So here I am in Chile until Friday. I've been here for a week already (and haven't updated, I know). Susan and I flew in on Sunday to Santiago and spent the afternoon exploring the town with Christian, her step-son (who has the most adorable Australian accent, as does her step-daughter, Estefania). Monday Susan had to figure out paperwork for her visa and then Monday afternoon we hopped on a bus to Chillan, where the Adventist University is located (where her dad's the president). We've spent the week here and it's be full of nice people and good food. We even (sort of accidentally) ended up at a fancy, romantic banquet. Thankfully Susan's fun enough it never seems odd to go to those sort of things with her.
We've spent the week working (telecommunting, if you please) and have only had evenings free. This weekend has been adventuresome though. Sabbath, after church and lunch we headed over to the beach. It's a nice black sand beach here with powerful waves. It was cold, but not quite "Michigan beach" cold, so it was actually quite lovely. There was even a rock island covered with sea lions. That took me back to my childhood with trips to go tidepooling. There was a beautiful big mound thing with a cave in it that led all the way to the water. I believe when the tide goes up, it's a pathway for the water. Anyway, this natural space has become a church of sorts, with statues of Mary and other things pinned to the wall. We climbed up on top of the rock hill just in time to see the sun set. What a great feeling watching the colors appear in the sky with the sound of waves crashing and the smell of the ocean floating around in 55º air. Yes mom, I'm trying to make you jealous.
I found it interesting though, that as we passed through the little towns near the beach, it's not difficult to see the effects that remain from the earthquake. Throughout most of the country, the repairs have been quick and substantial. However, in the small adobe houses, those most effected by the tremors, they've simply been able to replace collapsed walls and roofs with sheets of plastic. And yes, there are still people living there. It hit me how unfortunate it is that natural disasters like this barely affect people who can afford to rebuild because they can afford stronger structures, but devastate those with little, who lose everything they have. I'm still struggling through this. I guess you could say it's stroking my non-profit fires.
Today we went to the "termas" or hot springs that are created by the volcanic sulfuric heat. They have a whole set up here with concrete pools and everything. It's still too warm for there to be snow on the ground next to the hot springs, but there were still remnents of last week's snow fall not too far away. Pastor Choque's here this week from the Division (he's the Family Ministry and Global Mission's Director) giving the week of prayer at the University, so went along with us. He's Peruvian and one of my English students there. It's amazing how comforting it is to be around someone familiar again, when traveling in a strange new land. It's also amazing that people from the Division are now the ones who feel "familiar" considering not long ago they were the "strange new land".
In other news, this week my "neighbors" will be moving into the apartments which are ready in the other subdivision. Which means, next Sunday I will be moving out of Susan's house and into my own (lonely) apartment. Thankfully, the other subdivision is very lively. What I'll miss most about moving there will be Susan and Magdiel and the Men's residence (yes, judge all you want Fawn, but they're my friends!). I'll keep updates on my impending move, but hopefully I'll have a bit more about Chile before then. Until then... peace!