Things have been pretty busy around the hogar upon returning from the monastery. I journaled a little when I was there so I will try to hit the highlights of my stay at Lavre Mambre.
Tuesday, July 27
We arrived at the monastery Monday afternoon with Madre Ines. We were given our rooms, each having a separate little bedroom and bathroom. The rooms are attatched to the back of the church. We met up with Madre Maria for vespers and then had a humble dinner of beans and rice. We went straight to our quarters, because morning matins begin at 6:30am sharp.
I woke up my first morning to the sun peeking through my window over the mountains. There were no horns or screaming, just the birds chirping. Matines lasted until about 8am. We then head over to the trapeza (word for monastic dining hall) to have eggs, tea and toast for breakfast. Madre Maria tells us that today we are queens, tomorrow, princesses, and the third day you are a slave to the monastery, so we must take advantage of our freetime now. One of the girls from the hogar came with Anya and I for the week, so after a tour of the construction of the new orphanage, the 3 of us hike to the bottom of the lake. It was a pleasant walk, but we had to bring sticks just in case we needed to fend off any dogs (scary thought). Thank God, we did not have any animal encounters besides seeing sweet little chicks. At the bottom of the lake, there is a house where the caretaker used to live, but it is vacant now. There is a nice patio area where the girls sometimes have picnics. The full hike, both up and down, took about 2 1/2 hours. We were greeted with a lunch of the monastery's fresh tipilia. After lunch we went to the market place with Seno' Ella, the cook. It was an indoor market filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, along with clothes and dvds and other knick knacks. I heard the theme song to Mar de Amor, the soap opera I watched with my host mom in Ecuador (I watched it moreso to spend time with her than to actually be involved in the telenovela itself), and it was on! It reminded me of my lovely Mama Maritza, and that I should write to her. We got back from the market and spent the afternoon just enjoying the tranquility of the monastery until vespers at 4:30. There are currently three boys at the monastery for their summer vacation, all of whom participate in reading in church, and tend to the chores of the grounds. Dinner was leftovers from lunch along with real Russian tea from China. Madre Maria jokes that the Russians love tea, but don't have any of their own, so they get it from China. It was a chilly evening as it rained all night long. And of course, we went to bed early, because 6:30 comes fast.