Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mission Home Selection: Success!

What a crazy, packed weekend Abigail and I just had.  We left on Thursday morning, traveled all day, and arrived in Santiago around 9:00.  A brief drive and "tour" from the window of the car, some really good soup, and it was already 10:00.  Officially Abigail's latest bedtime.  :)

We stayed with friends from Owen's new school and they had a full and well thought-out schedule for us.  Incredibly, Abigail, who is usually very clingy and suspicious of any separation from her mother, spent much of the weekend with Anne, and had a great time playing with her five year-old daughter.  Lots of dolls. 

I visited the school while Abigail slept and played dolls, and then we all looked at some apartments together.  This was the first one they showed me and I really loved it immediately.  Having been told that this was one of the quietest nooks of the city, and that it was the only place they could find where I could garden, I was prepared to love it.  But there was a light, warm feeling in the house (perhaps a result of some seriously bright yellow walls, which I think are perfect), and I could really see living there.  I looked at two more places after this, but mostly just to be responsible.  :)

Most of the pictures I'm posting are pictures of the balconies and views from them.  I bought the plants on the balconies from the current owners.  Too pretty!  And I mean, hey, maybe they shouldn't have made the budget, but really . . . how can I not have tropical plants on my balconies?!

Below is a picture of land the owner (who lives on the bottom floor of the house we'll live in) is using for a garden--it's also the view from my front balcony.  He has plantains and bananas growing there.  He got permission for me to garden on the land behind his.  (Yeah!)

Here's an indoor picture, and I did actually buy the table and chairs, too.  But you'll have to wait until I get all moved in before you get pictures of the house.  Right now another family is living in it.

On Saturday we took a whirlwind beach trip to Cabarete, a beach an "hour" away (two hours away, American time).  To get there we drove through the mountains, which were spectacular.  This picture was taken while the car was moving.  I'll get better pictures when we go next time!

Then I chased Abigail all over the beach.  The water and sand were beautiful, but I must say, chasing a one year-old around and keeping her from drowning felt very much the same as it does in New Jersey.  I did find two sand dollars (which later got crushed on my plane trip home) to show Micah and Jesse.

My trip was great.  I loved the people I met and I love the house.  And, really, that was mostly the point.  It really does feel like God is going ahead of us and paving a way for us.  I was seriously overwhelmed by all of the things I still need to do and buy and plan for . . . but I'll write about some of that another time.  I'll leave you with a tranquil beach picture instead.  :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Learning Spanish

So it's time for the Davises to become bilingual. I have been trying to teach the kids some Spanish vocab like colors and parts of the body. I worked at it for about a month. I was alarmed at how little they seemed to be picking up for a while, I mean they seemed to be picking up absolutely nothing. But it's crazy. All of a sudden it was like they picked up a whole layer of Spanish at once. They're picking up on words and expressions now, and I don't know how to explain it, but I think (comparing their language acquisition to Owen's and my experience) that kids learn language differently. (Profound insight, I am sure.)

They've been listening to "Speak Spanish with Dora and Diego" which is an extremely repetitive and slightly annoying to me, but really effective for how my kids seem to be learning Spanish, through lots and lots of repetition. I've gotten a little lazy, I need to start trying again to work Spanish into daily life. I was so relieved when they started picking up some words and being interested that I sort of over-relaxed and now (ironically) that they're interested and not resisting me any more I find that I've stopped trying. Hmm. I'll have to get on that.

Owen and I have primarily been working at it through Spanish for Dummies (audiobook) and Destinos. Destinos is just one of the most entertaining terrible yet wonderful Spanish TV series put out by Public Television to teach Spanish to Americans. It is a masterpiece. There are 52 episodes of around 24 minutes each, we're at about the 11th one. For anyone learning Spanish (maybe because they're visiting us in La Republica Dominicana?), I have to recommend it! :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Look out!

Jesse's field trip to Giant grocery store, classic.

Happy Easter!

Greetings, Earthlings!
We've mostly been packing and cleaning our basement and selling things on Craigslist and giving things away on Freecycle, getting ready for our move. But in between we had some good moments and I thought I'd give you a few good kid pictures.

Our visit to the Crayola factory, a cute (if slightly retail-focused) crafty kid museum. We stocked up on the model magic with our tokens (they had crayons and markers first that our kids wanted to buy but their mom encouraged them to hold out--I mean, why buy a four pack of crayons when we have a zillion at home? or a green marker? Plenty of those in the bin!). The model magic clay went right into the plane toy department, my stock pile of toys to try to keep them busy during our 3 hour flight and 4 hour layover on departure day.

Egg painting!

I love this dye (Doc Hinkle's) which is more like paint, my mom finds it for us every year.

Happy Easter! Or as they say in the Orthodox Church:

"Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!"