Another overdue post

Trip Start Jul 12, 2011
Trip End Dec 19, 2011

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Flag of Argentina  , Capital Federal District,
Sunday, September 4, 2011

So, after being rather sick the past week and settling into classes, using the library, etc. here at ISEDET, I'm finally forcing myself to write a post : ) Here's a recap of the past couple of weeks.

Last Saturday (Aug 27), the Historia de la iglesia en América Latina class went to a concert held at a Methodist Church on Avenida Rivadavia. It was a HUGE church, and very old with stone architecture, and I unfortunately didn't get any pictures. However, I did get a program for the concert, and I took a picture of it : ) (see pics). The soprano who sang was AMAZING. I think my favorite piece of the evening was Two Arias by J.S. Bach (not sure if they just put two random arias together, or if that's the title of a two-piece set, but it was great!).

Interesting sidenote regarding culture here: there was a man sitting with a little girl in the row of pews in front of me, and when the little girl started talking during the concert the ENTIRE BUILDING full of people turned around and went "Shhhhh!!!!" The little girl looked very surprised, and partially confused, but in doing so she got quiet and then everyone turned back around. Those folks really wanted to hear the concert!

In other news, I started drinking yerba mate! (see pics) I like the taste of it, but I'm wondering if I'm allergic to it. A bag of the herbs that are used only costs about 2 bucks here, if not less, and lasts like a month, so I'm hoping I'm not allergic to it because it's pretty cool! When you drink it, you fill the mate (i.e. the cup) with the herbs, and then add hot (but not boiling) water. When it's empty, you leave the herbs in the cup, and just add more water! Instant refills!

When a person wants to "cebar" (i.e. "serve" the mate to a group of people), they hold the thermos with the hot water in it. The mate is passed to a person who drinks the whole cup. Then the mate returns to the person who is serving, and that person refills the mate with water from the thermos. The result is that a communal drinking event ensues which can last for a couple of hours. Fantastic way to make conversation (and new friends).

I bought a mate at the local supermarket, which has wood inside of it. Traditional mates usually are made out of a gourd/squash ("calabaza" in Spanish), and must be "cured" for a couple of days by placing used herbs that are still moist inside the mate. It is left in the mate for 24 hours, and then removed and replaced once again with used, moist mate for another 24 hours. After that, the mate is cured. The curing process helps to remove certain things from the inside of the gourd that can make the herbs taste bad when you drink it, and it also causes the gourd to expand and seal around the metal piece that goes around the top of the gourd, which prevents it from leaking when you use it. However, I think that a mate with wood inside doesn't need to be cured - I still cured mine anyway, but it might not be that big of a deal.

Unfortunately, I have also realized that my mate is rather small, so I think I'm going to buy another one that's more practical! However, it at least says "Argentina" on it : )

I had the chance to attend the Presbytery meeting of Presbiterio San Andrés back on Aug. 20, and those guys are FANTASTIC! I LOVE the churches here. It feels so good to be around Evangelical Presbyterians again. Guille MacKenzie has become both an awesome friend and my pastor here, which is great. I'm so thankful for how the churches here have welcomed me.

The Monday night English speaking Christian small group (it isn't a Bible study exactly, so MNESCSG seems like a fitting acronym for it), is fantastic too. I'm enjoying hanging around a few other ex-patriates, as well as Argentines, and having the opportunity to go through some of Tim Keller's stuff. It's also nice to have a place to be able to speak English for a bit and relax with other people who enjoy having a language break! Those folks are becoming good friends here.

Finally, I got my hands on a Study Bible here in the ISEDET book store. The notes are very interesting, as they were edited and approved by Catholic bishops (I believe in Honduras). It is a BEAUTIFUL volume, and includes the Apocryphal books (obviously - it's Catholic) along with the standard Old and New Testaments. My edition is the "Formadores" edition, which is the study edition created for pastors, and has ample notes on various verses. The standard edition lacks the study notes.

Next week, I'm planning to get my hands on the Biblia de Jerusalén, which is the standard scholarly text used here at ISEDET, and in graduate level seminary work in Latin America. However, it's only used to a certain point, because when I walked into my Sinoptic Gospels class last week, the professor had the students READING IN GREEK!  I about died I was so happy. They don't play around with interpreting the texts in the classes here!

That's it for now - time to relax a bit before I head out to grab dinner.
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