Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My, You're Looking Leafy Today...

I just caught myself talking to one of my plants. Hmm...never thought I'd be one of "those" people. :) I won't look too deeply into why I felt the need to speak words of encouragement to my new friend..I mean plant..

Happy Valentine's Day....yesterday! We had a nice little gathering with our kids and team members, filled with valentine making, chocolate fondue dipping and lots of love all around. We had tables set up with fun paper and cut out hearts and stickers, where people could make valentines for each other right there on the spot, then deliver them into their friend's paper bag mailbox. The kids had a good time, as did the adults! I'm not much for this holiday, but I enjoyed spending time with people who are becoming dear friends.

I'm reading a very good book right now (well, I'm reading a few books. I can't help myself!) The one I'm referring to, however, is Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith. A friend lent it to me as I am going though a personal process of re-focusing and getting to know myself a bit better. I keep joking that I hope to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, but part of me knows I'm not really joking! The book centers on God's specific call in a person's life, which is your vocation. A person's vocation can be carried out anywhere, at any point in one's life. Most often we think of our vocation as what we do for a living. It may overlap with your job or profession, but maybe not completely. Basically, it's figuring out who He has called you to be, and then being true to yourself in that calling. (Sorry, I'm not good at summarizing.) Just wanted to share a bit about the personal growth process I am starting here, led by some wonderful friends. I'll share a bit more as we go along!
Some pictures...

Poor Yogi had a heart balloon attached to his collar...but it was so cute!

Isn't she a beaut??

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pie and Visas

There's lemon tree right out front of the kitchen window, and it's been heavy with lemons for the past few weeks. Those lemons inspired me and could be the only possible explanation for my desire to bake a pie from scratch! My Grammy's lemon sponge pie is a family favorite, and though I have never baked it before in my life (nor any other pie for that matter) I decided to give it a go! They don't really have pre-made pie crusts in the local supermarket, but they do have sheets of dough that can be used as a crust. I discovered, though, that they are rectangles and didn't quite fit the pie dish I was using. So I ended up making my first pie crust from scratch as well! And I have to say, it turned out rather well. The oven has no option to bake just from the bottom, so the top got browner than it's supposed to, but the taste came out pretty close to what I remember...so all in all I'm calling it a success!

Good news...the family I am homeschooling (one of the families, I should say) all have their visas now to live in Spain! Mom and the 2 girls' visas hadn't come through after months of waiting, so they returned to Costa Rica and were gone for about 3 weeks. They finally got the situation figured out and praise God, came back on Friday with their visas! Such a huge burden lifted and an answer to prayer. I'm excited to have my students back :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

¿Qué tal?...what's up?

Life has been rolling along nicely here so far in 2011. I'm not quite at the halfway mark for my time here, but getting close...I can hardly believe it! I feel like I have been here longer than 3 and 1/2 months, and yet I know time will be running out soon enough. I'm still not using my Spanish nearly enough as I'd like, so that is definitely a goal I need to put more energy into in the near future. I am teaching in English, and primarily interacting with other friends and families in English, so it's all too easy to just "get by" with minimal Spanish. I would love to be fluent, and I'm in Spain for an extended period of time, so I don't know when an opportunity like this will come up again! The church I am attending is all in Spanish, so I do have the chance to interact with people there...I have a hard time getting to know people in my own language, so it's difficult to break through that first layer of acquaintance, where you just say hello and how are you, etc. Hopefully I'll be going to a language exchange (intercambio) in downtown Malaga this week, where we'll alternate speaking in English and Spanish. It sounds terrifying to me, to walk into this unknown situation and use my rusty Spanish with strangers, but who knows...maybe it'll be more freeing if I know I may never see them again!

I had the chance to do some more driving practice today. Actually, it's only the second time I've gotten to go out and drive. I think the first time I had some beginners luck on my side, because today I had a lot more difficulty getting into first gear to get the car to go! My friend Lily was very patient with me, and very generous to allow me to continually stall out her car (which she just got a week ago!) It was slightly discouraging to spend nearly 10 minutes in one spot, unable to move the car forward. But, perseverance did pay off and I got it eventually! I only drove around 1-2 blocks over and over again, but that was fine with me. I need to practice getting into first gear from a dead stop. I will come out of this experience with the ability to drive stick!!

Quick school update...2 of my students have been back in Costa Rica with their mom to pick up their visas...well, it turns out at first they still hadn't come through to the embassy, but last week we got news from them that all 3 visas came!! Praise God! It was a long process for them, but was all in God's timing. Meanwhile, I've had the chance to get to know my other student better, as it's just been the 2 of us for the past 2 weeks. She's in kindergarten, and we've been working on letters and numbers together. We're having a good time creating art projects and science experiments, which is a favorite subject of her's!

Speaking of school, I need to get some prepping done for tomorrow and this week. I am determined to blog more, even if it's just about what I ate for dinner, so please don't give up on me yet!
Have a wonderful week :)