Yup, I’m sorry. It has been quite a while since we posted something here for all of you faithful readers and (we assume) prayer supporters. I won’t say it has been an eventful week, but it has been a good one.
Most days have been “normal” lately with school for me in the morning and then chores and ministry work in the afternoon. Michelle has the kids in school and they’re ok with that. I suspect that Jared especially spends a lot of time with that blank look (there it is again) on his face. Chelsey sounds like she is enjoying the time at school. But just so that people don’t think Jared is having a rough go down here, he LOVES his soccer practices. And this last week he got his new uniform. That is one happy guy now.
Health wise we’ve had a rough week. Katria, Chelsey and Jared have all had some kind of fever or cold. Katria is also teething which doesn’t help matters. I woke up early Friday morning with the kind of gut ache that only leads to pain and suffering, which it did. Quite a lot of time spent in the bathroom and bed that day. I suspect it was something I ate, although I don’t know what. And I don’t want to give up black beans, avocados or rice as they were all delicious! And it wasn’t the Coke.
It’s funny though, down here you just start to talk more about bodily functions. Like we all know and expect that instead of taking #2’s, they are more of a #1.5. That’s just the way it is. And I always like the fact that after a marathon session of throwing up that I have a really rocking six pack. Is it worth it? I’ll get back to you on that, beach season is approaching!
Michelle has been pretty tired taking care of all of us, but she is surviving. Tomorrow (Monday) she and a bunch of the other wives/mothers are leaving the base to go to Oaxaca city. So the schedule for us Dad’s and kids looks like this:
0900 – Start movies
1330 – Lunch
1700 – Wonder where the wives are. Movies still playing.
Movies won’t turn off until the wives get home. Any husband and father disagree with this tactic? I didn’t think so.
We also went to church today. We have a local church that we go to. It was “assigned” to us so we didn’t have a whole bunch of gringos taking over a single location. Churches here are, from what I can see, usually between 20-50 people. So to bring in 30+ white people is not a good idea. Kind of ruins things (we’re good at that in the US and Canada).
(Note: I’m going to be as respectful as possible with this story. This is a different culture and they do things differently than us. In many ways, better actually. But these are my observations and in no way a judgement of how things work here)
The cast of characters for today: The Diks 5 and our friend Heather who speaks pretty good Spanish. Which is quite necessary and helpful.
Last week we went to the church as well. We were told the service started at 11:00 so like good cold culture North Americans we got there at 11:00. Oh ya, this is Mexico. Time doesn’t matter. Sunday school didn’t actually end until 11:45. Then church started. Then church ended at 1:00 PM if I remember correctly. Then we ate. It was long, but good. Kids got really restless too.
Ok, back to this week!
So Michelle, Heather and I chat and decide that we should be on Mexico time as well. Which means if church starts at 11:00, we don’t leave home until 11:00. Try that in Canada! But we leave at about 11:10 and get to the church at 11:30ish. (Oh ya, it is absolutely acceptable AND encouraged to tell time using the “ish” measurement standard here. It just works better.)
So 11:30ish. Uh oh, Sunday school is still going. But it ends pretty soon. We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves. Church starts. A song or two, one I even know! Alabare! Then the speaker is introduced. I don’t like the look of this guy. I don’t know why, but something seems wrong. Going to church all my life has taught me two things about guest speakers:
1. They can give a message so short that people feel awkward about leaving church early and the worship leader pulls a few extra songs to close with.
2. They can speak WAY longer than anyone believes humanly (and humanely) possibly.
Yes, he was #2. I didn’t understand much. I did understand more words this week than last week. But there were numerous times he closed his Bible and I thought “Yes! He’s done!” only to see him open the Word once again and keep going. I think it is good to mention that Katria fell asleep early on in the singing. Smart girl. But heavy. My left arm and right leg fell asleep quickly.
(oh ya! I forgot. In the singing they had Powerpoint for the words. So it was time to sing and I stood up. Then I remembered that the roof is only 7.5 feet high or so and I am pretty tall. I looked behind me quickly and saw, of course, that there are a bunch of short (or here they are referred to as normal) people trying to see the screen. I sat down. I wasn’t going to be able to do much with the words anyways.)
Um, where was I? Katria asleep, numb legs, I stick out more here than any other place that I have been in, guest speaker going long… OK. So the speaker keeps going, and going, and going. He liked to use the word “hermanos”. I understood that one. I tried to take some notes of words I didn’t know to figure them out. Then I got tired. Heather was sitting in front of us and was almost asleep. I didn’t notice. Chelsey and Jared were trying to read, but got bored. Then I noticed something odd.
The locals were getting restless. The Mexican people are awesome about being flexible and just letting people talk. THEY WERE GETTING RESTLESS. I am starting to fit in I have decided.
Finally the speaker stops. I’m feeling good. Jared understands that things are almost over. The pastor of the church (I think) gets up to do some announcements. Uh oh.
Announcements in this church, and I don’t know if they are different in other local churches, are more like an auction. Everyone gets a chance to “bid”.
“Who’s got something to announce?”
“What is it?”
And then that person says something. Only here people are wordy. In North America we value being direct and to the point. Here, it’s all about the story. If I wanted to say “Bake sale next week.” a Mexican person would say:
“We have a fantastic opportunity to support a local group of kids that really need our help. Now I know brothers and sisters that we all don’t have much, but this is a very worthy cause. These kids need books, pencils, erasers, glue, markers, chalk boards….”
“And here are the items and their prices…….” And then list of each item. I am not kidding, this happened today. Again, I think. Me and the Spanish language are still in a love/hate relationship.
And then repeat this process for about 10 people in the church. Announcements took 40 minutes. It went so long today that I actually watched the guitar players, who were getting ready for some closing songs, give up and put their instruments away. I giggled. So those in the North American church, STOP WHINING ABOUT THE LENGTH OF TIME CHURCH GOES FOR. Enough said.
Not enough said. Total time in church: 11:30 – 2:00 (2.5 hours). And we came late and didn’t stay for lunch. Which was tamales. Which I wanted to eat. But the kids needed to go.
So that’s where were at. I just posted some pictures in our gallery. So for those that got here by typing www.diks.ca, just look above this page for the “Pictures” link and click on it. Then look for the Tlaxiaco in September 2008 gallery. For all others, go to www.diks.ca/gallery, the gallery is on the 2nd page. I’m trying to figure out a way to put it on the front.