Monday, December 26, 2005

Look! I caught a polar bear! Posted by Picasa
Some crazy gringo on Osorno. Posted by Picasa
Sophia and her doll at Volcan Osorno. Posted by Picasa

Rock and Ice and Everything Nice

Dear Friends,

Hope this finds you all contentedly filled with christmas cookies and donning your latest snowflake sweater from Aunt Mabel...

Well, we´ve started a new Christmas tradition! We were determined to find some snow on Christmas and so drove to the nearest volcano...of course. Volcan Osorno is quite dormant and topped with a generous helping of blinding white snow. It was admittedly odd to hike in scorching sun, through thirsty crisp volcanic gravel, being dive-bombed incessantly by biting flies of some sort, in order to reach it, but it was worth it. Some of us sled down the slopes on trash can lids, some just did a free-fall belly flop. I free-styled, using the edge of my boots as a "snowboard", I jumped and sliced my way down.

The best was running down the volcano. Due to the spongy-sinking nature of the loose gravel, you could run straight down the mountain in "full-bore-linear-panic", flying and plunging your foot falls, only to fly and plunge with greater velocity. Come to think of it, we must have looked hilarious, a bunch of gringos galloping down the mountain, arms swinging like helicopters to compensate for our legs´wide sprints, throwing up clouds of ash in our wake. Funnier still as we hit hard pack and couldn´t stop ourselves, no longer aided by the cushiony nature of the loose gravel. It went from "Oh..hee hee hee...I´m flying!" to "Oh...yeah I´m not going to stop any time soon." We all got down nicely, batting at the flies and sunburnt, sweaty and happy.

The kids enjoyed their presents; Sophia got a little wool doll, a set of wooden kitchen tools just her size, and a batch of homemade playdough. Edison got a lambskin rug to lay on. We had no where to lay him down before where he wouldn´t smack his chubby face on the wood floor. Now he is a happy man.

In the evening we made chocolate-chip cookies, read the account of Christ´s birth, and prayed together, thanking the Lord for His precious gift to us. My hope is that you all were likewise blessed as you remembered and celebrated Christ´s birth. Blessings!


Thursday, December 22, 2005

He´s the strong, silent type. Posted by Picasa
two cheesy grins in Bariloche, Argentina Posted by Picasa
Wuv....twoo wuv... Posted by Picasa

The Ridiculous Joy

A hearty "hello!" from southern Chile! Christmas is fast upon us, it´s basically caught me unawares. It´s hard to think Christmasy-snowy-cozy thoughts when roses are blooming and we can stop splitting firewood for heat. Sophia and I did manage to make scads of sand tarts and dough ornaments though. We hung the ornaments on our branch. Yes, branch. Anyway, I must be in the truer Christmas spirit, my mind is on the Christ child.

Emmanuel, God with us. Vulnerable, small, like Edison. Wow. Also Big, Vast, Creator! Like the Grand Canyon squeezed into a shoe box. In every way a contradiction, an irony, something we wouldn´t expect. Not the way we would have written it.

Joy pounds away at my consciousness, the music of my lover! He loves me, delights in me, rejoices over me with singing!! But for the skin of this world, face to face with Him! To think He actually came among men, ate, drank, slept. Such bigness in voluntary union with such smallness. Definitely not what we would expect.

Forgive my rambling, I am caught up!


Monday, December 19, 2005

Bariloche, Argentina Posted by Picasa
At the cathedral in Bariloche, Argentina Posted by Picasa
Bariloche, Argentina Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Here´s us at Viña del Mar. Our cabin is up on the right. Posted by Picasa

Row Row Row Your Boat...

Greetings All!
Well, southern Chile is making a valiant effort to muster up some warmer days as we approach summer. I´m still trying to orient myself around the seasonal shift- it´s just weird to make Christmas ornaments in the spring.
Our Thanksgiving was fun and had all the fixings, save cranberry sauce. We even had "pumpkin" pie made from a local type of squash. But it was after dinner, when the sleepy-belly-full-of-turkey-syndrome was just kicking in in earnest, that the excitement began.
Two of the Hostetter´s (our coworkers) children were thirteen hours drive away up north at the national rowing finals. The father, Mike, had just talked to the coach on the phone and learned that Jordan and Deborah had qualified. The idea started to circulate how neat it would be to see the kids race. With one hours notice, Dustin and I with the Edison and Sophia, Mike, and three of the YES team members were packed in the van and heading up north.
We arrived the next morning, to the surprise and delight of the kids, and got to see them compete. Jordan got second in his race, and Deborah did well too. Mike got us hooked up with a sweet cabin right along the coast in Viña del Mar to spend the night. It was breathtaking, the waves were huge and crashed on the rocks beneath our place. We enjoyed a picnic on the beach and watched the sun go down. Sophia ran around, running from the surf and squealing. Edison dipped his fist in the sand and got a nice mouthful.
As we drove home the next day, we saw the beautiful grape orchards and winerys that butted up against and in some places climbed the Andes´steep slopes. I was struck by how beautiful and quaint the houses were. Even the poorest home had a veranda with a roof of grapevines over it. And the heat was a far cry from the wet, windy, chilly weather of Puerto Montt. All in all, it was a wonderful trip, a time of refreshment.