Wednesday, December 21, 2005

We're home!!!!

We arrived safely at home on Saturday night. On Sunday we spent time with Daniel's extended family. Sunday night and Monday night we spent time with my family. During the days we've been shopping and wrapping and doing some relaxing. But now, we're finally done shopping and we can breath.
It's great to be back in Wheaton, but it's very cold! Although I'm glad to see snow and it's not to bad to be in the cold knowing we're going back to warmth in a few weeks.
Now that we're home, we'd love to talk to people and hang out. If you want us to call you, send us your number (Joanna and Ashley, I think I lost yours when I got rid of my cell). We'll email our vonage phone number out soon. :)
Alright, well, we'll update you when something exciting happens. hehe ;)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Almost there...

3 more days! I am so excited I'm about to burst. It's been so hard to concentrate on anything knowing that we'll be back in Wheaton soon. This week had dragged on. Every day I've been confused on what day it was (yesterday I thought it was Wed. Today I keep thinking it's Thur.) But, we only have two days of school left and then we leave on Saturday! In spite of the slow, tiring week, though, tonight was a bright spot. For bible study (there is a separate girl's and guy's English bible study on Wed. that some JCS and Escuela Caribe people attend) we've been going through the book of Hebrews. It's loaded with lots of deep connections to the Old Testment, comparing the Old Covenant to the New Covenant, etc. Tonight we went through Hebrews 9. It talked about Jesus being the ultimate sacrifice for our sins once and for all, fulfilling the Old Testament sacrifices that the people had to do continually. How blessed we are that our sins have been paid for- completely and totally! It amazes me how perfectly God fit everything- especially between the Old and New Testament. I've been going through the Christmas story with my students, and explaining some about how God prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus came how it would happen. It's like puzzle pieces fitting together to make a beautiful story. How glad I am to know that God is in control! Well, those are my ramblings for the night. Now that we have our own internet, we'll be able to share more about what's going on in our minds, not just in our house and school. :) God bless!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Weather, Pizza, and Cookies

What a beautiful Sunday! Esta Domingo lindo! It is very sunny and over 80 degrees. You can check it out here:
This is the weather report for La Vega, a city a little ways down the mountain. (1000 feet lower in elevation). It's the closest weather report we can find. It's hard to believe that it's almost Christmas and it's strange to listen to Christmas Carols when it's so warm out!

It's been a busy week for both of us, trying to catch up from last week and write final exams which are due on wed and thurs. Friday night we have the boys from my (Teresa's) class over to our house for pizza and games. All five of them came and we had a great time! They declared it was the best pizza they'd ever had. :) Aren't they sweet?
Saturday, after shopping at the Veggie market and having a huge Dominican lunch and ice cream for 180 pesos total (about $6), we had a JCS cookie baking day at our house. We made tons of sugar cookies, some for the JCS party next Friday, and many for all of us to keep. We also made graham cracker cookies with brown sugar and butter. We ate way too much sweets. Then for dinner Leah made us fajita pizza (a Leah speciality) and we went to another staff members house for a Christmas party. She lives with girls that work at other ministries in the area, so it was fun to meet people outside of JCS. All in all, we've had a good weekend and are soooo looking forward to coming to Wheaton in a week! Yay!:) It's almost here. I hope the next week goes quickly! :)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus (the Chases) Posted by Picasa

The play Posted by Picasa

Carolers Posted by Picasa

Decorated for Christmas! Posted by Picasa

The Christmas Program Posted by Picasa

Our Christmas tree:) Posted by Picasa

The "campout" Posted by Picasa

Our first Thanksgiving together! Posted by Picasa

Playing our guitars Posted by Picasa

Our Thanksgiving meal Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Thanksgiving and the Christmas Program

It’s been a busy week! Last week we had Thanksgiving break. It was wonderful and relaxing! After a filling meal of the traditional Thanksgiving foods (except cranberry sauce L ), we went home to rest for a bit. Then in the evening we went to The Chase’s house (a couple that works at JCS) with some other teachers and “camped out.” We were going to go camping Friday night, but it had been rainy and wet, so we didn’t think it would be a good idea. So we decided to camp out at the Chases Thursday night. We played settlers, sang songs, watched a movie, and Daniel and I slept in their guest room. So it was nothing like camping out except that they had a tent set up in their living room that a few teachers slept in. The next morning Steve Chase made us a wonderful breakfast of waffles, scrambled eggs, and turkey (for Daniel who said it was a tradition to have turkey mixed with mayonnaise and garlic for breakfast the morning after Thanksgiving. We put mayonnaise and garlic powder on it. It was good). After a relaxing morning, we went back home and relaxed some more.
This past week was a crazy week for JCS. Last night (Friday) we had the Christmas program, which Daniel and I volunteered to help plan. It was a Christmas dinner combined with a school play and dancing. So all week we were preparing for that. It turned out pretty good (and Dominican- last minute changes, kids running everywhere, people showing up 45 minutes late who were supposed to run things, etc.) We had our Jesus change last minute too, and it was the first time we had everyone together who were in the play (students here have no concept of practice- none of them wanted to practice beforehand- it was like pulling teeth!) But, taking all that into account, it went pretty well. We did the story of the three trees (it’s a neat, short story, you can look it up online if you’ve never heard it). The three trees dream of becoming something great. But they become a tiny fishing boat, a manger, and a cross. They are very disappointed, but then realize that they played a part in something bigger than they could imagine- the story of Jesus Christ’s salvation! Included in the play we had ballet dancing, and to start it off, some of the older students danced a traditional Dominican dance. Then dinner was at 8:30 (early for Dominican programs!). Daniel, another teacher, and a group of students did a few caroling songs during dinner. It was the first time JCS did something this big for the Christmas Program, so I think people liked it.
In two weeks Daniel and I will be flying to Wheaton! We’re excited to see family and celebrate Christmas with them. On January 1st ish we’ll be driving over to Upland to visit people. Those of you there, let us know if you’ll be around and want to get together! Wheaton and area people- we want to see all of you!
Oh we also thought you might want to know that it’s about 80 degree and sunny here. In case you were wondering. ;)
P.S. We would love to hear from you and if you email us we will do our best to write back! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Our happenings

Our pictures pretty much show what's being going on. A few weeks ago we went hiking (view the pictures). We also went hiking a week later (a week ago). We hiked up one of the harder hikes in Jarabacoa but it was a beautiful view. Unfortunately, we didn't have our camera. This past weekend we got a lot of good work done. Daniel made a cat play tower thing out of wood. I re-organized and cleaned the pantry from bat doo-doo (after we cemented the holes we missed earlier). Unforatunately, I developed some strange rash covering my hands. I wore yellow rubber gloves all day so I could do things, but it was ouchy. Luckily, Daniel thought to go to the pharmacy and get some cream medicine. It cleared up quickly after that. Thank you Daniel! I was afraid I wouldn't be able to teach Monday (it hurt a lot). What a good husband! This Wed. we are going to one of my student's family's house to eat. Thursday is the Thanksgiving celebration. Friday we're going camping with JCS people. This weekend we're going to buy a little Charlie Brown Christmas Tree and decorate for Christmas! Yay! :)
We'll be in touch. :)

Our mighty jungle beast charges at the camera... Posted by Picasa

Roasting a marshmallow using a toothpick and pliers.  Posted by Picasa

Hello Chai! Posted by Picasa

Our makeshift grill Posted by Picasa

My man. :) Posted by Picasa

We live here? Sometimes it's hard to believe! Posted by Picasa

The view from one of our day hikes a few weeks ago. Posted by Picasa

Mrs. Peterson and her class Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

12 weeks down... almost

At the end of this week, we will have been in school for 12 weeks, a full third of the school year. We'll also have been here for 3 months on Thursday, and then we go back to Chicago in less than a month after that for Christmas. Yes, time flies, but most of you know that firsthand already. Classes continue and Teresa won the "Teacher of the Month" award for October and I am so proud of her (As you can tell, I don't teach language because that is a run-on)!! The rainy season has begun and it has poured almost two days straight, leaving us without water for a while, and very dirty water now... so dirty, in fact, that we didn't want to do laundry in fear of making our clothes dirtier and even worse, that you can't really tell if you flushed the toilet or not by looking.
The rain here is not like Midwest rain. It's like someone flips a switch and it's suddenly a torrential downpour (we've gotten 10-12 inches in the past two days). Then, just as suddenly, it stops. Our plants are loving it, though!
Chai is continuing to grow and play. She's still little and she bites a lot. We're trying to train her. We give her toys, but she likes being around/ on us continually- even if we're in the bathroom. Any tips, Ashley? Well, that's all for now. Next week is Thanksgiving! Yay! We'll send picture of our American feast.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The D.R. in the fall. Posted by Picasa

Me at the pie eating contest (sorry, we didn't have time to rotate it) Posted by Picasa

The Thai girl and the pirate Posted by Picasa

Fall is here... or not

I miss fall...not that I don't like the warm weather. But I miss the leaves changing color and the smell of autumn. The past week has been good and busy. On Friday afternoon we had our school fall festival. This year's theme was, "it's a small world." Each classroom dressed up as a country/culture. My class was Thailand and Daniel's class was pirates. There were pony rides, chicken catching, three legged races, bag races, pie eating contest (that I somehow ended up doing as my students chanted my name), dancing, etc. It was a lot of fun to hang out with the students. On Saturday we, along with 7 other JCS/ 1 Escuela Caribe Staff went to Sosua beach. It was wonderful and relaxing. Then we drove back and stopped in Santiago at a huge grocery store (it was exciting) and the mall for dinner and a movie. Daniel and I ate Chinese food and watched Cinderella Man. It was such a wonderful day to get away. On Sunday we went to church, ate with some people from church, and went home to get work done, bake bread for the week, and do laundry. That night one some of the other teachers from JCS were having a costume party so Daniel dressed as a Pirate and I dressed as a skater girl. This week has been good so far. The JCS "character trait" for this month is peace (we are going through the fruits of the Spirit) It's so good to teach about it and be reminded about the truths were telling our students. Today I was teaching my students about peace and how we have peace and what peace is (resting in God). We were looking at some verses in Philippians 4. It talked about rejoicing in God, giving thanks, and giving our problems up to Him. I forget that so often. I try to take on all my worries and anxieties forgetting that I cannot control the situations around me. But God is in control and worrying about things won't make them get any better. God's teaching me so much as I teach my students! Yay God!
Hope things are going well for all of you. Love you all!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Our Newest Addition

On Saturday night, we were outside our balcony talking to our next door neighbor. A boy walked by the house and threw a kitten into the neighbor’s yard below us. We ran downstairs and that neighbor helped us get the kitten. We took it upstairs into the house and gave it some milk. We’ve been wanting a cat, and decided that this was God’s answer. Daniel ran out to buy kitty litter and food. That first night, the kitten kept hiding from us under the couch. By the next day, she let us play with her some. She soon got used to the house, and us. We’ve been keeping her in the bathroom when we leave. She meows for a while because she wants out. But then when she’s free to roam the house and we’re in another room, she’ll meow because she wants in. She’s very social and likes to be wherever we are.
We’ve posted pictures of our kitten (Chai té, or Chai for short). She’s beautiful and tiny. We love her already. We’ve also included pictures of our house. Hopefully this will give you a taste our lives here. :)

P.S. Ashley- we need tips on how to raise and kitten! :)

Daniel and Chai Posted by Picasa

Teresa and Chai Posted by Picasa

She matches the floor! Posted by Picasa

Chai te- our new cat! Isn't she adorable! Posted by Picasa