually concerned about us and how we’re getting along. We’re hoping to gain more Spanish so we can have some personal conversations and better develop relationships with some of our new friends. The unfortunate thing is that, during January through March, there will be no Sunday School due their summer break from school and the heat of summer (no AC) – only the evening worship service.

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