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!