WOW…what a crazy few weeks we’ve had. Hang on, we only arrived a week ago! What??? Feels like we’ve been here for weeks, at least two.
Anyway, it all started with a crazy long day to reach our new home. We drove from Ensenada in the Lakes District of Chile, to the airport in a city called Puerto Montt. Whoops, picked up AERODROME in our GPS not AIRPORT. Ha, one of the laughs with our language barrier. So, after another half hour to get to the other side of the city, we made it to the airport right on time – Hallelujah! I was suddenly happy we didn’t stop in Puerto Varas from some Kuchen now, (always the one to cram as many things into the day as possible). I thought we could have a quick cuppa and piece of yummy German cake before leaving this part of the country, who are famous for their German influence.
So, feeling a bit healthier and very happy to have arrived at the airport right on time, to the minute mind you, we nervously took the keys back for this, basically brand new, car we had hired when we first arrived in Chile. However, now having clocked up an extra 5000km’s, going on the most craziest roads, having the most amazing adventures around 2 countries, we hoped there wouldn’t be any issues upon returning it.
Adam had the car detailed, topped up and was looking almost as good as new. If we had done any damage to the car, it would of cost us a small fortune and extremely hard to argue when you can only say Hello, thank you, please, good bye and my name is Sarah in Spanish …argghh, why didn’t I do Duolingo or practice what my good teacher David had taught me. But alas, Adam’s good driving skills and God’s provision, everyone was happy chappies and no problemo!
So on the plane we got and 2 hours later arrived in the big smoke – Santiago. With our 5 suitcases and booster seat, the 5 of us took on the local buses to get to another bus terminal for a coach to take us to the Ywam base 4 hours away. All a bit crazy and hectic from our remote villages of the south, but we somehow passed over our bags to someone, handed over money to someone else and got on a bus! We were told it was a few blocks away. Haha, half an hour later we got off at a place that had lots more buses….mmmmm which one is our bus? 30 mins later, realised we had to walk another block or two to get to another bus terminal.
Watching the kids like hawks and all lugging our bags and back packs…oh and teddy, we arrived at another place with lots more buses. Mmm now which one? After lots of sign language we found a counter that had the same name as our tickets. The lovely man wrote down “25” and pointed in one direction. Off we went, fighting the hoards of people in the heat (ok, slight exaggeration but hottest day we’ve had since arriving…must be almost 20). Found the number 25 hidden behind a tree, but alas, no bus with our company name on it.
So after another 30 mins of walking up and down trying to ask people where our bus was and showing them our ticket, we only got people shrugging their shoulders, not sure where it was, at was meant to have already arrived. Help! It was now 6.30pm and the bus was supposed to leave at 6.30pm. I left Adam and the girls with all the bags and ran back to try find the lovely man. There were too many counters and with my wonderful sense of direction it only had me spinning in circles. Almost in tears I raced back to Adam and guess what, the bus had just pulled up. We threw our bags underneath, jumped on and off we went. We had the whole bus to ourselves pretty much the entire trip. With much more space than the plane and seats reclined right back, we switched on our screens and relaxed all the way (peaking out the window now and then) to the new and exciting town, Pichilemu.
Arriving at 11pm, a couple from the Ywam base, came and picked us up. It was only 2 minutes walk away, but the kids were all starting to fall asleep and the help was greatly appreciated. We were taken to our new home and asked if we were hungry, all starving as we had last eaten 12 hours ago, but too tired, we said no and flopped into bed.
Our first night…..
So, kids slept all night long. How do they just do that???? Adam tossed and turned, but I didn’t sleep a wink. Great! I was itchy, hungry, so uncomfortable, I think my pillow was a case with scrunched up tissues in it and our blanket was for a cute little Chilean couple. Not a big Aussie couple like us. So we played tug of war with that, until I put the quilt cover on me and gave Adam the blanket. So, pillow folded in half 100 times and a blanket, I thought I just have to get some sleep. Just when I started to doze off, I hear this noise? Snoring?? But from who? The person who lives above us, that’s who. Nooooooo. So for hours and hours, I lay there listening to the snoring, trying to ignore it. I was starting to get so frustrated and feeling deliriously tired, thinking, seriously, could it get any worse? YES it could, thanks to my new neighbour, a rooster! 4am and off he started. Then I saw the funny side and couldn’t stop laughing, this was ridiculous. I accidentally woke Adam up with my chuckles, but then I eventually got an hour sleep and we all woke up, ready to see exactly where we were.
Pichilemu Ywam Base or in Spanish – Jucum Pichilemu. Our new home!
So we are in this little apartment underneath the directors of the schools home. Lovely couple but do not speak a word of English. How dare they…just joking. There’s 2 bedrooms (apparently), a kitchenette and little bathroom . Adam quickly decided to rearrange the set up. They thought we only had 2 kids, so Amaya crashed on a spare mattress on the floor in the kitchen area. He pulled apart the bunks and our queen bed. The bunks and spare mattress went into the “main” room, leaving enough room for the kids to also fit their clothes in and put our bed in the kitchen /lounge area. The other tiny room was now our walk in robe/storage room, posh, I know! Our sarongs made perfect curtains too.
While Adam was doing this, I went with one of our leaders (Lindsey, the lady who picked us up last night, American and speaks English and Spanish) was heading to the local markets. I jumped in and met another lady from the States who had arrived a month earlier with her husband and 5 kids! Yeah, some people who could understand me without doing my fancy sign language.
So hitting the markets, I grabbed fruit, bread, honey and eggs. I love this town, so sunny and a beach whoop whoop. Can’t wait to explore. But the supermarket was more important right now (don’t get too excited, it’s not Woolies, but it has the bare essentials) I was able to grab toilet paper, cleaning products, tea towels and essentially, new pillows for all (slightly better, but new at least). This took about 2 hours but by now after 3 weeks, I had realised that in Chile, life is a lot more easy going. No rush, no worries. So back home I trotted with my bags, almost lunch time, ready to have some breakfast.
Fleas….they’re everywhere. The base is all dirt roads and lots of dogs. So fleas get into your clothes and washing easily. So my first day was finding where the washing machine was and trudging back and forwards to wash all the sheets. Blankets can be done later! The walk from our house to the washing machine is not that far but you have to go up a little hill and you get a beautiful view over the houses and out to the ocean. I love it. I was told not to hang the sheets on our little line as we’d get more fleas as it’s over dirt, but where else do you hang your washing? So far so good.
The family of 7 have been so kind and generous to us. Telling us all their findings about Pichilemu and Ywam so far. I’m glad they have been here for a month to suss it all out. They’ve been buying us eggs, bread, berries, tea and even took us out to a restaurant for dinner to try the local fish. They’ve made us feel very welcome and they have a girl Isla’s age and another Amaya’s age so they have been playing non stop.
Day 2 we were still just settling in, had a meeting with our directors with an interpretur Lindsey (lady who picked us up). We talked about what our schedule would look like and if we wanted to go to the dining hall for our meals. We decided to start going for lunch and dinner until we find our feet. With only 1 hour spare time in the schedule between 7am-9.30pm, I’m not sure how I’ll find the time to do cooking, but everyone has been telling us we’ll soon get sick of it? For me, everything tastes wonderful when I don’t have to cook it haha, although I must admit, I don’t want to see anymore bread for a while!!
Day 3 we’re into it! Up and off to class. It’s just an easy morning of introductions etc and I’m getting excited to get started. There’s about 20 or so people in our class from all walks of life. Majority are Chileans, 4 married couples (not both partners are doing the course though) lots of 18-25 year olds and a few others thrown in. Other nationalities are Swiss, English, Columbian, Argentinian, Nth American, French, Portuguese, Brazilian and us! 9 kids between us running around. More than half don’t speak any English but we always have a translator for our meetings.
We’ve been attempting to get into routine and the girls have been begging to start homeschooling for over a week now! So we’ve started doing a bit of that (after working out how to print the worksheets off…nothing happens quickly lol). They’re enjoying it so far. Fingers crossed that lasts. They’ve also started swimming school yesterday. One of the outreaches on this base is a swimming centre. It’s about 100 mt from our house. We can look out our window and see when it’s not too busy and go down for a swim or a work out in the gym. There’s also a spa and sauna! So in our free time pfffft we can go there.
Amaya was keen as anything to get into the squad team. She only did her very first 50mt swim ever at her last swimming carnival in Australia and I was surprised she could swim that far. But as determined and competitive as our lovely May is, she smashed out almost 30 laps (25mt) and made the team. She started today and first up, butterfly! Back and forwards doing butterfly for the first time ever. She was buzzing. She was wrecked but she loved it.
Elissa, also a strong swimmer made the team but with her perfectionist personality she wants to make sure she has (as she puts it) “nailed it” (technique) before advancing to squads. So after their first lesson this morning, we went back to do some more training this afternoon.
Isla, surprised me the most! This kid has only had a few lessons when she learnt how to swim years ago. She’s a fish. Diving perfectly and off she goes, up and down up and down. Not sure where that came from but she’s a natural. Plus her new friend is also in her class. Instructors speak mainly Spanish and a touch of English. The kids will be interpreting for us soon 🙂
It’s almost a win/win for everyone today. I thought they would crash tonight…nup. Tomorrow morning is going to be fun…not. At least I don’t have to inflict their tired behaviour onto a teacher at school, oh yeah, I’ll be dealing with that..yikes, better get to bed myself. Midnight is a normal bedtime here….last night a young girl was knocking on the door at 11pm selling homemade jam. People think we’re strange when we put our kids to bed at 8.30pm.
So what’s the real point of this exercise??? If you’re not sure what Ywam is, check out my first blog. That has all the details about the organisation and the DTS course we are doing.
To give more details from our point of view, for the next 12 weeks we’re doing a course that will help us learn how to have a closer relationship with Jesus. I certainly don’t intend to know all the answers to the bible or to be able to have long religious debates but for me it’s personal time about a decision I’ve made. I believe we’re here on earth for a reason and this next 3 months is giving us the time to explore that on a deeper, more meaningful level. We’re going to have a lot more challenges I’m sure, other than fleas and bread, but I’m excited to see what I learn and where that may lead.
Then after 12 weeks we will go on an outreach somewhere (maybe another country or maybe here) to share Gods love in a more practical way.
We could of done this course in Australia, but we wanted our kids (and us) to experience a different culture as that’s a passion of ours. Also to broaden their view on life and see how other people live. We are have a very privileged life in Australia and it’s hard to imagine other cultures without jumping in and seeing it first hand. Makes you appreciate a lot things, big and small, so much more.
We are really grateful that we have been able to take 6 months out of our busy little lives, to focus on things that are important to us. To live each day, with whatever challenges and experiences it may bring, together as a family.
For those that would like to pray for us, please send me a Facebook PM and I’ll make a group where I can send any requests to you. That would be the biggest support to us.
Hopefully you can envision our lives here a bit better and I’ll bombard you with photos next….Stay tuned and thanks for reading.
Love Sarah x