Kindergarten Graduation

Friday was a crazy day for the 5 year olds -- they graduated!!! It's a little confusing, because they still have to come to school for the next three weeks... Trish is telling them now they're doing 1st grade work... ha, kind of. Here's a few photos from the ceremony:
Tricia's words.
How cute!!
A little brother waiting for the graduates.
Elijah, Alberto, Anthony waiting.

The whole class waiting to walk in! They're a little nervous!

Sojourn Adventures

I finally remembered to bring my camera to school again so now I have more photos to show you! Friday was "dress like your favorite book character day" so we were decked out in 4th grade. 
Annabel as Pippi Longstocking. 
Students working on their "Geography Levels". They are learning their U.S. states and capitals... practically by themselves! :) It's great, I love watching them during this time.
Diego... the only boy in the class. Poor guy.
The chaos after chapel time... putting away benches. And there's Miss V. as a character from a book the 5th graders read... I can't remember the name right now!
My students carefully listening in chapel... and poking each other.

A photo like the beginning of the year... now they're growing up! From left to right, our characters are Anne of Green Gables, Lucy from Narnia, Susan from Narnia, Gaby the student, Paula the student, Junie B. Jones, Diego the student, Brooklyn the student, Nicole the student, another Lucy from Narnia, Hannah Montana, and Pippi Longstocking. 
My favorite photos... Jump! 
The twins as Susan and Lucy from Chronicles of Narnia.

Good morning Gaby!!
And teachers at the 6th grade graduation reception. L2R Chrissy King, Kim VanArtsdalen, me!, Karol Massey, Kim Loosa. 


Judit's Coming to Chicago!!!

 "20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory..." Ephesians 3:20-21

My tica sister finally bought her plane ticket to Chicago! WOOHOO!!! She'll be joining me in the States from August 5th to August 12th and we'll stay with friends in the Elgin area as well as hang out with my family in downtown Chicago. I'm super excited!!!

Seriously, God is providing beyond my wildest dreams here in Costa Rica. I mean, a year ago I was panicking about whether or not I would have some kind of phone line to call the States, and now I have a Skype phone number, and English-speaking friends, and Spanish abilities, and art conversations in Spanish, and a job that I love, and even friends who want to come see where I am from!!! 

Wow, God is good. 


Teacher Nightmare

A little shout-out to teachers in enclosed buildings.... Our school is more like a campus than one enclosed building, so when it rains, life suddenly becomes very complicated... especially with 12 students in tow. 

So we are at the bathrooms for our afternoon break. The typical afternoon clouds have moved in and thunder and lightning have been announcing their presence for an hour or so... when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it starts to pour. And I mean, really pour. Like, buckets. And then it begins to blow. Like, straight sideways, right into the hallway we were in. The kids are standing in line, and the rain is blowing all over them... Of course, they're loving it and dancing and yelling and carrying on... 

So we ran back to the classroom and then we were all soaked. We smelled like wet dogs, too, but we couldn't open the windows because the rain was blowing right into the windows! Oh geez... so we smelled and suffocated for the last hour of school. 

What an adventure. 


Just in Case You Forgot...

...what I look like. :) This is for you Mom! Look how long my hair is!!


I realized today as I was again exploring the downtown area that I am comfortable here. I mean, I no longer only depend on survival questions; I often understand and know what's going on around me. It's something we all take for granted in our home cultures, but here I have had to start from square one and learn everything about this culture. 

As I was thinking about how I've become comfortable, I also realized that I have reached a point where I am not constantly thinking about where I am (am I closer to the park or to the school?), where I need to go (do I turn left or right at this street?), what I need to say ("Donde esta la Plaza?" or "Como se llama usted?")... instead now my mind is freed from these to think more about what I'm enjoying. 

Like the art. The music. The bookstores. The galletas de coco. 

And the people. 

Ticos are so different. I mean, often when I look at a photo of jam-packed China or India, all the people in the photos seem to look similar to me. I can hardly tell them apart. I felt like that for several months here -- all the ticos passing me in the street look the same, and for all I knew, I couldn't understand anything any of them were saying. 

But now I'm beginning to really see them as individuals. As people. There are ticos with emo style, like the fad in the States. There are homeless ticos that haven't bathed in months. There are many short ticos and few tall ticos. There are old ticos and young ticos. 

I've been thinking lately that I need to get up the courage to ask if I can take more photos of people. I mean, I know so many faces and stories now, all Costa Rican, and I want to have photos to remember... but for now words will have to do. 

Minnie. 95 years old. Her husband died young and she raised her children with hard work and  jokes and sleepovers. I met her a week ago and she was still telling jokes to her children and now her great-grand children and great-great-grandchildren. Blanca remembers her Aunt Minnie having all the nieces and nephews over for sleepovers and pillow fights and tortillas. A woman who has worked hard and is still loved by her family. 

Lauren. 30 years old. Interior designer. Drives an SUV and has a 2 year old. I met her last night at a crazy party I tagged along to. She loves thumping rap music and shallow conversation. I could tell within the first 5 minutes of talking with her that we won't be likely to become good friends.

Abraham. 40 years old. Night guard for the Institute. Has 3 sons and is always showing me photos of them. Just bought a camera from the States and is always super excited to discuss his new photography ideas with me. 

Manuel Enrique. 55 years old. Engineer for ICE. Husband to Blanca, Dad to Rebecca and Judit. Tells stories slowly so I can understand everything. Listens well. Patient. Loves to wash his car, even at 5am on Sunday morning. Helps me recite the books of the Bible in Spanish every Sunday on our way to church. 

And that's only 4 of the faces I know now.

An Art Idea

Someone sent me an email with this idea, and I have been putting it into action the last couple months. The idea is to look for someone in need of encouragement and ultimately, the truth of Scripture. Then create a mini-notebook of verses and drawings or art or whatever. Here's one I just finished... You're more than welcome to borrow the idea as well if you're feeling inspired :)