country is always an adventure, especially when you are trying to take
need in four really heavy suitcases. We were blessed in Atlanta that
volunteered to interpret for a menagerie of Guatemalans which got us in
when it came to how much our suitcases really weighed. The clerks were
generous mood and the Chestnut Mountain Church pen they were using that
had left behind seemed like a good omen to start the day. I got to have
standard Burger King meal and though I enjoyed it, I did not relish it
last for a while because who knew there would not be one in Armenia. We
leave two hours late from ATL and thought we'd miss the connection, but
plane left two hours late as well and we did miss the next connection.
airline put us up at a hotel in Bogotá, minus one piece of
somewhere between here and there. You may think that is not so bad, but
is 25% of everything you have, it can be bad. For the two days it took
it, all we could think was, "Oh, man! That's in the blue suitcase!" God
delivered it though and we were especially grateful.
Armenia is like living in a Florida atmosphere without the humidity but located in upstate New York. The scenery is outdoorsy, woodsy, and beautiful with cow dotted landscapes, yet the flowers, weather, and architecture is relaxed Sunshine State. The people are warm and friendly and it is safe to walk anywhere near where we are. We had to go to Pereira to pick up our bag and when the driver had to ask directions everyone was helpful and said welcome! They are very proud of their new mall here, but it is where Quito was ten years ago and the US 50 years ago. Food is more expensive and you can't get half the imported items from the states we could before. Hence, we won't be eating any peanut butter sandwiches!
We did see our first natural gas car engine when the taxi driver stopped for gas and they brought a little hose to the front of the car. There is a huge tank behind the back seat; I don't know what happens in a crash, but we didn't have to find out! Driving is better than Quito, but with more motorcycles and scooters, though the drivers aren't driving on the horn. It was nice to see that public urination isn't an issue here as it was in Ecuador! No pee smelling streets, trees, or sidewalks!
We went to the Christiana Alliance Church for our first Sunday here to check it out and were immediately whisked into the pastor's office on arrival at the gate to be questioned as to our purpose, background, etc. It was a little weird and they were very nice; just wanted to be sure we would be comfortable there and what to expect. He gave us several other places to check out as well. The pastor was a good speaker and we learned from the sermon, but the two hours before of intense group prayer and singing without any help with the words was a little long.
We have a couple weeks to get it together before starting to work at the school to get to know our way around and meet the other teachers, etc. My biggest prayer is for a washer and dryer. I tried to hand wash a shirt that got something spilled on it in a suitcase during the trip and unknowingly picked up a bottle of lavender general purpose cleaner, which looked like a detergent bottle in my defense. Needless to say, the shirt still has the stain but it is harder to see through all the purple blotches; apparently the floor won't turn purple but your clothes will. The biggest frustration for me has been trying to figure out the conversion rate and then trying to figure out what all the different bills are. You would think a college graduate could do that, but when a Coke is 150,500 pesos, your mind can go blank as you have 1000, 10,000, 20,000, 100,000 bills, some 200 coins and other worthless change to confuse you. I feel like a moron as I look at the money in my hand, back at the register, (there's no way to hear the number and try and change it in my head!) back at my hand, and so forth. I made it through two purchases without Steve today and didn't get ripped off so maybe there is hope.
July has only begun so we'll see what God has in store for us!