Monday, September 28, 2009
It took some time, but I have finally pulled ahead of April in one of our classes, Phonetics, thanks to a stellar performance on our last exam. Of course, she is leading in Grammar and we are about even in Lenguaje, but I must relish this potentially short-lived supremacy! Praise God she can't trill her "r's" yet!
The papers here are saying we are headed for water shortfalls beginning in January. Most areas are between 20% and 40% under the normal rainfall for June through September. This means April will not be able to take her normal 20 minute shower and I've decided to only take sponge baths to help out. I am beginning the search for a nurse to bath me. Really, though, the whole country suffers when it doesn't rain because so much of the infrastructure here is related to the agriculture industry. However, it has been raining for the past 5 hours, so maybe we could catch up a bit!
Prayer points: Our kids are having a bit of an adjustment to actually going to school. They need prayer in the area of forgetfulness. As in they forget their books, forget their homework, forget they need supplies for cooking class, forget they need to bring.... We would also appreciate prayer for our meeting with our 4 Costa Rican UB pastors. We are taking all of them out to dinner on Friday! And finally, that April would actually apply some of the knowledge we gained in our PeaceMaker Seminar (see below).
Jeff almost cried when I kicked his tail in grammar so I decided to back off a little. I don't want to destroy him this early in the trimester. Saturday we had an eclipse of some kind. It was cloudy, so it was hard to see exactly but it made a large ring around the sun. It looked like a rainbow in a circle. It was pretty cool.
Yesterday it was pretty hot. Ellie said, "It's always hot on Sundays, that's why they call it SUNday." Makes sense, doesn't it?
Today, I get to give my first piano lesson to a 14 yr.old. boy from La Carpio (the Nicaraguan slum). They call him Lapiz, which means pencil in English. He is a gifted musician but hasn't had any formal training. I am looking forward to it. Steve, the missionery in La Carpio, hopes that music could be Lapiz's ticket to a better future. It is exciting to see what God will do.
I told you Jeff and I attended the peacemaker seminar on conflict resolution. We learned some really good stuff. The lesson we both appreciated most was the one on confession. We learned how to apologize in meaningful ways like: 1. I'm sorry if you're hurt. 2. I'm sorry if I did something wrong. 3. I know I said something wrong, but what about what you did wrong? 4. I'm sorry you are so sensitive. Jeff and I are already experts in this area but it was good to be reminded. If you want to take advantage of this wisdom just make sure you use key words like if ,but, and maybe in your confession and you too can be on your way to a successful marriage.
Well, off to my piano lesson in Spanish! Adios
Thursday, September 24, 2009
On a related note, on the way to school this morning Ellie complained about having a little pain in her legs. April asked what it was from. Ellie responded, "I think my bones are tangled." At least I don't have that problem.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Other news... Jeff and I are still neck in neck. We have three tests this week, so here is my chance to pull ahead. Maria needs to go back to Nicaragua. They denied her visa extension. She should be able to come back in October. Also, her grandfather passed away. It was a rough day.
Pray for her, please.
Speaking of praying, we could really use rain down here. If we don´t get some serious rain soon, we are looking at electrical shortages (most of the power is hydrolectric), water shortages, and price increases for food. They think it is already too late for Nicaragua and Guatamala. They probably won´t be able to plant at all. They are predicting famine for parts of both countries. So, for all of you working with Feed My Starving Children at home, you couldn´t have picked a better time. It is going to be desperately needed this year.
Well, we have to go to learn to get along... see ya... love ya.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
At a place like language school, you would expect to meet some interesting people. I mentioned in a previous post that Camden's basketball coach, Trish Wegman, is the daughter of Bill Wegman, a 10-year veteran of Major League Baseball. Well, another pretty, single, young lady named Kim goes to church in Houston with Troy Aikman (former QB of the Cowboys), Ross Perot, and George W and Laura Bush! So, with all these stories about famous connections floating around, we had to share some of our own. April said that her dad shot the biggest buck in Clare County, and that she played piano for Dan Quayle, and the owners of Jay's Sporting Goods go to our church! That shut them all up right away.
Camden had his first basketball practice last night. I'm not bragging or anything, but he is in 6th grade and made the high school varsity team. I don't think he'll start, but he made the team. (Of course, there are only 10 kids trying out for the team!) On the way home from practice, he told me it was the hardest 2 hours of his life. I watched the last 20 minutes of practice. It was pretty intense as Coach Wegman made the team run suicides if one player was lazy during their scrimmage. Camden did win a game of "lightning" and looked pretty good out there.
Well, since this is "Independence Day" in Costa Rica, we need to get ready to go to a parade. Oh, we did get some test scores back from our Phonetics class. April pulled into an overall tie with Jeff as both did very well on their test. Our next opportunities to shine are Thursday (Conversation Class) and Friday (Grammar). May the force be with me!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Comings and Goings:
Camden is pretty excited about his sports. He is signed up to play basketball for Sojourn Academy. There are just 6 high school boys on the team, so they opened it up for junior high boys as well. Cam is one of 5 junior high boys on the team. It will be pretty funny to see him play amongst the giants. His coach is a sweet, single, 6' tall young lady named Trish who happens to be the daughter of Bill Wegman, a 10 year veteran of the Major Leagues (Dan/Matt, airfare is only $300 to visit). Speaking of baseball, Cam and I get to play for 3 hours every Saturday morning with a group of kids and adults. It was a blast last week! We are looking forward to tomorrow.
Mason has made some pretty cool friends. One of them, Skyler, is staying over tonight. They both love Yuh-gi-oh and Pokemon and any other topic that covers swords, fighting, fantasy, or Ebay.
Karis and Ellie are also having friends over tonight. They frequently spend time with the neighbor girls, Mary Esther and Scarlet, who happen to have a mom named Audrey. This confused Ellie because she had thought her Aunt Audrey was a different woman. We confirmed that fact with her.
Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers and for reading and commenting on our blog. For those of you in Michigan/Pennsylvania, this helps us feel connected to you even though you are far away.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Saturday morning, Camden and I headed to a run-down baseball field (think Sandlot) because we were told people show up to practice. People did, in fact, show up to play baseball! We had a group of about 8 adults and 14 kids practice and play for about 2 hours. Then, some more adults came, so we had another hour of batting practice. It really was a lot of fun. One of the local "coaches" is trying to form a league for kids. Camden is pretty excited. Then, Saturday night we played dominoes with our neighbors, Charlie and Audrey Leckie. They have four kids, too, so we enjoy getting together to let the kids play. We also learned that Audrey was actually a Spanish major in college, a fact she has been reluctant to disclose up until now.
Sunday morning we went to one of our 4 United Brethren churches in Costa Rica. We had met Pastor Eric and his wife, Iris, the week before but had no idea what kind of church they pastored. We thought it would be typical of our other UB churches in Latin America. Well, it wasn't. The facility was beautiful and large (it probably could hold 200 people or more), they had a worship team that could actually sing really well, they had a projector/computer with powerpoint of the songs, and the music was not too loud! The service lasted almost 2 hours, but it was fun to be there. We sang songs we recognized like Open the Eyes of My Heart, Ancient of Days, and The Power of Your Love, plus other songs we didn't recognize but enjoyed anyways. We also took communion. They kept us for lunch and we had a meatball soup that was really good (this was a surprise because "soup" and "good" usually don't appear in the same sentence from our Latino experience!). We got home at around 2:30 and began preparing for an evening on the town with a relative of April's named Bill, someone we had not had the privilege of meeting or spending time with previously. No amount of preparation could have prepared us for the events of this first encounter! Let's just say that we had a nice dinner, met some interesting people, had stimulating and sometimes eye-opening conversation, and made it home safely 3 hours later. It was fun! Bill is definitely a person with much life-experience and many colorful stories. He's broken every finger and knuckle on both hands at least 5 times each from various encounters over the years. We are anxiously awaiting our next invitation to dinner.
Until next time...
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Jeff and I are studying verbs this weekend. We have a test on Wednesday of over 100 regular and irregular verbs. For those of you who didn't take a foreign language, let me explain a little. In English we conjugate our verbs like this:
See how the verb only changes for the third person (he says)? Well in Spanish it goes like this:
(Hablar: to speak)
Vosotros hablais (Vosotros means you plural if you are in a formal situation.)
You see how the ending changes for each pronoun? That is how you conjugate regular verbs ending in AR. (Hablar: to speak, Bailar: to dance,etc.) Now, add to that verbs that end in ER or IR (Comprender: to comprehender, Servir: to serve). They have different endings. Those are only the regular verbs. Then just like in English, you learn one rule and 10 exceptions. There are a ton of verbs that don't follow that pattern. For our test on Wednesday, we have to know over 100 hundres verbs, what they mean, and how to conjugate them! Luckily, I have Maria to help me!
Speaking of Maria.... We told you that Juan Pavon's daughter, Maria, was coming to stay with us from Nicaragua. She has been here almost a week. She is so wonderful. Ellie and Karis smother her and she actually seems to enjoy it, or she's a really good actress! We went to the fruit market the other day and Maria asked some questions for me in Spanish. Ellie looked at her in surprise and said, "Wow, Maria, you're really good at Spanish!" It was pretty funny.
We rented The Sound of Music the other night for Maria. She had never seen it and I always sing "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" We had a girl's night. It was so much fun. I loved watching all three girls, Maria, Karis, and Ellie, see it for the first time. Maria has such a wonderful innocence about her. I don't know how to describe it exactly, but you probably know what I mean. For most of our American teenagers, nothing is new, nothing is exciting. We know what is going to happen in almost every movie. There is so little that can surprise us. You know how it is to watch your children really enjoy something for the first time? That's how is was to watch a movie with Maria.
The kids are enjoying school. Everyone loves their teachers. Camden is playing soccer. Karis and Camden are doing gymnastics. Mason has a good friend already. So life is good.
Love to you all and keep praying, especially on Wednesday!