Monday, December 22, 2008

From the tropics to the frozen tundra...

Hi Everyone!

I'm sorry for going so long without posting but my last few weeks in Costa Rica before visiting home were very busy.

I'm currently writing this from the "Brat House Grill" in Wisconsin Dells. I'm up here with my mom and brother for Christmas and it's wonderful but freezing. I'm even filming a "documentary" about snow and Wisconsin starring my family... Let's just say it's a low budget feature made on my little Canon digital camera and windows movie maker. We did get absolutely dumped with snow the last few days though so there have been ample snow piles and icicles to film :)

Just to fill you in, I'm home until Jan 13 and then I go back down to the Abraham Project - with my mom and her friend Heidi! Yep, they will be visiting me for a week to see the beautiful country and meet all of the people I work with. I'm getting pretty excited to do some touristy things while they are there. I keep reading and hearing about the beautiful beach at Manuel Antonio, and the erupting volcano at Arenal but I've never seen them. Also, January is supposed to be the month with the nicest weather in Costa Rica and it will certainly be a contrast to the current sub-zero freeze.

I'm also excited to see my mom's reaction to the interesting cultural things that I've been experiencing - she's like a fresh slate for social experimentation! What will she think of their driving? The cuisine? Their food storage habits? Their laid-back lifestyle? The church service? Hopefully I will have lots of interesting observations to report - I'll even take notes for you Janet.

Oh, I know they are long overdue but I have pictures from the Mennonite group and from my trip to Nicaragua. I took my time putting captions on all of them so it's like you're really there. You can access the albums by:

Also, if you didn't see my first album, the link again is:

I also have some neat pictures from my last month there which I will put up soon.

I especially realized how much I love what I do when I think that 3 months of my amazing experience have already gone by. I immensely enjoy what I'm doing and I think I've never been happier with my life. I really think I am called to education. Whether I am teaching or learning I am very content in a classroom with a good whiteboard marker. (no, I'm not sniffing the marker...) I hope God has more teaching and learning in my future!

Finally, as I was preparing to leave for a Christmas break at home I realized how attached I have become to the people of Costa Rica. I got huge hugs the whole last week and many people went out of their way to see me and Brian one last time before we left. One of our students even emailed me today to say "There are only 22 more days until you come back!".

Here is a picture of me, Brian, and some of our students. We took them out to see a movie as a treat for passing their final exams:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just call me The Wedding Singer

Dear readers,

I already told you about my involvement in the Nicaraguan wedding a few weeks ago. Yesterday, I sang a duet in a wedding at the church here! That's right, the same pastor, William, asked me on Saturday night if I wouldn't mind singing in the wedding the following day. Since I am here to push my boundaries, learn, and grow, I said yes. Waaaaaa! How scary. It's one thing to sing in front of 100 Nicaraguans I don't know, but it's another thing to sing in the wedding of one of the youth leaders in the church, with the whole worship team in the audience... nevermind that it's in another language. But God is good as always, and the peace that I prayed for came when I had to sing. I didn't even turn red! (I had even worn a dark color and lots of foundation to try to disguise it as best I could.) I'm sure it helps that I'm a foreigner so even if I had a funny accent, it was at least a special and unique thing for them to have an American singing in their wedding.

In other news I had a relatively American Thanksgiving day. I got up early and went to the store to get the ingredients for a broccoli and cheese casserole. I had been invited to Steve and Georgiana's house for thanksgiving dinner and this was my assignment. Broccoli was like 80 cents, cream of mushroom soup cost dollar, a whole package of crackers was only 60 cents, and the cheddar cheese was.... 12 dollars! Holy moley, cheese is super expensive here. I even got the cheap no-name block of cheddar and shredded it myself. I think it's actually cruel to put a Wisconsinite in a country where cheese is so expensive! I think I'm going to line my suitcase with Sargento and string cheese packages when I come back from Christmas.

The actual celebration of Thanksgiving was relatively short. To Costa Rican's it's just a regular day and a regular meal. I didn't get to do the lay around and watch football, play games with family, and laugh as much as I usually would. I missed you family! I heard the Nikolaus family was having a great time, and I'm glad :) I'm going to come home with such a need to play speed scrabble because the Costa Ricans just aren't really interested.

Ok I can't think of a ton else to report and I don't have too much time. I have a list of interesting anecdotes about rollerskating, the election, and "allergies" that I will post next so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading and God bless you.