Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Wild Ride! Welcome to Lima

(Okay, just to warn you-these blog entries are going to be misdated because I’m writing them on my internetless laptop and taking them to internet cafes to post)

Well, I’ve been in Lima for two days now and it certainly feels loooooooonger. I keep saying things like yesterday morning when it was actually this morning! The reason the days feel so long is that we don’t have a lot of structured things that have to get done here in Lima. Yesterday was a long day because I got in Lima at 5:20am and didn’t go to bed ‘till 8pm. I was picked up at the airport by John & Cindy Kreider who are missionaries in Cusco. They took me to our hotel, the Hostal Happy which is not bad even if they charge us too much for water and iit’s more of a hotel than a hostel!

This has been an interesting couple of days riding around in taxis, finding food and filling our days. Yesterday we went to a huge church -120,000 where the pastor’s vision is to reach 900,000 people in Lima in this next year!!! Wow! It was a great service and afterwards we got to talk to the pastor a little because his church uses a model of church growth called G12 that is being implemented in Cusco. I think the big thing for the Cusco church is translating an urban model into rural settings. We also went to visit a big shopping center in Miraflores, a section of Cusco right by the ocean.

Today (Monday)we went to get the papers signed and started for getting my Peru residencial visa. It didn’t take very long so afterwards Cindy and I went to an area where there are lots of tourist shops and wandered around for a while trying to find a large nativity scene that didn’t include a nursing Mary! We saw so many touristy trinkets and bought nothing! We also went to a Metro (like a walmart) and a place to get photos for my visa stuff.

One of the best parts of today was a taxi ride. We take taxis all around the city but this one guy was so funny. He ran red lights, he beeped at any and everyone, passed people when there was no passing lane and narrowly missed lots of cars, etc. All awhile he was listening to his musica folkerica (like the traditional old Latin music). It was so funny!

Anyway, tomorrow we have to go to Interpol where I’ll get my fingerprints taken, my teeth x-rayed and all sorts of things to check me out to make sure that I’m not a horrible deported criminal escaped from the US. Then I’ll have to take a trip in a couple of months to Chile and back to Lima in order to get my resident´s card.

I’ve had lots of time to get to know John & Cindy (who are both pretty laid back and more introverted people) and it’s great to experience some of Lima. I cannot wait for the slower pace of Cusco! Lima is so modernized (we ate at a Chilis!)that sometimes I forget that I’m not in some US city – well some things stand out as different (the language, the bathrooms, the food). Cindy says that once you see Lima, you are glad that you are living in Cusco. Yay for Cusco!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Week of Goodbyes

Woohoo! I am on my way! Here I am en route to Miami (where I hope to be able to post this). I can’t believe it!! I’m going to Peru!!!! Wooohooooooooo!!!!

Can you tell that I’m excited?

This certainly has been a crazy week…a week of goodbyes and taking care of last minute details. My mom flew in on Saturday and I had the chance to spend a few days with her. On Sunday, I ran around like a crazy person saying goodbye to as many people as possible. On Sunday night I went to the IT bible study group for a special night of prayer and sending me off (oh, and light refreshments were served!).

Monday was the day that mom and I went to visit Grandmom Kleinschmidt. It’s great to see how my mom & grandmom get along even though my parents have been divorced for a while.

On Tuesday, mom and I visited some old pals in Pottstown and spent the evening with my brother and his family. My neice seemed to enjoy the Veggie Tales cds that I brought and we danced around together. Katelyn is in a constant question asking mode right now…she’ll ask “what are you doing?” “Where did Aunt Carrie go?” and she’ll ask it several times! I enjoyed a sweet evening with them and then said goodbye to my mom and my brother and family.

On Wednesday the saga with my car took another turn! My friend Zoe was interested in buying it and I had it checked out to see what needed to be done for it to pass inspection (due this month). Well, the sad news was that it needed over $1000 of work! Oh Cracker… On top of that it wouldn’t start after they checked it out. The mechanic discovered some corrosion on the starter but somehow finally got it working and tried it several times. I drove it home and can you guess?? Right when I was getting ready to go out to meet my dad for dinner, it wouldn’t start!!! I borrowed my roommate’s car and went to meet my dad, eat dinner and say goodbye. Phew….

Thursday I met up with my old boss and two former coworkers for lunch (thankfully at Landis Supermarket which I could walk to). We went back to Printworks and I said my final goodbyes. That afternoon I said goodbye to my old buddy and car, Cracker as he was loaded up on the junk dealer’s tow truck. Sniff… faithful car of mine, farewell! Thursday night I went out to dinner with 13 ladies from my church. We ate at the Macaroni Grille and it was loads o’ fun and loads o’ food. They loaded me down with tons of chocolate chips, peanut butter and ranch dressing mix packets…oh and cold remedy because I currently have a cold!

Friday morning my friend Starr came over and drove me around to do last minute important details. I said goodbye to her and spent the rest of the day packing and cleaning the loft where I have been living for the past 5 (almost 6) months. Friday night I went over to some people from church’s house and they prayed for me.

Today we had a goodbye lunch at the Ensinger’s house. There were about 15-17 people and it was wonderful to have a goodbye like that! Mandy and Margie provided the yummy food as we chatted and looked at all my scrapbooks. It was sad to say goodbye but what a great send-off.

Heidi helped me to even out the weight in my bags and finish up the last minute things. Janette and I made it out the door before 4:15pm and got to the airport just fine! Yay! My bags turned out to weigh 69 and 67.5 (my limit was 70 lbs)!!! Yay Heidi!

So, here I am sitting in the Miami airport waiting for my 11:55pm flight to Lima. I don’t have free email here but I’ll post this when I can.

Hi! I made it safe to Peru and I am here in Lima staying at the Hostal Happy, eating Peruvian Chinese food (chifa) and working on getting the paperwork processed for a residential visa. Thank you everyone for praying for me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

An Actual Date!!!

Yes!!! It's true, I have it! I actually have an official date to leave for Peru. I think back and remember how many people asked me: "when are you going to Peru?" "do you have your tickets yet?" or "So when do you leave?"

For months I lived in a fog not sure when I would leave....not sure if I'd be around for this event or that...not wanting to commit, not wanting to make plans... It was torturous to live my life up in the air like that. Ready to go at any moment...yet waiting, still waiting. I wonder if that's what Jesus meant when He talked about His second coming? You have to be ready to leave, not get entangled in worldly pursuits and yet still to wait patiently for His coming. He chooses the date and the time and we are utterly dependent on Him! Whew! talk about feeling dependent... That's why it feels so good that something is solid, defined and planable.

Now when push comes to shove (there will probably be a lot of that going on!), I have to fit my life into two large suitcases, a small one and a laptop bag. It's kind of overwhelming and I'm trying to be ruthless with what to take and what not to take. The problem is that I have too many hobbies like art, knitting, etc, etc. Sure I've been living out of my suitcases since August but there have been a lot of random things sitting around in my room as well! :0) It's time for reality to come into focus.

Here's the date that I'm leaving:
Saturday, January 27th at 7:20pm

I have an American Airlines flight to Miami and then off to Lima, Peru. I'll get into Lima bright and early on Sunday the 28th. Woohoo! I'm just glad that I had the option to choose American Airlines because they will let you bring extra weight in your suitcase (provided that you pay of course!). Woohoo!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Going to Peru!!!

The exciting news of my life is that I'm actually going to get to go to Peru this month!!!! Yay! It seems slightly unreal because I've been wanting to leave since September! The plan is for me to leave either on the 28th or 29th of this month and to meet the Kreiders (longtime EMM missionaries in Peru) in Lima for a few days of visa dealings. I don't know why the visa stuff takes that long but I guess I should be grateful that it's not longer and at least I'll get to see some of Lima.

It's so wierd to think that my life is soon going to be very different. A different continent, a different culture, a different language and a different job. Whew! I have a lot of adjusting to do... I won't be doing language school in Arequippa as previously planned because the PROMESA school starts up again in March and I need the month of February to get accustomed to life in Cusco. I still am not sure that a month is enough time to adjust before I'm thrown into teaching madness. I found out that I'll be teaching the 4 & 5 yr olds which should be interesting. I know that I'm going to learn a lot and this whole process is going to be a growing experience. To think that I'm going to in my early 30s make such a career switch is mind-blowing!!!

Why choose to take the hard path? Why deny the things that I am familiar with? I was happy being a graphic designer! I liked all the stuff that I was involved with at my church -- all my talents were being used and there is so much growth at Keystone! Why choose to take a path that is unfamiliar and unknown? Learning to teach is going to be a sometimes hard and sometimes frustrating experience. Why am I choosing this path?

No matter how hard the path, the best place to be is in the center of God's will.

The PROMESA school needs teachers and I feel called to go to Peru. God has called me to be a servant there and whether teaching is the particular calling of God on my life is not the issue here. I cannot use experience, personality or temperament as an excuse to keep me from obeying God and doing what He wants. How could I ever limit the God of the Universe? He is able to give me strength for the tasks ahead, able to give me wisdom to do my best and able to give me joy as I serve Him in Peru. Sure He works with our personality and specific giftings but He has the ability to change things in our hearts and lives and allow us to do things we never imagined. I think too often we do use the personality thing as an excuse. If I had let my shy personality as a teenager rule my life, I would never be the person that I am today. Some people even accuse me of being extroverted.... funny...

I look forward to all that I will learn in the coming three years. It is going to be tremendous!! We never know what God's got in store but His ways sure are the best.

Monday, January 08, 2007

When Harry Met Carrie

Today, I met the sweetest boy who loves Jesus and wanted to marry me.

There's one problem with this situation: This boy, Harry is 5!

I knew that all the nice young available men were starting to be too young for me but this is going a bit too far. Harry is a bright young lad who loves to sing songs about Jesus. Of course he makes up his own tune even if the lyrics are borrowed from someplace else (like his own version of "Jesus Loves Me"). Harry wants to be a policeman/preacher/stone carver/etc. etc. when he grows up. It almost sounded like he said that he wanted to be a cobbler but when I asked him if he knew what a cobbler was he said: "yes, a cobbler is someone who cuts corn." Okay, I get it, corn cobs...cobbler! :0)

One of my first conversations with him at the dinner table was when he whispered to me that the meatloaf was poisoned. I don't think that his mom appreciated that too much but I was pretty convinced that I wasn't going to drop dead! We also had a conversation about how Jesus could grow back any body part that fell off or was cut off. Harry looked at me and said: "If your head was cut off, Jesus could give you a new one!"

Anyway, Harry told me that he loved me and that I should marry him. When his sister protested that I was too old for him, he said that we could wait until he was a teenager! Then, as I was leaving his house he reminded me that I needed to tell my boyfriend (his sister had the idea that I must have a boyfriend!) that I didn't love him and then I needed to marry Harry instead. After we (his mom, sister and I) continued to protest, he shouted:

"I'm actually ten!"

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Andean Flowers & Froo-Froo Purses

I love to be crafty (in case anyone does not know). I especially love to be crafty when it comes to Christmas and I don't have abundant financial resources. Here are the stories behind my two latest creative projects.


The inspiration for this watercolor painting came back in 2001 when I went to visit a national park in Merida, Venezuela. My friend Kristi took a photo of some flowers that became a part of a watercolor series that I was dreaming up. The theme of my series was something I sensed God was saying: "I have not abandoned you"... It was composed of things that I found in Venezuela that seemed forgotten/abandoned but were beautiful and something I treasured. The first painting that I finished several years ago was a pair of old brown boots. I worked and worked and worked on that painting. It felt like the sort of painting that would never be finished but thankfully I said "enough!" and called it done. My second painting was of the flowers that grew up on the side of the mountain. Beautiful bright flowers that grew in the mist and amongst the scraggley and strange terrain in the high altitude of the Andes mountains. (I started it a year or two ago). The final painting of the series will be of a young boy that I met at an orphanage in Venezuela.

Finishing the Andean flower painting didn't come easy. I'm sure it had a lot to do with how out of practice I am with painting but I was determined to finish it. I did not put the unfinished painting in storage with the rest of my things because I just couldn't bear to put it away for 3 years without being finished. Little did I know how much time I really would have! :0) My motivation for finishing this painting was to use it as a thank-you gift for my mission support team and also as Christmas gifts! It feels wonderful to have it finished.

Here's my dad posing with his copy of the painting!


I owe the purse project to a particular crafting project of 2005, the Walmart clearance section and my friend Macie from church. My pal Zoe and I once decided to decorate purses for a craft project. We bought canvas purse bodies and then got trim & handles for decoration. Zoe painted the body of her purse and I sewed trim and silk flowers on mine. It was a ton of fun and my purse was a particularly girlie creation that has received many compliments. I often remembered fondly how fun it was to make them. I didn't really see those purse bodies anywhere after that except in one particular Walmart clearance section. I would pass them, look at them and say: "oh, that was such a fun project." Another background note is that this summer I purchased an embroider-yourself purse kit at JoAnn fabric and discovered how easy embroidering was.

My friend Macie wrote me a little note this fall that went like this:
Thank you for every thing you do!
I hope you have a great time in Peru
We all will miss you!
Your hats, purses and your great personality
You did Kid Stuf and did karaoke.
We will treasure everything you do!

Hmmm... purses...hmmm... The mention of the purses got me thinking and I realized that purses were the solution to my need for a gift that could be creative and inexpensive! There were 8 purse bodies available in the clearance craft section at Walmart. I bought them all, along with trim and embroidery thread and d-rings (for handles). My biggest dilemma was figuring out how to make handles that I didn't have pay $5.00 for. I bought material and filler cord and hoped that I could figure out how to make handles! I sewed everything by hand and I had to figure out how to sew the handles and turn them inside out. I felt so victorious when I discovered the usefulness of a safety pin in doing this! Phew!

In the end, I made 8 purses. Some had buttons and trim and some were embroidered. The hardest thing that I embroidered was a asian looking bird on a branch. I had so much fun coming up with designs but unfortunately the purses took me way longer than I imagined (surprise! surprise!). At least 5 of them went to my old Stillwaters roomies and I had a moment of panic the day that I was finishing them up (of course up to the last minute!). I didn't have enough d-rings for the handles and not enough time to go out, get more and be finished! So, I broke down and bought some handles. Unfortunately, one set didn't match the purse it was intended for. Frantically, I sewed a pair of handles in less than 10 minutes!! Phew... again one of my projects is more work than I intended. :0) After all that, I found the missing d-rings upstairs in another bag. Silly me! My fingers were sore after all that embroidering and I didn't want to see another purse for a while. All in all, it was a fun and successful project!

Here are pictures of some of my purses:

It was tons of fun making the middles of these flowers with bits of ribbon!

Here are the lovely Stillwaters ladies with their purses!