Getting up off the lap of luxury

My father is so wonderful to us.  For thirteen years now, he has given us a family vacation as a Christmas present to himself.  At least, that is what he said the first couple of years, and now we all look forward to it so much that his hands are tied…

We all talk about where we would like to go and what would be good for the ages of the kids.  We spend hours poring over places at VRBO.com (that’s vacation rentals by owner) for a house big enough to contain our growing family.  This year my family graciously agreed to come to Costa Rica for the vacation.  We met in the north and went to the beach town of Tamarindo.  We stayed just outside of town and mostly went to Playa Avellanas.  We had the good fortune to have Will’s brother Sam with us for a few days too.  We had a gigantic house on a golf course.  Because of room configuration and family size, we ended up with the master suite and the bedroom next door with a double bed and two bunk beds.  The furniture was comfortable.  The bedding was luxe.  We had a memory foam pad on our bed that we gave thanks for nightly.  The kitchen was ready for cooking, with a six-burner gas range and a dishwasher! and a huge fridge which we quickly stocked– we drove our car to the grocery store when we wanted to go!  The outside was landscaped.  The air conditioning was blowing.  It felt so American.  It was an escape.  I kept fretting about bugs getting into the food or the trash until I realized, “This house is sealed!  The windows are not open!”  The pile of dishes after eleven people had eaten looked intimidating until my sister-in-law simply loaded the dishwasher.  I sat down on the couch and did not want to get up.  I ran my hands along the plush towels in the bathrooms.  I flushed my toilet paper down the toilet.

But (you knew there was a “but” coming didn’t you?) Continue reading

Allison’s Last Trimester – also a good family picture!

From left to right, Annie, Will, Peter, David, Allison, Sarah

From left to right, Annie, Will, Peter, David, Allison, Sarah

As a continuation of Sunday’s and yesterdays posts. . .  I, Allison, will not take regular classes, much as I loved them, for the next term.  I will continue to work on my Spanish with a tutor on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for an hour each session.  We are going to talk about hispanic culture and literature.  My tutor, Laura, is from Chile, and has a Master’s degree in Latin cultural studies or something like that, and so I am looking forward to her South American perspective.

Please pray for me to have patience and wisdom as I homeschool the kids.  Please pray that God will help me to continue to foster the friendships He has given me here even though I won’t be on campus as much.  Please pray for me to have understanding and unflagging support as Will may need more time for school with his new FARO route.  Please pray for me to embrace my role here at home and to relish the time I will have with the kids.  Please pray for me to learn how to have solitude when the kids are home all day.  Please pray for me to learn how to pray more.  Please pray for me to be humble. 

Thank you so much for your prayers.  I don’t know where we would be without them.

Tamarindo with Family

We are in Tamarindo.  Actually we are a bit south of Tamarindo, but it is the closest town.  We are glad to be here to spend time with the Smith family, and it is always a great time when we are out of the busy-ness of San Jose.  We are having a great time watching the cousins reconnect with one another and sharing life with one another again.  Every time we are together it is a blessing.  Tamarindo is a small surfer town located on a great beach with beautiful waves.  The tide is large, and when the waves go out the rocks are full of tide pools that are full of stranded sea life.  We had never been to this part of Costa Rica, and we are surprised by how much it reminds us of the hill country in Texas.  It is the end of the dry season so everything is brown, and it is not a jungle.  It is still beautiful, but not the thick jungles we have enjoyed seeing in southern Costa Rica.  It is incredible how this small country can have such variation in flora and fauna.  I keep hoping we will see some monkeys so our little cousins from the states can see some of them before they get back home.

Sights along the Highway in Costa Rica

We are currently on vacation.  My brother is in the country, and Allison’s father, brother, and his family are with us as well.  We have travelled to the beach in Tamarindo to celebrate our time together.  Everyone actually flew into Liberia which is around 5 hours from San Jose, Costa Rica.  The distance is not far, but the road is narrow and curvy.  It takes longer than it seems it should take.  We made the trip without any problem, and we were surprised at a local truck stop to see howler monkeys and scarlet macaws in the trees.  We stopped at a church in Cañas to admire the mosaic tile work on the church done by the artist Otto Apuy.  Apparently Otto Apuy was a young man who could not stop himself from doing art with bright colors and shapes wherever there was space available.  Some thought he was rebellious, others just noted he had a lot of artistic energy.  A local Peace Corp worker introduced him to the greater world of art, and his talent took off.  He went to Spain where his work was featured, and now I believe he lives in Costa Rica and continues to do his work.  I cannot find a lot about him on the internet, but I loved the look of the church he has beautified.  While we were taking pictures of the church, we were suprised to watch a 3 foot iguana walk by.  We were in the middle of town, and this big lizard looked completely at home.  Pura vida, Costa Rica!