Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Another week in Paradise

[September 7-14, 2015] The whole week!

This week might be a bit boring - we spent a lot of time studying and trying to build some sustainable methods to learn together. As always, we really enjoy our time in the temple, even if we don't have anything to note each day. It is so beautiful, quiet, and inviting to be there. And the beautiful people who come to do the work for their ancestors is truly inspiring. This week we had groups from Santa Cruz and Peru - the temple was really full on Friday and Saturday.

We stopped into a Wist'upiku (little restaurant) down on Av. Padilla, just to try their empanadas. We met a couple of the missionaries there - two Elders buying breakfast for two sister missionaries in their district. It seems like one of the sisters was sick enough to be in the hospital, and the Elders were helping out her companion so she could stay by her side.

We spent most of the rest of the day Skyping with the family, due to our meeting last night that went late. We really do enjoy visiting with all of them, even when the Skype connection is less than stellar. Every once in a while, we get a very good connection.

This morning, Molly and I went to continue our work on getting our Carnet de Identidads.

It is a seemingly very convoluted process, with multiple touch points with different government agencies. It really appears that there could be some improvement in the overall process, but we just do what we're directed to do here.

This time, we went to the third different location, taking the papers we got previously from the Migración department. They stamped papers, printed copies, had us sign them, took our fingerprints, and assured us that we could pick up the final product in 10 days. We'll see.

Apparently, all this is supposed to be completed within 90 days of arriving in the country, so we're getting close. The other missionaries assure us that ours is going much more quickly than any of theirs, so maybe there are improvements happening. One of them is clear - a recent change means that this process only has to be done every two years. In the past it has varied from every 90 days, to an annual process. So, unless it changes again, we'll be good to go for the duration of this stay.

Molly and I walked to Home Center on Av. Uyuni to look for a rug. The tile floors here are nice for cleaning, but a rug in the living room would be much more comfortable. The one we have is pretty rough and uninviting.

On the way, Molly slipped on one of the (many) uneven sidewalks, and skinned her knee and hand. It's all healed up now (a week later), but it just reminds us we always have to watch our step. The sidewalks are very broken up in some places, and even when they are well-maintained, there isn't any consistency from one location to another. It appears that each home or business owner is responsible to put in their own and maintain it. So, we have to watch where we are stepping all the time.

We also decided to focus heavily on our Spanish vocabulary. We're both understanding much better, but we feel limited in our vocabulary. So, we're reading Liahona articles together each morning, taking our own shot at the translation, and then checking against the English version online. We document all the words that we'd like to learn to use better, print them out, and paste them on the wall so we can work on them. One good word from today is:

a regañadiente - reluctantly, begrudgingly, unwillingly

So, doing something good "a regañadiente" would leave us considerable room for improvement in our service, and most likely, our appreciation and satisfaction.

We stayed in today, and devised a way to collaborate on our Scripture Study time as well. We work together, and document our ideas, insights, and learning in an Evernote notebook that we share. That way, we can document our feelings and update them as we feel inspired.

We ran out of bandaids for Molly's hand, so we went looking this morning. Since there are half a dozen Farmacia's on every block, we had no problem finding some. They cost 1 B for four of them, or 25 B's ($3.50 USD) for a box of 100. They are the plastic variety, but seem to be good quality.

That's probably representative - things that aren't grown here are more expensive, obviously. Still, they appear to be somewhat cheaper than we'd have been paying at the local stores there in Utah.

Feria again. Not much excitement to report.

We attended both the Rosedal and Linde ward Sacrament meetings this morning. The people are so sweet to us, and we enjoy seeing them each week. In Sunday School, I have to be careful - my careful listening to be sure I'm understanding has convinced the teacher that I am being pensive and have good answers to his questions, so he calls on me. Which means I have to listen even more closely so I understand when he is asking the question so I can formulate a response. Hmmm.... maybe that's what we're always supposed to be doing in Sunday School.

Today was "Cochabamba Day" - 14th of September - the anniversary of the founding of the city, so it was a holiday. Molly and I needed to go to the Hipermaxi store about 4 km away, so we walked as usual. But, not as usual, there was almost no traffic. It was very nice to be able to cross a street without fear that we'd get run over by a taxi. Just in case anyone who is reading this ever ends up in Cochabamba, remember, pedestrians (even at lights and in cross-walks) don't have any rights. You have to be sure it's clear before stepping off the curb.

But, to be fair to the drivers, if they do catch you in their "headlights" in the middle of the intersection, they will try to avoid hitting you. It just get's a bit scary not knowing for sure if they see you. I need to make a video of an intersection at work sometime. It seems to be pretty efficient, but few abide by the driving rules considered normal in the United States. Very few accidents (we haven't seen one yet).

Just to remind you that this is the "City of Eternal Spring", here are some pictures during the real Spring season. It is clear that trees are flowering more than just a month ago. We see beautiful blossoms, and even more greenery than before. The trees with the purple blossoms are really pretty (especially to Molly, considering that purple is her favorite color). They seem to blossom endlessly, dropping their blossom petals nearly continuously. The street under one of these trees is covered in purple blossoms, but new ones seem to replace the dropping ones immediately.

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