Monday, April 23, 2012

"I went skydiving..."

Throughout the semester some of us have had the song Live Like You were Dying by Tim McGraw stuck in our heads pretty much since day 1. We would always sing it, and then we got the idea to actually go skydiving. None of us really put forth an effort to find a place to go and plan a trip around it, probably for pretty obvious reasons, however Anna was chatting with her dad one night and the trip became official, he was coming to Uruguay to go skydiving with his daughter and so I got to tag along. Now leading up to the day we jumped I would get so incredibly nervous, the bus ride to the town where we were going to skydive in was the longest hour of my life. When we got there the place kind of seemed like a run down operation, so then we got even more nervous. We were supposed to meet with one of the guys who was organizing our jumps at 10:30 but he was running a little late. When he got there, he didn't just drive up, he actually came soaring in from the air! We all thought this was pretty awesome! And then it turned out that he was a part of the Argentine national team! The entire Argentine Professional skydiving team was practicing at the same place and out of the same plane we were jumping from. This experience reached a new level of awesome! Also because they were there it meant we had to alternate turns with them, first Anna's dad went then the team jumped then Brady went then the team jumped and so on. One of the guys knew English really well and wanted to talk with us while Anna's dad was making his jump. Once it was time for the team to head off we asked around about him and it turns out that he is a world famous skydiver-Who knew? Here is a website that talks all about them, I was trying to find a sweet video of them skydiving but this is all I could find: Thought y'all should check it out! 

Because we would switch back and forth between us jumping and then the team jumping meant it took 2 hours per person to jump. I ended up going fourth, and in between I definitely took some naps. The sun kept hitting me in the right spot and I would just crash, then I would wake up in time to watch the actual jump and landing and then it would cycle through again. So I really wasn't nervous, I had some good rest and then I jumped out of an airplane. I wasn't really all that scared except when the door of the airplane flew open and it took me by surprise when we did a double back flip as we were falling out of the plane. I had such a blast and actually felt pretty safe the whole time I was at the hanger. It was an experience that was so much fun and I am so glad I had that opportunity.

I will post pictures soon so that y'all will truly believe that I jumped out of a plane. ;)

Los Coatis!

During our research before going to Brazil, we found out all about these cute little creatures called the Coati. They are interesting little things, the seem sweet and friendly but if you have a bag of food, you are done for, they will steal it away from you and if you get harmed in the process they don't mind one bit! Anna and I were trying to save money so that we could buy gifts and have money left to go skydiving (that will be yet another blog post) so we decided before the 25 hour bus ride to Brazil to go to the store in Uruguay and buy crackers and cookies for our lunches (since we had all you can eat breakfast and dinner). This turned out to be a great idea, we only bought one lunch during our whole trip. However one day we were at the park on the Brazilian side of the Falls and I was chatting with one of our sponsors about going repelling because I was the only one who wanted to go, and then out of the corner of my eye I saw Anna sitting down about to dig into our food supply when all of a sudden a Coati pounced out from nowhere clawing on to her backpack. Luckily for us, our food was left untouched, however Anna could not stop shaking all during lunch. These little guys may look cute but as soon as you pull out your lunch sack they are no better than a school bully!

This past week I got to spend my time in Foz do Iguazu, Brasil! I loved every single minute of it. The falls of course were absolutely incredible!! But my love doesn't stop there, the food we ate was insanely wonderful as well. I love watermelon, and for a while there were watermelons all over the place in Uruguay until a few weeks ago and ever since I had been craving watermelon. When we got to Brazil, there were platefuls of watermelon at every breakfast and dinner. I was loving it, I even had watermelon juice with my breakfast each morning. The first morning we were there, I had a couple of pieces of watermelon, bread with watermelon jelly and a nice glass (or two) of watermelon juice! Not only was the food wonderful each and every day but the scenery was equally as wonderful. After visiting the Argentine side of the falls, I was able to soak in God's wonder and power. Something that I realized was that on one side of me I would look and see this peaceful and calm slow moving stream
and then on the other side, there would be this intense rushing of water.
For me this symbolized the fact that God can work through something small to make something incredible. I know that he can use me in this world to further His Kingdom, I may just be a small little stream carrying on with life but with God working through me, my actions have the capability of resulting in a wonderful change. 
I had so many incredible experiences in Brazil, but for y'all's sake I will try to keep my blog posts short and tell you more of the full story in person but here are a couple of things that helped my week in Brazil to be spectacular:

  1. Getting to see the Falls
  2. Holding a parrot (I also held a snake...)
  3. La Comida!!
  4. Swimming in the pool at the hotel and playing volleyball
  5. Taking long naps!
  6. Goofing around in the hotel with the group
  7. Enjoying buffet style breakfasts and dinners
  8. Touring the town with a couple of friends and our awesome bus driver
  9. Rappelling overlooking the Falls
  10. Trying not to get attacked by the Kautis! (This will be another blog post soon to come!)
I was a little freaked out!

I truly enjoyed my vacation that was so needed at this point in the semester as I now only have two weeks until I return back home, I am now in crunch mode trying to get all of my schoolwork done.

(This last picture is just for fun, you aren't supposed to drink the water in Brazil so I saw that there was a fountain but don't worry mom, I didn't drink any!)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rural del Prado

Lately I have been a bit homesick...I mostly am missing the familiarity of my home and all of my friends and family. Luckily I had an unexpected surprise awaiting me. I thought that I had a spanish test on Tuesday but it turned out that after lunch our spanish teacher wanted to take us on a "field trip"to the Rural del Prado which is much like the West Texas Fair and Rodeo, but Uruguayan style. This felt like a little piece of home in the middle of Montevideo, Uruguay! We watched horse racing, and visited informational places, and most importantly I bought churros!! I have found a new love for churros. I know I will crave the delicious Uruguayan style churros much like I currently crave a three musketeers bar. Anyhow after all that, Jaymee and I visited the market and talked with one of the vendors for a good while. It is really difficult to have a conversation where I fully comprehend the situation but I guess I have become good at looking and acting like I know what's going on, however when people ask me a question I turn into a deer in the headlights.