Monday, April 30, 2012

The Joke Is On Me

I (Jeff) knew that this day would come.  This morning I showed up at the University for classes and nobody was there except for the guards.  I was 10 minutes early, but I could still notice the absolute lack of students and professors.  I did a quick look around and then asked a guard if there were any classes today.  Of course the answer was "no" with a small smile.  I cracked a joke about my ignorance, for the amusement of the guard, and then headed home.

Here is the explanation as best as I can guess.  Tomorrow is a national holiday (like Labor Day in the U.S.) and the government decided to give today (Monday) as an additional holiday to create a 4 day weekend.  There was talk at the University about this on Thursday of last week, but the administration was adamant that there would be classes on Monday regardless of what the government decided to do.   All I can guess is that the decision was made on Friday and the news spread like a virus, but apparently Gringos have innate immunity from this virus.  I was forewarned that a day like this would come (and it won't be the last) and knowing that helped alleviate any frustration.

Well, the guard got a good chuckle and I got a little more time to dodge traffic and listen to a sermon on my mp3.  So what to do with my day off?  I am sure that it will fill up if I just check my email and answer my phone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Quickly Planned, Greatly Enjoyed!

Gone are the days of meticulously planning a birthday party...well, at least for now. At 11am on Sunday, I decided we should get serious about having a birthday party for Noah. So I called the mom of Noah's best buddy while she was in church...and invited her son and daughter over for a "last minute" birthday party at 2:30pm. How's that for acclimating to the laid back nature of the culture!?! Noah has a current obsession with the Transformers: Bumblebee and Optimus Prime. So, I got on-line, found a Bumblebee print-out...printed out a bunch...glued them to a paper bags--CHECK! Ran to the store, bought some icecream popsicles and candy. Snacks--CHECK! Noah and Jeff had made a Bumblebee piñata out of a cardboard box earlier in the morning. Piñata--CHECK! Ella blew up some balloons. Decorations--CHECK! Let the party begin!!!

The Bumblebee Piñata

The Gift Bags

Impromptu Balloon Relay Race

Yummy Chocolate Popsicles

The Whacking of the Piñata

The Perfect Gift from his Friend

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tables and Tacks

This weekend, while Jeff was in the middle of "surgery" in our living room, Noah and I were "building" outside. Noah found some scrap wood and he wanted to build a table. I enjoy "building" furniture as well, so Noah and I went to work. We worked together to make a small, very rustic, little table that interestingly resembles an ironing board. Noah worked hard and was very proud of his work.

"The Table"

When we finished, we were going to bring the little table inside to show Jeff. Noah stopped and simply said "OW!OW". No tears...just that simple utterance. He was holding his foot a little funny so I picked him up to see what he had stepped was a one-inch metal furniture tack...completely embedded in the soft part of the arch of his foot.

"The Tack"

I yanked it out. Still, no tears from Noah. I carried him inside, cleaned the puncture wound, assured myself that he has had a tetanus shot, and bandaged him up. I think he was as equally as proud of his injury as he was of his table. It is rarely a dull day here in Nicaragua.

"Our Tough Little Carpenter"

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Lesson in Cashews

I like to eat cashews. I dislike, strongly, the price of cashews. Well, now I know why they are so expensive. There is one cashew per fruit.

Also, they are toxic until they are roasted...roasted correctly. Even the smoke from the roasting is toxic and can be life threatening. Interesting, huh?...and a little freaky.

These cashews are growing in our neighborhood. Sadly, they will likely fall and rot...never to be enjoyed. It's a shame...yet, I just got the courage to drive around the city...not sure I'm ready to learn how to roast a toxic nut.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A New Way to Celebrate

We live in a wonderful neighborhood. Yesterday, for Easter, a young couple (THANKS Jason and Jesenia!) planned an Easter "Egg" Hunt for all the kids in the neighborhood. Although, instead of using eggs...the kids hunted for mangoes. Mangoes are very much in season this time of year...there are hundreds of mangoes ripening (and falling) all over the neighborhood. The kids were divided into age groups and sent searching...prizes were awarded for the kids who collected the most mangoes (Ella won 3rd place in her division and got a bag of M-n-M's for a prize!). At the end...all the mangoes were piled into a wheelbarrow, dumped in the central green space and will become wonderful "environmentally friendly" are we!?!

A New Kind of 'Egg'

After the mango hunt, another family (THANKS Mark and Nancy!), hosted a hotdog & marshmallow roast. It was a whole new experience to have a raging bonfire in 100 degree weather. Actually, when you walked away from the fire, it felt cooler.

What a crazy/wonderful way to celebrate Easter. Friends, Fun, Fellowship. Our family certainly had a great time and we hope this will become an annual event!

Enjoy the snapshots of our Easter in Nicaragua.

Family Photo on Easter 2012

Noah listening to the "rules" of the Hunt.

Andrew and His Best Friend, Jesús, waiting to search.

"I'm GOING to get that Mango!"

Ella...focused on the search.

Mangoes are definitely heavier than plastic eggs.

Andrew and Jesús

The Bonfire

Jeff and Noah cooking Easter Dinner.

Five countries were represented at this neighborhood Easter celebration. What a taste of heaven...celebrating God's Grace and Love with the nations.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Not Just A Holiday

I mentioned to Jeff the other day that I felt barely aware that Easter Sunday was approaching. However, I began thinking that celebrating the joyous miracle of Easter is not a once-a-year holiday. If I am not celebrating the amazing grace, self-less sacrifice, and joyous triumph of Christ's Resurrection resulting in my salvation EVERYDAY of the year...then paying homage to the "holiday" once-a-year is rather insulting. The Good News of the Gospel...Christ's Redeeming something to be celebrated daily...not annually.