Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Speak English!

To My Most Amiable Readers;

Good heavens it's hard to stop thinking and speaking in Spanish. And here for three years we've been training ourselves to do that very thing....que lata...I mean, what a pain! Aaaahhh! So, we arrived yesterday after over two years in Chile...over 24 hours in travel....with three little ones under the age of 5....three different flights. Here's some of our trip highlights:
-In Puerto Montt before boarding our first flight Dustin got in an animated discussion in Spanish with a airline representative about luggage restrictions. I blushed a lot and walked away to pray with the kids that Daddy would calm down. Dustin felt invigorated...especially because he won.
-Arriving in boiling-hot Santiago, we "patiently" (har har) waited in a line for 3 hours for the Delta counter to open, me trying to keep my unruly little ones from running head-long into passers-by. We had interesting discussions with a brit named Mike who was returning from his fourth expedition to the South Pole. I showed my ignorance by asking if he saw any polar bears. Apparently polar bears are in the Arctic, not the Antarctic (so now we know; aren't you glad to have learned that?). He was half-amused, half-unnerved that Edison took an immediate liking to him and wrapped him in a tight toddler hug. We had to explain that our kids are used to giving and receiving affection from even strangers (they're so Chilean!). Even I have to resist kissing people upon introduction...I feel so awkward just standing there saying "nice to meet you".
-Flying from Santiago to Atlanta, Sophia made many friends on the plane...everyone she meets she views as a potential friend, whether they are 4 years old or eighty. Reuben and Sophia slept through the bulk of the flight, but Edison couldn't quite fall deeply asleep in the seat...waking every hour or so crying. I was so bleary eyed and cranky from lack of sleep that I layed myself down on the floor, where I promptly conked out for about 20 min...till the stewardess woke me and explained something about getting sued, no seat belt on the other words, get up. In my foggy mind I wanted to lash out that seat belts don't help anything if a plane crashes but wisely just sat in my seat and waited for Edison to cry out again. I was deeply confused when they served breakfast at 6, thinking the clock must be off or something as it was so dark out still. Ah, right, it's winter in the north. Back in Puerto Montt it was light from around six till around ten at night. All through the long lines in customs my little ones made "friends" and in general enjoyed the amused attention they received.
-Leaving Atlanta for Baltimore, I was mentally bombarded with all the English speaking going on. In Chile I can tune out Spanish conversations fairly easily, but English, no. To make matters worse I can't remember not to respond in Spanish. I spoke to an american flight attendant in Spanish and she just looked at me, rightfully so. I was also feeling very VERY short. I've lived in Latin American countries for three years now and have gotten used to being rather tall beside others.
-Arriving in Baltimore, we were glad to see Dustin's parents, and Sophia and Edison enjoyed m&m's from Grandma, which they promptly spilled all over the floor while we waited for our luggage. We only lost one suitcase, which would arrive later on. On the way home we stopped at Isaac's, our favorite sandwich joint and enjoyed REAL pickles. Chilean pickles are just veggies soaked in vinegar and are quite bitter. More m&m's were spilt. I was overwhelmed that they kept refilling my drink (a phenomenon unknown in most of the world), as I have learned over the years to carefully budget my drink to last the whole meal.
-Arriving at Dustin's parent's house, Dustin hot-tubbed his day away and we settled in for a wonderful no-frills evening...watching English! Marian turned it to a spanish channel for kicks and giggles, but I didn't notice as I understood everything! That was good for laughs., we're here, thanks for the prayers...
Your Most Devoted, Sarah

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sunday, January 06, 2008

White-Water Fun

With the children safely sequestered with their Chilean "grandparents", Dustin and I along with Deb, Elizabeth, and Jordan Hostetter and Travis and Bekii Kisamore took off for a white-water adventure!
Our group before dropping in to Rio Petrohue. We felt pretty hot (and I mean that literally) in our wet suits and were bombarded by tabanos (the evil biting fly of the Andes), but we were soooo excited and happy!
These last two pictures are courtesy of the Ko Kayak website; couldn't quite bring a camera in the raft, so here's what we experienced! We had a spendidly sunny day; the sun sparkling off the pure crystal waters of the Petrohue. The water was the color of mouthwash! This was my first guided whitewater experience and I do believe I'm quite hooked; what a rush!!! Sad to report that none of us flew off the raft (after our orientation training I felt ready to rescue the poor saps who fell off). One funny Sarah moment of the day: So we had docked the rafts after a series of rapids and got to do some jumping from a rock into some mild rapids (amazing how far the water takes you by the time you emerge!). After two jumps and subsequent hard swimming to get back to the rafts, I was quite tired. I was about three feet from our raft, standing on a rock. It was time to board. I saw the raft...I knew I needed to get into the legs felt shaky and tired...I thought if I jumped to the edge of the raft I'd probably bounce off into the water...soooo, I just sort of belly-flopped headfirst into the raft. Yep...just flopped in like a dead seal. Ohhhh the laughter...and me, paralyzed and chuckling, butt in the air, head on the floor, flailing to right myself, hindered mightily by my lifevest and helmet and general humiliation. least my lack of grace is good for laughs ; ). All in all, we had a beautiful time; and if you visit us in Chile we're game to go again!
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