February 28, 2010

Big Events

The big news this week is the huge earthquake in Chile. While we were not affected here in the north, many of our friends and coworkers were badly shaken. The latest news is more than 700 deaths and tons of structural damage from the center to the south of the country. Many are without electricity or water. People are looting the supermarkets for food, water and some not-as-necessary items (big screen plasma t.v. anyone?). As far as our Columban family, we haven't had any injuries or deaths. We are again reminded to thank God for each day of life and to live that day to the fullest.

The earthquake came just a couple days after we arrived back home from a trip to Bolivia. We spent a week and a half in Cochabamba, where we studied Spanish five years ago, in the beginning of our mission. Bolivia is a beautiful country with an amazing and lively culture. It was great to go back and speak with our Bolivian family, much more fluently and to get reacquainted with the culture we fell in love with back then. Our timing couldn't have been better, as we arrived the weekend before lent and got to experience the Carnaval festivities.

Sadly, this was also our last week with Anna's sister Joanna. She has been in Chile for the last nine months and it's been great to have family so close. Joshua will really miss his tía and so will we. She was supposed to fly out of Santiago on March 2nd, but the airport is closed due to the earthquake. So, after a full day of running around the city and international calls, she arranged to travel by bus to Lima, Peru and to fly out of there to Miami. What a week! Here are some photos of the more pleasant times:

Us with our Bolivian family five years ago.

Us with our Bolivian family a couple of weeks ago. The girl on the left is a current student at the language institute and is living with our Bolivian family while she studies.

"Cristo de la Concordia" overlooks Cochabamba. Cochabambinos claim that this is the largest image of Christ in the world... bigger than the one in Brazil. This is a dispute that only Wikipedia can resolve.

Our Bolivian mom's hometown "Tarata." Her aunt continues to live and farm here. These are her very thirsty wheat fields. During the week of Carnaval, Bolivians take the opportunity to ch'llar, or bless, their homes and work places. They invited us with them to ch'llar the wheat fields. It was a very interesting experience!

The front door to their house in Tarata, a very colonial town. The two women in front are neighbors and show the typical Bolivian dress.

Joshua with a friendly baby alpaca!

Our Bolivian mother takes great joy in embarrassing us whenever she can. This time, she dressed us up in polleras (typical skirts) and had us dance in the street during Carnaval. It was a lot of fun, but she forgot to mention to us before hand that the dancers get soaked by the spectators with water guns, shaving cream and water balloons.

These two men are dressed for the "Tinkus," a really interesting dance that we got to perform at language school five years ago.

Our version of the "tinkus" looked something like this.

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