Saturday, May 14, 2016

Teacher's Day Celebrations

May tenth in Mexico is always Mother's Day. We had a huge 80's themed program at school to celebrate the mothers and then, the following weekend was...... Teacher's Day!
It was amazing! Our school took us out on a camel adventure with Cabo Adventures. We hiked through the desert, went camel back riding on the beach, and ate delicious typical food like chicken in mole and beans and fresh-off-the-'comal' tortillas and quesadillas.
The guide said the dress they modeled for the excursion was after North African camel herders. Our safety helmets had head coverings sewn on just for fun.
The next day we were all invited to a fellow teacher's family vacation house near a beautiful dam between mountains. The view of the water and cactus covered mountains was really pretty.
Of course, the kid's favorite part was the pool!
Talia stayed in as looooooong as she possibly could. She loves jumping in the water!

All of us had a lot of fun spending time with fellow teachers who are also close friends. I'm always so thankful for the wonderful people I work with! 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Desert Plants and Flowers in San José del Cabo

Talia and I like to run and hike together when we get a chance. Sometimes we go to the estuary and sometimes we visit the camels and the dolphins, or visit the horses at the beach, and other times just walk around the historic district of San José. 

One of our favorite things to see, besides the animals, are the interesting flowers and plants that exist in this dry environment.
Mangos are Talia's favorite fruit and it is almost mango season!!! They are just starting to change from green to red and yellow.
Of course there are cactus fruits.
And this cactus was budding.
This little bush looked like it had apples but they weren't as hard or big as an apple.
There are lots of interesting seed pods.
Some are really weird kiwi-looking things.
Others are bright orange....
With red circular seeds inside when they burst open.
Guamuchil fruit that gives you dry mouth.
Talia loves the flowers!
We saw hummingbirds around these yellow trumpet-shaped flowers.
This looked like a tree at the bottom and a cactus at the top!

Come hiking with us!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ezra turned 2!

Can you believe this boy is 2 already?! I barely can. For his birthday he had a small party at his class.
He had fun at school and then on his birthday got to go to the party of another friend where he played a lot.
He slept really good that night.
Happy birthday, Ezra, we love you!

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Next Chapter: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

As you may have noticed, the beginning of a new year is also usually when many schools begin their hiring process for the next school year. This means, usually around March or April, we know where we have been contracted to move next.

This time we have something we have never done before: Asia! It is a land where the local people went through horrific war where the educated, fair and even those who wore glasses were targeted and killed. To survive many people had to learn to eat insects and find non-traditional nutrition options. Even today you can find snake-on-a-stick, deep fried tarantula, crickets (like Mexico) and other insects for sale in the markets.

We will be going to the capital city of Cambodia: Phnom Penh. We are excited that Benjamin will get a chance as secondary principal and I will be teaching 5th grade again. Our children will attend the school there, like they do here. I am excited to be working with many Filipinos again, like in Abu Dhabi, and just being closer to the lovely friends I have in the Philippines again.

Of course, the hardest part of this move is leaving so much of our hearts behind. Mexico is a beautiful place. It's so nice to speak the language! The people we've met here have impacted us on a deep level. It's the kind of place to which I hope to one day return.

But there is also excitement in a new adventure. Asia is completely new to us and the pictures are beautiful. Khmer (pronounced kuh-m.eye) is another new alphabet to learn. Come along with us and see the pictures as it unfolds!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Palabra de Vida Rehabilitation Center, San Jose del Cabo

As we travel around the world, one of the things we always look for is a way to give back.  In San José del Cabo, the opportunity worked out without us even trying. In church one day, the pastor asked Ben as a gentleman walked by, "Have you met Bill?" This was the beginning of our relationship with Palabra de Vida.
Here, Bill is helping Talia get in position to whack the pinata.

Palabra de Vida is, as they say a "Rehabilitation Center [that] seeks to provide the necessary tools for the drug addict and alcoholic to be restored through God’s Word, to be equipped to live and lead a Christian life and to be successfully and safely integrated back into the community as a healthy and wholly transformed person." Ben and I both have worked here as translators, and Ben also teaches English. I don't say any of this feeling special or to get attention. Actually, we've gotten more than we've been able to give. Palabra de Vida and Bill and Jacki have played a very special and important part in our stop here in Mexico. They are very generous and kind people who we look up to and who felt called to start a non-exploitive rehabilitation center here. (I won't even go into how other centers here exploit the addicts. It makes me sick to my stomach.)

Beautiful Jacki
 Everywhere we go, I feel like God has brought key people into our lives to help us grow. I'm very thankful for the ways Bill and Jacki have been part of our Cabo family and let us be a part of the Center (Jacki would want that spelled the Canadian way: Centre). Our kids have been over there for piñatas and love playing with the Center's dogs. 
Talia whacking the pinata!

 I love being at the Center. It feels peaceful and purposeful. They provide classes to the addicts who choose to be there. The guys can leave at any time, though a normal cycle usually lasts 10 months.
They are provided with healthy meals, lessons in practical things like health, resume building, how to make a budget, English, Bible and many other things for no charge to the men. Many, many lives have been changed for the better here. I'm so glad we got to meet them. They are definitely a cause worth supporting.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Break in San José del Cabo

I haven't posted in a while because it seemed everyone kept catching a sickness and when one round would finish a different sickness would start a new one. Adjusting to everyone being in school with germs passed around different from Abu Dhabi has really been an adjustment!

But now, we are well,thankfully, and we've been enjoying our spring break!

We have gone to the beach, the park and running several times already.

 Talia LOVES the water but the boys are scared of it. I think it may have to do with this particular beach having strong, loud waves. They must sound intimidating to a little boy. However, the boys love to play in the sand. Ezra's favorite game is to play peekaboo with his toes. 

Elias and I will cover his feet with sand and ask him where they are. He giggles and kicks off all of the dirt.
Talia and I have been able to go running together. She is really good! Talia is strong, energetic and has a lot of stamina. She makes me run faster than I would alone. Sometimes on our runs we go by the estuary and watch the ducks.

We are looking forward to visiting some nearby markets and towns also. It's so nice to have time to relax!

Happy Spring Break!


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Woodworking and Valentine's

Benjamin has always been interested in woodworking but time, storage and interest have never all collided until now, perhaps spurred on by necessity. Living in a small house with five people, one of which is a toddler who is very curious and good at breaking things, has forced us to be creative with our storage. The house is great, but didn't have much in the way of storage that was out of Ezra's reach. Benjamin looked around online and found some templates and how-to videos and whipped up a storage racks for the coffee cups he is emotionally attached to as he likes to collect them from every country or important milestone he reaches.
Here, some are being washed, but it is currently full.

Afterward, he liked working with it so well, and we have a lot of other ways it could help, so he made a hinged work table that can store tools when not in use.
Today he created little toolboxes for the children and let them paint them. They loved it!
Talia chose red.
Elias chose blue.

They also helped me make Valentines's Day surprises for Ben today. One was all of these hearts to hang in the room to surprise him when he got home from getting supplies.
Then we made him a favorite dessert: apple crisp. Elias was in charge of mixing the apples and spices, Talia made the topping and Ezra supervised... Everyone enjoyed it!

May your weekend be filled with love also.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Los Cabos Half Marathon

This morning was crazy. We were going to meet at 7, Ben had to be there at 6:30. He left and I tried to get everyone ready. I fixed Talia's hair and got Ezra ready while Elias had a meltdown. His meltdown continued while a co-worker called to ask for her things and as we had to run to the plaza. I ended up having to carry him while Talia carried Ezra. My co-worker grabbed her number and ran in the 5k. I was late so instead of running in my 5k I ran with my students in theirs. This was the first enjoyable part of the morning.
I was proud of Talia; she made it to the end without stopping!
I like running with her! I hope we get many more kilometers in together in the future.
(But with a less stressful morning, please!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Paying for the Rosca

Christmas is celebrated in Mexico with a variety of different slants: some of my students believed in Santa, some did not (try being the one they go to to settle that argument) and some waited until the Day of the Kings; or Dia de Los Reyes to get gifts. (Some received gifts BOTH times.) this celebration of the wise men arriving to see baby Jesus is traditionally accompanied with rosca, or king cake. Inside the cake are little figurines of the baby Jesus, and if you get one, you (here) are responsible for bringing tamales the 2nd of February.

Of course, I got one. The owner of the school took care of the tamales so instead I made cinnamon rolls. 75-80 of them. I filled the original rosca container- it seemed fitting, and was big enough to transport them covered.

Ben ALSO got a figurine and his job was to bring champurrada, or hot chocolate. Elias helped him with it this morning:

Out of the 75-80 I brought, only 7 made it back home. It was a fun experience!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A New Fruit and Cultural Times for Food

Yesterday Ben was gifted with a fruit I'm not familiar with. The lady said it was "maricuya" and like a pomegranate. She suggested it blended and said "con vino se hace una buena margarita," which is something I wouldn't know about. Here's a picture if you're interested. It reminds me of the smell of guayaba.

Speaking of food, the meal schedule is different, it seems, in each country. We generally eat within the hours of breakfast  6AM, lunch 12PM, and supper 6PM. In Abu Dhabi supper was much later, anywhere from 8PM to 10PM and Ramadan any of the permitted times before sunrise. 

In San José del Cabo it seems to be like this for most people: nothing or a very small snack (like a drinkable yogurt) for breakfast. Actually, our 11AM lunch time at school is called "desayuno," or breakfast, by many. Then the "plato fuerte," or heavy meal, is served around  2PM. Supper is a light affair around 8PM for the people I've spoken with. If you want tacos or other substantial food, you have to make sure they are still open for a 6PM supper time as some of them close after the 2-4 rush.

Regardless of time, the food here is delicious!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Texans in Cabo

My mom and my sister were able to visit us over Christmas break for three and a half days.

We took them to church with us, introduced them to a great taco place, visited the municipal market, taught a cinnamon roll class and went to the beach! I think we crammed a lot for so little time. My mom took this photo of us at the beach (and has the other photos.)

We hope they can come back soon!

Friday, December 25, 2015

2015 Review

There are so many things I love about Mexico, but Cabo really has a concentration of those things. 

This year has been FULL of changes from packing up or selling everything in Abu Dhabi to our transitional 4 months in Texas to a three week escapade to our final destination and having to jump onto our jobs with both feet running. In all of these changes our family's prayers, coworkers and church family have made the difference.

It feels like we're finally settled in and it feels like home now.

Some things we have done this December include:
Piñata whacking! And csndlelight service, singing, feasting, and great conversation with friends.
Who spoil our kids;
Can you tell they've all had chocolate by their grins? Ezra was a blur, a chocolate covered blur...

I'm so thankful for the relationships we've found here. On to another full year!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Water: Pressure, Temperature

A week or two ago we woke up to what sounded like rain. Since it had rained the day before, it wasn't startling... Until we heard someone shouting "Hola" from the street to get our attention. (Everyone has a gate separating their front door from the street and almost no one has a doorbell to get their attention, people just call you if they're at the door.) The lady who was kind enough to stop and get our attention informed us that our clean water tank on the roof was pouring clean water out of the top and running all down the back of our house and down the street.
Apparently the valve that regulates when the tank is full, like the bulb in the tank of a toilet, was broken. Then, the hot water heater went out. We don't know if the water shorted it out or if its age took its toll. Since then we've been using cold water and manually turning the water on to fill the tank and turning it off quickly when it started to overflow.
Today it was finally fixed! And, in addition, the trickle of water we had due to low pressure was also fixed! That first shower felt amazing.

Edited to add that another consequence of higher water pressure are the leaks we have discovered at the water hoses. It seems they are not built to handle any pressure higher than a trickle.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tropical Storms and Beaches

Many people move here for the beaches. Ironically, we haven't been able to visit a beach since we arrived September 4. After all of the sickness last week ending in Talia's mild version of what they think was dengue, I needed to run again. This weekend we've been visited by tropical storm Sandra (who was thankfully downgraded from a hurricane) so it has been raining the entire time. When the rain finally let up Talia and I went for a walk, and this time, we figured out how to get to the beach!

The waves were marbled green, wild and moody, but so cathartic. I can't wait to run here next time. Next to the beach are a herd of horses! We love to see them and say hi on our way by.
Our school hosts a 3K-5K-10K and I think also 20K. I'm training for the 10K. I want my children to grow up active as well, so they walk or run with me when they can.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Elias came home from school coughing last Monday. Tuesday evening Talia was sore and coughing. Wednesday all three had varying degrees of flu along with Ben. Thursday, I had it the worst.
All weekend we were pretty pathetic all lying down and just getting up to keep up with laundry and food. Then everyone mostly got better except for Talia who continued feeling achy, running a fever and very tired. Ben took her to a clinic on Sunday and the doctor said it was dengue but didn't confirm with blood work, so they will go to the clinic tomorrow to find out. 
After a year here, maybe we will be used to all of the things our immune systems are getting acquainted with right now, and it won't phase us... But flu is pretty common in winter no matter where you live. 
I'm so thankful most of us feel better again. Please help me pray for Ben and Talia.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Boca de la Sierra, Hiking in Beautiful Cabo

This weekend I got to explore a new part of Cabo with some friends. We crammed 11 people into an Expedition and drove to Boca de la Sierra. On the way you can see the mountain Picacho, the highest point here. My friends were upset that it looks like there have been miners changing the shape of the mountain. Mining is a hot controversial topic here because it introduces pollution and messes up this beautiful place.
We arrived and hiked down a dirt then rocky trail, crossed a slippery river, then found a sandy beach area to make a "fogata" campfire.

The beautiful, deep pools were clean and clear. It was a wonderful compromise between a pool and the ocean: clean but no wild animals and still in gorgeous nature.

We cooked beef for tacos, roasted marshmallows for s'mores, swam in the cool water, hiked the giant rocks and laid on a sheet in the sand talking to friends. Every once in a while someone would wander off to "cut flowers" but we knew that really meant they were watering them... 😄

On the way home we were blessed with some of the most vivid colors splashed across the sky in a magnificent sunset.

This day was filled with friends, blessings and nature. I'm so grateful to be alive!