Saturday, January 29, 2005

MAJOR updatin

Ok So I just got back from our weeklong trip to brazil but have updates before that:

We went clubbin last friday night in Ciudad Vieja. It was a blast! Everyone did an amazing job we have a lot of talent in the group. We didnt get home until about 5 in the morning and were leaving at like ten to go to the beach at Atlandidad. The next day we were going to leave about 1pm for Brazil. My laundry was soooo not done. Everyone had done theirs the night before, but I skipped church thinking surely 3 hours will be enough time. NEGATIVE. Many of my tshirts, shorts and underthings were damp, and my whites were still in the washer. My JEANS were sopping so I left with one pair of clean jeans, some damp tshirts that later smelled of rotten eggs, and anything leftover in my closet.

24 hours on a bus later we arrived at our RESORT HOTEL. It was amazing. The art in this hotel was awesome. 3 pools, jacuzzi, volleyball court, tennis courts, soccer fields, a 5 star restaurant that we ate at for free, and best of all LAUNDRY SERVICE!! We played a lot of vball, and swam a lot throughout the week on our off time.

Our on time was amazing.
The first day we went to the Argentine side of Iguazu falls which included 5 km of walking and an awesome boat right that took us under some of the falls. We were oh so very wet after that. Then that night we went back at about 10pm in a full moon lit sky and saw the Devils throat of the falls.. It was the most breathtaking sight I have EVER seen. I sobbed from the minute I saw it all the way back on the trails. I dont know how people can say their isnt a creator when things so beautiful exist. There was so much power, majesty, and yet peace and design that I couldnt handle it. Almost all of us broke into song at some point and daniel and I sang all the way back on the train to the buses. It is good to have people here that experience the same awe, wonder and praise. I was afraid at first that there wouldnt be anyone here that shared in my passion for our Creator. I am a blessed girl through and through.

The next day we went to the Brazilian side of the falls. Cameron was then hunted by the security people for trying to catch a lizard. He had to change shirts so they wouldnt find him. Afterwards we went to Pizza Hut to eat lunch. It was SOOOO good. I miss Guarana. Its this really good soda they have only in Brazil. It tastes a lot like Ale81. Mmmmm... Later that night we went to a dinner show and it was a blast. Lots of Awesome cultural dancing and great food. Chery was pulled up on stage and got to booty dance with some guy. They had the dancefighters up there ... ofcourse they were all greased up and shirtless. They were rather fantastic. Jeremy was a big fan. Me too. hehehh...

Friday we started the trip home with a stop at Horacio Quirogas house and the Jesuit Mission called San Ignacio Mini in Santa Ana Brazil on the border of Paraguay. It was the missions with the Gvaranies Indians like in the movie the Mission.

Everything we saw was amazing, nothing boring or mundane. We had a lot of fun, and saw some amazing sights.

Portuguese is so confusing.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Opening of Carnaval Season!

went to the Carnaval Parade last night. Carnaval season is a time of celebration and fun before the lenten season. In brazil its a time of debauchery and fun before being good for a month or so. Montevideo isnt quite as crazy but there were a ton of people downtown. We got good places to watch in front of a cute group of kids. The costumes and dancers were amazing although many were wearing little clothing. Beware. My pics are on webshots but they arent necessarily all censored. It was awesome though.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Ehem.. i am burnt to a crisp. We all fell asleep midafternoon at the beach while reading. The time there was fantastic but trying to sleep while your skin is disintigrating is not fun. Besides.. Aloe is 10 bucks for like 20 ounces. Yuck. Prices are so strange here... a haircut, awesome highlights, and styling is 12 bucks. That would be like 80 in US. yet things like aloe, lotion, shoes etc that are imports are the same price or higher. Mostly because theyre imports whereas labor is way cheap. Thats why food is relatively cheap. We had the best pineapple/ham pizza last night.

I am excited to say Coca Cola and Fanta are prominent in Montevideo. My caffeine fix is regularly attended to. It is the same price for water and coke.. so the obvious choice is made.

Didnt go running with the group today, my burnt ouchies would not allow. But i will return!

I have tons of homework today. And I am so not happy with my convo class. Its going to be so difficult it makes me want to cry. We apparently have to talk to Uruguayans on a daily basis to get answers to talk about in class. Scary. Frustrating. Challenging.

I am emotional right now. I dont know if its culture shock kicking in or other natural female phenomena. The mixture of both is probably closest to the truth.

I miss Stephen. I was happy to talk to my mom and dad this week.

Pray for my dad, he is in denmark for a few days, still on crutches, but doing better.

My church back in Abilene had a van accident on the way back from a youth group trip. One boy died, many are injured including our preachers son. The woman driving needs a lot of prayer. That is a big load to carry, she is injured as well. It is so sad.

Monday, January 17, 2005

First Day of Classes

Yesterday was Sunday and we had a lot of fun. We went to church downstairs and got to meet and talk to a lot of the congregation. They are so excited to have us here. The singing was fun in spanish, and the sermon was hard to understand but it sounded pretty solid. After that we had lunch with the congregation. Again we got to talk to a lot of people. i got to talk to a man from the church he praciced english while I practiced spanish.. hehe.. After that some of us went to the Feria which is like the sunday market where all the stores bring their merchandise to the neighborhood and sell there. There was an entire block of amazing antiguedas shops (antiques). After that it was naptime. Stephen called later. It was good to talk to him. Then I heard a guitar and a bunch of us went and sang songs for about 2 hours finally going to bed late.

Today I woke up with some of the group to start our running routine. We ran about 2 miles and it wasnt so bad. Hopefully I can keep up if they keep adding and speeding up.

Classes started today. Global studies looks interesting. My spanish Conversation class is PETRIFYING.. the lady who teaches it is wonderful and does her best to pronunciate and help us understand. But its really difficult. I do however know that I will be FORCED to learn spanish in that class so that is really good.

We went to the Brazilian Consulate today to get our visas for our trip to Brazil next week. We are gone for 7 days to see Iguazu Falls and many things along the way! Yippee!

Funny stories:
It takes 14 people in an Uruguayan elevator to get lost.. on the elevator. We pressed the wrong button went to the basement, then the top flor and then down one by one to the right floor. We are dumb.

41 pesos and a taxi later we almost died when our driver decided to go into oncoming traffic to push the car in front of our into the middle of two lanes and then yell at him for doing so.

Us girls were giggling in the back while daniel almost peed his pants up front.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

A Day to Burn.

Man I am burnt to a crisp. Today we did a ton of orientation stuff. We woke up to these amazing pastries filled with chocolate, or banana pudding or Dulcecrema. Got a tour of the facility, and a walking tour of the city. Went to Ciudad Vieja, part of the town with all sorts of little open markets and restaurants. We ate at an amazing restaurant, with amazing steak, Chorizo( sweet sausage, and regular), and Provolones (Fried Cheese and Ham on a plate with peppers), and a really funny younger waiter who was learning english and eager to use it. I ordered in spanish and he said... HWow, thaht hwas Pairfect! it was so funny.. his accent was hysterical. I love the Uruguayan accent, its very airy. Reminds me of german in a way.
After lunch a group of us took the bus back to the house, walked to the beach and had a blast. The beach reminds me of Grand Haven in the summer. Fine sad, brown water(but salty), crappy waves and TONS OF PEOPLE. We tossed the volleyball around (including our teachers, they are so awesome!), and a few Uruguayans joined us. One named Reechard (Ricardo, but he told us to call him Richard) and I didnt catch the other name. They were a lot of fun and kept making fun of me when I screwed up cuz I always like would grunt or scream.
After that we got a game of beach ultimate going, my teachers request. Stephen he will be joining us next year to play.. and hes pretty good! We'll be getting a lot of it down here, a lot of the group plays! We need a better disc though this one hurts.. It was thrown full force into my forehead. I fear a big fat bruise will find its home between my eyebrows giving the unsightly illusion of a UNIBROW. My feet hurt a lot from running in the sand!! yikes. After that we were walking back and saw the drummers practicing for Carnaval. Apparently they practice for months in groups of anywhere from twenty to 150 walking down the streets early evening with jimbays (spelling?) and bongos. In front of the drummers women from ages 4-60 dance this really cool but difficult dance/walk thing. It is soo neat. We then headed to the heladeria for ice cream. It was amazing! It was more gelato like than ice cream and verry good.

Now we are back at the dorm, about 9pm waiting to go out to dinner after some chill out time. I hear people playing guitars, some practicing spanish phrases for church greetings tomorrow and showers blaring for beach clean off.

It still feels like Ill be leaving in a week. I have had more fun in the past few days than I have in months. It is good to be here and I hope it doesn't slow down, too much.

I do however miss my contacts miserably. sad. And Sunscreen. Im burnt

Friday, January 14, 2005

Rocky Start

Well its friday, and we just got to Uruguay about 4 hours ago..

Wednesday morning we left for DFW arriving at 12noon or so for a 6:45pm flight. We had to get there early because both the L.A. group and the Europe groups went together to DFW and the Europes groups flight left about 3pm. So 6pm rolls around and we are getting told we'll be having about a 30min delay due to mechanical issues and needing a new plane. We are already worried about missing our connection to Montevideo. Now we are stressing more. THEN about 7:30pm, we find out that due to weather the new plane is stuck in SHREVEPORT. So we are going to miss our connection. NO chance of making it, NO chance of them holding it for us. Eventually around 9:30pm. We got to Miami around 2am, 3am Miami time. An hour and a half later we have vouchers for the Radisson. Another hour later we are waiting in the wrong terminal for a bus that was somewhere else. Then we figure it out and get on our bus to the Radisson where they decide that the eight rooms American Airlines promised our 16 people is too many and that 3 would be better. Loree, our fantastical commander in chief/ teacher tells them they are mistaken and much later we have rooms. Ofcourse Loree and Jeff were given the key to someone elses room not in our group. So they walked in on sleeping strangers. Eventually it was sorted out. We slept in til 9am, got free breakfast and hit south beach for the day. That was a blast. Got to meet some awesome people, see really expensive bars and clothing stores, eat amazing pizza, see Miami Beach Surfers, and get to knwo the group even more. We sauntered back to wash up at the hotel around 6 and left for our next flight at 7. Ate amazing Cuban dinner, boarded our plane to Buenos Aires no problem. The next 10 hours were horrible. The seats were uncomfortable, the movies boring and my butt numb. The only redeeming factors were the meals, the company and the 6 or so episodes of CSI that I watched. This morning we deboarded in Buenos Aires, and got on a 20 min flight to Montevideo. Upon arriving in Montevideo we went through customs with no problems. Then to the luggage. The majority of the group found their luggage and we were pretty confident they were bringing ours in a second cart. They didn't. About six of us didn't have our luggage. I was freaking. So then a sweet lady came over with broken english and told us they had arrived a day early due to our flight issues and we had to walk to the other end of the airport to get our bags. We did no problem. We had carts to bring our luggage to the bus. One of the bus workers saw me struggling and helped me get it down and up the curbs. Then all the sudden I realized he was just helping to get a tip. Of which I had none. I only had big bills after all the airport stuff and like 4 pennies. I feigned confusion and smiled politely saying I didn't have cash. His help was appreciated but not 20 dollar appreciated. Im an idiot. Stupid American Mistake number one!!

We made it to CasaACU with no hitches, had amazing lunch, and now we are chilling out waiting to go out to dinner and getting our rooms situated. I am rooming with Haley. Shes a sweetheart. The six of us girls are a lot of fun, and the boys are fun too. It should make for a fun semester. I cant believe we are staying for months. I feel like we should be leaving in a week or so. Oh well. I am here, and glad. Now all we have to do is work through cultural funnyness like adapters, greetings and traffic laws. oh yah, and the language!

Ill keep you updated! Im gonna try and post some travel shots! but I dont have too many.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Hardest Night Ever

This night has topped my hardest night list. Well atleast when it comes to goodbyes. Funerals don't count in this category. Tonight I said goodbye to stephen for the semester. One of the hardest things I have ever done. I tried so hard to not cry. He only witnessed the minor weeping. I was relatively victorious. This is the first time I have ever let someone affect me in this way emotionally. It is difficult, it is painful, and it is wonderful to experience. Stephen ofcourse was wonderfully sweet and supportive. What a man.

I leave tomorrow morning for Uruguay. in 8 hours in fact. Im nervous, Im anxious, i am excited. Overall I wont be sleeping much tonight.

God thank you for this amazing opportunity. Thank you for putting amazing friends and one amazing man in my life. I know you are with me on this trip, I know you are excited, and hurting as well. Thank you for knowing my heart, and stretching it so much this week. Help me to be courageous and hopeful.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Monday Fun

I just got back from class stuff a little while ago. It feels good to have my exam over and paper in. Today we got to spend a lot of time asking questions and talking to Ronnie Rama. He was the one who built our dorms in Uruguay and lived in Montevideo with his family for many many years. He was a really nice man and a lot of fun to talk to. It was nice to actually get applicable and useful tips rather than broad things that we'll forget. Even knowing things like how people get on buses, and how to hail a taxi from the street, or what to say when you want ice in your drink. It was really good to get to spend more time with the other people going. It was kind of disconcerting because all the girls I talked to already have their living situation in order for next year. I guess its not a big deal since at this point I am plannng on getting my own apartment, but it still makes me a little antsy.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Man I am NOT on the ball!

Hey y'all, sorry it took me a little bit to update. Last week I was at my dearest mothers for a week and her internet is too slow to post. It was sooo great to stay there for a week and just get to laze around! I know she worries Im bored but it was fantastic. Whats a better recup/gear up for travel than movies, amazing cheese/chili dip, cute cats, ice storms, crazy grandma, and loads of "24". Of which I am still impatiently awaiting to finish the season! AHH!

It is good to be in Abilene again. Its good to see and hug and talk to stephen face to face. It was great to be talking til 430am with brooke last night, and to see whit, and julie9. I missed my girls.

Fantastic News! Friday I did my Youthworks phone interview! It went pretty well.. and I have another on Tuesday. I think I might have a third that is a spanish interview as well.. scary. All and all I am pumped that its all coming together. I feel like I am on my way to being an adult because of it. Why this constitutes adulthood I have no idea, maybe because it is going to be the first thing I have done all by my lonesome from start to finish. That and my scholarship, which also made me feel big and tall.

I realized today that Im going to have to do taxes and fafsa stuff while abroad. What a HASSLE. oh well, atleast its all renewal stuff, it shouldnt be too difficult.

I leave for Uruguay Wednesday morning. Nervous. Excited. Confused at how quickly break went by.. but royally pumped!

Stephen got me a stuffed animal for xmas. Its adorable, and perfect. He also made a video with it and about it that is hysterical. Mostly Im glad I can prove that his family rocks my face off. Thomas you are a nut kid! Congrats!