Friday, December 28, 2007

Birthday Party

I had my first Peruvian birthday party celebration last night. It was held at my host home with an attendance of around 25 people. Everyone was either from the language school, relatives of my host family, or from the local church that I attend here in Arequipa.

We started at 7:30pm but the majority of people did not come until 8:30 with some showing up as late as 10pm. My host mother made me a birthday cake with mango filling inside, it was delicious. The traditon, at least in my house, is that the birthday boy has to take a bite of the cake while his "friends" help him...

My host home father grilled hamburgers and we drank "Inca Cola" the popular soft drink here that is kind of like Mountain Dew. In addition to all the food, we even had some time to dance to Latin music. Normally I have two left feet but with a little coaching I saw doing alright, I even got to dance with my "Abuelita" (grandmother) the mother of my host mom.

I received a few gifts including a CD with music by Mana (a group from Latin America) and a soccer jersey of my favorite team from the English Permier league: Liverpool.

I finally was able to get to bed around 12pm and drifted off to sleep very content and happy. Even though I am thousands of miles away from my family and friends in the USA, I am so very thankful that the Lord had provided me with a wonderful host family and many new friends in Peru.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

White Water Rafting

Just a half hour drive up towards the mountains, there is an excellent place to go white water rafting. A group of us from language school shelled out $25 a person for this 2 hour trip. There were a number of class 3 rapids and even a class 4.

We had two rafts, and each was commanded by a Peruvian guide. They were calling out commands in Spanish and some times during the heat of battle a number or us would get confused and start paddling backwards in stead of forwards or vise versa. However, despite our best attempts to go for a swim nobody (except myself) fell out of the raft. Since the river is fed from mountains up in the Andies, the water was VERY cold.

A new couple that has recently begun attending language school is Tim and Hannah. They are also with South America Mission and will be working north of Lima, Peru in a town called Puerto Supe. We all had a great time and had the chance to bond together even more as friends.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


The word "Oma" is Dutch for grandmother.

Today, on Tuesday the 18th, I received a call from my parents informing me that my Oma had passed away this afternoon. She was 94 years old and even a week before her death she was in good health and excellent spirits. Thankfully my aunt and uncle, along with my cousins were at her side in the hospital when she went to be with the Lord.

I greatly respect my Oma because she was a Godly woman. Whenever I would visit her, she would be sure to tell me that every day she prayed for me. It was her dream one day to be a missionary, however, the Lord called her to raise three sons and one daughter. She also was an anchor for my father and his siblings when her husband walked out on the family never to return. My Oma was born in the Netherlands and lived through World War II. She hid Jews during the war and when the Naiz's came asking if she was hiding Jews in the house, she did not lie and told them "Yes", the Nazi's laughed at her and moved on! One of my greatest memories is taking her flying a few years ago. What an honor and pleasure it was for me!

While I am sad that I will not be able to attend the funeral, I am happy to know she knew Jesus Christ as her personal savor and friend. There is not doubt she is in a better place, a place where we too who are Christians look forward to being with expectation, because our true home is there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A taste of Arequipa

The big meal of the day for me is lunch. As is typical in most Peruvian households, we eat around 2:30 in the afternoon. At first it was very hard to change my eating schedule as my stomach put up quite a fuss for a week or so. However, now I have grown accustomed to it. Eating late allows me to go to my Spanish classes and also to the gym before lunch! I took a few pictures of my meals this week. The first meal was rice with lentils and hot sauce on top, then a salad with lettuce, chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocado. With a little salt, it is quite tasty.

The second dish is a little more traditional from the mountains of Peru. Again there is rice with hot sauce, then a fried egg, some steak, corn and cheese. The corn and cheese are eaten together and the savor is quite excellent. Note how big the kernels are on the corn, not quite the same as my grandpa's sweet corn back in Holland, Michigan.

Finally, one of my all time favorites, mango. Growing up in Suriname we had a mango tree in our yard. We had the most excellent mangos that had predominantly green skin until they they were ripe, then they turned slightly light green. The mangos here are all yellow with red so I was skeptical at first because in Suriname that type had "strings" on the inside that always got stuck in between your teeth when you ate them.

I way happy to find out that the mangos here are very delicious and do not have strings! My supper this past week has consisted of cut up mango with an occasional banana or apple throw in for good measure.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

No really... I'm a pilot.

While sitting in language school this week, conjugating endless verbs and learning yet another way to say something in the past tense, I had a stunning realization:

"Eventually, I'm going to get out of here and start flying"

Learning Spanish has been difficult and even after almost 5 months of study, I still find myself very much at a loss for words... literally. I have been a conjugating machine instead of a pilot since moving to Peru. Did you know that there are 6 ways to say something in the past tense. 6 DIFFERENT WAYS! I know there are 6 cylinders on my airplane engine...

But while sitting in class, I remembered that by March I should be living out in Pucallpa and beginning the ministry that I have been working towards for the last 8 years. These are some pictures that have found homes as background wallpaper on my computer. It is a good reminder of what skills I do poses... unlike speaking good Spanish.