It's been awhile since I've posted, and for good reason. The end of the semester is coming up and I feel like a chicken with its head cut off. However, I'm finally beginning to see an end in sight! I still have a ways to go and a lot to do, but I'm much much closer. It seems much more doable now (although it always was doable, because God gives me the strength to get everything done...and this is no exception!).
A lot has happened since I last posted, so I will try to quickly hit the highlights of the past few weeks.
Thanksgiving was a time of a lot of people, a lot of food, and a lot of sun. Most of the ABWE missionaries currently on the field got together at the Crosses house. They have a large house with more than enough space and a pool in the back yard. With everyone there, we totaled about 40 people!! It was quite busy! We had tables set up outside. I took it upon myself to organize the food on the table, because everything was helter-skelter. I basically directed a couple of my friends in what to do! So of course, I was designated to be the one to instruct people on how the system worked for maximum efficiency. I'll admit, it felt a little odd to be telling all those veteran missionaries what to do at my first Thanksgiving! :o) After we ate, the teenagers and kids jumped in the pool for awhile. I did not, although I was threatened with being thrown in a few times (it came to nothing, though!). Then we watched a movie with the teenagers (apparently a holiday tradition...always the same movie). And I wrapped up the day with quite possibly the oddest board game I have ever played in my life (and I've played some weird ones in my day). But I won, so I liked it. Haha.
All in all, it was a great day. And the first Thanksgiving where I had to wear sunblock! :o)
Just a few days later was my birthday. Saturday night I had some of my friends over. Being in Chile, they were 45 minutes late (except for my American friend. She was just on time and got to help me prepare the food. ha!). We ate, they teased me about my Spanish, as they tend to do, and I grew more and more stressed as the night went on. Why, you ask? I'll tell you. I really wanted to go bowling, but we were waiting for someone who was VERY late (over 3 hours...and he's American! He did have a reason...something went longer than he anticipated...but it was still a little stressful for me). People started talking about not going bowling because it was getting too late. Yikes! Well, to make a long story short, we ended up going and had a lot of fun. I almost won, too. Only one person beat me (ironically, it's the guy we were waiting so long for). :o)
So, to sum up my birthday--it was very fun and a little stressful. Some of the guys were acting extra silly to make me laugh when I was stressed. I did find it a little difficult at times to have a birthday party where I didn't understand half of what people were saying. But it's to be expected at my stage.
The following week I worked and worked and worked. I didn't get to bed before midnight the entire week. And it caught up to me Friday night. We were having some family time, preparing for Andrea's birthday party the next day. For some reason, I got VERY tired and VERY giddy. I was laughing at the stupidest things, and once I started, I could not stop. But I TRIED to stop, which made my laugh sound very strange. I have never heard myself laugh like that before. Melissa was egging me on, and Dave (the King of Corny Jokes) certainly didn't help at all either. It made me think of the scene from Mary Poppins where everyone is floating near the ceiling because they can't stop laughing. I certainly felt a little airheaded!! :o) We then spent at least half an hour trying to bounce bouncy-balls into a dinner glass. I lost every time, partially because I do not have an innate talent for aiming bouncy-balls, and partially because they would make me start to laugh almost every time and then everything went down the drain from there!
I've gotten a lot of work done this weekend, and still have had time to do some fun things. Yesterday was Andrea's birthday party, which was so fun (although I was still tired and was very tempted to leave and take a nap!!). Then in the evening I went to a graduation at the seminary to support our Chilean pastor who was graduating. Then afterwards I went to the Crosses with my American friends who live there and a bunch of their Chilean friends. It was VERY fun and funny since we sat around the table until about midnight, eating, sharing "most embarrassing/funny" stories, and laughing at a guy who dramatically fell out of his chair, flinging food everywhere. Needless to say, I was up very late.
I went to a Vineyard church this morning, which was a very interesting experience. If you don't know, Vineyard churches are Pentecostal, or at least lean heavily in that direction. I've been to churches who have Pentecostal tendencies, so I wasn't completely shocked, but it adds a whole other dimension when everything's in Spanish!! It was a good experience though, and I was glad to be able to spend some time with a friend who will soon be leaving Chile, and I probably won't ever see her again.
Looking forward, the next few days will be busy, but I'm hoping that by Wednesday I will have the bulk of my work done. Then it will be little odds and ends, and then preparing for my trip home. I'll be landing in Philly on December 12th, ready for the cold weather! Brrr!!! It's been 85 degrees and sunny every day for the past 2 weeks. (A few weeks ago we had a heat wave of 95 degrees for a few days! That was a bit torturous!!)
Ok, well this has ended up being much longer than I anticipated. I can't make anything short! My bed is calling me, and I must obey. Good night!