Wednesday, November 23, 2011


It is the day before Thanksgiving.  Except there is no Thanksgiving here in Costa Rica.  We will celebrate anyway of course.   It will look quite a bit different than our normal holiday back in the states, but we will celebrate nonetheless. 

Our plans aren’t much different than a normal day here in San Jose: wake up, eat breakfast, take Kate to daycare, Joe and I will attend Spanish class.  But then in the afternoon we will probably enjoy some Russian Tea – a tradition in my family that I make every year (tea infused with cloves, cinnamon, and ginger, mixed with fresh squeezed citrus juice and some sugar – delish!) – and perhaps we’ll try to replicate Joe’s Aunt Una Beth’s famous cheese ball.  The recipe is TOP SECRET – meaning she won’t even tell us how to make it.  So every year, we sit around with Joe’s family trying to guess what’s in this cheesy ball of goodness.  Is it cream cheese mixed with ranch spice?  Then covered with sliced almonds?  Is that it?  Or is there some other fabulous ingredient that makes this cheese ball the hors d'oeuvre of every holiday meal? We don’t really know, but we will try, like I said, to recreate it here.

Then in the evening, we will head to the Marriott in San Jose somewhere to enjoy a Thanksgiving buffet. This will be my first time ever not being at home and instead eating out on Thanksgiving.  I’m not sure how I feel about it. I know for sure Joe and I both will be a little homesick tomorrow, but we are incredibly thankful to have a community here to enjoy the holiday with – whether we dine in a house or at a hotel.  I’m hoping the food measures up to the $48/person price tag!  I bet it will.  We keep joking that I should empty out my purse and just fill it with empty Glad containers, so we can get our money’s worth and pack some leftovers for Friday!  That’s the missionary spirit, isn’t it?

Other than a (sorta) special day tomorrow, life carries on here.  We are continually settling in and feeling more comfortable in a new culture.  We finally bought a car, after renting one for 3 weeks, and borrowing one for 2.  It’s a Toyota Corolla – yes a Corolla people! We are very thankful to have our own ride now.

Spanish is coming along poco a poco (little by little).  We have classes 4 mornings a week for 2.5 hours.  It feels more like 4 hours though by the end… We love our tutor, Nuria, and again are so thankful to have such a good teacher.  It’s crazy how hard it is to learn another language – even an easy one like Spanish!  I understand everything in class because she talks slow and deliberately.  In la calle (street) though, it’s a different story.  You constantly feel like the idiot Gringo, having to either ask someone to repeat themselves, or you just pretend you understand and smile and nod (that’s my preferred method).  But class or studying or just trying to adapt to another language definitely is taking up a lot of our energy.  We’re both exhausted by 8 p.m.  We just keep telling ourselves: poco a poco.

In other ministry news, we are slowly starting to meet with people and talk about our plans for the next year – how we will help the Project – and mainly how we will raise money to build the next four children’s homes on the new property.  It is a great undertaking, as it will probably take almost a year to even get the permits to build, but the goal is to have a good bit of the money raised during the permit application process so that ground can be broken and construction can begin as soon as possible.  Steve, the lead missionary here, is in charge of Phase II of construction, and it is our goal to serve and help him as much as possible.  That’s why we moved down here.

I also am starting to think about teaching English in some capacity in the new year.  I’m not sure what it will look like, but I need to do some research and figure out the exact needs the Project has, as well as create a plan on how to accomplish it.  But still, our main priority right now is to learn the language and fully adjust to doing life here.

In closing, on Thanksgiving eve, we want to thank all of you for coming alongside of us during this adventure.  We are incredibly grateful for your love, your friendship, your encouragement, your financial support, and your prayers.  We are incredibly blessed.  I thank God every time I remember you.  In all m prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phillipians 1:3-6  May you all have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

La Playa

We had our first visitors!  My parents came down for a week and it was wonderful.  They stayed four days at our house in the city, where we showed them around, introduced them to our friends, and went to a church service.  Then we headed out to the beach for a much needed break from the hustle, bustle and gray skies of San Jose.  It was a l-o-n-g drive, but well worth it.  Sunshine and warmth welcomed us, the sea was delightfully warm and soothing, and seashells were in abundance.  It truly was a great little beach get-a-way.

Playa Tamarindo
Full moon between palms
La bella vista from our condo
Our little family
The building says, "Pescador Pedro, Numero Uno".  Translation (I think): Fisherman Pedro, Number One
Boat on the beach
I love collecting seashells... I've never seen so much variety.
Beauty... brought home in bagfuls.
Futbol en la playa
Kate and Granddaddy playing in the sand.
Love her!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ed... The Most Reliable Neighbor

Well guys, our internet is finally up and running again, after a whole week of it being down.  Countless phone calls were made by our friend Jonathan, who speaks great Spanish, but alas, ICE, the company down here, can't figure out how to get things taken care of pronto. 

Thankfully, we had Ed.  Our neighbor.  Well, we don't really know who he is, but if we really needed internet we could take our computer into the laundry room, where we are closest to our next door neighbors, and borrow Ed's unsecured connection.  At one point during the week, Joe goes, "Ed is the most reliable guy I know here in Costa Rica."  True.

So now that we finally have a regular connection, here are some recent pictures of our life down here, in no particular order.

Kate playing peek-a-boo in the curtains.
A terrific rain storm last week.  I took a video because it was so loud, but it wouldn't load :(
Kate's first day of school.  She no longer is smiling when we drop her off however, and tells us, "I don't like school."  Hopefully she'll come around.
The view from where we take Spanish classes: in the new church building/office spaces.  The dirt below is where the church will be - they still need a huge roof but are trying to come up with funding.
Kate looking out her window to the back patio.
We are taking care of Jason and Kerby's dog (another couple working down here), Jackson.  People think he's very "bravo" (mean/aggressive), but he's the sweetest thing ever.
Down the hill and to the left is our house. 
One of those weird, almond-shaped bugs - I think it's a moth trying to die??  I extracted about 142 of them from the wood paneling and walls one night.  GROSS!
One more thing: it only took a week to have someone come and turn our internet back on.  However, they seem to be really good at coming to our house to turn things off - like the water!  After returning home after Spanish class today, the guard came over to give us a "bill" of sorts and told us that if we didn't pay pronto they would be turning off the water later today.  Or he could have been saying that they already did turn in off, which was probably the case, since shortly after I tried to get a glass of water from the faucet and it dribbled out and then stopped.  The first time we had even heard or seen this bill was literally today... Apparently the owner didn't take care of it, so now, we are "sin agua".  And who knows how long this will take.  Hopefully they will come by tonight or tomorrow!!!!!