Saturday, June 20, 2009

Things Fall Apart

Things aren't so much falling apart right now as changing more quickly than I can take in. A lot has changed in the past few weeks to really destabilize the household I'm living in.

The largest change being that Carlos and Irma, my host parents, had to leave the country to return to Peru unexpectedly. Leaving their two kids and two language school students to run the house for a month.

I feel this would affect the family more than they talk about, but they don't seem to see it as much of an issue, and believe God had something to do with the timing and logistics that fell together rather abruptly.

The way it happened was this: about a month ago a new language student moved in with us. She's the type of person to whom everything that is unlikely to happen but can, does. So we were walking to church one morning when a viscious dog jumped out of the bushes and chomped on her ankle. It started bleeding, quite profusely, so we walked back to the house. To make a long story short, Irma called the Red Cross and the police to talk to the owner and make sure the dog was vaccinated. It was, and Melissa, the language student, was fine. But th next day Immigration came knocking at th door, asking for an appointment with Irma. She'd accidentally given her name when calling the police.

That night she gathered all her documents together and reviewed her story. They've been here 8 years now, the first four on invitatio from the Salvation Army, but the last four... "in the process" of getting legal residency. Their request for residency, she explained to me, was "sleeping with dreams of justice."

Those documents were woken from their slumber the next day at her interview, when the immigration officer presented her with deportation papers ready to be enforced. "Your deportation papers are right her," he explained to her. "But here is what I recommend you do..."

Because of her clean record and involvment in local churches and the community, there wasn't any reason to officially deport her. The immigration officer recommended she exit th ecountry, return to Perú, and re-enter legally. Through her eldest son, a legal resident, she could then reapply for residency, and because of recent legislation, probably get it.

Which, she explained, was God's way of turning the situation around for good. She just needed to quickly put together a trip to Perú for herself and her husband.

For which they left last Sunday. Leaving her two kids and me and another language student to the house on our own for a month.

However, both myself and Melissa, the other student, had already planned to move out at this time. Me to house-sit for my mission director at his house until August.

So that's the story of how things fell apart at the Rueda house, and many changes came into play. Please keep the Rueda family in your prayers as they figure this out over the next few months - especially Janette and Jonathon staying here in Costa Rica.

How's my residency status? It's in process as well. This has helped me realize how important it is to be in the country legally. I'd hate to live under constant threat of deportation, unable to call the police, unable to travel for fear of having my visa checked, running the risk of having to stay outside the country for living illegally. I've spent... well, 10 months now working on my visa. Please keep that in your prayers.

And my living situation? This summer I'm watching my mission directors' house, but in August I'm unsure of what I'll be doing. I need some guidance on that. Meaning, I need a clear direction to kick me in the face. I have a couple of ideas, but not sure which one to go with.

Costa Rica: 3 U.S.: 1

The score of the Costa Rica vs. U.S. world cup qualifying game (in case anyone's following it) was 3:1. Costa Rica won solidly, scoring their first goal in the first minute of the game and getting a solid 3 point lead before the U.S. got a sympathy goal from a penalty near the end of the game.

I was pretty excited to be able to watch the game at the stadium here in Costa Rica. My host brother and I and some language students got the cheapest tickets we could, which situated us behind the south-side goal. Turns out the location we sat in is notorious for having the roudiest, craziest fans. Sure enough, we were crammed shoulder to shoulder with a blob of people that moved and screamed their support/ridicule as one. Several times during the game this shook the cement stands we were on. It was quite a cool experience. I recognized some of the traditional sports cheers (Olé, la ola [the wave]), but learned lots of new ones. I also learned lots of important vocabulary, many words we DIDN'T learn at language school, very useful terms for sports matches and to use when someone cuts you off in traffic. One of these words was appended to every U.S. player's name as it was announced when they first came onto the field. However, it was cool how when announcing the Costa Rican players, the announcer didn't even say the last name - the audience screamed it in unison.

The Costa Rican's were pretty proud of their victory. Understandably so. It put them in first place in the CONCACAF section, the North American section fighting to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa next June 2010. At this point they're the only undefeated team in their division. So... they're doing pretty good. Really good.

I don't follow soccer too closely. My host brother Jonathan does, though. He enjoyed the game a lot. Seeing it the stadium kind of made it come alive for me. It's kind of cool how pervasive the soccer following is in the culture. A few days later Costa Rica played Trinidad and Tobago. I was in the food court at a mall waiting for a movie to start, and everyone in the room was glued to the TV coverage, all cheering or sucking in their breath as the teams took close shots on the goals.

I think Costa Rica will play the U.S. on U.S. soil in a few months here. Stay posted.