The Fun Stuff

It’s no secret that we are all working hard right now.  The kids are busy with school.  Eliana is enjoying the challenge of 6th grade, but isn’t crazy about the official feel of tests and report cards.  Elijah was promoted to 4th because he had already mastered the material scheduled for the 3rd grade (his age appropriate class).  He loves it, and never missed a beat academically.  Matt just spent the evening working on a science project with him, and I spent the day untangling dollars and colones in our Quicken records.  Before the bell rings for class in the morning, we have a date with the Spanish indicative past tense verb conjugations–the three regular varieties and the 7 categories of irregulars.  Every week we learn more about how to navigate the culture, the language, and the city of San Jose.  All of this is building our family’s ability to do life here well and serve at the Home of Life come June.

But in the midst of the effort, we have been having some fun, too.  Our sloped driveway has proven to be a huge blessing for the E’s to romp in and chase balls around.  Sometimes we even borrow the neighbor’s beagle.  Matt recently got some new rope to rehang a hammock-swing that was left here by a previous family.  The kids delight in being pendulums.  I am thankful for the ample space to dry clothes and my game of racing-the-weather—I play hard to win that one, but it’s nice to have a dryer on my defensive line.  We have taken some walks around the neighborhood to enjoy the little front gardens and the feel of the tight-packed houses.  I’ve laughed my way through three Junie B. Jones books in Spanish and am going to try La Telaraña de Carlota (Charlotte’s Web) next.  Our Dominion cards are back into circulation and we even got in a round of Settlers of Catan this weekend at a language student family game night.  Balancing the work with some play is necessary to avoid burn out.  There is never a shortage of things needing our attention, but we can tackle them better with some joy tucked in between the layers.

A while back we were able to visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens, the Costa Rican equivalent of the Henry Doorly Zoo.  While the animals on display were significantly fewer, the rain forest exhibit was out of this world.  We thought after hearing about many of the challenges involved in living abroad, you might like to see some of the fun things, too.

Come Be A Missionary

The other day we had a special gathering to share some of the details of our calling and to give the children a little taste of what it’s like to be a missionary.  Much fun was had by all.  Here are some of the highlights.

Being a long ways away doesn’t mean we stop being friends.  We decorated postcards with cutouts from magazines to make it easier to keep in touch.

Unidentified Flying Object

Costa Rica is home to over 1,200 known species of butterflies.  Some undiscovered varieties were seen flying around the room.  Contrary to nature, this one later grew its pipe cleaner body and curly antennae.

Eliana and Elijah made signs for each project table.

If you could only take one suitcase, what would you put in it?  Matt’s word problem gave kids a chance to flex their math skills and think it through.  Suggestions and approximate weights were given, but remember, your bag can’t weigh more than 50 lbs.

Gallo Pinto?  What Gallo Pinto?Gallo Pinto is Costa Rica’s signature beans and rice dish, often served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  The primary flavoring, Lizano sauce, makes it quite tasty.  We brought a double batch, wondering if the kids would be interested.  When I wandered back to the snack table, this is what was left.  It looks like all the little Mikeys liked it.  We also enjoyed some bananas and oranges because the warm, wet climate makes it easy for them to grow there.

Ta-da!

Houses in the tropics are more open because the weather is warm year-round.  Often a small gecko will keep you company, usually out of sight, and nibble any bugs that wander in.  God created them with a special ability to climb and even run on vertical surfaces.  Our beaded versions couldn’t zoom across the walls, but they were still a big hit.

The result: happy faces with a little more understanding of what it’s like to go new places.