Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dìa de Acciòn de Gracias

Well, Costa Ricans don't exactly celebrate Thanksgiving, but that didn't stop Cailah and I from taking a day off of school in order to spend the morning cooking many of our families' traditional dishes. In the afternoon we had a big Thanksgiving feast with all of our teammates. While most of the dished came out wonderful, we did have a few bumps do to unavailability of certain ingredients. I really wanted to make my aunt's pistachio salad, which calls for cool whip. I gathered together all the other hard to find ingredients, but couldn't find cool whip. No problem, I could make my own. After spending almost 2 hours desperately trying to create my own version of cool whip based on peace corps and other missionaries recipes, I gave up and substituted chantilly cream (which several sites said you CANNOT do). Ultimately it turned out okay, but it wasn't quite the same as home.

This would be how I'd describe the whole Thanksgiving day. It was wonderful to have several families to share the day and family recipes with, but it wasn't the same as spending it with my family. This was particularly hard, knowing that Benje was home from New York and Blake had come home from Cal Poly, so I was really the only person missing from our family. Plus, Gerry and Gerrina, two of my youngest siblings, adoption was finalized on Tuesday, and I was the only one missing for that too. I guess I'm just beginning to realize more of the family sacrifices of moving so far away. I am so thankful for all of the modern technology that allows me to stay in contact so well with everyone. And I am extremely grateful for my amazing teammates and their very loving kids. There's never a shortage of hugs.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Know that I am missing you all and am so thankful for each one of you.

Cailah and I excited about missing school and cooking!

Jeff and Jeremy carving chickens. Turkey was over $6 a pound!

All the wonderful food. There were plenty of leftovers.

The kids' table.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Costa Rican, Russian Ballet

When I moved to Costa Rica, figured one of the things I would have to give up would be the many art and culture events I enjoy frequenting in the States, be it small art galleries, museums, or the theater. Costa Rica is know for it's beautiful environment, but not it's contributions to the man-made artistic world. But there is a National Theater downtown... Cailah and I decided to check out the schedule and were shocked to find "Pro-Ballet Clasico Ruso". I love ballet, and Cailah lived in Russia for a semester. We bought tickets immediately! Since the arts aren't as popular here in Costa Rica, the tickets are fairly inexpensive in order to remain open to general public.

On Saturday night, we got ourselves all dressed up and headed downtown on the bus. The theater is intimate with very ornate architecture. I'm not sure which country descriptor should be first, but regardless it was a wonderful performance of mostly Costa Rican dancers who have been trained by a Russian ballet master. Afterwards we walked across the plaza and enjoyed a cup of cafe con leche at the famous Gran Hotel, where we've always stayed on previous SI trips. It was a very special evening out!

Friends and Entertainment

Many of you have asked if I've made lots of new friends or met many locals. I wish I could say I have, but outside of our language school, we don't have a place to interact with locals on a more personal level. This will definitely change in the next few months, once we start spending time in Desamperados. I am exceedingly thankful for our wonderful team and the good friends they continue to be; taking me to get fingerprinted for immigration (a several hour process), sharing many cups of coffee, and sharing their loving and entertaining children with me.

Yesterday we hung out with Tracy Dixon and her kids, Sawyer and Olivia. Sawyer did not want to eat any lunch, but he was very eager to use his booster seat.

Strapping himself in...

Ready to take off...

Stopping for a short rest.....

And climbing up onto the doll house... Mom intervened here.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Today I have been overwhelmed with how much I can see God's hand guiding my life and how much He has blessed me. If you've seen the video of our apartment, you know it's a far cry from the hut I was ready to live in the jungle. Yet, it was by far the cheapest we found here in the city, and just happened to be one of the nicest and closest to our school. Then I think about our language school. There are hundreds here in San Jose, but I happened to find this one on the internet, and it has been perfect! Not only are the teachers highly qualified, they purposely keep it small so that it retains it's family atmosphere. All of our teachers have given us their phone numbers and told us to call them if we need anything. One teacher even invited us to her church. If that weren't enough, Cailah and I are getting private classes at the group class rate because it's the off season. As I reflect on my first two weeks here, I amazed at how smoothly this first transition has been. I know there will be bumps ahead, but I am so thankful for God's hand that has been over me, making the path smooth, thus far. Thank you for all of your love and prayers; I can feel them all the way down here in Costa Rica.

This is us enjoying the only sunset I've seen since being here. It's normally to cloudy/rainy to notice the sun went down. It was beautiful!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our House

Here's a link to Cailah's video tour of our apartment. (Sorry, I can't figure out how to make it a live link, so you'll have to copy and paste it into your address bar)

We are thoroughly enjoying making it home.