First of all, I am loving everything about being here. Here are some interesting cultural observations.
- The streets are crazy, very narrow and packed with cars, buses, trucks, etc. Stop lights are not always observed (if it's clear why stop, right?). But you never see any accidents or policemen giving tickets.
- To earn money, children as young as maybe 10 (I would guess) do cartwheels, walk on their hands, juggle, wash windows, etc., at the busier stop lights (where people usually stop).
- There are dogs that wander the streets everywhere. They never bother anyone and they seem well fed but I don't know if anyone owns them, they are just there. Occasionally they will all start barking at once (like the barking patrol on 101 Dalmatians).
- People set up awnings or just a table on the side of the sidewalk and sell food that they cook right there, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- I love to see the women in their native dress with full skirt, two long braids and hats. They use their colorful blankets to carry things on their backs.
Any way that's probably enough for now.
The people are so gracious and respectful. They don't come into your presence or leave your presence without acknowledging you with a kind word or hand shake or hug and all the women kiss on the cheek. Even the youth and young children greet you this way. My kinda people.
I have felt encouraged by these dear people as I practice my Spanish on them. They are kind and patient and very helpful. My assignments in the temple have put me in front of groups of youth where I have had to welcome them and give simple instructions. At times I need to learn a new assignment and what is expected of me from someone who doesn't speak any English. We just keep at it 'til we understand each other. We've been here long enough that we see people in the temple who come on a regular basis as patrons. It's so sweet when they recognize you and are so happy to reconnect.
One day when we came on our shift we saw Hermana Lopez, an older sister from Charlie's mission. We had visited her in her home. I felt so much love for her and from her as we reconnected.
I'm understanding more everyday. However I still have days when everything sounds like a totally different language that I don't understand. But those are getting less and less. I love it all!
I love Skyping with our children, grandchildren and parents each week. We are so proud of our children and the good things they are doing with their families and with each other.
Thank you kids for including us in your busy lives.
And of course I love spending everyday with my companion. I love hearing him speak the language and communicate with these dear people. He takes good care of us and he is fun to be with. I feel like we are both growing as individuals and as a companionship.