Tag Archives: Clothing

Can I pay with Gold Doubloons or Beaver Pelts?

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Gold DoubloonThe other night I dreamed that I found a garage sale here in Costa Rica… a real, American style garage sale.  I spent the majority of my dream “shopping” and finding wonderful bargains.  But when I went to pay I discovered that the only money I had in my pocket was a faded, out-of-circulation $2 bill and an old Confederate Bond from the Civil War.  (No, I haven’t watched Gone with the Wind lately.)  Both of those bills might have been worth something just for historical value, but not at a garage sale.  I was disappointed to have to give up my great bargains.

Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m complaining, because I’m not.  I know that there are plenty of people in the world with far less clothing than I have.  But I get so sick of my wardrobe!  We are in our 4th year of this term, and I haven’t bought very many new items for two reasons.  One, clothing is super expensive here- like 2x or 3x the price in America.  A friend of mine found a blouse with a Marshall’s tag still on it.  The tag said the cost was $17.99 but the Costa Rican price was more than $65 for that blouse.  It’s sickening!  Second of all, I have yet to find a store that regularly carries my size.  You know how all those size 1s and 2s and 3s, all those extra small items that get left on the rack in the U.S. and you think, “Of course no one bought this.  Who is really this size except junior high girls and starving super models?”  Yeah, well all those left over wafe-sized clothing items get shipped to Costa Rica where EVERYONE can be a size 2 no matter what your body shape!  So realistically, I don’t fit into the clothing here and I’m as ordinary as vanilla when it comes to body size.

So new clothing is not available or affordable.  And we don’t rotate our closets for the seasons here unless you count pulling out umbrellas and rain boots during the rainy season months.  I see the same clothing in my closet day in and day out.  Things are getting very thread bare and worn.  Moths are eating some things and the sun is fading others.  Seams are fraying and undergarments are literally “holey underwear”… and I don’t mean we’ve converted to Mormonism.  Every time I fold laundry I pray that the Lord would keep us covered for another few months until we go home on furlough.  I remind myself that the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and God provided every day so that not even their sandals wore out!  I need that miracle for our family.

I used to wonder at (and be a little ashamed of) missionaries coming off the field.  They always looked so woefully out of style and faded.  “Shabby.” I thought.  “Why can’t you just buy a fashion magazine and see what the rest of us are wearing before you get off the plane looking as out of place as Micheal J. Fox in Back to the Future.”  Hey McFly!  But now I know.  Now I know that even if they wanted to be in style- it just wasn’t possible.  The money to buy clothing wasn’t there.  The variety of styles and sizes might not have existed in their field.  And clothing had become a utility- serving a purpose without being fashionable.  They had, by necessity, chosen function over form.  Now I understand.

Helping Naomi

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I thought you might like to see some of the pictures from this week.  When Naomi’s house burned to the ground, they lost everything.  Well, not quite.  They found their family Bible, with all its names and dates carefully recorded from generation to generation.  The Bible survived the fire with only singed edges.  They have their family and they have their history in Jesus.  How sweet is that?!

A room full of donations for the families who lost everything.

A room full of donations for the families who lost everything.

Anyhow, we took up a collection among some of my missionary friends in San Jose.  We sent clothes, toys, food, kitchen items, and shoes.

One of the team members from Dothan, Alabama that is here to do construction for us brought an entire suit case full of mens’ clothes just to give away.  None of us knew how necessary those clothes would be to the father and grandfather of one of the families who lost everything.  You should have seen that father pick up the entire suitcase and toss it on his back with such enthusiasm that you would think it was full of nothing but feathers!  He didn’t mind the weight one bit!  The women were even excited about that old suitcase.  I heard them say to each other, “Something to put our clothes it!”

New Clothes for Dad and Grandpa plus a suit case for storage!

New Clothes for Dad and Grandpa plus a suit case for storage!

But my favorite part of the story involves 6 year-old Naomi.  When we asked her about the fire a few days ago she said, “Me queda sin muñecas.”  It left me without dolls.  Then suddenly something clicked in my memory.  At Christmas we went home to Minnesota for a visit.  A friend of ours at our home church was selling some very lovely china dolls in period piece clothing.  I originally planned to buy two, one for each of my daughters.  But my husband said, buy them all and give them to some girls in Costa Rica.  When our friend heard what we wanted to do with the dolls, she said she wanted to GIVE them to us!  We were touched.

So we came home with 4 extra dolls in our suit cases.  And I waited for the Lord to show me who to give them to.  When Naomi lamented the loss of her dolls, I knew what to do.  There are 2 older girls in family who also lost their precious keep sakes and stuffed animals.  The girls should get all of the dolls, I decided.  Naomi’s mother later told me that she had been saving a very special doll from HER mother for the last 15 years.  She had planned to give it to Naomi someday, but now it was gone.  It was touching to her that Naomi once again had a special doll.  The mother vowed that they would all take care of the dolls.  I just hope Naomi gets to play with it!  🙂

Naomi and her new dollies

Naomi and her new dollies

Finally, my little 5 year-old decided all on her own that she wanted to give those girls something special too.  She selected 3 of her own beloved Barbies, a few outfits each, and a Cinderella princess costume for dress-up.  Lucy wanted to give generously, and I didn’t stop her.  I think not only did she learn a valuable lesson about sharing our possessions, but I think she earned herself a reward in Heaven.  I was so proud of her thoughtful kindness.  Naomi jumped up and down squealing with excitement.  Apparently she loves everything Princess.  We were all happy.

Happiness

So I thought you all would like to see some pictures from our time of sharing with Naomi’s friends and family.  Enjoy and be blessed.

The Shoe Repair Guy

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This is actually from the Philippines, I just thought it was funny.

Even though we’ve been living in Latin America since 2006, I am still learning life lessons all the time.  This week I learned, “you can not always assume that everyone sees the same problem that you see.”  This will save you much irritation and annoyance if you can let go of the assumption that all problems are “obvious”.  Let me give you an example.

Here in Latin America we don’t throw anything away unless it’s really trash.  In the United States, people throw stuff away just because they get tired of it or maybe it’s a little broken and they don’t know how to fix it.  But here, we have repair shops for everything!  This makes me happy, particularly where shoes are concerned.  Without the regular rotating of clothing in and out of the closets for the 4 seasons, we wear the same clothes all year long and they wear out way faster than in the States.  Sometimes shoes will wear out before the kid is grown into the next size, and for this reason, the Shoe Repair Guy is important.  Unfortunately, the success of a shoe repair is only about a 50-50 chance.

For example, I took my worn out running shoes… OK, it took me 10 years to wear them out... in for new soles.  The Shoe Repair Guy put on some slippery rubber soles with no tread.  I took them back and asked for tennis shoe treads and he glued on the chunkiest treads you’ve ever seen.  So now I look like a nerd jogging in orthopedic platform tennis shoes.  But it was cheaper than buying new shoes.

Over the summer I took my son’s tennis shoes in for a simple glue job on the side.  The outside looks fine, but he says the glue feels clumpy on the inside.  *sigh*  They should last a little longer now, sorry Kid.

During this last trip to the Shoe Repair Guy, I got a little creeped out when the guy asked for my phone number in a very unprofessional sort of way, if you know what I mean.  So I asked my husband to take over that errand for me.  Recently I sent him over with a pair of sandals that were starting to pull away around the toe.  I showed my husband where the glue should go, and then I mentioned that they could use a new sole too.  A week later he picked up my sandals with a pair of brand new heels glues to the bottoms…  Huh??

I was a bit dismayed by this, because “anyone with two eyes could see the problem,” I thought.  (But maybe this guy only has one eye.)   Obviously the top of the shoe needed gluing at one point and the soles are worn bare… who said anything about a new heel?  I have now accepted the fact that what is obvious to me, is not always obvious to others.  And I should never assume that we all see problems the same way… or that we all have two eyes.

So back to the Shoe Repair Guy my husband will go.  Maybe I should have given the guy my phone number to assure better service.