|Wonderful Argentine Beef!|
OK, this brings us to another important aspect of surviving overseas: learning to drive and get around! Of course if you don't have a car, you have to learn how to take a taxi, call for a "remise" (private kind of taxi) or catch the bus or subway. Catching a bus may seem pretty straight forward as long as you know the number bus you're looking for but it really is more complicated than we realized here in Argentina (a LOT has changed since we were last here). They will not let you pay unless you use coins (did we mention that EVERYONE is low on coins?) or unless you have a bus card. (Where do you buy the bus card?) So, unless you encounter a merciful person on the bus to help you out, you are really in for a frustrating experience. We seem to under-estimate all the details of just 'getting around' when we move overseas.
If you drive, you have to quickly learn all the local laws for driving...the do's and don'ts. Driving in B.A. is hectic. Now we understand why our parents really dreaded driving in this big city! :o) Almost every time we get into the car, we stop and pray for safety.
|Beautiful Sunset driving back from La Plata before the flood|
|Olivia and Sofia blessed us by helping with chores when it wasn't even required of them to do so.|
We have tried to get back into our homeschool routine as much as possible. Sometimes, when we've had to do paperwork or similar things, we have the kids take along a special journal in which they write and draw about the new things they are seeing, hearing, and experiencing. This gives us opportunities to talk about the new things of this culture and process through the changes we are all living through. Just today, Elias wrote about what he calls the "road registries" (tolls) that everyone has to go through and the pasta truck which he said is not commonly seen in the USA. Olivia made notes about seeing gypsies, and encountering "intersection vendors" trying to sell tissue and candy bars.
|Homeschool - Scripture Copywork|
Another aspect of learning to survive overseas (and thrive) is really easier said than done. And that is keeping things joyful, lighthearted, all the while maintaining a heavenly perspective on things. I guess it's kind of like learning to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes, learning to smile even when everything seems to be going wrong learning to be merciful and gracious and learning not to complain! Staying focused on the Lord in the midst of it all is a priority which often gets set to the side.
|Sof'ia likes to be in school as well - she likes her Scripture Tracework|
|Playing "tea time" together after a meal - having fun together|
For us, some of the challenges of surviving and thriving overseas may be quite different than for others. You may have noticed that we didn't mention language. But, don't forget that we spent 8 (plus) years trying to learn Arabic! And now, we find Arabic words coming out when we really are intending to speak Spanish! (Never thought that would happen!) We didn't mention "culture" but that is another huge obstacle sometimes. Another obstacle we didn't mention is related to sharing the gospel of Christ. Learning the culture, the language, and the strongholds often found in a new culture are important as we try to seek the Lord in reaching these people. Again, there are many more issues we haven't even touched on. And for us, returning to a country in which we grew up makes it a totally different experience than it was for us when we went to a Muslim country. No matter the circumstances, we've found that it is crucial to maintain a learning attitude and a spirit of humility because, in the midst of transitioning to a new culture, God will continue His transforming work in our hearts and lives - often using the difficulties and obstacles of the new country to purify and mold us into His image. To God be all the glory!