Saturday, December 10, 2011


November really flew by! We had a long list of things to do before leaving for our first vacation since our arrival in Costa Rica and before we knew it that vacation arrived. And with it, our parents! Needless to say, November ended up being a pretty great month. Stick around for a moment and check out what we've been up to!

November 1

We have officially lived in Costa Rica for twenty months. How crazy is that? From this side, very. It has been an interesting 20 months, both positively and negatively interesting. We've learned a lot about ourselves, what we can get away with, what we cannot and what things are important to us and want to make sure are present in our future.

Lots of rain going on right now. Only three showed up for aerobics, but Chris made pizza for dinner so I think the evening balanced out!

November 2

Today was a math day in grupo. Some kids get it, some do not. We're a little surprised that some have made it to first grade, but I don't know that there are any standards for graduating from kindergarten. To say the least, it is a little rough at times.

I came home to where Chris was manning the most important task of the day. He was left in charge of winning the Almond Joy cake by Steve in the Billy auction. He did well, winning it at 27 mil. Yay, Steve is going to come to our site and deliver delicious goodies! Also, Chris' run to Billy's site to deliver a sweaty hug received the highest bid - 50 mil!

November 3

Aaaaand we're done! It's only taken us about 8 months and some combined lessons, but we have finished up Chicos and Chicas. We'll celebrate in December with whatever activity we cook up with Orlando.

November 4

I did some bracelet work and then wrote some. Then I started thinking of all of the things that I would like to get done before our parents arrive and novelling fell to the bottom. I've got it started if I decide to come back on a writing spree, but as I told Chris, there's so much good stuff out there; why create something new and not good? Maybe some day, but not today.

November 5

Happy Guy Fawkes Day! Perhaps the most celebrated failure in history?

Chris worked on his DOS (Description of Service) for WNMU today. Going through our time in service thus far is a great reflection tool. Last month may have been rough, but we were still working. We have had very successful projects - some may have been short lived, but they were still great during that window of time. We really have done a lot more than it sometimes feels like. We've facilitated nine week long camps. We've had English club. We had all of those afternoons in the plaza. We have repitentes. We've hosted seven from UNL. We've really gotten in there. And that's not counting our individual projects.

This morning there was an odd incident of a man running around town with a machete. At first Maria told me he had been robbed and was looking for the culprit. Then she said he was a drunk so we had better keep all of the doors locked. Who knows what the real story was, but I don't have any problem keeping the doors locked if someone is running around with a machete.

November 6

More crafting today, yay! I finished Kenzie's headband, worked on a fused bag and on cloth roses. I stumbled across a couple of cute flower ideas for Sarah. I really enjoy making things.

Chris went for a longer run in his Minumuses today. Got some blisters but made it back alive and still waling. Then we ate pancakes (oatmeal, flaxseed, honey, and dulceT). Delicious. 

Don Quijote (book 1) is rapidly coming to a close. (A Chris read)

November 7

It feels strange to be home alone for the night. Chris had his appointment with the dermatologist today and emailed to let me know he would be staying the night in the city.

Grupo went well today. I was the only teacher. Carolina was the only student from Orlando's group so he put her with me and worked on scholarship forms. I had seven stations and nine kids so they rotated throughout the session. 

November 8

I had quite the conversation with Liseth and Steven. We were talking about animals since that is what they are studying in school (they're kindergarteners). The conversation turned to snakes and that is what we spent the next 25 minutes talking about. I now know that anacondas can grow to be the same length as the distance between Nicaragua and San Jose and that they can eat up to 400 people when they are really hungry.

I spent the afternoon working on bracelets and purses. Chris finally got home with two new holes in his back.

November 9

Chris went out to the cole today and was able to talk to Marlon. It sounds like construction/renovations will finally start up next Wednesday!

I read a little bit before class, I love how many little stories are wound together in Ana Karenina and the range of topics that are covered. 

November 10

We woke up to the sound of rain and when Maria came back from lunch she said that teachers were leaving because there was rumor of flooding in Naranjal. No one left from the school though. I don't get it - people just get excited. I don't know why they wouldn't want to get stuck in Colonia. 

Chris got a good run in today, taking advantage of the lower temps that came with the rain.


Chris ran errands in Puerto this morning and I went on a bracelet making spree.

Chris worked on his statement of interest for the Fellows Program. Why is it so hard to put into words how perfect this program is for us?

The future is looming. We're (mostly) ready and (very) excited (but maybe a little scared and anxious too.).

November 12

I experimented with adding crayon wax to the fused plastics equation. I mostly failed. But I did get a good looking bookmark for Haley out of the experiment. Ariela's afternoon was full of success. She created a beautiful brown bag that from a distance looks like leather. It is gorgeous. She also added an inner lip so that she could put in a zipper without needing to stitch through the outside of the bag. I feel proud of the progress she has made in these last five months.

November 13

Rice and beans are made. That means we're ready for the week.

November 14

I returned to the bracelet making factory today. I'm oh so close to finishing the Poderosa set. Then I have 11 more Poderosos to make. I think I had 25 left when I started up last week. 

November 15

Now that it is almost here it's hard to believe that the six month mark is upon us.

November 16

L-O-N-G day. Chris was up at 4:30 for his trip into San Jose. I started laundry by 6. Not the best of days to wash clothes since it was pouring, but it was certainly better than waiting for Saturday and washing a whole week's worth of clothes.

The best part of the day was when one of the women stayed after class tonight to thank me for teaching her. Such a wonderful feeling.

Chris got his stitches out but still has some healing to do.

November 17

Chris had a special project today. Maria and Rafa were given a computer and this afternoon he got it set up for Maria. He put games on it for her and everything. She's bound to be addicted for the next couple of weeks as we saw last winter when they had one of the school's lap tops. It's fun to answer her questions and listen to her exclaim "Que Lindo" when she changes the design in the deck of cards. If anything Chris will have a winter project as she and Rafa figure out the computer.

November 18

Today the cole won third prize at the band competition. We stayed in Puerto to hear/watch them play, but then left as the competition was outside and it was raining. 

We also found out the the cole won the national mural competion!

I signed up to volunteer in Nicaragua since I won't be able to train how I would like to. Also, with the big price ticket it makes more sense budget wise for me to just go and support runners (like Chris).

November 19

At the height of the storm we were upe-ed and Marlon and his wife were at the door. They stayed for about an hour, working with Chris to try and get the grant figured out. The contractors stopped by and we were able to chat with them as well. They started work yesterday and they now know what Chris' dream deadline is. If all goes well this grant business may be wrapped up by the end of the year!

November 20

Another longish, productive-ish day. We've had quite the weekend trying to get things wrapped up before going on vacation.

Maria is a computer game addict. She told Sumara that she couldn't go to church the other day because she was playing and last night she burned the beans because she lost track of time. She also said that she won't go to Grecia for Christmas this year so that she can stay home and play. Oh goodness. Hopefully the newness wears off soon so that she can go back to her normal life. [note: since returning from our vacation the computer has not been turned on, we're hopeful that the addictive stage has worn off]

November 21

Wow, six months from today we will be back in the States. Kind of crazy. I know people say that the last six months fly, but I don't know that I ever actually believed it. December and January may be a bit rough, but we may just be surprised at how quickly time passes.

We had a two hour meeting with Orlando this morning to plan our big sixth grade event. The day after vacation. It's going to be a crazy day with six hours worth of games. We're all going to be exhausted. It's going to be incredible.

The kids in grupo read the story that Chris wrote and then they illustrated their books. As they finished up they played games, did puzzles, re-read their stories, etc. My highlight was teaching Jose Miguel how to play Scrabble (or at least gave him the idea, using Bananagram tiles).

We returned home to an overflowing toilet. We're looking forward to a vacation from our dysfunctional toilet.

It's kind of hard to believe that moms and dads start arriving tomorrow!

November 22

Yay! The first set of parents have arrived! It's so good to see them and to be able to talk face to face.

November 23

Everyone is here now!

November 24

Happy Thanksgiving!

We saw a sloth.

November 25

We saw howler monkeys, white face monkeys, a vine snake (eating a lizard), an iguana, lots of little lizards, crabs, birds, butterflies and mosquitoes. It was a pretty good walk.

November 26

Everyone had a chance to settle into the bungalows and relax today.

November 27

The trip down the river was great! We saw tons of iguanas - they were huge! We also saw caiman, crocodiles, a river otter, several birds and some monkeys.

November 28

It was entertaining to watch moms and dads figure out how to eat ice cream out of a bag!

November 29

We went on a chocolate tour today. Delicious!

November 30

We had a wonderful time on the coffee tour today.

I know, I know. The last several days of November are lacking in detail. My plan is to write up a whole vacation blog in an attempt to keep this one from going on forever! Check back soon to hear more about our parents crazy adventures in Costa Rica!

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