Favorite recent and insightful quote I have read recently:

Favorite quote I have recently read: "The word temple comes from the Latin templum, which signifies an extended open space that has been marked out for the observation of the sky. In what manner is such a space marked out? According to Dr. Hugh Nibley, the word templum, "designates a building specifically designed for interpreting signs in the heavens--a sort of observatory where one gets one's bearings on the universe." The root "tem-" in Greek and Latin denotes a "cutting" or intersection of two lines at right angles, the point where the "cardo" and "decumanus" cross, hence where the four regions come together." Matthew Brown - "The Gate of Heaven"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Martha Kelly's Art

It is Monday here and our day off. RA is baking bread and the aroma is as usual incredible coming from the kitchen and the oven.  Hot bread today!  I am studying the language this morning but also resumed working on Martha's art work.  We are publishing her sketches and drawings in a book thanks to Apple and IPhoto.  For those who do not know, Martha was a dear friend of the Fisher family and loved by our children.  She passed away from melanoma cancer that spread to her liver.  This was two years ago this month.  We miss our friend Kelly a great deal. He lives near Seattle and wish we could be with him on this anniversary.  Thank you Martha for the beauty you brought to us in each of our lives. We remember with fondness all of the good times together, the art of your life, that which you left on your sketch pads and that written in our hearts.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Three weeks here in Lima

This weekend makes three weeks now in Lima. Saturday night we gathered again with the other North American missionaries at the local Rodizio here in La Molina. More events are planned for Monday lunch and dinner.  Friday night RA and I went to the local Chifa and enjoyed shui mai. Not as good as the Jade Garden in Seattle but respectable.

We were very busy Friday and Saturday in the temple as bus loads of members from all over Peru arrived to have a day at the temple. The temple grounds are filled with folks, and not just adults, but youth and children. They are a beautiful people. They take very serious their temple responsibilities and family history and enjoy their trip to the temple.

When the folks arrive here by bus they can change and have lunch or dinner in the cafeteria. Usually there is a long line and the tables are mostly taken on Fridays and Saturdays. I shared a table with a 12 year young lady here from Arequipa. She was with her family and their young women's group and had several hours to wait before they could get in and start their baptisms. We, the Norte Americanos, are a bit of an oddity. You find yourself being whispered about and stared at. Everyone is friendly and will initiate a greeting almost always in Spanish. Few students or young people have the luxury of studying ESL. Lots of smiles from everyone.

I see some of the hardships in the lives of the Peruvians such as never seeing a hearing aid on anyone who is hard of hearing. I have not seen any prosthetic devices on anyone missing a leg and the crutches I have seen looked like something pulled from a Civil War Museum. One appeared to be handcrafted from native wood. They make do the best they can and I admire them greatly.

I thank fellow workers for their patience and understanding due to my limited vocabulary but do express to them that in my heart I am almost a Peruvian – "Soy casi Peruano en mi corazon."  It is easy to love them and feel of their hospitality and kindness. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In search of a white Christmas...

Looking for a location for our four days of vacation over Christmas. It should be in the 80's here.  We located a small community on the beach north of us, up close to the border of Ecuador. It is called Mancora.  It is known for clear water, gentle sandy beaches, good restaurants, low prices, and very good fishing on the Pacific.  I am interested in all of the above and it will be about as close to a white Christmas as we can find -- white sand anyway.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We really do work here...

Our friends the Cordons, Steve and Kay, leave in less than two weeks for home in Boise ID.  We will be without mentors, neighbors, and very good friends here. The quality of life in our neighborhood will decline significantly.  They have finished their mission and will be missed by more than just us. They are respected and loved by all of the temple workers here and the patrons. I am not sure who we are going to be able to ask the questions that still come up every day. Our president and matron leave at the same time as well. We have also been helped by Elder and Sister Ramirez who returned home to Blackfoot ID this past summer.  Thanks to you all!

After our shift today we went for a late lunch at our local Rodizio here in La Molina. Thank you Paco and Lucy for the recommendation. We have a list they have provided of very good restaurants in the neighborhood. The meat was as good as Salt Lake's version and it was less expensive, about $16.00 per person, maybe half price of the Trolley Square place? It was a short walk for us and we had time to get in our civilian clothes. Steve worked longer than we did. Currently, we are working from 6:30 AM to 2:00 PM daily. We really do work close to 8 hours a day in the temple and sometimes longer when required.

We had the missionaries from the Lima CCM (MTC) with us today and it is always nice to see these very new missionaries come to the temple.  Their shoes are shined and polished, they speak little Spanish, their suits are fresh and their shirts are not yet threadbare. The missionaries in the field in Peru can attend once every six weeks.  There is often quote a difference in the wear on the clothing.  Missionaries who have been here awhile soon lose the new look as shoes become worn and the cuffs and collars of the white shirts indicate wear. And the ties have been tied many times. Mothers in many places in the world have to be proud of what they have taught their missionary sons and daughters too. The Sisters always look better than their male counterparts. They all have a fine spirit about them.  We even met an Elder from Centerville Utah. One of the Essig boys, maybe the last or the youngest I think he said.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Strangers in a wonderful land...

We spent most of our morning at the immigration department working on getting our legal status here.  Kind of different not having your documents to allow you to have cellular service or to contract with the cable company or use a debit card at any store.  We returned home after five hours of effort and understand from a pleasant young lady who works for the South America Area Office that our Peru ID cards could be ready tomorrow with only two more hours of standing in line.  She is assigned to help all of the missionaries here obtain legal status.

Following our immigration efforts we were off by taxi to Miraflores to locate spare parts for my new Panasonic razor.  No such luck with parts, so we stopped at a very nice restaurant for a late lunch.  I had one of my standard dishes called lomo saltado. It is stir fried tenderloin with onions and peppers served with yellow potato french fries and rice.  RA had a salad with a very good sauce from the papas a la juan caihina (sp?)  We are back home for the rest of the day with multiple tax rides.  The drivers are almost always very friendly and we try to negotiate before you get in. I was unsuccessful with any negotiations today. It cost us 15 soles or about five dollars to ride from La Molina to Miraflores. You do not measure a trip in distance but the time it takes and the traffic load.  Seemed as though it was 30 minutes going and about an hour and a half coming back.  There are no meters in the taxies. You just negotiate. We explain to the driver in Spanish where we want to go, ask him the price, try to negotiate and then jump in.  Traffic in Lima is quit an adventure though we are getting used to it. The taxis are well used but they keep them going and get every last mile out of them. Many have been converted to LNG as Peru seems to have an abundance of that resource.

The people are always friendly and the food very good.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The North Americans in the Lima Temple, presently

Today after Church we lined up for a photo op.  From left to right are President and Sister Carlos Bowman,  RuthAnn and I, President and Sister Blaine Stratton, Kay and Steve Cordon, and Suzanne and Reed Langlois.  Both our President and Sister Bowman leave as well as the Cordons in two weeks.  We will be getting a new temple president but the Cordons will not be replaced.  The Cordons are an immense help to us here is showing us around the temple, assisting with our training, and just great neighbors and friends.  The Langlois have been here about four months previous to our arrival and worked in the San Diego Temple before their mission.

Church for us is in the La Molina Ward and is en Espanol though we have a delightful, and in English, Gospel Doctrine class.  The HP instructor is a Norte Americano also and was wearing a muy feo corbata today.  He is a BYU fan and was wearing his school tie. Coincidentally, I had my Utah tie on. I told him his tie made my eyes hurt. "Yo tengo mucho dolor en mis ojos."

Go Utes!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our day off

We had Saturday off as conference was being rebroadcast en Espanol so we went to the Jockey Plaza and did some shopping.  We are in our second week here. There are things we like a lot and a few we enjoy less.  These are aspects of life in Peru outside of our temple work experience. First the things that annoy us or we find troublesome would include the constant honking of the taxi drivers thinking we want their service. Next, RA mentioned the almost permanent state of inversion and air pollution from smelly buses and some older autos.  There are lots of new cars here and the main street, not too far from us, is loaded with car dealerships. Third, I would say the burglar alarms that go off often, even in our own apartment, twice this morning at 4:20 and again at 5:15 AM.  We do not have control over the motion detector in the living room yet. Also, one cannot pass a parking garage anywhere without an alarm going off it seems. Fourth, RA cannot find any whole wheat flour, so her bread is made with white flour and bran. It really is good! Fifth, the orange juice so far is orange drink.  We have not found anything like juice from home. Sixth, I was hoping to get away from Burger King, KFC and Domino's Pizza, but they are here. We cannot think of any more negatives and these are all pretty minor.

Now for the positive aspects of life in La Molina/Lima Peru. First, the people are very helpful, friendly and kind to us Americans.  We seldom wear our missionary badges anywhere by direction so they accept us as American tourists. Second, everything we want so far we have been able to walk to and the exercise has been very good for us. Third, life here is such a relief after the MTC in Provo. Fourth, in our walking radius we have a wonderful grocery store that also sold us our new 32" flat screen LCD Panasonic TV, wahoo! Fourth, there is an Apple store, called an IStore in the Jockey Plaza and they have an English speaking genius there. Fifth, the bag boy carries our or pushes our cart home and helps us unload our groceries and the new TV and does not want a tip, but we give him a small one anyway. Sixth, the food is exceptional in the restaurants with great service. Seventh, the fresh fruits, vegetables in the local store are incredible. Eighth, the ice cream and gelato here is better than Baskin Robins. I had some killer chocolate and RA had the mint chocolate chip. Ninth, we can get about anything we want except for the aforementioned whole wheat flour. Tenth, free internet and WIFI are available in many stores and restaurants, though tomorrow PM our cable service provider is coming to hook up our service, install our telephone land line, and bring us our DVR. Eleven, we are about to have supper and we are having sauerkraut on hot dogs. Not very Peruvian but the point is you can get just about whatever you want. Twelve, Bembos is a national fast food chain here and they grind up fresh garlic and onions in their burger patties.  Their chicken sandwiches are way better than Carl's Jr. or any other establishment in Centerville. Thirteen, we are heading into spring and we do have some days and weeks of pleasant blue skies before summer comes. We hope you all have your snow blowers tuned up for winter.  A downside here is that Christmas will be warm.  We may have to go to the beach north of us to celebrate something white, like white sand. Fourteen, prices seem to be lower here than in the Estados Unidos, such as an IPad or the new Panasonic, made in Japan razor, I bought. It was about $35.00 less than Amazon. Prices are higher if you buy canned American goods, Skippy Peanut Butter, or the sauerkraut for tonight's supper. Fifteen, the garbage man comes every night and picks up whatever you leave for him.  We are separating the recyclables from the real garbage for them.

All in all we enjoy life here in Lima.  Of course the biggest downside is we miss all of you.  Some days are more difficult than others in that regard. We do have a very nice three bedroom apartment, (thank you President Stratton), and hope you may feel inclined to come for a visit as we have four weeks of vacation annually, two in February and two in August.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Holidays in Peru

Yesterday was a national holiday here in Peru.  We were busy at the temple.  These folks were not just visiting in the parking lot.  They were waiting to get in! We were at near capacity for the day.  I went early and worked an 11 hour shift to help out.  Lots of time on my feet and my bones were aching but we love being able to help out.  When the Peruvian members come to the temple they check in and get a small tarjeta (color coded card), with the time they "should" be able to get in.  Most of these folks in the parking lot had theirs and were just waiting. Maybe they do not have Park City Condos or Lake Powell houseboat timeshares, maybe not even super soccer league tourneys...  but they are very happy and we are enjoying being with them. Imagine how long any of us would wait to get in Bountiful or Salt Lake.  These are people of incredible faith and love for their temple.

Home after eleven RA had made a papaya crisp to which I had some lucuma helado, (ice cream), on top.  Lucuma is a berry or fruit from the Amazon region of Peru and very good. We have today off due to a delay in the General Conference broadcast.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Where we live and where we work every day...

On Tuesday we were set apart by President Bowman and began working almost immediately.  A group of Norte Americanos came through so we assisted them.  We did some other things and also spent a good deal of time studying, trying to get up to speed with the language and work in the temple.  We are working the afternoon shift so we leave the apartment at 12:45 and walk with the Cordons to the temple and then return home about 9:00 PM. We live on the piso uno or first floor. I am happy not to climb stairs every day especially as we are moving in and shopping still.  All of the electricity here is 220V so we have adapters for our Macs and other things. We are still looking for a couple power strips. On Saturday we are going to Jockey Plaza. In Spanish is comes out "ho-kay" plaza.  There is a Maestro Tienda at the plaza. We also are going to search for a Canasta's Pollo, or chicken restaurant.  A couple of the hermanos or brothers at the temple recommended it above Pardo's which I tried on Monday.  So much food but a lot of time to explore and discover.

The security company representative came by yesterday and we paid our share for a 24/7 security guard in front of our building.  I think each guard must have a 12 hour shift.  We pay this company S70 soles for one month.  That is about $23.00.

I also had my first haircut since leaving Utah.  It was highway robbery I was told by friends but I have to admit it was the best cut I have had in a very long time, decades.  It cost me the equivalent of $10.00 US. I got a head and neck massage thrown in as part of the service. I plan on seeing William next month. No offense to Doug at Town and Country but paying $14.00 in Bountiful does not "cut" it.

We have been walking a lot in the mornings to various stores and shopping centers.  We went to Wongs on the Javier Prado today. Yesterday it was to the Metro, another store but not worth the walk as we have our own brand new Tottus right here in the neighborhood. It is much like Target and even sell similar brands as Target. I bought a jar of peanut butter as that is not supposed to be available in Peru. This is genuine Skippy's. La vida es buena con Skippy's.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Our Apartment...

The apartment is very nice. I have not been in anything nicer or newer in Lima on previous trips and compares with the Marriott I stayed at earlier in Miraflores. We have a new stainless steel gas Bosch stove and oven, a new fridge in the kitchen of good size, as well as our own washer and dryer.  We have an office with a desk and 2-1/2 baths.  Every night we can put out the trash and it is gone before morning. The boys at the market two blocks away will carry your groceries home for a few Soles, (the Peruvian currency), though they are told not to take tips from any customers.  We live in a very secure area in La Molina.  We have a security guard on our street all of time time and there are several heavy doors and a metal fence between us and the street.

Tomorrow we have our preparation day and shopping to do including activating our cell phone and order cable and internet for the apartment. We are very comfortable here in Lima.  The senior missionaries, especially the temple missionaries, are looked after very well.  We are most appreciative of the care we have received and kindness of the our temple presidency and other missionary couples here.

Our First Day in La Molina Peru

We watched General Conference this weekend in the home of President and Sister Bowman which is on the temple grounds. Following the afternoon session we were escorted around the grounds and inside the temple.  I have been here twice before but enjoyed the personal tour.  In the photo from left to right are President and Sister Blaine Stratton, RuthAnn, and President Bowman. The grounds and flowers are beautiful. We have about a month with the President before he and Sister Bowman are released and return home to the states.  They have been gone for sometime as his service has included directing the MTC here in Lima, as a counselor in the temple presidency, and a mission president among other things. We will learn as much as we can from them in the time remaining. We also met the other North Americans serving as workers in the temple.

Saturday afternoon we made two trips to the local and very nice Tottus Market a couple blocks away from out apartment.  It may take us some months to discover the various fruits, vegetables, cheeses, breads and more here in Peru.  The isle in the photograph is all about pappas or potatoes. We'll need a guide to help us with the subtleties and differences of these and many other things here.

Yes, these are all potatoes, many colors, shapes, flavors and sizes.