Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pregnant? Old?

So, the other day, Sarah and I are waiting in line to buy groceries. I think everyone in Huancayo had the same idea... to go and buy grocieries at exactly the same time, making about 15 check-out lines with about 25+ people in each one! Billy left us in line in the store while he went off to the bank. We waited, and waited, and waited, and waited... We watched other people (a favorite grocery store activity), we chatted with some folks standing around us, and we waited some more... Finally, we arrived at the front of the line. It was finally our turn!

As I began to reach into my cart and put things on the counter, the check-out girl says, "Are you pregnant?" Okay, now I don't have to tell any North American that THAT IS NOT A CULTURALLY ACCEPTABLE QUESTION! You don't ask any woman if she is pregnant, no matter how round or tired or frazzled she might be! Then I thought, "Maybe I didn't hear her correctly. Maybe my translation skills are too tired today." So I tried to clarify - "Excuse me? What did you ask?" Again she asks, "Are you pregnant?"

So now I'm feeling pretty pitiful. I mean, come on! I've been watching my intake and I've been doing my Rodney Yee yoga and my Jillian Michaels Shred... how on earth could this woman think that I'm pregnant? On top of that, I'm obviously past normal child-bearing years. I don't love to admit it, but I even have gray hair! I have two college-age sons. Let's get real here!

"No, I'm not pregnant," I say to the teenaged checker. So she replies, "Well, you're not old and you're not pregnant, so you need to leave my line." At this point, I am totally confused and thinking that there is obviously a big communication breakdown. "Pardon me?", I say again. "I don't understand."

So she points to the sign that I hadn't noticed (maybe because I had been standing in lines with hundreds of other shoppers who are also 5 feet tall - maybe that's why we didn't see the sign that hangs about 15-20 feet above our heads!!! - Just saying, it's tough being "altitude-challenged"!) The sign reads that this checkout line is for Pregnant people and Old people. After reading the sign, I looked back at her and said, "Seriously? I didn't see the sign. Do I really have to change lines after waiting all this time?" Yes, she was serious...

When Billy returned to the store to try to find us, he was a bit confused to find us in another line and STILL waiting to check out. He was even more confused when I announced to him that, "I'm not pregnant! Neither am I old!" His face was priceless!
Just another fun day in Peru... :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Going Away

We are currently in the mad rush to get things finalized, packed, and ready for us to leave Peru for our 4 month "furlough". I really detest the word "furlough" right now... I guess from being raised in a military family where the word evokes images of R&R (rest and relaxation), shore leave, fun, time off, and vacation... it means nothing of the sort for us! In theory, we are supposed to rest and debrief and reflect while in The States -- but we are supposed to do that in between running all over kingdom come doing speaking engagements and dinner appointments and fundraising ventures! Some of our missionary friends are also on their "furlough" in The States right now, except their mission agency has changed the name to Homeland Mission Assignment (HMA) because in truth, we are "home" but still doing ministry and still working and still on assignment. Our friends say a more accurate name would be HMA = Hurridly Moving Around. I'm starting to agree with them... our calendar looks like anything BUT rest or relaxation!

Not that we're complaining. We are very excited to go "home" and see our boys and our families and our friends. We are very excited to be home for Christmas for the first time in several years. We will be home for Thanksgiving dinner. We will ring in the new year with friends. We're pretty excited! But we're pretty worried and stressed, too. Re-entry Shock is rarely pretty or easy and it is a very real issue for people who are out of the country and out of the culture for so long. Thankfully, there are people at home who are aware of this and they are already putting things in motion to ease our re-entry... people who have arranged for our short-term housing, groceries, transportation, etc. We thank God for these good friends!!!

Leaving here (Peru) won't be easy. It has become our home. We love the people we live and work with. We love the ministry work here. We are tightly connected to our students and the community. It will be rough. Friday, the communities of Iscos and Patarcocha combined in an effort to give us a going away party... see the photos for the story.

1. cookout

2. Mama Elva gives a going away speech

3. The children and moms danced and sang

4. We played party games

5. We had a "who can design the best outfit out of newspaper and toilet paper" contest