Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"How We Spent Our Thanksgiving Break"

It has been a while since we've done a "Window Wednesday" here you go...this is a snapshot look at how we spent our 2nd Thanksgiving in Nicaragua. We traveled to an ecolodge up in the mountains of Matagalpa and enjoyed the cooler weather (felt like a mild northeast american fall), as well as, enjoying hiking and spending time as a family away from the city.

Hiking in the Selva. Yes, there is a trail...although at times we wondered if we had accidently ventured off the path.

The water was so cold. Thankfully, no one fell in...although the trail followed VERY close to the river's edge!

Interesting flora in the forest. We named these 'alien spy cams'.

Noah had a great time! He was still having fun after 2 hours of hiking!

Bananas being transported down the mountain.

If you are curious about "coffee processing"...the black bags are dried coffee (I think)...the 'sand looking stuff' is coffee beans laying out to dry in the sun. This is one of many beneficios that we passed on the way back from the mountains. Matagalpa is somewhat of a coffee capital in Nicaragua.

Gotta watch out for cattle crossing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Last Day of School!!!!

It has been a while since we've posted. I looked at the last post date...and it made a lot of sense. We've been consumed since November 14th with final exams and end-of-the-school-year activities. By the grace and through the strength of God, we successfully made it through an entire school year in an entirely different language and culture! Our kids perservered as they walked through some hard valleys. Hopefully, they have learned that the Lord walks with them. They also climbed a few mountains and rejoiced at the top! Hopefully, they know that the Lord celebrates with them! While we spent the first several months translating every single word in every book assignment and on every worksheet...we have now reached a new level of language proficiency...well, at least at a preschool, first grade and third grade level! While we all fought to "fit in" and talk with others with the amount of vocabulary that could fit in one hand...we've made friends, shared meals, had playdates, and genuinely enjoyed being a part of the school community.

I'd love to wax eloquent...but it's been a long day. Today was the last day of school. We spent the morning enjoying a program for the "fin del año". It was also a Christmas program...being that there are no holidays (ie. Thanksgiving) standing in the way. It is still a bit odd to experience the things of Christmas when it is in the high 80s and flowers are blooming. Yet, we said our "see you next year's" and "feliz navidad's" and said farewell to one of the hardest school years we've ever experienced. I can say for sure, we all learned a lot and are stronger for it...our hearts and minds are changed...for that we are thankful.

Enjoy some photos from the day!

Andrew having a good time dancing to a swingin' Christmas song with his class.

Andrew with his "academic excellence" certificate...go figure! He truly worked hard and is well on his way to being bi-lingual.

Our little angel-girl!

Ella having fun in her class's performance!

Ella with her certificate of "academic excellence". This girl rocks school work. She is already translating for me!

Noah hanging out...waiting for the show to start!

Noah having fun being on stage with the preschool and kindergarten classes!

A very serious angel. (I just had to post rare to catch Noah with a serious expression!)

This is more like it...a smiling Noah-angel! He ran around with his wings on...yelling--"I'm an angel! I'm an angel!"

¡Felicidades Andrew, Ella y Noah! ¡¡Excelente trabajo!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Survival Skills Training: Pizza Delivery

To all those who have been wondering about the outcome of the pizza ordering experience last night....


Thanks to Ella, I had just enough money to pay the delivery guy. (She asked me to pay her back today when she got home from school.)...and being that PizzaHut never showed up with a pizza, I was also successful in cancelling that order. Oh, I forgot to mention...when I was on the phone with the PizzaHut guy, while there was much confusion over cheese...what I did understand was when he suggested that I have someone who DID know Spanish call back and order for me. Hmmm....not sure how I feel about that.

(Ironically, by the time the pizza arrived, I didn't even feel like eating pizza. Go figure.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just Bring Me A Pizza!!!!

Okay, let me share a secret (or perhaps a confession)...we can order pizza and have it delivered here in Managua--one of the benefits of living in the capital city. The options and quality are limited...but PizzaHut enjoys doing business here AND we recently discovered another pizza place called D'Agostino's.

We had agreed (and told the kids) that we would treat ourselves to pizza for dinner. Jeff is the "order-er" of the family. But tonight, Jeff is out helping a friend (I was really hoping he'd be back by dinner...but like many things is taking longer than expected). So, that meant that I had to call and place the order. There is usually a "deal" at PizzaHut--so armed with my conversation cheat-sheet--I dialed the number. I made it through most of my planned conversation...feeling rather accomplished. Then, the order guy started asking questions and telling me something about cheese that I didn't understand. What I gathered was that that the "offer" seems to no longer exist. (This is not good...please, let's not deviate from the conversation I planned). There was confusion about cheese-stuffed crust (no offense...but GROSS!) So, I cancelled the order (I think...I hope...we'll see in about 45 minutes).

Dejected, I grieved over my defeat. Then I decided that we were indeed going to have pizza tonight. I CAN order pizza, I told is essential to survival. So, I called the other pizza place without a cheat-sheet. It all seemed to go well until the "telling of the price". I think they wanted to know how much 'change' the delivery guy would need. This threw me off...goodness, I don't, do you want me tell you exactly what denominations of money you need to send him with? So, I just said I'd have the exact amount needed for the pizza (okay, another confession...I can't translate numbers). I just had to borrow Ella's small denominations of Nicaraguan money in hopes that I will have the EXACT combination of money needed for this pizza.

Ordering pizza used to be so simple...well, in about 30 minutes we'll see how successful (or not) I was in trying to get a pizza delieved to my house.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Noticing the Little Things

Yesterday, we were driving down the same road we've driven down for a year (it's the Pan-American Highway). There is a stretch of road that overlooks a valley, volcanoes, and Lake Managua. On the side of the road, there are hundreds of beautiful orange colored daisies...they kind of resemble black-eyed susans. I told Jeff that I don't remember them growing there last year. Yet, last year at this time, we had only been here for about 3 weeks...all I saw was the "stuff" that seemed 'unlovely' and glaringly different.

It has been refreshing to notice the little things...the pretty orange flowers, the cool breeze early in the morning, the many wild poinsettias blooming in preparation for Christmas...I am looking forward to discovering more "treasures" of Nicaragua.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Campin' Out

It is bedtime here in Nicaragua...yet, all my kids are down here in the living room...sleeping either on matresses on the floor or on the sofa. By the way, Jeff and I will be sleeping down here in the living room tonight as well. Actually this is our second night sleeping downstairs. Why, you ask? Because the upstairs is covered in a not-so-fine layer of dirt and other gross-ness, due to the removal and repair of the roof. We have had quite the colony of bats roosting in our roof. There is no attic in this the "roof" is made up of the wood plank ceiling, zinc (corrugated tin), and lastly u-shaped terracotta tiles. The bats roost between the layers of zinc and tile....AND....between the wood and the zinc. Well, despite the fact that these little creatures eat un-wanted mosquitos...we found that they did not make good house-mates. Because I do not want to make this story even longer, let's just say a miracle of sorts occured...the owners decided to completely remove the roof layers (and the bats), add insulation, and then re-layer the opposed to trying to seal up holes through which the bats would exit at dusk and enter around 4 in the morning (quite the flurry of noise, by the way!). Oh, and just so you know...bats can enter into the smallest of crevices. So, here I am typing in the my kids fall asleep--camped out in the living room.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Double Meanings...It isn't Just a Language Learner Error

There are many words that have multiple meanings. We have them in English. There are an abundance of them in Spanish as well. This morning, Noah's preschool class put on a little skit and song at Chapel. A note went home yesterday, asking parents to send their children to school on Tuesday dressed as "pastorcitos". To be sure, we looked up the word "pastor" in the dictionary (the "cito" part just means little).

pastor(a): 1. Shepherd/shepherdess.

So we dressed Noah as a shepherd, as did many other parents. However, we noticed this morning at the Chapel program that there was one child (a Nicaraguan) dressed in a shirt, tie and dress pants. It took us a minute, and then stiffling laughter, we realized that his parent must have interpretted the word "pastorcito" as the second definition for pastor.

pastor(a): 1. Shepherd/shepherdess. 2. minister, clergyman.

Apparently, second language learners are not the ONLY victims of mis-translation and multiply-defined words.

"our little shepherd boy"