So we have been here about a week now! There have definitely been some tough things... for one helping the kids to settle in and be okay with so many changes. This is also pretty much the first time Cole has moved so far away from home for a long period of time. He was born in Lindsay, and has only moved away for one summer to work at Sugar Pine Christian Camps, then also a semester of college in Canada. As for me, I am just not letting my thoughts fully develop in this. We are trying to take this one day at a time and not let worrisome thoughts consume us or take the joy and wonder out of each special day. All in all, I think we are doing very well in this!
It has also been a little tough being here, but not being in Asuncion with our team. They have been in Asuncion working very hard for a couple of months already since they started this journey ahead of us and have been finished with training for a while. We are very eager to be with them and to have a home we can nest in a little. It has felt like we are "homeless" for more than a month now because of all our packing and transitions. For me a sense of home is so important and for now we are in another home that is temporary. It will be wonderful to be able to root ourselves a little more when we get to Asuncion.
All that said, Arequipa is a great city with some very wonderful people in it! The people we have met with Extreme are doing such important work here as they all have left lives in the US to be where God has drawn them for reasons that are sometimes obvious and I imagine others that are yet to be revealed. So it is with us as well : ) We have gotten pretty comfortable riding the combis, which are like city buses. They have regular routes but no regular stops. You have to hail them like a cab and then you have about 10 seconds to get on before it starts speeding off! They are a little nuts at times but quite efficient and cheap (only 70 Soles, about $0.30). There is a mall called Real Plaza which is fairly close to us and I just love this place! There is a store in it called Casa & Ideas and this is totally my favorite store! I think I should stop going in there though because it makes me want to set up our household already which we can't do until we get to Paraguay : ) They also have some crazily amazing chocolate that is made here in Arequipa called La Iberica. I have alerady eated like 4 large bars of this... if it is normal to lose weight here, I think I am forfeiting it for this chocolate!
Our Spanish classes are pretty neat. Cole has gotten to walk all around the city with his instructor, Manolo. I just adore my instructor, Julissa! She is the sweetest lady! In our classes we pretty much get to chat a lot (in Spanish) about whatever we feel like because it is all practicing the language. So I get three hours of hanging out with a new friend every day. I love it! So far there isn't a lot of crazy homework but I think it is coming for both of us very soon!
Some other funny and different things here: the trash man comes three times a week and plays classical music loudly so that people will put their trash out; most people keep their dogs on their roof; pedestrians DO NOT have the right away; they have a bridge here made in the 1800's out of the left over metal from the building of the Eiffel tower; there is a volcano nearby that is sleeping butthey cannot say it is inactive; every house has about 4 bathrooms for some reason; most things you might buy for a baby is like two or three times the price you would be in the US; nuts are off the charts expensive; Spas are super cheap (about $7 to go in for the whole day); you can get a mani/pedi for about $7 and a haircut for less than $1; purses here are so expensive considering the comparison of quality in materials in the US (almost any leather purse is like $200+ no idea how crazy a fancy Coach purse might be!)... Well there are some tid bits...
Things you can pray for: Pray for rapid and thorough learning of the language, for our team in Asuncion, for health (Reese has been a little sick), and for little opportunities to connect with others to share Christ. I find myself wondering very often if the people around me know Christ and I don't want to miss the opportunities that Lord will have to share the hope that I have.
Lots of Love to you all! Grace and Peace!