Archive | April, 2014

Ruh-roh, I think my brain is re-wiring

26 Apr

Spanish is starting to sound natural to me. This is very, very good news. But English… I can hardly spit this out: I’ve been making spelling mistakes. With increasing frequency, Gmail or Google Docs has put a red squiggly under a word after I’ve moved on the next one. At first I questioned why the spellchecker didn’t have certain words in the dictionary. But as it’s kept happening, I’m afraid there might be a better explanation. Spelling mistakes are very much a new thing for me (go ahead and laugh–please remember that I was very disappointed when I came runner up in the 3rd or 4th grade spelling bee). The other night, it took me until the next morning to remember the instinctive spelling of “legitimate.” For a long time, I sat staring at the red squiggly. I tried all kinds of things that didn’t make the squiggly go away and only the next day while I was walking downtown or maybe sitting in the kitchen, the word suddenly sort of appeared in my brain and it was obvious again.

Spelling isn’t all that’s wrong, however. I routinely find, upon re-reading what I’ve written, that left a word out or put in one the wrong order. This is very troubling! I have rarely needed to double-check my writing for grammar and spelling mistakes. No the purpose of revision is to smooth any rough edges [ok, this is getting ridiculous–the errors in the second sentence were for fun, but I really did forget the comma after “No” just now]. There are two possible explanations for this phenomenon. One is that I’m getting old. Of course, I know better than that. The second is that as I learn Spanish, my brain is somehow re-wiring. If that truly is the case, then I am left in complete awe of the Creator of the human mind. The capacity for learning our first language is a miracle, especially when you consider that two year olds do it. But the capacity to learn a second language at age 43, well… it blows my mind.

Celebrating Easter with style

20 Apr

Well, this day has already proved to be most interesting. I woke up at 4:30 to the distant ringing of church bells. They went on almost continuously until 5:30 or so, when the fireworks began, several sets of loud booms around town. Vicki was kind enough to make coffee on the stove to help her husband wake up since the electric coffee maker was not functioning.

Following restoration of power, we were all enjoying a quiet and pleasant breakfast when a car pulled up and the mariachi band started playing! Tuba and trumpets announced themselves with some fanfare and made their way through our gate and into our landlord’s house on the first floor, where they are now singing and playing for the whole neighborhood, basically. I have to say, as culture shock goes, it’s quite pleasant. We basically never stop laughing. This is one Easter we will never forget!

Power restored

20 Apr

Our celebration of the risen Lord will be that much brighter this morning on account of getting our power back. It turns out that the meter box is on the street with no lock on the main breaker. Pranksters apparently just flipped the switch after ringing our bell. When I saw the landlord this morning, I asked him where the meter was, saw the breaker in the off position, and pushed it back on. Voila! The landlord is going to buy a lock. Neither he nor we got a lot of sleep last night. Oh, and there was another small earthquake in Chile, which we felt last night when going to bed. But I’ll bet it was nothing compared to the earthquake in Jerusalem ~2,000 years ago 🙂

Power out

19 Apr

We were eating dinner when someone rang the bell. Moments later the power went out on our floors only. Landlord has power. Internet is out but I still have my data plan. And the battery backup that Pete and Debbie brought recently (thanks guys!!!) Hot water is solar heated so Easter morning showers should be warm 🙂 Can’t wait to find out the story on this one… And we really should get one of those emergency backup lights although we have plenty of flashlights and candles.

Until morning, then. Light and darkness… Good themes for Resurrection Day 🙂


18 Apr

I finally watched Frozen with the family (thank you, Nexus 7 + Chromecast–best movie experience in Peru!). By the end of the movie, I half expected I John 4:18 to scroll across the screen!

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

Home again

12 Apr

We enjoyed a few hours at the beach in Lima before heading back to Arequipa…. On the advice of a taxi driver yesterday, we found the swimming beach in Barranco (Agua Dulce), much safer and sandier than the surf beach in Miraflores. I’m pretty sure we paid the gringo tax to rent the umbrella and chairs ($3.60) but it was cheaper than bringing our own 🙂 Beach tranquility is interrupted every 5 minutes by vendors of ceviche, chicken, snacks, trinkets, beach toys, soccer balls, apples, and more. I finally succumbed and paid $0.70 for a bag of popcorn and barquillos (crunchy sweetbread sticks). Our time was short but sweet and the surf was quite heavy, lots of fun. But COLD! Anna says its the nicest beach she remembers. She was pretty little last time we went to the Atlantic Coast. It’s been long enough that I’d have to look through my Picasa albums to figure out when that was.

Tonight we’re back in Arequipa as official Peruvian residents and very thankful to have passed that major milestone. Immigration in Lima gave us an envelope to take back to Arequipa, so I’ll have to make one more bus trip to the office. I guess they don’t trust SERPOST, either 🙂

We’re in!

11 Apr

Friends, thank you for your prayers. After the second attempt, Vicki made it up the stairs to the waiting room. Thankfully, when she finally made it to the front of the line, she was able to go directly to the preferential window because the kids were with her. There the man told her that my signature was needed in order for the kids to get fingerprinted, so she called me and I quickly grabbed a taxi for the Immigration office. Fortunately, the training I had anticipated did not take place this morning so I had the time free. Also fortunately, there was still plenty of time to make it there before it closes at 1pm. When I arrived, I got back in the preferential line with the kids, signed the necessary papers, and we all to join Vicki in the biometrics waiting room where they take photos and fingerprints. About noon we finally received all the residence cards. We thank the Lord and all of you who have been praying for us. Now we feel like we can breathe a little.