Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chile lindo videos

It was a beautiful drive from Talca to the mouth of the Mataquito River.  Here is a video of this virgin coastal area.

From the mouth of the Mataquito River we drove to ConstituciĆ³n, where I served as a missionary 43 years ago.  Here are videos of the beautiful coastline in ConstituciĆ³n.

Chile Lindo!

"S'wonderful, Marvelous", this place has beauty at every turn.  The weather is warm and it is only the start of Spring!  Here are some of the lovely scenes we've enjoyed over the last week.

This is the trail for the hike we take almost every morning.  It has great blossoms and smells.  We have found this to be a popular workout place.  We only see people on the weekend or holidays.

This statue of Mary is visible from the city.  We're zoomed in here.
We were on a drive and had to turn around to get a picture of this beautiful place.

Our drive took us to Constitucion.  Doug served here in 1969.  This city was hit by a tidal wave after the earthquake, 2 years ago.  The city looks like it is still trying to recover.  The beach and rock formations are gorgeous.
The tide was coming in and it was really windy between these rocks.  I would have loved to play here awhile but it was cold.

These yellow flowers are called "Scotch Broom".  
On Sunday we visited this little Branch in Retiro.  There is a missionary couple assigned to Shepherd this branch.  They are from Southern Chile and are doing a great job.  The Elder is the Branch President and Hermana Mora cooks for all the activities.  They are so nice and had us to dinner with the Elders that work in the Pueblecito.  This building was converted from a house.  It is very nice and has the same carpet as in all the U.S. buildings!
This is the Mora's house.  We have 2 cordon bleu patties, an empanada, huge pile of rice and 3 yummy salads.  It was delicioso!
Grated carrots, lettuce with Palta chunks, (avocado), creamed corn and tomatoes with onions and cilantro.
After Almuerzo (big meal from 2-4 p.m. every day), Elder Mora took us to his first counselor's house on the edge of this tree farm.  He works for a company that grows orchards of poplar trees that are used for making matches and Popsicle sticks.  There were also fields of blueberries, and barley and peach trees.

The owner of the company has a beautiful hacienda here to wine and dine visitors.  I think this is the horse corral.
I thought this was a really cool method of irrigation!

There are gorgeous roses everywhere.  Even the tiniest yards have rose bushes in full bloom.
You might want to come and visit to see for yourself how beautiful Chile is!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Springtime in Talca

Flipping seasons is a little disorienting.  The old bridge was damaged beyond repair in the 8.8 earthquake in February 2010.
Right now it is beautiful and green.

Spring is coming on.  Unfortunately graffiti is very prominent

We'll see if these flower pots on light posts can compete with Coeur d' Alene.
The black cars are colectivos - each one runs a certain route like a bus.  Flag them down and hop in.  Most of them have 5 people in them who are usually strangers to each other.  Many cities use colectivos instead of buses.
On the other hand .....  There are about 10 cranes in Talca working on construction projects for tall buildings
Whatever gets you from here to there
A country of contrasts
Someone actually collects a fee from parents who want to give their kids a chance to ride and play with these unique bikes.

Pretty clever way to make a little money
The trikes and bikes are left unlocked.
Our favorite hike is to the top of this hill in the distance.  It is over a 5 mile hike from our apartment.  Destruction of old buildings from the earthquake.
On the way to the hill.
Our apartment building is about 11:30 in this photo (using a clock for orientation).
Place for prayer - silence and respect
Just like the rest of Latin America, Chile is 90% Catholic.
How's that for a few telephone/electrical lines?
There is actually a McDonalds here in Talca.  The burger and fries were good.  We never go to McDonalds at home.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

First Few Days

Johnny & Rachel came to LAX Marriott Monday morning to tell Grandma and Grandpa goodbye.  Thank you Lindsey and Paul.
Last minute phone calls to family before our departure to Chile.  L->R:  Elder Auelua-Filitaula (his father is Somoan and his mom is Native American/Italian and he is from Alaska), Elder Grammer (Arkansas), and Elder Scott(Florida).  Elders Auelua-Filituala and Elder Grammer both received a 2 year leave of absence from the Naval Academy to serve missions.  Ironically they both got called to the Chile Concepcion Mission starting at the same time
The mission home is right next to the Bio Bio River in Concepcion.  The new Concepcion Chile Temple will be between the mission home and the river.  The mission home for the Chile Concepcion South Mission is right next door and is the same floor plan.
The mission home for the mission president in Concepcion is a beautiful large apartment.  President Neall Humphrey and his wife Leslie were very kind to us when we arrived at 9 am after an all night flight from LAX.  We had to change planes in Lima in the middle of the night and go through security again.  When we arrived in Santiago at 7 am we only had a little over an hour to go through customs and get on a domestic flight to Concepcion.  We barely made it.  Two of our bags did not arrive with us.  Fortunately there was another flight that morning to Concepcion and the 2 missing bags arrived.
President Humphrey's mission home office is where he prepares for all of his meetings and conferences and prayerfully makes decisions about assignments and transfers.  After we arrived Tuesday morning we went to the mission office to start the process for visa application and for photos at a local photo shop.  Then it was off to a chapel in Concepcion and they served us lunch followed by a meeting for the new missionaries.  Each new missionary was asked to bear their testimony.  Sally had everyone in tears as she struggled to express herself in Spanish.  It was awesome!  At the end of the meeting President Humphrey announced the companion assignments one at a time and the new missionaries found out who their companions would be and where they would be working for the next few months.  After an all night flight they were off to their assignments and teaching appointments.  No rest for the weary!  We were able to spend the night at the mission home with the Humphreys.
Wednesday morning the Humphreys drove us to Santiago (5 hours) to pick up our car.  Toyota Corolla with only 6000 KM on it.  Very nice!  Here it is parked in our designated spot at our apartment in Talca.
Our apartment is circled in black on the 2nd floor.  The building is called "edificio San Francisco" and is one of the nicer buildings in Talca.  We bought a remote for the gate so we don't have to stop and call the security desk each time.
Just above street level.
24 hour security is provided for the building.  Our HOA will be about $100 per month.  The rent is $950 per month which we are able to pay to our ward missionary fund and then the mission gets reimbursed from there.  Right now gas is about $6.50 a gallon.  We'll probably be spending about $500 - $600 a month on gas.
There are multiple security cameras.  There is very little violent crime in Chile but stealing is a problem.
President and Sister Humphrey helped us move into our apartment on Wednesday on our way to Santiago.
Sister Humphrey used the restroom and could not open the door to get out.  Apparently the earthquake in February 2010 tweaked everything and none of the interior doors shut all the way.
Even the maintenance man couldn't get the door open.
After about hour of trying we had success in getting her out,  So what the apartment looks like from the outside does not tell the whole story.
There is no central heat that we have been able to figure out.  No duct work.  We found these space heaters for $200 each (on sale for half price because it is spring!) and we are grateful to have them.  The only problem is that we keep tripping the breaker.  There is only one circuit for all the receptacles in the in apartment.  Right now we've plugged it into the microwave plug.

We have a nice deck.
Living Room furnished by the mission.  We rent the furnishings.
Master bedroom is lovely.
Master bath.
Dining area.

Kitchen is very small.  Mostly equipped by Sister Humphrey but we've been adding to it everyday.

This hutch gives us a little more space for kitchen items.
This Black & Decker hot water heater is awesome - in 2 minutes you have boiling hot water.  It is a good thing because we can't get hot water to any of the sinks in under 10 minutes.  The hot water is at the other end of the building.  We have to plan our showers.

View out the kitchen window.  Chile is a country of contrast.  New and beautiful and old and dilapidated - right next to each other.

But alas Sally still is able to produce apple puff pancakes!

After we got our car on Wednesday afternoon in Santiago we drove back to Talca.  The internet service was supposed to be installed on Thursday at 3 pm.  At 4 pm we called.  He said they'd be here at 5 pm.  At 6 pm we called.  He said they didn't have the right equipment and he couldn't get it until Tuesday.  They showed up unannounced on Saturday and called us wondering where we were.  We rushed home and he did the installation.  Unfortunately the download speed is only 4-5 MBPS, way too slow for skype or sling box.  We called again.  He said he would call us on Monday (to be continued).  On Friday morning we were able to go to a mission council consisting of all the zone leaders, the assistants, and President and Sister Humphrey in Chillan, about 2 hours south of Talca.  It was an outstanding 4 hour meeting.  President Humphrey is really inspired and very well organized.  I was astonished at the Spanish fluency of the missionaries.  Maybe I spoke as well as they did when I was a missionary in Chile 44 years ago but I was sure impressed with their ability and their spirit.  They presented their performance, their goals, their plans, and their methods for accomplishing everything.  The mission had 126 baptisms in September and anticipates having 130 in October.  It was a very inspiring meeting.  President Humphrey has called me as his 1st counselor in the mission presidency.  Should be fun.  Sally will be inspecting the missionary apartments and converting these great people with her warmth and love.

Doug has left out all the wild-goose chases we have been on trying to find our way around.  Every street is one-way and    we don't know which way is up yet.  At night it is really a challenge with arrows hard to see and mini street signs, if they have them.  Last night he left 15 minutes before General Priesthood meeting and 30 minute later he came bursting into the apt. saying he couldn't find the building!  We had even made a "dry run" in the daytime, but without his great companion, he couldn't find his way.  He took the tablet that has maps and found his way but had to listen in Spanish because he didn't know which room the English feed was in.  Oh well.  Every day is fun because you don't know what to expect.  It all still feels like a really crazy dream.

Things I'm glad I brought:
My warmest wool Coeur d'Alene church outfit.  The meetinghouses are cold.
My little old brown warm up suit, scarves, wash cloths, happy attitude.
Things I wish I had:
My blue fleece vest and my warmest bathrobe.
That's about it for wishes.  We are going to "Paris", a department store where we can get about everything.  I just hope Spring in Talca is not like Spring in Coeur d'Alene, and summer will happen soon.