I try not to use this blog as a means of venting or complaining, sales but to never write about the not-so-good days doesn’t truly give the whole picture of our lives in a foreign country. I had a BAD day. It really started Wednesday when I found myself sick and in bed. Thursday it was still there and I was dealing with serious stomach pains and unable to eat. I really wanted to spend the day in bed, but I was waiting on quite a few messengers to bring packets from schools and also cages for the puppies to be delivered.

I was dealing with two issues in the house. One, the phone lines were all down. I had my cell phone, but it’s a prepaid cell phone and I was running out of minutes. Two, there had been a mix-up at the water company and our payment was credited to someone else’s account. They were threatening to turn off our water. Feeling like I could do nothing but wait for a few things to resolve themselves I sat on the couch and began to doze off. It started raining and at first I welcomed it as a soothing background noise, but then it got harder and was pounding and roaring…no kidding. I looked out and it was hailing! It was a downpour of small chunks of hail. It sounded like people were throwing rocks at the windows. A gutter on top of the house overflowed and a ledge inside the house by one of the windows began to fill up with water.

The storm passed and things were calming down. The kids came home and were excited about the new cages. It meant the puppies could sleep in their rooms instead of the garage. They asked if we could run out real quick to get beds for the puppies to sleep on, so we went a few miles to a pet store to buy beds. Everything was going smoothly until I started backing out of the parking lot. It would take far too long to explain the whole setup here, but long story short, I backed into a truck. It was a tiny bump…honestly. I pulled forward back into my parking spot knowing this was not going to be pretty.

A tall man got out and came to the car. He was yelling at me in Spanish. I went to look at his truck and he had a few scratches, but I’m pretty sure those weren’t from me. I barely bumped into him. Anyway, panic set in as I’m realizing that I don’t know what to do. My cell phone had two minutes on it that I could use to call out to someone. I called Naomi on her cell phone and just said, “Please, call me right back.” (Cell phones are only charged for outgoing minutes, not incoming.) She called back and I began explaining to her what had happened…and I started crying. The man walked up to me and realized I was speaking in English and looked back at his wife shaking his head and rolling his eyes. Every second ticking by I was feeling more and more panicked. I asked him if he wanted to call the police and he started yelling at me again about how I moved the car and now everything was going to be messed up. Mike Lawrence got on the phone and talked to the man. At this point my Spanish was pretty much flying out the window and I wasn’t keeping up well. Alex and Maggie were in the car, both crying.

When I got the phone back another missionary got on and said I could probably just pay him a little bit and he’d leave, but I only had the equivalent of about $12 in my pocket. Feeling more and more distressed that I had no one close by to help me out, he finally said I should just walk to an ATM and get out some cash to give to the man. I asked the man if he would accept it and after some grumbling at me about how I should pay a ton more, he said fine. We then walked four blocks to the nearest ATM. The whole time I was shaking and crying and trying to regain composure, but it just was not coming together. Honestly, I was scared. The kids were crying, too. The man asked me if I was afraid and I told him yes. He started trying to just converse with us. I told him I was new here, that we were missionaries, that the car belonged to the church, not me, and that the kids were crying because they were just really freaked out. I think that softened him up a bit because he began to relax quite a bit. We got to the machine and got out money – which in the end I only paid him about $50 – and the kids and I started speed walking back to the car. That’s when Corey called and I unloaded! Then I really started crying (you’re all thinking I’m just a big crybaby now, huh) and just thought I was going to lose my mind!

We got back to the car, and as much as I tried to avoid the man anymore, he caught up and tapped on my window. He gave me his card and said I could call him if we ever needed anything…lol. Then he helped me back out of the spot so that I wouldn’t run into anyone else. Maggie was mad that I had paid him, but I explained to her that it was not the accident or the money that had upset me, but just feeling like I didn’t know what to do and being scared of being in a foreign country at night dealing with something that could turn out really bad if I messed up my Spanish too much or didn’t understand what was happening.

We drove home, all of us exhausted, and calmed down. By this time it was around 7:30 and we hadn’t had dinner. I made a quick pot of spaghetti and thought our traumatic day was over…until…at bedtime we put the puppies in their new cages. We knew they would cry and we thought we’d give it about 10 minutes or so to see if they would calm down. They would stop and start so we just were kind of waiting it out. The kids were in bed, each with a cage next to them. I went downstairs to clean up from dinner when I heard Maggie screaming in all out panic. “She’s stuck,” she screamed and as I ran up the stairs I thought about the horror stories I had read online as we were looking for a good design for a cage. (The cages were made by hand from a picture we took in.) I thought we had chosen the best design!

When I got upstairs Maggie was screaming and crying, the puppy was screaming and crying and both were unable to calm down. I dove into Angel’s cage and picked up her body. She had tried to bite the wire and in doing so got each side of her snout caught in parts of the cage openings. Once I lifted her body up she relaxed long enough to wiggle out. I looked up and Maggie was in a fetal position shaking and crying. We decided at that point the puppies would be better off in the garage where they were used to sleeping and put them away and then crashed ourselves. It was by far our hardest day here in Colombia. I should note, however, that we have since recovered.
~Tona