Dead Raccoons and other adventures…

Welcome back!

It’s been another adventurous and busy two weeks here at the MVS unit in Alamosa. As the fall begins to show its colors, we’ve all been told numerous times how long and cold the winter is here in the San Luis Valley (and we come from a variety of places with nasty winter weather so we don’t quite know what to expect from “dry” cold winters), so we’ve been trying our best to soak up as much of the beautiful Colorado weather as we can! As always, we are loving the cool mornings and evenings paired with bright and warm sunny days, and the clear starry night skies. Alamosa is truly a beautiful place to live, so come and visit us!

As we continue to settle into our positions here in Alamosa we’re enjoying the rhythm of life as we encounter new opportunities and exciting challenges at each of our placements. In the coming weeks several of us will be in and out of the house as we attend trainings, symposiums, research trips, fundraising events, and other activities for our agencies. We’re adults!

As for our weekend adventures, we spent a weekend up at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp for our church retreat (Anabaptist Fellowship of Alamosa) alongside another small congregation, Glennon Heights Mennonite Church (in Denver). It was a wonderful weekend full of music, hiking, worship, eating, sitting around the campfire, stargazing, and overall good times together! We were also lucky to have RMMC-expert-counselor-and-staff-member Elsa amidst our crew so she could show us around camp, sharing her memories and stories with us. It was a relaxing and fun-filled time away from Alamosa for a few days.

This past weekend, several of us attended the Spanish Film Festival at Adams State University, watching films giving voice to events and humanitarian issues throughout Central and South America. We also attended and volunteered at the “Harvest Soirée” hosted by the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition (Chris’s placement). It was a day filled with delicious local foods (think…grass-fed beef with local veggies, lamb with tzatziki sauce and beets with feta, local beers and wines, grilled corn on the cob, peaches with honey and mint, among others – it was quite a feast!), good music, paddle-boarding on the river, and a “Chicken-Clucking contest” where our very own Jason made it to the final round! On Sunday we attended worship with the local Presbyterian congregation and then spent our afternoon hiking in the San Juan range to the west of Alamosa. While it was a fairly easy hike, we did lose the trail but were determined to continue so we ended up forging our own path through the prickly-pear cacti, wild sage brush, and other desert-dwelling plants and foliage. Yes, we are covered in scratches and scrapes, but we persevered and made it to the top of a ridge that gave us a beautiful view of the valley and Mt. Blanca which we had hiked several weeks earlier.

Other snapshots into our lives include making fresh homemade pita bread and Elsa, Andréa and Eva ignoring the two dead raccoons currently being stored in our freezer for future taxidermy activities…

In all, life is great here in the San Luis Valley. We are each being challenged daily but we’re learning a lot and we’re excited about the coming weeks and months. Hopefully we’ll give an update fairly soon with some more detail about each of our positions and our agencies. Until then, thanks for reading and keep an eye out for the awesome pictures that Chris – our resident photographer – has snapped of us and our adventures together!

Just another day in the VS house…

Playing CatchPhrase (a game that involves guessing a word or phrase before the buzzer sounds)

Chris: It’s a type of cheese for eating on pasta…
Jason/Eva/Andréa/Elsa: Parmeshan
Chris: No, the dry flaky cheese for eating on pasta
J/E/A/E: Parmeshan!
Chris: No, say it the right way.
J/E/A/E: (general confusion) ParmeSHAN!!
Chris: No… (buzzer goes off)
All: What is it?
Chris: Parmezan

*Chris lived in Italy for 10 years. He knows what’s up.

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