10. Mastering the transportation system. After taking a few wrong buses with Brittany at the beginning, we have figured out the ins and outs of the buses and transmilenio. Of course, now they are trying to change the system on our street. We are a little confused, but I don't think anyone here really understands it yet.
9. Keeping up with my blog and emails. It has been so great to hear from everyone back home through emails and skype. I really miss everyone but it's so nice to know that I have your love and support...thank you! We also have a new site with all of our pictures from Colombia.
Click here to see it!
8. Operación de los pumas. We cleared out a hill and turned it into a place for the kids to play. The teamwork required to make it happen was amazing. Our kids really came together and worked hard. My Dad also made a huge difference, with the help of little Diego. It's great to know that they will have a place to play this year!
7. Arepas, ajiaco and bandeja paisa. I have tried almost all of the traditional colombian cuisine. Rice, beans, and fruit juice are an integral part of our diet now. Some of the "local treats" that I would rather not try again are chicken feet, liver, and cow hoofs.
6. Español. I can communicate pretty well with everyone now and my confidence level is much higher. We even learned the Lord's prayer in spanish so Brittany and I don't have to use the book of common prayer anymore.
5. Catching a piranha. My trip to the Amazon with Sam was amazing and I was able to see and do so much. After seeing pink dolphins, catching piranhas was the best part of the trip!
4. Novena. 9 days before Christmas: 3 in usme, 3 in soacha, 3 at the cathedral. It was a whirlwind of traveling to the missions, learning new songs, and celebrating Christmas. It was great to be able to share a few days of it with my mom and I really miss the songs we sang over and over and over again!
3. Building relationships with families throughout the church. Brittany and I had a blast exploring Padre Diego's family farm in Palmira. I have become very close with a displaced family in Soacha and I love staying with Padre Carlos and his amazing 3 kids. We always enjoy spending afternoons and saturday mornings with Padre Romero and his family.We have many special relationships with the cathedral congregation as well. A lady who cleans the office has a granddaughter, Sara, who hangs out with us during our office days. She's like a little sister to us. Lastly, Myriam and Oscar (my Colombian parents) were such an important part of my transition process and I am so fortunate to have had that special time with them together.
2. Oscar. My Colombian host dad made such an impact in my life in the short time I knew him. He opened his heart to me and made a huge difference in my life. Through him, I learned how much reaching out to people can help them feel more comfortable. I will never forget this life lesson that Oscar taught me during the brief time we shared such a special friendship. He will always hold a special place in my heart!
1. The pumas! When Brittany and I showed up that day in December and the kids came running down the hill to hug us, we were overcome with love and happiness. Those kids are so special to us and we love working with them. The relationships that we have built with every single child are so strong and remind us why we're here.
As you can see, it's been a great five months and I'm so happy to be here. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by such loving and welcoming people. This is an amazing experience and I'm learning a lot. Thanks to everyone who has helped make this possible! We've been meeting with the priests here, and have a few meetings lined up this week to discuss the rest of our time here. My next blog will be full of our plans and goals for 2010.