Punta Leona

Trish and I just spent 3 days with her mom and 6 of her friends from Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a huge blessing for our spring break because we went to a beach resort on the Pacific Ocean and vegged by a pool and by the ocean. Fun conversation and sleep was about all I did. Butterfly on the beach!

When you first arrive at the beach, all you want to do is feel the water and sand on your toes!!!

Rocks and waves

Crocodile spotting!!! There's a bridge on the highway where you can stop and take photos.

The pool I sat by for at least 4 hours every day.


Salamander maybe?


and friends.


I Survived!!!

It all started the first day back to school after Christmas break. It was the logical time to make a New Year's Resolution as a class, and of course I, as a teacher, am thinking about better reading scores, writing a class book, or having a science fair... Guess what they decided on? A field trip.
Excellent, I thought. A field trip is a great idea. We brainstormed possibilities... everything from Chicago to China, from a volcano to an amusement park. We convened the brainstorm until the following week when all kids informed me that they wanted to go camping. Overnight. They had discussed this at lunch and recess and had made up their minds.
Alright, I thought, this will certainly be an adventure. And it was. We earned $120 from lemonade sales to pay for our food expenses, and a student's parents volunteered their mountain property as our campsite. Girls in the cabin, boys in tents. 11 kids. 6 adults. Great odds :).
I have to admit I was really nervous about being the adult responsible for the whole trip. I mean, I am only 24, and all the other adults helping were parents and grandparents... so I definitely qualified as the youngest chaperone. And my Spanish wasn't in top shape, so I had a few embarassing moments, of course, when all kids and parents were looking at me funny. Oh well, it's always a process.
So here's a look at our adventures. Hiking, water balloons, bonfire, campfire stories, etc. All the classic moments of camping (oh yeah, and the classic non-shower/smoky smell of camping too :) Sorry I couldn't pass on some smell through the Internet!)

Girls getting settled.

the inside of the cabin.
Mason, Jonathan, Gabriel proud of setting up their own tent.

the boys settling in their tent

Jacuzzi time!!! but with coooooooold water.

Mariana turning purple from the jacuzzi.

There was a trampoline behind the house. Kids were always jumping for the whole 24 hours... well, maybe not the whole 24.

Mr. Bastos helped drive for the trip... but he had to bring his work with him!

Camila was cold, so she wore her scarf and hat... such a great tica :)

Abuelita and Marcela preparing dinner by candlelight.

A flashlight-guided hike down the road in the dark!!

Hiking in the pine forest.
Board games and hyper kids in the tents.
and then Gabriel found us in his tent... Hi Gabriel!!

a mini-bonfire. We roasted marshmellows and told scary stories.

Sunrise... 5am!!!

Trampoline... 6:15am!!!

Jonathan has energy... I was lucky enough to capture a second of it.

Mariana not wanting to help with breakfast dishes...

Breakfast with Mariana, Melissa, Michelle.

Playing cards.... at 6am.
The boys returning from their morning hike to the river.

Mariana, Michelle, me in front of the cabin.

Hiking about 20 minutes to a nearby village.

Amanda jumping out of the swing at the tiny school in the village.

climbing on a fallen tree trunk.

Playing tag in an open field in a nearby village. Notice the clouds passing right through the field... we were in the cloud forest at more than 4000 feet above sea level.

Mason enjoying what he said was the forest from the Lord of the Rings movies.

water balloon team toss!!!
flower in the backyard...

Lucas' hand. He doesn't like his picture taken, so this was the best I got.


Reserve Two for Murder

This year's play is a murder mystery titled ''Reserve Two for Murder''. Eddie has been busy directing, I have been busy designing the set and costumes, Erin has been busy shopping for costume items, and Tricia has been busy filling in the gaps. We are all exhausted, but it's well worth it when we see the students up on stage. Here's a few photos from tonight's dress rehearsal.
The cast in action... Who's the murderer?
The set with lights and the audience in the darkness.

Closer up.

The cast members are actually part of the audience for a lot of the play.


Panama Canal

A life goal: See the Panama Canal.
We were on the city side... in the Atlantic Ocean/Carribbean side of Central America.

Here comes the last cargo ship of the morning. The ships go from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the morning, and from the Pacific to the Atlantic in the late afternoon. Ships from all over the world use the canal... Most commonly the US, China, and Chile use the canal, and the cost of passing through saves money and time instead of going all the way around South America.

We watch the people on the ship and the people on the ship watch us. I thought it was funny.

These ''mules'' (as they called them) pull the cargo ship from one pool to the next as the pools of water level out to take the ship from the salt water of the ocean to the fresh water of the canal.
and the back of the cargo ship
little sailboats going through.

and a model in the museum of a ship they used to dig the canal. It was fascinating to learn how they did it... and I am glad that the United States gave it over to Panama. It was a great investment for international relations.
Life goal. Check.