We've been in Santiago this week for the bi-annual regional meeting with all of the Columbans here in Chile. This year, the meeting was held at a Jesuit retreat house and the grounds were beautiful. Joshua was amazed by all the green and the walnut trees were in full force. Joshua came in contact with a few new things, like a pine cone, a dandelion and a bird's feather. He loved tickling his face with the flowers and throwing walnuts at the trees. These are special experiences for a boy from the desert! The weather was fantastic all week, until the last day when it rained. Joshua enjoyed this as well, however, since rain is also a novelty. We enjoyed spending time with with our fellow missionaries, priests and lay, who work throughout Chile. It has been almost two years since we have been able to make it to a regional meeting (due to Joshua's adoption, the sudden death of our regional director and travel to the US), so we especially enjoyed getting caught up with the whole Columban family.
We also received some sad news, however. The lay mission house, where we stay when we're in Santiago and also where Chilean missionaries in formation live, has been sold. We call this house "Hanyang" because the first place of Columban mission was in Hanyang, China. Hanyang house has been for sale for awhile, but we never expected it to sell so quickly. During the last five years, we've built up some very fond memories in that house. We had a despedida (going away party) on Saturday and shared some of the memories with our co-missionaries and also with some ex-Chilean missionaries. The Columbans have owned the house for 25 years and it was originally the seminary for young men in formation to become priests. We'll miss the house, but are also looking forward to starting fresh in a new area, closer to the subway line and also more practical for our purposes. With ten bedrooms and six bathrooms, the old house was quite difficult to keep up with!
Here is a photo of Joshua with our regional director, Fr. Derry Healy. He looks so serious because he was coming down with a cold and ready for his nap. Not to mention he had been attacked by mosquitos that morning! Still, a cute picture.