Monday, August 7, 2017

My first selfie with a volcano!

https://goo.gl/photos/4qqD7qBaVjyMXvXH9 - (More photos from the trip here)

I know these last two posts are kind of in reverse order and that most of you already know this but...

I WENT to El Salvador!!!

It was a beautiful experience, very good for my Spanish. I saw beautiful places and was taken good care of be wonderful people.


 For the first part of the week I stayed of Julio Peña's father. I got a good breakfast in the morning and there was a volcano you could see from outside the front door!
I got to hike up that volcano! With Julio and some family friends we drove up as high as we could and then hiked the rest till we got to the crater... ...then I took a selfie with a volcano crater which was a first for me.

El Salvador seems to be pretty temperate with their whether. They have two seasons, not rainy and rainy. We were in the rainy season but it only rain once or twice during the week and was nice during almost every day. They don't really use air conditioners there from what I could see.

So the reason I was in El Salvador, one reason, was because my friend from RGBI, one of my tutors, was getting married! He had been away from his fiance all semester while at Bible college and now he was back to get married to his beautiful bride.

So in most Latino America there are usually two wedding ceremonies, one before the law which is called the civil wedding, and one before God and the church which is the religious wedding.

On the night of the civil wedding which was done by Julio uncle who was a lawyer we were driving around getting things done for the wedding and then all of a sudden I was told we were going to the wedding. How was this? I was in the back seat and its night time and I'm told were headed to the wedding all of a sudden? So I got one of my latino culture lessons right there and then got to witness it. It was pleasant and and less ceremonial but more lawyer-ish. Julio's father was there, his student friends from RGBI (me and two others), and a good friend of his come to be the official witness.

Afterwards we went out to celebrate by getting pupusas...at least I'm pretty sure it was that night. We went out for pupusas several different times and I never got any good pictures to show you what exactly they look like because I was always to busy eating them! Trust me, they are very yummy and you can find pupusarias or pupusa stands on almost every street in El Salvador.

So then came the wedding day! It was a great experience. It was at a very beautiful lakeside chapel that was surrounded by mountains on all sides. Before we got to the wedding though we had to pick up all the water for the wedding reception!
And the soda!
And the bread!


 Gabriela, Julio's bride, got ready in a little building near the chapel that had very nice window light and a nice big mirror.
She and here bridesmaids and flower girls were ready to go quite some time before the groom was ready actually.


 Julio, despite being late in getting ready for his own wedding, was a very calm and collected groom who was full of joy. "We will get married when the Lord wants us to get married my friend. It is a good day. We don't have to worry." he said to me when I mentioned that he was running late.
 I will mention now the two reasons he was running late. First he was the one organizing most of the details of the wedding. The reception chairs, tables, and decorations, different important family and guests of the wedding, and other things that he was going for and doing. He was busy all afternoon running around getting things done while I was wandering around taking pictures. I've seen grooms who were the ones taking charge of the wedding day before but none so cheerfully and un-anxiously as Julio.
 The other reason for him being late to be ready, and actually me too as I was with him, was that his shirt and suit (as well as my shirt and dress pants) were in a car (that we had used but was not his) that was locked and the key was in a rental van that had gone to the other side of the lake! That was quite a was a way and it took a while for the van to get back with the key so that we could get dressed.
Once we got our clothes though Julio quickly got dressed and was ready to go, unfazed and ready to meet his bride.





The wedding itself was so beautiful. And not just because of the location but also because of the brotherly love of Christ and the love for Christ that was shown. There were many interesting parts and some traditions that I had not seen before or had only heard of, but one thing I will mention is that during the time of blessing, when everyone extended their hands toward Julio and Gabby and prayed for them that the Lord would bless their lives and their marriage, during that time of prayer and song anyone that wanted to came forward and hugged or prayed for the couple there at the front right during the middle of the ceremony. It was very beautiful and was almost like a receiving line that we would have in the US after the wedding but instead it was during the wedding. It was a very beautiful sweet time.



 And then they were married! You can click on the link at the top to see a few more of the pictures that I didn't post here.
 The group photos were very very hectic and somewhat disorganized and scattered (I don't have my Spanish photog lingo down yet) but the backdrop was beautiful and the sun set behind the mountains at the far end of the lake.

Basically the was group pictures worked was whoever wanted a picture with the bride and groom jumped in when they saw a chance. So I jumped in for one as well! lol



 The reception hall was right up the hill and inside a big one pavilion that also had a from lawn overseeing the lake.

 We stayed that night at a hotel on the lake. We were put up very generously by one of the guest of the wedding who had an extra room. In the picture below you can see the chapel and the reception hall down closer to the water.


 Julio and Gabby did not go on their honeymoon right away. Instead they stayed and spent time with their out of town guests. Spent an extra day at the lake swimming and eating good food and enjoying time together.


 Julio continued to take good care of his guests even after the wedding (good thing for me!) A couple days latter one of the students of RGBI had his departing flight leaving from Guatemala, about a 4 or 5 hour drive I think. So we went and took him for his flight and then spent a day in ancient Guatemala!




 The last night I spent in El Salvador before I left I stayed at Julio and Gabby's new home. And then on the last day we went to the beach and I got to swim in the Pacific ocean for the first time (or at least for the first time on this side of it). I then went straight from the beach to the airport to catch my flight back to the US.
We in the US could definitely learn some lessons in hospitality and in putting others above our self from the latino culture and especially from this couple here. I was humbled by how willing they were to sacrifice their own comfort and convenience in order to take care of me and their other guests. And that hospitality that they showed was also extend by their family and friends in their willingness to gives rides and provide places in their homes to sleep to take us with them around El Salvador as part of their families. This is one part of the latino culture I don't want to miss and that I want to learn for myself.  

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