jueves, 9 de abril de 2009

La Fortuna and More!

Wow!! So much has happened since our last entry! As you can see, Alaina successfully completed field day and the kids really enjoyed all the activities! There were traditional games like four square and jump rope, and there were also extreme games like a zip line and a climbing wall. There were obstacle courses and relay races, board games, pictionary, and water games. Praise the Lord is was overcast almost the entire day so the kids didn’t get too hot. Alaina directed the tug-of-war and parachute games all day long. The kids loved running underneath the parachute and trying to make the ball fly high in the sky!
With Friday over, our Spring Break officially began. Hooray! On Saturday we went and visited Marina, Alaina’s housekeeper from when she lived in Costa Rica 16 years ago. It was such a sweet reunion! Marina said over and over again, “My granddaughter, my granddaughter,” and gave Alaina hugs and kisses. She took us to her little house and told us a story for every artifact she owns. Plus we got to see baby pictures of Alaina, Mirike, and Katelyn. She was so hospitable and we have an upcoming lunch date with her when she will cook for us. We’re looking forward to it!
After meeting with Marina, we headed into downtown San Jose with Cousin Kevin. He took us to the Museo de Oro (Gold Museum). Here we were able to see the currency of Costa Rica through the centuries. We also saw artwork, an exhibit on light, and a display of different bird artifacts from indigenous Costa Rican times. The final floor of the museum was a huge display of gold artifacts from the pre-Colombian era. It was really neat to see how the natives used the gold to make jewelry, figurines, and armor. After eating “comida tipica” (typical food) we went to a market and did some shopping.
Sunday morning the real adventure began. We got up early and headed off to the town of La Fortuna, snuggled beneath the shadows of the active volcano Arenal. The bus ride was rather miserable because they had people packed in there like a bunch of sardines, and Alaina and I were so grateful that we were sitting and not standing for the five hour trek through the winding mountains. We arrived at the town before dark and were able to spend some time walking around the quaint village. There was a beautiful park located in the center of town that we spent time relaxing in and for the next few mornings, we ate a picnic breakfast there. One thing we’ve both noticed about the culture here is how the people take time to just sit and be at rest. In the states it’s always “Go! Go! Go!” but how wonderful it is to take the time to sit still in the presence of the Lord. “Be still and know that I am God,” has taken on new meaning during these past few days as we have explored God’s amazing creation and taken the time to just sit and listen to God’s voice.
On Monday morning we began our adventures in La Foruna with a hike to the famous Catarata (waterfall). We packed up our backpack and set out on our four mile hike to the falls. On the way we met the sweetest old man who was a believer. Before parting ways with him, he kissed us and said a prayer of protection for us- he was so sweet! We then began the uphill portion of our journey. The guidebook called it “Stair Stepper with a view”. We must agree… the view was absolutely breathtaking! Plus along the way we saw a bunch of Costa Rican farms and one farmer and his son were skinning a cow- right there in front of our eyes!! Thus I feel more educated about the anatomy of a cow. We finally made it to the waterfall and agreed that it was well worth the hike. We spent the next few hours sitting at the feet of the waterfall listening to the water plunge the great drop. We swam in the pool beneath the falls, even though the water was freezing cold! We also enjoyed a peanut butter and jelly picnic. We explored through some trails and found a swinging bridge too. We also found a great look out point where we could see all of the waterfall from our private balcony. Sadly we had to begin the hike back before it got too dark.
Tuesday morning we got up early and went running through the little town. It was great to be able to run on flat terrain! After eating breakfast in the park we headed off to Baldi, a natural hot springs heated by the Volcano. We had no idea the treat we were in for! The place was absolutely beautiful! There were about 10 different pools all heated to different temperatures ranging from 93 degrees to 115 degrees. Some had waterfalls, others had lounging chairs, and still more had water slides. Needless to say we spent the entire day relaxing in the warm water and working out some of the soreness from Monday’s long hike! Baldi also had some beautiful gardens that we meandered through. As the sun was setting we were able to have a perfect view of the smoking volcano with the beautiful night sky painted by the hand of our creator. It was such a wonderful day!
Yesterday we ended our grand adventure with a canopy tour! What an adventure! Basically we drove about half-way up the volcano and spent the rest of the time zip lining down on a series of 15 cables. Yes… it’s true we went flying through the jungle down the side of a volcano. It was so exhilarating and the view was once again amazing! Our adventure ended with a free fall Tarzan swing during which I definitely screamed like a baby. But it was so worth it!! After enjoying the canopy tour we returned to the bus and headed for home- well to home here. We were so thankful for God’s provision and protection during our trip. We couldn’t have planned it any better! God is so good and we were left in awe of how amazing his creation is!

martes, 31 de marzo de 2009

A Weekend in San Jose

Though we did not venture out on another weekend trip, we spent the past few days getting to know San Jose a little bit better.  We decided to go to bed early on Friday so we could get up and run in the cool morning weather. Man Escazu is hilly!! It was great being able to  run the first 10 minutes down hill, but turning around and trecking back up the hill was definitely a challenge. Needless to say, we got our exercise in for the day! After showering up and enjoying breakfast with the most delicious fresh pineapple we went out to explore Escazu. We found some great little tiendas to shop in and we also visited the market where I bought Mangos and Alaina bought a fresh coconut drink.  It was exciting because we found a cute little botique store that was owned by another believer. She told us about her church and some things it offers. We also found a fun Christian bookstore that sells more stickers and cards than books- but it was still fun! For lunch we ate at this random resturant that served delicious beans, rice, and chicken (What else do you eat in Costa Rica but rice and beans?) The best part was that our meals only cost three dollars! We will definitely be returning there! We returned back to the house for the afternoon to write lesson plans and finish up our educational portfolios. We also watched the big soccer game with our host family. Mexico played Costa Rica, but sadly Mexico played a better game and beat CR 2-0.

Sunday morning was another grand adventure. We took the public bus for the first time into San Jose. There we met up with some of Alaina’s parents’ old friends. (Alaina lived in CR when she was five years old and her parents were learning Spanish at the language institute.) The Grumbles took us to a Spanish-speaking church that they attend. It was so fun to be able to worship God in another language. It reminded me that some day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord- in every language!! Wow! The church had a guest preacher speaking from Colombia. From what I understood, he did a great job- he he! Alaina was able to keep up with him, but he was speaking extremely fast for me, and his accent was a little different because he’s from Colombia. After church we went back to the Grumbles house and we had a delicious lunch… with no rice and no beans! Hooray! We ended up finding out some “small world” connections with the Grumbles. Their son knows our roommate Christa…. Craziness!! They were so inviting and welcoming that we ended up staying around for the entire afternoon and  for an American style dinner of waffles and fresh fruit- yum yum! They also took us to Alaina’s old house and the park she use to play at. We were able to walk around and hear some childhood stories. It was such a blessing to hang out with the Grumbles and see the ministry they are doing in San Jose. God is so good! We have been so encouraged and are praying that God will use us this week at Country Day School. 

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for my family at the recent passing of my Grandfather. God is so faithful and I was able to watch his memorial service via skype last Friday. It was such a blessing to be apart of the celebration of his life. I'm amazed by God's provision in my life and his kindness to me. Hasta Luego!

jueves, 26 de marzo de 2009

Our Address in Costa Rica!

Some of you have asked for our snail mail address here in Costa Rica, so here it is!
Our address at the school (and yes, you have to write it all on the envelope):

Country Day School
Alaina Bare & (or) Lydia Bond
300 meters West 200 meters South of Escazu Central Park
Escazu, San Jose
Costa Rica
Central America

Our address at our host families house:

Alaina Bare & (or) Lydia Bond
Escazu, Del Cogegio Nuestra Senora del Pilar 200 metros Sur y 25 metros Este
Casa amano derecha beis.
Escazu, San Jose
Costa Rica
Central America

It would take minimum of 2 weeks for us to recieve any mail. I do not suggest sending any packages. Thank you!

Latest news from Costa Rica.

Wow! It’s hard to believe that we’ve past Hump Day! This week has been very busy as Alaina and I began teaching classes. This week I started teaching the metric system to my third graders. On Tuesday we had story character day! The students dressed up as Pippy Longstocking, Harry Potter, Judy Moody, Thing 1 and Thing 2, Arthur, Amelia Bedila, and many other exciting story book characters. I myself was Nancy Drew. There was also a “Book Assembly” where some of the teachers performed a reader’s theater of The Rainbow Fish, and principal, Mr. Large went flying through the air (using a harness) when he caught a giant dragon by the tail during another story. It was so exciting and the kids were very entertained by the performance. Yesterday we went on a special community service field trip to a local school called Corazon de Jesus. While we were there we showed the students how to make wallets out of recycled milk cartons. We also mod-podged a big bin for the students to place recyclable materials into. The kids loved the project! It was neat for the wealthier students from CDS to be able to give to some students who don’t have much at all. Today we have the third grade science fair, and it should be very fun and exciting to see the students hard work displayed. Alaina’s cooperating teacher is in Honduras for the next few days with the girls’ volleyball team, so she is teaching the entire PE class. She’s also coaching the boys’ volleyball team after school. 

Last night we were able to attend Young Life again. We had a wonderful time playing broom ball with our high school friends. We also played signs and heard one of the leaders, Boo, tell the story of the paraplegic man who was brought to Jesus for healing. How wonderful it is to know that God can heal not only our physical needs, but most importantly he has the authority to heal our sinful selves. He can bring restoration to our lives and make us as white as snow! Continue to pray for us as we are a light to those around us at Country Day School! 

lunes, 23 de marzo de 2009

The Manuel Antonio beach trip was adventurous to say the least! We decided it would be best not to take our nice digital camera's for fear of getting them stolen, so we decided to draw all of our adventures for you all to see.

Lydia and I came up with creative ways to entertain ourselves when we waited for the bus to come pick us up on our way to the beach. We kept a tally of the gringo's we saw, played speed, and even saw a boy with a red rat tail. This was just the start of our adventure. If you want to know more detail please feel free to ask! Take a look at our pictures and ask us about what most interests you, there is a story behind every stroke of the pen and every word on there!

Once we arrived at the beach we had so much fun going to the national park. We saw a momma sloth and her baby, an albino frog, a bat (at a far distance... we didn't pay for the binacular usage) a baby deer (whose mother was eaten by a jaguar), monkeys (who we watch steel sunblock out of someone's bag and proceeded to eat it), iguana's (so close we could pet them, but Lydia wouldn't let me), and beautiful butterflies!

We swam in the beach 3 called white sand. It was picture perfect. We walked out until the salty water was up to our neck and we could still see our toes clearly (we have matching orange toe-nail polish on)! Imagine: sitting on clean white sand with the suns warm rays bathing your body with the ocean at your fingertips! We wished Loren and Ross were there!!

Sunday morning Lydia mentioned in her note below, it was also absolutely breathtaking! Singing songs infront of the ocean is mesmerizing and we were both awe struck at our mighty God! We also built a sand castle and signed our names Christa (Alaina) and Katelyn (Lydia). We signed our names that way because when we were on the bus coming to the beach we remembered our roommates story about when they were on the bus in Malaysia.

On our way back from the beach after our 4 hour bus ride we took a taxi from the bus station to our house. Although many would think our adventure was over, do not be decieved. We ended up having a musical taxi driver who sung us Nicaraguan songs the whole way back. (We told our taxi driver our roomate Charley was in Nicaragua right now- He was so happy!) It was quite intertaining. We also sang him a song and it was a joyous occation as we were worshiping God!

Our Weekend in Paradise!

After an amazing trip to Manuel Antonio, Alaina and I are looking more and more like ticas (the local word for Costa Ricans). Actually we probably look more like tomatoes or lobsters, but we promise we wore sunscreen the entire time!! Our trip the beach and National Forest was amazing! We were able to see frogs, deer, monkeys, iguanas, raccoons, butterflies, and three-toed sloths! Plus we saw some of the most beautiful beaches in God’s great creation. My favorite part of the trip was probably our early morning run on the beach. The weather was perfect with a cool breeze, and we got to see the sun rising. Afterward we had a sunrise Sunday morning service on the beach during which we sang out praises to our King. We were both so in awe of the works God has created and that he would let mesley people like us enjoy this work. Oh what a wonderful God we serve. There are many wonderful stories to write about but it is late and we are both exhausted from the long day of traveling. More later on surfing dogs, finding Hotel Coco Beach, and Monkey Bars!

viernes, 20 de marzo de 2009

The Adventures Continue...

The past few days have been busy busy!! On Wednesday we had a ½ day of school with the kidos, but for the remainder of the day we attended a mini-workshop session for educational development. The sessions were excellent and I learned a tremendous amount about Writer’s Workshop, Kagan’s Models, and Positive Ways to Handle Difficult Behaviors. Alaina also attended a session on Relaxation Strategies. Immediately after school on Wed. we headed to our friends’ house for Young Life Team dinner. This was really neat because we were able to be in Christian community and share a meal with like-minded people. It was neat to hear the stories of how all the leaders had come to Costa Rica and gotten involved in Young Life. After a tasty American-style dinner- with no rice and beans (praise the Lord!), we headed over to the US embassy housing where we were having Young Life club for the night.

The theme of the night was a Mystery Dinner Party. Basically it was a real-life game of Clue. Alaina’s dream come true. Yes that rhymed. Everyone was given a character to portray, and goals to achieve. The object of the game was to talk with the other characters in order to fulfill your goals and to discover who killed Tom Speed. The game was fun and tricky because you never knew what spin would happen next. Also, you were unaware of others’ goals and motives, so cutting deals and making alliances could be tricky. Anyway, it was great fun for us and for the students. Afterwards our new friend, Fran, spoke about Jesus and the thrill and joy of having life found in him. He shared the story from John 14 when Jesus tells his disciples that he is the only way to the Father. It is a great story and you should check it out if you get a chance. It was such a blessing to take part in the same ministry happening here in Escazu, Costa Rica as the ministry that is going on in Jackson, Tennessee. God is on the move and it is a beautiful thing! (Yes I’m reading The Chronicles of Narnia- he he!)

Today we were able to go to a volleyball game and watch some of the girls we met through Young Life. We also clandestinely obtained a plant for us to take care of during our time here. In honor of Shalom, we now have a beautiful little plant named Bombero. If you are wondering, bombero is the first new Spanish word we learned here in Costa Rica. No, it does not mean someone who drops bombs or “bombs away.” In fact it is quite the opposite. Bombero means Fireman. We planted our little Bombero in an empty peach fruit cup that one of the kids from CDS left lying around. Another exciting thing that happened today is that we saw Moses. I’m not kidding. I mean this guy was as close to Moses as you can get- beard, robes, staff, the whole nine yards. And he lives on our street. I mean Alaina and I began looking around for the Red Sea or a burning bush. Sadly we could not stop and take a picture with Moses, but no worries, we drew a picture that is almost exactly what we saw. Then we took a picture of the drawing and we’re going to post that for you to see. I know-pure genius.

The remainder of the evening we spent planning our trip to Manuel Antonio. This is a famous National Park where we are going to spend the weekend. I don’t want to spoil the adventures, so we’ll write more about it when we return. Please pray for safety and for a relaxing time as when we return we will begin teaching our first lessons at CDS.