Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Goodbye, La Carpio

Just feeling a little nostalgic today... guess it's because we graduate on Friday and we are quickly facing our "goodbyes" to friends/family here in Costa Rica.  Thought you might like to see "our kids" that we are leaving behind, in the capable hands of other missionaries who come behind us... click here 
la carpio slides

Sunday, April 20, 2008

One more week of school

I can't believe that we are actually in our last week of school - finally!  I really just realized that fact a few minutes ago, when some students came over to rent our house for the next trimester... wow, we actually graduate this Friday!  I'm really so very ready to get out of Dodge and move on, but at the same time, it is a bittersweet victory.  Once again, we have to say goodbye to people who have become our family - classmates, ministry kids, teachers, etc.  Our life has become a constant mixture of change and culture and language and goodbyes.  Maybe we can finally grow some roots again in Peru... soon!  

Last week, my language class theme was "controversial topics", as if we don't debate controversial topics every day in this class!!!  Nevertheless, we talked about Dr. Kavorkjan and medical euthanasia, abortion, immigration, and the death penalty - wow!  I find it hard to have these debates in English, much less in Spanish!  What made this particularly interesting was the fact that we were not only debating controversial subjects, but that we were debating them among different cultures, different age groups, and different denominational backgrounds... that makes for a pretty interesting debate!!!  I did come out of this week feeling pretty good about my language skills and my Spanish writing skills (we had to write an editorial response paper for every topic) and I'm pretty confident that I can move to Peru and manage daily life without too many language issues... surely if you can debate the death penalty and present research trends, you should be able to buy groceries and pay the water bill without too much difficulty.

Yesterday was one of my more happy, healthy, laid back days in months... we took Sarah downtown to see "the cow parade".  We have similar art displays in The States.  I know that in South Padre there has been a display of art dolphins in the past, and I think I remember cows from some city at some point.  And I think there was a display of trains in College Station???  Anyway, San Jose, Costa Rica is currently showing 120+ cows by different artists, so we went on a downtown walk to see the cows.  At about 10:30, we stopped at my favorite cafe (above the bookstore downtown) and had coffee and cheesecake for a midmorning snack.  Then we continued on the cow tour, stopping at 11:30-12 to feed the pigeons in Plaza Cultural.  Then off to eat sushi for lunch (yummy!).   More cows until 3:00, then rode the bus home.  Sounds kind of boring???  I loved it!!!  It was just a calm, laid back day... no homework, no pressing schedule.

Last week was also our last time to work with the kids in La Carpio.  We had a final fiesta... showed a slide show of all of our photos from the year, ate popcorn (you would think we handed out gold nuggets on napkins), had a cake and Coke, and said goodbyes.  I held back the tears pretty well (hard to cry when kids are yelling and throwing popcorn during the slide show - kind of breaks the sentimental moment) until Giovanni was hanging on the window of the van while we were trying to drive away and saying "I love you, Laurie"... okay, it is bad enough that he is my favorite, but that sentence was a little much!  I'll never forget Giovanni...

Enough with the goodbyes, already!!!  How much more can we take?  Oh wait, we have 6 weeks in the states and more goodbyes before Peru....  aaarrrrrgggggggg!!!!!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sarah's Spanish

We have been amazed at watching Sarah learn Spanish while we've been here. As teachers, watching the learning process in our own child has been very interesting. We have not interfered in the natural progression and we have just watched as she learned naturally from her friends and her Costa Rican preschool teachers and people in her life. She went through a stage where she was doing a lot of listening and processing, but not much speaking. She also went through a stage where she would only speak Spanish to people who obviously looked "hispanic" to her, and she would only speak English to the "gringos"... if a gringo asked her to speak Spanish, she wouldn't do it. I guess in her little head, it didn't make any sense to speak Spanish to someone who so obviously could understand English - duh! So for a long time, we didn't hear too much of her Spanish. Then one day, we just happened to overhear a complete conversation between Sarah and Lizbeth (our empleada / friend) and it was amazing!!! Just within the past month, she has started to speak Spanish to anyone who speaks it to her... including us. If I speak in Spanish, she will stay in Spanish with me. If I switch over to English, she will switch, too. It's really amazing. Last night we had several of the 20-somethings over to eat brownies and watch TV (a kind-of family night) and Sarah told someone, "Vaya y traegamelo" (Go and bring it to me)... the entire room stopped and our mouths dropped open. She was using the subjunctive tense with imperativos / mandatos and complimento directos and indirectos! These specific tenses in Spanish took the rest of the room 8 months of school to master and she managed to do it without ever picking up a book or studying or taking a single test!!! Wish I could learn like a 4 year old!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Girl Scout cookies, Cream of Wheat, and NO MORE VELVEETA

It was a sad day when we finished the very last of cheese from the block of Velveeta that was sent to us in the mail. You can only imagine how happy missionaries can get when they open a package from the USA and it contains a block of Velveeta... "Hallelujah! Praise God! Someone sent us heaven in the form of cheese!" For missionaries from Texas, a block of Velveeta means only one thing... chips and queso for dinner!!! Sadly, we cannot buy a can of Rotel here, so we improvise and add the Costa Rican sad excuse for salsa and just pretend that it tastes remotely like a big bowl of queso from La Casita Restaurant back home. Anyway, the Velveeta is gone - boo hoo :(

On a happy note, our friends Heath and Erin were able to go back to the states over Easter and they surprised us by bringing us 2 boxes of Cream of Wheat!!! Another "Hip Hip Hooray" is in order!!! For anyone who knows our 4 year old, Sarah, you know that the child could literally live on Cream of Wheat - and she practically has for the past several days. She wakes up and asks for a bowl for breakfast, she wants more at about 3 p.m. for "snack", and she begs for it for dinner. If it weren't for the "real food" that she eats at lunch, I would be concerned. Seriously, folks, we have sent requests home several times this year for Cream of Wheat. We received some for Christmas, again when Miles came for Spring Break, and now these 2 boxes from Heath and Erin. Don't know what we will do in Peru... wonder if Cream of Wheat has on-line purchasing and free international shipping??? Probably not.

Another INCREDIBLE surprise was the box we received this week. We had no idea it was coming and had no idea what was in it. Imagine our extreme excitement when we opened it up and it was GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!!!! SCORE!!! Two boxes of Thin Mints, 2 boxes of Samoas (or whatever they are currently called), 2 boxes of Tagalongs, 2 boxes of Lemonades, a box of Trefoils, and a box of Cinna-somethings. WOO HOO!!!! We were nice and took some to school to share... we were the envy of all!!!

We really lead sad little lives nowadays, don't we??? We are completely out of our minds with happiness over Velveeta, Cream of Wheat, and Girl Scout Cookies sent from home... pitiful! Even more sad is the fact that we can't wait to return to Texas and eat all of the foods that we miss - we are specifically making plans around certain restaurants and eating specific foods with our friends. How very American... que triste! You really have no idea how much of your culture is tied up in food until you are removed from it.
Until later... love you! Nos vemos!