Yes, We’re Alive!

Oh my goodness, we have so much to catch up on in the blogging world!  I am slightly overwhelmed.  I’m so sorry for my absence lately.  Basically it boils down to the fact that we still don’t have internet in our own home, so blogging has been the last priority as far as internet time for us.  Here’s the low down…

We arrived in Costa Rica on the 20th of August around 4pm or so.  All of our teammates minus the Fletcher family left on Tuesday the 19th, so it was just the Fletchers and us on the plane together.  We looked ridiculous basically in the airport.  All together we checked nearly 16 bags, but that wasn’t even why we looked ridiculous.  The Fletchers had a double jogging stroller, like 2 or 3 large carry-on bags, and several small carry-on items.  We also had a single baby jogger stroller, 3 large carry-on bags, 2 back-packs, and a couple of other carry-on items.  Oh, and did I mention there were 3 kids under 4 years old?  Basically, it took us nearly an hour (or so it seemed) to board the plane, and we were definitely the last getting off!  The plane ride went well except for the near death experience we had as the pilot landed.  I have seriously never in my life been on a plane that was going as fast as that one was when we actually hit the ground.  Stephanie, who is a professed fearful plane rider, was completely going crazy when it happened.  Maybe this will help you imagine it.  Lee F. had all of their family’s passports in his front shirt pocket, and when we landed, it was so fast that all 4 of the passports FLEW out of his pocket and went clear to the front of the plane from nearly the back where we were sitting!  Yes, we landed THAT hard and fast.  They had to call Steph’s name over the intercom on the plane to tell her that her passport was in the pilot’s cabin area.  Um…yeah.  It was scary!

Well, the Fletchers and our family also had a housing issue.  It all boiled down to their house not being completely built when we got here and our house still being occupied by a family who was also waiting for their house to get finished being built.  So, we stayed with a family who is also going to language school here.  It worked out really well, because they were gone for a week when we arrived to Nicaragua (the place they plan to move to after language school).  So, we had their home to ourselves, and it was nice not to have to share space that long with someone you don’t know.  The only irritating thing was that we had packed in our carry-on bags just enough to last us the few days our landlord had said we would have to wait until our home was available.  Well, those few days came and went.  So, we began to have to unpack our other bags to get to items we needed.  After a week in the family’s home, we decided that since they would be back in town, we should probably try and get out of their home.  So, we moved into the tiny one room apartment that is connected to the home we now live in.  It is also owned by our landlord, so he didn’t charge us for it.  I am so glad we only had 2 days of living there.  Our bags filled the entire first room, which served as living room, dining room, and kitchen, and it was on the very corner of a very busy street…IT WAS SO LOUD!  It was chaotic, and by the end of our time in temporary housing, we were slightly irritated with not only the situation, but we were at each other’s throats at times, too.  We finally moved into our home on the 29th…9 days after we got here.

In our first week here, we just tried to go and see where all of the stores were, we worked on our spanish skills for taxi rides, and we got to hang out as a team a few times.  There were also many moments where we found ourselves just sitting, staring at one another.  It rains every day here.  So, at first, we would just stay in every afternoon.  Well, those days are over…the rain aint stoppin’ us now!  Believe me, if we never got out when it rained, we would be so bored, and we would miss out on the experience of being here for sure!  That makes me think of last Sunday.  Our team decided to meet at our home for some time of worship, and after that, we were going to make the approximate 10-15 min. walk to a place for pizza.  Well, it started raining so hard after we worshiped, but our kids were so stir crazy, we all decided we still wanted to go.  We all laughed so hard as we made the trek with our kids all in strollers in the pouring down rain.  We were all SOAKED by the time we got there, and when we arrived, we had too many huge strollers to all fit in the restaurant.  So, we had to leave them all outside the restaurant while we ate.  It was an experience.  We will definitely cherish the memories we are all making together while we are here.

We began orientation for language school on Aug. 27th.  It was good.  We had several sessions on different things…culture, safety while we’re here, life with an Costa Rican empleada (maid), etc.  We also had a guest speaker who has been a missionary in Central America for the last 50 years.  John Mark and Tara D. said it best when they said, “that was probably the best talk on missions we’ve ever heard!”  And…it was.  He shared from his true experiences.  He encouraged us to not get caught up in legalistic and doctrinal arguments.  He told us we needed to read spanish poetry in order to help ourselves learn the language.  He even teared up when telling us we needed to make following Jesus our number one goal.  He was inspirational, encouraging, and wise.  We enjoyed hearing from his experiences.  At the end of the orientation week, we took an oral and written spanish test to help the teachers place us in the correct classes for school.  Overall, we all feel like our placement in the classes we are in are good.

We started our classes on September 2nd.  That day was interesting.  All of the kids pretty much cried when we dropped them off at their nursery school classes.  Then, we all began our day of classes.  Tara D., Stephanie F., and I have our first 2 classes together, and Tara and I have all of the rest of our classes together as well.   Wes Y. and JM D. have all of their classes together.  Mark C. and Lee F. have all of their classes together, and Justin happens to be in classes with no other team members.  Sad, I know.  Actually, we are all blessed to have tons of great friends already from different parts of the US and Korea that are all here as first trimester students.  Justin says he already likes his classmates a lot.  Stacy Y. is just doing one hour of tutoring during the 3rd class of our day due to the fact that she has Derek, their 2 month old.  Actually, one hour of one-on-one tutoring is just about as good, if not better, than our 4 classes with classmates.  So, Stacy is pretty much of our same syllabus schedule.  Our teachers speak only in Spanish to us, so that’s interesting.  It is the same in our kid’s nursery classes.  Everything is in Spanish.  The first day, Jakob Yoakum (2.5 yrs. old) ran up to Stacy after school and said “vamanos mom!” (“let’s go, mom!”).  We all laughed and knew right away that our kids will most likely pass us up in language skills fairly soon!  They can all understand, and some can say, “Hola” and “Adios” already.  They must understand much more, though, since they all are doing very well in their classes at school, which are all in Spanish.  We’re excited!

We’ve had some great times here as a team.  Parker Davidson turned 1 year old the day after we all got here, and Wes Y. just celebrated his birthday on the 4th.  Along with this, we have also experienced some very sad times as a team.  Many of you might know, but our teammates Lee and Stephanie Fletcher were due with their 3rd child this coming February.  On the 4th, they went in for a sonogram due to Stephanie feeling like things were not quite right, and they found out that the baby had not made it.  Steph was already almost 18 weeks, so the process after her sonogram was quite invasive.  We are all mourning the loss of this child.  The child that was to be their son.  The child that was to be our “nephew”.  The child that was to be our children’s playmate and “cousin”.  We all feel pain after this loss, even knowing that God is mighty, powerful, and in control.  Lee and Stephanie have shown strength that I am not sure I would have had in this situation had it been me.  Their tears are followed by confidence that God will heal their hearts in his timing.  Please pray for their family as they grieve over this child’s passing, and please pray that the rest of our team can have wisdom from God as to how to comfort them.

We hope to stay in touch on here better as time goes on.  We think our internet might be hooked up in about a week.  Who knows really.  We have already signed our contract, so that usually means about a week or so.  Here are pictures we have taken.  

This is a picture of the houses outside of our first temporary home…

At the park our first week…

The little girl, whose house we were in the first week, had a tutu that Cailyn LOVED.  She is definitely shaking her hips here.  I can’t believe I actually caught it on camera.  She really likes to dance…neither Justin or I have any rhythm whatsoever when it comes to dancing, so who knows with her…

This is how the baths are.  Well…there are no bath tubs.  The kids just sit in the bottom of the shower…sort of gross…and there is a short faucet that they can use.  Cailyn also loves her baths.  You can buy rubbermaid bins to fill with water, but this is at the first house we were in, so we hadn’t bought anything yet…

Cailyn and Parker D. at the park.  This was right near the farmer’s market, and we all got to shop around for fresh veggies and fruit.  It was great!

Every house has a gate over the door.  This probably wasn’t that safe…she liked it.

This is the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!  Aren’t they adorable…well, Cailyn looks a bit awkward, but overall…they are so cute!  This is right outside of the nursery area they go to each morning from 7:30am-1pm.  They all do really well.  The other kids hadn’t arrived yet, so that’s why it’s just Cailyn and the Fletcher kids.  

This picture totally shows her personality right now…always wanting to know if what she is doing is ok…

Ok…so, I am realizing we need some more pictures of what life is really like.  I will try and get some pictures or a video of our house so you can all see what we’re living in.  I promise I will post more often now!

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5 responses to “Yes, We’re Alive!

  1. Alison,
    Thanks for the post. I know its been crazy for you guys with all the moving and transition. Hang in there. Hopefully it will begin to smooth out. It was good to see you on skype at your parent’s house. Sorry it was poor timing for Caitlyn. If you had a camera on my kids 30 minutes later you would have seen the same thing! We’re thinking about you guys and praying for you too! Good luck with school!

  2. I loved hearing about all the in and outs of your life. I feel like I am reading an incredible book of some amazing people. You are a great writer and a wonderful servant for Christ. I look forward to the next entry. In my prayers, Natalie

  3. I can’t believe the story about the landing. Passports flying through the air? Oh my. Thank goodness everyone is o.k.

    Loved the story about the whole crew walking through the rain to eat pizza. That’s great. It’s even funnier that all of your strollers had to sit outside and continue to get wet. What great memories.

    Oh, one more thing…I’ll be so interested to see how all of the kids pick up Spanish. Chloe already knows more than I do and can really pick up on things. It’s amazing. (Incase you forgot, she’s in a dual language program…one day they only learn in English, the next is only in Spanish). The kids are going to do awesome.

  4. thompson tribe – hola! what fun reading – always better after the fact for parents/grandparents…looking forward to hearing more and seeing you guys in december! love, daddyO

  5. Alison—and Justin!

    Love reading your blog! We are “hunching down” as the TV people keep saying—getting ready for Ike to hit tonight! SOOO—in case we loose power before tomorrow, the 13th–we want to wish you a Happy , Happy Birthday! ( I missed sending greetings to Wes because Danny had put the info —-somewhere?! We love you all and keep you in our prayers daily. Much love, Danny and Susan

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