Friday, May 30, 2014

The Whirlwind


Sorry for the delay in posts. I'm still not entirely sure my head is screwed on right after the whirlwind of events over the past week. 

Leaving Huanuco
Arriving in Lima

As suspected, we didn't really have time to dwell on being sad about leaving Huanuco as we jumped from thing to thing. I'm thinking I'll just be a little depressed when I finish WSC, but there is just too much happening right now to even process it all. 

Saying Goodbyes to the People of Huanuco
Saying Goodbye to the Animals too
For starters, the airplane ride from Huanuco to Lima was a whopping 42 minutes long. We spent more time sitting in the airport than on the plane. We normally take this trip by car, which works out to be a minimum of 8 hours and our longest trip yet was about 12 hours. This time, from door to door, the trip was 3.5 hours. I'm not complaining, not at all. However, it was just crazy to go from a beautiful blue sky morning in Huanuco to a very grey afternoon in Lima, with a whole different set of people, different schedule, different lifestyle. So fast. To adjust, I had to stay up til 1am Thursday night, just so I could get back in the swing of things. If we want to see people here, we have to stay up later,etc. 

Another plus of Lima = Ceviche
We also got back to Lima on a Thursday night, which means right before the all the weekend church activities at Monte Sion and Filadelfia. I taught the class on Friday night and then we picked up Melissa's friend Karlee from the airport. 

Saturday was a different experience for me. Usually, I am in charge of something at Monte Sion. I can't remember the last time I was just there. It was awesome. We got there and instead of rushing around to clean up and get everything set for class, I got to wander outside and see what was up. All of the kids are awesome and would rush up to say hi and give me a kiss. Some were playing with their dog "pelusa" (every other dog here is named hairy/fluffy), others running around in general, and then there was a group kicking a tree stump trying to loosen it so they could pull it out of the ground. Whatever keeps you entertained, I suppose. Going out to say hi though, I was able to see who was around and invite them all to class. Most of them took me up on the offer. :) 

During class, I was able to wander back and forth and chat with people. It's nice to be able to catch up. It seems like most of the time I hear the stories second hand or am just too busy running things to sit back and enjoy things. It was a nice change. We got invited to Jahaira's youngest daughter's birthday. She'll be turning 1. That should be fun. I talked to Maria a bit as well. Unfortunately, they are still having a problem with armed robbery in Monte Sion and just a week ago her house was nearly robbed, but a neighbor saw and somehow the crisis was averted. Very fortunate. Overall, good news for the week from everyone. 

This little cutie - Alice
Church was good. Some people showed up we haven't seen in a long while. All together, these are the moments that make me feel happy and help me forget about the sadness of saying goodbye and the grey-ness of Lima. 

For church on Sunday, we were joined by Melissa's friends Rebecca and Zach. Marlene taught a class on the ideal marriage, which is part of the pre-church class series. I planned the service and Melissa spoke. Unfortunately, the visitors got only a taste of church in Peru as the North Americans did all the planning/speaking. They did have to endure 2 hours of talking in Spanish, which none of them know a ton of. An experience nonetheless. 

To conclude the rush around of getting back to Lima, we had to get all packed Sunday night to leave bright and early Monday morning on our next excursion! No. Time. To. Rest. 

I'll fill you in on our Paracas, Ica,  & Nasca trip next... 

~nos vemos~

Iglesia en Huanuco

Church is quite the experience here in Huanuco...  

We always ask people to show up at 3, so that we can start church on time at 5, with the hopes of getting people out the door before it is pitch black. Well, I have seen people show up at 4 twice, but never leave before dark. With luck, church does normally start around 5, just always goes longer than an hour. Ah well, no one complains about it. Once they're here, I think they enjoy themselves and lose track of time (if they really ever kept track of it..?). 

Last weekend, Melissa and I got the living room cleaned up and set up for church. Then, we waited and waited some more. Then asked Carolina and Orlando if we should start and they said they were coming, so we waited some more. Then, we asked Eynor, and he said we should start at 5:30. So we waited some more. Maybe around 5:40 we actually got started. Phew! 

Eynor helped me plan the service. The theme was something along the lines of "part bread together." He gave the introduction and I taught them about popcorn prayer. Nice to switch things up. :) 

Once we got a few songs in, Noel, Henry, and Vanesa showed up. Hey, they did want to come! But I digress, the music is worth mentioning. People say that music is the universal language. Even if you can't understand the words, you can feel the meaning and sentiment. I think that needs to be qualified a little - music that has rhythm and melody is a universal language. Here in Huanuco, we sorely lack those two things and oh so much more. I don't know how to play the tamborine, but I can keep a beat. At least I thought I could until Yimi took it away from me and decided someone else would be better suited to the job. Also, those who don't have the tamborine clap along to the song, or try to. Some clap loudly. Some half-heartedly clap. Some pretend to clap. Then there is the whole singing notes thing. No one has a particularly good singing voice, so everyone sings quietly, so as to not really be heard. Except for Orlando, who sings with gusto and however he likes. So, without the tamborine keeping a beat, no one can keep a beat to clap along with, and the singing just fits in wherever we remember how the song goes. It is the chorus of chaos and it makes my heart smile (and sometimes I can't stifle the giggle that follows).

As it was the first Sunday, we did communion. We didn't think to get some purple colored juice, so we just used Cifrut - a tasty alternative. 

Anyway, Melissa shared the message for us from Luke 24:13-35, about the two guys walking to Emaus who started telling this guy about the story of Jesus, and said guy ended up being Jesus.

Offertory here is another awkward moment, so instead of just making it about the money, we did an activity and had people write down something they could do to be more aware of God's presence in their daily lives. I'm always curious if people actually remember what they write and go through with it. It's the thought that counts. 

Finally, Henry closed the service with a benediction. I'm not sure exactly what time we ended, but despite our hang ups and curiosities of our little gathering, there was a lot of spirit and it just felt good to be sharing together. 

It was our last church service with Yimi. He left on Tuesday to head to Lima to find out where he will be working next. 

This weekend, plans are sort of up in the air for Mother's Day. All the moms have assorted plans, so I'm not sure how we'll get them all together to do something special for them. We'll see what happens. 

~nos vemos~

Monday, May 19, 2014

Eynor Post :D

As time comes to an end here in Huanuco, we have to get our fill of Eynor time. He seems to have been working on a list of things to do that he can't do as much when we're not here, so we've been busy knocking things off the list. 

This week, we hit 4 items on the list: eat pizza, go swimming, play Bingo, and play Phase 10. 

The outside world is just starting to make its way into Huanuco. A year and a half ago, they got their first mall and supermarket. With the mall came new restaurants, one of which is Pizza Hut. Eynor had never had pizza and really wanted to try it. After we got back from Huacora, it seemed like a good time to go try it out. Eynor, Cristian, Melissa, and I went to Plaza Real to get some Pizza Hut. We ordered the family size, half pepperoni and half supremo. As it turns out, Eynor does not like any kind of vegetables on his pizza and he picked the supremo to eat first, which is loaded with bell pepper and mushroom. Haha. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being gross (Que Asco!) and 10 being awesome (Que Rico!), he said pizza was a 1. Unfortunate. Cristian seemed to like it a lot, except the crust. It was fun to go get pizza with them, nonetheless. Also, Pizza Hut pizza is better than Domino's here in Peru, FYI. 

Eynor frocklicking in the grass on the way back from swimming.
The other thing Eynor wanted to do was go swimming. We have struck out on swimming on all counts in Huanuco. It always end up being too cold! We thought we'd go on Tuesday, but then it started to rain, so we went on Wednesday. We show up at Los Delfines, but it was closed, so we wandered around to the Laguna Azul, which has the water slide, but there is also a bar right next to the pool, to keep things sufficiently awkward. We still swam. The water was ice cold and the sun was dipping in and out from behind the clouds, which was less than ideal. However, it's a good time to get out of the house and do something different. Plus, watching Eynor swim is a hoot. He sort of wants to learn how to swim, so we've taught him a few things, but doggy paddling is his go to stroke. His swimming is more splashing than swimming. It's hilarious. He'll eventually get the hang of it. 

Representing 6to Grado!
Also, May 14 was the anniversary for Eynor's school and he wanted us to go and play Bingo. Selling Bingo cards was the fundraiser for his graduation, so Melissa and I both got a card. The prizes were S/. 100, 200, and 300. The first round you had to form the letter C on your card. I think 3 or 4 people won, so they had to split the S/. 100. The second round you had to get all of the outside numbers to form an O. This round went very fast and 1 person won the S/. 200. The final round goal was blackout. So they had one guy mixing the balls and pulling the numbers, another guy to read the number, and a third guy to flip over the numbers on a board to keep track. As the games progressed, more and more people were up in front of the board to double check their numbers. At one point, someone yelled Bingo and everyone groaned and started to leave, but as they checked the numbers, the kids in front of the board were saying yes/no and there was a big everyone turned around and ran back up to the board to keep playing. A few numbers later someone yelled Bingo again and this time it was good. I was only 2 numbers shy of winning! Shucks! It's been a while since I played Bingo, and we certainly never played by forming letters, nor have I played with like 200 other people. It was a great time! People are quite competitive here with their Bingo. Good times. :)

Phase 10 Time!
Finally, last night after church, Eynor pulled out the Phase 10 cards, so we could remind him how to play. I thought just Melissa, Eynor, and I would end up playing, but I was wrong. Vanesa, Noel, Henry, and Orlando also got in on the action. We started playing and Noel, the person driving everyone home, said he needed to leave soon. After each hand, he would say 1 more, 1 more. Haha. We ended up playing for nearly 2 hours after church ended. If you know Phase 10, you know it is not a quick game and sometimes you get stuck on a level for a while. I was stuck on level 4 for 4 hands! We played until we were all at level 6/7. Haha. It was an awesome way to end the night! 

So, for our last few days here, we'll have to play some more Phase 10 and translate the rules into Spanish for him. Maybe make another trip to the arcade, Happyland and play that Raging Ape game. Have a campfire at the house - Eynor is a bit of a pyro. Fun times. 

~nos vemos~

P.S. 3 1/2 more days in Huanuco and 39 days until we leave Peru! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fun, Food, and Family

A week in review... 

Last week was really full, so I'll give you a quick overview. 

First of all, it was our last week with our brothers Yimi and Tono. The program here for medical professionals is pretty funky and I don't really understand it all that well. At any rate, Yimi was waiting for lottery results to find out where he would be working. He left on Tuesday to head to Lima, where they would announce the results on Thursday. As it turns out, not everyone gets a job from the lottery system. For obstericians there were 300 people, but only 180 positions (for nurses, there were 1000 people for 600 positions). So stressful. I'm not sure exactly how long the lottery meeting lasted, but it was at least 3 hours long and at the end of it all, Yimi's number was not drawn. I can't imagine how frustrating that is to wait and wait and wait and then nothing and there isn't anything you could have done to improve your odds or anything. I asked Tono why you would even want to go through that process. He said that if you do get a job from it you have the best job security, rather than working for a private medical clinic or something of the sort where you don't know how long they'll need or want you. Yimi had been hoping for a position in Iquitos, so when his number didn't get called, he decided to just go and find something when he got there. I hear he already has a job (so fast!), but I'm not sure what it is. Good for him making things happen. 

Then, at the crack of dawn on Friday, Tono left. He is still working on the practice part of his degree, so he was certain to have a place to go. He has been finishing up training courses and whatnot in preparation for work. He left for Tingo Maria where he had to pick up some documents and finish up some other trainings. I think he leaves for his placement in Puerto Inca, which is still in Huanuco, but a good 6 or so hours by bus away from home. He says he has his own place, which will be a big adjustment as he has always lived with his immediate family and before that lived with some extended family. The downside is that he has no running water or light in his place and it sounds quite small. Also, the closest place with internet is about an hour away. Many things to adjust to and many things to learn in this new city with a new job all on his own. I tried to ask him about how he felt about going away from home and all that, and he just seemed ready to be moving on. Challenge accepted. {Update on the medical field in Peru - doctors have been on strike since last Tuesday and it sounds like work has been put on hold for Yimi and Tono.}

Tono and Yimi

Good luck to Yimi and Tono on their new journeys! 

Meanwhile, back at the has gone on as usual. Carolina doesn't show much emotion, but if you ask her how she is, she's honest. Her oldest boys leaving home back to back and right before Mother's Day and Tono's birthday (may 9) does not for an easy time make. She is sad to not have them here. Fortunately, everyone still has cell phones and can be in communication, so that seems to keep her spirits up. :) I haven't heard from Orlando on how he is doing, but he's a business and usual kind of guy and is proud of his sons for following their dreams. Eynor seems to be doing fine now, but he didn't like the saying goodbye part (I don't blame him, I think that's the hardest part too). 

As for us, it was sad to see them go as they have been such a major part of our time here. It's weird not to have them blasting music at 6am from the kitchen and yelling "apudate!" (hurry up!) all morning trying to get out of the house and get their mom to work. No more screeching from the shower (the theatrics of taking a cold shower were done up when we were in earshot). I miss their antics. Haha. We have been doing our best to help out where the boys used to. We got up at 4am on Friday morning to help peel potatoes and eggs and make the papa rellena (now I know, so I can make them when I get back to the States!). Today, Carolina let us sleep in and we got up at 7am to help with dishes, making sauces, filling bottles, and getting things loaded up in the moto. We are slow, clumsy, and not knowledgeable, but we'll catch on and hopefully they find it helpful. 

So that's the part about the big departure! 

Then, we had a big birthday celebration! Grandpa Antonio's birthday was on May 10, we think he turned one seemed very certain of exactly how old he is. Orlando and Victor, among assorted help from other brothers and sisters, made chicharron. It was the BEST! I could have had a few helpings of that. Yum! They had a live band come and play for 4+ hours. And of course where there is music, there is dancing, so we learned how to dance to whino (sp?) music - it is the music of the people from the mountains. It was so fun playing with the kids, chatting with the adults, dancing with everyone, and hanging out. Another great birthday party for the books. 

Melissa, Eynor, Fabrizio, and me getting our Mother's Day pic done.

Finally, we make it to Mother's Day. We headed out to a recreation area/park near the Huanuco airport. The river split the area in 2 parts. We sat near the water and ate lunch. Afterwards, we went to the other side and walked around, attempted fishing (which meant the younger kids grabbing sticks and splashing them in the water because we didn't have line or bait), and played volleyball. We almost lost our volleyball in the river once, but somehow they saved it. It was a chill afternoon hanging out and enjoying the day. I guess our big gift to the moms that day was rest - of course they made the food and served it - but otherwise, they just got to sit and relax, which is not something they get to do often here. It was the first time I've seen Carolina hang out - no laundry to do, no house to clean, no papa rellena to prepare, no shopping. I hope she enjoyed the break. When we went to the mall, we saw they had a set up for getting pictures done, so we also took one and gave the moms a copy of their kids lovely faces. <3>

To start out this week and sort of round out last week, we headed up the nearby hill for a short trek. Argulio, one of Antonio's brothers who lives in Lima, came for the birthday celebration. He wanted to do a short trip to show his friend more of Huanuco and invited us along, before they head back. We piled into the car at 7am (a solid hour later than planned of course) and headed to El Union to visit La Corona del Inca (The Inca Crown). It's a neat place with rocks that form a huge crown at the top of a hill. Some parts look man-made, but the majority of it looks like that is just how the rocks landed there. So, we hiked up and wandered around to explore the Corona del Inca. It rained the night before and the morning started out drizzly, but we lucked out and the sun came out for us. It is so beautiful, the air is so fresh, and you can see for days when it is a nice clear day. The grass was still damp, which led to quite the fall on my part. When you fall here, they ask if you are harvesting squash. I'm not sure I understand that, but in our group, we were harvesting a good amount. Afterwards, we went and has some picante de cuy for lunch. It still had it's toenails, in case you were wondering. Not the greatest meal, but did the job. Finally, we stopped in Pampas to say hi to Argulio's sister, Sylveria. We make have to make another trip to go visit here again next weekend as we only stopped in for a few minutes. After a 2 hour car ride, we made it back to the hot and dusty city of Huanuco and while waiting for the bus to go home, I got peed on by a pigeon. At least we had a good day to make up for that awful moment. 

Inca pointing to his crown.

So now, we are down to 9 days left in Huanuco and we have to make every one of them count! 

~nos vemos~

Friday, May 2, 2014

Another Birthday Celebration!

Awkward, but Happy Accidents: 

Normally, while in Huanuco, we don't just head out for the sake of it. Huancachupa is no short distance from town and it's been pretty rainy of late (even though it is supposedly summer).

So we got ambitious on April 30th and headed down the hill. As it turns out, we don't really remember how to get around the city. We hopped on the A and made it downtown. We were trying to get off at the market, but ended up getting off at the main square. Later, the same exact bus passed us at the market. Oh well, we didn't have any particular place to be, so we just wandered. We tried to find our bread shop - the one we always went to after going to the gym last time we were here - but for the life of us, we couldn't find it. I have a vague concept for where things are, but just could not remember the details. I will have to do some more wandering around to get it all back. 

We happened upon the place in the market that sells maracuya juice, ice cream, and other treats. We opted to pick something up there in place of something from the bread shop we couldn't locate. Melissa had a parjaul (sp?), which is a flaky bread thing with manjar blanco (similar to caramel). I had turron, which is a crumbly anis cookie with caramel layers and sprinkles on top.

From there, we wandered over to Junin to visit Henry and Vanesa and see who else was around. Which is when we happened upon a birthday party. 

When we arrived, the door was open and there were a bunch of family members there that we don't normally run into. Vanesa then told us that it was her Aunt Neli's birthday. Ahhhh... oops. (Maybe they just forgot to invite us?? haha) 

Luz Emily and Imelda
We had a great time catching up with everyone - especially the little girls. Imelda gave us the biggest hugs ever. Then, Melissa helped her with her math homework. Fabiola and Luz Emily shared with me the English words they are learning at school. They are working on colors - blue, red, yellow, and green. 

Then arrived food and things got awkward. We were like, we should leave. We weren't invited to this shindig. We started saying our goodbyes and heading for the door. Then, we go to say goodbye to Neli and Vanesa, which is when we were informed that the plates were already served and it would be less nice if we left. Um, er, ummm. 

So we stayed and it was a great time. We got to eat pollo a la brasa - rotisserie chicken with french fries and salad. We had some good conversation with everyone, talking about movies, school, weather, and such. Then, we helped them sing Happy Birthday in English and sang along with the Spanish version and got to partake in the cake. Yum! Yay! 

Neli fending off getting a face full of cake from her brother, Victor.
It is tradition for the birthday person to take a bit out of the cake,
which is prime time for someone to smash it into the birthday person's face. 
I hope Neli enjoyed having us at her birthday. I'm thankful for the opportunity we had to share with the family. Sometimes, I feel like there is lots of pressure when we're around because we're recruiting or asking for something, so people keep their distance. At this, we just got to be guests at a party and it was fun. 

Feliz Cumpleanos Hermana Neli! 

~nos vemos~

Cachupa Kids

Hanging out with the Chilluns...

While we have a ton of kids to hang out with and get to know at the congregation of Monte Sion, we don't get to hang out with them daily. While in Huanuco, we get lots of kid time. 

The main group we hang out with is Eynor, Fabrizio, Estefany, and Josef. 

Eynor is Orlando and Carolina's youngest son. He is 11 years old. He likes to invent and create things. He made me a jewelry thing out of popsicle sticks, but unfortunately the dogs destroyed it. He likes to share songs and dances with us during church. He is also very competitive at games - he enjoys playing with marbles, pogs, and spinning tops. 

Fabrizio is Melanie's son and Eynor's cousin. He is 7 years old. He is very very very talkative. He loves to tell stories that typically start out with a grain of truth, but as they get longer and more involved, they get more fantastic. He likes to sing - he knows pretty much all of the songs on the radio and from commercials. He is an aggressive, but playful, type. 

Estefany and Josef are sister and brother and live next door to us here on Huancachupa. Estefany is 12 years old. She is our resident Hermione Granger, know-it-all. She loves to learn and enjoys making sure everyone else knows what she knows/plays by the rules. She is a very enthusiastic and curious girl. Josef is 10 years old. He is also very smart, but very quiet. He also likes to play games and is the unsuspecting champion. 

Since we've returned, they have been catching us up on the popular games of the time. 

First, they attempted to teach us how to play marbles ("bolas"). I'm not sure I understand completely. The rules are something like this: 1) throw your marble at the "tunnel" (2 parallel sticks) and whoever is closest gets to go first and so on, 2) in order, you flick your marble and try to get it through the tunnel, if you didn't succeed on the first throw, 3) once you are through the tunnel you want to hit the other marbles and if you do, you win that marble. The person with all the marbles wins. 

Second, we are trying to learn how to spin tops (I think that's the right name - they are called "trampas" in Spanish). It is the top shaped thing that you wrap a string around and then throw it to make it spin. It's not easy. Eynor and Josef are pretty good at it, so maybe with some practice with our teachers, we'll catch on. I especially want to learn how to get it spinning and then pick it up and get it to keep spinning while in your palm. Little victories. 

We have yet to play pogs here, but I'll let you know if the rules are any different if we do play. 

We also play a good amount of card games. Golpeado seems to be the favorite. I can never seem to remember the rules, so I'll have to write them down or something so I can play when I get back to the States. I want to teach Eynor how to play Spoons, I think he'd like it. We also play Go Fish, War, Crazy 8, Old Maid... 

We have so many card games like Apples to Apples or electronic games like Xbox and such that we don't really play the traditional anymore. It's fun to get the throw back and learn some of the things that just weren't popular while we were younger here

Plus, these guys love to teach us how to play, so we can spend time with them. Lots of spirit and enthusiasm, it's hard to say no. 

We asked them if they wanted to continue English classes and they said yes, so we'll start those lessons up again tomorrow. Gotta figure out how to incorporate more games into teaching English (suggestions welcome). :D 

~nos vemos~