Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First Trimester of Language School

We are now several weeks into our second trimester of Spanish Language School. As I look back at last trimester, I can't believe what all we've learned! I came into school in August with no Spanish at all and just hoped that going back to school wouldn't be too much for me. All the teachers say it's a day-by-day process, so that's what I'm still doing. I wanted to write about what all we learned in our first trimester before I forget! Here's the overview for those interested:

In Grammar class we learned:
  • Gender and number in nouns, adjectives and articles
  • Present tense of regular and irregular verbs
  • Verbal periphrases that use the infinitive
  • Direct and indirect objects
  • Reflexive verbs
  • Special intransitive verbs

In Language class we learned:
  • Lots and lots of vocab and using it with the correct gender adjective and correct conjugated verb
  • Words used at the store, with family, around the house, inside and outside the body, occupations, around the city, in the car, in a train, in an airport
  • How to tell time

We learned days, months, seasons and numbers all in one day. I guess you're just supposed to pick up on those as we live life. We have. In Phonetics class, we just repeated and repeated and repeated sounds and words. We learned how to divide up syllables and where to place accents in a word. In the end we were reading Bible stories and learned about voice inflection when reading. That class has actually been so helpful!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Best and Worst Part

Our USA Home

Our Costa Rica Home

I've had many thoughts going through my head about our time back in the States, so it's taken me a while to get this blog post out. Lots of people have asked how it "really" was going home for 3 weeks. Did it make me miss it? Did I want to come back? Isn't is so much cleaner? Aren't you glad you can flush toilet paper? Don't you love hearing English? And my favorite....Isn't life so boring here? (newsflash: life can be boring anywhere).

At the beginning of December, I got a message from a girl who asked what the best part of living in Costa Rica was. Honestly, this question took me back a bit. No one had ever asked me that. Everyone asks about how hard everything is, or what we miss the most, but not what we like the most. At this time I was being whiny and full of self-pity, so it really made me stop and think. What do I like best? I'll answer that in a little bit.

When we were in the States, the most common question I got was, "Aren't you just so disgusted at our American life and our stuff?" The truth is...no. It made me realize that our life is now in two completely different worlds, and that doesn't have to be bad. There just really is no comparison. Sin is sin, just like anywhere, but it manifests itself differently in different places. Costa Ricans love their stuff too, they just don't have as much of it. But it can still be an idol for them. Dishonesty is a huge issue over here...and it looks different than dishonesty in the States. But it's still sin. When we were home, we saw how huge so many people's hearts are. Yes, Americans are blessed with wealth, but it was neat to see how so many are using it for the glory of the Lord. We were not disgusted at all, but encouraged to see the people of God love kingdom work.

The biggest disadvantage I saw in the States was the feeling that I was in control...all the time. I had only been home a few days when this thought process set in for me. I had been gone for over 4 months, and it only took a few days for me to mindlessly go through life again. Without help. Without prayer. Without fear. Without thought. I did what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. Period.

I think the best and the worst part of living here in Costa Rica is my constant awareness of my dependence on the Lord. It's amazing how transforming it can be to always be aware of the Lord's presence and to depend on Him in almost every situation in life. Whether it's talking to my neighbors, struggling through class, driving in a flood, or walking to school in lightning, I feel completely out of control at all times. This has made me have a consistency in prayer that I never knew before living here. It's so wonderful to be reminded of my need for Him (the best part), but also so humbling to know that I can't do anything (selfishly...the worst part).

I love my life here in Costa Rica. And I love my life in the USA. I'm realizing that I don't have to hate one to love the other, or be disgusted by one to enjoy the other. They are both equally part of my life now, and I want to rejoice in that. How grateful I am that God chose us to be missionaries! I love that my family now has a different perspective on life in general. We have realized that our dependence on the Lord is such an advantage and we talk about it often. And honestly, we also complain about it often. No matter how long we stay in Costa Rica, I know our life has changed forever. And I love that. The best and worst part.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dallas New Years

Our plan was to fly out of Jackson on New Years Eve and be home in Costa Rica at around 8:00pm. This didn't happen. Did you know that other airlines can buy out your flight at the last minute? I didn't. Right when we were about to board our plane in Jackson, the flight filled up almost immediately and so did the two flights after. Apparently, Continental had plane trouble back in Texas and had to buy out our American flight to get their passengers to Dallas. So, because we were standby, we were bumped to the 6:30pm flight out of Jackson to Dallas which meant we would miss our 3:50pm flight to Costa Rica. Nothing to be done about it. Luckily we were in Jackson and just went back to Will's parents house for the rest of the day until our evening flight. We flew out of Jackson to Dallas at 6:30pm with no problems at all.

Since it was New Years Eve, we decided to go for something fun. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt hotel in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. It was probably 5 steps away from the security checkpoint which was great. It was a super fancy hotel for a good price...what a great decision! We had the best time just the 4 of us.

View of the runway from our room...kids loved it
We ate a great dinner in the lobby and watched a bowl game

Bought some fun New Years Eve things before leaving Jackson

After dinner, we went back to the room to ring in the New Year

Watched the ball drop in New York on tv then time for bed!
(which was really 11:00pm, but the kids didn't know)

Celebrating at "midnight" hotel-room style
(I don't know why Jack isn't wearing pants)

Since our flight left the next day at 3:45, we were able to sleep in really late on New Years Day then walk straight on the plane. To show you how tired we were, both kids slept until 11:45am. This delay was definitely a blessing in disguise. We ate lunch in the airport (one last good hamburger) and got on the plane with no problems. Our flight to Costa Rica was so easy and we both said it was the most well-rested we've ever been traveling.

Playing games waiting for our plane

Me too

Monday, January 9, 2012

Jack Turns 5

I can't believe my baby just turned 5! Jack's birthday is December 26th which is insane to try to do anything the day after Christmas. We always have his friend birthday party on his half birthday in June so the boy can actually enjoy it. We just let him choose what he wants to do on his actual birthday and have a little cake.

He wanted snuggle time with Mom in the morning

And donuts for breakfast...he ate 4

Next we all played Angry Birds with him

He decided he wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese to play in the afternoon and go to Chick-fil-a for dinner. He also wanted to save his cake and present for after we got home that night. Then we got in our pajamas and we all watched The Sandlot together. He had it all planned out...that's my boy!

Happy Birthday Jack! We love you so much and you have been such a joy in our lives. You are fun and goofy and we love seeing your silly personality come out in everything you do. You have a sensitive heart and love to play with others. We are seeing your interest in sports grow daily and you always want us to watch you and play ball with you. We are trying to give you more and more freedom and independence to do things your own way...but it can be hard to do that as parents when you still seem so young in our minds. You know what you like and how you like it! You still never use the words "she" and "he" when talking and I love that. You love your family and approach new adventures with confidence and excitement. We pray that you will always find favor with those around you, that you will come to know the Lord at a young age, and that you will grow to be a man after God's own heart. We are so blessed to have you as our son.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jackson Christmas

We went to Jackson, MS to visit Will's family December 25th-31st and had a wonderful time relaxing and hanging out with family. We caught up on nighttime Fox News, slept late, ate great food and played outside.

Emma with her new robe from Mimi

Mamaw opening her gifts

Big boy Jack in his La Liga Costa Rica soccer jersey
My kids love angry birds

Papaw made us a turkey (since we missed Thanksgiving) & ham! We ate and ate.

Costa Rican coffee pot vs. Keurig fancy coffee pot

Mimi cooking and cooking for us....love it

Heaven on a plate...with bacon

The kids loved their scooters they got for Christmas....they love the light up wheels

Sad after scooter accident

Needing some mommy love to feel better

Emma just loves those cats

Papaw & Will

Mimi & Emma

Sweet cousins Sophie & Evie. Both are 5 months older than Emma & Jack. They had so much fun playing together.

Fishing in the backyard

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Memphis Christmas

We went home to Memphis on December 8th through the 25th and really enjoyed our time with family and friends there. It was a perfect break from school and Spanish, and we were extremely encouraged by all the love we felt. It was such a wonderful time.

We stopped by Germantown Commissary on the way home from the airport for some much-needed BBQ! Sooooo good! We have really missed Southern food.

Emma meeting her new little cousin, Lindley Belle. She was born a few weeks after we left for Costa Rica. Emma was in love!

Nana's Christmas present...a picture with all her grandkids

Annual mall trip with a visit to see Santa. My kids are getting so big!

Will's tacky Christmas sweater he wore to several parties

Great Friends
Melissa, Molly, Michele, Christy and me

Emma enjoyed catching up with all her friends too. Emma with Tyler and Caroline...and tongue tattoos? I had never heard of these.

Mother/Daughter Christmas brunch

Kelcie and me

Me, Michele, Katie and Holly
Michele and Holly even surprised us at the airport!

Missy, me and Lindley...love all her bows

My sweet girl

Yogurt Mountain was a necessary visit with Elle

Will the baby whisperer

This was my spot at my parent's house for 2 weeks

Loading up on Christmas Day to head to Jackson, MS for a week. So blessed and thankful that we were able to come home for a few weeks. We loved every minute of it. We'll miss you Memphis!