School Begins!

August 26th, 2013

Last night you could feel the excitement in the air at our house. The kids were so excited to start school in the morning. I don’t know if there has ever been a time where they have been happy to be starting a new year.   Well, perhaps a little happy but not like this. Not over the top, over the moon, pumped about going.
Even the night before  last night Elisa was trying on all three of her uniforms and prancing around the house in them. As much as she says she hates the formal uniform ( a jumper) she seemed ecstatic to be modeling it as she spun and twirled around in it. Even the dreaded white knee socks ( which we found out are not mandatory) didn’t look that bad.

Today all three of them were awake shortly after 5:30 in the morning. There was no fighting. A first in this home. Such a welcomed change and a breath of fresh air. None of the usual before school stress and everyone got along.

After breakfast and our morning devotions with the kids, we headed out to the gate and waited for the bus to honk it’s horn to alert us of its arrival. They were excited to board the bus and Dale and I were excited to see them go. Peace and quiet at last!

After the kids were on the bus, Dale and I headed out to the Villa Olimpica track for our walk/run. I was happy to get there earlier in the day when it was actually a little cooler out and not so warm.  It is very motivating to be walking or running with about a hundred other people. There are also many people along the sides of the track working out with their trainers.

A while after this Dale and I went out to the grocery store. I had decided the night before to keep my tradition of making a first day of school cake. I needed a can of frosting though since I didn’t have all the ingredients at home to make it from scratch…nor did I have the time.  While we were in the grocery store I saw something I wasn’t even looking for. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was I seeing things?  Could that really be half and half?
Ever since we moved to Honduras I have missed cream in my coffee so much. 
Not only was it in the grocery store I most often shop in…it was on sale! It wasn’t more than what I would pay in Canada. It made my day, and the best cup of coffee I have had in a while. I was so thankful to God that I found it. I would never have thought a carton of cream could be such a blessing.

This afternoon after lunch Dale and I also had our first Spanish class. We hired a lady named Blanca to come to our home and teach us. Wow. She told us by the end of the week we are going to hate her. and she just may be right. I am joking of course as hate is a strong word….but I understand what she means. It was soooo much to take in.  Overwhelming.  It was only two hours and already our brains feel like they are on overload.

We finished up with our Spanish class and Dale’s phone rang. Apparently the our children missed the bus to come home so Dale had to go get them.
When they came home from school, all three of them were so happy and excited. All of them had fantastic days, and said that they love their new school. They all made friends. I was the most surprised with Elisa. I know my girl well, and she surprised me when she didn’t come home from school heart broken and in tears and none of the usual drama. She was calm.

At dinner time I always talk to the kids and ask them “What is the best thing that happened to you today?”
Tonight, this was their response…
Elisa…”I like the teacher. She was happy and joyful and fun loving” She proceeded to imitate her. It was hilarious.
Ben..” I liked all the friends that I made and they are all girls” He later thanked God for all his “girlfriends”
Jacob ” I made a lot of friends. The teachers are awesome”

Anyway, as I prepare to turn in for the night, my heart is full. I am so thankful to the Lord that we followed His leading and came to Honduras. I am thankful that we chose the school that we did, and that my children are happy here. Happy to be a part of everything that is new to them. New country, new culture, new home and new school.  It’s almost overwhelming when I think of all the changes they have faced in a short amount of time. So far there have not been tears.  Though in time they may come. There have been no regrets and all three of them have said to me different times “I LOVE Honduras”

There have been times that they have shown wisdom beyond their years. Take Ben for instance.
Just the other day I was stressing about a situation about our home in Canada that we are renting out and Ben over heard me. He said “Don’t worry mom, God’s gonna take care of it. He didn’t bring us all the way to Honduras just for us to turn around and go home” Ouch. So true. The faith of a child. Because the truth is…He is faithful! We can put all of our trust in Him and his faithfulness. We can depend on Him to be there for us each step of the journey.

1. Thessalonians 5:24

The Message
23-24 May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!

Lamentations 3:22-24
22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

August 27, Day 2 Photo

 

 

It’s been one month…. part 3

 Psalms 72:8
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.

Is a scripture verse that is a part of Canada’s constitution.
It’s also the verse that we used as our theme when we went into the one of the schools of Hope last week. We had two days of “Canada day” Celebrations, even though Canada day was more than a month past.

We talked to them about letting God have dominion over things in their lives, their neighbourhood, their family.


  On the first day we divided each of the six grades into teams and had relays planned for them. Honestly remembering this school in the past I expected total chaos, but it ended up going fairly smooth all things considered. The kids  loved it, even the older children.  Kids in grade 6 in Canada would not enjoy these games. At least I don’t think so.  They would have thought them to be too young or childish, but for these kids I think it was a rare treat; something different from the usual. These kids don’t have all the distractions that kids in Canada have. No computers, or internet, no electronics. It’s like how it was when I was a kid, when the simple things in life were enough to make me happy.

Some of the games we had were puzzles, pin the tail on the beaver,  mini hockey competitions, water relay,  plastic  Easter egg relay, get dressed in scarves, mitts, boots (crocs) relay faster than the person on the other team.

The game I was in charge with was the pinning the tail on the beaver. I also had two other pinning things going on at the same time. Pinning the maple leaf on the flag, and pinning the antlers on the moose. Some of the older boys got a little silly with the tail on the beaver and were pinning it somewhere else. I guess even in Honduras boys will be boys!



A couple days later we were back up in the mountain at the same school.  This time we had presents to hand out to the school director and teacher of the month.

We had beautiful piñatas made by Victors’ wife.  One was a Canada flag and the other was a Honduran flag. Victor lives in the neighbourhood of the schools and is one of our translators. He is also pastor. He is a gentle, fun, loving little guy. Such a heart for his community and for the Lord. He is like Jesus to these kids. You can see him in the blue in the photo below.


We also served the hotdogs for lunch and had Price Smart make two cakes decorated like the Canada flag. A nice change from the beans and rice that some kids may tire of day after day.
The other thing we did was dedicate the school’s feeding program. The director of the school and Judy cut the ribbon and the new kitchen was opened.


It was another great day at the school. I day I am sure the kids will remember for a while.


It’s been one month…..part 2

One of the things we have been doing since arriving in Honduras is heading up to our kids school for various appointments. All along we thought they were starting August 8th; when in reality it is this coming Monday, August 26.
We have already purchased their uniforms with the exception of white socks for Elisa. Ben and Elisa are not looking forward to wearing the uniforms. Elisa was downright grumpy about it after we brought them home last week. She thinks they are ugly and I tend to agree with her, but I totally get the whole wearing a uniform thing. Stay tuned for photos.

Any of the handouts we have been given at these meetings with important information are all in Spanish. That’s a little frustrating since at the moment we know very little Spanish. So, in reality we are signing forms that we have no clue what we are signing. Well, we  have a general idea I suppose as most of the information is covered at the meetings. Thankfully they did have an interpreter there for us.  Hopefully none of the guidelines are broken by our kids as there are consequences. . I know the boys have to have their hair kept nice and trim and around the ears; and no low riding for my oldest, no make up for Elisa. The are different uniforms for different days of the week as well, and you can’t show up in the wrong uniform.

This week alone we have to be at the school four different times. Three of the meeting times are at 5pm. I asked Judy about the time because to me it seemed odd to have a meeting begin at 5pm when that is dinner time…at least for my family.  On more than one occasion I have noticed this. The other time was when we attended CEAD church they had announced an evening of praise and worship this coming Sunday from 5-7.  Again, I thought to myself  “why in the world have a meeting start at 5pm?”
Apparently in Honduras most people eat their evening meal later on; 7 or even 8pm. It makes total sense now why the meetings begin at 5.

One day this past week Dale and I stopped in at a language school to look into language training. It is so imperative that we get started on this immediately. It is probably the biggest struggle right now is being in the dark about everything; not understanding what people are trying to communicate with you. There are many times when I get the gist of it, but basically no comprende.
It was like that when we attended the Spanish speaking church service at CEAD. It was all in Spanish so we didn`t have a clue what was being said. The worship was amazing, and we were familiar with the songs as they were Hillsongs United, but again didn`t know the words so sang them in English.
Once we have the language down pat it will make things so much better. Not just for understanding what people are saying to us, but for getting to know them, getting to know their heart, what their needs are and being able to minister to them effectively.

There are times when I feel so emotional. Please don`t misunderstand me. I am happy and excited to finally be here, but there are times when I feel lonely and sad. Grumpy even.  I miss my family and my friends back in Canada a lot. We are trying to fit into a culture that we really don`t belong in. Some things may look like Canada on the outside but in reality it isn`t Canada and it`s so different. One has to be more cautious here. Always on the alert to your surroundings.  For someone like me who is used to being on the go all the time, I find this very difficult. I can`t just walk to the mall or coffee shop if I need to get out of the house. There have been times where I feel cooped up. I know it`s all an adjustment and God is helping me get through it and giving me the strength each day. I am learning that it`s ok to just rest…rest in Him and draw closer to Him because without the Lord I would never be able to get through each day.

I am learning patience….slowly! Things here take longer than they do in Canada. Even when purchasing office chairs from Office Depot is an outing that is not as simple as just buying a couple chairs. Nope. They open each box and take each part of the chair out piece by piece and slowly very slowly…in slow motion, take it out and look at from each angle inspecting it piece by piece. It`s funny now but in the moment when you are in a hurry and wanting to get on to the next thing it`s not so funny. Everything within me is saying hurry up!!. Why is this taking so long!  Opening a bank account took two hours! So it`s a learning process as we adjust to life here in Honduras. Life in the slow lane except for when you are in traffic when no one has any patience and cars are honking at you to move when you have no where to go. It takes getting used to.

I was reading in my devotions the other day and the words kind of jumped out at me..
Romans 5.3-5 ( The  Message)
There`s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we are hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we`re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary- we can`t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.

sign at the kids school.

So that being said….please continue to keep our family in your prayers as we adjust to a new culture and new country.  It`s an adjustment for us all. We appreciate your prayers so much.

It’s been one month …..part 1.

It’s hard to believe that just more than one month ago we boarded a plane for Honduras. In a lot of ways it seems like we have been here a lot longer. So much has happened in a relatively short period of time. I was going to write all that I wanted to write in one post but I have a feeling it will be too long so I will do it in a couple parts.

For the first couple weeks we lived in the team house while we looked for housing; a process that was almost draining.  We looked at nine homes in all.  Eight houses and one apartment. All of them I liked; except for the run down place with a bat flying out of one of the bedrooms. But even it had a lot going for it if it were fixed up.
  So many things to consider in looking for a home in a foreign country where everything is so different from everything we are familiar with, everything we know to be “normal”.  I guess nine may not be that many to some, but by the end of it we were just done; ready to make a decision.

 I had been praying long before we even moved that we would be settled in a home before the kids started school on August 26th. One thing about God is he knows our hearts desire;  and when it came to timing of the house, He delivered right on time!
We ended up after much prayer deciding on a lovely home where we offered less than the asking price for rent. The real estate agent who had shown us the home told us that she would never go for that….but the land lady did! What a blessing and surprise that was. God never ceases to amaze me in how He blesses us. He is so good!
One of the things we had wanted was a view and this house definitely has views…some of the best in Honduras I  think. One cannot sit outside on the terrace, look at the view and not feel blessed by God; not feel His peace. We see his beautiful creation just outside our door or in looking out our windows.

The house itself is not in the best of areas. However, we are safe as we do have a gate and walls surrounding the property that are topped with razor wire and an electric fence.  It isn’t safe for me to walk outside  of that gate, and those who know me, know how difficult that is, as I am such an outdoor kind of girl.   But, we do go to a place where I feel safe to walk and Dale can run. I also do walk in my area of three houses….up and down the hill and around the court yard and the top and bottom. Crazy I know; but it works for me.

We have been in our home for two weeks already. Slowly we are picking up furniture ( some of it hand crafted in Honduras and stained with nothing more than shoe polish) It is starting to look and feel like a home. We love it aside from the ants we can’t get rid of . In all honesty they drive me crazy. I have almost been in tears over them…waking up and finding my counter and floor covered in hundreds of tiny ants. However I have been told that it is a part of tropical living and there really isn’t a lot we can do about it. So I put up with them and try not to stress about it.  We are also getting used to no hot water….it’s tepid but definitely not hot. I guess that is one of the “perks” of living in a third world country.

 

One really “cool” thing that I have mentioned before is that missionaries that I met on facebook a year ago, right after our dog died…previously lived in this home a few years ago!
 Back then it was very different and the owners have done a lot of renovating to this place…but it’s the same home; just different. I can’t get over the fact that in a city of 1.7 million people and how many houses that people I know lived here before us.  I have seen some of the before photos too and what a change!

We also bought our vehicle! It’s a yellow Nisson and is the same colour as our house!  The great thing about it is that it is an automatic. I don’t plan on driving anytime soon though; but perhaps some day I will tire of being a passenger and want to drive myself to the grocery store, mall or where ever.

The driving here is way different than in Canada. There just seem to be no rules to the road. People make their own lanes, they don’t signal if they are turning and cars will pass you on the left and the right. If you are going to drive here you need to pay attention. I have been freaked out many times and have screamed several times while my hands are flapping. Not sure what all the hand flapping will accomplish but it’s a reactionary thing. That being said, Dale is getting really good at finding his way around the city and at driving Honduras style!

Food prep and cake decorating in Honduras

 This post is going to be a little different than what I usually write but
 I thought I would share it anyway for anyone who might find it interesting to know the way things are done here at least if you are a foreigner when it comes to preparation of produce.

Before you cook your veggies and fruit here in Honduras, you need to be sure to clean them properly to ensure that you do not get sick.
 What I have been doing after purchasing my groceries is washing them all at once so that they are done for a few days. I have to admit I do not enjoy this process as it is very time consuming especially if you have purchased a large amount of produce. It also uses a ton of bottled water. The other day I used an entire 5 gallon bottle.
Below is the way I have been trained by Judy  in the cleaning of fruits and veggies.

Cleaning fruits and vegetables

Vegetables and fruits with hard skins

The first thing you have to do is examine your fruits and vegetables for cracks. If you find any, do not use this procedure; use the procedure for leafy vegetables below

Vegetables and fruits with hard skins such as peppers, tomatoes. Zucchini, carrots. Lemons. Oranges, apples etc….. can all be washed in HOT soapy tap water

Do NOT soak them in soapy water.

Wash them quickly and rinse thoroughly in hot tap water.

Place them in a bowl big enough to allow PURIFIED water to cover them.

Let them soak in a solution of 5 drops of microdine to 1 gallon of water for 20 mins.

If the tops or sides of the vegetables or fruits are not under water, rotate them after the 20 mins and soak for another 20 minutes

Rinse well in Purified water (after the 20 minute solution soak)

Place in to a clean bowl with some paper towel in the bottom to drain the remaining water.

You can remove the paper towel after completely drained

Eat and Enjoy!

 

Leafy vegetables

The first thing you have to do is examine your fruits and vegetables for debris or bugs. If you find any, either throw it out or if it’s not a lot you have an option to use it after cleaning.

YOU WOULD DO THIS SAME PROCEDURE back in Canada but here you just have to be a little more careful.

 

Vegetables and fruits that are leafy or porous such as lettuce, basil, cilantro, parsley, strawberries… can NOT be washed in HOT soapy tap water.

They must be cleaned individually (one leaf at a time, one strawberry at a time) in PURIFIED WATER.

Rinse and clean until you know it looks good such as no more debris or brown colored water.

Wash them quickly and rinse thoroughly in PURIFIED water.

Place them in a bowl big enough to allow PURIFIED water to cover them.

Let them soak in a solution of 5 drops of microdine to 1 gallon of water for 20 mins.

If the tops or sides of the vegetables or fruits are not under water, rotate them after the 20 mins and soak for another 20 minutes

Rinse well in Purified water (after the 20 minute solution soak)

Place in to a clean bowl with some paper towel in the bottom to drain the remaining water.

You can remove the paper towel after completely drained

CAUTION!!!! Do not over soak things like strawberries/ blackberries as they will become very SOOGY.Soak time for these I usually reduce to 15 mins and always make sure they are under water.

A small plate helps keep them down under.

Eat and Enjoy!

 

Onions/ garlic/ Potatoes

Anything that has peeling skins on that you are going to cook or fry can be washed in hot soapy water if you wish. (Onions/ garlic)

“Or”

Vegies with skins that peel can be carefully peeled and cut without washing. (Onions / garlic)

It’s your choice
I always wash my potatoes in tap water only as I am going to cook them.
Cook all vegetables in purified water
When you are in doubt do the wash. J

Food preparation/ July 2013/ J. Lundrigan

Now for Cake Decorating

 

Since we have moved here I have made two cakes. The first one I noticed nothing unusual as it was a mix and the icing was canned. By the way it was a flavour I had never seen in Canada….Key lime cake mix and key lime frosting. The frosting was AMAZING! I could have eaten it right out of the can.

 Jake had his 15th birthday the other day and as usual I wanted to make him whatever cake he wanted. It’s been the tradition since the kids came to live with us over ten years ago.
  I baked the cake and adjusted the temperature accordingly because we are living in a higher altitude. I made my fail proof buttercream icing. Normally I have to add a little extra liquid or more vanilla to this recipe to whatever consistency I need at the time. However once the icing was made; I noticed it was not the same consistency at all. I ended up having to add more icing sugar and more flour because it was not thick enough.
Icing sugar here in Honduras is not the same texture as it is in Canada or the States. It is almost granulated and the finished result although  delicious, was quite gritty…not smooth the way one would think buttercream should be. Welcome to Honduras!
Next time I need to remember to add a lot less liquid and try and tweak the recipe to perfection. I will be sure to have fun trying anyway!