18 mayo 2006

Tales from a neophyte at life...

Dear Mom,

Here at the "internet cafe" (internet minus the cafe) I am surrounded by four very friendly boys: Sandro, Servando, Cristian, y Franco... the oldest is in 6th grade, so don´t worry... :-)

thought one:
you can always recognize the pastors here because they have a voice like a chainsmoker, but they have a Bible in hand (or maybe a hammer or shovel) instead of a cigarette. Their voices come from chain PREACHING... . their vice is the Gospel. their habit is to testify.

thought two: you know you´re in an evangelical service when...
-the songs are more like an army chant than a song
-you get lightheaded from singing so hard
-you can break a blood vessel in your hands from clapping with all your strength
-the kids stay awake (or try!) by shouting out the periodic "Gloria a Dios!" or "Aleluja!" or "Amen!" which can come at very humorous occasions...

thought three:
favorite Peruvian word of the week:

"Hmm:" it means... pretty much anything you want it to. generally it functions as an affirmative response ("Are you going to the store later?" "Hmm."), but is also useful for those occasions when one doesn´t quite want to commit to a response, or is unsure of an answer. "Are you ready to go?" "Hmm.")

"Ah" is also utilized for a more decisive version of the affirmative.

thought four: (hey, i´m making up for lost time!)
one quickly learns the difference between suffering and discomfort here. altitude sickness is discomfort. living in a truck is suffering. (at least by American definition... one is still human, still has joys and lives life in the midst of extreme hardship.) maybe instead of suffering, i should say "hardship." the difference between hardship and discomfort manifests itself... cold showers are a discomfort... never having had running water or toilet facilities is (by American definition) a hardship. may i never forget the difference.

thought five:
I am delighted. Having been an occasionally melancholic, generally solitary soul for the large portion of my life, I was not sure how this 3rd-world people-everywhere was going to be. I never stop hearing human voices (and they´re NOT just in my head)... there´s always somebody playing music (loudly) or laughing, or talking or snoring in the bunk above me... generally, there are people within an arm´s reach, or a hair´s breadth... when i wake up in the morning, i can hear the whole house praying...

man, is it sweet.

people are so unbelievable... miracles, works of art, novels in themselves (but true!)... of course, i´m only 2 weeks into the deal, but i am so honored to be surrounded by images of God.