12/03/2012 15:19

The weekend before I left for Colombia, someone gave me a T-shirt as a sort of good-bye gift. It said "How can I think out of the box, if you won´t even let me out of it", and it had a picture of a little guy trapped in a wooden box. When I first saw it, I really didn´t get the point. What did that have to do with anything? Well I get it now. Sometimes we´re so absorbed in our own world, in what we´re used to doing, our traditions and our habits, sometimes it can hold us back from "getting out of our box". There´s always going to be a million reasons and concerns as to why we shouldn´t get out of our comfort zone and serve in other lands: work, family, money, the congregation. However the imense blessings and benefits of making such a drastic change outway all those doubts and concerns. In these past 77 days I´ve learned alot and gained countless experiences that will be with me for life. Just to mention a few of them, I´ve learned to be a bit more independent. I´ve seen with my own eyes how the love among Jehovah´s people is worldwide. I´ve experienced how Jehovah guides you to make wise desisions if you just consult with him first. I´ve become a decent public speaker, I´ll eat almost anything, and I´ve made freindships that´ll last a lifetime. Who doesnt want to experience all those blessings? I want to thank all the loyal fans, who inspired me to keep writing even when it meant staring at a blank screen for 20 minutes until I could come up with something to write. Some of you know your way around my blog better than I do. I sincerely hope that I have, at the least, helped you to consider the possibility of "getting out of your box", and I guarantee you won´t ever regret it.

Fin De La Obra


                                                                                            -DANIEL ALBERTO VARGAS ALMIEDA

Day 76 in Itagui (TWO)

12/03/2012 14:45

Saturday night my ankle flared up. I was doing fine on it, to the point where I didnt even have a limp. But I took a nap saturday evening before my "suprise" going away party, and when I woke up my foot was purple and swolen. It was more painful to walk on than when I first injured it. It was almost impossible to dance, but I managed. Everyone said thier goodbye speeches and I got 5 thank you letters. One of them, from a 10 year old girl, actually made me a bit teary eyed, haha. 

Sunday morning I was a bit concerned about my ankle because I was planning on walking to my talk in Poblado. But I just took a couple painkillers and soaked it in hot water and I was able to deal with the pain. I wanted to get to the hall 30 minutes earlier since I was the only one with the key to the Kingdomhall. I did arrive at Poblado 30 minutes early, but then I got lost for 20 minutes. I called about 5 different brothers for help, but they either didnt answer, or I just didnt understand thier directions. I was so relieved when I ran into a group of sisters on the way to the hall. By the time I got there was a crowd of about 30 people waiting to get in the hall (my bad).

We started a couple minutes late, which was probably also my bad. I made a sincere effort not to make any faces when the brother opened up the meeting in english. His accent was extremely thick but I was impressed with his excellent effort. I was also impressed with the great attendance of about 60. As for my talk, I never expected it to come out as good as it did, that was 110% holy spirit, and everyone loved it. The Watchtower was conducted by Don, a brother from Florida, and it was music to my ears to hear proper american english again. He opened up encouraging everyone to comment, and not to worry about pronunciation, which I thought was a nice touch. I couldn´t understand half of the comments but Don did a good job of keeping things simple and understandable. After that meeting, I was further convinced that this is where I want to be.

After the meeting, about 10 of us went out for dinner to a mall close by. We sat and ate and talked for about an hour. Most of everyone went thier seperate ways after that, but me, and Dan from U.K., and Leidi from Florida went to meet up with another group at an even bigger mall. It was a really nice mall, it even had bumper cars and a artificial snowroom for snowball fights and snow angels. I had a awesome time. It was a great last weekend in Colombia. (Photos added to PhotoGallery Poblado)

Today me and my grandpa hit the streets of Medellin. He wouldnt stop complaining about the crime, and the noise, and the traffic. But I absolutly loved it. Too bad I didn´t get to go with the Poblado crew. I just love the big city vibe for some reason. I love the constant movement, the noise, people playing music in the streets, the wierd statues. These days are going by too soon. (Photos added to PhotoGallery Medellin)



12/03/2012 14:44

Dia 74 en Itagui (4)

12/01/2012 14:23

Mañana tengo mi discurso en ingles en Poblado. Tengo todo lo que necesito, menos una Biblia, un Anuario, y un cantico, pero espero que sale bien. Voy a ir solo, me toca tomar el metro. Espero que puedo llegar bien, porque ademas de ser el discursante, soy el unico con llaves para el Salon. Hoy me van hacer una pequeña despedida en la casa. Cada dia que pasa, me da mas y mas nervios. Estoy ansioso de regresar, pero a la misma vez quiero quedarme. Una cosa si tengo claro, voy a regresar.


Day 73 in Itagui (5)

11/30/2012 19:57

It´s Christmas time. Which means my probabilities of getting robbed, literally, just tripled. My cousin Briane was walking home from work with a couple coworkers, and they each had each just cashed their generous checks. Right when they were about to walk into his house, 3 armed men with motor cycles cut them off. They took $1,500,000 pesos, about $850 dollars off my cousins coworkers. But my cousin escaped. He heard one man tell the other to shoot, but they didnt. My cousin ran into my aunt´s house on the second floor, but he was so freaked out and paranoid, he kept running, jumped off the balcony, and jumped into the river behind the house, and messed up his arm.

Thieves are getting there hands on weapons a bit more advanced than a simple gun. The new trend is simply to walk up to a guy, shove a map in his face, and ask them how to get to a certain location, for example. Well the map, or whatever it is thats shoved in your face, is a powder form of the date rape drug. It´s basicly the equivalent of the mind-wiping gadget in the Men in Black films. The criminal will tell you that your lost, and ask you to write down your adress so they can take you home. Then when they get there, they will make up a story. For example, they´ll say that there´s been a robery at a super market and they need to take all your money to a lab, for examination to make sure it´s not stolen. So you´ll stroll right into your house and give these guys every last peso you have. Then they tell you to just wait for them, and say they´ll be back with the money in a matter of hours. And they´ll just leave you at your doorstep, waiting for something that´ll never come, and that´s the best case scenario. They say it happened to a bethelite once here in Bogota and he dissapeared for 2 days. Then they found him 2 days later just standing at the Ecuadorian border. So as silly as it may sound, I´ve made it a habit not to inhale when im crossing paths with shady characters. (Photos added to PhotoGalleries Poblado and Itagui)



11/30/2012 19:35

Dia 71 en Itagui (7)

11/28/2012 14:54

Hoy no fue un buen dia para predicar en ingles porque Madonna esta en Medellin. (Fotos añadidas a Photogallery Poblado) Las calles de Poblado estaban literalmente vacias. El boleto mas barato estaba en $750,000 pesos, alrededor de $400 dolares. En Marzo, cuando empezaron a vender los boletos, estaban en $20,000,000 de pesos, $11,000 dolares(o dolores). Me parece un abuso horrible. Es casi el boleto mas costoso para un concierto. El unico concierto que sobrepaso ese fue Michael Jackson, con $40,000,000 de pesos, $22,000 dolares! Y eso que el concierto solo dura una hora o hora y medio.

Algo impresionante de Colombia es lo tanto que se ve la imoralidad. Obvio, es algo que se ve por todo el mundo, pero aqui es peor, y empieza a una edad mas temprana. Por ejemplo, a mi lado izquierdo tengo un niño de 5 años gritando palabrotas y jugando un video juego horriblemente sangriento y violento. Y se ve cada dia que vengo aqui y son muchos. No tienen conciencia. Veo otros de esa misma edad tomando y fumando en la calle. Y la manera que se vistan las muchachas en Itagui es horrible, no hay ninguna modestia. Aunque no se ve tanto fuera de Itagui. Por ejemplo, por Poblado o Envigado casi no se ve porque sus habitantes son una clase de personas mas altas.



Day 70 in Itagui (8)

11/27/2012 16:57

I expected to take it easy yesterday, so my ankle could heal properly. But Dan from U.K. wanted to hang out with me before I left and he needed some translating assistence so I just rubbed a ton of Vicks on my ankle and headed out there. He found a rusty old bike on the roof of the apartment he's staying at and he wanted to see how much it would be to get it all fixed it up. We were expecting a $50 price range or higher, but the grand total came out to a whopping $6, and he even threw in a free air pump. The bike was good as new and I was pretty impressed with that. We then headed out to Poblado for dinner at a 6 story mall. It was lovely. Where else can you have a dinner of crepes and waffles at a fancy restaurant on a 6th floor balcony for $7?

Now that I know where I can be used to the fullest (Poblado), I've decided to dedicate all that time that I can to serving there. It probably doesn't matter all too much now that I was a week left, but it's all the same to me. My grandpa thinks I should stick around my own congregation. But I respectfully told him that wasn't my congregation, and that I go where the need is, and since the metro doesn't go all the way to Jardin, Poblado is where I'm needed the most. Besides, service is much more productive there and lasts much longer. In Itagui, everyone goes their seperate ways at 11am. The earliest we've ever ended service in Poblado was today, at 330pm, and only because Ben and Sophie, the couple from U.K, had to go back to go serve on a island called San Andres. I think abuelito gets the point now, hopefully. 

We had a good group today. We started out with the local spanish group, and strangely enough, the elder who took out the group knew exactly who I was, and he asked if I was a bethelite. By noon, it was just us foriengers left. Ben and Sophie Seimen, Daniel Howes, Jonathan Whaley, and Leidi Luque, who technicly isn't a forienger but she spent years in Florida so she speaks perfect english. Since our trip to Perriera got canceled, I"ll be back in Poblado tommorow. (Photos added to Photogalleries Poblado and Sopetran)


Day 69<in Itagui> (9)

11/26/2012 13:15

Last night in Anza was pretty peaceful and lay back. The sky became a replica of the Stanley Theater light show they used to present after the assemblies. We sat in front of the hut where we were staying, while my grandpa reminisced(google it) with a couple extended family members I´ve never heard of. After they left, me and abuelito went to the car to get some stuff, and I screwed up my ankle pretty bad on a dip in the grass that i didn´t see. I know have a limp and a swollen ankle -_-

As I thought, the time I have left here will be jam packed. We´re leaving early Wensday morning to a town 6 hours away to go pick up my aunt, which will take up all of Wensday and Thursday. Friday is my last service day in Poblado. Saturday a sister invited us for dinner, and Sunday is my english public talk in Poblado, which I´m slightly nervious about, but it should be just fine. (Photos added to PhotoGallery Sopetran)


Dia 68 <en Ansa> (COUNTDOWN: 10!)

11/25/2012 18:18

Ha sido un dia lleno de actividad, y el tiempo corre super rapido. Madruge para ir a dar un discurso a las 8 am en un barrio llamado Castilla, donde vive la familia de mi tio Argi. Antes de salir abuelito nos mando a llevar un cambio de ropa y un sepillo de dientes. Para mi no tenia sentido, pero bueno lo hice, y nos fuimos. En el carro vino Argi, Mateo, mi tia Esneda, y mi abuelito y abuelita. Despues de dar ese discurso 5 veces, puedo decir que por fin estoy satisfecho con la manera que lo presento.

Salimos de ahi justo despues del discurso, para dar otro discurso en el pueblo de Sopetran, que quedaba una hora de distancia de donde estabamos, a las 11am. Llegamos con casi una hora de antelacion. En ese pueblo es donde mi papa se quedo la ultima vez que vino a Colombia, y es tierra super caliente. Me estaba diritiendo mientras presentaba mi discurso, y eso que no tenia saco puesto. No se como mi papa duro dos semanas aqui. Nos quedamos para la reunion completa y luego fuimos para comer ternera(baby cow) otra vez. 

Despues de pasear por otros pueblos mas, salimos a la caratera a la dirrecion opuesta de la casa. Pense que quizas irriamos a Jardin de nuevo, pero terminamos en un pueblito en medio de nada. Segun la niña que esta usando el computador a mi lado, estoy en el pueblo de  Ansa. Abuelito tiene una prima aqui y parece que vamos a quedar la noche. Ella vive en una casita de concreto y hace mucho calor. Tal como yo esperaba, abuelita ya se esta quejando de que esta aburrida pero aun asi vamos a pasar la noche. Tome muchas fotos pero no tengo los cables para ponerlas en mi pagina. Parece que el poco tiempo que me quede va estar llena de mucha actividad.


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