There have been some challenges with living in Peru. Most public toilets do not have toilet paper, so you always have to be prepared. I always carry my package of Kleenex in my purse and we have toilet paper in our car. Many public toilets do not have a seat on them, so you get to do a squatting action that is very glamorous! The computer paper here is a different size! It is longer than our paper. I thought paper was a universal size, but apparently it is not. We have done a lot of cutting since we have been here. We always have to have a cup of water in order to brush our teeth. I always forget and have to make a trip back to the kitchen. That is the only room where we have filtered water.
Last Monday, I walked with two Hermanas who were trying to find a machine where they could get some cash. We walked all over and even took a taxi and after visiting four machines, we could not find one that was working. Saturday I went to get my hair cut and to get a few groceries. We have a copy of our passport that has been notarized that we use for ID. It is considered a perfectly legal document and most of the time we have had no problem. But every now and then we get an ignoramus who thinks they are smarter than we are, who refuses to accept the ID. So Saturday was my lucky day and the lady would not accept my ID. I decided to just go outside and get some cash. There were three machines. Two were not working and one had a line of ten people. Mark finally sent two missionaries to come and pay for the groceries for me.
One Friday night, Mark and I decided to go and get some groceries that we needed for a dinner. We found out that Friday night is not a good time to go shopping, even at 10:00 o,clock. The lines were all 10-12 people long. We waited about 40 minutes to check out and then when we got there, they would not accept our ID. Mark put up a great fight, but they still would not take it, even though we had used it there a dozen times before. Everything always ends up being so difficult! I hope I do not sound overly negative, but this is the truth of our life.
The missionaries have expressions here, when strange things happen or things do not work, like; "Only in Peru!" or "Because we are in Peru!" I heard a new exppression the other day. Some of the missionaries talk about their "Peruvian moments". So here are a few of our Peruvian Moments. Women pulling out there full breast to nurse their fussy baby in the checkout line or in church. That still really shocks me. Men urinating on the side of the road in full view of traffic. Last week in Cajamarca, right in the middle of the city, a girl pulled down her pants, squatted right on the sidewalk, urinated, then got back up and pulled her pants up. As one missionary put it, a lot of Peruvians do not have privacy issues like we do.
Now to happier thoughts: my wonderful husband! I think he is amazing and has handled so many difficult situations in such a wise and confident manner. I have heard him answer questions I did not know how to answer and handle situations I did not know how to handle. He seems to always know the right thing to say. After one such situation on the phone, I commented on how well he had handled some difficult questions from a missionary. He commented that he hoped he was not only wise, but also directed by the Spirit. I know that he is.
life. There is no where else on earth I would rather be
than with him!
There was one situation when he maybe did not say the right thing. One day we had a maintenance man here removing a sink that we did not want in our bathroom. Our maid, Edna, took me in the bathroom and asked me if we wanted the bidet (look it up) removed next to our toilet. I was not sure and called Mark to come and look at it. He came and Edna asked him if he wanted it taken out. Mark said that no, it was fine. Then he said, "I mean, I don,t use it." Then turning to Edna, "Do you use it?" This was all in Spanish, so it took me a second to realize what he had just said. Wow! That could have been an awkward moment, but I laughed out loud and said, "I can,t believe you just said that!" Mark swears that was not what he meant! He wondered if she used the bidet for cleaning. I kept laughing and noticed that Edna and the maintenance man were laughing too!
The mall (Real Plaza) is the nicest place in Chiclayo. And the most like the United States. There is toilet paper in the bathroom (very rare in Peru), lots of American stores, McDonald,s, KFC and Chili,s! A week ago Saturday, we decided to actually go on a date and spend the evening together. We started by having dinner at Chili,s. It was very early for Peruvian dinner times, so the restaurant was not overly busy and it was even a little bit quiet. It was so nice to just sit there and talk to each other. We ordered tortilla chips with guacamole, burger bites and fries, great American food! It tasted so good! After our food came, I realized the music playing in the background was even American music. I could sit there, and as long as I did not look out the window, I could imagine that I was in the United States. It felt so good to be back home.
In front of the Lima, Peru Temple
About three weeks ago, after our trip to Jaen, we had to go to Lima for one night to do some paper work for our Visas. So the day after the day we had just returned home, we flew on a late flight to Lima. The church is amazing. They always have have every detail of al these things that need to be done all figured out. When we got to Lima, a man was waiting to pick us up and drive us to our hotel, not a memeber of the church, but somebody hired by the church to do this. Little did we know that our hotel was an hour drive from the airport. When we finally got there, it was 1:00. Our room was gorgeous. (It was all they had available) It was extravagant: a huge jacuzzi tub in the bathroom, a huge shower, his and her toilets, a patio with a nice couch, a suite with a couch, etc. It was the nicest room we have ever stayed in our whole life and we got to enjoy it for five hours. We had to be up at 6:00 am and ready to leave by 6:30 am. So much for a romantic night in Lima!
The back of the Lima, Peru Temple
Here is what my husband does: He reads and responds to 170-230 emails from the missionaries each week. And most of them are written in Spanish. That is just what he does in his spare time; between interviewing missionaries, attending meetings, answering endless phone calls, taking care of crises, writing letters to Salt Lake, calling and meeting with Stake Presidents, meeting with and training his leaders, making changes and transfers every six weeks, going to the airport and making lots of road trips.
Despite all of this, he somehow manages to let me know, in small ways, that my wants and needs are very important to him. Then, even though we have had very little quality time together, I feel such gratitude for him and to be married to such a wonderful person who always lets me know that he cares about me. Last weekend, we traveled to Cajamarca for our second time. It was a quick trip to interview 26 missionaries that we had not met with yet. We left Friday morning about 8:00 am and got there by 1:15 pm in order to begin interviewing at 2:00 pm. The plan was to get there in time to have lunch before we started, but that never happened. So by the time we finished interviewing at 7:00 and Mark met with a Stake President until 8:00, we were pretty tired and hungry.
We decided to go to the mall to find something to eat. The options were not that great, so we settled for Pizza Hut. We waited about 25 minutes to get our food (fast food is not fast here) and then finally sat down to eat. It turned out that what I had ordered was not appetizing to me at all; it did not look at all like the picture, so I took a few bites and pushed it aside. Mark was not happy about this, because he wanted to make sure my need for food was taken care of. I mentioned that the chicken looked good, so my husband got up and went and stood in another line to get me some chicken, while his food sat on the table getting cold.
When we finished eating, we went to a department store. I had forgotten to bring a jacket and I was very cold. I keep forgetting it is winter here and Cajamarca is in the mountains and much colder than Chiclayo. So Mark went with me to the store, helped me find and pick out a sweater and then stood in another long line to purchase it for me. As I stood there watching him, I realized how lucky I am and knew that he would not want to be doing anything else right then, until he had taken care of me. And yet, I knew he was exhausted. He had been up late the night before, gotten up early, driven five hours on windy roads and interviewed missionaries for five hours. His next mission was to take care of me. No wonder I keep following him all over this earth!
Yesterday, Sunday, he went to extend a calling to a man who has served as a bishop for nine years. The Stake President is getting ready to release him and is afraid he will be very sad without a calling, so he suggested him as the new secretary that Mark needs in his presidency. The man did not know yet he was being released as a bishop, but when Mark asked him to serve as his secretary, he immediately said yes, without any hesitation. Mark was floored. He went on and said, the calling will require a lot of time and traveling. "Okay", he said. Then Mark found out that before being a bishop for nine years, he had served in a Stake Presidency for four years and as a bishop six years before that. Mark was so touched and amazed by this man,s willingness to serve. We were both very humbled and want to be as willing as this man is to serve in the Lord,s kingdom.