Sunday, March 11, 2012

Puro lodo :)

December 17th 2011

When Pastor Alfonso asked if I wanted to travel with him to San Luis Planes I was excited, but had no idea what to expect. I guess there's something to be said for going into experiences without any expectations! It was a long, wonderful day... San Luis Planes is a little mountain town about an hour up from here. Mari warned me to pack a jacket, and she wasn't kidding. I wished I'd had a coat, but I didn't even bring something that heavy when I moved here. It was chilly, rainy, and of course very muddy, but I was plenty comfortable all day. We headed up in the morning and had a nice Sunday School type thing at church right when we got there. I could have kissed Pastora Gloria when she offered me some hot tea--I was startled by the cold when I got out of the truck, and it wasn't exactly warm inside the church! Pastor Alfonso preached a great morning service, and afterwards we headed to his brother-in-law's place to rest and snag some lunch. We had a great soup over rice, and a little warm coffee to warm our bones. We had a good stretch of time to relax before the evening´s service, so I got to know a little more about Los Planes!

Pastora Gloria took me down to visit a woman whose complicated pregnancy has her on bed rest. It was nice to get to know a family from the church a little better, and I´m always interested to see new homes here. Most of the kitchens in Los Planes use wood stoves and don´t have things like refrigerators, but the girls seemed to be doing just fine getting something warmed for what I´ll assume was a late lunch/early dinner. I wish I could remember all their names, but apparently that´s not one of my strengths. They had a couple of small horses and Leonel (Pastor Alfonso´s son) got all excited to ride one. He didn´t believe me when I told him I´d never ridden a horse. I´ve literally only been on top of a pony, once, at the Fall Festival at Mom´s school one year. And some clown was holding it´s rope so it just went in a circle! We read the mare (yegua) and she was calm and beautiful. She was also smallller than your average horse, which of course calmed me down. I only rode her a little ways up the street and then back down again, but it was really muddy and rocky so it was more dangerous than it sounds! Leo, ever the gentleman, was by my side the whole time, but I did ok holding the rope! And I was pretty proud of how well I hoisted myself into the saddle.

Pastor Alfonso´s family has una finca de cafe very near Los Planes, somewhere called Agua Dulce or something like that, so Leo took me on a tour. It was one of the most beautiful views I´ve ever experienced. Again, it was a chilly, rainy day, and fog was scattered about the mountains... it was so muddy, and I was a little nervous to walk out into the field. Leo kept encouraging me and laughed when I said I was scared I would fall. I guess he was thinking if that was all I was afraid of, what was the worst that could happen? I was still a little uncertain, but reached for his hand and went for a little hike through the farm.The farm stretched out over hills ruffled with coffee plants. We reached the middle of the field and from there it seems like nothing but coffee bushes and mountains for days. It was so beautiful. The mountain backdrop was stained all these rich shades of gray thanks to the rain and fog. It reminded me of a scene the Joyful Painter might have shown us how to recreate. The happy trees were a nice dark color, almost black against the rolls and rolls of mountains. It was ridiculously pretty. And you know what? I slid here and there, but was happy I stayed on my feet the whole time! My sneakers were puro lodo, but they washed up just fine.

By the time we got back to Los Planes it was time for the praise and worship group to practice, and I joined them at the church for that. I couldn´t believe how cold it was getting, so I almost wanted to join their dance practice to see if I could warm up a little! I´m so intrigued by the girls and how they dance, so it was neat to get to see their practice. Ok, I did end up practicing with them! And it was really great! I even had a little lesson at Ruth´s house a few weeks later. Ruth is Pastora Gloria´s daughter, and they happen to live a few houses down from me! I´m not ready to start dancing at my church or anything, but it was definitely great to learn the different motions that go with the lyrics. One of the chavas who dances (I´m going with Laura because I´m almost positive that´s her name) is a daughter of the woman I visited earlier, and we shared a nice warm hug. I´ve gotten to see her a few times since then and she always has the same big, beautiful smile.

Pastora Gloria preached a lovely service that night, but before she got things going she asked Pastor Alfonso to say a few who, and he of course asked me to say a few as well. I was thanking them all for their wonderful hospitality, and running down the list of fun things I´d enjoyed in their town throughout the day. I am blushing just trying to type about this! Que planchon... I was prattling on about the different fun things I´d done, and when it came time to talk about riding the horse for the life of me I couldn´t come up with the word for mare! So, foolishly, I turn to Leo and say, "Como se llama la caballa?" If you can´t laugh at yourself, right? So caballa isn´t a word. Caballo is a male horse. Mare is yegua. Mare is yegua.. Now in my defense, I knew caballa wasn´t the word, but I couldn´t think of a better way to word it, (la hembra del caballo) and I wasn´t thinking about how foolish i would sound when everyone heard me. Because, you know, I was in front of the church with a microphone sounding like a pura gringa!!! But everyone got a good chuckle, and it led Pastor Alfonso into a story about a translation error when he and some colleagues were in Brazil. Most of the people in Los Planes remember me as La Caballa, and I find something so charming about that. Nothing wrong with a good laugh :)

It was a long ride home with more rain and the road ever-muddy, but it was such a great day. My shoes were so muddy I remember I couldn´t wait to show them to David when we talked the next morning. Always an adventure tucked in these hills!

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