Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back to Life...back to Reality

For those of you haven't heard, we made it home safely from Costa Rica last Saturday night.  We had to be at the airport by 3:30am so a few of us just decided to stay up all night and play cards until it was time to leave.  At one point, someone got up to go the bathroom and said "there's a snake over here".  And sure enough a snake managed to climb through one of the open windows in our house.  It was small but was told it was likely poisonous. I took a couple of blurry pictures (it was dark in there) and we threw it outside over the wall. 

We made it to the airport and through customs without any problems and boarded our plane around 6:30.  We arrived in Mexico City around 10:30am or so and also made it through customs just fine.  We then had a 6 hour lay over - yes, SIX Mexico City.  Three of us were brave enough to explore some activities outside of the Mexico City airport.  This involved taking a taxi 20 minutes to the square.  There we found a ton of vendors selling authentic things, lots of cool restruants and buildings, and a tour of a cathedral.  We had a nice lunch there and took a tour of the cathedral in the square.  It was well worth the escape.  We were gone around 3 hours and by the time we were getting settled back at the airport, it was time to the board the plane home! 
Pictures from Mexico City

22 million people live here and it was Saturday when we was crazy!

I slept on both flights which were both around 3 hours or so.  Staying up was worth that to be able to sleep on the plane.  If you know me at all, conditions have to be just perfect for me to be able to sleep anywhere so making myself that tired worked.  Sleeping on the plane made my travel day much faster!  I even missed the meals on the planes, which you also know is not me - to miss a meal. 

We got into Chicago around 10:30pm and then took our EWO bus back to the church arriving around 1am.  It was so nice to come home to welcome signs in the house, a bouquet of flowers, and sleep in my own bed!!

Back at home, it's like I never left.  My family missed me but they have thrown me back into things so they can have me back just as I was - unchanged.  It's back to cooking 3 meals a day, cleaning, laundry and all the mom/wife things I do.  I am not complaining but it did seem a lot simplier and rewarding there in Costa Rica.  Why is that?  I guess if Costa was my forever home, it would be no different than here.  But there was a sense of working for the Lord and not for men while there.  I am really working for the Lord when I take care of my family, but sometimes it just doesn't feel like it! :)  I hope an pray that I am not unchanged by the experience.  I am still processing everything and am sure I won't fully know what I learned until later down the road.  You know I'll share details when able.  I know that I made some lasting friendships that would have never happened had I not gone through this trip.  I also made several realizations about how and why I handle certain things the way I do.  I would have never expected that outcome from this trip.  Here I was thinking about what I can do to help others and it has helped me in several key ways.  More on that in another post - still processing!  I did make it through the singing/duet without dying although I look just about as miserable...truth was I was still pretty petrified and our sound system was messed up from when we practiced.  If I continue singing publicly, I'll have to work on my "happy" face! That is so hard when you are focusing on not screwing up the song!

I am working on a video slideshow type thing that I'd like to put on the blog but so far I haven't had any luck putting videos on I'm not promising anything!  I am presenting a video and some info on our trip on July 11th at the Ladies Mission Circle.  That should be fun!

Also...update on Doula stuff.  My certificate is in route as we speak.  I sent off my final paperwork stuff on Tuesday and I am official.  Just waiting on the certificate.  I am still exploring an option that I can't share yet so once I get through all that, I will make some sort of an announcement. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Costa Day 6

The women of Costa Rica never get a treat such as women serving them lunch and having a room all decorated for just them.  The invite was just for women but they still brought their kids and make them wait outside!  In the US this seems impossible.  I even saw a little girl sitting in a car while her mother was inside at the store. 

We brought no decorations but found some tissue paper and white napkins.  I made these flowers like I did for Reecey's birthday party.  The women loved them so much that I showed them all how to make them after the lunch.  They couldn't believe how easy it was.  Tomorrow they are going to use these flowers for a baby shower.

 The ladies brought their kids hoping we could feed them.  We told them they had to wait until we fed all the women first.  So glad we had enough food for them.
 These gourmet cake balls were a real treat for the women. 
 Jennnifer and I singing our duet.
 Singing my solo part
 Cathy doing the devotion with translator Bethany Fisher
 It rained all day today...very muddy wall work.

Our assembly line for the gift bags for the women

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Costa Day 5

Our blocks came for the wall!

 We painted this wall (look, I am finally in a picture with the roller to the left)
 Proud of our wall
 I did my part digging the trench too!

 Some of the slums...all tin houses and hilly, rough walk ways.  When we were walking through this area everyone would watch us from their windows. 
 Lots of shacks all up the hillside...tin shacks turn into these "better" places.
 We walked down this "trail" was a complete drop off and small trail between the houses...kind of scary.
 We have rebar too!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Costa Rica update days 3 & 4

A few of my own thoughts separate from the site. 

It's hard to complain here...when you ask a child what they had to eat for breakfast and it was just a piece of bread...when you ask a child when was the last she's seen her father and she says she doesn't remember. Even here, we are blessed with 3 big meals a day, a warm shower, and a nice bed.  I don't think I have made it one day without breaking down into tears.  The love these child desire and the love they give to all of us even though they don't know us, is too sweet for words.  It's amazing how many of the children want the glasses because it is something they can take care of - a material possession because they have nothing.

I have been known as the mother hen around here..."the organized one"...the hair braider...the runner. I guess this probably doesn't surprise most of you as you know I am like that at home.  I do alot of things I would at home but at about 10 times the pace.  You won't see me in many pictures because I am usually the one behind the camera.  Hopefully that will change.  I get teased for being so organized and on top of things, but I know they really appreciate it as I got a round of applause last night that I was totally not expecting for all my hard work.  I don't deserve any of it...we all work hard.  I am just doing what needs to be done and using the skills that God thankfully gave me.   Here are a few additonal pictures. 

This is Allison and her new glasses.  She was so shy.  After she got her glasses, she went back to class quietly.  Twenty minutes later when school got out, she came back and tapped me on the shoulder.  She asked me so quietly if she was allowed to take them home with her.  It was too sweet.

 Really long line in the first school from Monday.
 This is Perry and Fransico (Franseesco)...she told Perry he reminded her of her father.  When we asked her the last time she saw him, she said "I don't remember".  Perry did all he could to fight back the tears.  He couldn't do it though.  He finally stepped out where I saw him sobbing by the front gate.  Luckily this little girl goes to Mark's church so we've seen her all week.  She's so sweet.
 This is the front door to the school.  They don't even get to go outside and play at recess.
 Here are the guys and Ellie K digging the trench.
 This was the line at La Finca (Mark's church - Mark is in the blue shirt).  They are waiting in line for the eye clinic. 
 Such a sweet old couple who both got glasses.  They kissed us.  They were so appreciative.
 This was the school we went to today (Tuesday)
 A group of pre-schoolers who all got glasses together
 A line of preschoolers/kindergartners
 This little girl had horrible vision (-4.00).  She was so happy to see!
 Such a sweet picture of her and Mark.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pictures Day 2

Youth Leadership at Lafinca practicing their performance with Lucy K from our group trying to learn too.

 Cathy A reunited with Patricia...need to read blog post on Kuzdas to see whole story
 Cathy with Patricia and her son
 And the little 6 month old who is now 7

 Ellie A and Abigail H with a tired baby
 Group photo in front of the mission house (I'm on the right side 2nd row)

Costa - Day 2 update

For the sake of duplication, I won't be updating the blog with text anymore while we are in Costa. I am updating the team website so you can view it there - - click on team reports, then click on EWO. I will however update pictures here when I can as we can not upload pictures on the other site yet. Those will probably be added later - after we return home.   These pictures are from yesterday and the blog post text that kind of goes along with these is updated on the kuzdas site referenced above.  It took about an hour to upload these pictures.  Not sure how often I will be able to do this!

This was one of the games the kids were playing when we arrived at LaFinca.  I think the goal was to get the most flour on one person but am not sure.

 "Marco" with the kids

 Another game with the kids - they had to race to eat the pineapple the fastest - there were two lines

 Here's part of our team lining up to do the slip and slide (from left to right: Ellie A, Mo K, Ellie K, Brandis U, Spencer P, Caleb U, Rod)
Perry with "Arthur"

 Mark explaining the egg game - He threw the eggs high in the air and everyone had to try and catch it without it breaking

 Lining up for Bethany's egg crushing birthday tradition

 More birthday egg crushing
 Slip and slide fun - "mas, mas" means more, more...they shouted this as they were piling on backs
 Costa kids saying their verses
 Our youth hiding candy and pencils like an egg hunt at Easter - for the Costa kids
 Costa kids looking for their "treasures"
 Some of our ministry supplies
 Preparing salvation bracelets