Thursday, November 24, 2011

First Thanksgiving

Today was our first major holiday away from family. It was harder on me than I thought but as the day went on it got better cause we started our own fun family traditions! I am so thankful for how the Lord keeps me going and providing me with the little things I miss and enjoy! I kept thinking today though that if I didn't have a Thanksgiving feast would my day be wrecked. To be honest I think today my day  would have been wrecked. Each little step like holidays and other things brings me closer to the Lord and reminds me to be thankful for what we have today and remember the Lord is unchanging!
 This year it was time to get creative with family traditions and to start our own. We had an oven roasted chicken because although you can find turkey I wasn't willing to spend $50 on a 4lb turkey. Besides a chicken tastes almost like a turkey:-) I made creamed peas, mashed potatoes and gravy. Our pumpkin pie was made from squash, similar in taste to butternut. It turned out great! I made a small apple crisp and a peanut butter pie for Jon. Jamen helped me washed potatoes. 
While making food or while it was cooking, we read about the Thanksgiving story. 
Then we took out the few Christmas books and decorated for Christmas. Everyone here is already decorating for Christmas and I was glad to make our own traditions. We didn't have anyone over today, kinda selfish but I really needed this whole day just us and sort through my missing the holidays.  Here am I at 17 weeks, 6 days, in front of our Christmas tree!

We all ate lots and took naps.  

When we woke up we watched Charlie Browns Christmas and a made a paper chain to help Jamen with when Christmas is coming! Today was a great day!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

6 Months

First of all I cannot believe come the beginning of November we will have been here for 6 months! The time is flying by and just the other day I was once again reminded of why we are here. I have contact with a lady who is of another religion but my Spanish is not good enough to talk about the weather let alone spiritual matters. And her English isn't very good either so I'm stuck and wanting so badly to be able to speak more. It was just a good reminder of how important is it to have a good understanding of the people and the language. So, we continue on! This week, I (Jen) had my first evaluation. This will see how far I've come and let me know how far I still have to go. But is good because it will be able to direct me more and to my understanding it will also play a part in letting us know how quickly I will be able learn a tribal language. I'm also encouraged by this evaluation because at least I know I've improved, considering I came knowing my colors but even that was said with an incorrect accent. 
This past month was filled with many things...
buying pizza hut pizza for example. This is by no means a regular thing but it is something Jon had never done before. He had to call the pizza place, order and give directions to our house. This was good language usage for Jon and just cultural information, like the pizza was delivered on the back of a motorcycle!
As the weather has turned hotter, we've been enjoying yummy snacks and simple foods like, popcorn, potato salad, bean salad, chicken salad, egg get the idea. I caught Jamen and Brewster eating popcorn together, yes the dog was eating out of the bowl and being hand fed by Jamen. 
Recently the latest addition to our family has been three female quail. They are about a month old and should start laying here soon. Our yard isn't big enough for chickens but it is for quail. We don't let out of this cage but they like it just fine when we move the cage from place to place. Jade has taken a liking to them and likes to say hi and pet the "birds". 
This is a picture of the back of our house (yes, that's an ac unit but its broken), I wanted to explain our "back yard". Our house is build up against the land ladies house, which is seen below. She is hardly ever there and has told us we can go in the back. We have only just started to explore back there but I've been thrilled with what I've found.
Leading to the back yard... 
This is back yard and much to my delight I have discovered, a mango tree, a guava tree, a citrus tree (orange, lemon or grapefruit, I don't know yet) and an avocado tree! And they all have tons of fruit on them!
Here are the growing mango!
This tree is also growing in the back and its called a Amba'y. It has medicinal usages but I don't know how to use it yet. The guava leaves are also used for their healing properties and the plant below is called Koku-cocu is used in the drinking of terere to make you hungry and relax you. I've also been told it helps to "cool the fire inside you". Its good for fevers. As you can see there are many usages for the plants here but since I don't know everything that well I've held off.. Also, don't be fooled by the "fire inside of you", its not heartburn. We are still learning about the culture here and this is one area of herbs and aliments that is huge and will take some time to understand.   
I am happy to say we are feeling more at home here. Lots of things are still new and different and sometimes I still stare too long but things are becoming "normal". We love the people here and are so thankful for the friends we have made who help us, encourage us and tolerate my bad Spanish. 
Spanish study continues to humble me as I get laughed at for speaking incorrectly, communicated something totally wrong or agree to something I have no idea what was just said yes to (I've only done this once). I'm excited to keep pressing on, yes we still have hard and bad days but so does everyone no matter where you are but our God doesn't change, no matter where you are!