But alas we're here in Venezuela. The great thing about the conference is that we get to listen to the talks and whatnot from the week. They're posted at csu2013.cru.org if you're interested. So it's been life giving to be able to feel somewhat connected to what's going on, albeit a day or 2 after the fact.
Life is so much calmer now. Our schedule is so much more relaxed. We have one more weekly meeting, a goodbye party for the 2 remaining girls on the team and then it will just be a weekly Bible study with the student leaders all throughout August. We will leave in a little over a week for a visa trip to Ecuador. We're hoping it's somewhat relaxing even though it's a fair amount of travel time. It's a necessary evil.
On a totally unrelated note, I went to the large grocery store today. I rarely go there since it requires a 45+ minute walk, a bus or a taxi. But I went today with Julieta and when we got there, we immediately saw a massive line of people the entire length of the building (wish I had my camera). What were they in line for? Arepa mix. It's essentially a corn flour type mix that they use for everything here. Good thing I didn't need any of that. They had butter though! They were allowing people to buy a whole box which contained 12 separate containers. I opted for only buying 4 containers instead of a whole box since I can't imagine I would need more than 4 between now and January when they expire.
It's crazy though. The food shortages have made people a little more on edge. Someone commented to us as we were walking in....they thought we were cutting the line to get the arepa mix. Nope. No need for that. We just want normal groceries. But there was definitely an armed security guard right inside the door. That's been something new. When the stores put out the arepa mix, there are always armed guards. That's how ridiculous people get over this stuff. It's unreal to me. But it was a successful trip. I was able to find some milk, which has been really hard to come by. Lately I've been having to ask around at different little kiosks if they have any and I buy like 2 liters at a time. I'm hoping milk doesn't become an issue since our kiddos need it.
And yet another totally unrelated note, I've been reading a lot of articles lately about emotional intelligence. Really interesting stuff. It makes me wonder if I have low emotional intelligence. I have a tendency to have facial reactions that aren't really expressing how I feel. Or maybe I'm just a bad communicator. Or both. I would like to think that I know myself well and understand why I'm feeling the way I'm feeling. Which actually that is probably true. The problem is how I react. I think I tend to overreact when I feel a certain way. One more thing to talk through in counseling I guess. :)
Would you pray for us and the team for the next week? Pray for the 2 gals that are getting ready to leave. Laura has been having some recent health issues and we're hoping she's doing ok so she can go back to the U.S. and just get it figured out there. Kayla is preparing to be gone for a year or so to return as long-term staff here. It will be hard for her to leave for so long knowing she'll be back. And it's yet one more transition for our family. It's been hard for the team to get smaller and smaller over time. It'll be quite a shock when our team is around 18 people come mid-September!