Saturday, July 28, 2012
Well, Thursday Victor and I left early for the embassy, by taxi to be sure to get there in plenty of time. We waited a little while in the wrong line before an official redirected us. Pass through security...leave camera, cell phone...go into building, MORE security...then to a room, take a number and wait. "HURRY UP and wait" that is. Because you have your appointment, and you'd better be there well before time, but if they don't see you till about an hour later, THAT'S OKAY. Bad news - they couldn't do anything for me regarding my birth certificate. I have to get an apostille. More on that in a bit. Good news - they COULD give me a document, an affidavit that I am indeed a widow with nothing impeding me from committing to another marriage. Notarized, sealed, 50 dollars. Next step: to a local internet to see about the aforementioned apostille. But first - we left without breakfast, so we stopped for a sandwich and coffee. It was about 11 when we left for the internet. Bad news - nothing I can do online - I have to send the birth certificate BACK to Texas with a form requesting said apostille which more or less says, "Really, I promise, this is a real-for-real, official, genuine, honest-to-goodness, swear-to-God, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die BIRTH CERTIFICATE." NEVERMIND that I needed said document for the FIRST marriage (and have the marriage certificate therefrom) ...AND to get my driver license...AND to get my passport. Okay...so...that is something I have to do when I get home because there just isn't time between now and when I leave to wait for things to get lost in the mail ANYWAY.
Then on to Relaciones Exteriores with the widow document so Peru officials could put THEIR stamp on it - about 25 soles ( 10 bucks). Bad news - have to RETURN for said document on MONDAY, SO, no returning to Pucallpa for the holiday. While in the neighborhood, we looked up the address of OFFICIAL translator for when I DO have the apostille, and went - walking distance from Relaciones Exteriores. The gentleman was very helpful, explaining. Of course, it wouldn't suffice for ME to translate it, no, it would have to have all kinds of stamps and seals and stickers and ribbons. So what we're looking at is a return trip to Peru some time within the next year (so my widowhood doc doesn't expire), bringing the blessed apostille together with the birth certificate (and a copy thereof, to be safe) to the embassy for THEIR seal of approval/notarization, then to the translator where it is left to be translated; return the following day (50 soles, about 20 bucks, barring more inflation);pick it up the following day to take to Relaciones Exteriores for another 10 bucks, leaving it to be picked up in a couple of days. All in all about a week in Lima.
BUT while it may SEEM to be bad news - we can't go through with a civil ceremony THIS trip - I'm accustomed to looking for God's hand working behind the scenes. We COULD have found out about all these little details in advance, had we a clue - had Levi not been working 7 days a week, he could have ascertained what I needed to bring - so...What lesson is there in this? What "working together for good for me because I love You, Lord" are You doing? Immediate: Victor and I have been able to impart some words of wisdom to niece Jhoana on child rearing; water some seed of the gospel in bro-in-law Juan; I helped Juan Carlos with his chemistry homework (at least, I HOPE I helped!); I've had this special time to get to know other family members, Victor as well as Nilsa; we've BOTH learned a lot on this trip...And I know that no experience, good or "bad" is wasted in God's economy. The wait may be necessary to ensure that Levi is with the parents yet a while, because they ARE elderly. And I am blessed in that Levi, too, tends to have a positive outlook. I was also considering the fact that, since we have no documentation of the informal marriage from last year, technically I am still a widow, and will have been the entire year, which will give me a better tax break next year...which may help with the cost of returning to tie up loose ends. But MEANWHILE...the plan is Monday to go to Rel. Ext and pick up the document, then stop at a bus station to see about getting passage ASAP Monday (leaving late afternoon); then a trip "home" to get our stuff and then head back to the station. If we pull THAT off, I can at least hope to be in Pucallpa the afternoon of my birthday. Of course, if nothing is available Monday we'll have to wait for the next bus out. One step at a time. Meanwhile, in the hopes that we WILL leave Monday, I hope to be able to treat the family to dinner on Sunday.
Other good stuff - I did a LOT of walking that day, and I am sure all my morning walks with Papito helped me to be able to do it - but I DID have to take aspirin as soon as we got back. Also, we got a LITTLE lost after getting off the bus in Surco, and while Victor asked directions, I sat on a bench in the park and saw a HUMMINGBIRD! It came and went a few times, and of course by the time I had my camera out and ready, it had disappeared. Hummingbird sighting is to me a little love note from God!
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
I was sweltering in my traveling clothes - jeans and teeshirt - as we waited to board our bus Monday night. Levi and Josue had accompanied us on the motorcycle to see us off. The bus had air conditioning, which was nice. But it shut off later ( "Charapas" just can't seem to adjust to cooler temps!) We were served a dinner of fried chicken, ubiquitous rice, a wee bit of salad, and jello, with Inca Kola. There was a movie, Rebound ("Mi Segunda Vez") which I liked because it showed an older woman and younger man - only the age difference was more than mine with Levi - even better! I dozed on and off, because the seats WERE comfortable. I made use of the bathroom once - staggering as though I was drunk (train is the easiest among the 3 methods of travel: plane, bus, train) But the altitude eventually had an effect on me. When day broke, at one point a man had boarded selling something called manjar blanca or something like it - something sweet - I didn't want any, but suddenly I DID want a bag, because my stomach and head conspired to make me want to empty the contents of the former. I asked if he had one, and no sooner did he give it to me than I yarked - producing only bile, and not much, but enough apparently for the stomach to rebel against the effects of high altitude. This happened a couple of times. When around 10 the bus stopped at a restaurant, ( passengers had a 5 sol meal allowance) neither Victor nor I had any appetite (though I WAS very thirsty, having sweated so much and lost other body fluids). We bought water, yogurt, gum, and motion-sickness pills with our allowance. The pill helped so eventually I could open my eyes and watch the second movie on the way - the previous was dubbed in Spanish, and this was in English with Spanish subtitles (though sadly for those who didn't know English, the screen did not accommodate all the subtitles!) - This was Backup Plan. I like romantic comedies, so I enjoyed both features. Well, we arrived at the station in Lima around 1:30, and Victor got us a cab to Nilsa's place. It is indeed a humble dwelling, and Nilsa and her husband Juan spoiled me by letting me have the BED, though I was willing to take the sofa.We had lunch around two - cebiche and soup - which hit the spot after not having eaten since around 9 the previous night! Later, I had myself a sponge bath to get the sweat off me and changed into sweatpants and turtleneck. The temperature is in the upper 60's, lower 70's during the day - comfortable.
Their older daughter Jhoana lives downstairs; she has a 3 year old son. At first I was of the mistaken impression that Gabriel was Nilsa's tot. Her son, Juan Carlos,helps to watch the toddler during the day, going to school at night. Victor and I made similar observations on Nilsa's rearing of little Gabriel, that she let him get away with too much - and today after breakfast, I learned that Jhoana was actually his mother, and Victor and I began to give her some iinstruction on Biblical child-rearing, not to be afraid to discipline him, for his own good. Well...Last night I invited the family to a polleria that took cards - the nene was all right till it came time to pay, then he was out of his seat and running back and forth, a real hazard...and Juan told me, "This time, I will treat YOU - before you leave, you can treat us!" I wasn't about to argue with the proposition! I slept well during the night, and breakfasted on the yogurt we had gotten, and a whole wheat roll Victor bought at the local bakery - and even a cup of coffee (instant, but hey...) Then came our childrearing lessons, and now I am at a local internet for a couple of hours. The dueña asked if I was a foreigner, and I replied in the affirmative, and gave her a little rundown of how and why I'm here. Victor was preparing the lunch during our lecture, and by the time I finish here, it'll be lunch time.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Saturday bro-in-law Victor came by with Sonia and son David, saying that with approaching holidays (Dias de las Patrias) it may be difficult to get passage toLima, so it may behoove us to go early to get them. So we hopped inhis motokar - Ma came too, and he left her with Sonia at a store (she wanted to get material for a dress to wear to the wedding!) while we went to the bus station and got tickets. Alas, more expensive than what Ma estimated, but we were going in a sleeper bus, with more comfortable seats, and a potty on board. We're going to be leaving late Monday afternoon, arriving in Lima Tues afternoon. Also changed is our hospitality arrangement. I will have the opportunity to meet another Utia sibling, Nilsa, who lives not far from the embassy - we can take a bus, so no high taxi expenses. I'll be sleeping on a couch, and Victor on the floor probably (but he was in the armed service, so he can take it!) My hope and prayer is that we can get this done all in one day, the day of the appointment, which is Thurs the 26., or at worst in TWO days. Becuase one can pretty much forget about traveling on the holidays. I know my parents-in-law want me to be able to be with them, and then there's my birthday too, which I'd prefer to spend with family, and not on the road. BUT...I place all these things in the Lord's hands. And even if I get all MY docs squared away - Levi is STILL waiting for HIS. SO...we may still have to wait either until next year with me returning and having the civil ceremony, or once we have all docs, we may send for him to come as a fiance. BUT...we had discussed that it may be better for him to stay yet a while in Peru to get a work established. This is what we discussed, our combined visions, dreams and callings.
Posada de Refugio - House of Refuge
We'll need to purchase land about 40x40 meters. To start the work, on a 10x10 meter plot we'll have a dining hall and kitchen. Of course, these will need their furnishings - stoves/ovens, refrigerator/freezer, sinks, work areas, utensils...tables and benches. Initially we will focus on serving meals, breakfast in particular, to needy children - eventually to the elderly as well. A good breakfast is essential to do well in school! But the kitchen will also serve as a teaching area - what in my youth we called "Home Ec". This way, children can learn age-appropriate kitchen skills - meal preparation, keeping things sanitary, avoiding contamination, balanced meal planning. The kitchen can also serve to prepare foodstuffs for sale to help maintain the ministry: Ma's fabulous sweet rolls and Levi's and my pizza for starters! When the dining area is not in use, it can also serve as an instructional area. Skills such as sculpture, sewing, crocheting can be imparted to women and youth so they can develop their own little microenterprises; and of course while I'm there, I can be giving English lessons, thus giving them another tool for employability. Adjacenty to the kitchen/dining hall will be the directors' residence - me and Levi - and little by little we'll begin to take in homeless children. Eventually the property will be developed with other buildings to raise, nurture, and educate - academically and with practical skills - homeless children - and eventually down the road, elderly people as well. There are family members who can contribute to staffing, who can help run things when Levi comes to the States where together we hope to be able to raise extra support from the Christian and philanthropic community.
Meanwhile....Life goes on tranquilly here in Pucallpa. Last night I treated the parents, Levi, and Josue to dinner at a "Chifa" (Chinese restaurant.) There's a street here in Pucallpa that is full of Chifas. We dined at Monodo.I had eaten lightly during the day, having yogurt and a piece of the pizza Levi had prepared Saturday afternoon to sell. OH! That reminds me - after getting our bus tickets, I was telling Victor that, since we'll have the extra time in Lima, I could have my hair colored there. He said, "But Sonia knows how to do all that!" So, we stopped by the house, dropping Ma off, and I grabbed my Nice 'n' Easy, and went to their house where Sonia colored me for a fourth of what I would expect to pay in Lima - 5 soles! Meanwhile, I had abandoned Levi to making the pizzas by himself - which he'll have to get used to doing anyway once I leave...Okay, back to Sunday, earlier that day, Tios Armando and Teresa joined the parents in visiting at Manantial, where Levi had dropped me off since I was ready and he was not...he joined us a bit later, and stayed for the extra discipleship class, so I walked home with the folks - only about 7 minutes, and God in His grace left some clouds in the sky so I wasn't baking in my pale gringa skin. For Lima, I'm packing warmer clothes - winter continues there. If our return is delayed, I may contact my "family" in Villa el Salvador so as not to inconvenience Nilsa too long. They want to meet Levi, but they'll have to settle for his brother for now!
Now to get to my emails...
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
The rain of the previous night brought the temp down so I changed into sweatpants, a turtleneck shirt under my teeshhirt, and a sweater. Levi seemed to adjust well though, so I told him he'll have no trouble getting accustomed to the climate in Rochester, which he calls "mi tierra". The cold helped the swelling in my ankles to subside. Although I did not go to the bathroom the twelve times Levi claimed during the night, I did go frequently, and lo and behold this morning I could see my ankle bones! They say it's supposed to continue cool for the next several days, 11 celcius - though with the sun shining, I have doffed my sweater and also the turtleneck. My morning walks with Papito are paying off - he commented that I am walking more "ligero" - lightly - and we even did a little jog on one pass...and we walked 40 minutes rather than 30. Then Mama had compassion on me and walked with me to cousin Palomino's internet - it's just 3 blocks - since Levi is out and about again: another try with the lawyer, an attempt at the Immigration office here in town to see if we can avoid the Lima trip (which I doubt because that would be CONVENIENT!) And he also has to get his address changed on his DNI (national identity card) - it's still the Iquitos address!
Levi reported last night that Victor was indeed willing to accompany me to Lima, that there's a relative in the Peruvian Air Force where we can stay at the residence near the embassy, and we may even be able to get a discount on the trip with another relative who has a busline, IF he's available at that time. Pray it is so! Funds are being consumed oh-so-quickly, because I chip in for everything, and Levi has been unemployed. He is leaning towards the sale of motorcycles which gives pure commission of, I believe, 4%. We'll see. Today we are going to sit down and go over plans for what we want to do here, as a ministry, specifically, a home for children, educating them not only academically but also to prepare them to work. I'd thought of being a foster mother once upon a time (and learned that my own mom did too) but Ansel's health -physical and psychological - was not conducive to it. Such a ministry will be perfect for when traveling hither and yon gets too difficult, and I can release that spirit of adoption over needy kids. But we need to do some planning.
We had a nice conversation as we awaited sleep last night, getting to know each other better, sharing about our past experiences. I treasure such opportunities.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
I am so glad God knows what's going on, and has everything under HIS control. Levi went downtown yesterday, STILL doesn't have papers he's waiting for, which require an additional step of sending them elsewhere for signing. At my request he checked at city hall to see if what I had was serviceable - but as my Dad would say, "But NOOooo" - the documents are fine and good, BUT I also need to have official translation and notarization of the consulate - in LIMA of course. So, we talked about options. I was pretty sure I was going to need an appointment - that I couldn't just waltz in and ask them to handle these "tramites". And when I arrived at cousin Palomino's cabina today and went directly to the embassy website, sure enough, I have to make an appointment. Well, I've made one for next Thursday so I can give my bro-in-law Victor time to digest the request: at Ma's suggestion, since I don't want to travel alone, she said he knows Lima and has an uncle through his wife with whom we can stay. We can take a bus, travel the 24 hours, spend night at uncle's, and go to the appt. the next day, then skeedaddle out of there right after and back to Pucallpa by bus. Ugh! But I certainly can't swing one airplane ticket, much less two. ANd the embassy charges $50 per thing they gotta do, so I figure at least $150 - my birth and marriage certificates, and Ansel's death certificate. If Levi also has all his papers by then, we still have time to put in an announcement and have the required 15 day wait before the civil ceremony. If, however, he still faces delays on his side, well...we'll wait. We're not alarmed, because GOD is not. And while we are eager for him to be able to come to the states, he suggested that it may serve better anyway if he stays behind to get a work ESTABLISHED, so when he DOES come, he can have photos, "Look, this is what we have in place" and gain support as well as people who want to come to work with us. Perhaps once everything is established, THEN he can come and spend some time in the US. These are thoughts. We're praying and waiting.
Meanwhile, it has been unusual for me to relax and spend time with my in-laws. Sunday Levi and I went to his church Manantial de Vida. He dropped me off first, then went to get his youngest daughter, Saraí, so she could have some Daddy time. She was also allowed to come over for a bit yesterday. We gave her the last couple of pieces of pizza. This morning someone called to see if we had pizza, but we haven't done any baking since Saturday. As it was, we had 2 unsold pizzas which we chipped away at. Son Josué was more than happy to help out in that!
Last night I woke to the sound of rain starting on the calaminas (corrugated steel roofing) - it built up until it was like the sound of static turned to the highest volume. There was also lightning, though I didn't hear much thunder (maybe the rain on steel drowned it out!) It was relaxing though. I love the sound. The rains cooled off the day, and they say it's going to be chilly the next few days. I'm comfortable unless I sit too long in the breeze - then I want a sweater. There wasn't enough rain to impede my morning walk with Papito. And I plan to do my arm-strengthening exercises, using a couple of stones as weights. I think Papi and I have influenced Levi - who was acquiring a bit of a tummy from the pizza and sweet rolls - because he went out for a jog this morning.
I am experiencing some swelling in my ankles which has not let up - not unusual for me in the summer ANYWAY. But prayers are appreciated. Other than that, my systems are functioning well. I've been drinking boiled tapwater, rather than consuming bottled water. Fresh oranges, fresh grapefruit, little bananas....I've enjoyed cooking from time to time. Do need to go to the market for some kind of meat as we're about out of fish. I also want to get more yarn - I'm not used to not doing anything with my hands. Yesterday I completed a color pencil drawing of the mango tree in front of the house - been a while since I drew "from life."
I occasionally see various relatives - Papi's brother, Tio Armando; his wife, Tia Mercedes; Levi's niece Erica's husband Carlín, who often plays chauffeur to market (in fact I will probably enlist him because he may remember where I got the yarn last time)...Oh, he gave Papi and me each a big broiled chicken breast the other night - Mine I used to make sandwiches for me, Levi and Saraí on Sunday, that's how big it was. Here at the cabina, there's cousin Palomino's son Tony and his wife Leici. They have a black dog - could be lab mix, by her personality. While waiting for a cabina, I was scritching and rubbing her ears. She didn't object at all!
I've been maintaining my journal, some in English, but I went to Spanish except when I don't know the word. Thus I manage to keep track of memories.
Well, Levi and I will take some time to draw up some detailed plans for what we want to do here. We may both end up taking out loans to get things started. My hope is that I can do so, considering other financial commitments like the van and the house. Prayers are always appreciated.
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