Sunday, January 19, 2014

Let me present the Franciscan Lay Missioners

For the next 8 weeks, my trusty companions at language school will be 4 Franciscan Lay Missioners.  They sadly won't be there for my whole 12 week stay, but I'm glad to have them even for this shorter amount of time.  And actually, one of them is already fluent in Spanish (Hady), so she'll only be studying with us for the first 2 weeks. (Como se dice "lucky duck" en espanol...)

Let's start with the couple:

Mary and Nate Mortenson!  Both of them were born and raised in the midwest--Nate is from La Crosse, WI and Mary is from a small town in Minnesota.  And better yet, BOTH of them went to University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, which is where I got my BSN degree!  They definitely remind me a lot of home and I'm very happy to have them down here with me for a bit.

Now for Hady:
This chica bonita was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY by Puerto Rican parents and as I mentioned earlier already speaks Spanish like a pro.  Most likely due to the fact that she grew up speaking it...  She is blunt (in a very good, very New York way), full of life, and just a good time all around.  She is also very good at explaining things to me that completely go over my head, for example, why everyone was clapping at the end of the Gospel reading today at mass (apparently the priest asked everyone to give an applause to the word of God...??), and how to correctly get in line for communion...(apparently I would have bowled over an old woman in the mad dash to get into the communion line if Hady hadn't grabbed my coat and pulled me back...).  Goodness. Looks like I need to take her everywhere with me :)

And last but not least, VALERIE!
Valerie is also a midwesterner at her core!  She is originally from Wichita, Kansas, but most recently has lived in Tampa, Florida.  She, very much like myself, also loves kids, and hopes to work with them down here in Cochabamba.  And if you remember from previous posts, she actually shares her name with my 6-year-old host niece!  However, very much unlike my host niece, THIS Valerie does not cheat at soccer, pat my belly and tell me that I should run more (reahslfesaklhfskla), or make up rules in the middle of a card game just to make sure she wins...  Oh, but I digress...  In fact, THIS Valerie is very kind and calm and I'm very happy to have her in my life :)

So there they are: my soon to be partners in crime (that is if any of us ever gets up enough courage to go out after dark, especially after the safety talk we had the other day...).  Language school starts tomorrow, so I'm sure I will have many stories to share about all of these wonderful people in the very near future!  And with any luck, some of those stories will actually include a time when I was speaking Spanish and someone was understanding me :)  Poco a poco as my host mother constantly tells me--I just wish my "poco" wasn't so little!

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