Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lessons Learned

We’ve been living in our village full-time for two and half weeks. During that time, the learning curve has been steep!

 Things that I’ve learned:

  • Studying a third language is exhausting! We use Spanish as our bridge language, so our brains are working overtime between ZK and Spanish. And of course, we use English in the home, mixed with Spanish and ZK! Poor Matthew is just learning to talk with a mix of three languages and we usually don’t have a clue what he’s telling us!
  • I can’t “out-give” our new friends and neighbors! One of our neighbors has given us hand-made tortillas and tamales three times in the short time that we’ve been here! In exchange, I’ve given her homemade brownies and cookies!
  • We are on exhibit anytime we leave our house. Or anytime we leave our front gate open. Crowds will gather!
  • Sometimes the obvious solution to me isn’t obvious to those around me. I have to remember that I have a different world-view, with different problem-solving techniques. And then I have to step back and let others solve the problem in their own way. And sometimes, I can give a suggestion. Like, when you clean the bathroom (which involves a broom and a bucket of water), please remove the bath mat first.
  • When the lights start to flicker, grab a candle and light it. Just in case. (That theory has proven true every time, so far.)  Candlelit dinners have a whole new meaning to me these days…and I can’t say that it’s romantic. On the other hand, I think my kids may become experts in shadow puppets…
  • Butter and margarine are NOT the same. (Yes, I already knew that.) Only margarine is sold in our town. And I’m pretty sure that it has sugar in it. Lesson: buy LOTS of butter during trips to the city if you plan on baking.

I know there are many more lessons to be learned. I pray that we can look at all of them with good humor, at least in hindsight. I pray that we can LOVE our neighbors and that they can LOVE the LORD with all their hearts.


Little House in Pine Hill

We’ve debated over the necessity of a generator. Or is it just a luxury?

In the past 2 months that we’ve been renting our house in Pine Hill, we have lost electricity on average of once a week. Sometimes it’s for 4-5 hours, but most recently it was about 40 hours.

Overall, it’s not a huge problem. This morning the kids and I played board games and read books. It was lots of fun, once the kids stopped asking to play the Wii or watch a movie.
Interestingly, we’ve started reading the Little House on the Prairie books. The kids LOVE it. They beg me to read more! After reading about how Pa used a hollow tree to smoke the venison, Ryan suggested that we look for some hickory chips so we can smoke some meat in Daddy’s new charcoal grill! He even offered to be in charge of watching the fire and adding more chips when needed.

As we played games and read books together this morning, in the back of my mind I was wondering when the electricity would come back. We had heard that a transformer blew when someone was hooking up electricity to their house. It’s not uncommon for people to do it themselves, without the help of a professional. And therefore, it’s not uncommon to be without electricity.

My worries were not about how we would survive without tv or our microwave. It was about the frozen food in the freezer. Would it spoil before the lights came back on? The lights went out on Thursday…would we be waiting until Monday? Or longer? It’s Saturday. Will they send someone to fix it on the weekend?

 Suddenly, the lights began to flicker. The kids all let out a squeal of excitement! And then I realized just how worried I had been about our food. Instantly, I was filled with relief. And then I heard a gentle reminder, whispered in my ear. This morning, I had asked God to keep our food frozen until the lights came back on. God had answered that prayer!


Moving to Pine Hill


It’s amazing what a little bit of perspective can do. It’s also amazing when you can see God’s hand working, guiding, directing.  And to be honest, I needed to step back and get a better perspective this week.


We had planned to move on Tuesday, April 30. It was the day that our kitchen cabinets and countertops were to be complete. And it made sense to us. So Clay made plans for the moving truck to leave Pine Hill, pick up a load of lumber (for a friend) from the saw mill just outside of Pine Hill, and come to San Cristobal. The truck would drop off the lumber at a friend’s house, then pick up our countertops, and then come to our house to load everything.


On that Tuesday, we were awakened by a phone call from the lumber mill asking where the truck was. They were supposed to be there “early” to get things loaded. After a few calls, we learned that the truck was still loaded with produce and would have to be unloaded. So we finished packing…and we waited. That afternoon we heard from the driver. He was picking up the wood, but wouldn’t be in to San Cristobal until
early” the next day.


On Wednesday, we were again awakened by a phone call. This time, it was the driver saying he was leaving Tuxtla (a 45 minute drive)! We were surprised because the truck really was arriving early! Clay and some guys got the wood off of the truck, picked up the countertop, and then headed to our house. A few hours later, we were loading the kids into the car and heading to Pine Hill.

That evening, when the moving truck pulled up in front of our Pine Hill house, I wasn’t ready for what was about to happen. Of course people stopped and stared, watching everything that was being carried into our house. At first, they stood on the street, but eventually they ventured into our front yard. And they sat. Some even bought snacks at the local store to eat while they enjoyed the show!


I will say it is difficult knowing that everything that you own is being carefully observed and evaluated by the whole community. Some ladies even asked me how much this or that cost! I was glad that I could honestly answer that I didn’t know.


We were under the microscope. And it wasn’t very comfortable.


But then God gently reminds me that He holds me under the microscope too. He hears every word that I utter. He sees every look of disgust or discomfort on my face. He even knows my innermost thoughts. So although I could hide stuff inside of a box where curious eyes couldn’t see, I can’t hide anything from God.


“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Ps 19:14

Mountain Dew

It’s no surprise that my husband loves Mountain Dew. And having lived in Idaho, we thought we knew what mountain dew is. Boy were we surprised when we saw the real stuff this week! I had washed our comforter (in the washing machine), and then I hung it on the line to dry.  We have had some beautiful, sunny 70-80 degree days. I didn’t think about the comforter again until we were about to crawl into bed, about an hour after sundown. Clay went to get the comforter off of the line and he came back in laughing. There was no way we were going to use the comforter that night! It was soaked! I had hung it across 3 lines and all horizontal surfaces had caught the dew!