Saturday, March 13, 2010


The day turned out fabulous even though last night was an annoying night and I wasn’t doing well this morning either. The power going out last night didn’t bother me; I like it when there’s no power. But the mouse for my computer stopped working. I thought it was the batteries but they weren’t the problem. Then I checked the computer and then I gave it a good smack. Nothing helping and I realized the laser underneath it was dead. I hate using the touchpad on my computer. God invented “mouses” for a reason. Okay, that’s putting it way too strongly and I know it’s not a huge deal; I just get frustrated with technology.

I was really tired last night. I actually fell asleep a few times while I was writing my blog so I eventually gave up and decided it was time for bed. When I went into the bedroom I saw something on the bed across from mine. I thought it was garbage or something like that. When I leaned over to pick it up I realized it was a giant cicada. Now, I like bugs. In fact, I love bugs. But I really wasn’t in the mood to deal with it. Needless to say he was not invited to stay the night with me. He got go sleep outside my bedroom and outside the house. I learned today that cicadas are called chicharras in Spanish. They flourish here during the dry season but die during the rainy season.

I woke up earlier than I wanted to this morning. I was hoping to sleep in because I was so exhausted, but my body had different plans. I decided to use my extra time to upload the rest of my pictures and journal of the day before to my blog. I also wanted to upload pictures to Facebook. I was hoping to get it all done before we left at 8:30am for the lagoon in Alegría. I could add photos to my blog but for some reason it wasn’t saving my blog as I went along. Then Kathy let me borrow her mouse (I owe her big time now). In the rush of trying to get things done I was leaving my room and ran into the wall. Cecilia saw this and burst out laughing. I started laughing too. It was pretty funny. A few minutes later I ran into the door knob. I definitely needed to get out of the house and things I could run into.

The kids from San Francisco showed up around 8:15am and we all left around 8:30 for the lagoon in Alegría. For those of you who don’t know, the lagoon is in a volcano in the nearby city of Alegría. There is a legend about the lagoon of a sirena (mermaid) that lives there. I told the story today to the kids I went with. Supposedly there is a sirena that lives underneath the water in the lagoon. She sings to handsome, young men to lure them into the water. Once they enter the water she pulls them down to the bottom of the lagoon to live with here. Of course, there are many stories about young men who went into the lagoon and never returned.

When we arrived we headed down toward the water to check it out. It only took a few minutes for me to decide I wanted to wade in the water. Now, this isn’t a place that you’d want to actually swim. Many local people swim in the water but we’ve never gone swimming there. Last night Kimberly asked why not. As Kathy and I were trying to explain it to her I said, “Well, people also drink the water here but that doesn’t mean I’m going to do it.” There’s a lot of sulfur in the lake, cow feces, and possibly lots of other things I don’t want to know about.

Pretty soon everyone else decided to join me in the water. We had fun wading around and looking at rocks on the bottom. I may have tossed some algae floating in the water toward people. We got a few group pictures in the water. Sergio remembered that I liked to take a funny picture as well so we all posed for a couple of those as well. I think everyone had a better understanding of the “funny picture” concept than when we were at the cross. After a while we got out of the water and put our shoes back on.

Kathy grabbed a book and got some good reading in while us kids were off playing and running around like crazy. We had decided it was fútbol time. They had bought a ball at the store before we left so we could play. They asked me if I liked to play fútbol. I said I did but that I wasn’t very good. We started out with four people on each team. We really didn’t play any specific positions, except for the goalie. Now, they all told me that they weren’t very good at fútbol, but you have to realize that in a country crazed by fútbol saying you’re not very good isn’t saying much. And most of these “kids” are around my age. The guys were all in their early twenties except Niwman, who is 28. The girls were all in their late teens except for one girl who was 14.

After a short while two other guys from San Francisco showed up. But only one played fútbol with us and it wasn’t on our team. So the other team not only had an extra person but also the two best players. I definitely wasn’t the best player out there but I think I held my own pretty well. I even scored a goal. I was goalie for a while but decided I liked running around better.
The game ended an hour later. I’m not even sure what the score was in the end. I don’t think it mattered. We were all exhausted, hot, and covered in sweat but we had a great time.

We sat rested for a while. They were asking me when I’d be back and how much it cost for a plane ticket and to stay at the pastoral house. I think they were surprised not only by the prices but also that what I am doing isn’t a paid position. They asked me if next time I came down if I would teach them English. I would LOVE to do that. It would be great to work with some older people and also those in Westminster’s sister community. Then we somehow got on the topic of yoga. They knew I liked yoga and asked me to show them some yoga poses. I showed them a few that I knew and had them try the poses as well. They also asked if I’d teach them yoga when I returned. I said I could teach them yoga and English at the same time. So I stood in a balance pose and tried teaching English. We all ended up laughing and trying some crazy poses.

After our lesson some people went for a walk while the rest of us went to get some snacks. As we were walking I excitedly pointed at the water and said, “La sirena!” Everyone looked. Then they told me that I was la sirena. I tried to lure a few people into the water but to no avail. We got some chips and orange Fanta at a nearby stand then met the others underneath a tree for some lunch. They had generously brought bread with cream for lunch from San Francisco and offered me some. We talked and enjoyed our food.

Something I forgot to mention when I walked with them to the cross that I want to mention now is about garbage. It is very common and perfectly acceptable to throw your garbage on the ground when you are finished eating. On the day we walked up to the cross they had bought some food for us to eat on the way up. I noticed everyone throwing their trash on the ground. I debated for a while whether to also throw my trash on the ground or carry it all the way up to the cross and then back down. And I feel absolutely horrible admitting that I also threw my trash on the ground. Me, who recycles every tiny shred of paper I find, littered. So today when everyone was throwing their trash on the ground I said to Sergio about how different it was in the US. I said you could be fined big time if you were caught littering. After hearing that he insisted that we carry out all our trash. I was impressed. I never expected people to actually start picking up their trash just because I made a comment about it.

We finished our snack and continued walking around. We took another group picture in front of the lagoon. You could really smell the sulfur as we got closer to one area. I chatted with Sergio quite a bit. He spoke even more English than I realized. At one point someone said something to me in Spanish that I didn’t quite understand. He started translating what they’d said to me in English. In English I said to him, “You told me you only spoke a little English and here you are translating what someone just told me!” He replied in English, “Sorry.” Then I said, “You understood what I just said?! I’m not going to speak Spanish anymore to you.” I was just joking and I did speak Spanish to him. I was just surprised. Apparently he learned English when he lived in the US for three years.

At one point during our walk around the lagoon we stopped and climbed around on some rocks and in trees for a while. It’s nice to be around people who enjoying mini adventures and climbing on things as much as I do. We laid back and relaxed for a while. Then we decided to get moving again. We walked around the rest of the lagoon and back to the pick up where Kathy was waiting. We all hoped in and headed back to Berlín. Got back home around 2:30pm. As I was saying goodbye to everyone I told Veronica that I thought her bracelet was beautiful. Very unexpectedly, she took it off and put it on my wrist. I was surprised and told her I couldn’t take it. She told me it was to remember them when I returned to the US. How could I ever possibly forget them!!! I had such a wonderful time getting to know them and I’m looking forward to returning. I was pretty sad when I hugged everyone goodbye. I can’t wait to see them all again! We’ll have more grand adventures for sure!

I relaxed for a little while at the house. I asked Kathy if she’d walk with me to Brisas del Sol since I’d never been there before. We left around 4:30pm. It was a pretty quick walk. There wasn’t a ton to see since the school wasn’t open but I was glad to know where it was. As we were leaving the school I asked a pretty silly question that got a weird look from Kathy. As we were walking back down a steep hill I commented to Kathy that it would be a great sledding hill if they had snow here. Kathy said, “Or an ice storm”. I replied, “They have ice storms here?” Okay, that was probably a dumb question, but it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility.

When we got back from Brisas del Sol Kimberly and I went to the market. I wanted to see if I could find some aloe for my sunburn and I needed to get a couple star pastries for the house. We didn’t find aloe but we did find the stars. They were pretty tasty (and huge). I devoured almost a whole one when we returned. I told Kathy I hadn’t found any aloe. She jokingly told me that surely I could find tea to remedy my sunburn. I drink a lot and know about tea. I was looking through some info on the net about sunburn and I saw one article that said chamomile is good for sunburns. I ran up to Kathy’s office and told her I’d found some tea I could use. We even have chamomile tea at the house!

We had another earthquake tonight around 8:55pm. It was stronger and lasted longer than the last one; about 10 seconds this time. I was typing my blog in the dining room and the house starting shaking. This time I knew what it was right away. I flew up to Kathy’s office and shouted, “Kathy, was that an earthquake!?!?” She said, “Yes, and you can still feel it if you stand still.” I could just barely feel the ground shaking. A few seconds before the house shook I heard a couple things fall off the table in the kitchen. Then the ground was rumbling. I’m going to check out the National Earthquake Information Center, which is a part of the USGS to see if they say anything about it. It takes very little to excite me.

Buenas noches!!

A cicada I found in my room. En Español, chicarra

Kathy at the lagoon in Alegría

La Sirena

Getting ready to wade

Hanging back

Checking out what's in the water (not fish)

Nice cool water on a warm day

Group shot- nice photo

Goofy shot

Niwman said we should all take one foot out of the water

Attempting to put on socks while keeping his feet clean

Playing fútbol

It was a great game

View of the lagoon

Getting a few snacks

Sensitive plant

Thumbs up!

Eating in a tree- my kind of people

Sulfur. It didn't smell good

A beautiful place

Group shot


Perched in a tree

Taking a break

"I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love. You can find it in a simple act of kindness toward someone who needs help. There is no mistaking love. You feel it in your heart. It is the common fiber of life, the flame that heats our soul, energizes our spirit and supplies passion to our lives. It is our connection to God and to each other." ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

1 comment:

Matt said...

I'm glad you got to return to the lagoon and you even got to go into the water! Once again it sounds like the people you have met are amazing and so giving. What a great experience!