We've just crossed over the 2 month threshold. The magic number that expats tell you to look forward to. At 2 months, you feel more at home. You feel like you have a handle on the important things. You get into the new routine. Well, they were right. We hit our 2 month mark yesterday. I would be ungrateful if I didn't stop for a minute and appreciate the things that I love about this place. Things I already know I will truly miss...
At home, you can get pizza delivery, some grocery stores will deliver. If you're lucky, you'll find a Chinese place that will deliver. UPS, FedEx and USPS - Other than that, I can't think of a single company that will come to you with things you want to buy.
Here, if you want it, there is someone, usually several someones that will bring it to you. Need a vet? They make home visits. A doctor? Also home visits. Out of dog food? The dog food store will bring it to you. Need a manicure? Massage? They come to you.
There are delivery services that will pick up any food item from any restaurant and bring it to you on their little delivery motorcycles. Sushi, Peruvian, Johnny Rockets, whatever.
We have a friend from church, Ignacio, who owns a produce market. His market also delivers. We just call him with our order and magically it appears the very next day. Andrew had to intercept the first order as I had to run and pick up Alex from his after-school activity. We talked about how much money it would most likely be and went over the different pesos. I told him if it were about this much, tip the guy this much. Well, luckily the delivery guy was Ignacio's son, who is one of my boys' church leaders - who also speaks just a little bit of english. Andrew gave him what he thought was just a little bit more than the bill, and the guy went through the money and pulled out what he needed and gave the rest back to Andrew. Andrew wasn't sure if he tipped him or not. Sweet guy. We'll have to double up the tip for the next round of order. We'll probably have them come a couple times a week. The strawberries right now are to-die-for! I love having fresh from the farm produce in my house all the time. I will miss that!
I also found a lady from our "English-Speaking Moms in Santiago" facebook page. She makes and sells fresh sausages. We ordered a pork/apple and sweet Italian. She made them Thursday and delivered it to our door on Friday. It looks amazing. Fresh, never been frozen sausages. Delish! I can't wait to try them. They are on the menu for Sunday. I think we'll eat the pork/apple ones on buns like hotdogs and I'll cut the sweet Italian up into a spaghetti. I'm sure I'll report on that later in the week.
I also had one of my seminary students bring me a bag full of avocados from the tree in their backyard. They are different than the ones you buy in the store. They have this beautiful deep purple skin and taste divine. We've eaten more of them than I care to admit since sweet Ellie brought them to us yesterday. Ohmygoshyum!
Here they are in my fruit bowl. The ones from their tree are longer and purple - the other green ones are from the produce delivery guy.
The variety of foods available at the stores:
Sure, I have a little trouble finding my 'staples' around these parts, but I've managed to find a pretty decent group of products that allow me to cook similar to the way I do at home. But I LOVE trying all these new things. I haven't been a fan of the sweets here. They aren't very sweet. I did find a big 'ole bag of Majar yesterday and will be making a batch of that carmel-y goodness this afternoon for a dinner we have tonight with some friends.
Here are the 3 simple ingredients. Majar, crema (creme - which by the way is not refrigerated just like the milk), and soda crackers. No bake and yum... I can't wait. The only mixing bowl I have is in the dishwasher, I'm waiting for it to finish cycling then I'll get started. Yes, I could wash it by hand. But I'm not going to do that. I'll just wait.
I also bought a Ricotta cheesecake. We'll have to see how that tastes. I'm in charge of dessert. I may still make some brownies (my fall back) just in case the cheesecake is gross.
I will truly miss my friends:
I have made some great friends here already. Several of the ladies (the US ladies) from church meet every couple of weeks for brunch/lunch. I've enjoyed their stories and getting to know their personalities. It's fun how we can be so very different and yet form such a tight bond through this adventure south of the equator. A few of us also sit in class together trying to follow along. That is a funny little moment every week. "Wait. Did you get that?" "What did they just say?" "What hymn number is that? I can't count above 10" "Forget it. I'll just read the lesson on my iPad" "Do they know that this was supposed to be over 10 minutes ago and our kids are running amuck in the halls?" It's a funny little interaction.
I had lunch with one of my seminary student's mom last week. She called me up on Friday morning and said she not only had a car, but had a free afternoon. She is the mission president's wife - so her schedule is quite tight. We went to the mall and ate at a fun little crepe place. I had the Crepe de Mexicana. It was so good. She has been here 2 of the 3 years she has committed to serve. She has missed the birth of grand-babies and sometimes struggles with the language. I LOVE that she is so real. She and I hit it off instantly. I truly enjoy her.
I also love my 'friends' at church that I can't yet communicate with. These spanish-speaking women are adorable. They are so kind and generous and loving. They make me feel at home even though we can't talk to each other. They try their best and will talk to me through a translator. I can't wait to get to know them better.
I will miss my 'crutches'. There are 2 women in the ward that speak english that help me all the time. One is the current YW president, she will help me (and my boys) anytime she is around. The other is Angela. Sweet Angela. She just married a man from the UK and is waiting to move back with him. She is in the process of getting her visa. If I keep on the subject and speak slowly, she can help me. She's desperate to learn english (she'll move to the UK as soon as her visa is approved) and has offered to come teach me to cook Peruvian food. (She's from Peru) We're figuring out a time next week that works for both of us. I can't wait!
Strangely enough, I think I will also miss the spanish. I love to hear it. I love the kisses on the check as a greeting. I love to hear "Chiou Hermana" and the occasional "Choita!" (Adding -ita to the end indicates that you are speaking to a close friend) I love to hear them giggle when I try to speak spanish. They are so tickled that I try. They clap when I use my spanish words. Like you do to a child who is learning to speak. It's so cute. I love these women!
We've been blessed to be here. The boys are snowboarding again today with friends. Andrew is loving soccer and participating in a school mini-production of the High School Musical for spirit week that a group of his friends are putting together to represent the Junior class. Alex has been asked to be a part of the Swim Master's program and is working with the 3D Printing club and the Robotics department to build a 3D printer. They both have a group of friends. They fit right in at church and are doing very well here.
Greg and I are making friends. We're finding our way and getting into a routine. He's speaking in sacrament tomorrow - in spanish. We're getting it. We're doing well. Wheew! I wasn't sure it would actually happen - but it did. Life is not uneventful - there is always something happening. We're still learning as we go. But at this, the 2 month mark, things are going pretty good.