Sunday, January 25, 2009

Flying time

Time is moving seems like just yesterday I was promising to post pics and here it is a week later. Last week was a little crazy, Titus was sick on tuesday and wednesday, and then he handed off the fever and aches to Cohen for thursday and friday. So Kate and I spent this week juggling who stayed home with the sick kid and who went to school with the healthy one and trying to keep up with missed assignments and homework. Praise God it was a quick flu bug that came and went. We have some friends in school who have been hit pretty hard with sickness and need prayer....for instance, one family with multiple sicknesses, kids breaking hands, mom spending time in the hospital, and dad currently in an out of the hospital with some sort of intestinal infection, possibly a parasite.
School is going great, becoming fluent still feels a looooong way off. I think the first couple of weeks are designed to show you how much you don't know.  It's amazing how important communication is to life. In a culture where you don't understand the language, it's one thing to be able to communicate your urgent need to find the bathroom. It's quite another to be able to communicate feelings, passions, and desires.....such as all that God has done for you and how much you love Him for it. You can share in small ways such as simply having a smile for the people you pass, the taxi driver, the bus driver. You can give a sympathetic smile and some food to the beggars at your door.  But I can't wait untill I can move from simple communication to being able to deeply relate. I know that can take months and even years, so pray for patience as we are trudging though language learning, eager to get there! 
       I think being unlingual can also can have it's positives. It highlights the bond we have in Christ as christians around the globe. Christian unity, true love from the Father, flows through languages, cultures, and traditions. It flows through the church we attended a couple weeks ago, where we couldn't understand much of the sermon but could feel the Spirit move in the praise and worship. It flows through the house church in China, the small but growing movement of the gospel through youth in Slovenia and across eastern europe, the christians in Dagestan aching for someone to come help them grow in Truth.  It flows through the church in Africa, through the church across the USA, making its way through so many denominations, divisions, and longstanding church tradition. It doesn't flow corporately, but individually from heart to heart. This is the passion we have for be a small part in helping the church there grow in Truth, so they can be a light to their neighbors and make much of God in every area of their life.
Ephesians 4:10-16

We've made some good friends here, and a few of them live a couple houses down from us. They will be staying in country after language school, ministering in a church plant in Jaco, so they shipped their car down. Yesterday we were finally able to get out of our ghetto neighborhood and see a bit of the city, as our family of four piled into their car with their family of four. We went across town to the childrens museum. It was great for the boys to get out and run around. The museum was built in an old prison, and it was actually pretty cool. It cost 3,000 colones($6) for our family to get in, and was well worth it for a couple of hours of adventure. I've decided to post pictures to phanfare and post the link here, since it saves me hours of uploading time. So just click here for some pics of the last few weeks. Just click "start slideshow" to begin. 

Thanks so much for all the love and prayers! We're sending them back your way as well.
In Him,
Dave for Kate, Cohen and Titus

Monday, January 19, 2009

A few days ago Cohen and I walked down to the Mini super to get some milk and eggs. As we walked to the register to pay, I heard a very gringo voice proclaiming, "NO, I don't want these! I want one of these!"
As I got to the register I saw the owner of the voice.....not just a gringo, but most definitely a turista. He was wearing a cut off tee shirt, Gilligan's Island hat, shorts(not culturally appropriate for men in Costa Rica) and just oozed tourist. I quickly saw that he had been given two 500 colone coins as change, but he wanted a 1000 colone bill. He pulled out a 1000 colone bill from his pocket and kept demanding she take the 500 colone coins back and give him a 1000 colone bill. She kept saying, "No tengo, No tengo." 
Finally he looked at me and said, "Geez, what is she saying, 'no tengo no tengo'?"
I said, "dude, she's saying she doesn't have it."

He said, "Oh." Then he grabbed his purchases and stomped out without so much as a "Muchas Gracias."
The lady behind the counter looked at me and shook her head, "No tengo."
I shook my head and said, "No tengo."
We both smiled and I couldn't help but feeling some kind of a victory. 
I might only have two weeks under my belt, I might still be a gringo and I'll probably always be a gringo, but at least on that day to the woman behind the counter, I wasn't that dreaded Gringo Turista! :)

I promise a big picture post is coming. Our internet speed discourages picture posts but I will get it done!

Dave for Kate, Cohen and Titus

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Okay, this one is for the Grandmas. Anyone else is welcome to watch but fair warning, it's nothing to exciting. Just a Sunday afternoon en la casa.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hola! We have survived day 2 of Spanish class! I think Dave is in the 3% of people who will love language learning and thrive on it, me…well love is not the word I would use. While I have enjoyed classes so far I’m pretty sure I’ll be surviving not thriving. Our teachers for the most part will not speak English to us, so you just hope they are kind enough to help you out with hand gestures. Actually, the teachers here are amazing and they know what they are doing. They also take the jobs at our school as a ministry of their own as they could get better paying jobs elsewhere. They are there to minister to us as missionaries, and you can tell it in the way they teach, they have a heart for us to learn.

We visited a local church on Sunday and as always were blessed. Although the several hour service can get a little lengthy when you don’t understand a word of it, I was brought to tears when we sang a familiar praise song. Voices lifted in praise to God transcends language. Walls come down and you sing with one voice. It’s always an incredible experience to see people in other cultures praising God….our God is the God of the whole earth and all people!


One of the highlights for our family lately has been the hammock recently hung in the back yard. The boys LOVE it and much fun has already been had. We are learning to really enjoy the little things in life: hammocks, Sat. morning farmers market, walks to school and the occasional cheese sprinkled on our dinner (cheese is expensive). I’m also learning all sorts of new and interesting color combinations. Who knew salmon and teal went together?!?! The colors here are just an expression of the bright and fun-loving personalities of the people here in Costa Rica.

Well, homework is next on my list. Please pray that God uses us to make much of Him for the time he has us here, and for the gift of Spanish! :) God bless you all and thank you!

Kate for Dave, Cohen and Titus

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pura Vida!

We have arrived!
It's our one week anniversary here in San Jose, Costa Rica. It's amazing how many emotional ups and downs you can have in one week. If I had to describe the experience overall in one word I think I would use the word "different". Not better or worse, just different. I guess it's human nature to be scared of the unfamiliar (I know, unfamiliar makes two words) but unfamiliar it is here. From the electrical outlets to the food packaging to the streets to the buses to the taxis to the razor wire, it's unfamiliar. 

Over the last week, as the unfamiliar becomes known, we've started to settle in. Our first few trips to the stores were more puzzling than anything else, wandering the aisles trying to figure out where everything was, feeling victorious whenever we could actually read something with our limited Spanish. We had quite a bit to buy to set up our house for living, and by the second trip we were able to find everything but baking soda. After using an unsuspecting expat as an eng/span dictionary, we found it. Bicarbonato de sodio! 

Food is interesting here. Gallo Pinto is the traditional meal, and they do not like anything spicy. Finding hot peppers for salsa is nearly impossible. If, while in a restaurant, you put lots of black pepper on your food, they will be horrified at how hot it must be! If you move here and love red meat, you will be disappointed. There's not a lot of quality beef to be had here! On the other hand, if you happen to be from California, and are a bit granola with your eating style, it's a great place to be. You can find lots of fruits and vegetables for great prices, and eating Mangoes and pineapples here is  pretty much like eating candy. Here's a pic of yesterday's haul from the feria (farmers market) down the road.
(Note the sweet wood paneling on our wall. I know your jealous.)
We purchased pineapples, watermelon, avocados, bananas, apples, oranges, carrots, green beans, cilantro, strawberries, and mini bananas for about 13 bucks.
To contrast that, a small chunk of wannabe cheddar cheese will run you 7 bucks. Try counting up how much cheese you use in a week and you'll see that it's a bummer of a thing to give up!

Classes start in the morning at 7:30 am, so we've got to leave the house around 7am to make the twenty minute walk and get Cohen and Titus into their preschool. Our "dsl" internet connection would lose most races to dial up in the states, so pictures take a bit to load. I'll leave you all with a picture of a makeshift Costarican bath.  Baths are extremely uncommon, as they are very peculiar about personal cleanliness here. Most Ticos are disgusted that US Americans would take a bath, feeling that it is not a very good way to get clean. I might expound on that later.  

Before I forget and if anyone is wondering, we did feel the earthquake last week. We were in a get-to-know-ya interview in the student counselors office at language school, and we started rockin' and rollin' for at least 7 or 8 seconds. It was a pretty good tremor, by far the strongest I've ever felt. It's pretty sad, as reports keep coming in and the death toll mounts (19 so far). We have some friends here who were coming home from the beach that day, and had planned on stopping by the volcano where the earthquake was centered, then decided they didn't have time. If they had, they would have been there when the earthquake hit. 

We're clinging to God and trusting in His plans for us, and we feel incredibly blessed to be here and safe. God is good, even though transition to this place feels like a huge challenge at times.  The people here are warm and friendly (even though personal security is majorly different than at home, more on that later), at least as far as I can tell, I'll confirm that in a few weeks when I can understand a bit of what they are saying.  

We love and miss everyone, 
Dave for Kate, Cohen and Titus. 
ps. I'll blog more later, I wanted to wait at least a week untill we were settled. There's quite a few interesting things that go on here, so expect more posts!