Going Down Under

…My life abroad

moshing in ecua…it happens August 30, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 7:13 pm

So…

i´m already on disc two of alias.  i´m kind of ashamed to admit that.

but not to worry, there´s been plenty of time for living my own life too.  haha.  last night the worship service at comunidad de fe was so incredible.  Found out last night that the church has 8,000 members.  their sanctuary is probably the size of our gym at CLA.  they´re moving into a new building in a few weeks, but for now you have to pack in there like sardines.  the worship service was about 3 hours long.  i was constantly being stepped on and smooshed and suffocated but it was worth it.  everyone jumps during the fast songs – even the old people.  people don´t care about their comfort… they just want to badly to worship God.  We did the happy song, lead me to the cross, the stand, endlessly… all in spanish of course.  afterwards we met one of the pastors and his wife.  they both speak english.  they told us that comunidad de fe is hoping to be the latino version of hillsong.  they have started a worship school every monday night to train musicians, and they write their own worship songs too.  she invited me to a women´s bible study on monday and i think i´ll go.  they are a young and really neat couple. 

after church, we went to a place called bonga to meet up with a bunch of international students.  the place we went to… well, it was interesting.  it´s supposedly a dance place but they place rock music and the only dancing they have is mosh pits!  and all the decorations were anime.  it was like purple door minus christianity plus japanese cartoons.  it was so strange.  i´m learning not to be suprised by anything here.  we left early, but it was an entertaining scene to say the least. 

second day of classes is going well so far… hope school´s goin good for the rest of you.

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first day of school August 29, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 7:55 pm

Today we began the fall semester at USFQ.  It was a nutsy day.  I´m used to the campus being so quiet and now it is packed with Ecuadorians… who all look like they just stepped off the runway.  I find it pretty hilarious that a lot of the guys wear their polo sweaters tied around their shoulers.  maybe it´s just me.

This morning I had tejido, my weaving class.  The teacher showed us a bunch of projects students made in the past and they are so sweet.  Plus almost all my friends are in that class – it´s all gringos – only 2 ecuadorians!  We don´t have any homework, ever, and that´s cause for celebration.  It´ll be real relaxing – the teacher told us we can bring our ipods every class if we want.  Then I went to lit class.  The way registration works here is that if the class is full you can be on the wait list… I showed up to class and got one of the last desks, but people kept flooding in.  There were almost twice as many people as there were desks by the time everybody got there.  Luckily i wasnt´on the wait list so i didn´t get kicked out like a lot of them.  The teacher is kind of mean for that one and hard to understand.  It´ll be a tough one.

Today I played the piano and sang for the first time since I got here!  I was dying without music, seriously.  It was so wonderful.  Tonight we go to an all-night worship service at our church which is super exciting and I plan on talking to the pastor afterwards to get involved (hopefully).

GUESS WHAT!!!? this is totally unrelated but yesterday I discovered that there is a DVD store on my street that sells seasons of american tv shows.  this includes, but is not limited to, lost, prison break, 24, the oc, full house, house, gray´s anatomy… and the best one ever… ALIAS!!!  I am on my way to go buy season 3 as soon as i finish this blog.  The best part… 2 bucks per disc, bring the grand total for season 3 to eight bucks.  YESSSSSSSS!  i know tony and jamie will be able to empathize with me that I have been in suspense for this whole month after the finale of season 2.

well i have more to write but i know the big joke around pa is that i´m way to long winded… so out of consideracy, i´m out!

 

wedge heels plus quito = disaster August 28, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 4:02 pm

yesterday´s fiasco brings the wipe-out-in-public tally to 2.  Wearing heels has always been something I enjoy…but not in ecuador.  the thing is i stay down there on the ground for a few minutes because i´m laughing so hard, making a scene and drawing even more attention to myself besides the unavoidable gringita factor.  what an oaf i am.

in other news, today and yesterday we had international student orientation to USFQ.  There´s 250 other american students studying here this fall!  There are a lot of new faces to meet.  Tomorrow I am looking forward to classes starting.  I´ll have textiles (weaving) and literature tomorrow and then tuesday thursday i have spanish conversation and modern dance.  it´s a pretty easy schedule, thank goodness.

in the words of my friend Arelis…

¨WE´RE IN ECUA!! LIVE IT UP!!!¨

 

Birthday Pictures August 27, 2007

Filed under: Pictures — Andrea @ 1:44 pm

My 20th birthday party

spontaneous dance party in my room…

Karaoke

 

meaning

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 1:39 pm

 (Let me preface this by saying I wrote it several nights ago onto my flash drive and forgot to post it)

I’m feeling down.  It’s not any one particular thing…and I’m definitely not complaining.  I know this is where I’m supposed to be and being in God’s will is always a good thing. 

Tonight, sitting in my room in Quito, I looked up at the pictures on my wall.  One of my favorites is the pictures of all of the girls from my house last year jumping in mid-air.  Last year in the Griswold house was so carefree and wonderful.  All nine of us girls learned so much from each other, sharing a lot of laughs and tears.  It sounds corny but it’s true.  I’ll never forget those big home-cooked Sunday lunches, painting all the bedrooms the craziest colors we possibly could, the billions of times we watched pride and prejudice in the living room and fought over who got to sit on the green couch, chatting with Brittany in the kitchen as she baked, decorating the house for Christmas, the bonfires on the back patio, sitting on Cherice’s bed as we moaned about our homework, her about her labs and me about my papers, deep conversations with Sue in the dining room, Kate’s smile that always turned my day around for the better, Bri and Katie’s amazing birthday parties that they threw for absolutely everyone, Kaelie falling asleep in the living room every night with her Spanish book open on her lap, our Thursday night bible studies, hayrides with the restoration house guys, talking with Karah about her wedding plans, Katie’s love of old black and white movies, Brittany’s bible verses that she would post on the bathroom mirrors, walking to the soccer games together, trying to shovel out our cars in February, killing Cherice’s fish over Christmas break and replacing it sneakishly, our ugly sweater party and the embarrassing Union moment that went along with it… I could go on.  Looking back, it was such an incredible year that even sharing all of those memories will never help anyone to understand it besides us.  And that’s okay, because I think it changed all of us so deeply. 

 

The funny thing is, at the time, I never realized just how good it was.  I just lived it.  It’s only now, looking back on it, that I realize what a gift last year was.  How strange that we go through life looking to the future with little appreciation for the present.  Well maybe you’re not like that, but I am.  Last year I thought about Ecuador all the time.  I would say things this summer, sitting around with my family, “I wish I could just be there now!” when really…I wish I could be back on Kent drive sitting around with my family right about now.  I know it’s only been a month… but you’d be surprised how slow a month can go when your life has slowed down as much as mine has here.

 

And inevitably, maybe about a month after being home, maybe even longer, I will start to completely realize the beauty of this semester in South America.  I’ll look back and wonder how I ever had moments when I wanted to be elsewhere.  If only I could somehow manage to find contentment in every season of my life.  When I was at Messiah, I longed for the summer, so I could be free of homework.  During the summer, I longed for the adventure of going away.  Now, I wish I could be with everyone I love.  But those things may never coexist and I need to learn to be okay with that. 

 

Even nights like tonight when I just sit in the quiet of my room… they are meaningful. 

 

 

¡TOMA TOMALO! ¡TOMA TOMALO! August 26, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 11:40 pm

To quote one of those good ´ole nostalgic movies, the sound of music, ¨When God closes a door, he opens a window¨.

I was kind of upset earlier this weekend, and a big part of that was that on Saturday I met with the missionary´s wife that I mentioned before to get a tour of HCBJ world radio missions headquarters.  It didn´t go as well as I hoped.  First of all, HCJB is moving out of Quito, which is crazy since they´re so well known for having been here for 75 years.  Karen showed me around the office and was like… well actually… most people aren´t around and there´s only a couple of offices to show you.  Then I asked her about ways I could help out this semester, which we had kind of talked about before, but to my suprise she was like, ¨Yeah actually there isn´t that much around here to do… I can ask around for you but I´m not sure if we can use you.¨  I was really confused because earlier i had the impression that there were a ton of opportunities.  I didn´t get it.  I thought missionaries were always supposed to need help!

I was also really struggling because they encouraged me to go to their church, English Fellowship Church.  It´s basically a church just for missionary families.  I liked it and all.. but the thought of going to church in English seemed kind of weird… I´m only in Ecaudor once, and I want total cultural immersion.  This week one of our good friends Jose invited us to go with him to his church, which is called La Comunidad de Fe (Community of Faith).  I wanted to try it out and give it a chance, just to see what church in Spanish would be like.

Oh my gosh it was SO AMAZING!!!

Comunidad de Fe has thousands and thousands of members.  It is an evangelical charismatic church about 15 minutes from my house.  There are so many people who want to go there that you have to wait in a line to get in.  We got there early and had to sit in the very back row.  But we were lucky – they run out of seats so fast that hundreds of people sit on the steps outside of the church, even though it´s hard to see and hear from there.  And check it out… they sing all of the hillsong songs!  The title of my entry, toma tomalo, is the tranlation of ¨Take take take it all, take take take it all!¨  When we sang that, everybody in the church was jumping and praising God like crazy.  We sang came to my rescue and a bunch of other ones.  It was so awesome.   I cried a lot through worship because it was just such a breath of fresh air to be with believers who were so passionate.  Plus by this point I can totally worship in Spanish and understand and appreciate it.  What a miracle that God has provided such an amazing church for my time here.  On Wednesday they have an all-evening worship service which we´re going to and i´m sooo excited!  I´ve only been able to go to church twice since I´ve been here including this morning because of all of our BCA trips, so this morning was much needed.

PS – this is really weird and strange but I had the funniest dream last night.  Okay first of all let me preface it with the statement that dreams are unconscious!! I had no control over this!!  Okay so sorry for all those of you who will find this strange… but in the dream I was about to get married to dave wolfe.  hahahah sorry meg!  and dave! hahaha!  and i was literally in my wedding dress waiting at the door to walk down the aisle, which was not in our church sanctuary but rather the sanctuary of phillip bongiorno conference center, hahahaha, i said to my dad… ¨Dad.. Dave and I aren´t even dating.  I dont want to marry him.  He´s dating Meg.  What am I doing here?¨  To which my dad responded with the expected shock and horror after paying for a wedding that I didn´t want to go through with.  But it just so happened that Aaron had come to the wedding as a guest… so we switched grooms and married Aaron instead right then and there!  The sad thing was that Dave had made some video montage of the two of us and all these pictures of us as children and dating (which i dont know how that happpened) and we played it at the reception and that was kind of awkward!  Hahahahahah!  Man it was the most hilarious dream I have ever had.  Please don´t interpret this to mean I am planning on getting married anytime soon!  Just though you might find it as hilarious and random as I did…….I read on the medicine bottle that my malaria prevention pills are supposed to give you weird dreams and I guess they weren´t kidding!

well on that note, I hope you all have a great day! haha!

 

Lecciones August 24, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrea @ 3:48 pm

Another friday – hard to believe as of tomorrow I will have been here for a month.  A fifth of my time is over already!  Crazy.

Yesterday God really worked a lot on my heart.  A bunch of us girls from the program have been wanting to get a bible study started up, but we hadn´t gotten around to it yet.  After our last dance class we sat in the garden of the university and had our first time of meeting together.

First of all let me just say how blessed I am to have those girls here.  God really provided awesome friends for these 5 months… friends that are so spiritually encouraging and, well… they are just solid.

We began to share with each other about what God is doing in our hearts after being here for a month.  We talked about our struggles, our hopes, our worries, our homesickness.  At one point one of my friends began to cry and shared with us that her mom died last year.  Most of us didn´t know.  She talked about how difficult her family situation is at home and how much she loves having a host mom here in Ecuador.  Man, we all just got around and prayed for her, and it was such an awesome time.  Isn´t it crazy to think how much people can be going through so much pain and you would never know?  It really was a blessing to me that she broke down and shared that with us because there are so many times when I take my family, my economic stability, and my comfort for granted.  I assume that they are my right, when really, they are a gift.  And God gives and takes away.

It led me last night to the book of Job, who had everything, lost everything, and then was blessed 10-fold in the end.  I wanted to share a couple of verse that really struck me.

Job 23:10-12 ¨But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.  My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.  I have not departed from the commands of his lips, I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.¨   (I hope I can say that about my relationship with God looking back on my life someday)

Job 27:2-6 ¨As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, The almighty, who has made me taste bitterness of soul, as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, and my tongue will utter no deceit.  I will never admit you are in the right.  Till I die, I will not deny my integrity.  I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.¨

During the very last chapter of the book, when God has answered Job´s prayer and proven himself to Job, Job says,

¨My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you

What an awesome example Job is… and my friend as well… because they have been through so much yet still clung to the Lord.  I know I haven´t been through that much hard stuff, especially compared to them… but my prayer is that I will call upon God at all times, (see chapter 27:10) not just on the good days.