Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Caught up in the tempest

I have so much to say...and it has taken me so long to actually get the time to blog. It occurs to me...that is usually the case. When you are experiencing quite a bit, it can sometimes be when you have the least time to engage in this particular activity. I won't try to sum up the last two weeks in one post, so I will start back then and work our way forward over the next few days.

The day after the SOCC group left, Oscar, Jonathan and I left for San Pedro Sula...en route to the CIY Central America meeting to be held in San Raymundo Guatemala. With normal conditions that is about a four hour drive. However, with road construction, rain...and then upon arriving to San Pedro seeing the result of torrential rains (flooding, congestion everywhere...cars under water or sunk to the axles in the mud) it ended up taking somewhere close to seven. It had been quite a while since I had been able to see our brother Julio Corea and his family, and just getting to talk and share a little bit was encouraging.

We left the next morning at 6:00 AM in a caravan of sorts (four vehicles) for the border. And as you can imagine...about nine hours later we had some interesting stories, really good bought from the side of the road pineapple, and had arrived in San Raymundo. The meeting that night went well...accompanied by a couple breaks required by the deafening rain and thunder, and included Aaron from CIY in the USA to see more about how things can work more to God's glory through these international conferences. The second day saw a trip together to Antigua...which I will sum up in the following: "Like Valle de Angeles but older, much bigger, more expensive and with way more people both national and foreigners." We got back just about in time for the special Church service scheduled because of all of us being there which was followed by a tamale looking potato dish that was awesome! I forgot how much I love Guatemalan food! Every meal we had we were well taken care of...and there was always a good home made spicy salsa to add. The following morning we left at 4:00 AM to drive straight through to get back home to Teguc right around 6:00 PM. The drive back was easier since Oscar drove. We are funny that way, I drove all the way there...he drove all the way back. No switching off. Go figure.

Again we were confronted in our Spanish that every country in these parts has significant different slang and new things to see:

We have a word for a walking pedestrian bridge in Honduras. I did not know this word however. Oscar chuckled as we read it...then he told me that is the word that is used for the cat walk that models use. Unfortunately we were driving, so I did not get to strike a pose.

I just love creative thinking and plays on words. Having your taco joint called Tacontento may only amuse you if you speak Spanish...but I thought it was awesome. Again, no chance to stop here...we were usually driving on a mission so to speak, so stops were extremely limited to absolute necessaties. I can tell you that the leaves on the plants there were nice and green however.

We have a one word phrase for a tire repair shop in Honduras...llantero. I was surprised that Oscar and Jonathan were surprised to figure out what a pinchazo was....basically a llantera. This form of advertising for your pinchazo is very reminicent of Honduras as well.

It cracked me up the little tiles placed here at this one fairly smooth portion of sidewalk. Handicap friendly? Are you serious? Not to mention that even I walking was feeling not too welcome by the not great sidewalks...but forget about leaving those sidewalks with your wheelchair since cobblestone was every part of the not too smooth road. I could not decide if this was a cruel joke...or if someone actually thought that sidewalk was actually cool like that.

Buses here are much more ornate than Honduras. Honduran buses are probably the most tame I have seen of Central America in fact other than Costa Rica. Not only the painting on the outside...but we determined that most of the buses we saw actually were not as new as they appear, they have new noses....either classic Ford super duty influenced (as seen here) or as Oscar said they were others called "Chinese noses" which looked to be very new noses from International buses. I originally thought he might mean they were copied and made in China...but that seemed unlikely. Then he specifically pointed out the rather modern formed, rounder, slightly inclined headlights that is the trademark. Probably four of those bus sightings later...it hit me what he was getting at by calling them Chinese. They say things like that all the time here and mean no racial slight or dig, but sometimes it is hard for me to separate myself from the cultural preconceptions I grew up with...and the differences in what is seen as acceptable in terms of the language used for different skin colors or design differences in our appearance... is hard.

I was encouraged to see that my participation those several days seemed like it was actually worth it....to everyone else and to me as well, but after much contemplation, I am trying to further separate myself from such meetings in the future...I have so little time for all the rest of my work...let alone family and marriage. There is no question that it is important to continue to support these conferences since the Churches we support see the fruit of all the work that go into them, but I am afraid that no matter how much I would like to go next January, I have for the most part been successful in working myself out of a job. That is a good thing...I just struggle with missing the compa├▒erismo, the learning from so many people I do not get to hang out with on a regular basis, and also miss that when I am out of the country like that...there are no phone calls, no emails to answer, no regular work that can be done.

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