Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Years Resolutions

To grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ
and to do some justice to the boys at westminster :
To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Favorite saying of the year:
I am more sinful and deserving of death than I could ever imagine,
and more forgiven and loved than i could ever have hoped for. (I am paraphrasing Pastor Brian who is quoting Tim Keller)


This year has been such a huge year in my life and as I look back on it I can hardly believe how much God has changed me, stretched me, and loved me through it all. I have had crushes and believe it or not (almost) broken hearts. I have closed chapters of my life and seen new ones opened. I have flown and I have fallen. I have seen new parts of the world but more importantly he conocido (conocer= to know and to experience)new things about myself. I want to take a moment to thanks my family who have supported my crazy adventurous spirit, my friends who have held me accountable and taught me what true sisterhood is, and most importantly (surprise, surprise) I want to thank God who has faithfully led me step by step this past year and wiped away every tear I have cried and showed me the joy of His Grace. I love you all.

Happy New Years!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

YES!

I finally had one! I had a dream where I speak in Spanish in my dream! It was kinda funny though because the exact parts of Spanish that I struggle with when I am awake, I struggled with in my dream (I am not sure when to say ¨¿Que haces?¨, or ¨¿Que estas haciendo?¨ since in this circumstance you cannot just translate perfectly from English to Spanish). But in any case, I had the dream early this morning and woke up right after it. I was so excited that I had had a dream in Spanish that it took a while to fall back asleep. I have been here in Chile for almost 4 four months now, it is about time...

Aylen

Aylen is the daughter of Claudia and Diego (my sis and her husband). She is four years old but thinks that she is 21. She was looking at some of my pictures of you all the other night, so we decided to take some pictures of her. Her is her modelling for my camera...


Welcome back and Goodbye party

These are some of the photos from the night my family and I went out as a welcome back party and also a goodbye party to the girl from germany who had been living with us since October.
We got locked out of the house (a little miscommunication about who had keys, so here are the ladies standing by the door as we waited for Jaime (my host dad) to climb over the roof of the neighbors and onto our roof so we could get into the house to open the door. So we had a late start...

We headed to a bar in town that had live music. Unfortunatly, the singer was horribly drunk and basically sat in his own world with his eyes shut and belted out tunes to his own rhythm. We finally got the microphone away frm him and gave it to Jaime who was able to salvage the night with his amazing singing.

Here are Claudia and Diego (my sis and her husband)

Marion is in the pink next to me, laughing probably at Jaime. The woman on the other side of me is named Belen and is Chilean but has lived in Sweden for 30 years. She is here on business and living with us also.

Monday, December 26, 2005

a report on Christmas

This will be short and sweet, I promise. Basically, Christmas in general for many reasons is a hard time for me, and particulary this year, I really wanted to be home with my family. To see my dad, mom, nigel and all the siblings. I really wanted to see my dad. But unless a good grand or so fell into my hands, it wasn´t going to happen. It will be probably a good half a year or more before I get to go see them... That fact, and the fact that I hate that our world has taken a date, called it the birthday of Jesus and then turned it COMPLETELY materialistic, I just don´t have the best feelings for Christmas. But this Christmas was okay. I started journalling on Christmas Eve abot wanting to be home, and I started to cry, BUT I decided not to cry on Christmas. And I didn´t. I know, sounds so encouraging. But it was. I really didn´t do much yesterday. I just read my Bible and took the most amazing siesta! For all of you who were praying for me on Christmas, (esp. Ashlee), thanks. I really appreciated it.

Cultural talk

So I have and I haven´t really hit too much on the whole cultural differences deal. I will use the quote from my gender studies prof from Cal Poly, ¨There are more similarities than differences.¨ But somethings interesting that I have noted from talking to a few gringos down here is that they are very bothered by the stray dogs and wonder why the government doesn´t do anything about it. Why don´t they have better animal control? Why don´t they have a better nuetering (not sure about the spelling there) program? I was talking to a guy who has spent considerable time in both Chile and the US (like over 10 years in both) and we were laughing at these gringos. Why doesn´t the US do something about the gangs in the cities? Or the high divorce rate? Chileans don´t really see the stray dogs as a problem. They don´t attack people. Yeah they poop, but there are street cleaners who deal with that issue. But I can only imagine when they look at the states, what they must wonder about and say to themselves, Why doesn´t the government do something about this problem?

A different topic of cultural differences is the adultery rate here. Divorce has only been leagal just over a year and it is VERY difficult to obtain one (just ask my friend Marcela), so there are few couples who have gone through the process. But many couples are not happy with each other, so what is the solution? cheating. I am amazed when I hear about how common it is to cheat on your spouse, or at least I was amazed in the begining. But the more time I am around it, the more it (sadly) seems like the natural thing. And that got me thinking. In the States, religous or not, generally it is looked down upon to have an affair, or even just a one night stand when you are married. But here it is almost normal. And I have see how easily my mind is affected by the culture I am in, because I have begun to think that it is not a huge deal either. Of course I hope that no one does it, and if the husband and wife made their promise to God in their wedding vows, and are trying to live a life pleasing to God, then an affair is very wrong. But for those people whose lives have not been committed to Christ, I hate to say it, but who cares. I know, I know, they are breaking a vow and that is wrong, but it is almost like in this culture, the husband and wives just understand that they are married and they are going to have affairs with others. I am probably wrong on the whole spiritual side of this and will regret what I am stating that I believe, but in any case... it is a cultural difference. Maybe the spiritual aspect of all this is not what I think it is, but the cultural aspect is a part of the lives of the people here.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I know this is a day early, but I won´t be able to send out the lovin tomorrow so here it is: I hope you all have a joyous Christmas and that somehow through all the madness of cooking, cleaning, entertaining, opening presents, and all the other components of the holiday you will remember the real reason we should celebrate is the birth of a man who gave up His divinity and Himself to live with us and die for us. Just admitting this gives me chills, but it is the Truth that I live for and I hope that it is what I remember this Christmas.

Quick note: I made my family pancakes this morning since pancakes don´t really exist down here. My brother asked me if they were waffles becasue he had seen a movie that mentioned something for breakfast called waffles. I tried to explain the difference but eventually gave up. I made waffles with blueberrys and plain, and we had strawbwerries and syrup for topping. I also made eggs (with cheese the way my dad makes it) and bacon (very kosher, I know). All in all, I loved it. I woke up early before anyone else and cooked and the family (all of 8 of them) came downstairs to a beautiful ¨real American¨ breakfast. I´ll post a picture of all of it soon... Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Photo time!

These are some of the photos my buddy Sarah sent me. These were all taken at our graduation from TEFL certification after party. I would like to say that everyone was pretty well behaved, but basically after a few hours, everyone was too drunk for me to enjoy the party anymore, so I left. But the first few hours were fun, and in general I really had a great time with these guys. In any case, these are my classmates and I.

One of the two Sarahs and I in our classroom before the party.


Stacey and I.



Wes and I. By this point, he had definitly drunk a little too much, and I was on my way out of the party... but one last picture with him as he plays dress up in wierd hats (keep in mind it is summer here).




Here is Sarah and I.




This is what happens when English teachers in Chile drink too much and find a finger puppet. And yes, that is me in teh background, trying to not be a part of the photo. (rolling my eyes)

Gypsies

Prior to coming to Chile, the only knowledge I had of gypsies was that they were travellers from the southern estern parts of Europe and they were sent to the concentration camps with the Jews. My time here in CHile, particulary La Serena has changed that. There are a few minority groups here in Chile, one of them is the Gypsies. I have not come across any in Santiago, but here in La Serena and some of the other smaller but still substantial towns, there are large groups of Gypsies who roam the streets every day. You can pick them out of the crowd from their wild hair and different dress. To tell you the truth I have never seen a male Gypsy over the age of 4 or so, so I don´t know how the men dress. The women on the other hand all wear long, faded, and obviously aged skirts and oversized sweaters. They look as though they have not bathed in weeks and their accent, although many of them have lived here in Chile for all their lives, is very distinct. Anyways, the women roam around the centro, but mainly the plaza, and offer to read people´s palms. It is actually more than an offer, they almost demand to read your palm. One of my friends explained what often happens. They will read your palm for a few hundred pesos and then tell you that your future doesn´t look too good. They ask you for more money, and yor future gets better basically the more you give them. That´s funny, I am pretty sure the future doesn´t work that way. I have always tried to avoid the women
but there was one time that one of them approached me as I was readin in teh plaza. I kept denying her the chance to read my palm and she eventually got so frustrated that she started cursing (or at least I assume that is what she was doing) at me under her breath. That´s okay, I am pretty sure that God can protect me from her curses.
Today, I was readng my Bible in the plaza and a young girl who could not have been more than 16 years old came up to me with a baby in her arms. She told me that she was going to read my palm. I said no and tried to get her to go away as politly as I could. She would not listen. She started telling em about how the baby needed a doctor because of this or that and how she needed money for the doctor. I reached into my purse and grabbed 100pesos and gave it to her, but said very clearly, NO MANO. She thanked me for the money and then wanted to see my hand so she could read it. I told her no and I explained that I didn´t believe in it. She looked confused so I told her that I believe in God and the Bible. And the Bible says that it is not good. Of course, this all being in spanish and with her thick accent and my broken spanish I am surprised that we could talk at all. After some explaining of why I didn´t want her to read my palm, she was looking lost. She kept saying that it was a regalo (gift), so I looked her straight in the eyes and smiled as I told her that the money was hers and I didn´t need a gift. Anyways, she left and smiled as she did, somehow, someway, we had come to an understanding.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A resolution

Okay, there are some people who read this and have never met me in person, but let me explain something about myself. I am probably the MOST hopeless romantic you could ever meet. The disease has been affecting my mind for quite some time and the doctors are dumbfounded by what to do. No, but really. Okay, with that said...
I was walking and talking with the Lord the other day, and I realized that I am okay being single (this feeling will probably last a week or so). Going to Cal Poly and having a wedding to go to practically every week, was hard on us single girls. At least in the states, there is this culture for single women, it is almost cool to be single. (LIke the Sex in the City girls). But then, I come here to Chile where few get married, but EVERYONE has their palolo (boyfriend or girlfriend). And with all the cultural pressure to just date someone, not because they are the ONE, or even because you really like them, but just because why be single if you can be with someone. That mentality of anti-singleness is hard to combat.
But a friend recently told me about this man they kinda know who is just radical in his love for others. He lived with homeless people for a while to serve them and tell them about Christ and as she was telling me about him (the conversation started off with ¨I´ve found the perfect man for you¨) I realized that I don´t want anything less. I will not date a guy just becuase it is better to date than be alone. Of course I want to be with someone, but I believe that the satisfaction that comes from being with someone will be bittersweet unless that person is who God created me to be with. SO, I will wait. Somehow, moving to a distant land, with a different culture and language is not as difficult as this challenge at hand... but the reward will be so sweet.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Maids and Street Kids

Here in Chile, basically anyone above the lower class has a maid. Usually the maid does not live in the house, but visits the house a few times a week cleaning, cooking, walking the dog, taking the kids to the park. It is amazing. In the States, a maid costs about $10 an hour, I believe. But here for only $20 a week, you can have your house kept completely clean by someone else. I don´t think if I were livng by myself I would have one, not because I am a clean person in general (my parents or roommates can give testimonies) pero no necesitola (but I don´t need one). The apartmetn i am moving into COMES with a maid, yeah, whatever.

On a bright and yet rainy side, I think a pray of mine has been answered. I have been praying for a ministry. A few opportunities have come up and I have half way been involved, such as the high schol youth group at my church and the AIDS project with SIM, BUT this is different. I need to pray more about it but there is a couple from switzerland here who are setting up a program to work with kids in the streets. They will offer classes to help the kids get back into school, snce most of them have dropped out by now, and lunches for the children, and most importantly, they will offer the Truth abot Jesus. Especially for these children who feel like they ahve no hope and no one to take care of them, for someone to offer the message of Christ, wow. So, I will be praying for a green light on this one. Basically, this whole life here in Chile has been one HUGE testimony to God since I have basically never lacked of anything (except peanutbutter candy bars!) and everytime I NEED to know, not just WANT to know, what to do, God has provided. So I know that if He has called me to love and serve these children, which I hope He has, that He will be clear about it.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Some Jane Austen Quotes

Believe it or not, and I know mom and Rach that you probably won´t believe it, but I found a book that I enjoyed almost as much as Pride and Prejudice. It is of course another Austen novel, Northanger Abbey. Here are some of my favorite quotes from it:

¨Not keep a journal! How are you absent cousins to understand the tenour of your life in Bath without one? How are the civilities and compliments of every day to be related as they ought to be unless noted down every evening in a journal...¨

¨Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pains of disappointed love¨.

and there are more, but I will not bore you with the fancies of a girl... How was that, do I almost sound Austenic?

by the way...

I hung out with Professor Fagan, who taught me Spanish (or he tried to) in California. He is the reason I made my way up to La Serena. And no, he is not the reason I came to Chile. There is a rumor that was almost started that I ran off to Chile with my professor, BUT that is absolutly not true and in fact I had already settled my mind on coming to Chile before I ever met him.
But in anycase, he is here in La Serena visiting his family for a month or so, so we hung out and had a great time. He is and always will be one of my favorite teachers of all time. And it is always nice to see an old friend in a new country.

an anecdote from teaching

So this is from last week, but I thought I would share it with you guys...
Last week I decided to teach my intermediate class about similies. I brought out my Norah Jones Cd and used the song ¨Turn me on¨ which is just full of similies. We discussed in class the grammar of similies, and the function of similies, and we listened to the song. After listening a few times, we were discussing the song and I had to explain the very to turn (someone) on. I am friends with most of my students and on the weekends we go out so this was not as difficult or wierd as could have been. One of the ladies in the class named Myriam who is young and pretty and so much fun to hang out with just could not understand the concept. One of the more advanced students in the class who honestly hangs out with the guy teachers too much, introduced the word ¨horny¨ and had my wonderful Myriam saying, Ï´m horny¨I was dying! I was trying to get control of the classroom and to explain that Myriam should not be saying that. She asked me why and I told her that it is vulgar. She laughed and thought it was so sweet that she had learned a dirty word in the classroom! Later, the same advanced student who had introduced the word told me that the translation in spanish of Ï´m horny¨is ¨estoy caliente¨ Yeah... you see in English we say I am hot, to mean that I feel the temperature is too warm. BUT in spanish you say ¨hace calor¨, for that, NOT ¨estoy caliente¨! So I can only imagine what the people thought of me my first few months I was here when I was too warm and declared proudly in Spanish, Ëstoy caliente!¨
The moral of the story, don´t listen to Norah Jones in the classroom and don´t assume that you can just do a pure translation of English to Spanish.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

a Jane Austen Novel

I have come back to my beautiful home of La Serena. I have been back for a few days now and I am adjusting to the clean air and slow pace of life. The institutes for English here don´t know if they will need me so I have started talking to the tour companies about being a tour guide for the five weeks that I will be here. I could translate what the real tour guide says or I could just learn the facts and give the tour myself. I think this would be one of the best ways to spend the summer. That way, I could see more of the countryside, meet some cool people, and have my nights free to go to the beach bars with my friends. Speaking of friends, i know I have talked about my host brother Felipe before and I how much I like him, but I have to repeat one more time just how blessed I feel to have him in my life. For those of you who don´t know, he is 21 and studying chemistry at the university here in La Serena. he is just a good friend and last night we stayed up talking and I realized how much i really appreciate his friendship. we agreed that once his finals are over we are going out for drinks to celebrate.
On a different note, I have been reading too much Jane Austen. I just finished Northanger Abbey and have purchased Emma. That makes my collection here of Jane Austen books 4 out of the 6 of her novels. Anyways, I say that I have been reading too much of her works because suddenly everything in my life I am seeing through jane Austen glasses. Every person I meet is a character in my story, complete with their own subplot. More to come later...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

an apology and a quick catch up

Okay, I am so sorry that I have been slacking in the whole writing deal. I graduated on Tuesday from the Institute and we basically partied all night in celebration. Then I woke up a few hours later to meet with a new friend for coffee before I leave for two months, and THEN I tackled the anormous city of Santiago trying to find a place to live. Now for those of you who think that this should not be very difficult, let me expain something to you... the children in Chile do not move out of their parents homes until they are married, literally. I have met women with their 40 year old sons still living with them. This includes the college period becuase in general, students go to college in the same town that their parents live in. And if they are adventurous and they go to school in a diferent town, it is only because their aunt lives there. So basically, there is no college housing. Or really any housing for single people. So I gave in and paid an agent to find me a place to live. So i went from one apartment to another trying to feel out if I liked them. I met up with this one guy named Marcelo who administrates two different apartments. First we went to the the one that his friend Sebastian lives in. Sebastian is in publicity and basically has invites to every major party in Santiago, and he of course offers his share of parties at the apartment. Marcelo, who is an economist, is much quieter and his apartment is mucho mas tranquilo. The apartmemts are a block from each other, and the same price for the same type of room, so I reminiscing the days of Avila, decided to go with Sebastian. Seriously, I think is is a pattern for me. My first period of time in a new place is spent in a safe and calm situation adn then I choose to move to a more hectic situation for a period of time, and then, eventually I find my place in between the two. The same thing happened in college and I find myself thinking that I would love to live the crazy social life for a year or so. Who knows, maybe I will get the chance to meet some more of the Chilean soap opera stars!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The elections

Okay, I have received three requests for information about the elections here in Chile. I am not sure where to start since there are so many things I could say about them. First let me explain something about Chile: it is a democracy. And not just that , but you have to vote. If I understood one of my friends correctly, you have to vote, even if you don´t actually vote for anyone, you have to go stand in line and turn in a ballot. I am not sure how often the elections are, but I think every four years. Right now there are elections for Senators, Diputados, and the President. Don´t ask me what the difference is between diputados and senators. There are three main canidates right now for presidency. There were four, but one fo them is now so far back in the polls that he is not really a threat. The other canidates are Bachelet, Piñera, and Lavin. Bachelet is a woman who I think is socialist. She is from the same party that is in power now and I think she will win. Piñera would be my other choice. He is a rich man who has spent so much of his own money to run his campaign. He is an economist who worked with Pinochet (I think). He seems to have a good head and I think he would be able to really help the Chilean economy. The third guy, Lavin is just scary to me. He is VERY right (from the right side) and in my very Gringo opinion, he is too tied to the church (Catholic church). On the news it will show him taking comunion, yada, yada, yada. Anyways those are the three candidates for presidency. All the senators and diputados have teamed up with the candidates for presidency and have shared bilboards showing them shaking hands, or giving each other thumbs up, or whatever. So even though there is no vice president, every presient has a list of other people running that they endorse.
It is interesting to live in a country that is so newly democratized (you like that word?). The decisions that the president will make are important. For example, divorce just became legal under the last president (last year). Also, the amount of propaganda for each candidate is amazing, I will try to take a pic before it all comes down, but literlly, every tree has a life size poster hung on it of a candiate, and on every sidewalk there are literally hundreds of people handing out flyers for the candiates, people standing in front of the cars waiting for a gree light and wave HUGE banners in front of them. Trucks drive by withopen backs and banners upon banners of the candidates. It is just craziness here. But controlled craziness. I am not scared of riots or anything like that. The candidates are similar enough that there won´t be a political revolt or overthrow. In any case though, sunday is the big day. If anyone has specific questions about the elections or the candidates feel free to email me at beckalippy@gmail.com

Friday, December 09, 2005

I think I have figured it all out

Just joking, who the heck could claim to have figured out everything??? (except Jesus!) Okay, but really, I think I found the job that I would love to do. We were studying tests and the different type of tests out there the other day adn we took a look at the TOEFL test. This is the test that all internationals have to take in order to get into univeristies in the states. It is crazy hard! There were even some questions that I had to read a few times to get, so students who want to take it, take it very seriously. There are very few classes that help students prepare for the test, but the ones that are out here, pay bank. Like we are talking like $60 an hour per student. Yeah, so my idea is to charge that much for the rich kids and get really good at teaching the material. Then, i want to go into the liceos (the public schools for the lower class) and strike a deal with the administration. I will offer to teach the TOEFL training course for free to any student who the teachers send my way, IF the student is willing to sign a contract. The contract will be something along the lines of them promising to take the course seriously. Anyways, that´s the idea in my head. I have an interview today with an Australian couple who run an English Institute here. They deal with mostly business men and private parties, but I think i am going to present my idea to them and see what they think. I can always go the illegal route and not get a contract or a work visa and just head over to Mendoza every few months. Who knows...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I have ROOTS

Well, that is I have a phone number. That's right, I officially got a call phone down here- it's not looking too good for those who are trying to convice me to move back to the States...
My number is country code 56
area code- 08
number- 282-7209

So yeah, it only costs me a dollar per minute to call anyone, BUT it is free to receive calls. Just a warning though, it is still expensive for you to call me, but if you ever need to, here I am! AND, please keep in mind the five hour difference, so don't call after 6pm California time.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Halloween


Here is some good old American fun for Halloween. This is Flo, Marcela, and some other buddies.

a long night

It is hard to get access to a computer so this blog is coming to you guys a little after the fact. Okay, saturday we had class, unfortunatly and we spent most of early saturday in class. But after that, we decided to go for a carne asada (BBQ). SO we met at this guys house and started the afternoon with some wine and bread since none of us had brought anything else. It was about 5pm. We decided to split up and a few guys went to the supermarket andthe rest of us headed up to Cerro Cristobal (it is a mountain the middle of Santiago that offers a place of santuary from the city. We found some BBQ pits hidden in some trees. We threw the meat on the grill and opened more bottles of wine and beer. The party had begun. I of course hung out with the chileans BBQ the meat. Okaythis bog is going to be pags long if I don´t do this point style. So sorry that the details are going.

-The boys were such boys and since out of the 12 people in our group, only two of us were girls, they acted like boys and totally peed into the bushes but only a few feet away from where we were sitting.
-On our walk back down the mountain, we found the most amazing view and on of the guys, who had had alittle bit too much to drink, had the other 11 of us pose while he tried to figure out how to work his camera. If the pic is any good I will post it.
-We headed back to the apartment of the guys and tried to fit too many people into the old elevator, unfortunatly, ti broke while we were in it. So while the drunk guys were laughing and joking, i was trying to explain to them that we were stuck inthe elevator. i am not sure if they didn´t understand me or what, but after pressing every button i could, fianlly one fo the guys realized what was going on and he pryed the elevator door open. i was seriously scared that I was going to die in that elevator!
-we hung out the apartment for a little while ntil we decided to head out to a bar, it was about 10 pm by this time. We found a bar and all 12 of us sat outside. Two more girls joined our group, one from colorado and one from Peru.
- we left that bar adn headed to another bar the two new girls wanted to go to. This new bar was one fo those secret bars that they have to unlock the door for you to coe in. It was dark and small but had great art on the walls and some interesting music playing. After a few minutes one of the guys came up to me and told me that a man had just hit on him at the bar. We looked around and realized we were in a gay bar. Suddenly, all of the components made sense. The dancing queen music, the fact that no guy had hit on me or the other girl, it all came together. Some of the gringo boys headed upstairs to play pool and get away from one guy in particular who was rubbing their backs and asking them if they were together with someone. Eventually we left to find a place with more music and a wider variety of dancing partners.
- We couldn´t fit into the cab (all 12 of us I can´t imagine why?) so one guy named Stephan and I walked to the bus stop and took teh bus there. We are both Christians and we both knew it but we hadn´t really talked much. So the whole bus ride and after the bus, as we walked around the city getting lost, we talked. We really talked. And it was so sweet to talk about real stuff adn real issues and to know that we were on the smae page. Before we got to the bar where everyone was, we prayed. It was one of the sweetest moments of the night.
-On the way to teh bus though, we passed by some guys, in the middle of the street, peeing on a way! I thought that they wouldn´t understand English so I said out loud how disgusting I thought that was and how I hated it when guys did that. A few minutes later some guys came up to me and apologized in broken Engish! I was so embarrassed! I told them that I was sorry, but that when guys do that in front of me, it grosses me out. Okay, yeah, not what I thought was going to happen.
- The new bar that we went to looked like a cool bar, and the music outside was good, but once you step foot on the dance floor, the sudden realization that you are in an 80´s prom hits you. The music is distinctly 80´s, the hair and clothes are 80´s, everything screams 80´s. Stacey (one of my classmates)and Rodrigo(one of our students) spent the night dancing tot eh 80´s prom music, while the rest of us continued the drinking and talking outside.
- I decided to go home at about 4 in the morning. I got a cab, and sadly, got in a theological debate with my taxi cab driver. I finally got home at like 5 in the morning and slept for a few hours before waking up to go to church.

Such a night! If you have read all of this, thanks. Sorry it was so long!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD

(I know, I know, this is LATE!!!) I love you and I miss youtons. There is a package in the mail for you. I sent it a week ago, so it should get there soon. I hope you like it!!!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

friday night

so yesterday after classes ended, my classmates and I decided to go out for a beer. We went to teh local Irish bar (since there seems to be an Irish bar in every city around the world) and there we ordered our pints of beer. of course I had one pint and was good for the night, but some of my friends enjoyed the hour hour supply of beer more than one or two pints... hehe. It amazed me that the eight of us, who had just spent the WHOLE week together in a little classroom would be able to go out to a bar and enjoy each others company. But the time was great. We drank our beer and guessed what type of cars each other had back home, we talked about our parents, we talked about religion, and most importantly we talked about nothing and everything pertaining to life.
I sat next to the two Sarahs and James, nwo are all quite lively company. Sarah T. is from Ohio but went to school in So. California and although she may be quite in class, when she does express her opinions they are stated so eloquently that your attnetion is captured. The other Sarah (B.)is from the Berkeley area and she and I hold up the liberal side of the politicla spectrum in class. If I could say anything about this Sarah I would say that she is is classy that even when she is smoking, she looks classy. She has spent considerable time in both England and Australia and I love hearing her impression of their accents. James is from St. Louis and honestly is one of the wierdest and funniest people I have met here. He is as white as can be, but I think he believes that he is black. he says things like, "what up dirty" and other St. louis slang and you wouldnot expect from a white boys mouth.

In any case, the afternoon was fun, we stayed for about 3 hour drinking and unwinding from the long week of teaching. Both Sarah B. and James are planning on staying in this area so maybe this Irish pub friday afternoon deal can become traditiona, who knows.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

a blessing given

I was walking to get some lunch and ran into a woman I met at the woman´s Bible study named Beth. When she saw me she practically grabbed me and she told me that I was an answer in prayer. She was stressed out about the meeting she was on her way to and she begged for prayer. So we prayed, right there in the middle of the street. Such a blessing to me to get to see God answer someone´s prayer. One of my friends was shocked that I ran into someone I knew when this city has 6 million people and I am an extranjera. It made me think of SLO and how I couldn´t go anywhere without running into someone I knew. It is such a good feeling, a feeling of connectedness.

Ode to Rachel


The pain of missing my dear Rachel is dulling today but I thought I would share her with the rest of you. if only she would be wise and listen to the advice of her close friend and just move to Chile already!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

the beach in Caldera


Thisis the beach about 8 hours north of La Serena and about 16 hours north of Santiago. Just darn beautiful. The water is so blue. And the weather was perfect. Darn beautiful.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

how much He loves me

I was praying this morning as I was waiting for the bus and I was half way joking when I asked God if tody he could show me how much He loves me. The second I said it though, I realized how much I was serious. So I smiled and thanked Him that today would be an amazing day because I was going to know today how much He loves me. I got on a micro (bus) and sat down in a seat (which a seat in and of itself is a blessing here in the city). I soon heard a friendly voice behind me say goodmorning. I turned around and saw one of the men from California I had had lunch with on sunday. I asked him where he was going and he said that he was going to a men's bible study. We chatted a little and parted at the bus stop. What a great way to start my day, talking with a friendly face. And for lunch i am going to meet up with the woman from Nebraska that I met at Thanksgiving. AND then for dinner I am hanging out with the multi denominational bible study.

a quick little note about the buses in Santiago. They are fairly nice if you catch one at a good time. And basically, there is not schedule so you just go to the bus stop when you want a bus and wait for the next one. It might come in one inute, itmight come in 25 minutes. You just wait. It is fine if you re going at a non rush hour time, but if you happen to need a bus during the 3 hour rushes int he morning and afternoon, you will be met with an already full bus. This doesn't mean that you won't try to get on it. That was my experience yesterday. When i got on the bus to go home after class, I found that not only were all of the seats taken, but the majority of the standing room was gone also. So I was standing near teh front door, holdong onto a little piece of metal that was supposed to support me as the bus swerved throught eh busy streets of Santiago. Not that this was the end of the story either, because at every stop more people got on the bus and soon we were worse than a can of sanrdines. Literally I could feel everyside of me touching someone else. I was holding onto a piece of metal on a chair in front of me. but the guy behind me had to support himself with the bar above his head, so everytime the bus went around a turn, he fell into me, and I inturn fell into the lap of the woman sitting n teh seat in front of me. The amount of people on that bus would just not be legal in the states, but I guess that is why it is in Chile and not up there. Anyways, i waited anxioulsy for my stop and said a huge "gracia!" to the bus driver when finally got off the bus.

Monday, November 28, 2005

just like the good old times

So last night was a wierd night (a felix type of night). I'm not going to go into too many details, but basically I had a moment where life was just too ironic and I needed to talk to a specific friend(Ashlee). So, thanks to the extremely cheap phone card that I found, i called her up and we chatted. It was strange to talk to her and know in my head that I am thousands and thousands of miles away.
The lives we live would be practically impossibel without the technology we have. We couldn't visit other cultures as easily, we couldn't get information we want as easily and in reality we couldn't expereince as much variety of life. All these things make me so grateful for the technology we have, but at the same time I think we are in a sense prisoners to the very thing that seems to free us. How many times do you check your email in a day? In an hour? (Mom, you don't have to answer that, I know that you check it three or four times an hour... hehe) Not that this blog has any power to change the way the world has become dependent on technology, but just something to think about.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday sunday

I am writing from the food court at teh local mall where there are computers you can pay to use. I just finished having lunch with 6 californians. I am not sure why, but it seems like the majority of gringos I meet are from California. A little side note. Do you ever think that you like someone one because it works well to like them, and not because you actually like them. For example, you might choose to like your new boss, because liking your boss would make your life easier. But there is not necessarily anything special about your boss. Sometimes I wonder if I choose to like people more than I actually like them. Like I like the idea of them. Some people who read this will prabably thing I am crazy, but others of you will understand. And then the next question is: If you like someone just becasue you want to, does that make it wrong?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone (a day late, I know)!

I have had a lot of people ask me about Thanksgiving down here. Well, it is a holiday only for the US, but the average Chilean knows about (We can thank the Friends episode for that). I actually went and had a REAL Thanksgivng meal, pumpkin pie and all. My church which is an international church and is made up of mostly Gringos, put on a Thanksgiving potluck. It was amazing.
Of course it was missing a few things that I have come to realize are traditions for me from my childhood. Some of the foods they were missing were Grandmom's augratin potatoes, deviled eggs, and Martinelli's sparkling cider. The church also was not able to provide chairs in front of a tv for all the men to fall asleep on. I think that is one of my favorite memories: walking into our tv room and finding not just my dad, but my granddad, both sleeping in front of the tv.
Overall though, the night was wonderful. I sat at a table with a couple from nebraska who moved here shortly after getting married. We asked the normal questions that everyone in an internatioanl church in Latin Ameria would ask. Where are you from, how long have you been here, what brought you here, and how long are you going to stay? Surprisingly enough, we had the smae answer for the 3rd question. When they asked me, I gave my usual mumbled response that I am not sure why I am here exactly but that I am supposed to be here and I am loving it. The wife, Sonja, smiled and said they knew exactly what I meant. The night was a great reminder of the blessings and traditions that home holds.

My lesson did not go so well yesterday. I was asked to teach using a method that we learned the day before and that none of us were very comfortable with, but I am up for a challenge. I felt like the class went horribly, but my peers and trainer disagreed. While they admitted that it had some strong down sides, they still thought overall the class went well. The amazing thing is, that even though I felt like I bombed that class, I still really want to teach. i never knew that it would become a passion. I thought I was just doing this so i could get a job, but I have found that teaching is something that comes semi naturally and that I love to do. I am teaching again today, but this time I can choose my method, so it will be fun.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

my pastor

Every wednesday morning, the pastor of my church and a few elders and anyone else who wants to come, meet at a coffee and bagel shop to pray for the church. It happens to be at the same bagel shop that I go to everymorning, so I get to join them. Today though, no one showed up but the pastor and I. So we ate breakfast and talked. Can i just say that I appreciate the fact that God places the most amazing people in my life? This man is a prebyterian missionary and had like 4 degrees from different universities, including Fuller and Westminster. BUT he is not caught up in all of it. What do I mean? Well, we were talking about the situation with pastors here and it was so interesting to hear the issues that are coming up with the training and selection of national pastors here in Chile. He and I discussed everything under the sun and I was glad. Sometimes I think that people assume that just because I am a blonde girl from California that I am not up for an intellectual conversation about different theological subjects. The conversation almost felt like stretching my legs after hours of sitting on a bus. It took me a second to get back into the groove after months of no intellectually stimulating conversation, but once I was in it, I loved it. We prayed for the church and for Chile in general, and went our seperate ways. I just feel so blessed that this man is someone I can respect and learn from. No one could ever replace what Brian and Garret were to me, but it is good to know that the teaching won't end.

Also, I received the most amazing phone call from a dear friend, KALLIE, who I adore and I am missing horribly out here (she should be out here with me, by the way). It was good to pick up the phone and hear the excitement in her voice as she said, "Becka!?!". Out of everyone I know, she understands how ridiculously attractive MTW boys (who like to quote the Westminster Catechism) are, unfortunatly. I love you and I miss you Kals!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

a difficult morning

I can feel God breaking me. I was so desperate for His grace this morning. So desperate for His grace. I sat at breakfast and listened to the amazing worship cd that Ashlee sent me and read some of His amazing promises. It was a difficult morning but through all of it, He stayed by my side and showing me in the details of the morning how much He loves me.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Two of my favorite people in the world

One- my GRANDMA!!! I absolutly love my grandma, and I feel so blessed that especially the past five years or so, I have really gotten to know her. I just received an email from my grandma who has for the first time in her life set up an email account! So welcome grandma to my blog. I hope this gives you a little insight to my life here in Chile, and I promise you it is SO SAFE!

Two- ASHLEEEEEE!!!!!! Okay, out of all the people in the world, the person I love to travel with teh most and in all honesty have travelled with the most outside of my family is my buddy Ashlee. A few summers ago when i was having a hard time in teh heats of Wisconsin I photocopied my journal adn mailed them to her. She commented on them and mailed them back. So we have decided to continue the tradition and a month ago I sent her my journal. Today, I received in the mail not only my jounral returned with comments from her, but TONS of goodies, including: reeses peanut butter cups, candy necklaces, cds that I requested, HER journal, tons of other candy, cookies, and most importantly a book called "Irresistable You- Attracting and Capturing an Outstanding Man". Thanks Ash! All the students in my class were so jealous of me! I have only started to read you journal, but I can tell you now that reading it is making me miss you so much.

Note: if there is anyone else who would like to send a care package...hehehe

Becka Lipkowitz (yes mom, you HAVE to write Becka and not Shira)
TEFL program
Bridge Linguatec
Los Leones 439
Provedencia Santiago CHILE

And a special request has been made for any candy bars that include peanut butter. For example: butterfinger, reeses anything, etc.

An amazing weekend that is following me into the week

This weekend was amazing. After my BK night on friday I decided to venture out for Saturday. I had heard that there was some prayer meeting for the city of Santiago so I droppped by the church to see if anyone would be there to give me directions. Well, it turned out that two of the organizers were there and I helped them prepare and set up. the meeting was on a hill, more like a mountain that overlooked all of Santiago. Since O got there early with the organizers I was able to meet some people before the whole of it started. I met one girl in particular who spoke perfect English. As we were talking I asked her what she wanted to do after she graduated and she asked me if i had ever heard of Campus Crusade for Christ. Ummm... Yeah! She wants to go on staff with them once she is done so we got to talking about ministry and all the amazing stuff going on right now inthe world. People slowly trickled in and by the time worship started, about 150 people had arrived and the sun had set. We sang worship songs at the top of our lungs as we looked over the city. There were about 8 churches represented there that night. Catholic, Evangelical, Presbyterian, so many names all under the name of Christ. We prayed in groups of three or four for Chile and for the Holy Spirit to use us in this beautiful country. And as I listened to the prayers of the people around me I prayed that God would give me a heart for Santiago. For some reason, I feel like this is where I will end up. The night ended with some extremely fun worship songs (in Chile it is really popular to choreograph dances, so many of the songs had dances that basically all 150 people knew!). I got home by about midnight.
The next morning I went to church adn LOVED it! While the sermon was not anything like Brians sermons, there was still just pure wonderful Bible in it. And the whole chruch felt like such a family. of course it helped that it was all in English so I could really understand every word instead of the gist of every sentence in the sermon. That guy I wrote about earlier, Matt, played the guitar for worship, taught the kids lesson, and introduced the pastor. His parents were in town so after the service he introduced me to them. We, meaning the whole church, went out to lunch afterward. It was great! Not quite as hippy as I am used to with Trinity but it feels so much more like a home than the other churches I have been to. After most of the lunch party had left it was just the pastor and his wife, Matt and his parents and I. Yeah... Okay moving on.
Today, one the guys in my class who I know is a Christian had a headache so at lunch he wanted to go to the local drugstore for some aspirin. He asked me to go with him and as we walked we talked. I am really glad we talked. We got on the same page and in some wierd sense he is holding me accountable. THEN, just now as I was sitting down to use the computer I got in a conversationa bout religion with one of the other guys in my class who is self proclaimed Catholic but doesn{t really believe. As we were talking another girl in my class joined the conversation and pretty much straightfoward informed me that if someone believed that you have to believe a certain doctrine to go to heaven, she wants nothing to do with them. Not even if they have the best intentions, not even if they NEVER bring it up to her. Just the fact that they have that belief, she wants nothing to do with them. My heart sunk when I heard this. i was really hoping that we could be friends, but she has to know by now that I am a christian. Not that I have shoved anything down anyones throats, but Christ is such a big part of my life, that if you know me, you have to know that part of me. So am not sure where this is going to go from here, but at least the conversation has been started. And I am not alone. I have prayed for boldness to live what I believe and to live it in love and so here I go.
Please pray that I would truly love the people in my life, and that my love would be compassionate, but truthful.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Burger King

So last night was my first friday night in the huge metropolitian universe of Santiago. And where was I? I went to Burger King. That´s right. Well, the other students met to go out to a friends house to drink and hang out, but after starting each day this week at 7 am and not getting home until closer to 8pm, I was exhausted! So I declined the invitation, yes even though it involved Pisco, and I headed out to the Starbucks I had found earlier this week. I guess coffee houses serve different purposes here because at 9:30 Starbucks was already closed! Well, Santiago is not really the safest town to wander around in late at night, so I knew I needed to find a spot soon. I walked back to the bus stop and noticed that the burger king there was open, and they would remain open until midnight. So that is where I went. Instead of a latte, I had a large diet coke. I sat in the burnt orange booth, under the harsh neon light, and I studied grammar. After an hour or sho of grammar I moved on to working on my lesson plan. On Monday I will be teaching an hour long class on short answers with auxilaries (I do. She does. You don´t. etc.) So while I am sure this whole planning a lesson thing gets easier, for now it is fairly hard. Welcome to my weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

an update from the classroom

I taught my first practice class for my trainers and peers today and loved it. I had such a great time because the technique we use to teach is like a puzzle game. When the time came for feedback the major comment from the group, including my trainer was that I use my voice and speech very well, One guy even commented that I am like a kindergarten teacher, but in a good way... hehehe, I guess that is not the first time I have heard that. Tomorrow is my first REAL practice teaching with real language students. I am excited.
At lunch I got into a great discussion with two of the guys in my group about globalization and other interesting world topics. It was nice to have an intellectual conversation and disagree, and yet be okay with that. Alot of the people in my group with me are very open to talking about life and philosophy and God. It is an interesting group and I am stoked to spend a month with them.
Chao for now...

some interesting people

So my class went well. It is going to be alot of hard work, but it went okay for a first day. I started off yesterday with breakfast at New York Bagels where a prayer group from the church that I want to go to was meeting. I joined them and met the three men who were with the group. I dont understand why these things are always men and never women. Anyways, the pastor was there who I am excited to banter with over theoligcal issues, one of the elders, and the guy who is in charge of the youth. Now let me just discuss for a moment, Matt the youth leader. He is a gringo from North Carolina and probably in his mid to late 20s. he is on missionary staff with MTW, yeah. He uses the Westminster Catechism for evangelism, yeah. And he loves arguing with Jehovahs witnesses, yeah. SO when i found all this I thought to myself, I think I need to call Kallie. Kallie, because she will appreciate more than any other person my attraction to these qualities. Yeah. Okay, done with the discussion.
I went to class and learned just how much I am going to need to study this next month. There are 8 of us who are studying for our TEFL credential and we are all gringos between the ages of 22 and 25. 4 guys, 4 girls. And in general everyone is extremely nice. There is a girl from Berkeley there and when a politicl converstaion was started at the lunch table, we were the only nonpatriots. IF that is what you want to call us. Anyways, more to come later, I have a lesson to pratice teach today for my trainers so I need to go prepare. Chao!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Santiago is growing on me

SO I have to admit it, the city that I dreaded coming to is growing on me. i am not sure HOW MUCH, but at least for now, it is livable. It helps that I had my first real espresso, actually from Starbucks, in three months. ahhhh.... And also, I have been eating breakfast at this New York Bagel shop, so my tummy is very happy! IS that sad that I am here in this beautiful country and the only food I want is the comida gringa?
I have decided that basically anyone´s first day in Santiago is going to be a trying one, unless you are on a tour or something. The transportation system here is kinda like the people, very unorganized and messy but it works perfectly once you get the hang of it. The family asked that I be home for dinner at 8pm every night (8pm is actually early for Chileans to eat dinner). So at about 6pm, I decided to take a short adventure on one of the micros (the local buses). Unfortunatly I forgot to bring my map, so I ended up in some random part of the city with no clue how to get back. I could tell that dusk was coming and I was trying to find out what micro would bring me at least back to the part of Santiago I live in (keep in mind Santiago is a city of 6 million people- it is HUGE!). So I finally found my way home and after that experience for some reason, I feel so much more confident with the system here. It is a crazy system, but I think I will grow to like it.
The city just purchased these new really nice buses and is trying to reform the system and give it some order. Of course the people are all up in arms about it. The bus system right now is one where there is no set schedule, you just wait for the next bus and it usually comes within a few minutes. THe buses don´t necesarily stop at the bus stops, but with any way of your arm you can catch a micro from any spot on the street. That´s right, and you can get off at any spot too, just ask the driver to stop. Of course they never quite STOP, they just slow down enough for people to get in and out. You think I am joking but I am not. Also, the micros go so fast that I have literally fallen into peoples laps becasue I couldn´t hold on tight enough. And of course they smiled as I apologized in my broken spanish.
The new bus system has a schedule, the buses cannot go past 30 mph, and they cannot just pick you up or drop you off anywhere, only at designated stops. In a city this size, it is necessary, BUT the people hate it. It is kinda funny. It ia almost like Chileans don´t understand how to be metropolitan. I like it.
Tomorrow I start classes. I will be in class from 10am to 7pm with an hour for almuerzo (lunch). Long day. Gotta go.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I am a obsessive, crazed fan!

So I am in Snatiago now and I am living with the family that the school set me up with. They are nice and the apartment we live in is in the best part of Santiago, fairly safe, etc. So, a little background- I have become obsessed with one of the telenovelas (a Chilean version of a sitcom or soap opera). It is called Gatas y Tuercas and I LOVE IT. I have learned alot of spanish from it too, so really I just watch it for educational purposes. In reality, it is Chilean and takes place in Santiago and I really have learned SO mcuh about the culture from it. So after I settled into my room last night, I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. As I was walking down the street, I saw her. The actriz who plays my favorite character on the programa was walking her dog down the street. Okay, being from California, everyone asks me if I know famous people. And I have to explain to people that it is not THAT common to run into famous people in the streets in little San Luis Obispo Ca. But this moment, this was big! I wanted to talk to her, but I knew that I was too excited to speak Spanish and I doubted she wanted some crazed gringa talking to her in English. So for now, I will just watch her walk her dog down my street, sounds kinda like a stalker, huh?
My host family is really impressed with my spanish and keep commenting on how wel I speak it. It looks like it will be a really good month because this family is not only nice and muy simpatico como la mayoria de chilenos, pero comen muy bueno. They eat alot of veggies and fruit and not much meat. It is still more meat than I am used to, but for Chileans, they eat practically no meat. So I am excited.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

"Faces of the earthquakes"

I am watching a program on CNN which is now my connection to the world. There is a program on right now about the families in Pakistan who are facing not only the absolute horror of dealing with the thousands upon thousands dead, but also the cold winter ahead that could easily kill them if they do not get better housing then the thin tents they now live in. I feel so helpless. What can I do here? I want to do something, but I don´t know how. I don´t know what. and these darn photojournalists show the eyes of the people, so sad, so hopeless. Please tell me what I can do, because I dn´t want to live this life like this. I hate the fact that I can live in total denial of the suffering that others are in. I hate that. I hate that the situation seems so big and I feel so small. These families in Pakistan are facing more harship than I could ever imagine. Mothers who have lost their young children. Nothing could be worse. I need to do something, but I don´t understand how. I makes me want to move back to the States and get a job that makes alot of money so I could help... but that is not where I am. And I know I am supposed to be here in Chile. I have a feeling that I am going to need to go. I don´t know what that means, or when I would go, or even where I would go, but I am going to go. There is too much pain in this world and too much ability to love in my heart for me to not go. O am sorry mom. I know this is something you don´t want to read. But here is my heart.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Gone home to Chile

I thought alot about Argentina while I was there and spent a good two hours sitting at one of the sidewalk cafes watching the people and observing the culture. I noticed a few differences between Chile and Argentina. (Disclaimer: the majority of my observations of Chile are made from a six week stay in La Serena and the observations of Argentina are made completely from a two day stay in a small but urban city called Mendoza. My observations may not be accurate of the culture as a whole, but they are my observations.)
Argentina´s good and services are considerably less expensive than Chile (about 1/2 the price in most cirsumstances)
The women of chile are much more protective adn possessive of their men.
There is a ridiculously higher level of Public display of Affection (PDA) in Chile. Anywhere you go you can find couples kissing, but in Argentina it is much more conservative.
The people look physically more diverse in Argentina. i could not describe for you what an Argentinian looks like. There was so much diversity in physical appearance, but in Chile this is not the case. While there is a little amount of diversity in Chile, there is a very distinct Chilean look, especially for the women.
Argentinians were also much more diverse in style. I am sure in Santiago that there is more diversity than there is in La Serena, but in general, Chileans dress alike.
In Chile you can find groups of two or three school girls (anywhere from 14 to 18 years old) still in their school uniforms wandering around the town, giggling at the boys and enjoying some helado (ice cream). I saw nothing even close to this in Argentina.
Argentinians in general are MUCH better at speaking Engliah. Chileans try, but can´t seem to master the language.
These are just some examples of differences I found. In general, Argentina is VERY European, with a very strong Italian influence. Chile on the other hand, espeically in the north seems to be closer to its indigenous roots. Most of the extanjeros I have met down here prefer Argentina to Chile. It seems to be a higher class of society. But I thought about all of this and realized that this is one of those circumstances when persoanl preferences come into play. There is no right or wrong answer here. Every person must choose which culture fits THEM. And after realizing this adn journaling for quite some time, I realized that I choose Chile. I like the fact that they don´t speak proper Spanish. I like the oldfashioned slow moving society that I have found in the north. And I like the ridiculously overdone national pride (especially for their football teams who are horible (not a spelling mistake, but a spanish word, mom).
So when vacation time comes and I am in the mood for a fast paced, materistic, beautifully diverse city, I will take the 8 hour bus over to Mndoza Argentina. But I think I will so my best to plant my feet, for now at least, in this beautiful old land called Chile.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

¡Vive Argentina!

Wow, I found a reason to stay in Argentina. I fell in love with this town within the first minutes being here. It has a spirit that reminds me alot of New York City, but is much cheaper. In fact, it is SO cheap here that Chilean come here to shop. For example, a sweater that would be $40 in the States, and the same in Chile, is only about 8 dollars here. Or breakfast this morning, which was amazing, was only $1.25! So I am going to go shopping, yeah. Teh streets are lined with small boutiques and sidewalk cafes (with real espresso!) And the people here are dressed like NYC. So fashionable and chic. The streets are fairly clean and the trees that line the raods offer shade as you amble your way down the busy sidewalk.
At the hostel I am at, there are a bunch of women. One woman from California is there with her 8 year old daughter. They are learning Spanish. They first went to Chile, but didn´t like it and decided to come to Argentina. They say the people here are more content and happy with life than Chileans. They have been here in South America for 2 weeks. Another woman is from Israel, but she now owns hostels in Chile and Argentina, and she says that Chileans have bigger hearts and are much nicer than Argentinians. In her opinion, Argentinians are too obsessed with money. It is interesting that the two opinions are SO opposite. A funny note: the Isreali claims that Argentina and Chile are more dangerous than Israel because in most of Israel (anything outside of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem) the streets are generally safe, and here while there are no car bombs and suicide bombers, there is street crime.
Another woman in the hostel is from souther Chile adn last night she just started talking to me. She is here for some liposuction, a tummy tuck, and a boob job. Yes, even the boob jobs are cheaper here! Anyways, she invited me to go out with her tonight since we are both sola. So I guess we will go see the night life tonight. All of this is just so wierd to me. But I am loving it.

The only bad part of all of this is that my body is SO SORE from the horsebackriding and mountain climbing that I can´t walk very well. I think I will take advantage of the cheap economy and find a place where I can get a massage!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Travel plans

I told a few of you that I would be heading to a small surf town called Pichilemu, but I have changed plans. I am actually going to go to Argentina instead. I need to renew my tourist card so I can either pay $100 at an office in Santiago, or I can just cross the border again. Yeah. In all honesty I am not in the mood for a HUGE adventure, so this probably be low key, but I am planning on returning to Viña for a few days to visit Marcela and Flo again before I have to be in Santiago. This is on purpose because Flo is having her first communion on Sunday. I just love that kid!
I just got back from a horseback ride that lasted about 4 hours and was just beautiful, but I forgot how much four hours on a horse kills your butt! My horse was named Frutilla (Strawberry) and was the sweetest thing ever. The tour consisted of another gringo from Florida who is just spending a week vacation here and spoke NO spanish, and my guide who is a 15 year old local who spoke very little english. So I translated. I loved it and I realized that somehow my spanish has again improved. I am not sure how since I didnt speak it for the last week or so. ¡Pero estoy bien! The ride was beautiful and when we reached a certain spot the guide showed us the begining of a trail and stayed with the horses as we gringos hiked. The first part was down the hill. I could hear the waterfall, so I had motivation, pero there were times when it felt more like mountain climbing than hiking. The trail was so steep and literall at points I was just hanging on to a root above me as I tried to find a place to stand. It was crazy. But the waterfall was beatiful and I will be posting pictures soon. it reminded me of the waterfall in Hawaii that my mom and I went to. The hike up, I serioulsy thought I might throw up. For a few reasons, I thought this. But I was embarrassed to do that in front of older gringo, so I fought against it. It was like climbing a wall! B ut it was great, and both of the guys on the tour were great! I am sore, but happy. And now me voy a dormir en un bus por Santiago y despues a Argentina. 17 hours mas o menos en total. Que loca!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Pucôn

Pucôn is a small town in southern Chile (about 10 hours from Santiago) that sits upon the eastern end of one of the many lakes in this region. It is in my opinion Chile´s repsonse to Lake Tahoe. It is smaller and there is only one casino, but the log cabins that line the water look like they belong on a postcard. The downtown consists of the main road filled with boutiques, cafes, and most importantly the tourist agencies. There are over twenty tourist agencies here and it seems impossibel to know which one to go with. The volcano that looms in the distance is actually active and is climbed everyday by many tourists who want to see the boiling lava quietly spurting from the whole. I, who am not as adventurous as I would like to think, will not be climbing up the 5 hour hike in the snow to the volcano peak. I am going to take a horsebackriding tour to a waterfall instead. But for those who read this adn want some adventure, there is plenty in this town to be had. Today, I chose to hike up to the monastary that overlooks the town. It was beautiful and empty. I basically had this wonderful courtyard to myself with not another person in sight. So I put a worship cd in my walkman and worshiped at the top of my lungs. A beautiful city.


Now on a wierd but personal note. Some recent incidences here (all in Chile and not having to do with anyone in California) has brought some bitterness in my heart toward men. I know I am not supposed to be bitter, and the I should not hold anger in my heart, but it is becoming more and more clear that I will not be able to trust most men here. maybe this is te culture shock that I didn´t think I was experiencing, but in anycase, I am trying to not judge all men. I think part of the problem is that most of the men I have met here are not Christians, and I am used to a certain level of decent behavior, and a certain way of showing intentions. It doesn´t exist here. the few Christians I have met, have been a bit better than the others, so I need to reember that before I judge. Okay, the venting time is done. Just whoever reads this, if you can keep my heart in prayer.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

the life of a missionary family

I spent the last four days with a missionary family in Temuco who have served in Chile with SIM for 20 years or so. They first worked with Wycliffe working with the natives (like Native Americans) of the land. The native people of this area are called the Mapuche and they live lives that look very similar to the North American native americans. They are generally poor, living on reservations, and unfortunatly their culture and language is dying out. This family has really invested their whole lives to helping these people and sharing the Gospel with them. Their daughter is in the country for a few months and is my age so we spent a good amount of time talking and hanging out. She brought me to her college age group at her church and it was so similar to what I went to when I was at Poly that it didn{t matter that it was in Spanish, I loved it. At one point the MCs called up all the visiters and first timers. I pretended like I didn{t understand and lowered my head. Unfortunatly, I am a social person and I had already met so many of the people, that they all started cahnting for the Gringa to go up. So finally I gave in and made my way for the front. They handed all of the visitors a paper with a different part hylighted and we were supposed to read through this paper each taking our own turn, for the whole group. Now, in general I am not shy about speaking in public, but reading in another language!?! But it turned out I only had to read a few words so I went ahead adn when it came my turn to read, everyone cheered for me. It was a comical moment indeed. Everyone came up to me afterward and gave me a kiss on my cheek. It was such a blessing to be in fellowship.

I also met another woman who has committed for a few years with her family to work in missions here in Chile and she invited me over to have lunch with her family. I cannot even tell you how much this woman reminds me of myself. The more we talked the more we realized that we had very similar backgrounds and when we found out that the other person loved books and theological conversations, the fun began. I wish I was living down here so I could be discipled by her, but I am thankful just for the few hours I got to spend with her.

I am now in a town called Pucon. It is the Chilean Lake Tahoe. There are little log cabins lining the beatiful lake and an actually live volcano rising above the little town. I have not decided if I want to break down and do a touristy thing while I am here. We shall see, we shall see.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

a walk through Viña with an unexpected lunch

I took a walk through Viña Del Mar today since I have noticed that what I enjoy more about cities is just walking through them and watching the people as they live their lives. I am not much of a tourist, am I? anyways, I have been thinking recently about how much i used to pray and I happened to have my cell phone from California in my purse because I am going to try to get a plan for it down here. So I pulled it out and opened it as if it had been ringing and began to pray. I did this in California, but there EVERYONE is talking on their cell phones as they wak along the streets or as they shop. And as I walked i noticed that not a single other person in sight was on their cell phone. So I talked to God for a few minutes and then "hung up". h well, it was at least nice for a few minutes, even if I was being the stereotypical gringa.
Well, I walked and enjoyed the slighty overcast day here in Viña and took note of all the stores and the people and just the culture that this city holds. There are expensive boutiques settled right next to dollar stores and merchants on the sides of the roads selling blackmarket movies. Groups of stray dogs raom the streets ignoring the humans and scavenging the garbages. Little kids hold their mothers hands as they cross the busy street and school girls still in their uniform giggle as they pass a group of boys. This town has it´s own pace and it´s own life.
It was about time for lunch but I was dreading the thought of eatng the oh so famous completo (hot dog with avocado, mayo, and tomato that everyone seems to eat everyday, it is the national food of Chile). I turned off of the main street onto a smaller calle, and saw something that brought a huge smile to my face. There was a Shwarma Shop. That´s right, it is probably the only one in all of chile, but there was a little shop selling shwarma, falafel, hummus and other Mediterranean delights. So I bought a shwarma pollo (chicken) and relived the wonderful memories I will cherish forever of my bible study going to Jaffa Cafe every wednesday for lunch. Jaffa Cafe (the best place in San Luis Obispo for Shwarma, if not the only) was the second home for my bible study this last year. The owner Adnan was our adopted dad, who taught us about his culture and made sure we had a good time. We went religously on wednesday afternoons and stayed for hours enjoying the food and fellowship. I think anytime I eat shwarma or falafel, i will remember those days, and I will remember Adnan.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

a quote from my diary

For those of you who don´t know me too well, I have kept a diary since I was about 13 years old. I go through about a notebook every other month or so. If anyone thought I wrote alot on my blogs, you should see my journals. So today, I was writing not because I really knew what to write, but I felt like maybe I needed to write. Some interesting truths about how I am feeling right now came out while I was writing. Here is a piece of my entry:

I just wish I knew what I was doing. Right now I am so sick of waiting. I do really like the idea of working with the AIDS project... Jesus, I am happiest when I am serving You. And I haven´t really been doing that here. If anything, this two month period has taught me how I am absolutly misreble without serving You. It is like James in the Bible says, "faith without works is dead". And it is true. I have faith and I have had faith, I have studied Your Word, and I have kept my mind learning about You. But I have not loved. My faith is worthless without the acts of love. And I see it more clearly here than ever before. My faith has become a withered flower. And at the thought of serving You God, I feel a swelling deep in my spirit promising revival.

So I wrote that today and realized that I need to stopignoring the call deep in my heart. There is a project with SIMS which focuses it´s attention on reaching and loving and serving the AIDS community. At Cal Poly, my friend Ashlee and I were determined to change the misperception on our campus that Christians hated the GLBU (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Union). We went to a few of their events and made friends. One of them, Conrad, I will remember forever since he helped me through a very hard time in my life. I don´t know too much about this project but when I go to Temuco tomorrow night, I will be staying with the missionaries who are trying to build this project. They have asked me to look at their proposal and I am excited to see it. I don´t know if this is where I am supposed to be, but I would be willing to live in Santiago if I was serving the Lord in that way.

Halloween

For some reason I have a hard time understanding just how far away I am in this world from those I love. I think the fact that I talk to my mom a few times each week on the phone and the fact that I generaly feel connected, although not enough, with my friends, leads to my misunderstanding of how far away I am. This thought keeps coming into my head that I should go home for Christmas. I have to keep reminding myself that it is not plausible. Because it is about to be summer time here, the airline tickets are ridiculously expensive here. So yeah, not possible.
Last night was Halloween, and Marcela and I were laughing because I was practically back in the states. Halloween is not a HUGE holiday here but there is a good number of families who celebrate it. Marcela is definitly one of them. She decorated the house and put orange and black balloons outside the door. We made a costme for her daughter Flo, who decided to be Miss 17 (kinda like Miss teen). As the kids came to the door we, being Marcela because for the last few years I have been scared to hand out candy at Halloween, passed out candy. She ordered a pizza from Dominos (yep, they have dominos here) and we had pizza and coke for dinner. The only non-gringo thing about the night was the corn on the pizza. That´s right, here in Chile, corn is actually a popular topping on pizzas. Crazy huh?
I ended the night watching CNN and realzing that alot is going on in the States and in the world in general and I am very far away. Chile just feels removed from the world.
There was one moment yesterday when I was helping Flo get ready for the night whenI realized that the whole town was honking its car horns. It sounded like madness. My friend lives up on a hill that is generally seperated from the rest of the town, but I could hear the horns honking in total madness down in the town. A thought crossed my mind: what if there is a politicla revolution while I am here? But I don´t think so, not now at least. We are about to have the presidential elections and althogh the people are a little strange out their politics, I highly doubt there will be a BIG political revolution here. We are a democracy. Oh, and it turns out that all the honking, which lasted for a good twenty minutes, was because some sports player, I think tennis, won some game or match. Yeah, not quite something to worry about.

At the request of my mom, and I think it is a good idea, the name of the hostel in Valparaiso is Luna Sonrisa. It means Moon smile and you can look at the website at lunasonrisa.cl, the white door that you see in the picture is actually the bedroom I stayed in. Very nice.
Okay, I´m off. ¡Chao!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Valparaiso y Viña del Mar

So I am now in step number 3 of the trip, Viña. I was in Valparaiso for only one night but man was it worth it! The hostel I stayed in with a friend from Germany was SO nice. I don't think I would ever bring my mom to a hostel but this was an exception! The building itself was so tastefully decorated, but it was the owner who made all the diference. When I first got to the hostel he opened the front door and said "ahh, eres rebeca." But he said my name the way an english speaker says it, (Chileans say it different) so I knew he wasnt Chilean. I commented on this and before he had time to answer, his phone rang. As he talked on his phone, he said the word brillant in response to some remark on the other end. I knew at that moment he was British. And I was right. He visited here four years ago, and never really left. He has written a tour book on Chile, called Footprints, so he KNOWS Chile. At our incredible breakfast of bread, jam, and lots of fresh fruit, we all just asked him about every town we were planning on visiting. He gave us incredible recommendations, because he knows just about every hotel in this country. he also told us about deals we could get that are not advirtised. Basically he was a talking tour book. Amazing!
Now I am in Viña and once again staying with the beautiful Marcela and Flo. We spent yesterday at the beach, but don{t worry mom, I wore sunscreen and did not get burned. I have to admit though, that it was heaven. The het was so intense, but it wasn{t humid at all, so it felt like California.
Life is wierd (okay now time for a tangent) and sometimes things totally unexpected happen. I think this trip alone has taught me alot about myself and how I deal with different situations. Like being scared, or being alone, or being angry. I have learned alot these last two months (today marks my two month mark in Chile). I see myself growing up and that is a strange sensation. I wonder if all my life I will feel like I am growing up, or if someday I will feel like the person I am made to be. I guess we shouldnt ever stop growing nad changing, but at some point we need to be happy with who we are in general.
My verse for today and any day that I am feeling the past heavy on my shoulders, "I will restore the years the locusts have eaten" Joel 2:25

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I am safe and sound

Okay, I am sorry if i scared you guys yesterday with the whole knife thing, but I have to admit that I was a little scared too. But I am safe. The bus bus late, true Chilean style, and then we waited at a terminal for nothing it seemed like, for a good hour. SO I got home a little after 2 in the morning. The whole bus ride was a test of patience. Everyone was asleep, but me. And then my batteries for my discman ran out, and I sat there in the dark in silence for about 3 hours listening to other people snore. But once I was in my bed, MY bed, I slept like a baby. It was great. When I got out of the cab, I heard a guys voice behind me, which at two in the morning on the street, you do NOT want to hear. But I turned around to see Felipe coming home. I nearly jumped on the poor guy I was so happy to see him! So we went inside and I immediatly went for the arms of my host mom. We hugged, adn I mean really hugged, and then she noticed the sunburn and was upset that I didn´t wear sunscreen out there. I was home. I don´t know how that became my home so fast, only a month and a half with this family, but they are, they are mi familia.

Another REALLY cool note. I officially got the word that my roomies from Cali are coming to visit me and I am dying to see them. I miss them so much and I am in dire need of a good theological conversation with one of them. They have their tickets for the end of febuary, so the countdown begins. Gosh I am stoked!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Caldera, stop #1

I arrived in Caldera two nights ago and have taken it slow here. there really is nothing to see, but my body was craving a good sunburn (sorry mom!). Literally, I was obsessed with teh thought of lying in the hot sun and just soaking it in. I am not sure if I am Vitamin D deprived or what? But I did, I found a spot in the courtyard of the hostal and soaked up all the sun I could get. And my face esta rojo. Pero, estoy contenta. an email from a friend back home reminded me just how much i used to pray adn how much I LOVED talking to God every moment of my day. Okay, little secret about becka- I used to put my cell phone on silent and open it up as if I was talking on it adn I would pray. I don´t know if it is just the psychology of it, but it was easier to talk to God on my cell phone than just talking to the air. I recommend it to anyone who wants a better prayer life. So anyways, last night I remembered my love for hanging out with God and I spent some time reading one of my favorite books of the Bible, Hosea, and since then, He was blessed me with love. I am remembering how it feels to truly be in love with Him. I sat by the beach today and watched the more than blue water and just prayed. It reminded me of my first few days in Trinidad. There is something so amazing about the ocean, how powerful and beautiful. I am leaving this town tonight and have to be careful because I guess there are guys who like to hold knives tothe throats of women here and rob them. SO I am going to take extra caution.
A good note: I found out there is a New York Bagels cafe in Santiago. I am ready!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

trip plan

I am leaving in an hour or so for the official begining of my trip. My room is all packed up, a very sad job, and I am ready to go. I am first heading up north for Caldera, a cute little beach town. Then I will return to La Serena pick up my HUGE travelling backpack and head down the 8 hour bus ride to Valparaiso. Then up to Viña Del Mar with my buddy Marcela for a few days. I will be going down to Temuco, where the missionaries with SIM live and I will stay witht hem for a few days looking at their AIDS projects they are trying to start. I will then head to Pucón and then Angol. I will spend one last day in the town of Talca and then, finally after two weeks of pure travelling, I will arrive in Santiago for my four week course for TEFL.
I am very excited to get going, but in all honesty, I am a little sick. It is just a little bit of chills and a clogged up head, but my host mom is using that as an excuse for why i shouldn´t go. I told her that I am planning on sleeping alot on the 6 hour bus ride I have today. You would think she was Jewish adn not Chilean!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

missing the munchkins

I only spent two weeks, actually ten days, at the home in Trinidad. But I am missing those kids. There are a few especially that I wish I could see again. There are these three brothers who I absolutly loved! They were older, some of the otldest kids in the home, and each one was really special to me. I know I am not supposed to have favorites, but the youngest of the three, Andy was defintitly... special to me. He is like 15 years old, I think, and is just sweet. He is a really good kid in general and I loved getting to talk to him and hang out with him. I really felt like an older sister or something. On my last night in Trinidad, he stayed out and talking with me in the gazebo after everyone else had gone to bed. We talked about life and everything it involves. One of the subjects we hit one, which is bound to happen when you talk to a 15 year old boy, is girls. An older of friend of his, whom he respects and admires, had given him advice about girls. I kinda know this friend of his and was interested to hear the advice. All in all, it was a great talk and I really hope I get to go back some day and visit them again. And if I never get to, those kids, especially Andy, will hold a special place in my heart.

a lesson learned

This whole situation with Paulo is bothering me and I am trying to figure out what the problem is. I think the problem is partially a cultural one. Here in Chile, everyone has a boyfriend or girlfriend. it is just a part of life. And so the commitment level is not very high. Back home, when you dated someone, you were making some what of a commitment. If you had a boyfriend or girlfriend, you were in a sense saying that a part of you life was claimed. You couldn´t just go out and flirt with other people. But here, it is different. People just have a girlfriend or boyfriend. There doesn´t weem to be the commitment level that I am used to seeing in relationships. All of this is really wierd to me, but it is a good lesson. Never just assume that someone is not taken. Marion was saying that a guy at her work who had been really nice and pretty flirty with her just told her that he has four kids, from three different women! She was shocked. He had never thought to ask this young guy if he had children. Just as I never thought to ask Paulo if he had a girlfriend, since all the clues pointed to no.
You know, I am sorry boys but as much as I really want one of you guys, there are some of you who are just bad guys. And those few bad ones seem to steal the show most of the time and many of my experiences with guys leave me with a bad taste in my mouth (NOT literally!) I do wish i had someone though. i had the thought the other night as I was walking toward my room, "I really don´t want to go in. I know I going to an empty room. There is no one there for me. I am so completely alone." It was a sad moment, but depressing. I just realized how much I want to spend this time with someone I love. And instead it is just me. And I know I am young and there is still plenty of time for all that... I know... but still...

Mi mamá y hermana


Oh yes, it´s ladies´night... Here is us in action at the Kareoke Bar.
I love this picture of us and I got a copy of it made for my host mom as a little gift. Claudia, mi hermana, has really become like a sister to me and I am so grateful to have her. Mi mamá es muy simpatica and treats me like one of her own.

Mi papá


Jaime and I at the Kareoke bar dancing. He spent mosst of the night d.j.ing, but eventually we got him to come out to the dance floor.

These are the boys. The one all the way on the left is an uncle and the other two are his sons. The one on my right is Alex. He is just great, totally laid back and funny. He said he would teach me how to cook someday. I need the help.

Mi hermano


This is a picture I originaly took for blackmail purposes, but I now realize that it is my only picture of Felipe. So here he is, sleeping. Next to him is abuelita, y next to her is Aylen, the daughter of Claudia.

mis abuelitos


These are my Chilean grandparents. They amaze me, even after all these years of marriage, they are really affectionate physically with each other. They tease each other and hold hands and it is obvious that they are very much in love. I hope some day I can have a romance like theirs.

what a site, so beautiful


a little racism for thought


This stuff makes me think I am still in the states. It is just mind blowing. I don´t understand neo-nazis in the first place, but in Latin America?

a love for the media



These are really quite popular here.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Some random thoughts

Last night I was flipping through the tv channels and I noticed that Passion of Christ was playing. i tried to watch it, but I couldn´t. I apologized to Christ that I was so weak that I couldn´t even watch a film about His pain and I changed the channel. I came upon another movie, the Stigma. Very interesting film. Although it is not really Biblical, and in fact it paints a somewhat scary picture of God, it also paints a beautiful picture of Christ. There is one point in which the main detective priest goes to talk to an ex priest about what was happening. They meet in a church and the ex priest asks the detective priest, "look around, what do you see?"
The detective priest answers that he sees a church. The ex priest stands up and waves his arms around and replies that it is not a church, for the Church of Christ is much larger. And there is no need for a building in a relationship with Christ. The ex priest turns his face upwards and loudly proclaims, " I love Jesus!"
It is a beautiful moment.

I did go to church yesterday and the sunday school class i went to was on a passage in Jeremiah 31. IT was about the Nuevo Pacto and the Antiguo Pacto. Very interesting stuff. IT made me wonder though how teh teacher felt about dispensationalism and biblical theology. I want to ask him if he understands english, which i doubt he does, because I think he would love Goldsworthy´s book on biblical theology. Ahh... I miss Trinity Church. There was one point when he said something along the lines of circumsion was the sign of the Old pact and communion is the sign of the new. It is possible that I misunderstood him, but I am pretty sure that he said that I would LOVE to discuss that with him. I disagree with him. I think that circumsion of the skin was the sign of the old and circumsion of the heart is the sign of the new. The last supper was a rememberance thing, and I don´t think the literal eating of the bread and drinking of the wine is necessary for salvation. I don´t know if he, the teacher would say it is, but I think in any case it would be a very intersting discussion. Ahhhh....

I had a dream last night that I was going to go live on the moon with two other girls and I was a bit worried because I had not recieved the paper about what I needed to bring with me to live there.

My house is empty now. Well, there are only five people living there, which is really empty. But really nice.

Help! I am trapped in a Jane Austen novel

(This one is going to be long... but good.)
Seriously, I have been hearing quotes in my head from Pride and Prejudice as I experience life here. For this episode the quote from Mrs. Bennet when referring to Mr. Bingly´s behavior toward Jane, "He used her very ill indeed!"

Okay so here is the story. The whole family has spent the week watching Paulo and I, especially my host mom. Everyone was excited to see that we got along well together and that we enjoyed each others company. We even flirted a little, but from what I understood it was not any serious flirtation, but just fun between friends. Well, the week was coming to an end and everyone was waiting for some great romantic moment that I knew would never come. I wasn´t worried, but in a sense a bit amused at the novellic (I don´t think that´s a real word, sorry mom) quality of the situation. Friday night, as I wrote earlier, we went out with his sister and my host brother and sister. We had fun, but no romantic moments.

Saturday came and it was decided that the family would spend its last night together at the Kareoke bar. We all went, except Felipe, and this time Marion, a mid twenty German who is living at the house for three months, came too. I had talked to marion about Paulo before and she had mentioned how nice he was and how she wanted to spend more time with him and his sister. Because Marion works all day, she was only afforded a few minutes each night to talk to Paulo, but I could tell that she thought very highly of him, and was very possibly attracted to him. At the Kareoke bar they sat next to each other, and I next to her. It was that night that I realized how much I was truly not even the slightest bit attracted to him and I had just been using him in a sense to have fun for the week. But I saw how Marion liked him. The family seemed confused that Paulo and I were not sitting together and continuously urged us to sing a song together. I declined time and time again, hoping that Marion and Paulo would get a chance to be together. It seemed like it worked. The two of them spent most of the night talking and singing. I spent the night watching the two in anticipation and hope. At one point I shared my thoughts with Carolina, the sister of Paulo. She smiled and agreed and together we secretly watched the two.

The whole week had been spent flirting with me and raising the hopes of the family, when in reality it seemed he had fallen for Marion. The next mornig came with sadness as Paulo and Carolina packed their bags to go home. I went to church and promised to return before they left so I could say goodbye. As I was returning, I ran into Paulo and Marion on the street. I must admit I was a bit surprised, but pleased to think that they would get a chance to talk in private without the family watching. When they returned I noticed no huge difference in Marion, but then again she is German and in general she is not very expressive. I asked her after the party had left for the bus station about her time with Paulo and commented that I thought they would make a very handsome couple. She smiled sadly and began to tell me the story.

Paulo had approached her that morning and asked if she wanted to go for a walk before he left. She did and they set off. After running into me on the street, they continued on walking around the deserted streets. He asked her if she had a boyfriend. She didn´t. He asked her where she would eventually want to live. She wasn´t sure yet. All these questions seemed to be pointing in the right direction. He seemed to be setting the foundation for another question. She, only thinking of politness and not actually expecting an unknown answer, returned the questions and asked if he had a girlfriend. With all of the family being so determined for he and I to be together, and for a whole week of flirting, there was no way he could have a girlfriend. The question was one of mere formality, politeness. He answered yes. he has a girlfriend and they have been together for seven years.

As Marion relayed the story to me over tea at the little table in the kitchen, I sat there in disbelief. No, it couldn´t be true. This whole week, he had said nothing! Nothing! I was first shocked and then soon angry. Yes, angry that he had not said anything to me or anything to his family as they talked about us. But mostly angry because he had treated Marion very ill. HE had led her on. I was playful and we both knew it, our flirtations meant nothing. But Marion is quite and reserved. Her time with Paulo was not nothing. And so, he is gone and I have few regrets that he has left. If he lied about having a girlfriend, he is an idiot and I do not understand him. IF it is true, he is not being fair to her. And in my opinion, he was not fair to Marion, either. "He used her very ill indeed!"

As for me, my Mr. Darcy is on his way soon. I am sure of it.