Saturday, July 28, 2012

ALL Things Work Together For Good...

Stuck in Lima until TUESDAY - apparently the holidays were extended to include Monday, so I won't be able to get my "Honest, I am a widow" document until TUESDAY morning. So the soonest I can get on the road will be that afternoon. I am glad the internet is open. I am thankful they have a tv with cable - but I am so accustomed to working with my hands, I can actually say I'm rather bored. Which for me is even more difficult than merely relaxing and resting. I do have my Bible and am reading more. Praying. I miss my walks with Papito and our animated talks. While Victor is a great brother-in-law, understandably I'd prefer to be spending this time with Levi. There's a nice little park nearby, and I think I'll ask about just walking around and around - it's just a block wide, with benches. Maybe I can get a vid of another hummingbird.
It's different in this neighborhood - no dogs roaming loose. I've seen specific BREEDS, on leashes - a gorgeous brindle English bulldog, schnauzer, Shih Tzu... no cats...not hearing roosters in this neck of the woods, but doves similar to our mourning doves. There's also a bird akin to our mocking or catbird that varies its song. So it's quiet, and the bed is comfortable, and though it is still winter inLima, it's even milder than usual, I think. While Victor walked me to the internet we saw a little parade form in the park, with a band playing a patriotic march. AH, but not nearly as stirring as John Phillip Sousa's! So...not much to report. I'll be offering to cook from time to time and chipping in to the larder, because we had not counted on staying these extra days. I am thankful for Nilsa's hospitality - and Juan's of course, putting up with his in-laws and in-law-in-law! I wish I could go visit folks in Villa el Salvador - but the cab fare would eat into my funds, and I need to be able to give Victor a little something more for his time away from working ( he drives a motokar). I have my bank card, which is only a debit card - I have paid off my credit debt, and don't wish to incur more. And funds are dwindling. But my God shall supply all my needs.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Good News and Bad News

Well, yesterday Victor and I left early for the embassy, by taxi to be sure to get there in plenty of time. We waited a little while in the wrong line before an official redirected us. Pass through security...leave camera, cell phone...go into building, MORE security...then to a room, take a number and wait. "HURRY UP and wait" that is. Because you have your appointment, and you'd better be there well before time, but if they don't see you till about an hour later, THAT'S OKAY. Bad news - they couldn't do anything for me regarding my birth certificate. I have to get an apostille. More on that in a bit. Good news - they COULD give me a document, an affidavit that I am indeed a widow with nothing impeding me from committing to another marriage. Notarized, sealed, 50 dollars. Next step: to a local internet to see about the aforementioned apostille. But first - we left without breakfast, so we stopped for a sandwich and coffee. It was about 11 when we left for the internet. Bad news - nothing I can do online - I have to send the birth certificate BACK to Texas with a form requesting said apostille which more or less says, "Really, I promise, this is a real-for-real, official, genuine, honest-to-goodness, swear-to-God, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die BIRTH CERTIFICATE." NEVERMIND that I needed said document for the FIRST marriage (and have the marriage certificate therefrom) ...AND to get my driver license...AND to get my passport. is something I have to do when I get home because there just isn't time between now and when I leave to wait for things to get lost in the mail ANYWAY.
Then on to Relaciones Exteriores with the widow document so Peru officials could put THEIR stamp on it - about 25 soles ( 10 bucks). Bad news - have to RETURN for said document on MONDAY, SO, no returning to Pucallpa for the holiday. While in the neighborhood, we looked up the address of OFFICIAL translator for when I DO have the apostille, and went - walking distance from Relaciones Exteriores. The gentleman was very helpful, explaining. Of course, it wouldn't suffice for ME to translate it, no, it would have to have all kinds of stamps and seals and stickers and ribbons. So what we're looking at is a return trip to Peru some time within the next year (so my widowhood doc doesn't expire), bringing the blessed apostille together with the birth certificate (and a copy thereof, to be safe) to the embassy for THEIR seal of approval/notarization, then to the translator where it is left to be translated; return the following day (50 soles, about 20 bucks, barring more inflation);pick it up the following day to take to Relaciones Exteriores for another 10 bucks, leaving it to be picked up in a couple of days. All in all about a week in Lima.
BUT while it may SEEM to be bad news - we can't go through with a civil ceremony THIS trip - I'm accustomed to looking for God's hand working behind the scenes. We COULD have found out about all these little details in advance, had we a clue - had Levi not been working 7 days a week, he could have ascertained what I needed to bring - so...What lesson is there in this? What "working together for good for me because I love You, Lord" are You doing? Immediate: Victor and I have been able to impart some words of wisdom to niece Jhoana on child rearing; water some seed of the gospel in bro-in-law Juan; I helped Juan Carlos with his chemistry homework (at least, I HOPE I helped!); I've had this special time to get to know other family members, Victor as well as Nilsa; we've BOTH learned a lot on this trip...And I know that no experience, good or "bad" is wasted in God's economy. The wait may be necessary to ensure that Levi is with the parents yet a while, because they ARE elderly. And I am blessed in that Levi, too, tends to have a positive outlook. I was also considering the fact that, since we have no documentation of the informal marriage from last year, technically I am still a widow, and will have been the entire year, which will give me a better tax break next year...which may help with the cost of returning to tie up loose ends. But MEANWHILE...the plan is Monday to go to Rel. Ext and pick up the document, then stop at a bus station to see about getting passage ASAP Monday (leaving late afternoon); then a trip "home" to get our stuff and then head back to the station. If we pull THAT off, I can at least hope to be in Pucallpa the afternoon of my birthday. Of course, if nothing is available Monday we'll have to wait for the next bus out. One step at a time. Meanwhile, in the hopes that we WILL leave Monday, I hope to be able to treat the family to dinner on Sunday.
Other good stuff - I did a LOT of walking yesterday, and I am sure all my morning walks with Papito helped me to be able to do it - but I DID have to take aspirin as soon as we got back. Also, we got a LITTLE lost after getting off the bus in Surco, and while Victor asked directions, I sat on a bench in the park and saw a HUMMINGBIRD! It came and went a few times, and of course by the time I had my camera out and ready, it had disappeared. Hummingbird sighting is to me a little love note from God!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Bus and a Bag o' Bile

I was sweltering in my traveling clothes - jeans and teeshirt - as we waited to board our bus Monday night. Levi and Josue had accompanied us on the motorcycle to see us off. The bus had air conditioning, which was  nice. But it shut off later ( "Charapas" just can't seem to adjust to cooler temps!) We were served a dinner of fried chicken, ubiquitous rice, a wee bit of salad, and jello, with Inca Kola. There was a movie, Rebound ("Mi Segunda Vez") which I liked because it showed an older woman and younger man - only the age difference was more than mine with Levi - even better! I dozed on and off, because the seats WERE comfortable. I made use of the bathroom once - staggering as though I was drunk (train is the easiest among the 3 methods of travel: plane, bus, train) But the altitude eventually had an effect on me. When day broke, at one point a man had boarded selling something called manjar blanca or something like it - something sweet - I didn't want any, but suddenly I DID want a bag, because my stomach and head conspired to make me want to empty the contents of the former. I asked if he had one, and no sooner did he give it to me than I yarked - producing only bile, and not much, but enough apparently for the stomach to rebel against the effects of high altitude. This happened a couple of times. When around 10 the bus stopped at a restaurant, ( passengers had a 5 sol meal allowance) neither Victor nor I had any appetite (though I WAS very thirsty, having sweated so much and lost other body fluids). We bought water, yogurt, gum, and motion-sickness pills with our allowance. The pill helped so eventually I could open my eyes and watch the second movie on the way - the previous was dubbed in Spanish, and this was in English with Spanish subtitles (though sadly for those who didn't know English, the screen did not accommodate all the subtitles!) - This was Backup Plan. I like romantic comedies, so I enjoyed both features. Well, we arrived at the station in Lima around 1:30, and Victor got us a cab to Nilsa's place. It is indeed a humble dwelling, and Nilsa and her husband Juan spoiled me by letting me have the BED, though I was willing to take the sofa.We had lunch around two - cebiche and soup - which hit the spot after not having eaten since around 9 the previous night! Later, I had myself a sponge bath to get the sweat off me and changed into sweatpants and turtleneck. The temperature is in the upper 60's, lower 70's during the day - comfortable.
 Their older daughter Jhoana lives downstairs; she has a 3 year old son. At first I was of the mistaken impression that Gabriel was Nilsa's tot. Her son, Juan Carlos,helps to watch the toddler during the day, going to school at night. Victor and I made similar observations on Nilsa's rearing of little Gabriel, that she let him get away with too much - and today after breakfast, I learned that Jhoana was actually his mother, and Victor and I began to give her some iinstruction on Biblical child-rearing, not to be afraid to discipline him, for his own good. Well...Last night I invited the family to a polleria that took cards - the nene was all right till it came time to pay, then he was out of his seat and running back and forth, a real hazard...and Juan told me, "This time, I will treat YOU - before you leave, you can treat us!" I wasn't about to argue with the proposition! I slept well during the night, and breakfasted on the yogurt we had gotten, and a whole wheat roll Victor bought at the local bakery - and even a cup of coffee (instant, but hey...) Then came our childrearing lessons, and now I am at a local internet for a couple of hours. The dueña asked if I was a foreigner, and I replied in the affirmative, and gave her a little rundown of how and why I'm here. Victor was preparing the lunch during our lecture, and by the time I finish here, it'll be lunch time.
Juan, little Gabriel, Nilsa, me, and Jhoana

Jhoana nd her little boy

Juan Carlos, Jhoana, and their uncle Victor

Monday, July 23, 2012

Going Back to Lima...Posada de Refugio

Saturday bro-in-law Victor came by with Sonia and son David, saying that with approaching holidays (Dias de las Patrias) it may be difficult to get passage to Lima, so it may behoove us to go early to get them. So we hopped inhis motokar - Ma came too, and he left her with Sonia at a store (she wanted to get material for a dress to wear to the wedding!) while we went to the bus station and got tickets. Alas, more expensive than what Ma estimated, but we were going in a sleeper bus, with more comfortable seats, and a potty on board. We're going to be leaving late Monday afternoon, arriving in Lima Tues afternoon. Also changed is our hospitality arrangement. I will have the opportunity to meet another Utia sibling, Nilsa, who lives not far from the embassy - we can take a bus, so no high taxi expenses. I'll be sleeping on a couch, and Victor on the floor probably (but he was in the armed service, so he can take it!) My hope and prayer is that we can get this done all in one day, the day of the appointment, which is Thurs the 26., or at worst in TWO days. Becuase one can pretty much forget about traveling on the holidays. I know my parents-in-law want me to be able to be with them, and then there's my birthday too, which I'd prefer to spend with family, and not on the road. BUT...I place all these things in the Lord's hands. And even if I get all MY docs squared away - Levi is STILL waiting for HIS. SO...we may still have to wait either until next year with me returning and having the civil ceremony, or once we have all docs, we may send for him to come as a fiance. BUT...we had discussed that it may be better for him to stay yet a while in Peru to get a work established. This is what we discussed, our combined visions, dreams and callings.

Posada de Refugio - House of Refuge
We'll need to purchase land about 40x40 meters. To start the work, on a 10x10  meter plot we'll have a dining hall and kitchen. Of course, these will need their furnishings - stoves/ovens, refrigerator/freezer, sinks, work areas, utensils...tables and benches. Initially we will focus on serving meals, breakfast in particular, to needy children - eventually to the elderly as well. A good breakfast is essential to do well in school! But the kitchen will also serve as a teaching area - what in my youth we called "Home Ec". This way, children can learn age-appropriate kitchen skills - meal preparation, keeping things sanitary, avoiding contamination, balanced meal planning. The kitchen can also serve to prepare foodstuffs for sale to help maintain the ministry: Ma's fabulous sweet rolls and Levi's and my pizza for starters! When the dining area is not in use, it can also serve as an instructional area. Skills such as sculpture, sewing, crocheting can be imparted to women and youth so they can develop their own little microenterprises; and of course while I'm there, I can be giving English lessons, thus giving them another tool for employability. Adjacenty to the kitchen/dining hall will be the directors' residence - me and Levi - and little by little we'll begin to take in homeless children. Eventually the property will be developed with other buildings to raise, nurture, and educate - academically and with practical skills - homeless children - and eventually down the road, elderly people as well. There are family members who can contribute to staffing, who can help run things when Levi comes to the States where together we hope to be able to raise extra support from the Christian and philanthropic community.

Meanwhile....Life goes on tranquilly here in Pucallpa. Last night I treated the parents, Levi, and Josue to dinner at a "Chifa" (Chinese restaurant.) There's a street here in Pucallpa that is full of Chifas. We dined at Monodo.I had eaten lightly during the day, having yogurt and a piece of the pizza Levi had prepared Saturday afternoon to sell. OH! That reminds me - after getting our bus tickets, I was telling Victor that, since we'll have the extra time in Lima, I could have my hair colored there. He said, "But Sonia knows how to do all that!" So, we stopped by the house, dropping Ma off, and I grabbed my Nice 'n' Easy, and went to their house where Sonia colored me for a fourth of what I would expect to pay in Lima - 5 soles! Meanwhile, I had abandoned Levi to making the pizzas by himself - which he'll have to get used to doing anyway once I leave...Okay, back to Sunday, earlier that day, Tios Armando and Teresa joined the parents in visiting at Manantial, where Levi had dropped me off since I was ready and he was not...he joined us a bit later, and stayed for the extra discipleship class, so I walked home with the folks - only about 7 minutes, and God in His grace left some clouds in the sky so I wasn't baking in my pale gringa skin. For Lima, I'm packing warmer clothes - winter continues there. If our return is delayed, I may contact my "family" in Villa el Salvador so as not to inconvenience Nilsa too long. They want to meet Levi, but they'll have to settle for his brother for now!

at the Chifa
Now to get to my emails...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


The rain of the previous night brought the temp down so I changed into sweatpants, a turtleneck shirt under my teeshhirt, and a sweater. Levi seemed to adjust well though, so I told him he'll have no trouble getting accustomed to the climate in Rochester, which he calls "mi tierra". The cold helped the swelling in my ankles to subside. Although I did not go to the bathroom the twelve times Levi claimed during the night, I did go frequently, and lo and behold this morning I could see my ankle bones! They say it's supposed to continue cool for the next several days, 11 celcius - though with the sun shining, I have doffed my sweater and also the turtleneck. My morning walks with Papito are paying off - he commented that I am walking more "ligero" - lightly - and we even did a little jog on one pass...and we walked 40 minutes rather than 30. Then Mama had compassion on me and walked with me to cousin Palomino's internet - it's just 3 blocks - since Levi is out and about again: another try with the lawyer, an attempt at the Immigration office here in town to see if we can avoid the Lima trip (which I doubt because that would be CONVENIENT!) And he also has to get his address changed on his DNI (national identity card) - it's still the Iquitos address!
Levi reported last night that Victor was indeed willing to accompany me to Lima, that there's a relative in the Peruvian Air Force where we can stay at the residence near the embassy, and we may even be able to get a discount on the trip with another relative who has a busline, IF he's available at that time. Pray it is so! Funds are being consumed oh-so-quickly, because I chip in for everything, and Levi has been unemployed. He is leaning towards the sale of motorcycles which gives pure commission of, I believe, 4%. We'll see. Today we are going to sit down and go over plans for what we want to do here, as a ministry, specifically, a home for children, educating them not only academically but also to prepare them to work. I'd thought of being a foster mother once upon a time (and learned that my own mom did too) but Ansel's health -physical and psychological - was not conducive to it. Such a ministry will be perfect for when traveling hither and yon gets too difficult, and I can release that spirit of adoption over needy kids. But we need to do some planning.
We had a nice conversation as we awaited sleep last night, getting to know each other better, sharing about our past experiences. I treasure such opportunities.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Son of a Glitch!

I am so glad God knows what's going on, and has everything under HIS control. Levi went downtown yesterday, STILL doesn't have papers he's waiting for, which require an additional step of sending them elsewhere for signing. At my request he checked at city hall to see if what I had was serviceable - but as my Dad would say, "But NOOooo" - the documents are fine and good, BUT I also need to have official translation and notarization of the consulate  - in LIMA of course. So, we talked about options. I was pretty sure I was going to need an appointment - that I couldn't just waltz in and ask them to handle these "tramites". And when I arrived at cousin Palomino's cabina today and went directly to the embassy website, sure enough, I have to make an appointment. Well, I've made one for next Thursday so I can give my bro-in-law Victor time to digest the request: at Ma's suggestion, since I don't want to travel alone, she said he knows Lima and has an uncle through his wife with whom we can stay. We can take a bus, travel the 24 hours, spend night at uncle's, and go to the appt. the next day, then skeedaddle out of there right after and back to Pucallpa by bus. Ugh! But I certainly can't swing one airplane ticket, much less two. ANd the embassy charges $50 per thing they gotta do, so I figure at least $150 - my birth and marriage certificates, and Ansel's death certificate. If Levi also has all his papers by then, we still have time to put in an announcement and have the required 15 day wait before the civil ceremony. If, however, he still faces delays on his side, well...we'll wait. We're not alarmed, because GOD is not. And while we are eager for him to be able to come to the states, he suggested that it may serve better anyway if he stays behind to get a work ESTABLISHED, so when he DOES come, he can have photos, "Look, this is what we have in place" and gain support as well as people who want to come to work with us. Perhaps once everything is established, THEN he can come and spend some time in the US. These are thoughts. We're praying and waiting.
Meanwhile, it has been unusual for me to relax and spend time with my in-laws. Sunday Levi and I went to his church Manantial de Vida. He dropped me off first, then went to get his youngest daughter, Saraí, so she could have some Daddy time. She was also allowed to come over for a bit yesterday. We gave her the last couple of pieces of pizza. This morning someone called to see if we had pizza, but we haven't done any baking since Saturday. As it was, we had 2 unsold pizzas which we chipped away at. Son Josué was more than happy to help out in that!
Last night I woke to the sound of rain starting on the calaminas (corrugated steel roofing) - it built up until it was like the sound of static turned to the highest volume. There was also lightning, though I didn't hear much thunder (maybe the rain on steel drowned it out!) It was relaxing though. I love the sound. The rains cooled off the day, and they say it's going to be chilly the next few days. I'm comfortable unless I sit too long in the breeze - then I want a sweater. There wasn't enough rain to impede my morning walk with Papito. And I plan to do my arm-strengthening exercises, using a couple of stones as weights. I think Papi and I have influenced Levi - who was acquiring a bit of a tummy from the pizza and sweet rolls - because he went out for a jog this morning.
I am experiencing some swelling in my ankles which has not let up - not unusual for me in the summer ANYWAY. But prayers are appreciated. Other than that, my systems are functioning well. I've been drinking boiled tapwater, rather than consuming bottled water. Fresh oranges, fresh grapefruit, little bananas....I've enjoyed cooking from time to time. Do need to go to the market for some kind of meat as we're about out of fish. I also want to get more yarn - I'm not used to not doing anything with my hands. Yesterday I completed a color pencil drawing of the mango tree in front of the house - been a while since I drew "from life."
I occasionally see various relatives - Papi's brother, Tio Armando; his wife, Tia Mercedes; Levi's niece Erica's husband Carlín, who often plays chauffeur to market (in fact I will probably enlist him because he may remember where I got the yarn last time)...Oh, he gave Papi and me each a big broiled chicken breast the other night - Mine I used to make sandwiches for me, Levi and Saraí on Sunday, that's how big it was. Here at the cabina, there's cousin Palomino's son Tony and his wife Leici. They have a black dog - could be lab mix, by her personality. While waiting for a cabina, I was scritching and rubbing her ears. She didn't object at all!
I've been maintaining my hournal, some in English, but I went to Spanish except when I don't know the word. Thus I manage to keep track of memories.
Carlín and his motokar

with Victor at bus station
Well, Levi and I will take some time to draw up some detailed plans for what we want to do here. We may both end up taking out loans to get things started. My hope is that I can do so, considering other financial commitments like the van and the house. Prayers are always appreciated.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Odds and Ends

Ma showed me her hand washing technique, but after one or two bits of clothing, she chased me away so she could do it more quickly, arthritis notwithstanding.
I continue my morning walk-and-talk with Papito, and Levi said he appreciated that because his father LOVES to talk about the Lord - as do I - so the 30 minutes back and forth in front of the house go quickly.
Foreman Varela arrived the other day from Iquitos, participating in an Expo at a local fairground, in tourism (since he knows English). Levi picked him up from the airport on his motorcycle after delivering pizza, and brought him by the house. He gave us news from Iquitos, including how the property Shepherd's Heart and the Koinonia community helped with so much was also affected by the flooding earlier this year - the high brick wall fronting the property was under so much water, he said, you could only see a few centimeters of the top of it. The flooding has receded, but Iquitos is having a lot of problems. Welcome to the Amazon Basin!
Yesterday Levi's pastor from the church Manantial (for short - I'm sure there's more to the name) stopped by to visit. This pastor drops in on Papi from time to time for HIS wisdom and council. Anyway, he told Levi that there was a men's meeting that night, so after delivering Ma's sweet rolls, he borrowed my Bible and went.
When he came home, his head was hurting terribly - a severe pain he experiences at times, that scares him. I prayed for him, and told him if anything happens to him, I'd do what I could to continue to help the family. Perhaps better tech when he arrives in the states - EVENTUALLY - will help. We had a good long conversation last night - don't always have the opportunity, because despite being unemployed, he is VERY busy. BUT he has now FOUR job offers, and is seeking the Lord as to which, leaning towards one in motorcycle sales, because the man is a natural salesman, with good people skills. But there's also one at a hardware store - the skills for which could be used at one stateside. All prayers are appreciated!
We're getting closer to having documents - Levi got a call from the lawyer and will meet with him Monday. While he's at it, he'll check at the Municipalidad (like city hall) to see if what I brought is sufficient, if I need signatures seals, translations, or what - if indeed we can DO this during this trip. But nothing is wasted in God's economy, and I treasure the time with his parents, and getting to know other family members. Carlos (aka Carlin) for example, married to Levi's niece Erica, is a motokarista who has driven us to market a few times. Yesterday we called on him, and made first a stop at the bank, then at a dentist so Levi could get an appraisal of his teeth (he needs some extensive work done), then for pizza ingredients, and finally - a MATTRESS! Yay! This morning my hip didn't bother me when I got up to go walking with Papi!
We did run into some problems - Ma's 2 small ovens died, so she's using the new one I got, and has been using her gas oven - but of course, more gas is used, so this morning mid-bake, we'd run out, so Pa had to call the company, llamagas, to get another tank. Levi arrived in time to pay the 30 soles for it. But we're under way again.
Minina the cat seems to be due to have her kittens any day. She loves to cuddle up in Papi's sandals - it's so funny to see. I got a picture, but my battery charger doesn't seem to work HERE, so I may have to buy some cheapy AA's, ESPECIALLY if we DO manage to pull off a civil ceremony. Details of THAT also need to be discussed - Levi and I were leaning towards something very simple with not many people, but of course, traditions, large family...but he's been unemployed and I'm on limited funds. Hm...Can one elope???? Ah well...Trusting in and waiting on the Lord.
Other interesting notes...While sitting and watching tv last night I felt a drop on my arm, and saw something whitish and wet. Looked up to the rafters - didn't see any bats or birds. Ma said it had to be one of the little lizards that crawl about the walls and ceiling. Great. Lizard kaka!
Also, a large butterfly flittered into the house and hung around a while, and the parents said the traditional saying is that they're harbingers of visitors. I told the butterfly, "You're late! I'm already here!"
Minina in her favorite spot

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bats and Breads...

Levi is up to his elbows in "masa" - dough
Believe it or not, it got pretty chilly last night - Levi hogged the blanket, so I covered myself with my sweater.Yesterday morning Levi and I got ingredients for pizza. Today was a busy day! This morning, I got up around 7 and joined Papito on his walk. By the time we got back to the house after a half hour, Levi and Mama were already elbow deep in dough. We made 3 pizzas and then Ma made 2 pans of sweet rolls. Levi had orders from 8 people, but sold all 16 slices from the first two pizzas, and may sell the other 7 (I had to try a slice - ground beef with bits of ham and red pepper - and stuffed crust- esquisito!)tonight. Someone from the health department came by to check on mosquito breeding grounds - dengue is a dangerous possibility, so she made sure there was no standing water on the property. We have a mosquetero at night, and while I did bring repellent, the skeeters here don't seem to like foreign food. Plus there are cute little lizards, toads, and bats to eat the bugs. One bat fumbled into the house the other night and seemed desparate to get out - poor thing landed exhausted for a moment on top of one of the pots on the stove. But then it found its way out via the back where it wasn't roofed. But I can JUST IMAGINE some readers, not JUST females, shrieking about it.
Well, I'm here at the internet to do a search for a pastor that Levi knew in Iquitos - anyone who can help us hook up to Robert Schadler of Benton Harbor, Michigan, 'twould be appreciated. He'd been very encouraging to Levi and had spoken to him of coming to the States, ministering in music, but circumstances didn't allow at the time. Levi gave his "manchita" Foreman a call to see if he knew the pastor's last name, because, Levi didn't remember it. With internet, I am confident they'll re-connect. Trouble right now is slow connections!
The fishmonger was by this morning with Corbina, a kind of bass - we got 2 kilos for 20 soles. Do the math - that's about 4.5 pounds of fresh fish for 8 bucks. Ma fried some up for lunch. Oh, so delicious!
Tomorrow I have to have Ma show me her technique for washing clothes. Josue bought her a washing machine to give some relief to her arthritic hands, but as yet it isn't hooked up. She's been so sweet, washing my stuff, but I really don't want to burden her! Well, I'm still waiting to see if I can get a phone number here...all for now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sweet Rolls and Pizza

Well, let's see...last post had to do with Saturday night. Sunday I went to Manantial, mounted on the back of Levi's motorcycle. We arrived about 10 minutes into the service, and sat in back among Marita's family. They had a guest speaker, an associate of the other pastors I'd met via Victor. His interpreter lacked experience and flubbed through a couple of places, but none the worse for understanding the gist of the teaching about family. Afterwards I went up to introduce myself to my paisano. It had started to rain during the service, so Levi sent me home with nephew Fritz in the motokar. I still managed to get baptized as I entered the house, so I took a shower with soap and shampoo. The temp dropped considerably, and I ended up changing into sweatpants and a turtleneck. Then I thought, AH! That's why the temp drop - I'd put turtlenecks and sweatpants in my carryon, while other clothes were in our dresser drawer, thinking (after all the heat) that I wouldn't need them. We watched a bit of "Cantando en la Lluvia" - hint: Gene Kelly, Deborah Reynolds, Donald O'Connor....The dialog was dubbed in Spanish, but the songs were as they were, and the dancing totally delightful. Later Levi drove me to Marita's, and at Erica's we watched the rest of "Alñicia en el Pais de Maravillas" (with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter),and then, "Encantada" - and the great thing about THAT movie was that the songs were also in Spanish. We had some good laughs. Levi went home and I spent another night in Kelly's bed, and Monday morning Carlos drove me home. I pretty much chilled - literally. It was overcast and cool - comfortable. A Rochester summer day! Levi isn't starting right away on the new job, but he'd gone for ID stuff. He also got orders for pizza. Oh! Yeah, Mama had made her sweet rolls, and Levi took them to sell. Trouble was, one batch fell on the ground (a sacrifice - we ate it, scraping off the sand); and 2 batches got burned. Not TOO badly. This morning's breakfast - "Do I want sand or carbon?" So she was making more today, and her 2 little ovens pooped out on her (glad I bought a 3rd on Sunday). Well, we got the gas oven going to finish one, and put the other in the new oven...there were 2 more batches to go when Levi brought me here to the internet. Well, yesterday he got orders for pizza too - so this morning we went into the center to pick up some ingredients, and I'll be working on those tomorrow with Mama. While getting ground beef, Levi asked if I wanted to get another cut of meat to make, say, a soup. I suggested,"estofado" (stew - his favorite) and his eyes brightened. So while Mama worked on sweet rolls, I made beef stew.  Nice to know I can still cook - Abi does most of it at the house, so sometimes I wonder if I may lose my touch. Nope. Levi's tummy seems to be expanding a bit with his gringa's cooking!  Oh, it was quite cool last night - I wore my sweater, and used a blanket. But at least I was able to sleep at home - Levi finished the bedstead and put the cushions on it. I gave him $ as a deposit on a new mattress so my hip won't grind into the boards. He has back problems too.'ll be nice to have more cushioning.So, we're getting this micro biz going. I gotta learn how to make Mama's dough. Also have to get more batteries for my camera, as the recharger doesn't work here. Poop. All for now.
sweet rolls!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday Night at Marita's

Kelly and Erica

Me and my Honey

Josue is only working till 10 tonight, and since our bed isn't finished yet, this presented a problem with sleeping arrangements. Not wanting to go to the hospedaje again (15 soles is cheap, really, but still...)...a solution presented itself. Earlier in the evening some of the family was coming in dribs and drabs. Apparently it is friendship day : Niece Kelly had called while there was still daylight, saying she'd like to take me and Levi to the Plaza to take pix and hang out. But Levi was still out - had a job interview (and starts anew Monday: 4 hours per day, Mon-Fri, in a supervisory position. Will post more when I know more, but meanwhile, thanks for prayers!) first, niece Erica arrived with hubby Carlos and sons  Gabriel and Angel. Then came Marita  (Levi's sis) with Kelly and Leidi. Later nephew Fritz. We sat around outside talking in the cool dusk. Oh, there were 2 little pieces of our ham and cheese pizza left, which I cut in slivers to be tried  (before Fritz's arrival - he missed out) . FINALLY Levi arrived with the aforementioned news of new employment. He announced he was hungry, so I whomped up some scrambled eggs with onion and ham and heated up some yucca. There arose a discussion over the ceramic animials I had brought to give the family - were they from molds? So I grabbed the plasticene I'd bought at the market the other day and showed how I made them, making a little giraffe, elephant, and rooster. (Levi jokes, "And I taught her in just one day!" Shades of Groundhog Day, "I taught him in just one lesson!") Well, we did a lot of talking and discussed possible paseos (outings). And tomorrow morning I'll go with Levi to market before church to look for pans for Ma to make her sweet rolls to sell...then I'll go with Marita's family to Manantial THIS week, and back to Alianza NEXT week, and so on...then after church around 5 I guess we'll go to the plaza. But meanwhile, there arose the problem of sleeping arrangements - but then I asked, how about if I stay at Marita's or Erica's? Kelly quickly volunteered to share her bed with me ( a double) so I got in the motocar driven by Fritz, and here I am, posting unexpectedly. Okay, it's late, and tomorrow's a busy day.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Learning to Relax

view from the bodega window of some of the goodies Ma sells
Resident Lizard Peeks from Behind Broom

Relaxing with my Honey at Erica's house

Ma prepares dough to be used for pizza and sweet rolls
I am so unaccustomed to relaxing. Not that I don't do ANYTHING. I go with Mama Marleni to the market now and then...walk anbd talk with Papito Eladio...Levi, for being unemployed, is very busy with finishing off our room, sawing wood panels by hand (in this heat!) I have made lunches frequently, while Mama makes breakfast. Supper is usually catch-as-catch-can. For instance, last night Mama got a of things for the bodega, including some snack sized packs of RITZ crackers, so I bought a pack and Levi and I spread the peanut butter (that I'd broung from the US) on them. Today Mama and I went to market twice - first in the morning we went for more toronjas (grapefruit), and stock for the bodega - about 10 pounds of onions, some yucca, tomatoes...potty paper...and seeing some local cheese, knowing we wanted to make pizza, I bought a block for 6 soles.We looked around for yarn such as I like to use for crocheting.Not seeing any, I did get some plasticene - just to show how I make my ceramic animals. I missed having Josue with us to lug things! But he is working nights. So, we took those things home, and then later Carlos - married to Levi's niece Erica, daughter of his older sister Marita - took me and Mama downtown, so I got to see the city of Pucallpa here and there. I took some videos which I will eventually try to download on Youtube, just to share he experience.
Was charmed last night by the appearance of a little lizard pooking from behind the brooms for sale hanging up outside Josue's room. And the previous evening while sitting outside chatting with Papa and Levi, saw a little bat flutter about going for insects attracted to the light. Thank God for my Mom who brought me up not to be squeamish about creepy crawly or fluttery.
The pizza, by the way, turned out REALLY GOOD. No pepperoni, so I got some lunch ham, decent stuff, and some packs of Italian style tomato sauce. Mama made the dough. She put a bit extra yeast in because she wasn't sure if it was still good. It WAS, however, and our combined efforts were thoroughly enjoyed. We even thought about selling it, 2 soles for an eighth of a pizza.
Levi had gone out just before we got back from shopping - the fellow who had hit his motorcycle from behind called to pay for the repairs. Levi came when we'd finished eating lunch, bringing ice cream bars, and brother Victor arrived at the same time to take me to visit some other American missionaries who were at his church, between meetings. So I wolfed down my ice cream and went with Victor while Levi attacked the pizza. I had a nice long visit with Marylin, and then had Victor drop me off here at cousin Palomino's internet until someone comes for me. I could feasibly walk home alone, it's only about 3 1/2 blocks - BUT not a good idea for a gringa, unescorted.
Thanks to exercises, I've been able to mount and dismount a little easier behind Levi on the motorcycle, and I think now I know how to dismount with more ease, if after placing my right foot on the ground I back up a bit to swing my left leg over the back...I'll have to do more exercises though, after today's pizza and ice cream. Oh, and I also bought a bottle of cola from the bodega to have with it!
Someone visiting with the other missionary pastor, whose family is very international, mentioned having to get a stamp from the embassy on my birth certificate, because she did. But maybe because she was of Korean parents. I don't know. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. If worse comes to worse, civil ceremony will have to wait until NEXT year. God knows what HE is doing, and that is what matters. Prayers are always appreciated. Still waiting on HIS document. We continue to be "Soldados de Espera." They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strenght...They shall mount up with wings as eagles. Or Boeing 747's. Whatever it takes.

Here is the video I made combining scenes from the paseo through Pucallpa.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of JOOOlah

Thanks to regular walking with Papito it was alittle easier to mount up behind Levi on the motorcycle that replaced the one stolen last year - this one is a bit higher, and my hip is less cooperative. Anyway, he dropped me off here at a cousin's cabina (Palomino, and I met his daughter-in-law, whose name I DID ask, but it escapes me. So many to remember! Anyway, Levi's been working on nailing the panels to the framework of our room, and needs more, as well as stronger planks for our bedstead so my weight doesn't make it collapse. Not having a scale, I have no idea how my weight may be. I am eating less, and better. Fried fish for breakfast this morning, as well as yesterday: Yesterday morning the fishmongercame by the house and I paid 25 soles for a good quantity (about 10 bucks) - some catfish, and a flat kind I've had before called palometa. MMMM!
I sometimes pass the time doing drawings - completed two animal alphabets, one in Spanish, one in English; also some little illustrated English lessons which in-laws can sell in the bodega. I'll have to see about taking some pix of them and loading them.
Yesterday, since I hadn't heard from Abi in a while, I used my calling card bought in Lima to call her, and told her to hang up and call ME, since I'm paying for the long distance anyway. After a couple of bad connections, we had success and passed a good while chatting. Meanwhile a couple other "gringas" had stopped by - they know one of the nieces and wanted to visit her, but didn't know the way.The chauffeur knows Papi, so they came for the directions. We introduced ourselves, and I learned they were from Chicago. It's always interesting to come upon other "gringos" and I'm always curious to know where they're from and what they're about!
Yesterday afternoon, some earth movers came around the neighborhood, and one of the huge machines passed back and forth in front of the house, leveling the dirt on our block. Made walking this morning easier, though you have to watch for dog poops that got mixed in and so are less visible. It'll be great to have the street paved (it's dirt) even before I go.
Early this morning when Josue had returned from work, Papito and I took our walk in the cool of the morning. When we finished, Levi was up, so we all had devotional time together, reading in Genesis the continuing story of Joseph, one of my favorites. When the Lord says, "I'm going to make you like Joseph", we often want to jump ahead to when he was 2nd only to Pharoah - but he had to pass through some very tough times of preparation first.  But every experience is good to teach us the ways of the Lord, to purify our faith, to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit.
I'll be preparing an "estofado" (stew) of the rest of the ground meat and assorted vegs for lunch today. It's kinda nice to renew my cooking skills - Abi is such a good cook, and since I work outside the home, I depend on her doing most of it.'s my turn now.
I'll continue to try loading photos...some PC's are more compliant than others!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pucallpa continues...

Cousin Palomina's daughter-in-law Leysi with thir Parrot who laughs when YOU laugh

Levi relaxes on a hammock in front of the house

with nephew Fritz - 2 gorditos
Internet is not QUITE as accessible as it was in Lima, and the signal is slow, and sometimes I can't get one or another account.
Be that as it may...I have been VISITING, but mostly among extended family. I have met more nieces and nephews and children thereof. I also met Josue's girlfriend Nora and 2 1/2 year old son Angelo. I did go with my mother -in-law to visit her ailing aged sister next door, bringing enteric coated aspirin for her pain and my Bible in case there was a Word of comfort. There was indeed in Psalm 71 , especially verses 20 and 21. There is a lot of need...Tia Mercedes has children, grown, but none of them really look after her save the one. A lot of family problems.
While Levi still waits for certain papers tomake their rounds, we are enjoying the time to converse, when he isn't out looking after other matters. Someone hit his motorcycle from behind a couple of days ago, and thank the Lord, no one - especially HIM - was hurt, and the driver of the car paid for the parts and repairs.
I have to repeat that I love being with my father-in-law. I walk back and forth in front of the house to exercise with him, and we'll sit and read scripture and discuss it and pray. I'm glad to be with Levi, but his father is really an unexpected blessing to my spirit and soul, a true spiritual father.
I went to market today with Mami and Josue and got makings (at Levi's request) for spaghetti with meat sauce. Not easy to find the seasonings I'm accustomed to , but I did come upon fresh basil and some foil packs of spaghetti sauce and parmesan cheese! I also made a tossed salad, whomping up a dressing of mayo, vinegar, a bit of sugar, chopped cilantro and basil, and some parmesan cheese.
Not that one feels much like eating in the heat. I've been drinking plenty of water, and most of it I SWEAT off. I can feel myself on a slow simmer! But the spaghetti was good! We're hoping for fish for breakfast if anyone comes by with fresh catch in the morning.
Levi has been laid off from his job, so he is taking some vacation time. Pray he finds more work - eventually. He does need the rest, and we can use this time together. I appreciate now my pastors' counsel to wait...
No diahrrhea, no sun-burn...a few no-see-ums bites, but not bad. Looking forward to letting nieces practice their English with me.Hope to be able to connect with some of my flesh-n-blood via internet.