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It’s the weekend!!  I passed my exam today!!  Per your request for photos, I have taken some.  I really haven’t taken many pictures at all, but here are a couple. Remember me?  I went up San Cristóbal on a very clear day, although that fuzziness you see in the background is smog.  The pollution is remarkably horrible.  You can see the mountains–that makes it a clear day. Plaza de Armas is a part of downtown with all kinds of things to see.  Street vendors, random stores, street preformers, a never ending chess tournament, amongst other things.  The building in between the big skyscrapper and the one with the clock on top is a very old post office (correo).  It is stunning inside.  The building on the left is a very old catholic church that I’ve visited twice now.  I should have a photo or two to post by Sunday–I’m going to Pomaire tomorrow.  I’ll update soon…


Does the American Church (or representation of Christianity) function or appear how God wants it to?  If not, what are the points of departure?  I really would like some thoughtful input on this question…

Hi y’all,

 I continue to learn a lot, but still feel like this is the biggest subject I have ever studied.  So while I feel like I’m learning a lot, I am lacking in communication comprehension and expression.  There is one thing I am really grateful for.  Cognates.  Anyone who has studied a foreign language can share in my gratitude for cognates.  I most likely would have given up and flown home by now…if it weren’t for cognates. 

I have a new recipe for you.  We have farewell meals on Fridays at school.  We say goodbye to the students who are leaving.  There is a never ending rotation of people at the school.  A lot of students are only here for a week or two and then they go home, travel, or take more classes in another location.  Today we had dream sandwiches.  I made that name up, I don’t know what they are really called, but they were that good.  Imagine a really good hamburger bun, of the sourdoughish variety.  It wasn’t white bread, it was a more chewy bread, of sorts.  Then, you put sliced roast beef, mashed avocados, green beans, salsa (with cilantro), and mayo if you wish.  I had mine without mayo and it was incredibly good.  Avocados (which are one of my fave) are abundant here, so there was a lot on my sandwich.  So good.  I should have eaten two.

Epanadas are the national food of Chile, unofficially.  It is a stuffed pastry.  You can get different fillings across Latin America, but the most common in Chile is called pino.  It has meat (usually cow, but sometimes horse), sauteed onions, a slice of hard boiled egg, and one black olive.  I have yet to eat the black olive, I don’t like olives.  I’ve mostly seen baked empanadas, but I think fried are available as well.  I eat a lot of them because they are quick, easy, abundant, and inexpensive (500 pesos, about $1).

It’s Friday evening and I’m going to study.  There seems to be an infinite amount of things to learn about a language and another infinite amount of things to learn about a culture.  While I’ve been immersed in them both for three weeks, I’ve only scratched the surface.  Aprendé preterito imperfecto y preterito indefinito este semana.  Necesito más practicar antes lo uso con confianza.  Espero escribir a el fin de semana, si posible. 

I went to the church I told yáll about last week to see the Aggies.  They were there.  After church we went to a little orphanage of sorts to play with the kids.  There was one little boy who smiled at me and that was all I needed.  I have missed my three year olds at Crosspoint and he seemed to fill that part of my heart.  He had the sweetest little face.  There were more of us than there were niños, so I spent most of my time in fellowship with los Aggies.  Again, I miss fellowship and it seemed to fill that part of my heart.  I spent a lot of time listening to their stories and it was really good.  After lunch we went to this little park with the kids.  As I was standing there I saw four little yellow lab puppies making their way towards us.  There are a lot of stray dogs in and around Santiago, but these puppies were being transported by their owner for the children to play with.  Forget the kids, I want to hold one.  Ha.  The older kids were more interested in the Aggies, so there were plenty of puppies.  The owner and I had a wonderfully promising conversation.  He is a professional translator and works within different media.  He translated for his girlfriend and I to have a conversation.  Her parents are pastors and have a very similar purpose as me.  She discussed the tendencies of the religion in Chile and it was very refreshing to hear a Chilean verbalize what I sense.  It is heavy, but refreshing to hear a native with such a big heart.  It was a lovely conversation.  I didn´t know that I needed this day as much as I did. 

There are at least two famous ¨hills¨in Santiago and one of them is Cerro Santa Lucia.  Yesterday evening I was with some people (one American, two Brits, one Frenchman, six Germans, one Australian, two from Sweden, and  twoSwitzerland) discussing the opportunity to go up this hill.  It is very easy to get to by way of the metro and then you simply climb your way to the top.  I took one very uninteresting and unattractive photo of the city once I was at the top, but I will not leave it with you as I don´t want to poorly advertise this place.  Instead, I will leave you a picture of the entrance.  The trees are very unusual, but most trees are in Chile, quite unusual.  Other oddities: they write their nines like lower case G´s, they prefer dulce de leche over chocolate, instant coffee is the norm, they eat the fruit from cactus, it´s easier to buy panty hose on the street than in the mall, and the honking of the horn is more for sport than for the need.  I´m very sure the list will grow, but that shall suffice for now.  It´s been one of the more low days since I´ve been here, but things are on the way up.

I passed my first exam!!  The school tests los estudiantes every two weeks and you move up to the next level if you pass the exam.  I made a 98% which is abnormal for me.  The last time I made a grade remotely close to that was most likely the 96% I got on my quantitative chemistry exam.  Yeah.  That was quite some time ago, three years plus.  This means I really like to study and I am learning a lot.  Today is the first day in a while that the weather has been nice.  I went exploring which is one of my most favorite things to do.  I´ve found my favorite little eatery.  Puedo comer almuerzo a menos que 1000 pesos ($2).  Yo debo decir adios a mi compañero favorita este noche.  Ella es de Aleman y vuelve mañana.  Ella ensaña mi algunas casas que ayudarme.  I´m pretty sure there are some mistakes in that, but I´m still learning!  ¡Hablo a ustedes pronto!

Hola amigos,

I know yáll are praying for me!  It is obvious.  I pray you keep doing so.  There has been answers to prayer and I wish I could tell you of every experience.  Continue to pray for quick learning.  I´ve learned a lot already, but I am struggling to be patient.  I want to understand what is being said to me.  I have had some small victories, but I long for real conversation.

Story time.  Preface: New Yorkers, the Chileans are showing you up.  I´ve already been whooped at and I didn´t have to explain it! 

This morning I decided to listen to PJ (keep bringin´it from the western New York, it was stinkin´outstanding) and would then venture out to find a church.  On the chilean google site I typed “iglesia cristo providencia.”  Iglesia = church.  Cristo = Jesus Christ.  Providencia = the area I live in Santiago.  I found a church and tried to make out the values based on my sketchy Spanish.  It appreared that I should try it out.  I went.  The entire pastor staff, are none other, but Texans.  Not only that, they are all Aggies.  Not only that, a group of Aggies is arriving today to do some mission work for two weeks.  Wow.  As the service was starting the pastor introduced me (without warning) to the group of about forty and I could tell he said I´m an Aggie and I went to the best university in the world (mejor…universidad…todo el mundo).  I kid you not, after the service, two Chilean people whooped at me, one of which did so with a proper gun in the air motion.  I will go back next Sunday and see if this is where the Lord wants me.  I enjoyed the Aggie blood and got a little taste of home.

Trekking yesterday was intense.  It was a difficult hike, but when we made it to the top, it was worth it.  The group sat in silence as we looked on to the marvelous creation we had been given to enjoy.  I pray you all find some part of creation to dwell on.  I so wish a picture could do scenes justice, but they rarely, if ever do.  I will attach this one for the sake of the idea of what was seen.  Yes, Leah, I did take it.

The view from the top of Cerro de Roble

I will continue to write as time allows and will venture into writing in Spanish when I learn past tense. 

This is my room.  So far I only sleep there.  I go to class in the morning, adventure in the afternoon, study downstairs in the evening, and then go to my room (mi sala) to sleep (dormir).  Mi casa.  More to follow.

¡Hola!  Some readers requested recipes when available and this is the first!  Thank you to all who have written comments or emails–it is so nice to read from you. 

 Ceviche is muy bueno.  You need a sturdy fish.  Cut it into little pieces.  Pour lemon juice over all of it and add salt.  Set aside.  Chop onions, pimentos (not from a jar), chiles (called aji in Chile), and cilantro.  Place the chopped onions in water with salt and sugar.  Mix and rinse well.  Once the fish has turned white in the liquid, serve with chopped pimentos, chiles, and cilantro.

Pisco sour is a mixed beverage.  Two parts pisco.  One part fresh lemon juice.  One spoonful of powder sugar (azucar flor).  Blend.  If you would like to try the Peruvian version, blend one egg white (clara de huevo) with other ingredients. 

Hello friends,

Whew.  It has been a wild few days.  I don´t really even know where to start, I have a lot to report on.  As I write, I am already trying to use Spanish words, which is most likely a hint that I need to be studying more, not writing in English.  My main challenge is not going to be learning Spanish, but to stay away from English so I can learn. 

 Getting here was exhausting.  The worst traveling experience I´ve had.  For those of you who know me well, you know that I don´t particularly care for flying.  I get nervous when the plane makes any little movement it shouldn´t and when turbulence is really bad, I get scared.  My body has an this automatic response that when the plane starts bumping around my heart starts beating and the adrenaline starts rushing.  It seems a little silly and I don´t like it, but it is my reality.  At any rate, I flew to L.A. to catch a flight to Santiago.  Simple, right?  No.  I got to L.A. and found out my flight was cancelled.  The incompetent man (sorry if that seems like an insult, but it is a fact) told me the next flight to Santiago was out of Dallas.  I had waited an hour for him to deliver this information and I was not happy about it.  I was trying to supress the anger and it seemed to make it worse.  I didn´t say anything (to him anyway) that I regret, I just told him that there was nothing right about this situation.  So.  He gave me a “coupon” to get the ticket to Dallas and I went on my angry way out of the international terminal.  I called Mom and Dad to tell them of my predicament.  I was about to start crying and my Mom was doing her best to console me, but it wasn´t working.  Then, as we continued to talk, we changed the subject and I remembered to tell her about a card I had received from Leah and my mood was brightened.  Thankfully.  I was able to approach the lady at the ticket counter with less drama.  However.  She could not put me on a flight back to Dallas because this “coupon” would not work.  Incompetent, I´m telling you.  Back to the international terminal.  Yes.  Back to the international terminal.  I approach a different lady, who seems to know what she is doing, and tell her about the situation.  She confers with a group of people (in Spanish), hands me off to another lady, the other lady pounds on the keyboard for about thirty minutes.  I asked her about my flight to Dallas and she informed me that I was not going to Dallas, but I was going to Lima, Peru.  Immediately.  From there things were pretty smooth…except during this ordeal, I forgot to mention they put my luggage on the wrong plane.  That little problem didn´t turn out to be a big deal, it was delivered to my house later on Sunday afternoon.

 That brings me to the house I live in.  Right now, I´m living with five other students in a house with about twelve rooms.  Three students are from Germany, one is from England, and the other is from the United States.  The Brit and one of the German guys are in my class.  Right now, there are four people in my class.  The two I mentioned and two from Switzerland.  My professor is really good and I enjoy class.  This is the first time in a long time that I look forward to and pay attention in class.  I can affirmatively say that the last semester of grad school had little to offer that would hold my attention.  I am enjoying learning.  I can understand more than I can speak, which I imagine is normal.  In addition to school, we took a tour of downtown Santiago and went to a museum today.  I was under the impression that they would offer an activity about two or three times a week.  Try everyday of the week but Sunday.  This weekend we are going trekking in the montañas.

My favorite things so far?  The Andes mountains.  I remember when we lived in Denver the mountains were a constant sign.  My Mom liked them because they were always in the east (in relation to where we lived) and she knew what direction we were going.  Now that I´m older it is a constant reminder that the Lord made those mountains and He holds them in the palm of His hands.  If He can do that, He can change hearts.  It´s interesting though, because you could see the Andes clearly on Sunday and on Monday.  Today, the smog set in.  In the early evening you could barely make them out and by evening, you couldn´t see them at all.  The constant sign that God is the Creator was clouded over and I can´t help but pray that the Lord would remove the smog from eyes of the souls here.  Not so they can see the mountains, so they can see their Creator. 

 There is so much more to write, but I should go.  I miss you much, but know this is the right time for me to be here, and I find great comfort in that.