We spent a very nice week with family and friends that felt way too short… but at the same time, good because it was short and rich, like a small but absolutely delicious meal**.
Afterwards we went to a Chinese restaurant for noodles, and then the 11 of us watched Spiderman III. My mom totally wanted to hang but had some guests to entertain. I haven’t hung out with my cousins like that since before they were married and had kids! And I had more to talk about with them now that our life stages have caught up. Motherhood, pregnancy. (Girls, remember those days when you would asked married people how they met each other? I’m so beyond that now!)
The college and youth service were combined that day. The youth group was leading praise team. Aaron on guitar, Teddy on drums, Billy on bass, Tony, Nasim, and Sarah singing vocals. It was an amazing sight. It wasn’t like seeing something completely new but it was still marvelous in a puzzling happy way.
The third memorable meeting is two fold. First, it was eating with our fellow ministry workers on our second Korean barbecue excursion (out of 4). Second, was after the meal when we met the young woman who hit the bumper of Shin’s parents car.
The fourth, was a generous treat to an unforgettable dining experience** by Shin’s friend. He heightened our culture shock by taking us to an upscale restaurant where they serve bottled water from glass jars. We ate portions of the chef’s most creative and flavorful selections in a series of 5 entrees and 2 desserts. Each dish was about the size of an order of sushi. Shin and I actually got to try 10 entrees and 4 desserts by eating half and switching plates. The artistry of the chef was undeniable. I would be munching on a morsel and then, more than halfway through processing the flavor I would taste something completely new that enriched the flavor. The combination of flavors were extraordinary.
We also shopped a lot for food and other items to take back. All the Korean food we stocked could have comfortably fit into a suitcase if it weren’t for the weight distribution. We packed in almonds, canned seafood, soup, hot paste sauces, seaweed, fish, mushrooms, vitamins, curry. Just add the word, “instant” in front of most everything. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take the 6 POUNDS of RESTAURANT STANDARD tapioca pearls from our students. But that will shortly be en route to Paraguay via Fedex, courtesy of our parents 🙂
The flight and the wait times were incredibly long, but part of the adventure. We visited the Chilean and Peruvian airports for a number of hours each. We heard and saw the general cultural artistry and music in front of their duty free shops. We saw the different topography from the plane. Chile was one long landscape of frappuccino mountains, creamy snow caps and whipped clouds, whereas Paraguay is all forest green with strings of brown rivers and areas of red soil.
Now we are back and the emotions I feel after leaving, experiencing the United States, and returning to Paraguay again are complex and best saved for another entry. There were many people we didn’t get to meet one on one and I am very sad about this. But I hope it will be an opportunity to begin a correspondence over email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading. Updates from Paraguay will continue!
*My birthday was on the same day as the wedding. 26 years
** Hatfelds in LA.