Saturday, May 28, 2011

48 Hours

The last 48 hours have been a great learning experiance for me. Last night we were invited to an "asado" which I am still learning about but its a tradional dinner with lots of grilled meat and other foods like mandioca and sopa. They do it for special events, in our case, a welcome party. I was looking forward to interacting with our new friends, learning more about what they eat, how they cook, how they talk and how they interact with each other. I wasn't prepared for the migraine headache that took way much of my evening.

As I reflected on last night I was amazed at all I did learn through my unplanned event. I learned they are compassionate, kind, understanding and get headaches just like me! I also learned more about the Lords grace for the moment. As I sat in the bathroom for over an hour (throwing up, shaking so badly I didn't think I was going to get off the floor and pleading with the Lord to just make this headache just go away), I realized that even if my headache didn't go away I was going to need help just making eye contact and not wanting to offend the people we were with by not eating all the food they had made. I made it through the evening, I don't think anyone was offended and I didn't have to eat anything, people understood and my headache did go away (which it never does unless I sleep in a dark and very quite room), THATS MY GOD! I should also note that the kids did great, especially since we didn't get home till 12:30am and Jon was able to talk with people and continue to develope relationships
Well, today I am better and we made our first down town trip alone and here is what we saw....
A parade was taking place when we got there, lots of flags and bands playing. People lined the streets and it looked like there were important people watching but we don't know who 
Then it was time for lunch, hot empanada's...yum! 

I can't eat them, so I helped Jade instead

I was impressed by this man selling chipa out of the huge basket he carried on his head 
There were many street venders selling clothes and table cloths 

It was a good family day out and we keep learning more about the culture everytime we venture out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Two Weeks

Its been two weeks since arriving here in Paraguay, I can't believe it, the time is flying by! I thought I'd recap the last two weeks and share some new things we've learned and seen in the last few days.
Here we are fresh off the plane and being greeted by by our host family (just the husband in this picture).
The pastor greeting us and another lady from church. 
Being greeted by our hostest, they greet you with a kiss, one on each cheek.
Here we are outside the airport in Paraguay!
We got here at an exciting time in Paraguays history. For the last two weeks and even before, they have getting ready and celibrating their 200th year of being a country.
On Saturday we got to see some of the dances, don't know the meaning or significance yet but I was impressed!
Here was a little market, they were selling everything from food to clothes. What caught our attention was that this market was set up right outside the hospital, good business strategy if you ask me;-)

As we walk we always see horse drawn carts. I have also noticed there aren't many lines on the roads, so roads quickly turn from one lane to two lanes to three three lanes and then go back down to one lane. I have also noticed there are no speed limit signs but there are speed bumps. We've learned its good to cross the street before a speed bump, cause there are also no cross walks and people don't slow down when they see you crossing or about to cross the road. I feel well adjusted in this area, for a while I feared crashing when riding in a car or getting hit by a car when walking but I'm learning and reminding myself this is how it is, not bad, just different!
We were out house hunting the other day with friends from church, the kids are loving the no car seats...but don't worry they don't ride like this:-)
Jon and a friend at a birthday party we were invited to. I didn't get as many pictures at the birthday as I would have liked but it was a great time to experince the culture here. Birthdays are a big deal and it showed, lots of people where there, hamburgers were served, music played loudly and everyone had fun. There was a lot more that took place, I came home and took down two pages of notes so that I wouldn't forget. Their birthday parties are different from ours but the same excitement is still there! 
Jamen and Jade are doing very well here. Jamen loves his Sunday school teachers and the songs he is learning in Spanish. I heard him counting in Spanish and the other day he told Jade the water she was drinking is called, "agua". I was so proud:-) In the above picture Jamen and I were practicing our Spanish together.
Jade was practicing too and she said her first Spanish word the other day, "chou, chou" (bye, bye).
My Spanish is coming, I've been practicing my greetings everytime we are out and use as many words as I can when talking with the kids. I also try to have conversations with people at church, there is lots of "sign language" and pointing and laughing as we try to comunicate. But they know I am trying and they all want to help and its been very encouraging! And as a side note, I can count on one hand how many times I have been nervous, the Lord is good, thank you for your prayers!!!! Keep praying!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Foods

Today I went with a fellow missionary to the big market in town! This was my first time in a market of this size. It was incredible, all the colors of the fruits and veggies, the spicy smell of  fresh basil, parsley and rosemary, unfortunately I forgot my camera. But I took pictures of the foods I got and cooked and am excited to share the new things we got to try or will be trying in the next few days!
Here we have the beef I got from the store yesterday, looks just like you would get it if you went to Walmart. To the left you'll see a white block of fresh cheese without salt, I got that the market today. I don't know how fresh it was but fresh enough not to have aged hardly at all cause it was very soft and mild flavor. Onions and garlic are a staple in our home and can be bought any where. The bottle you see is fresh wild honey from the Chaco with a corn cob as a cork and bugs and dirt floating on top, but I can't wait to try it! Then you will notice the corn chips which are just like any other corn chip only a little thicker and less salty. You will also notice my fruit and veggie wash, I brought the bottle but made my own spray from water, white vinegar, baking soda and grapefruit seed extract. I like to know my fruits and veggies are clean! 
Here to the left you see lemons and my little juicer, notice the lemons are not yellow but I still got the same product. Then the tomatoes, oranges and lettuce-with the roots still intact! You will also notice the eggs sitting out. Believe it or not, eggs can sit at room temperature, as long as they have not been refrigerated. So here all the eggs are not refrigerated and if you looked for them in the refrigerated section of the store they wouldn't be there.
Soaking the broccoli in salt water to remove moths, squishy bugs and anything else thats hiding (I found it all). Broccoli is coming into season down here now that its cooler. 
  Here is my finished masterpiece for the evening!
It was like tacos, without the ground beef, salsa, and sour cream, but it was really good! 
Here are Jamen and Jade enjoying their dinner and don't worry they use tables and chairs down here. In fact it would be very culturally inappropriate for us to be eating on the floor, but we were by our selves and I wanted to eat without a child on my lap:-)

Hope you enjoyed my little tour of some of the new things we are privileged to try. I'm finding the food isn't a big adjustment, things are a little dirtier but its just as if you grew it in the back yard and we have water to clean it so its really not a big deal. The kids are doing great with it, they both are loving the broccoli and fresh tomatoes! I'm excited to learn to make some of the everyday more traditional foods that they eat down here, I've had a few and they are so good!

Monday, May 16, 2011


I wanted to share with you our first shopping trip (by ourselves) and a few fun facts or new things I am learning. Sorry the pictures aren't in order, I'll explain as we go
Here we are (I'm taking the picture) ready to walk to the store which is about 6 blocks one way. Jon and I both had backpacks so that we could carry our food home. They don't let you walk around with your backpacks inside the store, we had to turn them in at the gift wrapping counter (you can have items gift wrapped right there in the store, I've seen this twice now) where our bags were put behind the counter and we were given a number so we could get them back later.  
Here I was excited to find they have the same spices for cooking , I cooked with cumin last night...yum! However what is different is they don't come in containers, just plastic bags, so I've been on a hunt for containers to put them in or I can just leave them in the bags.
Here milk comes in 1 liter bags or smaller. Also, ziploc bags are hard to come by. I've only seem them being sold in packs of 8 and its like $3.00! 
On our way to the store this morning we passed this man who walks around picking though peoples trash looking for plastic bottles that he can sell to make some money.
Here we are outside the grocery store. Its a pretty big store, with lots of variety, only different variety. Like here the dairy section is huge and there was a whole row of  just rice. Which means there is less of other things like only 3 brands of coffee and one kind of apple. If you buy flour or noddles, you scoop them out of big tubs and put them into a bag. Fresh herbs are readily available, I was very excited about that! But not everything is cheap, the economy here in Paraguay is good, so for many things we paid the same or more for things as back in the states.  
Here is a horse and cart right here in the city! These people go around just the man in the other picture and collect plastic as a living. 
I pretty much noticed these lovely plants right away, they are along most of the fences or walls as we walked along. 
Here are Jamen and Jade walking back from the store. To the left are the same plants pictured above, they look nice until you get close:-) 
Here are a few homes we saw as we walked, they are very nice in this section of town. 
In front of one of the homes was this huge plant, so Jamen got a picture with it!
Fruit trees are in most yards, like this orange tree on the left 
I was trying to take a picture of the bus. We haven't ridden a bus yet but we will soon. Buses are everywhere and will take us to every part of the city that is too far to walk.

Well, thats all for now. Many more adventures ahead...

Well, that was the extent of our morning. It didn't take very long to walk to the store and find things and it was good to get out and see more of the city!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


We are finally in Paraguay! Over 5 years of training, getting ready, raising support and we made it by the skin of our teeth! We had pros and cons to our final hours state side and thats what makes this story worth telling.

Tuesday morning arrived too early, we all were still tired from the day before of beach walking, fun in the pool and mini golf at the resort where Jon's parents vacation. But there was plenty to do, so we rolled out of bed. Jamen was very excited cause finally we were going to Paraguay! All I could think about was how little time we had and how much I needed to get done and Jon was focused on selling the car. Well, to make a long story short I was needed at the car selling place (whose name shall remain anonymous) to sign the title. So, Jon and his dad had to drive back to hotel (40 min from the car place) and get me, the kids, Jon's mom and the last of our stuff.
 We got on the road at 2:00 pm, an hour later than we should have. But traffic was good and we were making good time. Our next stop was another car place on the way to Miami, this time with me there. We get there, we had made good time, kids slept, we had made last minute phone calls, they said it will be 25 min and we'll get you a check! We were excited it was going to work out, however after an hour had gone by we were starting to panic. After another 20 mins we were running to Jon's parents van, check in hand and funny part was they didn't need me to sign papers:-) 

We are now 45 min from the airport and hour behind when we are suppose to be at the airport (international flights you need to be there 3-3.5 hours before). But God is good and we don't hit any traffic as we enter Miami and we get to the airport at 6:55 pm. I jump out of the van and run to the ticket counter while Jon gets the bags, Nana watches the kids and Grandpa parks the car. I finally figure what line I am suppose to be in and they rush me to the next open counter. They look at our paperwork and tell us, "we were about to close the flight in 5 min". We just made it!

 But there wasn't time to relax yet, while they checked our bags Jon had to run downstairs and to the end of the airport to pay the extra baggage fee while I finished up getting the bags checked and got the kids and carry-ons down to security. We said quick goodbyes, not a perk about being late. However one perk about being late, there are no lines, we walked right through security, no problems (got to keep all my gluten free snacks!). By the time we got to the gate the plane was half full and our seats were not together. But it got resolved, even though I didn't understand cause the airline was Brazilian so they were speaking Portuguese and I think some people got mad but Jamen couldn't sit by himself and I made sure I didn't play the part of the ugly america:-) 
We got in our seats and that plane was in the air at 8:05, 10 min early!!!! I didn't get sick, the seabands helped with nausea but I did pass-out about 12:30, I think the sitting and stress of the day caught up with me. But I got some cool water on my head and I was fine after that and so was the rest of the trip. We met another linguist in the airport, the kids did great, they slept on the plane (we didn't), all our bags came through, nothing was broken or stolen!!! All our prayers were answered, what a great God we have! We went through customs no problem, they didn't even open our bags and when we stepped outside the airport we were greeted by our host family and host pastor and his wife along with fellow missionaries! There was much rejoicing and I cried but it was great and something I will never forget!

I haven't been good about taking pictures but here a few and a little about what's taken place since our arrival.
Last night we met again with our host family and host Pastor and his wife, who are very excited have us and teach us, just to talk with them and get to know them better (as much as we can with as little as we speak). They met us at the airport but here they are below. Pastor and his wife to the left and our host family on the right. 

Us and our host family (I don't know how to spell their names yet but they will be teaching us Spanish and showing us around the city and helping us find a home and getting settled there)
Here is Jamen with some of our bags. This is outside the door to our guest house home for the next few weeks or so until we find a place to live. 

Praise the Lord with us that we got here, our bags got here, we are healthy, the kids are adjusting and we are loving it! We are encouraged by our co-workers and thankful they are here.

Pray with us that we would find a place to live soon (its better if we make the adjustment of being on our own sooner then later), for culture shock if and when it does set it (right now we still feel like we are living in south GA, its very similar), pray we would balance ministry and family and continue to be faithful parents to Jamen and Jade!

We love and miss you all and THANK YOU for your PRAYERS and SUPPORT!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Aaahh Freak Out

I am not really freaking out with only 7 days left but that part of the song is stuck in my head and seems appropriate...even if its not accurate.

 Well, this last month has been full of goodbyes, birthdays and wonderful memories. The kids have done well with all the moving and seeing new people. I am still amazed at their little personalities coming out more and more and it fills my heart with joy to see them grow and learn! So, here are the highlights of the last 4 weeks...

Jon, Jade, my sweet sister and I at the playground
Jamen and Jade loved having Grandma and Grandpa there to read, play and to celebrate Jamen's 3rd birthday!
The birthday boy!
The red firetruck cake I made, to go along with our "red" themed party, all Jamen wanted was a "red" birthday. It took me about three hours to make this cake and only about 30 min to eat it, but I had tons of fun doing it and Jamen really liked it!
Dressed up on Easter morning!
The Easter egg hunt that afternoon, Jamen was excited with how many he found...
but Jade was the first to discover there was stuff inside...I didn't realize till after the fact that I could have left them empty since it was their first egg hunt.They wouldn't have know there was suppose to be stuff inside:-) They had fun and I think all of us grown ups had more fun watching them! 
Jade being down right cute!
Gigi and Bompa also made a trip down for a few days, it was wonderful to see them and spend precious time with them. Four generations of Quast watching hockey together, priceless!