Monday, April 22, 2013

My toe is controlling my entire body!

I'm sitting here with my foot elevated, trying to figure out how one simple digit can cause so much pain!?  I clipped my toenail last week and some of the skin was attached and it ripped down the edge of my toe.  I thought it would heal quickly, but it has turned into a huge pain in the toe, literally.  Our mission Director, who happens to be a medical doctor, did some minor surgery on it--he lanced it, hoping to draw out the infection, and then he cut part of my toenail off.  It is a nightmare right now.  I can barely walk and am just amazed at how one toe can affect my entire state of mind.  Boo hiss toe.  I'm supposed to travel with Jeff this weekend and can't imagine how I'll even walk through the airport, but this is Monday and I guess I have until Friday to see if it heals at all--pretty sure I can't send my husband off to run a marriage retreat as a single.  That just won't do.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The man in my park

I run.  I'm not going to be breaking any records, and I might be getting slower every day after turning 40 last year...but I still run.  I started running a few years ago and have my ups and downs as far as motivation, discipline, weight, and time go.  Some mornings I just choose sleep, but at least 2-3 times a week you'll most likely find me struggling on that slight incline at the park across the street from our house.

Two days ago, when I got out to the park at about 5:20am, I noticed a large black lump in the middle of the grassy area.  I was hoping against all hope that it wasn't a dead dog (or a live one for that matter), and when I got closer I realized it was a homeless man who had either passed out or just chosen to sleep there the night before.  It was chilly out, not cold, but definitely cooler than past mornings and as I began my run and passed him, my mind started wandering.  What if he wakes up?  What if he's dead?  What if he's drunk?What if he asks me for something?  Should I go in and find some bread and juice for him?  What if he then comes everyday for food?  He's not a dog, it's not like he would keep coming back each day....but what if he does?

As I continued on my 10 laps, I was faced with not only the questions, but a small sense of compassion for this man.  It's not his fault, he wasn't born homeless, so is he a victim of circumstances?  Is his homelessness a result of a mental illness?  Does he have people who are worried about him or looking for him?  You see my view of a homeless person is jaded by the stereotypes our culture has made.  They are viewed with a lens of mistrust and judgement that isn't necessarily truth.  And yet, the compassion doesn't typically win out--am I compassionate enough to leave him food, or does my mistrust of him negate anything helpful I could do?  My mind conjures up every possible scenario that could, but probably won't, take place.  I heap the guilt on myself when I think of Jesus' love of strangers and am faced with the obvious truth that I don't have that kind of love.

Am I a simply a product of my culture or can I break through the stereotypes and reach out to the lonely, the homeless, the widowed, the orphaned and the lost?

Sharing is not my strong point

I'm not a good sharer.  I don't like to share. Go ahead and judge me now.  I don't know if it's because I'm a first-born, if it's because I'm a girl, if it's because I'm a type-A organizational freak and I don't like people touching my stuff.  I don't know why, but sharing is like the plague.

Having four kids hasn't helped in my sharing deficiency.  I drink coffee because I don't have to share with my kids.  I enjoy a glass of wine because I don't have to share with my kids.  I'm selfish.  I know this.  I wonder how I got this way and there are times I do try to move past it and consciously do something about it, but it's hard.  Like super hard.

I don't like to share my computer because my kids think it's funny to add 50,000 widgets to my desktop and make it unorganized.  I don't like the kids to use my bathroom because who likes potty on the toilet seat or toothpaste on the mirror? I don't like to share my drinks because inevitably there are floaties that wind up taking over the entire glass.  When I eat chocolate, I want the whole thing and not just a bite.  When I have a brand new sharpened pencil, I want it to stay that way and I want the eraser to be clean.  I'm so weird.

The irony is not lost on me, my kids get in trouble for not sharing.  We teach our kids to share with each other, with their classmates, and sometimes even with strangers.  For me, this is a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of thing.  I am working on my faults and trying to let go of some of my perfectionism, but man, it's tough.  What are some of the things you have to let go?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Driving in Lima is craaaaaazay!!

If you were to see me driving in Lima, I would appear somewhat crazy as I whip out my cell phone to snag a photo of the traffic.  I snap shots at the stoplight, the drive-thru, stopped in traffic on the freeway, going through an intersection (while Jeff is driving of course), or even passing a vehicle.  This many years in Peru and the sights we see each and every day never get old to me.

4 lanes, turning left to squeeze into 2 lanes.

Robot in the middle

It's a car full of produce

I actually had a green light to go straight.

I couldn't even guess what he might be transporting

If two lanes won't work, try three!


We were completely stopped at a round-about. Completely. For a long time.

And I get a sticker that says I'm a terrible literally says, "I park horrible".  

Sometimes it's light traffic around the round a-bouts

Anyone want to hop in?

Care for a banana?  Anyone?

I love traffic!!

Most people hate Lima traffic. Some days I hate Lima traffic.  But honestly, most days I'm just so happy I survived driving in Lima traffic that I want to do a little motor vehicle jig to celebrate.  Consider a city of 9 million people (possibly more) and an infrastructure that can't support said population and here's where you arrive.  I've never seen such variety in vehicles.  I wish my grandfather were alive so I could send him pictures of cars that he hasn't seen in 40 years sharing my road!!

Probably should stop for her

No huffing or puffing could blow this thing down!

And the buses.  Don't get me started on the buses.  You've got big buses, Coasters, Combis (similar to a really ugly and dented up 15-passenger van...but smaller.  Most of the time my knees don't even fit in between the seats, and I'm not tall by any means.  Sometimes I've had to stand a combi...with a low roof.  Which technically means I'm hunched over with my shoulders/back literally touching the ceiling.  I've braced myself with my back on the ceiling before...can you say that?
So many people on this late bus--jam packed in there with not even any standing room!

So why do I actually, for the most part, enjoy driving and riding the buses?  My love/hate relationship with driving here is the challenge and inconsistency it brings--it's never the same and never dull.  My love/hate relationship with riding the bus is similar--it's inconsistent (I even have gotten charged different amounts on the exact same route), never dull, but most of all it's a glimpse into the lives of the real people here.  Where are they going?  Do they have enough money to get where they need to go?  Do they get tired of being squeezed in together like cattle?  Did it take them forever to find their way around the city like me?  Do they know all the bus lines and where the streets intersect?

Most days I feel like all you need to do to drive here is honk your horn and wave your left arm out the window to indicate you are going to: stop, turn left, turn right, park, blow through the stoplight, move into my lane, cut me off, flip me off, or possibly and quite rarely, give me a thumbs up.

Seems like a million goodbyes

It might be exaggerating, but I think one of the hardest things about living overseas are the goodbyes.  You would think the first time would have been the hardest, the goodbye at the airport 11 years ago (2002) when we took our 15 month old by the hand and walked through the gate to come to Peru.  But I can honestly say, that every goodbye in the past 11 years have been tough, and they never seem to get any easier.

Saying goodbye to Papa-2003

Saying goodbye to Ama 2003

Saying goodbye to Tio Jeremy 2003

Cousins at the airport-2003
What is it about saying goodbye that just makes you want to weep at the thought of the loss.  I think for me, it's the idea that everyone will be continuing on with their lives in the U.S., the country where I was born and raised, and my life will remain standing still.  The trends will come and go, and my closet will remain the same (yes, I still have a few things that I brought with me 11 years ago).  The four different seasons will come and go, and Peru will still only have a rainy and dry season.  Nieces and nephews will grow and win awards and play on sports teams, and we'll miss all their achievements and games.  Siblings will get married, grandparents will pass away...and here we'll be.  It's not realistic to think we can jet back home on a whim, not even for something as important or special as a wedding or a funeral.

Jonathon pulling his backpack with Ama 2006

Saying goodbye to the Krohns-2006

The boys are excited to have rolling backpacks-2006

On the plane, headed to Peru after furlough-2006!
Recently our son, Jonathon, had to say goodbye to a good friend.  His best friend.  Jonathon is one of our more sensitive children, and any sort of change in routine or disruption in normal, daily life is extra hard for him.  When I told him in the car, that his friend wasn't going to be coming back I just wanted to wrap my arms around him and let him know that I have been in his exact shoes.  It's never easy no matter how old you are.  He'll make more friends, we all do, but those special ones that bring us joy and make us smile or laugh, and know just exactly what we like and who we are...those ones can't be replaced.

Trying to stay occupied in the airport
I don't ever doubt the decision we made to come to Peru, but the impact that goodbyes have on our family isn't something that everyone can understand.  And so we bear this burden together, it makes us stronger and closer as a family, and we know that while it doesn't get easier, we can choose to be thankful for such wonderful friends and family that making leaving so hard.