For those of you who don’t have facebook here are a few photos of us and Chulucanas.
There is a discotech just around the corner from our house called “La Caverna” or the cave. The cave isn’t really a very good name for it as most good caves have a roof and this discotech doesn’t. I guess that is nice for the people who go but it isn’t very nice for those of us who live within two or three blocks because every Saturday night they play loud music until about 5am in the morning that we can hear very loudly and thus get fairly limited sleep. A number of our neighbours have discussed putting a roof on the discotech with the owner but he doesn’t wish too as he doesn’t wish to pay for air-conditioning. I am convinced he must be paying someone at the municipality to be getting away with keeping at least 100 people awake once a week but I guess it’s less than air-con. I guess this is all part of living in a country that allows people to put up discotechs in the middle of residential areas. I bought some cotton wool for my ears so got a little more sleep this week but we may have to start going away most Saturday nights. Thankfully, Nina at least seems to sleep throught most of it. She is a little harder to re-settle when she wakes (usually twice a night) but at least she’s not waking up more.
Despite feeling tired today was a good day. I am trying to have a bit of a Sabbath on Sundays as a way of honouring the Creator of the Sabbath but I guess also as a way of caring for myself after the long nights. So I do not wash or clean or cook or drink on Sundays no longer. It’s nice.
I’ve been praying a fair bit since we got here, asking God what exactly we are supposed to doing here. However, a week or so ago I started to get the sense that this wasn’t really the right prayer. In a time of silence with Martin when we were praying for our new home the word “BE” came to me. The question isn’t what should we be doing here but how do we be here. Fully present to the people here, the land here, the spirit of God here.
So as we wait for jobs and more certainty about our future t I have been trying really hard to BE here. Sometimes I do feel anxious but I keep reminding myself that God is with us and there continues to be so many blessings:
- I have been so much enjoying sitting out on the street around dusk. As the air cools people move their chairs outside and sit and watch the world go by. We chat about the day and the heat and whatever comes up. Nina especially loves the donkeys that pass by or of course the dogs who she still calls Bitta. If there other children around she attempts to play with them but she’s still entirely sure how to do that.
- I have been enjoying walking up to the “plaza de armas” with Nina. This is the main square where people often come to meet. Nina runs around and climbs on things and we inevitably meet with someone we know and have a chat.
- I have been enjoying offering hospitality to different people. Mainly Martin’s family with whom we have had a number of late nights now talking over a wine or two.
- I have been engaging with the whole slow food idea. No food here comes in tins so everything needs to be soaked over night and then made from scratch without the aid of a pasta sauce or curry paste. And all our water needs to be boiled. I do still find it a little overwhelming how much thought needs to go into making food but I am starting to get there.
- I have been really valuing time at home with my amazing husband and beautiful daughter. Sometimes the days seem very long as we don’t always do that much but I am sure there will com e a time when have jobs again and life speeds up as it does that I will long for these days.
I remember writing this back in June when we were making the decision to come and I guess it still remains true, “in the end it’s not really about what we do or don’t do. It’s just about facing the challenge that’s been put in front of us with all that scares me, excites me, thrills me, depresses me and in that trying to love those around us and been open to what they have to offer and what God gives us to offer.”
I have really been getting to know Chulucanas better over the last week. It really is a very beautiful place. The surrounding area is especially amazing with flowing rivers and stunning views of the Andes. We just love going into these towns that are still all dirt roads which we share mainly with donkeys and horses and drinking chicha the local drink and chatting to the people who live there. They are incredibly poor but I think they have the best land and they are almost always so willing to chat with us.
Chulucanas is known as the “Tierra de Mango y Limon” or the land of the mango and lime and we have been enjoying both these fruits daily as they are so cheap. On the weekend we had the amazing experience of visiting a mango farm. The land belongs to one of Martin’s cousins and we walked there through rivers. When we got there we were able to pick up mangos off the ground and just eat them then and there. It was unbelievable.
Here is Nina and I delighting in the mangos.
We are in our own place finally. I guess when you spend over 2 months moving around you really appreciate it. We moved in Monday night and since then we have been running around cleaning, unpacking bags, etc. Today I got to stick up some photos and pictures that make me finally feel like I am at home.
It’s a big house but it’s got the smallest kitchen ever. Smaller than our kitchen in Alice if you can believe it’s possible. Most Australians would consider it fairly basic – concrete floors, cold water (although we are going to put in a heater for our shower), certainly no luxuries such as air con (which I am missing right now, as I write this in the stinking heat, sweating like a pig) and it is in dire need of a paint job. However compared to the way most Peruvians live it is very luxurious and I think we can be pretty comfortable here. It has some nice outdoor areas that I like a lot and we have bought a few nice things to help us feel homely. I am happy.
Nina has been a little unsettled of late. She doesn’t seem to want me to be more than a few metres from her ever. It has been somewhat trying and I hope been a steady home will calm her a little too.
The people who are currently in the house haven´t found a place they like yet so we didn´t manage to move into our own place on the weekend. It really sux. They have assured us they will be looking hard this week and that the will be able to move in this weekend. I am really praying they find something. I am not sure how much longer I can cope with the waiting. I am trying to let this teach me to be patient and to trust but I am so tired.
So my annual reflection on the previously year. Last year I only managed to say Nina and while she continues to dominate most aspects of my life I think I can come up with a few more things this time.
Firstly , I managed to get in one more book in before the end of 2011. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. In the story an old minister is writing letters to his young son before his death. He tells him a little bit about his life and his family. However, as he writes the letters his godson comes back into his life. His godson is a person he has always struggled with for various reasons and the letters begin to mostly be about his struggle to forgive him. Essentially it becomes his struggle with grace which he realtes to previous struggles in his family. As grace is something I thought a lot about in 2011 (which I wrote about in another post) it seemed like an appropriate book to end the year with. It was also filled with beautiful reflections on life, death, humanity, parenting and God. My kindle lets me underline quotes I like and I underlined heaps but alas I do not have my kindle with me to share.
- So that makes 9 books read in 2011. Not a great effort but okay given the circumstances
- I only had two full nights sleep the whole year. Hoping for more this year but not off to a good start.
- We lived in Alice until November and I worked part time at the AMEP and did some tutoring work at a high school.
- We went to Melbourne for David and Andreeana´s wedding
- I was in the Vagina Monologues.
- I attempted being a Chegan but failed.
- We went to Byron for the Blues and Roots festival but more importantly for me to meet the gorgeous Sebas.
- We celebrated six years of marriage.
- I turned 29 and celebrated with Gem for the first time in 5 years.
- We went to Darwin for another wedding and visited Litchfield National Park
- I became a doula and attended two amazing birth´s as part of it.
- Nina turned one.
- We celebrated my grandmother´s 80th with a beautifulbeach holiday in Fingal Bay.
- I finished my prayer book. I just printed it myself and gave it to family and friends and some retreat places. So while nothing particuarly came of it, it was a lot of effort and I enjoyed the process.
- We moved to Peru.
- Was in bed before midnight on NYE for the second year in a row.
It was a BIG year. Massive really as I look back over that list, which certainly doesn´t include everything. But it was a great year. I give thanks to God and his abundant grace as well as the abundant grace of all those who shared the year with me especially Martin and the wonderful people at Honeymoon Gap.