Saturday, September 11, 2010

First Day of My Summer Vacation...

The weather has let up and it's incredible! Beautiful blue morning skies, lots of sun, even a gentle breeze now and then. Oh, how I miss it through all this monsoon weather. I just sit on the steps near the patio and stare straight into the sun with my cup of coffee. Very satisfying. Here I am with our grandson Ryan who came to visit us for 3 1/2 weeks! We are swimming in our very loooonnnnng cistern! I wish you could see the beautiful wildflowers that we planted nearby ~ gorgeous. Lots of color, and a great place to have some quiet time. It's embarrasing that my grandson is in his shorts and I'm swimming in my wetsuit, but I'm a chicken when it comes to cold water. We just simply fill it and add some anti-algae stuff and walla! A pool....Ryan really enjoyed his time with us. Riding on the ATV with his 'papa', swimming with his 'nana', learning some spanish with Diego, our spanish teacher, jumping on the trampoline. We hope to have him here every summer if mom and dad will let him go :) The chapel is to the side, as you can see. It is really coming along. Will and I walked through it this evening, marveling at how much bigger it looks with the wooden frames for the windows and the doorframes in now. Our work team has done a great job with the walls, lots of stone actually that fell off the volcano during Tropical Storm Agatha. Will and the workers gathered it and found that it really looks great on the back chapel walls. You can't imagine the hard work for the men to hammer that rock into workable pieces and then put it together like a puzzle on the wall. We're so grateful to them. They are a good work team.

The picture above our the little 'pequenos' class, Will, Ryan, and Diego is on the right in the back. We have 'adopted' Diego. He has now been with us a little over a year. Over a year and we're still at it. We are now in a tense called "subjuntive". It's phrases like "I hope that, I suggest that, I wish that, I believe that...." on and on and on and on. I should be pretty fluent by the time they wheel me into the old folks home. Diego comes to our house on Tuesday afternoons and tutors the group of kids that sleep over. Then Wednesday morning, Will drives the kids to school (while I sip my well-deserved cup of coffee) and then we're off to clinic (the 3 of us). When we come back, we have our little kids afternoon school time. It's nuts here, absolutely nuts. But I love them. Now I know their names and all there funny little ways. They love coming here to do nothing but play. They have a lot of room for that. On Thursday, Will and I are back to class to conjugate, conjugate, conjugate. In the afternoon we have the bigger kids. Diego and I are co-teaching that class. He is enjoying it. He is in the discerning stage of whether or not he wants to be a priest. I told him this is a good way to see if he can 'shepherd'. On Fridays, we have the little ones back for their Bible class. I am so much more comfortable with my spanish now. I still have to read the stories but I don't struggle with pronunciation as much and I can just talk to them without all the notes.
We've had two special birthdays this past month, little 3 yr. old Mishel who is now 4, and her brother Rudy who just turned 1 yr. They are the little family who lives with us. Their mother is Veronica.
Now ofcourse, the tropical depression that we had recently. Because I cannot figure how to get these pictures in some kind of reasonable order, the storm pictures show up first. I knew we were in trouble when the rain continuously poured day and night. Normally, we have sun in the morning and at around 1 or 2 p.m. the clouds begin to pour over the mountains towards the lake and we get the afternoon dump. This time, we have MORE landslides all over the main highway and every road on the way to our home. We lost some big pine trees on the outside of our large gate, but the picture above is of the mudslide that was about 25 feet below the chapel, ran down the hill, across the neighbors avocado farm and continued over to the other side of a road that leads to the town below us. He said he had a river of mud through his property. The sink holes in various places along the roads are frightening. They don't have official transportation workers here in the mountains and so local villagers will try to paint some rocks white and mark where the sinkholes are....if we're lucky. Or they lay some branches around it. Coming back from the city was like some kind of crazy expedition. One part of the canyon was one continous flow of mud. Fortunately, we were in the Suburu....I love that SUV wantabe. The other picture is a chicken bus that didn't quite make it through the landslide and all the mud. And the one with Ryan our grandson standing on the park bench is actually a brand new park put in at Santiago Atitlan. The lake has come up 10 feet because of the rain and so it flooded it and the kids were swimming where normally people would be sitting or eating. Anyway, this is 'our summer vacation' though it's winter here. But hopefully not for long. Like I said the last two days have been heaven.......

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