fostering and touristing

We finally found Flora Segunda Panqueques a home that doesn't involve waking us up four times a night to bark at phantoms outside!!! She's gone to the home of a cousin of our pseudo landlord down in San Luis. He had already met her at soccer that happens on the soccer field in our yard every weekend, so he knew he liked her. We don't know him, but we're pretty sure he's going to be good to her, based on the opinion of the daughter of the pseudo landlord. The relief is sort of overwhelming, although it's accompanied by a realization that Toast will be expecting a lot more from us for a while until she is reaclimated to being an only dog again. And then we're going on vacation on Sunday.

My mom is here and we're planning a trip to Nicaragua. It should pretty much be awesome. Over the past couple of days we've gone to the Orchid Garden, the Renario (frog pond) and learned how to make tamales at a massive tamale making extravaganza today. My mom's favorite frog red eyed tree frog. She liked how colorful it was - it has seven colors - blue, white, red, yellow, green, orange, and black. Here is a picture of one that we did not take. We went as dusk was coming on and got to hear them begin to call to each other. It was not quite cacaphonous. Oh, and there was a fancy dinner and the requisite trip to the farmer's market on Saturday. It's been a little weird to finally be a tourist here when we've been living here for four months. My mom says one of her highlights was that I got to play at the open house that was happening at the yoga studio. It was fun to play with Michael and I got to meet the local Italian who plays lots of different flutes and goes by his sanskrit name. It was a good time and there are potentially options to have a music night at Rio Shanti which would appeal, methinks, to the more laid back musician that is me. Sitting on the floor in a yoga studio is certainly laid back.

The orchid garden was amazing too. We wandered about a little bit before getting a tour and walked past most of the flowers that were pointed out to us on the tour. It always makes me happy to learn new stuff and I know my bio background is weak, but it was fun to expand a little. Here's a picture of my mom with some of the orchids that were growing in the greenhouse part of the orchid garden . Oh, and I forgot to mention that my student's family runs it so my mom got to meet one of my kids. We've been running into students all over the place. Makes me happy.

Sometime in the future I'll put up some pictures and commentary about our coffee tour. My friend Carol saved the day with some batteries when my mom's ran out in her camera.


So, my mom got here and we've been having adventures. First there was the adventure where she went on the wrong bus to the wrong Sardinal and then there was the part where she was waiting and I was waiting and we were less than 100m apart from each other. And then there was the adventure in the taxi on the way down the mountain where somehow the taxi was going around in circles like it was on ice (but mom wasn't in the car yet, which I was glad about).

We played scrabble with the scrabble folks today and I like them and jordan finally came along because mostly she didn't know where the game was before and it involved leaving home which is where the books and the interwebs are... We visited school and tomorrow there are the standard Saturday activities at the market and grocery and a special trip to eat breakfast out. jordan stopped scratching my head so now writing this blog entry is less fun :(.

Anyway, the leadup to xmas involves lots of activities in this community and some art making for both jordan and myself because we found ourselves in the gift exchange involving gifts that have to be handmade. I'm doing some watercolor collage something or other inspired by my friend Allison who taught with me last year. Oh, and tomorrow I'm oddly playing (and it'll probably sound odd too) for the yoga studio's open house. It's been a long time since I played background music. I'm hoping I can figure out some more music so I only have to bring a banjo and no guitar.. Or maybe Tricia will let me play hers. The options apparently abound.

not a list of complaints.

So, we've been in a bit of a funk lately:lots of rain + missing friends + wanting maybe something resembling winter... It's made it hard to write because we don't want to just complain all of the time. I'm going to try my best.
Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a secret friend thing happening at school. Now, I don't generally like secret friend things because I spend a lot of time trying to think of presents, making them and then trying really hard not to give it all away. The person who organized it looked sad when I said I didn't want to participate, and it's true, I didn't. I would much rather wait around to see who's complaining about not getting presents and then get inspired about them and give them things. So that happened and I got to help the volunteer who has been working with my classroom because he was confused about what he had agreed to. It was so much better to help him make bread for the first time (and make a loaf separately for his secret friend) than it ever would have been with my own. I really rather like that.
My mom is coming down next Wednesday and I'm also really excited about that. We're going to hang out here and do the million things that lead up to xmas around here and then do some traveling in Nicaragua and on the Nicoya Peninsula afterwards. I'm still trying to figure out how to organize the whole trip, and since it's superhigh season I really should get on the reservation aspect of it, but I'm still so busy with school...
That said, my reports are nearly complete. I have to put in some numbers on some checklists, add a couple of final sentences and send things to the people that need them. Oh, and I should actually calculate some grades, but that's in the plan for Saturday when I totally clean my area of the classroom. The paper pile is vying with my high school piles in both height and complexity.
All in all, though, things are okay. Nicole and I just designed and did an awesome project with the 7/8 graders where they had to create an ancient civilization/city and map it and estimate water usages, and represent the other parts of a civilization through writing, art, sculpture and performance. The presentations were today and even though they were ridiculously long, it was awesome to see all of the thinking that had gone into their projects. I think two weeks was the perfect amount of time because only one group was self-destructing at the end and it was clearly because of the people involved, not the project itself. So there. Now, if it hadn't been the end of the semester, I might have actually followed in Emily's footsteps and done the project with Nicole myself, but the whole write a million reports thing kind of got in the way.
I am hopeful that soon this will look more like a traveling and living abroad blog instead of a teaching one.
Oh, and I saw a toucanet this morning in our yard. Like a toucan, but littler. It sounded like a toucan too, but like one with a bit of a cold. And there were multiple rainbows to greet the morning. Doesn't suck.