Buenos Dias! As today is Sunday, we went to morning mass at 9:00 am in the cathedral. Although Bishop Dan said the mass, I was immediately overwhelmed by how little I understood. Just as it did in Spain, the words became jumbled and unintelligible by bouncing off the cathedral walls. However, during the transubstantiation he spoke so slowly and with such intention that I not only understood, but was quite moved. These feelings were further enhanced when, during the sign of peace, a huge group of people- aged 5 to 95- swarmed the altar to give Bishop Dan a hug. He gives me hope in a church hierarchy that had hitherto been so distant and seemingly uninterested. For a while now I have been yearning to know more of my faith and assumed that this meant a "book smart theology," rather than a "street smart theology." I believe that this year will not only bring me to new relationships with the people here, but through them a deeper understanding of what it means to be and act as a Christian.
Hannah provided the three of us with a "scavenger hunt" around the city to help us get to know it a little better. On our way out the door we asked one of the seminarians, Juan, for directions and he kindly offered to essentially give us a tour of the city. Later we made our way to Pat and Ed's happy hour. There we met a fiery Marist nun from New Zealand (and she was proud of it!). Happy hour was followed by a meet and greet at each of the host families' homes. It is quite obvious that they have various economic situations which was a great eye opener.
Chulucanas is known for three things: mangoes, which are incredible and way better than anything in the U. S.; limes; and gossip. We've heard from many that the last can prove to be very dangerous! Also, it is incredibly hot here. The heat has not bothered me so much except that so far it has made me incredibly tired.
I'm constantly thinking of you and hope that you're well! Love you!
PS There's another really nice dog that lives at the obispado. For an American dog he would be normal sized but he is huge for a Peruvian dog. He looks like a black lab mix and his name is Shalone. When the doorbell rings he barks so ferociously but greets you, tail wagging and exposing his belly for you to rub. We're obviously best friends.