Monday, April 27, 2009


Well, here we are. Down to 23 days left in Arequipa. Although our Spanish has vastly improved, we still have a long way to go. How on earth are we going to be able to take college level courses in Spanish?!! By the grace of God alone.
They have chosen Andrew's partner--he's 32! They have 2 girls, and are waiting for one more. God will provide. I'm so excited and scared to meet them:)
My host family and I are finally bonding in a way that makes me feel like I'm part of the family. on Friday morning I told mi abuela that I wasn't going to be there for lunch or dinner and she swatted my behind with a wooden spoon!! Hahaha, it was hilarious.Well....I just wanted to do a quick update and let everyone know that I am still alive. I am going to miss this place so much. It has slowly but surely become home to me. And my Extreme family....dear heavens, I'm going to miss them. Praise the Lord, Brad, Michelle, Tyler, Tracy, Tyson, Kai, Wendy, Callie and Andrew are coming with me to Iquitos:)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Caime de Judas

At 5:30 am Easter Sunday morning, Andrew, Tyson and I began our 45 minute walk to Yanuaharra to the plaza there. We had learned that Easter Sunday morning, they burn Judas and this was a once in a lifetime experience that we wanted to take part in. The sun was already up when we began our walk and it only got warmer as the morning progressed. I had worn a warm jacket because it was 5:30 am and that made sense to me. Well. It was not needed. I was hot the whole morning.

Anyway, we walked to the Plaza and there were about 100 people there. It was 45/30 min early, so not a bad start. Hanging in one of the archs surrounding the plaza was a giant papier-mâché looking man wearing a business suit. Obviously, it was Judas…We looked in the Cathedral and then took our seats. We wanted to be up close to see all the smoke and flames. Piro’s:)

Soon there was a parade type thing with people wearing black robes and carrying candles. They were singing a song, and had a solemn marching band accompanying them. By this point there were closer to 250 people gathered. At 7 am, a man began the testament of Judas. It’s basically a comedic political commentary where they make fun of all the important people that they don’t like. It went on for about 30 min. I took the opportunity to take a quick snooze because it was boring as all get out to someone who doesn’t understand Peruvian politics…or that much Spanish…

Finally the good part arrived! In Spanish, the people around us were saying “move back”, but we didn’t catch on till we couldn’t move back without loosing the ability to see. So we were standing roughly 15 feet from Judas. By far, the closest people to the action. A man took a long stick that was lit on the end and touched it to the fuse coming out of Judas’ face. He started spouting (and smelling) like a mini exploding firework thing. I leaned over to Andrew and said “is he a giant firework? I thought we were catching him on fire.” At that moment, Judas’ head burst! Pop, pop, pop!!! He was a giant firework and we were right there to catch the action!!

As his arms and head blew up, we were in the line of fire. Part of his face flew off and landed not more than 5 feet from Tyson and we were all worried it was going to pop up and get us. When his left arm exploded, flying debris hit my on my face just below my eye! I’m lucky that my eyeball was gouged out!!!

His legs were super exciting too. They spun a million miles a second and suddenly BAM POW POP they disappeared in a cloud of smoke! And his chest was much the same way. Minus the spinning. Wow, talk about being worth getting up so early! This Judas burning was way cooler than searching for my Easter basket before church….no offense Easter Bunny.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Primera Pasqua en Peru

Oh my goodness. So this is Holy Week. In the Catholic Church—at least here in Peru—this is a huge deal . Every day there is a different traditional soup for lunch. Beginning Thursday, you can’t eat meat. Really the no meat thing could start on Palm Sunday, but that gets expensive. Fish is ok though—just not the other meats. Anyway, all week there’s parade type things as they move the images around. Everyone is a little excited and in a good mood. The theft rate is higher this week, so I didn’t bring my camera with me on my adventures. You’re just going to have to use your imagination.

Thursday, Andrew was giving his testimony at his church in Umacolla. So, although I really wanted to go see Jesus Christ Superstar, I didn’t know where it was going to be….and I did know where Andrew was going to be speaking, and really, he’s more important anyway, so Wendy, Callie and I decided that after dinner we’d go support our brother.

Dinner. We had Arroz con Leche (rice pudding), mazamorra morada (a deep purple, super thin, hot jello type thing with lots of cooked fruits), and a creamy brown blob resembling chocolate pudding with coconut flakes on top. This was served with pan dulce (sweet bread).When I asked why they only eat sweets for dinner on Thursday and Friday, mi Abluela responded “Because we can’t have meat and we need the calories.” I have a sweet tooth, but this was a bit much for dinner. And mi Abuela would not let me be done with 1 plate. No, I had to have 3 plates because I needed the calories since I wasn’t eating any other foods. I practically rolled out of the house I was so full of sugar.

I walked to Callie and Wendy’s so we could catch a cab together to get to Andrew’s church. When I got there, they were still eating their dinner/dessert. Their host mom invited me to sit at the table and join them. When she offered me a plate I kindly responded that I had just finished dinner, but thank you very much. I was just early to get the girls. Well, that saved me from one course. When she took the girls’ plates, she returned with 3 more with chocolate manjar cake from heaven and apple pie Peruvian style. Oh my goodness, if I was sick before, I was deathly ill afterwards. I was taught to eat what is set before me, and although I was sooooo full, I had to eat it anyway. It tasted very good….but I think that I would have liked it better on any other day.

We finally got out of there and booked it to the church. We had a sweet taxi driver who let us sing loudly to Queen—We are the Champions. Fun stuff (it made me think of two things. 1. Daddy had a stuffed animal beaver that sang that song, and 2. Katherine loves Queen). We got to the church in time for lots of Spanish preaching—might as well have been Chinese for as much as I understood…but then again, I was in a diabetic coma, so I couldn’t pay attention anyway. After the sermon, Andrew gave his testimony. He did such a great job!! He had translated it into Spanish and spoke with grace and confidence. I couldn’t have been more proud of my brother.

When we left the church, we decided since there was the 4 of us, we’d just walk home. I love to walk in this city! And because I was on my sugar high, I had plenty of energy (and useless calories) to burn. We walked down the street, pushed a stalled Volkswagen Beetle out of the road (good deed for the day), crossed a bridge, went up some stairs, and eventually came to Plaza de Armas. There were tons and tons of people there! I’ve never seen it so packed. We walked through the Centre, and saw that the Cathedral was open. Callie and I had learned in class that morning that there was an image of the Devil in there and we wanted to see it. So, we convinced/dragged Andrew and Wendy with us to go see. We thought the Plaza was full; the cathedral was tight enough to body surf. We were quite tempted, but then figured that it was probably irreverent.

As we oozed through the cathedral, Fathers with magic wands dipped in Holy Water and splashed the crowd. Being the girls we are, Wendy, Callie and I squealed with the realization that the water was wet when it hit us. Hahaha, we were lucky to be near people who were enjoying our first time to be blessed in this way. I kept my eyes open wide in case I could get the water in to my brain in order that I learn Spanish faster. It was as exciting as Disney Land!!

When we emerged from the church, having contracted the scent of B.O. and Holy Water, we had the privilege of watching a choreographed fight to the ‘Rocky’ theme song and ‘Eye of the Tiger’. It was fabulous!!! The two men were wearing giant square oven-mits and it was very matrix. So cool!! Callie and I decided that next year, we’ll put on a fight in Puerto Maldonado. Her song is “Beat It” by Michael Jackson, and I’m going to be fighting to “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan. Fitting I think.

After the fight was over, we began the final mile home. There was a person dressed up as Spider Man, and I was about to say hi when he threw this ball at me. I squealed, but it was like a yo-yo thing and hardly got close to me. I felt a little blonde after that….

Friday. Most Catholics fast for breakfast, but knowing that I am not Catholic, my host mom gave me rice pudding for breakfast. I didn’t complain. I love that stuff!!! Especially when I don’t have to eat 3 plates of a million other calories too.

Most business and government establishments had Friday off as a Holiday-It’s Good Friday you know. But school was going to be offered today for anyone who wanted to come. Since next week we’re having retreat, we all decided to go ahead and go. We need to master Spanish anyway.

For lunch, I came home to Fish soup. It had camaron in it (similar to crawdads…), corn, potatoes, orange fish eggs, kidney beans, carrots, and a fried fish fillet. Mmmmm. When I make soup, that’s the combination I want. Nope, that was a lie. Hahahaha. As weird as it sounds, it really wasn’t that bad. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not something I’m going to request for my birthday dinner. But I didn’t feel like I was gagging every bite down either. The orange fish eggs were interesting. I wasn’t supposed to swallow them, just chew them. I needed to crush all of the little white balls (eggs), and then take the crushed substance out of my mouth. The camaron was different as well. They were whole—their eyeballs and antenna things were there and everything. With these, I was supposed to put the head in my mouth and suck the brains out (no joke—it was an awkward feeling because the antennas kept tickling that hangy ball thing in the back of my throat).

Callie and I went to an Easter service at my church last night and had a great time fellowshipping with our Peruvian Church Family. Cristobal Correa spoke, and I love it when he speaks. He speaks clearly and slowly, and is really easy to understand. He and his wife will be the directors of our school in Iquitos. I’m so thankful that I get to know them now!

Tonight, we’re having a mini Easter celebration with the Smiths. It will be the first of 3 Easter’s that we will spend together. I’m excited. We’re having French toast!!!! Nothing says Christ is Risen like French Toast:) And tomorrow, after church, the Extreme Team is invited to share Easter Lunch together. It will be a wonderful experience.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Last night there was a sweet earthquake. Because I am not used to tremors I would be lying if I said I was not afraid at all. I wasn’t scared, but I my heart was beating pretty fast.

I was lying on my bed around 9:45 or so and doing my homework. When the shaking began, I initially thought it was a giant truck outside my windows shaking my bed. But then I realized that was a dumb thought because I’m in a small gated neighborhood and trucks can’t get in there. The shaking continued and steadily grew stronger. My chandelier was swinging hard and I made an executive decision to go stand in my doorway in the rare chance that the house collapsed and my wall of windows became shooting shards of glass.

Some say 40 seconds, others say 2 minutes, anyway, some time later the trembling finished. My heart continued to pound out an exciting rhythm for a few more minutes and eventually I calmed down. It was a good night.

Just thought I’d let you know.

Thanks for your prayers!