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Yesterday Kent filled in for our pastor since he and his wife were on vacation. He did a great job and taught on Philippians 3:17-21. He prepared all week and most people saw what I see everyday- his passion for learning and teaching.
Just catching up since last week. Now that our company is gone we have a more relaxed schedule but we still seem to stay busy. Kent and I will look at each other at the end of the day and are surprised at how quickly the day went. We’re still working out and doing school with the boys along with Kent reading for his PhD and working spread sheets and financial models for the farms they’re trying to buy.
We keep finding out how Chile does things their way, and we can’t expect our American paradigm to fit in to it. One example is in the farm real estate. They have multiple realtors list their property. They don’t seem to start with their highest and best price. Two of the possible properties he’s looked at started at one price and then they went up! By a lot! The land deeds are separate than the water deeds. Water is very important here because it is rare. So any farm you buy needs to have adequate water for the crops to grow. Soil must be analyzed for the particular crop that is to be grown. It’s much more involved than just finding a farm to buy. Aren’t you glad I told you all of this?
Monday I went to the Chilean Ladies Bible Study. It was a little more comfortable for me because it was smaller than the first time. I am enjoying it even though I still don’t understand 75% of it. They’re very friendly but they speak so fast! I’m going to remember that when I am back home and around non-English speakers. Speak slowly! I’m posting a picture of our leader with a “shawl” that one of the ladies knitted it. I think it’s pretty and it’s warm to wear now that it is getting cooler here.
Wednesday after bible study at our church a few of us met for lunch to tell our friend Jackie good-bye. She is going back to France for the summer to see her kids. We went to a Peruvian restaurant, and had a big tray with a variety of Peruvian foods. Then we had a sampler of Peruvian desserts. Rosa, a Peruvian, helped us with all the different foods to try. They say that Peruvian food is much better than Chilean. It is very flavorful. It also happened to be Rosa’s birthday so we celebrated that as well.
Oh! The next thing I have to tell you about is brand new to me. Has anyone heard about Ceragem? This is a South Korean company, and it is a mixture of chiropractic, massage, infrared heat, and acupuncture. It is a bed that you lie on for 40 minutes and it rolls up and down your back. it is healing for your entire body. I had walked by the store and couldn’t even tell it was a business. I went with Jackie and when we got there we checked in and got a number. We went and waited while they have someone telling the benefits of these beds. When the next session is open you go to the bed. You take your own sheets to cover it since different people are lying on it all day. It looks like an old fashioned hospital to me. They have their workers coming to each person making sure they are OK and asking questions. It sounds kind of weird but it is amazing when you finish. Oh, the best part is it is free! And they encourage you to come regularly! I asked how they make money and they sell the beds for people to have in their homes. But again, there is no sales pitch! I don’t really get it but I’m thankful for it. I went everyday Thursday- Saturday and plan on going this week too. I’ll include a picture of the outside to show the plain building and then a picture of the inside and the people on the beds.
Lastly, am I boring you? One of our friends in Franklin County asked us to bring back a pair of shoes for his teenage daughter. We went to take a few pictures to give him an idea of what they look like. I think these may be popular back home too. I don’t wear heels so I don’t know what’s in style. Are these what is being worn back home?
That’s enough for now. We are headed down to our South Carolina neighbors on the 5th floor for beans and cornbread tonight. Oh, we are invited to a Chilean home next weekend so I’ll be sure to take notes to share about that. We’re really looking forward to that! Again, love you and miss you all!
Tonight we went to an event I had never heard of or seen before. It was called the Stations of the Cross. Apparently, it’s common in the Catholic church here. I’m not sure if it’s common in all Catholic churches or not? I was told some churches do it in their church or outside, near, or around their church.
This Stations of the Cross was on one of the main streets in the “Sanhattan” section (take off on Manhattan) in one of the nicest areas in Santiago. The city blocked off a large section of the road and set up stations which told the story of Christ’s death. They started at Station 1 and by the end at Station 14 Jesus had died on the cross and was in the tomb. Because it was Catholic, they had their Cardinal and Priests narrating the story. Hundreds of people were out on the street following the story-telling group as they moved from each station. I don’t know if I’m explaining it very well but I took some pictures. They aren’t the best pictures but I think you can get the point
Good Friday is taken very seriously here. Many Chileans leave the city and head out of town. They definitely take the day off as it is a national holiday. Our neighborhood was very quiet and hardly any restaurants or stores were open today. It is nice to see a religious holiday held in high regard.
I did go with some friends this morning to a house where there were many little ones who were living there in hopes of being reunited with a family member in the future. They all are under the age of five. The home doesn’t have enough workers so the older ones don’t get to go over to the park very often and play. We went so we could let them get out and get some fresh air. The good thing for me was I have about the same vocabulary as they do! Here are a couple of my new friends.
Lastly, I met my friend Jackie for lunch yesterday. She is Chilean but lives in France a few months of the year. She has become such a dear friend and I will miss her when she leaves to go back to France next week. I am thankful that I may be able to visit her when we go to Scotland. I told her that she needs to write a book. She has many interesting family stories and an amazing testimony.
Last Saturday we were invited to a cook-out with a large group of missionaries based here in Santiago. It was a great time and we met many new friends. One of the ladies I met was Mary Jo. She grew up here in Chile as a missionary kid and now she and her husband live here as missionaries. She leads a small bible study and invited me to come.
I went today and met a neat group of Chilean ladies. It was a new experience especially since it was all in Spanish. I think I got the gist of the conversation because I knew where they were reading from and could follow along in the bible. They were studying the suffering servant passages in Isaiah which foretell about Jesus’s coming. I got more out of it than I thought possible because I had to concentrate so much, and because of the focus on what Jesus did for us as He suffered on the cross ( Isaiah 52:13-53:12).
However, we must remember the good news- His Resurrection! Luke 24:5-6 “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” He has risen indeed!
I hope you all have an Easter that allows you time to really meditate and reflect on what our God has done. He gives us all the opportunity to be adopted by Him into His family if we will just submit and accept His gift of salvation.
The rest of the visit with Brian was lots of fun. Kent and Brian flew down to Puerto Montt (Puerto Mon-tay if your my Dad) in the south to go salmon fishing. They had an 8:45 am flight Saturday morning but the fog delayed them and kept them sitting in the airport until 2pm. The next morning the guide, Mauricio, picked them up and they headed to the river. It was still dark but Kent said they could hear the “ker-plunk” of the fish so they knew they were there. As the sun came up, they were able to see hundreds of huge salmon all around them. They looked around and saw 3 foot fish jumping out of the water. How easy to fish! But, unfortunately, that was not to be the case. They didn’t understand with so many fish around how they only caught ONE fish. Even the other fishermen around them didn’t catch any! They still had a good time though.
They came back Sunday night and the last two days we ate good food, went to the gym, worked from the apartment, and went to watch the championship game at California Cantina again. Lots of good times and we hope we’ll see him in Scotland.
Mom and Dad left on Wednesday, April 3 at 9:55 pm, but our new guest arrived that same morning around 8 am. Our friend Brian flew to see us from Chicago. We have been friends with Brian since the late 90’s. He and Kent worked together at Columbia Capital in Alexandria, VA. He has a son and daughter the same ages as Michael and Robert. Brian is a wonderful cook and a lover of wine so back then we spent numerous evenings with his family enjoying his talents in the kitchen. He got to Santiago and had to be tired after flying all night, but he got right in our kitchen after a trip to the fish market for sea bass and salmon. The first night he cooked for us and my parents a delicious meal of Chilean sea bass, grilled cauliflower, and a potato cake with some cheese and bacon. Delicious.
Because Chile is the 5th largest exporter of wine and the 9th largest producer in the world, Brian wanted to visit some vineyards. Friday, Kent and I went with him on a vineyard tour to the Casablanca area. We were picked up by our driver and guide, Stephan, who is also a sommelier.
He is from Croatia and has lived in Chile for 7 years after marrying a Chilena. The Casablanca area is very close to us so we got out to the region in about an hour. The first vineyard we visited was a small family owned business called the Kingston Family Vineyard. Judith was the sommelier that showed us around their place. They produce very few bottles in comparison to other vineyards. They also let other small wine makers use their facilities.
The second vineyard, called “RE winery” and created by a well known wine maker in Chile named Pablo Morande was bigger and innovative in their production and their products. They grow their grapes in the traditional manner on vines up to 65 years old, and also in the ancient way of just letting them grow freely on the land. Using huge clay urns, they don’t mess with the grapes and just let them do their thing. This winery not only produces wine, but also balsamic vinegar, olive oil , and some liquors with fruit and nuts in them.
The last stop was the House of Morande’. They have a beautiful outdoor patio to eat on overlooking a beautiful scene of palm trees and grapevines. We had the tasting menu which included 5 smaller courses of a scallop topping on bread, ceviche, fish, beef cheeks, and a bite of cheesecake. After lunch we toured their facilities which were larger and appeared to be higher producers.
The day was fun and I learned a lot. The people were super friendly and very passionate about what they do. If you ever make it to Chile there are other wine areas to visit as well. I think you’ll be surprised.
We got home last Tuesday afternoon and Mom and Dad decided to go over to the beach for a few days by themselves. It’s beautiful over there and they had a great time walking around Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. They found good restaurants and found an inviting hostel to stay in. They met many people from all over but one couple on their walking tour was from Richmond VA!
They came back Saturday afternoon and we went to a late dinner with our friend from Italy, David, and friend from France, Jackie. I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture. Sunday, we went to church and then walked over to an artisan village called Los Dominicos. It has different artists and a few little places to eat. We had “impanemies” that’s what Dad kept calling empanadas. I need to make a list of all the words Dad said. Timothy can definitely remember and imitate him. Later that evening we walked over to the California Cantina (the same place we went to see the Super Bowl) to see if they were showing the March Madness games. My Uncle Johnny went to Kentucky and since they were playing Mom and Dad wanted to see the game. They were playing Michigan, Kent’s favorite team, so it was competitive and a close game! The bar area was full of Americans there to watch the game- it was a lot of fun.
Monday, Dad and Kent took a bus south to Talca and met a realtor so Kent could look at a farm. Mom and I found a new area (to us) of Santiago and walked around there. We had heard there were lots of antiques there. We didn’t see that but we saw lots of “stuff” like clothes, shoes, furniture, glasses, watches, etc. Then she cooked tacos for us that night. Tuesday, the three of them went on a wine tour out in Chile and had a great time. Wednesday, we went to the fish market to buy salmon and sea bass and Mom got a podologia. Their flight was scheduled for 10pm that night. Throughout the last few days we also played cards, checkers, and Dad showed us what he has been learning at karate. We definitely want to see a photo of him wearing his “outfit” in class.
Our friend Rodrigo came to take them to the airport after dinner. It was hard to believe the visit was already over. They got home safe and sound the next evening. I’m glad they came to see us.
Apparently, there was a huge earthquake off the coast of Chile last night. Actually, it’s not far from where we were last week. We are fine, and didn’t feel anything at all. Not even an aftershock!
Santiago is located over 1,000 miles from the northern part of Chile and we are inland about an hour or so from the coast. Chile is shaped like a french fry so it is very long and not very wide.
Mom and Dad are headed home tonight, and our friend Brian should be arriving in an hour or two. We miss and love you all. I’ll post soon but I just wanted to let everyone know we are fine.