Saturday, January 28, 2012

a Sunday in Sigua

There are a few memories I've been wanting to get down, but ever since Javier and Kerem left (back in the end of November) I have been struggling to put the moments into words. They are an incredible couple who touched my life in such a special way. I miss them, but so appreciate the blessing of fellowship.

As the day of their departure was drawing more and more near, we started spending a lot of time with Javier, Kerem and the kids. Never a dull moment, and always ridiculous amounts of laughter and joy. One day (shamefully all the way back in early November) we packed into the truck (Guadalupe) and headed to Sigua to enjoy a change of scenery for the afternoon. We couldn't have asked for better weather, and the drive out there was so pretty. I love that there's always something new to appreciate about the views here. We went to Javi's favorite place for cake and coffee, and he gushed about their cake so much I was definitely excited to try it. The cake was a perfectly plan vanilla, moist and delicious, and their coffee was soothingly strong. Mmmm now I'm ready for another trip to Sigua!

So bear with me here, but the bathroom at this place was pretty incredible. I don't remember anything overly fancy about the actual bathroom, but the little room that led to the women's and men's rooms was like this hidden oasis. I didn't have my camera (and why would I carry it to the restroom?) so you'll have to close your eyes and try to imagine. These double doors opened to a heavily windowed room with a pretty fountain covering the right wall. I heard some birdy chirpings and thought they must have one of those nature sound cds. Or a room full of free-flying birds, so brightly colored and wonderfully cheery it almost brought tears to my eyes. Yeah, I know, it doesn't take much. I remember these branches across the ceiling, and either really high windows or some glass in the ceiling, and I was stopping to appreciate the calm of the fountain when I saw a baby macaw flying around! It was such a cutie, and there were more like him! All sorts of baby birds flying around, singing their chipper songs and flaunting their vibrant feather. I don't know enough about birds to list all the types, but there were at least four or five differently colored cuties flying around in there. When I got back to the table I told everyone about it, and they were all surprised when they got back saying they thought I meant there were birds in cages. Cage free baby!

The rest of the day was great too. We found a merry-go-round that I think Maryann enjoyed more than anyone, and a swing set that was fun once the world stopped spinning. I'm not sure how kids handle being on merry-go-rounds for very long. I was bien mariada after a short time spinning, but it was so fun to hear the kids laughing and see how crazy their faces got when they realized how dizzy they were getting. At one point I was sure Ana was going to get sick, and I think Marvin was just trying his hardest to hang on until Maryann finally gave in. Unfortunately for Marvin, our sweet Maryann is some type of super-human who can spin in circles for what seemed like hours and never stop laughing. She made the most ridiculous pouty "heck no I won't go" face when we told her it was time to leave...I need to get with Kerem for that picture too.We had a mini photo shoot on the swing set, and then wandered around Sigua's mall for a bit.

The mall was funny to me because I think it held a total of eight stores, and two little eateries. We wandered around the stores for a bit and eventually realized how late it was getting--we hadn't had lunch and it was crunching in on the time to leave to make it back for church. We gorged ourselves at the pupusa place (yummm) and I think everyone was ready for a nap on the ride home. It's so nice thinking back to this day I can't help smiling. I remember I had been "in my head" a lot that week, thinking and over-thinking and letting myself fall into former patterns of stress and worry. This was right around when I was really starting to bud spiritually and understanding more of the seed I was planting inside my heart. On the drive home I talked to Kerem about how meaningful the day had been to me. Not just because it's always so great spending time with them, but it also had a liberating effect. I've been developing a lot spiritually, and thinking back to November I can remember jotting down the importance of starting each day giving thanks for all of your blessings, and deciding not to be stressed or anxious over anything but rather let Him fill you with the sweet fruits of love, patience, joy and kindness. There was something so freeing about being on the swings and smiling up at the sky (it helped that it was a lovely blue that day :) receiving comfort knowing there's someone up there who wants to be in control, so why not let Him?

That night at church Pastor Alfonso's preaching really touched me, and was so perfect for the state of mind I'd been wearing. I have written that we talked that night about baptism, but what stuck out most to me was when he said to let the seed of the word into your heart, and it will grow quickly. I find something poetically calming about that.

A baby shower

Way back in November I went to my first Honduran baby shower. Oddly enough, I attended another baby shower earlier tonight, so what an ironic day to write about the first. It's funny to sit and remember the baby shower, because I've held sweet little Camilita so much since then. Elvira y Orlin (mommy and daddy) are part of my Honduran family, and they make me feel like I'm practically an auntie to Camilita. Would you believe Elvira went into labor the morning of the baby shower? Mommy and baby came home the following day both happy and healthy gracias a Dios, and we enjoyed the shower even though we were missing them. The shower was at Orlin's brother's house just up the street from Javier and Kerem's. I'll have to get with Kerem to get a picture or two of the decorations, but it was so cute. They had cute little girl clothes decorating the walls, and a line of rope across the ceiling with more clothes, like a clothes lines, and a little message saying "baby girl" in little lady pink. So super cute. And if memory serves, one of the shirts on the wall was a vibrant kelly green and read "kiss me I'm American" and I just had to laugh.

We fit a lot of us into their sitting room, and just lined the exterior of the room with chairs so we could all see each other to chat. A group of friendly faces from church was there, so it was nice to get to know them a little better. We shared some food and chatted for hours. I'm not sure what lead us up to it, but we spent a good bit of time sharing all kinds of embarrassing stories. I'm pretty sure we all laughed until our cheeks hurt. It was so fun! To be honest, I think one of the coolest parts for me was being able to understand (for the most part...) and share funny stories all in Spanish. Remember this was back in early November, so I hadn't been here all that long yet. Every now and then I wouldn't get what they were saying, as jokes can be tricky to pick up on with the whole 'play on vocabulary I'm still learning and developing' thing, but Kerem would translate and we'd all get a second laugh at my delayed laughter. I told the story about when I was here in March and I mistakenly asked a woman to raise the price if I bought two of something of course intending to ask if she'd lower it. And now I can't stop laughing at the different things I've said since then that are equally if not even more ridiculous.

I remember it was a rainy day, in fact we foolishly decided to walk home from school that day and the sky decided to open up before we were even half way. When we were walking to their house after the shower Kerem and I hung back and watched the girls, elbows linked, heading on in the wet, misty darkness still laughing at some of the stories people told. Back in November I hardly knew most of the people at the shower, although I recognized most of them from church, but it's very exciting being able to now say I know most of them as family. It's a special thing to recognize the greatness of God, and how sweet He is to have such careful selection putting different people into our lives.
Look at this sweet thing!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Family Lunches

First period exam week proved to be a bit of a different animal than I was expecting. In talking with Emely she painted it as this relaxing week with the students getting out at noon, lots of free periods and break times to grade exams and sort of just take some much needed deep breaths after a long first quarter. Not so much. But there's that saying about life and lemons...I can confidently say when school/work/life hands me lemons, I make great lemonade, so bring on the lemons. As a complete aside, lemons mixed with the proper sweetener (honey, mmm) and fresh herbs can be juiced into a tasty popsicle. Does anyone else almost always struggle with the proper spelling of popsicle? Since the kids left right at lunch time the whole week, a lot of us teachers would get together to dig into some food and share stories about our day. We of course could have used this time to eat at our desks and grade mountains of papers, but that would have ruined the lemonade. Monday's "family lunch" sort of happened by chance, but the rest of the week it became this special thing we (or at least I) came to expect and really appreciate. Some days the table was a balanced mix of Spanish and English speakers, others it was mostly just us girls, but we always found something to talk about. It was nice getting to connect with some of the other teachers on a more personal level, and we even got to know the cafeteria cooking crew a little better.

Monday kicked off second period exam week, and we are trying to keep the family lunches alive. It gets me all nostalgic looking around the table for Kerem. Now if only someone would grade those exams...