Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fun little peek...

We're still adapting to having the girls here with us and they're still adapting to us. They're not really very fond of most of the foods we eat, so there's some big changes that are happening there for them. So far they don't care for pizza or chicken nuggets. They liked the brownies I made, though. They're very happy with tortillas (I buy them 5 for 25cents) and refried beans and crema (like sour cream, but WAY better) for most every meal. They're learning English words and are now saying "Please" and "Thank you" in English most of the time. We're learning new words, also, and our household's communication is in a very definite Spanglish mix of the two languages. Last night the girls were helping Ruth (Erin) wash the dishes after dinner. While in the process of this, they began working on saying their alphabet in Spanish. I walked in to find a lot of giggling going on and the girls were able to say the alphabet all the way to the letter "I". I was able to video a little bit of it and thought you might enjoy watching. The girls didn't know I was videoing but when they saw the finished video they really enjoyed it and wanted to watch it several times. :) Enjoy this little peek into our evening...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Daily life...

There are some parts of daily life here that are very similar for us to life back in the States and we can easily forget that we are in a foreign country. And then there are the out-of-the-ordinary things that happen that make me smile and think how very much I will miss life here when I someday am back in the States. Last night after church we had such an event.

Last night was Wednesday night which means we have services in a member's home. Last night we met at Felicita's house. For those of you who have been here, you'll remember that her house is 98 steps down from the top of a tall hill. Our family had decided to get some pupusas from Reina after church so that our girls could enjoy a more typical meal. So after church we headed to Reina's, part of a group of about 30 people heading that direction.

Now, the fastest way to Reina's from Felicita's is not to climb back up the 98 steps (whew!) but rather to go down the few more and then cut across and down and over some very rough terrain and paths. During the day these paths are difficult. At night in the dark they're a bit more, well...challenging. But we had a large group together and the locals know the paths well and were very helpful. At one point, one of the visitors who had come last night directed the leader of our group to follow him through a "short cut" down the hill. This short cut involved actually cutting through the house of a family member. Literally. They opened a door on one side and we paraded through the house/tienda and out another door on the other side. A shortcut THROUGH a house. Priceless.

Then as we headed out of the house and down a path we came to a small bamboo bridge. I started to cross the bridge and there was a lot of yelling going on and couldn't understand it as so many were yelling at once but I was able to understand someone hollering, "Adobes!" and there were obviously adobe bricks to the side of the bridge so I assumed they meant to step on the bricks instead of the bridge. So I did. I found out the hard way (or soft/squishy way) that "adobes" can mean "Look. There are adobe bricks, completed-and-hard-baked-and-dried-in-the-sun." OR it can mean, "Look out! There are some freshly-made-and-still-wet-and-squishy adobe bricks." Last night, it meant the latter.

I found this out when my first foot was only halfway squished in, so I was able to quickly recover but I felt terrible for squishing someone's hard work. Teresa and Ruth were in front of me and said some of the locals had made the same mistake. I asked why no one hollered, "Wet bricks!" or "Cuidado!" or something and Teresa said she had but that I couldn't hear her over everyone else. I then found out later that Modesto, a local, had stepped in two bricks, with both feet, with full weight--a far bigger mistake than mine. And Jose had apologized to the owner of the bricks and asked if we needed to come back today to help him with them and he said not to worry. (Whew!)

It was one of those short journeys that fills me with memories and smiles. So very different than our journeys home in our minivan after church in the States. Strangely, just a bit sweeter and a lot more memorable, adobe-dipped shoes and all.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Update on us and the girls...

I know some of you are wondering how things are going with the girls so I thought I'd fill you in. I think we're all adapting to each other pretty well.

When they arrived on Monday morning they had two black plastic bags with all their clothing and personal items in them. I asked if they thought they needed more clothing and they both said they needed more pants. We are having school uniforms made but they still need clothing to wear outside of that time. So yesterday I took them shopping. There are several used clothing stores in town that my family shops from so we headed out to those.

I bought them each two pairs of pants and one shirt as well as underwear and "sleep/lounge clothes"--a pair of comfy pants and a t-shirt. (Their first night here they had no sleep clothes and planned on sleeping in the clothes they'd worn that day so we loaned them t-shirts of Ruth's for that tnight.) Honestly, I wanted to buy them each more clothing but I felt like I needed to not overdo things in buying them clothes. I'm a little afraid the girls will be targets of jealousy by the other girls at school for enjoying some of the comforts of our home and to overload them with new clothes could make that worse. It's a fine line that I'm trying to balance on here and I just pray that I'm making the right decisions as I do so.

When we got home I showed them how to run the washing machine and we washed all their new clothes. They were amazed by the washing machine and how it works. The funniest moment was as I was showing them how to use it and we measured out the detergent into a cup. I then told Roxana to "put that in here" and pointed to the opening for the detergent. She sat the measuring cup into the spot. We all laughed as I told her that she needed to pour the detergent into the hole, not just sit the cup in it. :)

After their clothes dried on the line they brought them in to fold and hang up and called me in to show me how beautiful their new clothes looked hanging and folded in the wardrobe. They were very proud of them.

Their mother left a cell phone with the girls. She said they don't usually have their own phone but this gives them a way to communicate if they need to. Last night I noticed Nohemi pushing buttons on her phone and asked if she was texting her mom. She said no, that she was playing a game on it. It's an older cell phone so it only has older very basic games. I asked her if she'd like to learn to play some other video games later this week. (At this point I wasn't sure whether I'd introduce them to some computer games or to xbox games. Yes, we have an xbox here--we dragged our 10 year old boy to another country and robbed him of a lot of his freedoms. But we let him bring the xbox.) Today we went visiting with Jesus to some members in San Ignacio. When we got home there was about an hour before time for lunch so I suggested that Nathan show them how to play the xbox. They were thrilled and he put in the Kung Fu Panda game. Ruth translated the directions for them as Nathan told them what to do and they got the hang of it pretty quickly. They giggled a lot and smiled a lot as they played. And Nathan enjoyed having someone new to play with, too, I think.

When the girls arrived I had put out a new toothbrush and some toothpaste for both of them in their room. I asked if they had one and they said no. I asked to make sure they knew how to use it and they said yes. So yesterday morning when it was time to brush their teeth they came in and got a cup of water from the kitchen and headed off to brush their teeth. Pretty soon Ruth came in to tell me, "Mom, they're brushing their teeth in the shower." The bathroom for them is a square area with a toilet and sink and in a separate area next door is a shower stall with a door. They'd both stepped in their to brush their teeth. I smiled and said to let it go for now. Fast forward to this morning and the girls went into the shower stall to brush their teeth again. I stepped over and asked them if they knew they could use the sink in the bathroom for that. They nodded but said they preferred the shower. I decided that it won't hurt the shower and doesn't hurt them so for now, at least, they'll be brushing their teeth in the shower. :)

The girls are eating the food I'm preparing but don't seem to love it. I fixed taco soup last night, a favorite of my family. They ate half of theirs. I offered something else but they declined politely. They did enjoy the ham and cheese sandwiches we had for lunch yesterday, sort of. Nohemi liked hers with cheese, but no ham. Roxana liked hers with ham, but no cheese. Both like tomatoes on them. So today when I began to tell what our options were for lunch, they both quickly said, "Sandwiches." So sandwiches it was. I think tonight we'll pick up some pupusas from Reina's for dinner so the girls can have food more like what they're used to for a meal.

The girls smile often and hug us freely. They have sweet dispositions and seem eager to learn and do their homework without complaining. New clothes, washing machines, video games with a little brother, and toothbrushing in the shower. I think we're doing okay. :)