Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
We did have some really great service-related experiences. We learned an easy way to converse with foreigners. We just say to anyone who looks like they’re from anywhere else, in English: “Do you speak English?” Easy, right? If they don’t, they have no idea what you said and continue walking. But if they do, you just say “Oh, I thought you looked like a foreigner, where are you from?” So this one lady we talked to was from Britain and she was very friendly. She told us that she used to teach a religion class and she told us some of the experiences she had with it. It was really sad to hear how uninterested people have progressively gotten in learning about God. She expressed her disappointment in that fact as well, and we had a very wonderful conversation with her.
It doesn’t always turn out so well, though. We asked one man if he spoke English. Not even stopping, he said to us in perfect American English “No I don’t speak English.” We didn’t take it personally, but how sad that someone would be so unwilling to even talk to someone from their own country. At San Juan de Dios, we got a little caught up in shopping but were promptly reminded of the real reason for our being there when a man asked Kelsey if we were the people with "la atalaya" or the Watchtower. (We were the only ones there dressed up, and most of us had book bags.) Turns out he didn’t speak a word of English so we asked our new friend Alvaro to talk to the man. Overall, it went very well and we had an awesome time!
The bus was a different fun adventure. On the way to Centro, we encountered some really bad stop-and-go traffic. The bus had to turn and take a different route because the street was blocked due to a protest. Care to guess what they were protesting? Lactose. Well, that’s only what we were told, and we think it might have been a little jumbled in translation. They must have been protesting dairy products. Who knows? Anyway, on the way back, it was raining and we got to watch the deadly walls of water from the safety of inside the bus this time.
Afterward, we went to Josh’s house (well, actually Arnie’s house, but he’s in London and Josh is “house/puppy sitting”). Since there were three guys and three gals, Lesley wanted to dance. But we ended up just playing a game of 8 questions and listening to Josh play and sing a beautiful Mexican song called Santa Lucia. Then, thank goodness, we got home at a decent hour. Today is the day we’re taking to relax this week but, as we’re preparing to leave the day after tomorrow, we also need to get some packing done. Now, we're set to go to our favorite place in the whole wide world. That’s right, Sorianna Super. Just kidding. Do we really even have to tell you??
Your friendly neighbors south of the border,
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Around one o'clock we went to the Kingdom Hall where we found Lesley waiting for another sister to come to meet her for a study. Albert had a study too so, we went to the Tiangis with Marjorie and Irving to do a little informal witnessing/shopping. Yet again, NO you may not ask what we got or for whom! We will tell you that we got awesome deals and really cool stuff. Believe it or not, we did continue our service through all this buying! In fact, Irving talked to a couple of guys from here who spoke very good English. He offered them the Watchtower and Awake which they gladly accepted. Then THEY said, "where can we find you?" Can you believe that? Basically, THEY asked for a return visit! Total roll-reversal for a second! The young man gladly gave Irving his phone number and Irving is going to call him soon to follow up! On the way out we saw some kids with school uniforms. Since most schools here teach English, Kate asked them "¿hablan ustedes Ingles?" The boy nodded his head and said "oui." He got a little flustered but we all laughed. Kate proceeded to give them a Watchtower and Awake which they took most gratefully. We love the people here!
After the Tiangis, Marjorie had to go home. We were within walking distance of our apartment AND our Starbucks, you can guess which we chose first. On the way to Starbucks, Irving decided to break out some killer show-tunes. I (Kelsey) of course had to join in. We sang "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast, then "Good morning Baltimore" from Hairspray. Then Irving started rattling off the song from the end of Grease and lost me. When he moved on to "Hopelessly Devoted to You" Kate got the idea to film him! Pretty smart, eh? He thought she was just trying to take a picture. Irving didn't want to go all the way home and come all the way back for book study, so we let him hang out at our casa. We put on some music (more show-tunes) and danced and sang along together until it was time for us to leave for book study. Anyway, check out the insanity:
We thought it had been exciting so far, but we didn't know the half of what the day held in store for us. We left a little after 7:00 for book study at the Kingdom Hall, about a 15 minute walk from here. It was raining a little, so we took 2 of the McCaslands' umbrellas (we left ours in Marjorie's car) we figured they would be enough since the rain was light and Kelsey happens to be an odd duck. She said "Oh, don't worry about me, I love the rain." Little did she know that by the end of the walk she would be humming quite a different tune, and no, that tune was not "singin' in the rain". (Kate had had it up to here^ with show tunes)
By the time we made it to the street, the downpour had begun. When we say downpour we really mean it. None of this pithy Idaho rain. In 5 minutes we got as much rain as Idaho gets in a year (or so it seemed)! If not, at least as much as Nevada! We tried to shield ourselves, but it was no use. A bus (the Turquesa) drove by and splashed Irving on one side, the rivers along the side walks didn't help the bottom of our skirts, and the rain falling off the umbrellas was not helping the top of Kelsey's skirt... or anything for that matter. When the Kingdom Hall was in sight, Irving said "Okay, let's run". Kelsey, not a fan of running, but also not a fan of being this wet in meeting clothes, finally decided to run for the finish line. (Well, anyone who knows me, can probably guess what happened next... Along the way was a taco stand that had some tile out front. Apparently, in Mexico they're not so strict about those "CAUTION! SLIPPERY WHEN WET!" signs. So, true to form, I fell flat on my back before I even had time to catch myself. TIMBER! In case there had been any part of me that was dry before, that was definitely taken care of now.)
We made our way to the Kingdom Hall only to find that no one was there and the gate was locked (we assumed our Twin Falls/Pocatello Kingdom Hall keys would not help us in this situation). We ducked into a little market and assessed the damage. As we said, Kelsey was SOAKED from head to toe... literally! Kate was only soaked from... knee to toe, and a little on her back. Irving was a little worse than Kate. We waited and waited, finally Kandi (the multi-lingual sister) showed up and ducked inside with us. Then another brother from the book study. Kandi called a brother with a key and he said he was on his way, but there had been an accident due to the rain. Anyway, we finally got in around 8 and started at about 8:20. Afterward, a brother offered us a ride home and you guessed it... human sardines again. Now we're safe at home, dry and clean with full bellies (as has been the norm since we've gotten here) and listening to another storm, but enjoying this one much more than the last.
BIG HUG, little kiss, BIG KISS, BIG HUG,
K3LSO and Kate
PS: Notice how the brother went from composed to, well, you can see him in that last picture. What a crazy dude!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
After we finished with our laundry, we went to our Starbucks and again saw our friend Victoria. In the picture, she’s on the left, and the other girl’s name is Adriana. We studied for the book study (which we’ll be attending tomorrow evening) and then got directions to do some local shopping. We ended up going to Plaza del Sol. No, you may not ask what we bought nor for whom we bought it!
We’re going to take a moment to tell you about last night. After we posted our blog, we were hungry and didn’t know where to eat so we decided to go to the only place we do know: galarias mall. When we got there, we realized that the only food places are American chains which made us very sad. We thought, “Hey why don’t we check out the food court?” On our way up the escalator, we spotted Irving and Andy on their way down the escalator! We exchanged hellos in passing and when they got to the bottom they came back up to greet us properly. We explained our dilemma to them, for which Andy had an excellent solution. “There’s this great hamburger place we could go to,” he said. We were in! We shared jokes, mostly blonde jokes, through the whole meal and laughed so hard it hurt. It seemed like Jehovah was giving us the exact thing we needed at the moment, good fellowship and a good laugh (or a hundred).
Ok, so back to what happened today. We found another Starbucks at Plaza del Sol, but we didn’t go inside. We ate at this place at the shopping center called Hippos, which we thought was somewhat strange. Kelsey noticed this man sitting at a table behind us who had a horrible Spanish accent. She assumed he was American and we smiled at the thought that we weren’t the only ones completely out of our element. Well, after he got his beer, hamburger and french fries (ahem, AMERICAN!!!), I guess he got his confidence up and went over to a table with two Mexican ladies. “Me llamo Jason. Soy de Canada,” he said as seductively as a 37-year old Canadian playa’ with horrible Spanish can. It seems they were impressed and he joined them at their table. Weirdos.
Anyway, we finally decided it was time to go, and of course we had no idea which bus to take to get home. We took the server’s word for it and journeyed in an unknown direction. It seemed like things were going well until we got onto our second bus. That’s when things went south, and I don’t mean South Guadalajara! Turns out we were going the very wrong way and we just decided to exit the bus and get a taxi. As the frustration grew, we started to lose our sense of adventure, only to be reminded by our taxi driver that it’s ok to get lost in the city as long as you learn more about the city. I’m not so sure we learned much. It’s times like these we recall to mind the advice you dear friends gave us before our departure:
1. Be careful with sharp knives
2. Don’t eat lentil soup
3. Don’t agree to go with strangers to a place called “the Ranch”
All valuable advice, yes, but since none of it was especially helpful in this particular situation, we opted to take Doris Day’s words to heart: “Que será , será .” However it happened, we’re now back at the apartment, listening to some man (we can’t help but think he’s drunk) yelling for someone to let him in the gate. Rest assured that we won’t be letting him in, and don’t worry, even if someone does, he can’t get into our apartment with the two locked doors! But on that note, we will end this lovely post with these crucial words of wisdom: friends don’t let friends have cockroaches take up dwelling beneath their shoes.
Love, as we’re affectionately called here,
The Idaho girls
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Today was a good service day. We met two sisters (who are also sisters) named Alejandra and Monica and we got to know them well as we went door-to-door. In the afternoon, we went with Lizbet and a guy named Danny. Danny is from California, and has only lived here for 6 months. His family is in America and the U.S. won’t let him come back to be with them. It’s a really sad situation, but he seems to being doing very well spiritually. So we went to the tiangis and talked to people on the streets on the way there. Danny talked to a nice guy who spoke English and they had a nice discussion.
The tiangis is really cool. It’s full of hand-crafted things, like beautiful jewelry (no maracas though, sorry mommy). It’s pretty cheap, but even their cheap prices are hiked up a little bit. We ate lunch there and it was really delicious food. Kate had a carne asada taco that was HUGE and Kelsey ate a quesadilla frita. We both liked it a lot. While we were there, there was a lady across from us with huge fingernails. That’s a pretty typical Mexican thing, but these were extra sparkly and huge and gaudy! We'll spare you the candid picture Kelsey snapped...after all, this is a family website. However, check out this cute little puppy on the roof of the pet shop (he may be tough to see, so click on the picture to make it bigger). Dogs like this are fairly common here and are aptly called "roof dogs."
Another thing they had at the tiangis was a whole bunch of different kinds of fruits and vegetables. They even have certain types of fruits that you can't find in the states (and we've never seen them before). We’re getting used to the culture here, and looking forward to having more to tell you. Even our feet are getting used to all the walking. Who knows, maybe you’ll be motivated to come and help out too! It’s nice to see so many people willing to sacrifice comfort to serve where they’re needed more. We can see so much zeal and happiness for the ministry here, and that’s definitely rubbing off on us. The people here are here because they want to be! They don’t just exist, they really live. They don't just go in service, they spend time doing it right. They’ve been such an inspiration for us. It seems like we've been here forever, and yet that we just arrived. And now, we only have one more week and we look forward to it with mixed emotions.
Until next time...
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
We only went in service in the morning since it’s a meeting night and people usually stay home. So we got dropped off near our house around 1pm and stopped by the taco stand on the corner. We ate these strange things called “tortas ahogadas” and “tacos dorados” which is basically bread or hard taco “drowned” in delicious sauce. After that, we went home and enjoyed the rain from the shelter of our little apartment. There are neighbors moving in upstairs, and they sure are noisy! Their kids keep running up and down the stairs and the men keep opening and closing the squeaky gate as they move their stuff inside.
Speaking of noisy, today is 16 de setiembre which means that last night this city was the party central of all of Jalisco! And boy do these Mexicanos know how to party! We just happen to be right next to this big outdoor amphitheatre. Last night it was quite a happenin’ place. It sounded to us like the Mariachi equivalent to a rock concert, complete with screaming girls and super amps! It was so loud! We recognized one song from the night in Tlaquepaque with the cute Mariachi guy. The only word we know in the song is “A-moooooooor”. We like it. Victoria at Starbucks told us she thinks it’s a song by Alejandro Fernandez. He is un hombre muy muy guapo in Mexico. He’s a BIG star here. All the girls love him. Once she told us that, we thought that it might have been him, in concert! Probably not, but we like to think it was him because that would be cool! Anyway, we went to get dinner (and a churro, the best ever by the way) came back, ate, watched Raising Helen, and went to bed around 12 and he was still at it! Then he talked for a long time and all the girls screamed louder than ever. We imagined that he must have been saying, “we’re having a contest. Whoever screams the loudest gets un beso de mi” But that’s just our active imaginations working off our crazy assumptions. By the way, that's a picture of the Farmacia Guadalajara that's on the corner near our apartment. It is open 24/7!!!
Guess where we are now? If you said Starbucks, you know us too well! We’re at the one on Avenida Guadalupe and our friend Victoria is here. She’s so sweet, she gave us both free drinks!!! Oh yeah, and if anyone from Kate’s Starbucks is reading this, I’m drinking my old Dulce de Leche bebida favorita! In your face y’all. We were just talking on the way here about how it seems we don’t have nearly as many fun stories to relate to you guys. In a way, it makes us a little sad, but it also makes us feel pretty good! That means that we are getting used to being here and that it’s not so much about what’s different from there. Now it’s just like, this is how it is and we accept and love it! We’re walking more and more and it’s killing us less and less, so watch out when we get home…you might just get taste of the Mexican style of service.
Hope you guys are up for the challenge! As always, we send our love.
K3LSO and Kate