Sunday, November 29, 2009

John Vanderslice -- Promising Actress

I have my own little group of cherubs at school this year, which is why I have written like eight words on the blog since August. It's very different than working in the library. The kids sort of need stuff. All the time. It's okay with me. I like the excitement. But I do miss writing. I even bought a little tiny notebook a couple of months ago. The plan was I would carry it with me everywhere and write down little observations throughout the day. At the end of the day I would come home and load them into the blog. Even if it was only a sentence or two, I'd still be writing. The little notebook daily writing practice was executed exactly zero times. But I did buy the notebook.

Also, there is the boy. Time is sort of different now. In the best possible way.

I teach English and math to seventh and eighth graders. I also teach music appreciation whether they want it or not. I played this song for them Wednesday morning. It's a a great song. Here's what I told them when it was over and they looked at me with facial expressions ranging from mild interest to abject boredom to utter confusion: Don't worry kids if you don't like it, it's only because you don't know enough about music to tell what is good.

So that aspect of teaching is pretty fun.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What we've been doing (while we weren't blogging)

So, our family was kind of sick for a couple weeks, and then we took a few more days to catch up and get back to normal. Though we weren't blogging like we normally would, we still had a few outings and activities. As always, we documented them with pictures.

Zeke was a pig for Halloween. Except he was sick on Halloween and the day after. I had sewed Zeke this adorable little pig costume, complete with ears and a tail, and I was so bummed when he didn't get to wear it for Halloweekend. Tom's class at school had read "Alice in Wonderland" and he was having a special tea party for them at school in the library after Halloween. The kids dressed up in costumes, and I brought Zeke in his piggy costume. The reason this was appropriate was that the baby in "Alice" is named Pig. Zeke was quite the hit!
Then it was National Build-A-Fort-In-Your-Living-Room weekend. I built this fort in our living room for Ruby and Zeke. Both enjoyed crawling in and out and having a special place to play.

Last weekend, we went mini-golfing at La Ceiba's brand-new mini golf course! Zeke loved his first game of mini golf at La Rana Mini Golf here in La Ceiba. It's a great family-friendly activity, and they have a trampoline too!

One of the unique things about living in Honduras is that sometimes you see things in places you just don't expect. While we were golfing, we looked up and over the wall into the next lot. In the sky, we saw this bathroom. The house surrounding the bathroom is long gone. All that is left is a bathroom in the sky- weird, huh!

Speaking of bathrooms... Since we moved down here 2 and a half years ago, I've really missed bathtubs. Most homes in La Ceiba do not have bathtubs, including ours. Recently, I've begun to think about what it would take to make this dream come true. We rent our house, so we're not really looking to do any remodeling projects on our own dime. This would be a pretty big project, because our house does not have hot water either. We currently use electric shower heads to heat the water right before it comes out, giving us a warm shower. If we had a bathtub, we'd need a small hot water heater too.

So, I've been pricing it out, thinking about putting a proposal together for our landlord. I found this bathtub at Ace Hardware, and I think it would it would fit in the existing space without knocking down any walls or anything major.

We've also been out to eat at a couple of beach places in the past 2 weeks. Last weekend, we went to Guapo's on the beach for lunch. Here are the guys enjoying the view.

Finally, on Thursday night, we went out to the Quinta Real hotel on the beach in La Ceiba. Zeke and I went for a little walk/photo shoot on the beach.
When we came back, Tom had hired these mariachi guys to serenade us. Zeke loved the musicians, and I think they loved him too.

Glad to be back to blogging- stay tuned for more!

New Furniture

We've had our eye on this special type of Guatemalan hand-carved furniture for the past 3 years. Several of our friends have had different types of this furniture around their homes and we've always admired it. Each year, a couple of guys arrive in La Ceiba and park along the side of the road selling their furniture for just a week or two. The style is characterized by thick carving in heavy pieces of cypress wood. The pieces are then finished- not with a normal wood stain, but with shoe polish. The effect is a unique, ornately carved piece of furniture.

We had heard rumors that it was possible to bargain for a good deal, but for the past 2 years have had no luck locating these guys. Finally, for the past two weeks, we've noticed the guys were camped out in their truck selling their wares on the side of the road, just a 3 minute walk from our front door. Yesterday we pulled out all the stops and bought all of our dream pieces. Two hours later, the big truck parked in front of our house and unloaded our purchases. We now have grown-up matching furniture, all for a very affordable price.

How affordable can 8 pieces of beautifully hand carved furniture be, you might ask? Well, individually, the asking price came to about $700 for everything we dreamed of buying. Tom's bargaining skills (and the fact that the men are packing up and leaving town tomorrow) brought the price down to $425. Now I know this may sound like a lot to spend on a random afternoon whim (Merry Christmas, Tom!), but here's what we bought:

6 foot tall bookshelf,
3.5 foot tall accent bookshelf
giant cabinet-type thing (we'll use for our stereo and board games)
hope chest/trunk
2 matching end/accent tables
large picture frame

AND the best thing of all...
this awesome rocking horse! (to be tied up with a red bow and put under the Christmas tree for Zeke- don't tell him!)

It seems like people living abroad should try to think about going light on the furniture, since you have to move it around. Luckily, our employer is in the big banana boat business, and we get free shipping for our household goods when we're on our way out of here someday. What a fun day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

After these messages...

We'll be right back!
(Does anyone remember those creative pre-commercial songs and little cartoon thingies that were on before Saturday morning cartoons? They'd sing "After these messages, we'll be right back" to different tunes)

So here are the messages. I promise we'll try to get back to regular blogging in the next day or so.

Health: In the past 2 and a half weeks, everyone in our house has been hit by a flu bug. We're not sure exactly what it was, but it hit hard! First, Tom and Zeke were sick for about a week each. I thought I was immune, but last week I came down with it. Finally, after trips to the doctor and rounds of antibiotics and other medicines, I think we're on the road to recovery.

General Craziness: We've been pretty busy lately. We're excited to fill readers in about the new activity in town and general goings-on here in Honduras.

Zeke: Perhaps he should fall under General Craziness. He's turned into a zany kid! Zeke crawls everywhere, pulls himself up on furniture, definitely expressing opinions about everything. Tonight, I caught him trying on three different occasions to punch Ruby (the dog) in the face. He makes a fist and chases after her, or sneaks up on her and starts pounding her in the eyes. If this is 9 months, I think we might be in for some busy months coming up!

Those were our messages. We'll be right back!