Monday, December 13, 2010

...I'm not counting or anything...

Things I am anxiously awaiting for in 
east TN...

-my family - just being completely myself with them like i can't be with most ppl
-my friends - especially my best!!! :)
-a soft mattress
-staying up late watching TV with mom
-making fun of my parents with my brother/sister
-driving safely
-eating out
-UT football game
-new years
-Passion 2011, ATL
-my home church!!
-HOliday food!!
-a fire in the fireplace
-mom making coffee for me :)
-the milky coffee mate creamer
-water pressure in the shower
-the dish washer!
-going to sleep w/out the sound of fireworks outside my window
-matching Christmas Pajamas 
-cracker barrel
-Chronicles of Narnia movie
-options of anything I want from the grocery store!
-indoor heating
........and soooo much more.........!! 5 more days!!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

...put on that straw hat and lets hit the open road...

...the sigwa grinch won't hold us down...

*Christmas Parade Downtown*
(stolen tree pictured here)

Friday night was the annual Christmas parade which all the schools in town march in. We start outside of the town square and make our way into town throwing candy, playing christmas songs, and holding signs about our savior and his love for all people. It was a lot of fun, and it only got better after the march. We ate some pork chops which our 11th graders were selling and had some other typical foods. After that, we made our way up to the front of the stage just in time for the michael jackson impersonator came out on the stage - he was awesome. You could tell he didn't speak english but had memorized the words to the MJ songs he was dancing to. There was also a Shakira impersonator, some dancing group, a reggeton rapper, a hip hop group of 12 year olds, and to finish the night - a magician. It was an awesome night with some random but great entertainment finished off by the most dangerous fireworks I have ever witnessed. They set them of just a few feet away from the crown and several of them just blow up while still on the ground - its a odd thing to watch, a firework which you normally see explode in the air, explode on the road in front of you, but nobody else besides the gringos seemed to thing it was a problem. haha. The only disappoitment was to find out that a couple nights before the parade, somebody stole the town christmas tree - as seen above (a regular town grinch we have, I guess). So this year - no christmas tree, but still yet, doesn't change the meaning and feeling of Christmas in which we celebrate the birth of our risen Savior. Just one of those nights I stand in awe of this place God has put me and am so thankful for such a time as this. 
(high school english teachers)                                                         (our nativity float)

        (michael jackson impersonator)                           (gringos eating dinner _ we stood out)

(lindsay and her picky street dog)                                                   (watching/dodging fireworks)

...the rain poured harder as their smiles got bigger...


Last wednesday Daniel had the great idea to take the kids from the home down into town to a little soccer field, which is a very popular thing called "futbolito" here. It was the first time I got to hang out with the kids away from the home, it was so much fun! We had Daniel's truck and our 4runner and 21 kids and 3 adults. So we packed 24 people in two vehicles to go into town, it was crazy, I had kids everywhere!! The kids were SO excited to get to do this with us, and I was probably more excited than they were. We split up into three teams and just played if your team scores, you keep playing and a the other team comes on to play you. We had all the kids 6 yrs and older and I was so surprised at how good they were! 

For a little while it started pouring raining and me and daniel looked at each other like, well should we make them stop, but neither one of us had to heart to make them so they just kept running around getting soaking wet and screaming "que rico!!" which is just like "how fun!!" haha, I mean really, how could we have told them we had to stop playing b/c of the rain!? 

So we planned on staying about an hour and a half - ended up staying 3 hours and having a baleada and a bag-o-water. I've never seen kids so excited about a tortilla with beans on it and water in a bag. I heard one kid, after their team lost, he looked at his friend and said, "hey its ok!! lets go drink our water!" how cute is that. So yeah, it was basically an awesomely fun day with the kids and we really hope to do it more often with them! It was about  $30 bucks total and each kid got to have a baleada/water and to pay to rent the court so if anyone is interested in supporting a day of futbolito for the kids, that would be awesome!! Here are some pics from our day...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

...lets eat a turkey, or three turkeys...

Thanksgiving Celebrations!!!
First celebration was about a month ago for the "Canadian Thanksgiving" - if you are like me, you didn't even know they celebrated a thanksgiving (copy cats, sorry guys). But yeah, it sounded like a great excuse to eat thanksgiving food - yeah thats right, they even eat the same food as us! (My canadian co-workers are starting to get offended so Ill stop). But it was a great celebration together! 

Second celebration was on American Thanksgiving Day! We had school, and I had a 7:30am class so I was kinda bummed most of the morning. During my first class, I shared with my students that it was Thanksgiving back home and what my family was doing and how I would love to be home with them, but just that I was still so thankful to be here with them. They oooooed and awwwwed at me, then all preceded to tell me Happy Thanksgiving. It made my day better. So after school, when everyone was done with their tutoring, we left to go up to a friends house. They are a missionary family from North Carolina and have recently started a church/small group I've been attending. They had already eaten earlier but had plenty of turkey, rolls, dressing, and more left over for us! So we ate a little or a lot, then played some 2-hand touch back yard football, it was a lot of fun. I was so happy we were actually able to celebrate on Thanksgiving, because we didn't really think we were going to be able to. Finished the night with a game of hand-and-foot and toss-the-pigs or something like that. Good time. 

The next celebration was on Saturday, after Thanksgiving thursday. We started cooking around 11:00am that morning. My roomies and I were all doing something different so it was fun to have a full kitchen. We had made a facebook group for people to write what they were bringing so we were hoping we would have enough food! In between the turkey cooking and my rolls proofing, Steph and I went a few blocks away for Kayla's Graduation. She is one of the older girls at the kids home and invited us to go to her graduation ceremony for 6th grade! In Honduras, ceremonies can be veryyyyyyyyy long and drawn out and we just had about an hour there so we were hoping to get to see her walk across the state, which we did RIGHT before we had to leave (seriously like within 5 minutes). Then we hurried back to the house to check the turkey and put the rolls in the oven before everyone starting arriving. We ended up having plenty of GOOD food. We had 4 Americans, 6 Canadians, 1 Honduran, and 1 Brit all in attendance so we were very spread out! But we feasted, then again when the desert came out. Robin mad the biggest chocolate cake I had ever seen combined with Rachel's pumpkin cheesecake. After dinner and tea, of course we had to play our staple game of Hand-and-Foot. You can see the pic of the card is my new tradition for my hand-and-foot cards, every time we play we write the date, place, score, and something funny that happened so I'll have a card pile full of memories for the years to come. So it turned out to be a great Thanksgiving season, not only did I get to celebrate 1 time, but 3 and I am so thankful for the relationships I have built here with so many people. 

                                                                               Kayla's Graduation!
                                                                                                                                                     Steph's 1st turkey!

                                                                                                                     our diverse crew!

              roomie Lindsay and her 12lbs of papas                          other roomies & Josh's burnt hand

Monday, November 22, 2010

... a funsweetexhaustingsickcompetitive-filled week en mi vida loca ...

Just a quick update on a few of fun things we got to do this week...

Sports day was this Thursday at school. It is a day that I plan for all high school students, and it is just a day full of sports. There were 4 teams that rotated around playing different games against different teams. We played basketball, futbol, dodgeball, and kickball. The kids get so excited and show up with their team color shirt and are ready for a day of competition. One of my fav. things is getting to see them play with different kids and get to know their school mates better because they hardly get to do anything at all with the kids in other grades - so for this day, I mix up the whole high school and put them on teams with all the grades 7th-11th. Some of the kids got a little too competitive and yelled at my refs/me, which was annoying, but most of the kids had a lot of fun and showed good sportsmanship all day. I can really see the kids improving in the different sports, especially basketball - it is SO encouraging to watch.

On Friday after school, we didn't have any plans so we gathered up some games and construction paper and headed up to play with the kids. When we go on Wednesdays we spend time with the kids doing homework, but on Friday we just got to play with them. We showed them how to play Jenga, played a little UNO and old maid. The kids get real bored now during the day because they are out of school for a couple months (breaks are weird here) so we thought it would be fun to surprise them with a "game day". We also got to hold the babies and feed them their bottles before we left to help out a little, it was sweet.

On Saturday, despite my need for sleep, we got up at 7:30AM (on a saturday, yes I can't believe I did it either) and met some people from church and small group for a day of hiking!! There is a national park over looking a beautiful lake just about an hour away. So we drove out there and all agreed (against mine and stephanie's best judgement) to take on the 5 hour hike to the top over look and waterfall. The first stop was a really nice over look where you could see the lake, 45 mins later, a beautiful waterfall, 45 minutes later, a cloud forrest, 45 minutes later, another nice overlook, and another hour later - we had FINALLY reached the bottom. shewwww, I get exhausted all over again just writing about it! haha. But getting to know one another better, the stumbles, the falls (stephanie), the water bottle getting knocked down the river, the lack of wildlife (2 butterflies people), and the random conversations made it all a little more fun! It was a great day of hiking, but next time I think we'll go for the shorter one... :)

immediately after I about fell down the mountain side behind us and stephanie saved me...
laughing about how close to dying i was, and how she has had to save my life twice now...

finally the picture we were going for in the first place, before the near death experience...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

...a face you may never know...

So today at the kid's home there was a lot of excitement because they had gotten gifts from their sponsors in the United States. The little kids were so enthralled with new pencils, sharpeners, and NEW coloring books while the older kids were outside playing with their new balls. Several of the kids were writing letters to their sponsors (I guess they do it a few times per year) and it was soooo incredibly cool to be on the other side of that letter. My mom has always, since I can remember, sponsored a child in another country and has received letters and photos from her sponsor child through the years. We read about how old the child is, their favorite color, their birthday, and what they enjoy doing. My mom has always dreamed of having the opportunity of meeting that sweet face that she receives letters from. 

Today, I was helping/reading what the kids were writing in those same letters to those families, much like mine, who has chosen to give their money to a child they may never meet. So...this post is for you - sponsor families, who have committed to send a monthly donation to a child somewhere in the world - you are making a difference. Though you may never meet your child or ever really get to know where your money is going - there are children benefitting from your small sacrifice somewhere in the world and seeing the smiles on the kids faces today was truly priceless. I would love more than anything to shoot an e-mail to the sponsors of these kids at the children's home I go to (some you see below), and just let them know that their sponsored child is a precious gift to my life and that I am so thankful for their commitment to help them financially. I would love to tell them how much the gifts mean they received today, and how they get excited for dinner because they have good food to eat, and how smart they are, and how good they are at shooting marbles, etc. So thank you out there, whoever you are, that sponsor the kids from Vida y Libertad Casa Hogar and also all you who sponsor kids through other ministries - thank you. Just take a look at these sweet faces below and see my purpose for this post...