Friday, March 01, 2013

Not Just Another Set of Wheels

Remember this post from January of last year? We had just finalized the purchase of a minivan for our furlough travels. The picture accompanying the post was this one:

in Delaware, January 2012
One major repair ground us to a halt early on, but otherwise our van was absolutely trustworthy throughout many months, many many hours, and many many many miles on highways across the USA. Following the example of our colleagues in Iquique who had shipped down their vehicles purchased in the States (because Iquique is a free trade zone and doing so is generally more cost-effective than selling and buying a new vehicle), we made plans to ship our van down as well.

This week, our van arrived. (Sadly, we cannot say the same about the pallet of personal items we sent at the same time through a different shipping company - but, that is another post.) Pedro met with the receiver on this end and signed papers, then our entire family marched into the dusty, dirty automobile section of the Zofri (that merits its own post someday, too) to pick up the van. One look at our crew and the man helping us remarked to Pedro, "Now I understand why you need a big vehicle!" 

We actually didn't get the van that same day because upon opening it we found that a couple of mostly cosmetic items had been stolen during shipping (the light cover and passenger's side window control panel.) Our guy was able to find replacements and the next day Pedro drove the Dodge home. He oohed and aahed over the air conditioning and smooth driving compared to our 17-year old Toyota (that fits our family and gets us through in a pinch, but lacks any "extras.")

It was neat and strange to get back inside a vehicle I had driven in the States and now take it out on the (very different) streets of Iquique. Just as a reference, compare that first picture of the van sitting pretty in a nicely manicured American sub-divison (with green grass even in winter!) against this picture of the van parked on our busy city street in Chile with a pile of desert sand, multiple power lines and towering apartment buildings in the background:

in Iquique, March 2013
As I drove my kids to church last night, a wave of homesickness washed over me because I remembered how many times I had driven this same car in the direction of my parents' home over the last six months in the States. I mentioned this to the kids and one of them replied, "You drove this car to church in the United States, right, Mom? So now you are doing the same thing in Chile, think of it that way!" (Love my kids and their encouragement, by the way!)

But by far the cutest story about having the van here is the fact that a few of our kids are simply astonished that the radio which spoke in English in the States, speaks Spanish in Chile. I tried explaining how this works to Ian and Alec this morning yet even after what I thought was a pretty clear presentation, Alec's enraptured reply was, "It's like MAGIC!"

And to an adorable four-year old missionary kid, maybe it really is. :)

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