Scotland (3/3)

The word hospitality in Greek is composed by the words “Philao” (brotherly love) and “Xenos” (stranger, immigrant and even enemy). In Latin, hospitality shares the same root with hospital meaning “guest chamber”; a shelter for the needy. In both instances, acts of service and assistance are involved; anticipating and taking care of someone’s needs. It is hard work that requires thinking, planning, preparing and paying the cost. Once in a while it might be inconvenient and invariably it’s time consuming.

My hosts, Christoph and Christine Ewers, are originally from Germany, but have made Scotland their home. They own and run The Ardshealach smokehouse. Their family business brought memories when my parents had a small bakery shop in Mexico. I learned many things about baking and management, but above all, to pray for customers. We work diligently according to God-given skills and then we depend on Him to bring people to buy our products. Their small enterprise is in my prayers. Anyone traveling in the area should stop by this private, small factory to get excellent customer service by the very same owners.

The Ewers ministered to my heart in a great impacting way. They opened their home to me, sharing what they have: time, food, friendship, acceptance, comfort. They arranged with other people (Lighthouse Church), as nice, loving and kind as they are, to attend me and give me each day a different sightseeing tour of the extraordinary Highlands.

To say “Scottish people are friendly” is an understatement for much more could be said. There must be exceptions; I understand that, but my experience was all positive. Chilly weather in the summer, rain almost every day, however warmth brotherhood every single moment.

Sometimes you hear a good sermon preached from the pulpit in church; some other unique and exceptional times you see a sermon lived. These people preached powerfully to me with their hospitality. Thank you.

 

Scotland (2/3)

Food is more than just what maintains us alive and strong. It is an important part of culture and identity; that which makes a country unique.  Haggis

First thing is my list to try was the national dish of Scotland: Haggis. I was hesitant about tasting it because I had read of the ingredients(sheep’s heart, liver, lungs), but I reason that if I go for liver pate with no problem; I possibly like this as well. I must confess that I cheated the first time. I was in The Grog and Gruel Pub (courtesy of Alan and Tricia Smillie) and saw in their menu “Nacho Haggis, Tex-Mex meets Scotland”. It was the ideal introduction, combining flavors I knew, with something new. The second time was at my friends’ house and they have made it. The picture says it all, it was as good as it looks.

SandwichThey also accustom “Toasties” for lunch. I have always loved sandwiches, especially if the bread is grilled, warm and crispy and the cheese melted. Simple and heavenly meal. Another lunch time I had lentil soup which is very filling, comforting and perfect for a cold rainy day, typical of Scotland… soup and weather, that is.

Scottish fish soupEven though I grew up in a port city; I was/am, to some degree, a picky seafood eater and it is not in my first-choice of edible material; adding to the fact that most of the time it is an expensive delicacy. My hosts were extremely kind offering me a farewell dinner consisting of Cullen Skink soup with smoked haddock. The main course were fresh Langoustines with a garlic-mayo dip. Given the opportunity, I would have this great delicacy again.

Scottish friend

A fully Scottish experience has to include the tasting of Whisky, so I was taken to the Ardnamurchan Distillery to have a tour of the facility where the process, from beginning to end, takes place. The visit ends in a nice, cozy room where you are given one (or more if you so decide) Glencairn tasting glass of their fine “water of life”.

And last, but not least: Shortbread! I used to bake it when I worked in the kitchen in College, decades ago. I had forgotten about it; now “I have relapsed” and have no plans to recover 😀

Published in: on August 1, 2019 at 5:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Scotland (1/3)

Where and how do I start to describe, try to portray and put into words what I experienced and my eyes have seen in my two weeks in a “wee” part in the west coast of the Highlands of Scotland?

English is not my first language, so I thought it was going to be a frustration, but I was wrong. Even though I did have my moments of confusion; it was the ever present indication of being in a foreign country. I think their way of speaking is lovely!

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back

to its old dimensions”  O.W. Holmes

Photography is just my hobby. I am not any close to any expert knowledge about  cameras, lenses, modes, etc. I take pictures because I like to take pictures, of everything for that matter. But if I were a professional photographer; I would say that Scotland is any photographer’s paradise. Almost every corner has the perfect spot for photographing. I now have a personal collection of snapshots from every path my feet trod, from each step in the beach, from every hill walking.

“Which of my photographs is my favorite?

Hopefully, the one I’m going to take tomorrowImogen Cunningham

Arisaig, Morar, Mallaig, Fort William, Glenfinnan, I fell in love with you; picturesque villages. Your greatness is not in your size, but in your friendly people, in your extensive fascinating landscape, in your countless blue lochs, in your castle-style houses and churches, in the homey atmosphere of your diners and in your historical train rails and stations. Your countless drops of rain not just got me wet, they saturated me with memories…unforgettable moments.

“It’s good people who make good places” A. Sewell

I can still feel the jet lag effects of this trip in my body. It will be vanishing and finally gone away; but for the time being, it doesn’t bother me, I am “savoring”, taking pleasure in it. I can say it is a good discomfort that reminds me I traveled. Any cost paid for traveling is nothing compared to the huge difference between looking at picture of a place and saying “I was there”.

“Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times”

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on July 25, 2019 at 5:05 am  Comments (2)  
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ROME

IBCM7aRecently I was in Rome for an international conference that bring together leaders from churches in the Brethren movement. The purpose of the conference is:

  • To provide different church leaders with a time of refreshment listening the exposition of the Word of God; this year brought by Professor John Lennox, an Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Christian apologist.
  • To meet new people and be encouraged by eating, sharing, singing and praying together. Food was served buffet style in the Hotel’s garden in tables with 10 chairs. Occasionally, every chair was occupied by a person from a different country and no meal was ever same. Each day of the conference was a new cross-cultural experience.
  • To be better informed of what it’s going on with the church in different countries; some which are or seem to be remote, some which are not-so-well-known and yet others which have the fame and prestige in the world for their turist attractions, but in all of them, the light of Christ is shinning.

And much more it could be said, but overall these were the highlights for me. I highly recommend anyone to participate in next one. IBCM is held every four years.

I took one day for sightseeing The Eternal City in its fabulous 1,285 km². Since I had already been to the two most-visited sites, the Colosseum and the Vatican, I took the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus and went to other places such as the Catacombs, Musei Capitolini, Plazza Venezia and the Ascensori Panoramici (Glass elevator) from where you can enjoy some of the best views in Rome. I had pizza for lunch, obviously, in the Ghetto Ebraico near the Synagogue (to my dismay I was late for visiting hours) and the legendary Trevi Fountain.

2019-06-30-21-19-35-575 Besides the stops I made; I rode on the bus a whole complete cycle and took many pictures from the upper deck. I totally agree, Rome is magical. It is unavoidable to fall in love with such a place where you walk through history and art. It was an exhausting hot day in Rome, but worth doing and repeating anytime!

Published in: on July 18, 2019 at 5:16 am  Comments (2)  
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Do as Romans do

Last week I took the bus that leaves Camiri at 11 p.m.  I had heard the trip took longer than usual to get to Santa Cruz because of the many sections on the road in construction and maintenance. To my dismay, my calculation to get there at daybreak was incorrect and arrived at 4 a.m. I had two hours before going to the place I was lodging. Standing there feeling the cold wind hitting my face; I notice people sitting on the floor of the bus terminal with warm blankets.

people bus terminal

I had seen the same scenario at international airports and for some reason, it looked all-right, natural, but here it seemed, to me, ¨poor and pitiful”. But I couldn’t stay the whole time on my feet.

There are times that “When in Rome do as Romans do” actually prove to be the proper thing to do, making any cross-cultural experience easier.

 

sgv floor terminalI felt much better on the floor. Being one more, nobody noticed me. In that “low” position, I was mostly ignored, almost invisible. People walked by minding their own business.

The only aspect of this experience that did not change is that just like in any waiting, time seems to go slower.

Published in: on May 23, 2019 at 2:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Only One

matches-last-chance-7403129Without exception, we all live one day at a time. We can’t use nothing but one hour…one minute…one second before it’s gone for ever. Putting it all together it’s what we call “life”.

Since I am traveling tomorrow and it will be almost a year before I get to see family and friends here in Mexico; I have that “last-day-feeling”. It makes a difference in my actions, my speech, my thoughts, reactions, decisions, etc. All of me has this intense concern on what I do today.

The fact of the matter is that today is no different from any other day. Today is today. It is not yesterday and it cannot be tomorrow. For me and everyone is the same; Today is our only one day to live.

The challenge for me is to live every day, every hour, every minute and second of time to the fullest and with passion. I only have one.

Published in: on February 1, 2018 at 6:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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IBCM6

ibcm6-logoThe sixth International Brethren Conference on Missions (IBCM6) was June 22-26 in Rome, Italy. It is an event held every four years and this year there were 700 participants from more than 100 countries. For me it has been an experience that has touched me deeply and the lessons and memories will stay in my heart. My personal journal, notes from the conference and many pictures will help my memory to continue enjoying the taste of the exposure I had to the wonderful strong bond of the Holy Spirit making one church, one body from every nation, tribe and tongue with one mind and purpose, in sweet fellowship and singing praises to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; like someone pointed out, a preview of heaven on earth.

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Of course, to have sweet fellowship with 700 brothers and sisters with different languages, cultures and traditions for one week it’s possible. I am sure if we would have to stay longer it would need some effort and much love to keep the sweetness in the atmosphere. In any case, people was the highlight of the event. I don’t want to forget the testimonies I heard about my brothers and sisters suffering and giving their lives for their faith in the Lord Jesus; which makes my silly complains about some minor details in life, like delayed flights, tasteless food, too much traffic, music preference, look at them for what they really are, irrelevant and insignificant.

Here are my Facebook albums for IBCM6 and Sightseeing in Rome.

Published in: on July 2, 2015 at 6:38 am  Comments (1)  
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Somewhere else

travel-agents“BEWARE of Destination Addiction:

A preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place,

the next job,

and with the next partner.

Until You give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else,

It will never be where You are.”

Published in: on October 9, 2014 at 12:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Trip to Atlixco-Metepec

???????????????????????????????The name “Atlixco” comes from a Nahuatl phrase which can be interpreted as either “water in the valley” or “water on the ground.” Its main economic activity has earned the city the suffix of “de las flores” (of the flowers). Within 15 minutes of Atlixco, you can reach Metepec, a unique place in Puebla where you can go back in time walking the streets, visiting the former textile factory (now Vacation Center IMSS) and village of 100 years old. It is an attractive tourist resting place, combined with fun and a lot of history that marked an important moment in the industrial life of Mexico.

See more pictures in my facebook Album: Atlixco-Metepec

Published in: on January 9, 2014 at 9:23 am  Comments (2)  
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Trip to Cholula

???????????????????????????????The city of Cholula is located in the west of the state of Puebla in central Mexico. Cholula has been declared “Pueblo Magico” (Magical Town) and is best known for its Great Pyramid buried during the Spanish colonization creating an “artificial mountain” to build a church on top “Nuestra Señora de los Remedios”.

The pyramid in its final form is approximately 400 by 400 meters (1,300 by 1,300 ft): It’s supposed to be one of the largest archeological sites. Vestiges of this pre-Hispanic era can be seen through an underground tunnel. There is also an extensive “Altar Complex” adjoining the south site of the pyramid.

See more pictures in my facebook Album: Cholula, Pueblo Magico.

Published in: on January 9, 2014 at 9:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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