Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Evaluation Dec 1!!

Here we are at evaluation time, again.  Tomorrow, both of us will be having giving Oral Proficiency Interviews to see how far we have advanced in the last 3 months.  Kaylee's is at 9am (6am MST) and Nathan's is at noon (9am MST).

While we both feel like we have progressed very well, we have both been sick in the past couple weeks and we feel like we've been struggling a lot in our conversations the last few days.    We both hope to cross critical steps in the ladder of progress (for more information about it, see this post).  Please pray that we will sleep well, wake up refreshed and ready, and perform to our best ability in HIS strength.

We hope to be posting good news soon regarding our results!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Día de Acción de Gracias

Yep, that's what they call Thanksgiving Day here.  Except it's not a holiday.  Many of our friends are aware of its existence, but they know nothing of the significance or traditions associated with it.  We have enjoyed the opportunity to share about some of our culture with them! 

For me, this has really been the first holiday "away from home" that has had an impact on me.  At Easter, we were still too new in the country and preoccupied with other things (esp. the weekend retreat we were at) to notice.  The 4th of July, while historically important, has never been a huge day for me, other than the opportunity to blow stuff up (and we can do that anytime, here).

But Thanksgiving???  For me it has always been one of the biggest days of the year.  The food.  The family time.  The historical and spiritual significance of the day.  A 4-day weekend.  Not only is it a holiday in its own right, but for me it has always been the beginning of the Christmas season.

And yet, I was surrounded by people that were going about their business as usual, oblivious to anything other than daily life.  For whatever reason, this first impacted me when I realized that I could call up our favorite taxi driver without messing up a special day with his family.

What a blessing it is to have family here! :)  We spent the whole afternoon and evening with my brother's family and another couple, friends of theirs.  Thanks to the internet, we have been able to be in contact with our family in the US and other parts of the world as well.

Of course, we are able to maintain some of our traditions as well.  A couple years ago, we started to do a Thankful Tree in November.  Each night after supper, we each say something we are thankful for and write it down on a cut-out of our hand.  The hands then become the "leaves" of the "tree."  This year, we did it in Spanish:

One of our favorite T-day treats is Cherry Coke Jello: cherry jello with cherry pie filling and a can of Coca Cola.  Kaylee went to the US-style supermarkets to see if she could find cherry pie filling, but a can of pie cherries in juice was the closest she found.  So she pitted cherries, thickened them up, and made her jello anyhow.  And it was fantastic.

The girls enjoyed helping her make her famous dinner rolls too:

While turkeys are available here, they are not common, and very expensive.  So we had chicken.  And stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, pickles, cider, and three kinds of pie, including "pumpkin" made from zapallo, a large squash that is the closest we get here.

And of course, on Friday we decorated the house for Christmas.  As usual, you can see those pictures and the rest of our Random Adventures in November here:
Picasa Web Albums: Sirviendo a Cristo

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vehicle Project: Update

Five weeks ago, I wrote a post about our search for a vehicle.  Since then, we have received some very generous gifts and currently have $7700 saved up!  Thank you for praying!  We're about halfway to what we need to purchase a vehicle like this Toyota Hilux:

On a completely unrelated note, I made this video last night:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Un Dia en el Campo

In Bolivia Day of the Dead is a national holiday associated with animistic beliefs. Our understanding of all the details is a little sketchy because no one in our church participates in these events and although Nathan almost had an opportunity to participate, it fell through at the last minute. But I'll give you what we do know:

On the first of November, All Saints Day, a table is prepared in the house of the deceased person. This table is adorned with favorite foods of the deceased, breads molded into different shapes, etc. That night people are welcomed into the home to honor the soul of the deceased and it is during the night the soul of the person returns. If the person has died in the last year the presentation is much grander.

Then on the second of November, Day of the Dead, the food and offerings to the deceased person are gathered up and taken to the grave site. Many gather at the graves and linger throughout the day. We passed a couple of cemeteries on our way home and many were gathered. We would love to have a photo to share of one cemetery in particular but the distance wouldn't allow it. Not another person could have crowded inside the "walls."

Due to the animistic beliefs behind this holiday, our church likes to take the day off as an opportunity to get together and get away. So instead of investigating the details of the huge cultural event happening we spent the day in the country. We all met up at a house at the edge of a reservoir about 30 minutes from the city, the "chocolate" lake. We played games, spent time with friends, ate together (of course), enjoyed a nice rainstorm during lunch and witnessed three baptisms. Overall it was a great day with the people of our church and we were thankful for the opportunity. The girls loved a day playing in the dirt and throwing rocks in the very muddy lake (therefore no swimming!). We were thankful to our friends, Emerson and Suellen, for offering us a place in her parents' Land Cruiser so we didn't have to ride in the back of the dump truck with the girls!

You can see a lot more pictures from our day here! Or check out a video of the Human Tug-O-War here!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Big changes for little girls

A few days ago, Anne turned 5.  In another month, Addi will be 3.  But today is extra special for Lydia.  We flew into Bolivia the day before she turned 9 months.  Today she is 18 months old.  As of today, she has lived in Bolivia longer than she lived in the US.

She's also a little talker.  Check this out: