Here I am at the Seminario Teologico Hebron, and already it’s been a long day!
I arrived at Santa Cruz’s Viru Viru airport at 6 am (Bolivia time). My journey began at 10 am (CST) the previous day. There were a few curveballs during my connections (one flight was switched to a different plane and delayed almost 2 hours) but everything worked out okay and now I’m here.
I know one thing for sure: my Spanish definitely needs work. I had plenty of opportunity to listen to others converse in Spanish during the flight from Miami to Santa Cruz. Thankfully most of the in-flight announcements were in both English and Spanish, but the attendants all spoke in Spanish.
Anyway, after making it through customs, I met Yoli and Corina who had come to pick me up and take me to the Seminario. I noticed the differences between St. Louis and Santa Cruz immediately…. My brother Jon, who is practicing for his driver’s test, would not do well here. I’m not even sure I would! The driving is defintely crazy for someone who is not used to it.
My accomodations at the Seminario are pretty nice. It’s hot here, and there isn’t much air conditioning, but that’s fine with me. It’s a nice change from cold and snow.
Yoli and I shared breakfast together (Zucaritas, or “Frosted Flakes”) and then met several people at the Seminario. Later we went to meet her family. They were all very nice, and we had an interesting time communicating. Yoli’s brother-in-law Alcides tried very hard to get me to speak in Spanish and to speak himself with careful, slow sentences.
I got to see all of the Zegarra house. In many ways it was similar to what I expected to find, a far cry from our air-conditioned, Ranch-style home in Hazelwood. But it was different in other ways. I liked it though, and after a while I felt at home.
We spent some time performing a family ritual involving a tea called “mate” (mah-TAY). It’s a dark tea that reminded me of something my friend John likes to make. They would fill up a mug of it and give it to someone to sip. All the while everyone is eating buttered bread and talking. The mug is finished then refilled and given to someone else and so it continues as the conversation goes on.
All of Yoli’s sisters are very beautiful and the three who are married seem to have good husbands. All the nieces were a trip, too. One of them was very shy when I arrived, but eventually she came out of her shell and even sang a song.
We ate lunch at a small restaurant with Yoli’s sister Eliza, her husband Boris, and their daughter Melanie. We had nice conversation and the food was good. It was some sort of sliced beef tenderloin stuffed with a sausage or something, and cooked in Coca-Cola. Good stuff.
Anyway, that’s enough for now. Here it is 2:47 (4:47 CST) p.m. I will nap wile Yoli works and then tonight I think we will eat with her family. Tomorrow I am scheduled to help clean something up at the Seminario and then we will work on the website and such in the afternoon.
Love to you all. Adios!