Monte Verde

 

Spent our first weekend in Monte Verde, and it felt like the longest weekend of my life! So much happened, not all good either. Our 4 hours bus ride ended abruptly when our bus fried it’s clutch trying to get up a slippery slope. The next bus was “supposed” to be there in another hour, so the four of us girls decided to walk. Partway up we realized that 20km was going to be a ridiculous climb, so we called a cab and $10 later we at our cozy hostel. Just the beginning of our crazy eventful weekend!

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Made a joke in Spanish today. My teacher laughed. Progress!!

Language barriers

This morning an older man stopped me in front of the school. We exchanged a typical greeting when he unexpectedly told me that he wasn’t doing well. He went on describing why he was feeling this way. In Spanish. I was just glad that it seemed like all he needed in that moment was a listening ear, because that I could be!

Pura Vida

Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!

Day 4 in the beautiful city of San Jose, Costa Rica and I’m so glad God has brought me here! I’m going to the Escuela de Idiomas de Costa Rica (Language school). Each morning I walk literally 30 steps to the school for about 4 hours of classes. Two hours of conversation with Jorge and two hours of Grammar with Particia. There are five students in this school and I am the only one in my classes. Three of them are from the states and one from Korea. Communication just among us students is sometimes difficult as the one girls knows very little Spanish and even less English! But it’s good for me to have to communicate with her in Spanish, forces me to practice!

I’m living with a single mom and her two kids. Ruth doesn’t speak any English but her daughter Desiree is fluent. Also staying with us is a girl from the States who went to the school in 2006. She is now working for the Salvation Army here. The house is constantly full of people. There’s always friends and family coming in and out throughout the day.

Anyway, there’s a bit of what life looks like for me right now if you’re curious! Thank you all for your prayers! Please continue to pray.

“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8

“Grace means that no mistake we make in life disqualifies us from God’s love. It means that no person is beyond redemption, no human stain beyond cleansing. Grace is irrational, unfair, unjust and only makes sense if I believe in another world governed by a merciful God who always offers another chance.” -Philip Yancey

Grace

A Week in Izmir

This last Thursday we made our way to the city of Izmir. After the 8 hour bus ride to the city of 4 million we met up with a worker who brought us to our separate homes. We are all currently living in 5 different houses with families and roommates that were willing to open up there homes for the week. I am staying with a family of four orignally from Mexico in a tiny three bedroom apartment. The city is so much different from where we were this last month. We have a lot more freedom and are able to explore whenever we have free time. Izmir is considered one of the most open cities in all of Turkey. It is very western, which makes it a lot easier for us, and was a bit of a shock after being in a village!

Our last two weeks in Antalya were spent in schools and with Turkish families. I only went into the schools three different days and was able to teach English on two of those days. In the highschool we just spent time interacting and answering questions but we made some friends and spent a few days hanging out with there families and really experiencing the culture. In the elementary schools we were teaching. I am so thankful for the language classes I took at home, because we literally had no time to prepare! Things went really well though and thankfully we were never in the classrooms alone so we could rely on eachother. I have so many more details to share with everyone in person! It’s so hard to explain everything, so I’ll bring home some cay (Turkish tea) and go through some pictures with everyone! 18 days…

This Thursday we move again to a city near Ephesus (that I already forget the name of), and then our last week will be in Istanbul where we fly out of! Can’t wait to see everyone again!

Turkey!

It has now been two weeks since our arrival in Turkey and it has been full of so many experiences I will never forget! Our days so far have been mostly spent at the place we’re staying taking classes and doing work projects, but we have also gotten a lot of chances to see Turkey and experience the Turkish culture. The culture shock was at first very overwhelming. Woman’s role in society is polar opposite of what it is in North America. There is pretty much complete separation of men and women in most aspects of society. Woman are not to look men in the eye’s or to initiate conversation. We were told basically not to engage with men if we can help it. For these next two months, men do not exist. Even with the two guys on our team, when we go out in public we are not supposed to joke around with each other as we usually would. It’s definitely something to get used to, but thankfully our team is made up of mostly girls, so it makes it much easier! But nonetheless I have really enjoyed the cultural change. Turks are very warm people. They are extremely hospitable and seem to love foreigners! We do get a lot of grace when it comes to the culture, because we are foreigners, but I don’t think we’re doing too badly! Last night we were able to go to a Turkish wedding. There is no such thing as crashing a wedding in Turkey, so through an acquaintance of a friend we were able to go! We stopped on the side of the road to a group of men sitting having tea. It was soooo awkward! There were no girls and only one guy that spoke English. We sat, had tea, and then were taken to where the real party was! The girls were in a room and the guys stayed outside while we all danced. We squeezed into the room that was literally packed shoulder to shoulder with a small space in the middle where maybe a half a dozen people were dancing. We stood at the back of the crowded room, all feeling slightly uncomfortable, not knowing a soul in the room. After a few minutes of awkwardly being pushed out of the way a few of us decided just to go for it. We stood in a group of younger girls, trying to mimic their movements. Slowly more and more people joined in, wanting to show the foreigners how things were done! It was so cool! It is so amazing to me the way that people can connect without communication. I can’t describe the feeling it gives me, but I love that that is the way God shows me His glory! We also had a chance to see the biggest mosque in Antalya. It’s so hard for me not to upload pictures to show everyone, but it was so incredible! I loved being able to see the way that they pray. Again, Turks are so hospitable, they treated us like royalty! After the mosque they took us to a place that overlooked all of Antalya where we had tea and just visited.

But I promise we’ve been working hard too! We have picked rocks out of the olive garden, painted chairs, laid pavers, and mixed cement. Me and two other girls are in charge of all the meal planning so every week we get to go shopping at the Pazar (the outdoor market). THAT is an experience in itself! You find ways to get around the language barrier and usually get what you’re looking for though. I think we’re almost getting the hang of it!

I am so thankful for all the opportunities we’ve had just to get out and really take everything in. This is so different from most Outreaches and so different from what we were all expecting, but I’m not complaining! This next week we will start to get more involved and interact more with Turks. We will be in a school this next week for the mornings and then doing more work projects here in the afternoons. Please keep praying for our team. There have been moments that have been very spiritually dark for some people and prayer has been a key focus in our time here. Thank you everyone for all your support and prayers! I look forward to when I can show you all pictures and share about all the things God has shown me here!