Sunday, December 2, 2012

Settling in... spending time with friends, old and new.

The Monday after (American) Thanksgiving Day was an Argentine holiday, so we’d had quite a long weekend! Dan had reconnected in an online conversation with Ireneo (say “ear-ih-NAY-o), our Bolivian friend who is the technology guy for the Seminary. (We had enjoyed a wonderful Saturday with him and his wife Graciela and their son Josué (Spanish version of Joseph, say “ho-SWAY”) earlier in the year and, when they brought all the parts of a typical Bolivian meal and cooked it in our  house in the Regional Office compound. Hearing that we’d had some Spanish study and needed to practice, he took our need seriously, saying, “OK, when?”

We settled on Monday and decided we would share lunch; I said I’d bring a quiche and some dessert. We arrived at the Seminary – they live on campus in an apartment – and Graciela was busy making a salad for our meal. Josué is almost 3 and is a VERY busy and social little boy. He just wanted to play outside and follow around the bigger boys on their bicycles. The rest of us, however, very much enjoyed the spinach + cheese quiche and green salad and the last of the Gooey Pumpkin Butter Cake. Graciela wanted to know the ingredients and insisted that I send the recipe to Ireneo by email. Outside the apartment, they have a garden where they’re growing lots of vegetable plants – tomatoes, squash, chard making the most of the seeds they’ve collected and the little bit of ground they can use there. We also played a word game with 13 dice with letters on them (rather like Scrabble + crosswords + Boggle) but varied the rules so we could all use English and Spanish words. All too soon, the fun had to stop, though, because we needed to get home and have dinner before a couple of already-scheduled Skype meetings with Thea, the SAM Regional Secretary, and Hal, our missions coaching leader. It’s the people we meet that make these experiences worthwhile!

We had more Skype meetings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings with our 2 young lady missions candidates that we coach. They’re very different from each other, but each is passionate about missions. One is already in the field, and one has more seminary courses to finish while she’s working full-time. It’s a privilege to have these relationships! Of course, we think all missionaries on the field (or called to missions) would greatly benefit from a coach!

The oven in our house is working now, but still finicky about staying on, and there’s very little we can do to control the temperature. Even so, I had bananas ready for banana bread, so I tried it one evening. The oven was just too hot so the bread cooked too quickly on the outside and not much at all on the inside. What was edible was tasty though!

Dan has lots to do in/around the Regional Office – as he tweaks the security cameras and handles software issues. My office work is a bit sporadic; there will be more things to do on a regular basis after the month of December. But we have staff devotions each morning and a longer one on Wednesday mornings, led by Rev. Carlos Fernandez. I was SO excited after this Wednesday’s Bible study – I understood almost everything he said in Spanish! That feels SO good after last year, not understanding much at all during devotions or church… those Spanish lessons at CALL in Costa Rica in October were awesome – and very valuable!

Friday night, we joined the Claytons and Cindy Downey at a restaurant we’d been hoping to try, La Caballeriza (The Stable). It’s so funny that, even when we arrived a little after 8:00 PM, we were the first ones there! Argentines began to arrive around 9:00 and, by the time we were ready to leave, around 10:00, the place was full! The peppercorn steak that we shared, with Papas de España (Spain-style potatoes), was delicious!

Since I’ve always got a grocery list going, we needed to run to the store on Saturday, deciding on the Carrefour at Promenade Champagnat this time. There’s a health food store there too, where we can get, in bulk, things that are less common for Argentines, like oatmeal, dried fruit, and granola. It’s an outing in itself (such a nice shopping center!) and, since we’d also received a coupon for Buy-One-Get-One ice cream cones at Freddo’s, we had to use it. And, oh-my-word, that ice cream is good!! I tried Coco con Dulce de Leche (coconut with caramel ribbons) AND Chocolate con Almendras (almonds); it really was just an obscene amount of fabulous ice cream! We managed to get through it (*groan*) and head home to put away the groceries! We didn’t need much dinner that night!

The neighborhood became populated this weekend too! Some new families moved in; next door is Rachel (we’d already met her; she’s our boss Liliana’s niece) and her husband Marcos. Next door to them are Marcos’ parents and, in the 4th house, is Marcos’ brother and his family! They’re so excited to be living together in these nice houses! A security service company was also working on one of the front gates all day – now it’s automated and we can use a remote to open it; no more having to get out and unlock the padlock, push the gate open, then pull it shut and re-lock (which was my job since I can’t drive the stick-shift truck)!

Sunday was a new adventure! Robin Radi had asked Dan earlier in the week if we’d come to their church in Moreno (about 45 minutes away) this Sunday. Her husband Carlos pastors there and they needed Dan to be one of the Wise Men (a Wise Guy?!), during their Sunday service. Dave Clayton had been asked to be one too, along with Ron (another volunteer here helping for 3 few weeks with his wife Margaret), so we all met at the Seminary, along with the Rojas family, to arrive early and help with the set-up. Wilmar and Jessica Rojas played Joseph and Mary in the play, holding a congregant’s little baby boy, who was so good to just look around and enjoy his part!

The play was SO well done and I took lots of photos! Then, at the end, there were FOUR costumed Wise Men who came out from behind the curtain with gift bags on their arms for every child! This was such a fiesta!! A cook-out was planned too, so we all stayed for freshly grilled Choripan, a chorizo sausage in crusty bread – delicioso!! It’s great to see how God is working in this town and through this church!

The Radis needed to stay into the evening, but we took off about 2:00 PM, since the Claytons wanted to experience the town of Tigre, about an hour away, before they return to the States. There, we explored the shops and just enjoyed the atmosphere, especially fun with lots of other people doing the same thing while Christmas shopping. Tigre is a waterfront town originally known for its fresh produce market, but there are lots more opportunities to shop for furniture and home goods, clothing and handicrafts too! We are certainly blessed to have the use of a vehicle for a while!

This was another fun, but exhausting, weekend… maybe the quiet times during the Christmas break will feel relaxing!

No comments:

Post a Comment