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.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

cerveza y papas fritas

so I broke my commitment to God last night concerning alcohol. When I first went to college, I got a little into the frat scene and the whole drinking thing. When I moved into a house with 6 guys from Nor Cal, I began to drink way to often. I felt like God was pulling me back and telling me that He placed the law over me for a reason and I need to follow it. So I stopped drinking until I turned 21 and when i turned 21 I reevaluated the situation and I made the decision that I could drink, but I shouldn´t have more than two drinks a night. I have never broken that commitment, nor really wanted to, before last night.
So last night I went out with my host sibs, Felipe and Claudia, and their cousins, Paulo and Carolina. We are all in our twenties and love to sing and dance and have a good time. So we went out. First we went to a Piña (I think that is how it is spelled). It is a folklorico concert. I went to something very similar in high school with my friend Lorena for Mexican folklorico, pero CHILEANO folklorico is something else. Some of the islands of Chile have an almost Hawaiian culture so their was this dancing that looked more like hula than anything else, so beautiful. And then there was the traditional Chilean dance. I have seen it a few times before. It is an oldschool dance with teh man dressed as if he were going to fight a bull and the woman in a big country looking dress. They both have white hankerchiefs that they use in the dance. It almost looks like roosters dancing. That is the best way to describe for those who would like more information please call your nearest airline and buy a ticket for Chile.. hehe. The others in our group were a little bored at the Piña and we left early.
After going home for a minute and then driving to Claudia´s house 20 minutes away, we made our way down to the Kareoke Bar. As we were driving I wondered what time it was. We didn´t even leave for the Piña until 11 pm or so. But that is the Gringa in me. Chileans don´t seem to treally care about time, espeically at night. And it is perfectly normal to leave to go out for the night at 1 in the morning. We arrived at the bar and it was empty except for one couple who were on their honeymoon. The woman and I started talking and it turns out that she spent part of her childhood in the States, and she could speak perfect english. Her father is a diplomat and she has lived in many countries and experienced many cultures, but Chile is her home. SHe now lives in Santiago and works in marketing for Mike (don´t tell Paul that I was talking with the enemy... hehe) Anyways, she wil be back in Santiago when I am there and she promised to show me around town and bring me to the greatest kareoke spots. So I made a friend. My sister was shocked because to her it seems like no matter where I go, I make a friend there. It´s just because I am a gringa!
So we left the Kareoke Bar adn went to this bar in the center of town that is always full of university students. We ordered a pitcher of beer and a huge plate of french fries (papas fritas) and talked and sang over the traditional beer, Crystal, of Chile. I hate to admit it but I am much more of a cheap Bud Light type of girl. Mucho suave. Anyways, i had my two glasses of beer and my sister took my glass and refilled it. in my head I thought, this is more than my limit. But for some reason, it didn´t even phase me. I think a part of it was how safe I felt with the group. They are family. And I know that both Paulo and Felipe would protect me. So i drank my third, but not more. The boys have five or so, and Claudia had four I think. I felt fine, a little off balance when i stood up, but I was fine, just tipsy. I know that God protected me last night and I am going to have to be more careful in the future with how much I drink.
On a funny note: in some ways, my spanish improves when I am tipsy, and in some ways, it stinks. There were moments last night when I was able to just talk adn talk and talk. And then other moments when I kept using the wrong words. My sibs thought it was funny.

Friday, October 21, 2005

mi zapatos de california

Two of my closest friends, Ashlee and Kallie, both spent a quarter studying in Spain. And I remember hearing them talk about their experience and saying that it had not been what they had expected. It is easy to have these romantic notions about what another culture, especially a latin culture will be like. And so knowing this, i tried not to build up romantic notions in my head and to not have any preconcived notions of Chile before I came (except my Chilean Prince!). And as I have now lived in Chile for almost two months, I can say that there are times when the humdrum of life seems too thick here, and then there are times when I am walking down the street and it hits me, "I´m in Chile". It sounds funny, but sometimes I forget that I am in another country. Sometimes I forget that I am una extrañjera.
And then some culture shock hits me and reminds me that I am different. It happened today. There is one part of my cultural identity that I am not willing to give up. No, I can give up my language. I can give up my personal bubble that people burst everytime they greet my with a kiss on the cheek. I can give up alot. But I am not going to give up my flip flops. That´s right. I was born and raised in California, the land of flipflops, and I am proud to wear them. My time spent at university only made my love for flipflops grow. I remember multiple occasions when the weather turned stormy and the rain was coming down fiercly, yet people wore flip flops. There was always the debate about uggs and miniskirts, which I have to agree with the oppostion, it is just wrong. But flip flops, flip flops are beautiful with all outfits and in all occassions. i even have friends who got married in flip flops.
So today I decided that I was tired of wearing shoes. I got dressed and slipped on some flip flops, cute tan ones with small white beads on them. As I left the house I noticed my family looking at my feet in wonder. It was foggy, but not cold outside, perfect weather for flipflops. As I walked down the street i encountered the normal guys looking at me, but this time after scanning my body (yeah, not my favorite activity) they ended up staring at my feet! It was so funny. I have no clue what went through their minds, but suddenly my blonde hair was not very important. i was wearing flipflops! Needless to say, I will continue to take pride in my flipflops and i believe that no matter how much time I spend in this country, and how Chileana I become, i will hold dear to my flipflops. mi zapatos de california.

P.S. As much as I love Alex Ubago, a part of my heart will always belong to Damien Rice. Does anyone know if he has a new cd coming out soon?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

on top of the world

I feel more alive in this moment than I have for quite some time. You see, i came to La Serena and have done the normal thing of exploring the city, taking a tour or two of the surrounding countryside, going shopping at the commercial center, BUT today was the first time here in Chile when i really lived. After writing the last two blogs, I decided that I needed to do something. I went to the grocery store and bought enough food to make substantial lunches for 8 people. I also printed out pieces of paper that explain my purpose. I quoted Matt 15 where Jesus has compassion on the hungry and John 8 where Jesus says that if we continue in His Word we will find the truth and the Truth will set up free. I wrote to each persn who would receive the lunch that when I love them it is only with food, but when Christ loved them it was with His life. I went home and put together these bag lunches and headed out to the street. Two of the people I got to give lunches to were blind (a challenge I had not expected) So I explained what my note said to them before kissing them on the cheek and heading off. As much as I think i can live the life that the world tells us is right, I can´t. I can´t walk by these people on the streets begging for money after I have just read abouthte compassion Jesus had for the poor. For now, I am not planning to be a "missionary" anytime soon and in general, i don´t like that term. But I have realized that no matter what Job I have here in La Serena, I will continue to show love to those people Jesus loves.

a self pronounced book addict

One of the hardest parts about being overseas is the difficulty in buying the books I want. I know Amazon mails internationally, but for some reason, Chile is off limits most of the time. I was able to order a few books, one intense history book on the life of Jesus and a book for a seminary course on the Theology of Lordship, both very interesting! But there is a whole world of books out there and all honesty most of the books I want to read are not translated into Spanish (maybe that is my calling... hehe)
But I bought a few books before I left and somehow dragged them down here ( gave up brining my own towel so I could bring books in my backpack). One of them is Ravi Zacharias´Jesus among other gods. It is very well written and this man, Zacharias is just brillant. I first read one of his books at my friend Chubs´house during an asthma attack (memories!). This author grew up Hindu I think, in India. And he seems to have a thorough understanding of the major religions in our world today. Very interesting. I read the chapter last night on the problem of pain and it was so interesting to see how all these different religions approach the problem and try to offer a solution.
Pain is such an odd thing, because like beauty it seems to be in the eye of the beholder. Something that would be so painful to me might just roll off the back of someone else. Like my stepdad, Nigel, is in general just content. And when sad or painful things threaten that contentness, he just lets them roll on through and out of his life. I on the other hand cannot go through Christmas without taking something that someone says to me and turning it into a painful attack on myself. And then there are things that I went through in life that one of my friends would look at and say that I went through SO much and they wouldn´t be able to do it, but I don´t see it that way. Pain is just sointeresting. We all have experienced it in someway or another. But we all have different perspectives of it.
And ultimatly it leads us to the desire for love. For the comfort that comes when we are loved. Pain is not so dangerous when you know that you are loved. But when you do not feel loved by another, pain is devasting.
Fortunatly these thoughts are all hypothetical right now and in general I am doing fine. I don´t want my parents to read anything into this discussion that isn´t there. i am just curious about the problem of pain. Ohh.. I should read that book that CS Lewis has on this topic!

I would have loved to meet Mother Theresa

I first heard about blogs because someone gave me the address to the blog of one of their friends. I read that blog everyday, trying to imagine every emotion, every thought, every question that this guy presented so honestly in their blog. You see, this guy was in India (okay, he sometimes reads my blogs so I hope it is okay that I talk about your experience... ) and he was working with the truly broken people of this world. There was one time when he was massaging the arm of a guy who had had part of his arm amputated. And as I read these blog entries that real, hard, truth, I could not help but think that I wish I had a heart like Mother Theresa. I bought her biography a few months back and was stunned at how she really truly SAW Jesus in each and every person she served. She understood that when we love those who the world sees as unworthy of love and distugusting in their brokeness, we are showing love to the man, the God who died on the cross as a criminal.
I was reminded of this yesterday when I walking on the street and a man passed by who had no nose. He had a crusted bloody bandage in the middle of his face where his nose should be, but no nose. My first thought was surprise because I have never seen a person without a nose. But a millisecond later, I realized how precious this man is. And all I wanted to do was hug him. I didn´t maybe from fear. I don´t usually go around hugging strange men on the street. So instead I smiled. I just simply smiled at him. I wish now that I had done more. But I didn´t. I wonder what Mother Theresa would have done. And more importantly, I wonder what Jesus would have done.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

church ettiquete

What exactly are the rules when you are a tourist in a cathedral. I suppose that there are no formal rules written anywhere, but I am wondering if it is rude to take pictures? Is that rude, or is it only rude if you take pictures of people in the church? I decided to visit the oldest church here in La Serena. I pass by it everyday and I know a little of the history of it, but I have never actually gone inside to experience it. So today I went and sat inside the beautiful church. I thought about all the years that people spent there. It takes my breath away, the dedication and the love for the practices. And as I was sitting there in this building where so many people dedicated their lives to rituals, I saw the dark alluring side of religion. It is like the Pharisees who loved the law more than the Truth. I think if I had lived during the reign of herod in Israel, i would have been a Pharisee (well, married to one at least). It is true, the rituals and blessings, and all that is involved with religion is very tempting to love. We have to be careful with religion. I think it is one of the blessing we are supposed to have from God that Satan uses to distract us from the Truth. But that is so sad, becuase it was created (yes, God created religion) for a good purpose. The beauty of the cathedrals here in Chile and all over the world are supposed to reflect the beauty of God. Anyways, my thoughts on this seem scattered and almost forced this morning so sorry.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

If I were a guy, I would be such a bachelor

Okay, I had this thought as I opened the fridge door and grabbed by orange juice carton, I am so NOT a proper lady. These women in Chile, especially the older ones, cook and clean and take care of the house ALL DAY. I mean literally there is at least one woman in the kitchen throughout the whole day cooking for the next meal, or cleaning up after the last one. I don´t think i could do that. Don´t get me wrong, i am excited for the day when I get to cook for my husband and kids, and serve them, but I couldn´t have my whole life surround that. And then, the thought crossed my mind that I have not shared food with someone else (mean like sharing groceries) for years, and I am sure that my bad habits of eating out of tupperware and drinking out of the carton will be hard to break. I am laughing and cringing at the same time thinking about this. I am really a bachelor. I would rather save myself time doing dishes by eating out of what I cook out of. Gross I know. I know! I am going to make a horrible chilean wife someday! Ehh... I´m a gringa.

I interviewed with the Instituto Chileano NorteAmericano today. I hope they hire me because they can easily get me a visa and I could stay in La Serena for a long time. As I walked away from the Instituto, I heard God whisper in my ear the line from the poem i wrote earlier, "I will ask you to jump, but I will never ask you to jump alone". It was really comforting to know that I am not alone in this and that in all reality I am pretty helpless here.
I also had my last clase de español hoy. It was sad, but my professors and I agreed that I should come by for tea often to meet the extrañjeros (here in Chile they are usually from Germany or the US). I would love to be an unofficial guide to La Serena. Gringos!

Pop Quiz: Who knows where the word Gringo comes from? I am not sure if this is true but the story is that when the US and Mexico were fighting, the Mexicans said "Green go home" which was then shortened to gringo. yep, history lesson, or a lesson in urban myths, for the day.

la musica de chile

For a moment I would liek to ponder the music of Chile. You see, I listen to just about everything (except non-live jazz). Even country, although in this category I limit myself to Dixie Chicks and The Judds (only the old stuff). Here in Chile there is really only a few types of music. One, the corny romantic music that belongs on programs like "Delilah at night". Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I love this type of music. Another type of music is Reggaton (not sure about the spelling, but do I ever spell words correctly?). This is Latin America´s response to Hip Hop. Very good for dancing. I also love the fact that most Reggaton is in Spanglish, my favorite language. There is this other type of music that I like to call the "Corny Electric Piano Musica". Too corny for me and I can only take so much electric piano in one song. I am amazed at how much Englsih music is played here. And people sing to it. they actually know the words, but they have no clue what they mean! IT is really funny to watch. About one third of the music played on the radio is in English. And my favorite is when I heard a song from the 80´s, some absolute classic love song, and then i realize that it is being sung in Spanish. So ROMANTIC. I have decided that once I get the hang of this spanish thing, I don´t think i will be able to give it up. it is such a beautiful language! Okay back to the point: All in all though, there is some great music here (for example the incredible Alex Ubago!!!), and then, some not so great music here. I do miss the old school Bonnie Raitt, Iron and Wine, Norah Jones, Coldplay, Jennifer Warnes, and the other artists that never made it here in Chile. I guess I will have to wait for when go home.

Monday, October 17, 2005

it´s the little things

What do I miss?
Right now and actually for the past week, I have been CRAVING a pompernickel bagel with light shmear from Noah´s and a vanilla chai with soy. Yeah, for some reason the massive amounts of carne is just not the same as the delicious tofu and broccoli stir-fry with Soy Vey´s teriyaki sauce. Hmm.... california cuisine.

Oh! And an interesting fact about transvestites in Chile, they are dangerous!
When I was out with Lorena, we passed by some transvestites (which by the way was really weird to see in Chile which is generally a VERY conservative country). After we had walked past them and they were no longer in hearing distance, she explained that here in Chile, they are very dangerous. These men, dressed as women, will often attack women. I couldn´t believe it! The few transvestites that I have met have so nice to me. It is almost as if because so many people have been so mean to them, if you love them, they love you back. But not here. I guess some of the transvestites here are jealous of pretty girls and threaten, and sometimes follow through with the threat, to mess up the girls face. Okay, so now I know not to look pretty around transvestites here.
Don´t worry mom and dad, the city I am in is not dangerous and I am sure all two of the transvestites in La Serena are nice. Just don´t tell grandma, dad, although I doubt she knows what a transvestite is, eh? :)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

my palolo (boyfriend)

Yeah not really. His name is Paulo and he is the nephew of my host mom. She talked about his all week and was so excited for us to meet, in fact the WHOLE family wanted us to meet and to fall in love and they began to refer to him as my palolo and make comments about how cute we are together. So I am blushing just about all day and trying to correct the wrong without being rude, but in all honesty Paulo is great and if I were not looking for a guy who loves God more than he loves me, yeah I would be with Paulo. For one, he is really cute (kinda nerdy, just like I like them) for two, he is nice and not as machisimo as alot of other chilenos. He doesn´t like it when girls are drunk and he said he can have fun himself without being drunk. He is the second chilean over the age of 16 that I have met who doesn´t smoke. BUT, hahaha, just in case I was going to be stupid again, like I was with Alberto, God made sure that I am NOT attracted to Paulo. You see, Paulo and I were having a tea party hosted by the three year old daughter of Claudia, when we got on the subject of accents. When Germany came up, he said it. He said "Heil Hitler". I could not believe it. I waited a few minutes after so I wasn´t obviously rude and then I excused myself and left. I am smiling about it now, but I sure wasn´t then. I HATE it when they say that! I cannot believe how inconsiderate it is toward me and towards Germans in general! Not that they say it purposefully to hurt us, but they are just ignorant of how rude it is. So there are no wedding bells ringing for us any time soon.

close to the bottom

So I don´t want to write this blog because I would like to prove to everyone, especially myself, that I am responsible. I cannot even remember how many stupid mistakes I have made in the past- just plain stupidity. (I think I am more blonde than I would like to admit) But this is ridiculous and I have to share it on this blog if this blog is supposed to be an accurate portrayal of this period of my life. So mom and dad, please don´t worry because everything is okay, I just scared myself. Okay, now you probably think i almost died, but no. I almost lost my passport. You see, ever since I came to La Serena, I really don´t need it on a daily basis. So after a few days here I just decided to hide it in my room. I put it in this old newspaper and put it behind my books. Well, two days ago I decided to REALLY clean my room and not remembering that my passport was hidden there, I threw away the newspaper. Now in Chile the garbage is taken out every night basically.
So yesterday, I got this random thought, the first time I have ever had this thought since I hid my passport, that I should check on it. Well I tore apart my room looking for it. And started to panic. Not only was my passport in the newpaper, but my tourist card also.
I knew that it was not the end of the world and it would be difficult but not impossible to replace, but still, I felt horrible. I went up to the roof and prayed and cried. I wish I could have cried more since it has been a while since I cried and a good crying always feels good afterward. But after half an hour of feeling just completely helpless and alone, I figured that God had probably been waiting for me to get to this point for a while. I think the passport issue was just a triger for alot of feelings that had been festering in me for a while.
Anyways, I later that evening I thought I would try one more time to look for it. When i remembered that I had put the passport in the newspaper and thrown the newspaper away, I was almost scared to go look at the trash. I knew it was taken out on a regular basis every night. But I went to the trash, and miracle of God, it was not taken out the night before. I dug through the trash and the old newspaper and the passport inside. PRAISE THE LORD!!!!
One of the humorous thoughts that came to my head when this was all going on was that I just wrote to someone and told them to have more faith in me and that their expectations of me were too low. Yeah...Something like that.

Poem

As a child before her father
I am coming to you once again
My heart filled with sadness and loneliness
You promised to take care of me
You gave me what I wanted
But I was wrong, this isn´t what I wanted
I don´t want this sky dive thrill
The plane keeps climbing in the air
I am too scared to keep going

I want to go home
To sit with you
cuddled on the couch
next to the warm fire place
I don´t want to jump

But you take my hand and say
"Daughter your time at home is not now.
This is your time to jump"

I feel the tears well up in my eyes
And a knot deep in my throat
stops the words that would never come
I feel so alone, almost betrayed

And that is when he does it
That is when he takes my hand
and lifts my chin till my eyes meet his
Reading my thoughts, my brokeness he smiles sadly
"My love, I will ask you to jump,
But I will never ask you to jump alone."
He steps behind me and connects our suits
I can feel him breathe in and out
I can feel his strength
He kisses the back of my head and
We walk toward the opening
the door to the outside world

The tears come again
rolling down my cheeks
But not tears of fear
These are good tears
They are tears of helplessness
And as we jump,
I know deep in my heart that it is good
to be helpless


(I wrote this today as sat on my bed and thought about all the emotions from yesterday still raw in my heart. I am not sure why it is skydiving since I have actually gone skydiving and it wasn´t scary at all- but then again maybe that is becuase I was strapped to a 6´2 Brazilian guy. Skydiving just seemed like the most appropriate metaphor for this trip.)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Lorena and my "family"

Lorena (the chess buddy) and I went out last night again and sat in a dimly lit bar drinking pisco sours and listening to oldies like "Chain of fools" and "RESPECT". Maybe I am still in middle school mentally, but I am just amazed that she wants to hang out with me. I think I will always be stuck in that mentality. One more thing I get to overcome in my life. :)
When Lorena came to my house last night she got to meet my "family". And I am not talking about 4 or 5 or even 8 people. No last night there were 21 people from my adopted family there. There is a wedding of one of the cousins today and so the whole family is in town for it. Chilean families are HUGE and so much fun. Tata (grandpa) really likes me and always finds an excuse to sit next to me talk to me. The first time I met him I couldn´t speak spanish, but now I am, in his mind at least, fluent. He is adorable, I mean just pure adorableness! He is short and buff, muy muy fuerte. He was in the marines of Chile for years and travelled all over the world. He told me last night that he may look old on the outside but his heart is still that of a little kid, and it is so true. He laughed and joked the whole night through. His wife (grandma) is a quiet little lady who holds herself with alot of dignity, but so much dignity that she doesn´t smile and hug you when you walk in the room. All the cousins wanted to meet me becuase they had heard so much about me from the rest of their family. So for one night, I was engulfed in a Chilean family. Everyone had questions and wanted me to speak in English for them. And I loved it. When Lorena came, my host parents smiled and clapped their hands together asking for an introduction. So I introduced her to them, and my brother, and my sister, and my new cousins, and their parents, and then the grandparents, and so on until all 21 people had now kissed Lorena on the cheek.
We only stayed for a few minutes more with the family before we headed out. It was already 11:30 when we left so I knew it would be a late night. We took a cab to Coquimbo and sat in the bar talking. We talked more about our families and lives this time. Her aunt´s ex- husband was one of the revolutionists (like the minister of education or something) in Nicaragua. Something crazy like that.
I got home at about 4 in the morning and before I could reach my room I heard the guys coming home from the bachelor party. They were a little baracho (drunk), but I think they had a good time and I know they were told very sternly by their wives to behave... chileans!

Friday, October 14, 2005

religion- I am a fan

So I have heard so many people say that they are not into religion. That they just want the Gospel and no religion. Well, I disagree. First off, before I am called a heretic.. hehe, I want to make sure it is clear that I believe in the Gospel of Christ. That He is the Son of God, that He was perfect, He died, He rose again and if He trust Him to, He will pay the penalty for our sins. There are no works involved, so way to earn salvation. Okay, that said, I think that religion is supposed to play an important part in our lives. It is a set of beautiful traditions all pointing back to the Truth. Take a look at the Jewish holidays. They are there to tell the story of God and His people. We can´t trust that our performance in religion will get us anywhere, but I believe that God placed religous traditions in our lives for a reason and we need to stop rejecting that. For example, how beautiful are the prayers of our brothers in the Lord who lived hundreds of years ago (Rach, that´s for you!). I personally hope that I never stop loving the beauty of religous traditions.

my head is a mess, but very content that way

Okay, there is alot to say in this blog because alot happened yesterday. First, in the morning I met some women from Belmont California. What a treat for my heart to get to talk about my home with other Californians! I don´t think I want to move back, but I will definitly need to visit.
Second, there was this situation in May with someone that I kinda know that my poor bible study had to listen about and deal with, and that situation came up again. So I went on a run at the local deserted track and just prayed and laughed my heart out with God as I ran. Yeah, I have come to except the fact that I handle situations in a wierd manner, but my manner works.
Then, I got the courage to try this church that someone recommended and guess what- PRAISE GOD, they actually read the bible in context and preached the gospel! It is a southern babptist church, which is just really wierd to me that there are "southern baptists" in chile, but hey, if their doctrine and practices are Biblical, then who cares? So I talked to the pastor for a while after the message and asked him questions about the church and then one of the ladies invited me over for tea. I actually am a little shy when it comes to this stuff, but I know that it is good for me to be challenged so I went home with her and we had tea. Her name is Maria and she is probably in her early 60´s. Such a sweet lady! Around midnight she and her son drove me home and we said we would see each other on sunday. I am so excited to have a church! Oh, God is good, He is good indeed! I still have no clue what I am doing here, but that is okay. I am young, and I still use that expression- "young and stupid" as my excuse for breaking the rules of life.

Okay, and a quick note about the mental difficulties with writing this blog. I am not writing in my journal, I am not writing to just one person, and there is a wide variety of people who read this. Some of them know me really well, and others barely know me at all. It is hard to decide what to write and if I ever seem fragmented, that is probably why.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I am off to Santiago

Well, not yet. I am going to finish up my clases de español aca en el proximo martes, y despues voy a viajar. Okay, so today is one of those days that I totally understand spanish. I am going to finish my classes here in La Serena, and then around October 27th or so, I am going to go on a little excursion through Chile. I started planning out my itinerary and I think I am going to start with Viña del Mar for a few days and visit the beautiful Marcela, then proceed down through Chile. I realized that the thing that I love to see the most in these towns are the old churches, so I read through my guide books for some towns that are not as touristy, but have quality old churches (which is pretty much everytown in this country). I also want to try to spend a few days in Temuco which is very metropolitian, but I have been talking to a missionary family there. Then, I will move back up the coast, stopping at a little surf town I heard about. Then off to Santiago for a month to get my TEFL certificate. I will be back in La Serena by Dec 14th.
Also, a REALLY exciting note: I got an email from my old roomies saying that they are planning a trip to come out and visit me!! Ahh!! You don´t even know how much I am so excited for this. I am so excited to show them this country! And hopefully by then I will be able to show off my spanish too. My professors say that I am doing really well and my family cannot believe how much I understand español. Which by the way, spanish is not called español aca, pero se llama castillaño. Yeah, whatever, i am learning spanish. hehe the stubborn side in me just never gives up, does it?
Chao for now, but more to come later...

an email for Chubs

For anyone who wants to respond to anything in this blog, or just say hi, my email is beckalippy@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

my first friend

I have a friend! I know that sounds corny, but this is my first friend in Chile who is not from my school, and not a part of my family here, and not a connection from a friend from home. I guess the reason this is such a big deal to me is that in my head I think the people I know from school and home HAVE to be friends with me. They don´t really, but it is different when there is someone who is not connected to you at all and then you are friends. Her name is Lorena and I met her through chess. She is the only woman who plays chess in the plaza and we have hung out a few times when we see each other in the plaza. Well she asked me a few days ago if we could hang out this weekend and we did. We took a colectivo (a taxi) to Coquimbo which is the sister city to La Serena. We went to a bar called La babra negra (the black beard) and drank pisco sours as we talked about politics, life, love, and anything that came up. (She speaks English pretty well and I am glad for a break from Spanish for a few hours!)
She is actually a really interesting person. She is 35, and has one daughter who is 3 (the father is not in the picture at all). She is a lawyer who fights for causes, usually environmental or social causes. Her mother was arrested and almost tortured for being an informant here in Chile of a political party that was not accepted by the reigning authorities. She asked me alot of questions about my opinions as a citizen of the US. I was glad that I could represent an opinion other than the norm to her. She and I agreed that in general USians ( We cannot be called Americans because all people living in north and south america are American) are ignorant about what is going on in the world. She agreed with me though that we should be slow to place blame on them when the media shows very cafefully crafted stories. Okay, now I am probably going to offend people, but that´s okay. In general, I think people are. Many of my rhetorical criticism classes showed me that. Anyways, we talked about alot and it was really cool. It felt alot like home: having an intellectual conversation about philosophy and politics over a coffe (or in this case over pisco sour). It was also cool because I got a chance to share my opinion of religion with her and talk about the life Jesus led and what His message was about. It felt like home.
Anyways, we totally had a great time and in a few weeks we are going to go to her home in Tongoy with some other friends and spend the weekend at the beach. Once again, I think I am in a novel. This isn´t real life, it can´t be real, can it?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I almost got married off last night

This has to be a quick blog, because I need to go, but last night I went out Karioke-ing with my family. We are all now at the point where I am called a part of the family. In fact, there was a lady at the bar last night that my host dad introduced me to first as his daughter and then he laughed and said I wasn´t actually his daughter I was really from california and I was living with them. I told the lady I had only been in Chile for one month. Then maybe 10 minutes later my host mom tried to introduce me and her other daughter as her daughters. She said I had been away for 12 years in california and had just now returned to the family, this HUGE elaborate story about our family. I was trying not to laugh. Anyways, I am now officially a part of the family. So we went out last night. My host parents and my sister Claudia, who I really do feel like a sister to. She is 23 and just tons of fun. SO we went out to this bar on the beach. Well it turns out that a bunch of the bars on the beach are owned by some family member or another ( i feel like I am in the mafia!). And the owner of this one wants me to work there suring the summer because there are englsih speaking customers and they need someone to translate.
So how did I almost get married off? The owner of the bar has a son. Pretty much for the whole night I had to dodge the owner who was being a yenta (is that how you spell it?). He kept saying that he wanted his son to go to California, and I kept answering that I was not really planning on going back anytime soon. He is one of those loud guys who it doesn´t matter if you respond because the conversation in his head just continues. Anyways, it was alot of fun. My host mom tried to get me to sing. Maybe, if the songs had been in English i would have tried, but in spanish, nope. So I danced while Claudia sang.
The bar tender is the twin of the best friend of my host brother Felipe. His name is Critoval(the bar tender) and he was really excited that I was from california because he is a dj and loves the punk music scene and other music scenes that come from cali. SO he and I talked alot last night and I am excited to talk to him more. He is really nice. In fact I am finding that the ministry that I love to do, the whole "relationial" ministry if you want to label it, is really easy here becuase the people are so stinking nice.
I think I want to work at the bar this summer. For one, it is really good money. Two, I get to meet people from across the world. Three, pretty much all of Felipe and Claudia´s friends work there so it is a really fun environment. It would only be for the summer so that is good. I don´t know, it just is really nice here.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Jacob



I have to post these pictures, because they bring a smile to my face and the one with Jacob holding the guitar has been imprinted in my memory since camp. Jacob is one of the guys who worked at camp this summer and in the last few weeks we started talking and hanging out more. Really, it all started with a joke about how our campers were attention starved. But really, I am so blessed to have him as a friend and unlike so many people you meet in camp settings, we have actually stayed in touch and write a few times a week. He is in Texas right now studying the culinary arts and someday he will move to Italy.

Pictures finally... and an Italian guy

So I finally found a place that could take the pictures off my camera and give them to me on a disc. So I am sorry for the delay, but here are a few snapshots of the past month. Most of them were taken on wednesday when I took the tour of Elqui valley.
There was an italian guy, quite good looking, who stayed at the hostel the last few nights and it turns out that he works in molecular biology and is in Chile for a conference. I am thinking that my mom needs to jump on that band wagon and come visit me. Anyways, it was really interesting to talk to him because we come from very different cultures, southern Italy and California, but we are both experiencing this new culture. I liked him alot and I hope I get to see him again.
It is wierd to meet so many people from all over the world and not know if you will see them again. I guess my mom experiences this alot with all her traveling. But for me, I feel like I have lived a very sheltered life in California where the people you know are the people you know. Rarely in California did I meet someone, have a great connection with them, and then leave them forever after a few days. It is an unsettling feeling. Maybe that is why I am finding the thought to living in La Serena for a while so comforting.

Pisco donkey


There is a type of Pisco drink that is sweet and slightly fruity. The mascot for this drink is this donkey. It was kind of like Disneyland, but alcoholic. This country cracks me up!

The grave site of Nobel prize winner Gabriela Mistral

I really like old churches, and Chile has a seemingly endless supply.

Two rivers


At one point of the tour we pulled over to teh side of the road and hiked through these bushes till we came to this spot. It was amazing because the two rivers, one brown and one almost a black color, merged together at this spot. The couple in the picture is part of the tour group. They were so excited to talk to me because they liked my English accent as I spoke Spanish. They were married a week ago and are on their honeymoon (en español, sus luna de miel). Very cute!

Not quite the mall of Santa Barbara, is it? :)

This part of the trip was SO beautiful and the water is all very clean mountain water... ahhh

The River and the Valley

My wall of pictures


When I first moved into my room I knew that I needed to make it more like home, so I taped a bunch of pictures next to my bed. The people in these pictures are SO important to me and when I am a little homesick I lie in bed and pray for the person in each picture.

Streets of Viña



Here is an example of the streets of Viña del Mar. It is a beautiful town placed along the beach. This picture I took one day when i aimlessly wandered around the city just walking and looking at the sites for six hours. The shadow in the righthand corner is actually a statue. I am not sure who the statue is of, but there are tons of statues around the towns here.

Neruda


This is a pic I took the first day i spent in Valaparíso. We visited Neruda´s home and I told Marcela, who is in the picture with me, how much my mom loved his poetry. So we smiled and said "mom" as we took this one.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Valle de Elqui

Sorry, it has been a few days since I wrote. Things have been a little crazy here. Yesterday I took my first tour. It was of Elqui Valley which is next to la Serena and the home of the famous Pisco. Pisco is basically the pride and joy of Chile. It is alcohol and the varieties of drinks that companies here in Chile have created with it seem endless. The tour started at 9 in the morning and after a trip to the observatory, it ended at 1 in the morning. I went with a couple who are from Chile but have lived for 20 years in Sweden. They are here on vacation and invited me to join them for a tour of the beautiful country. I felt like I was in a Jane Austen novel. It was great though because the tourguide didn´t speak English and one of the girls on the tour didn´t speak spanish so I got to translate. I have been translating alot recently for people and I REALLY like it. I am not sure if I like it becuase spanish is so new to me, or becuase I am a communication addict and that is like "dealing"... hehe, I am so wierd sometimes. Anyways, I loved the tour and now I need to catch up on all the tarea (homework) that I missed.
P.S. All I can do is think about the weekend though and how much fun it is going to be. All of my host mom´s family is coming into town and there are going to be lots of loud and late fiestas all weekend.
P.P.S.I got to share the gospel yesterday for the first time COMPLETELY in spanish. It was one of the coolest things ever!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

a scary moment

So I have to confess here because I guess this blog is really my accountablity and I want to be honest. Last night I had a scary moment where the thought passed through my mind to rebel against God for a while. This is not the first time the thought has come. There have a been a few times in the past when I have seen just how rebellious my heart is. But last night was different. I really considered it. I am not sure exactly what I was considering, but in my head I thought, why not spend a few months not caring about the Lord? My mind played with the thought for a few hours and then I felt the Lord reminding me of Psalm 73. I remembered telling people that when HUGE temptation comes it is often because God is about to use you and Satan is nervous. If you are not a threat to the kingdom of darkness, you probably don´t need to be tempted. So as I was thinking about all this, and the fact that I am trying to find a job down here where I can serve God, I realized that there must be a particular reason I am so tried right now. So I read through Psalm 73 which the Lord has used in my life more than any other passage of scripture, and although I can still taste the rebellion in my mouth, I think God is showing my heart every minute how much I need Him and how much I desire Him.
Whoever reads this please, please pray that although I am tempted to be rebellious, that I remain obediant.

Church this morning

So I made sure I went to bed early last night so i would be awake and ready to go to church this morning. I went to a church that is fairly close to my house and I got there a few minutes late (I actually planned that). The pastor was praying and all the people had their hands raised and directed towards the huge white curtain behind the pastor. You may ask how I know that their hands are directed at the curtain and not just at the pastor. Well, later, the pastor told the people to raise their hands toward the curtain. He kept speaking as if behind the curtain was the sanctuary of God. Yeah, sounds like the Old Testement to me... Well, at least the pastor really stressed the importance of the Bible. We read through Psalm 20. And he kept asking the congregation, do you believe this is the word of God, do you beleive it is true, etc. I wanted to say yes and agree with him but he used the peoples agreement that it was the word of God, I think out of context. Psalm 20 talks about how the Lord hears us in our times of conflict and he will save us. Well, the pastor kept stressing that when we have faith, or in español fe, God will rescue us from all our troubles. He went on to say that the Lord will rescue us from health problems, from money problems, from family problems, etc. Well, no. I don´t think that is how the Lord rescues us. He does not take us out of the world, and he does not just remove us from the effects of sin, buthe gives us the a gift that is greater- the promise of eternal life. We will stil get sick, we will still have money problems, we will still have conflicts with the people around us. So then, the pastor asked the congregation, do you want the Holy Spirit. And once again, I could not answer the affirmative, because the way he was asking was connotating that I don´t already HAVE the Holy Spirit. He went on to invite the churhc to come on Wednesday to experience the Holy Spirit. Nope. I´m sorry, but the Holy Spirit is already in me adn I have Him to experience Him everyday of the week.
In short, I think this church is stuck in the Old Covenent. Why can´t a church, a group of believers just rest in the fact that Jesus has paid the price for our lives and all we must do now is enjoy Him forever (thanks Westminster catechism and John Piper)?
On a good note however, it was really cool to be in church and understand what was being said. Of course there were times I wasn´t sure what the pastor had said, but basically I could understand the most of it. The past few days have been wierd, I am learnign spanish so quickly and understanding it pretty well. Iam not sure what changed, but it is like I passed over a threshold. It all started after the night of the BBQ.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I need a paradigm

So at this point my profesora de communicacción en Cal Poly would be very proud. I am actually applying, or trying to apply, a rhetorical theory to my life. I realized recently that I had a problem here. All the pieces of my life didn´t fit together. Not like I was living differnt lives, but I was having a hard time processing information and understanding what I think, and what I am doing, etc. And the thought came to head that I don´t have the proper paradigm for living here. A paradigm is basically a basis of organization. It is like a standard of truth. I know, it is easy to say, "oh well the Bible is the standard of truth". Okay, but saying "the Bible" is not enough for a paradigm. And I realized that the paradigm that I lived under in the States was not able to process the information that I was recieving here in Chile. For example the whole church thing. I experienced so much confusion from the whole church experience because I was trying to understand it through the paradigm that I had developed in California. It didn´t work and I was just left confused.
So yesterday, I spent the afternoon formulating a paradigm. This sounds wierd, but it was great. For once, things began to make sense here. So I realized that I could no longer use the paradigm I had back home. It is really intersting because I cannot even reconstruct the paradigm I had. I am not really sure what it looks like. It is all theoretical but I would be so interested in trying to uncover what it was. Anyways, i knew that I needed a new one and I remembered discovering a very interesting one a few months before I left. I had just finished reading Goldsworthy´s Gospel and the Kingdom (which I highly recommend to anyone who loves Biblical theory). And I realized that there is a paradigm for life in the theory of the Kingdom of God. Anyways, I am not going to bore everyone who reads this with all the technical stuff, but I am wroking on this and I think I will send a copy to my professor who I worked with on my Senior project. She doesn´t believe in Jesus but she sure learned alot about the Gospel through my paper, and maybe she can help me refine this theory. I think it could be a great tool for trainig missionaries.
How is it that I really want to serve hands on, and yet this academic stuff is SO EXCITING to me?

such a fun night

Okay, so last night was so much fun!
I almost dread friday nights because I am reminded that back at home friday is a great night to hang out with friends, go to the Cliffs (Ashlee), or watch a movie with roomies. And then here I am all stuck in the house because I cannot go out alone, thats not safe and I don´t really have anyone to go out with. So....
a quick explanation of the family I live with. The Fuica´s own the hostel. The couple is Jaime and Lindys. They have a daughter Claudia who is 23 and married to Diego. They have an adorable but fiesty daughter. Jaime and Lindys also have a son who is 21 named Felipe and he and I are pretty good friends. He helps me with my homework and I help translate his English textbooks. There are some trajabador (workers) who live at the hostel, but they are not a part of the family the way I have become. So a few nights ago one of Diego´s friends came over and I remember thinking that he was really cute. Yeah, una problema. Pero, he came over to me and we started talking. he knows a little English and was excited to try it out with me. So then, last night he came over and we had a fiesta. There was no particular reason, in pure latino fashion, "¿porqué no?". The party included the parents, Claudia and her husband, and Alberto and me. So yeah una problema. But the girls in my bible study will appreciate this- I kept my emotional integrity. I stayed with my two drink rule and when 5 in the morning came around and I realized that it was probably time to go to bed, I skipped the normal kiss on the cheek that everyone gives around here when parting.
Alberto is not a Christian, well, he is probably "catholic", but only because he was raised that way. No amount of physical attraction means anything if he is not a follower and lover of Christ, right? Es muy dificil aca. It is very hard here. Hay muchos novios. There are many couples. the battle to keep emotional integrity is harder than ever.
Okay, a little wierd writing this blog and knowing that my parents read it, but I can only be honest here, right? A side note for the parents: at one point last night Alberto said that he wanted to meet you and I laughed. He asked why and I couldn´t explain it to him, I just laughed at the thought of "bringing him home".