Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Construction Team

I met a very special group of people back in November. For the first time ever (I think!) Friends of Barnabas sent down a construction team. They didn´t bring any medical supplies, and they didn´t travel into any mountain villages. But they did some great repair work, and really bonded with the Honduran staff. And a friendly missionary! I met most of them after translating one night at Don Melvin´s church. It was my second time translating a church service, and it was so great. The pastor´s message was all about the power of positive thinking, and I caught myself nodding along and smiling through most of his preaching. I also discovered that I can translate with much more fluidity when I actually understand the mensaje, so that was encouraging. I ended up getting to spend a few evenings with the team, and translated for them at the Friday service as well. That service was a bit more of a struggle, but everyone was able to receive something and we enjoyed some great fellowship afterwards. The walls of Casa Alfredo are painted with hearty laughter!

The team requested translation assistance in San Pedro that weekend. One of their team members did something to his back one of the first days here (construction team, lots of painting and ladder climbing...) and actually spent his week in the hospital in San Pedro Sula! The whole story got me so sad! He didn´t speak any Spanish, so I can imagine his time at the hospital was a bit trying. In fact, he has a funny story about needing the restroom and some major confusion with the nurse, but I can´t remember all the details. The poor guy´s back was in such bad shape we had to coordinate a special flight straight to the Duke hospital. I felt like it was some of the most intense translating I´ve ever done, but it was neat to get to experience new vocab and different parts of the hospital. And this team had such a cool bond it was special getting to know some of them so well. There were a few Hokies, and we know that´s always fun.

It´s sort of interesting being so backlogged on posts. I feel like I already have such a bond with some of these people, and I barely spent a few evenings with them! That must say a lot about their character. I know I´m looking forward to visiting them when I get home. I think over half of them have told me I have a place to stay, so I may have to spend a few weeks in Danville just to soak up some southern hospitality.

Planes en Los Planes

Ok the title of this post felt too witty to pass up. What a wonderful day I had! Which is wonderful, because I have a pending post from yesterday that starts with roughly the same sentiment. Although I think I described yesterday as lovely, I am enjoying enjoying every day. Que bendición verdad? This post has me realizing some good news and bad news. The good news is my computer is now Honduran so it´s easier to type with the proper accents and tildes. The bad news is my computer got a virus and had to be cleaned, transforming it into a Honduran keyboard making spellcheck function in Spanish and punctuation keys completely changed. I finally figured out how to type a question mark, so that´s positive! 

This morning Marvin Isaac greeted me with his hands behind his back, which surprised me because normally he just runs up with a huge hug. Man I forget exactly how he worded it, but it was too cute. He said something like, "Miss, for what I have in hand?" I said, ¨Hmmm...a popscicle?" He shook his head and revealed a shiny red gift bag! Inside was a stuffed ranita (little froggy) with a complete candy bars and oreo cakesters. I´m wondering what the cakester is all about; I was always partial to the double-stuff. Mmm and the mint cream. Maybe I´ve missed Oreos more than I realized. So how cute is that? My kids are too cute. I feel like something else win-worthy happened at school today. Emiliany came with correctly completed math homework! Charades were a roaring-success for verb introduction in 2A! Aww and the fourth graders were adorable. I was vigilando during their English class so their teacher could run to the highschool, and they were working on sentences with I vs me. Before they could leave for recess they had to tell me a proper I or me sentence, and a couple of them said "I love Miss Harris." Blatant brown-nosing by some, and lazy copying from others, but I´ll take what I can get duh!

After school I headed to Los Planes to meet with the director of their school. Pastor Alfonso and I are sponsoring a little boy´s education, and we needed to hammer out a few details. It was such a blessing of a visit! First of all, it is so pretty up there. The sky is crazy beautiful at night. Covered in stars with a shadowy mountain backdrop. The moon looked cool tonight too. It sat on an angle, and was just this little sliver of a thing but you could still see the outline of the full circle so it looked like it hung from a nail up there. I keep seeing scenes that make me wish I could paint, so maybe that´s a sign I need to start trying to be a better painter. The director, Profe Mauro, seems to be a man with great vision and determination. Hearing him talk about the projects he has in the works, and dreams he has for the school and education in his town left me brainstorming how I could help. He has a dream of erecting a community center of sorts where they can hold after school programs, tutoring and help with homework. His description reminded me a lot of something I´ve detailed in journal entries, so maybe that´s why I found it so touching. We were talking about students who struggled in different subjects, and what a shame it is that they don´t have much access to specialists or testing to understand and execute the most effective method of mejorando sus estudios.

I´m putting this out there so I have to hold myself to it: one day I will play part in an educational facility that inspires learning, not just in the classroom but in life experiences as well. A place children can come to create and develop spiritually, mentally, creatively. And all with wreckless abandon. It would be awesome to bring this dream to life as part of the organic farm I´ll own one day. Maybe David´s right and my kids will be total hippies...but they´ll be happy, educated hippies.

It was a really great day. Because, once again, I was determined to make it one. That determination has turned the last few days into great ones. And tomorrow´s Friday! The weeks are flying by, and reasons to smile are growing in abundance. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Show and Tell

I got all excited when I realized I could use Show and Tell as a fun activity with the kids. Most of them are SO shy to actually speak English. We started dedicating some time to writing about different topics, developing them more at home and then having a show and tell at the end of the week. I think I win the "Silly First-Year Teacher" award for saying, "I guess that would be ok..." when Andrea asked if she could bring her rabbit to school. Because it led to other animals coming to school...
Yeah...Amilcar brought his dog to school. I about died.
We've since had a few more Show and Tells, with a strict NOTHING BREATHING policy. It's a fun topic, but I'm anxious (excitedly) for my kids to gain confidence and get more creative. We had one about their favorite place and only a few got more creative. Although they made me hide quite the laugh...when Jenny Su Lau was up presenting in 2A the class was being a little impolite (breaking one of our rules!) and I stopped her to quiet them down. When I asked where her favorite place was, because none of them could hear her, a couple of the kids responded, "China." Jenny is in fact born of Chinese parents, and they even own a Chinese restaurant in Las Vegas. To clarify, her favorite place is Tegucigalpa because she has family there, and she seemed unfazed by the China comment.

Wow. I still can't get over sweet Amilcar bringing his pup to school. And the look on his face when I talked to him about having to call his parents and keep the dog outside until they came to get him... He barked here and there throughout the day, which always made me cringe in embarrassment. But it's ok because a great percentage of my kids presented in front of the class, in English, with excited smiles. And stickers aided in encouraging their progress. I love it :)

Arte Navideño

Not sure if anyone remembers, but forever ago I was gushing about the never ending box of goodness Cristy Rugo sent my way. One of the surprises in the package was a fat stack of foam create-ables. I have no idea what you would actually call them, but I think you get the idea. There were all sorts of shapes and colors, but a special bag was full of Christmas ornaments ready to be adorned! They came with glitter, sequins and even the little gold ribbon to make the loop for tree-hanging. I decided to make Friday before Christmas break's art class a holiday fun-day. And it turned out to be just that :)

Thank you again, Rugos and friends, for the awesome package. My kids went crazy with glitter glue, sequins, markers and creativity. They made some awesome ornaments! Some of them didn't have trees at home, but that just led to a fun conversation imagining all the neat places they could hang their personalized ornaments. I was a little nervous to let them run wild with the glitter glue etc, but a friend counseled me and suggested I "let that one go and just see what happens." Confession: I can be unwantingly (made up words are fun, embrace it) and unknowingly controlling at times, but kids get sticky and glitter is too fun to waste on the floor! But you know what? I am so glad I...what was it...let it go, and saw what happened. They were awesome. Art is with 2A; there is really no telling what would have happened in 2B. But they were careful to put the lid back on each pen, they shared like patient little wonders, they made sure I had each and every glitter stick at the end of class, they wiped their desks with wipees and they even picked sequins up off the floor! I was (I guess not shockingly at this point) a misty-eyed teacher taking in all that was happening. I have some talented kids, and very loving friends. We felt blessed to have such a fun Christmas craft! 

La Feria Campesina Nacional

One afternoon, months ago (of course) Maria, Irene and I spent a couple hours in Sigua. We happened to be there the day of the Feria Campesina Nacional, so wasn't that just perfect timing? We sampled some delicious honey, looked at various manualidades...hand crafts that people were selling and enjoyed local music. There was even a stand from an organic farm school somewhere in the area. I don't live close enough to frequent their farm, but it's certainly nice to know they're around. Mmm we came back later for lunch and the food was tasty.

We wandered around their market, in and out of random stores and really had fun killing a couple hours with new scenery. We checked out various types of hair clips, talked to different produce vendors and eat bought a pound or two of beans. I love getting to buy fresh beans, so much so that it doesn't bother me to have to be extra careful picking out the rocks and twigs. Mmm black beans. And red beans. And soft, ripe avocados. Why doesn't avocado get an e when you make it plural? We just covered "nouns that name more than one" in English class...I should know this one.

I can't remember the exact weekend we went to Sigua, but I know it was before our school Christmas pageant, and we were all looking at different Christmas decorations. There was a store with some crazy items for sale! It seemed like the store where broken or boxless items went to be sold at a lower price. I'm talking big cardboard boxes of unboxed, tangled and tied light strands, crates of damages ornaments, nativity sets with a few broken pieces. I liked it because it made me feel a little better about all the things that get damaged or lose their boxes. They don't just sit and rot in landfills, they get sent around and sold in stores for discount prices! I scored a couple yards of this awesome ribbon--it went from an olive green to a dusty purple all mixed with gold and I love it. I thought I'd use it for some Christmas decorations around la Casa Rosada, but my bow making skills didn't exactly sharpen like I thought they might. Maybe next year :)

In one of the little tiendas a young lady translated "fifty lempiras" after a woman quoted Maria a price for some sort of rattle. (To clarify, Maria was looking for something the kids could use as a prop during a round of Jingle Bells at the Christmas show, not baby shopping :) Here and there you run into people who know some of the numbers, so we weren't too startled to hear the English but when we complimented her English she kept the conversation going. A very impressive young lady, Giselle, is a fourth grader at a bilingual school somewhere near Sigua. She spoke English beautifully, and was a beautiful girl. She had an amazing set of grey-blue eyes, and as we were leaving I told her how pretty her eyes were. Her response was a thank you, a smile and to tell me they were pretty like mine! Intellect, and a kind heart!

On the way home we stopped at Mario's for fried fish and tajadas. Mario is father to Tiffany from 2B, and his wife (I embarrassingly can't remember her name!) spoiled us with some fresh chimol, and some rice, beans and avocado for my plate! The food was delicious and the company quite enjoyable. I still can't get over our perfect timing heading to Sigua on the very afternoon they were having their national farmer's market. Good stuff :)

A weekend away

I went on a retreat a couple weekends ago, and it was such a expectation-exceedingly wonderful experience. It would be strange to try to put it all into words, I think that's one of those times written journals are here for, but I had to share the sunrise. I was way up in the mountains near El Progreso, Yoro. The sky was ridiculous at night--I'm not sure I'd even seen so many stars. We had a bonfire one night and I swear the stars all huddled closely together over us, and were way more spaced out the farther you got from our group. The sky is a wonderful thing :)

I woke up early Sunday morning and was greeted with this view...

and then turned around to see a eyes get misty picturing it again--the sky does crazy things!

FOBF English Classes Begin!

Last Tuesday kicked off week one of my English classes with the Barnabas Foundation! Kip and Nancy had been talking about how some of the staff seemed interested in learning English, and we all agreed my being here was the perfect opportunity to give it a try. It was pretty fun to have a small class of adults looking at me for a change. We went over different greetings, just getting our feet wet for the first class, but I think it should be a nice way to spend my Tuesday afternoons over the next set of months. We won't hold classes on weeks when mission teams are here, but other than that we have a weekly date! There is a new Honduran director, Nury, who already speaks English so she's going to help follow through with their homework each week. I'm a mean teacher making them practice whatever conversational skills we're working on! Since the class I've run into Delilah and Denilo...both of whom blushed and told me they hadn't studied when I said, "Hi, nice to see you. How are you?"

I think one of my (selfishly) favorite parts of last week's class was the few minutes I hung around after the lesson. To eavesdrop on a meeting between Don Melvin, Denilo and Nury hashing out plans for the...GARDEN they intend to plant at the front of the property. And Nury says I'm welcome to help :) which is even more exciting because Joel, my natural medicine enthusiast, has returned to the States for at least a few months. For now all I can do is admire his produce, but not get any real farming lessons! I'm looking forward to seeing what Melvin and Denilo can teach me. And I think they're looking forward to getting my hands dirty! I'm also interested to see how much I can talk them down from their herbifungipesti binge. And to hammer them with English terms while we work! Have I mentioned how great it is to be living in Honduras? You never know what's around the corner.

Super Bowl... Dance Recital Sunday

Our sweet Maryann had a dance recital last weekend, and it was a great way to spend Super Bowl Sunday! Well, that depends who you ask. Eulogio didn't seem thrilled to be missing the game to (wait over an hour for the recital to start!) "pay to watch some kids...and Maryann dance around." But most of us enjoyed it!
So again, the show started about an hour late, and his boredom/lack of yearn to be there led to a random photo shoot...his face, his feet, my feet, the girls...

Irene and I were obviously happy to be there! I'm wondering where the picture with Leah is, but that must be on her camera!

Months ago she started taking dance classes at this little studio in town, and they've been planning the recital for a while now. She was in so many numbers! I think she had a couple ballet routines, one or two for tap, a great jazz number, an odd hide kids under your skirt performance that still makes us laugh and a rockin solo. She brought major sass to "Black and Gold" --some of the parents are still talking about it!
Pretty ballerinas :)

This one looked exhausting!

Words wouldn't do this one justice...the kids were ridiculous. 

She was awesomely excited about the awesome card we made for her :)

One of my student's little sisters dances at the same studio. She always gives the best hugs in the mornings, and even had one waiting for me at the recital! She's such a little beauty.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Honduran Thanksgiving

It likely goes without saying Thanksgiving isn't a holiday here in Honduras, but I knew that going into the trip. I wasn't prepared for just how much I'd miss my family over my favorite holiday, but we all got through it just fine! Because we're good like that :) On Thanksgiving day I got to enjoy the blessings of technology and have some video chat with family. Just like every year, they were together for our fun Harris Family Reunion, and it was neat to get to experience part of it with them. Even if it was just my face on a screen for a little bit! Now, I don't want to be misleading: I most certainly did not spend Thanksgiving uncelebrated! Would you believe I went to three Thanksgiving dinners? Each were completely different but of course wonderful.

The school had a Thanksgiving dinner for the staff down at Las Glorias. It was nice to spend some extra time with coworkers, but the numbers were few and I have to admit it was the least festive of my Thanksgiving celebrations. Mmm but the post-meal coffee was bien rico. Lisa and Gordon had a big dinner at their house, which was a nice time. They had a table cloth hung on the wall for everyone to sign so that was pretty neat. Some of the guys got super artsy drawing big flowers and elaborate initials. I can't remember exactly what I wrote, but I think it was a spanglish message of gratitude for the lives of so many people I can consider family while I'm so far away from my own. Their dinner was a potluck of sorts, and the spread was great. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, a couple kinds of gravy (and red chile thanks to our New Mexican contingent) a couple trays of veggies (thanks to the gringas :) some banging rice Emely prepared, I'm sure other savory things I can't remember, and a table full of pumpkin and pecan pies. I'm not sure any pecan pie compares to Aunt Jane's, and Katie's for that matter, but the piece (hunkin chunk) I had was pretty t a s t y. Of course a couple days later I found myself listening to a doctor's radio chat that got into the effects of holiday indulgences like pumpkin and pecan pie. Darn you!
they had these adorable turkey headbands they'd made in that week's English class, so of course we wanted to try them on!
Javier and Kerem's departure fell the week of Thanksgiving, so that Monday they had a huge dinner at their house. Javier's mom was in town and darn if she didn't cook alll day. They also had quite the spread, and a dessert table that left everyone smiling. Javier's mom put together a couple types of flan, and those went quick. I think I saw Javi shed a small tear when he was made aware we'd run out. They put the furniture outside, and lined their cozy living room with chairs so everyone had a place to sit, and suprisingly comfortably! I'd never thought of lining the perimeter of the room with chairs and having everyone hold their plates as they ate, but I have to say it worked just fine. Bring on the dinner parties that at first thought seem to big to host in your tiny apartment! Scoot the table out of sight, line your walls with chairs and you've got yourself the perfect setting for endless chatter and laughter. So many people from church were there, and we spent a good while passing the guitar and singing out on the porch. It was a great night, and one that I'm truly thankful for because it allowed us to have so many laughy memories with Javier and Kerem before they left. I love the Thanksgiving tradition of going around and saying what you're thankful for, but grateful lists are harder to talk about when your list is ever-growing.
Allan had a "diva" moment earlier that week, and we all enjoyed  showing him how ridiculous he  looked/sounded!
Hahaha. The faces in this one kill me. Obviously things got funny, but also apparently only to me?
Like brother and sisters


Where to even begin... Every ninety days my visa needs to be renewed, and for our first trip back in November Emely organized un viaje a Guatemala. I was looking forward to experiencing a new country, but I really wasn't sure what to expect. I'm of course pleased I went into the trip without expectations. I said "increíble" so many times I'm inspired to look in a thesaurus for some synonyms. I've gone through some major spiritual development over the last...since I've been here. Every day I'm learning more and it's like the lessons I'm learning are hand-selected, special for me. ...what's kind of exciting is that I jotted that down in a journal months ago way back in November, and it still holds so true...

At the time of the trip, and maybe/likely even still, I'd been struggling with stress management and letting my mind calm down. That weekend was exactly what I needed. Que regalito. The trip Saturday morning was a bit longer than any of us were expecting, but it ended up being an incredible day. I saw the sun both rise and set that day! And what was cool about that was each time the view was undisturbed by wordly distractions. Nothing but  outstretched earth and bright, breathtaking sky. The sun was rising as we happened to be driving through a big stretch of no-man's land (the same stretch where I saw a rainbow coming home from San Pedro a while back), and I watched it set over the river in Guatemala. From a boat! Que bendicion. So Saturday's sunrise...I'd fallen asleep in the van, but I popped my eyes open at one point to a view of clouds that were just starting to part over the mountains, illumniated by a tiny section of pink. Up ahead the sky was dark, and to my left were clouds of gray... but to my right was the beginning of the sunrise and I smiled in appreciation of this little reward for waking up so early. It was of course smiley foreshadowing for the day that lay ahead, but I didn't make that connection until later. Once we reached Guate and were winding our way up the streets of the town I couldn't get over the smiliarities between our markets. All the colors of Central America could keep you entertained for hours. It makes me wonder if the makers of Crayola didn't spend time in A de C during their color-planning stage. I have been feeling like I'm so much more aware of my senses here--sights, sounds, scents and even textures.
El Castillo--that surely has a proper name, but I really have no idea!
Emely found us a tour guide with a boat, and we set out on the river. We road by an old castle that was smaller than I imagine castles to be, but the canons and cuentos de piratas made me smile. We were all very hungry after the long bus ride, so we stopped at a little restaurant for some much needed yum. I had fried fish (mojarra) and it was fantastic. As you can tell... Oh and Emely shared some food ettiquette over lunch: Si nada o vuele lo puede comer con las manos--if it swims or flies you can eat it with your hands.

So we spent the bulk of Saturday in a boat on Río Dulce; it was a nice day filled with nature's wonders, and when it finally came time for bed I lay down with a corazón llenado de gozo.The Guatemalan river banks were spotted with these grass-roofed "huts" that looked so cool. So of them were so large I can hardly consider them huts, but with the grass roof I'm not sure what they'd be called. After lunch we a long way up the river to Livingston which was a neat little town, filled with all sorts of extranjeros. The view from the middle of the river was incredible. Something about the water helps me recenter, and as I write this I'm thinking about the lovely lake we have so close to home. I'd forgotten a student's dad offered to take us out on their boat anytime we wanted--excellent idea, sir! We all took turns dozing off at one point or another,and it was nice to get a little nap with the wind in my face and my feet dancing over the edge. I'm glad I didn't sleep too long because the mountains almost demanded attention. There were so many types of trees I was missing Teets and his botanical wisdom. The mountains were high on both sides and covered with trees. There were these tall, super skinny trees that stuck out here and there, especially around the top of the mountains. They were all flaquito trunked with a tiny bush of leaves at the very top. Totally adorable, but seemed a little out of place, like Dr. Seuss trees as I think Irene called them!

When we arrived in Livingston we wandered around town for a while and all enjoyed some local treats. I had my first coconut with a straw sticking out of it, and it was delicious. On the ride back down the river we stopped at a natural hot springs and went for a nice little dip. It smelled like pure sulfur, but the water felt incredible. I think we all felt like we could feel the stress just melting away. Night started to fall a little sooner than any of us seemed to be expecting, which made for a chilly boatride home since we were all wet from the hot springs (and none of us had a towel!) but we managed just fine. The view of the sky was incredible. There I go with the increíble! The sky was doing some amazing things, and I'm not sure any of my pictures do it justice. The way the blue mixed with the oranges and pinks in these beams of light streaked across the was really something.

Maria isn't overly comfortable out on the water, so we snagged her a life vest and she seemed much happier!

My first coconut! She thought I was loca because I didn't want her to add anything to it, and I asked for one that wasn't too was yummy :)

Crazy, wonderful hot springs!

We found a hotel with cozy rooms, but we were all so tired I'm not so sure the rooms would have mattered much to any of us. The place we went for dinner didn't have tortillas or tajadas (we're not in H-town anymore!), but we all managed to eat ourselves full. And sleep like babies. Sunday morning we got together for breakfast, and I love the way I'm learning most meals in Central America, even at a hotel restaurant, have the feeling of something home-cooked in the kitchen of someone familiar. Plates come out in spurts as each is prepared individually with manos cuidadosas, but the coffee runs a plenty and conversation generally flows with ease. It was such a blessing of a viaje, and I think it was God's way of reminding us that He's always here for us; just look to nature to be restored.
a view that changes you

Dirigiendo para la Primera Vez

I guess this calls for another confession, but my Friday night plans have seriously changed over the last five months. Just after the new year Elvia (my Honduran mami) started a weekly celula meeting at her house. She and her daughters, Gisselle and Sara, have taken me in as one of their own. So la celula is like a small group meeting where people get together at someone's house, and worship together on a more intimate level than you can achieve at church. We have a nice group that gets together every week, and Elvia says it's a good way to "practice" expressing yourself in a smaller group so you can build up enough courage to do it in front of the church. Irene's been coming with me, and so far it's been a nice way to spend my Friday evening.

Over the last few weeks Elvia has been encouraging us to share a song or la palabra, so we said we would for tonight. We spent some time talking about it the two of us, and decided that this week I'd talk about the meaning of a song I really enjoy, and then sing it together and Irene could preach. Then next week we'll switch and just support each other the best we can! We were the first to arrive at Elvia's, and when I told her Irene was preaching she said, "Bueno, entonces usted va a dirigir." Which meant that I would be the one leading! My initial thought was, "Yikes!" but then I was excited to give it a try. Earlier this week I came across 1 Timothy 4 and the whole chapter is pretty great, but I really like 12 and 14-16. It helps me have the courage to accept that I'm "young" with Christ but that it shouldn't deter me from living life in a godly way and speaking my opinion or beliefs when the opportunity presents itself.

I lead us in prayer to start the meeting, and my voice still gets shaky in the beginning but I'm starting to develop more confidence praying aloud in group settings so that's positive. Then I referenced a couple verses and what they meant to me over the last week, and we sang Dame de Beber all together. The lyrics to that song are few, but I find them powerful and was pleased no one seemed to mind when I asked if we could sing it. It talks about drinking from His manantial, and I recommend researching what that is and letting the imagery flow. Irene shared a wonderful message from San Mateo 5: 25-24 and Salmo 143:8 and we all appreciated el consejo about the importance of not worrying our way through life. Our days here (on earth, not just in Honduras :) are meant to be enjoyed! We ended up with a very small group tonight, but that was better for Irene and I to get our feet wet so the nerves are calmer next time. With it just being a few of us there was more time for everyone to share, and it was nice to sit in the circle and go around talking about different scripture that had touched us during the week. Joel,  Gisselle and Sara's little brother and our youngest member (10 or 11 I think) read from chapter 3 of Proverbs and he spoke profoundly for his age. Elvia talked about Isaias 43: 18-19 and how struggles from our past are thrown en los profundos del mar, and we should leave them there. We all appreciated the reminder that "Otra vez abrire camino en el desierto, y rios en la soledad." Joel also closed us in prayer, and I'm still in awe of how well spoken he is for a boy so young.

I'm so grateful for the opportunities since I've been here to really push my boundaries. It can be so refining to push the edges of your comfort zone, and that's sort of part of our calling right? To refine ourselves more and more every day?

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Philipians 3:12

Friday, February 3, 2012

Curried Cauliflower :)

I ate curried cauliflower last night! With lentils! And a rack of other veggies. It was so good :) Loq and Leah had been traveling for a bit, so not long after school Irene and I headed over to catch up with them. What I was enjoying as a nice afternoon turned into a lovely evening, and rapidly grew into a sleep over and enjoyable morning with friends! I've been reading a great devotional, but sometimes the message gets over my head. I can't explain how nice it is to be able to go to their house, (we're coming to know it as the commune, but that might be a story for later...) and talk about real things. Not just mindless chatter, but really bond and get to know each other. It is an incredible blessing getting to share so much spiritually inside their house. I brought my devotional with me, and asked Loq if he'd try and help me understand it better. We all ended up chatting for what had to have been over an hour, not just about that day's devotion but I guess more letting the Spirit guide our discussion, and touching on all sorts of topics. There was something so (gloria a Dios) calming about the whole conversation.

We chatted so long we worked up an appetite, and had a good time figuring out what we had on-hand, searching a couple recipes and walking to market in search of "whatever variety of vegetables the hippie thinks look appetizing" and some curry powder. It's so fun whenever I get to cook dinner (or any meal really) with other people. Normally I'm in the kitchen rinsing, chopping and stirring solita, and it's nice getting to chat and laugh while doing one of the things I enjoy most. It is an added bonus that there's more room to experiment with recipes when you're cooking for more than one person. The lentils were delicious, and Zenaida ended up joining us which was of course a nice addition to the table. She even ate her veggies (except the really green ones) which might not seem like a big deal, but trust me we were all sure to let her know how proud we were! She's a menacing little thing and brought a bag of fresh, fluffy semitas...they were bien ricas con cafe despues de dinner. Hah, I actually just filled out a survey for a website I frequent and when the question came "Do you follow a gluten-free diet?" I couldn't help but let out a disappointed little chuckle. A few weeks ago when I asked Pastor Alfonso what was on top of semitas that made them taste so good he responded with a smile, "No se preocupe, all things natural." ....

The girls and I had hopes to get up and walk dark and early in the morning. We stayed up late chatting and I ended up sleeping over. When the alarm went off this morning (Leah coming in with a sleepy smile to say good morning :) it was pouring the rain, so our walk has been delayed to another time. We both went back to bed for a couple hours, and then enjoyed a nice quiet morning together. We've known each other such a short while, but I love talking to her. We both feel a strong connection, and they're moving in March so that's a bit of a bummer! Leah and I are already plotting the possibility of eventually living closer to each other in the States, so we'll see if we can't make that a reality. We had a great breakfast of some sweet potato, carrot and regular potato hash. Loq says it's too green to call it hashbrowns, unless we're willing to call it hippie hashbrowns. I just call them tasty. Especially with the addition of the rosemary, roasted garlic, caramelly onions and side of bright green aguacate. I am going to miss $0.30 avocados. So the conversation flowed and spun all morning, and then the girls came over for a spur of the moment Bible study. We listened to a Beth Moore goody and all enjoyed her message. Oh yeah--we were supposed to be travelling this weekend, so we had a Friday off of school! The great, sunny afternoon has turned into a still great, but rainy evening. I'm preparing for celula at Hermana Elvia's house so that should be great. Mmm suddenly I'm craving curry leftovers.