Saturday, 5 December 2015

Parties and Painting.

Hey, hey, hey from our little Caribbean island! Things have been busy, busy, busy around here. Krist and I head home for Christmas vacation in exactly two weeks. When we moved here in the summer we weren't quite sure if we'd still be alive by Christmas, but I think it's safe to say that we'll be back and hating the snow in no time.

Krist and I have definitely been spoiled this year. We got Canadian Thanksgiving and an American Thanksgiving. It was decided that we were going to throw a Thanksgiving party last week at the compound for the workers at our new school and Mission Haiti staff... which turned into around 80 people. Thank goodness we didn't have to cook for that many people by ourselves. We offered to do mashed potatoes, corn, bread and some dessert. Wednesday Krist and I had a huge dessert fiasco. We cook on propane burners that burn things almost instantly if you're not careful. Well, we needed to melt chocolate chips, and nothing happened when we put a bowl on top of a pot of boiling water. We ended up trying to melt them in a pan, and let's just say that our house smelled like burned chocolate for several hours (but at least the dessert turned out to be delicious).

Thursday after school we raced home to start cooking potatoes, and I had arm pain for a couple of days after mashing that many potatoes by hand without a potato masher. In the end we had a magical Thanksgiving feast under twinkling lights with enough food to feed a small army.

Other news from our neck of the woods: we have started doing English class with the kiddos at the orphanage every Sunday afternoon. We do a lesson, some games on our iPads, and a craft or part of a movie. Most of them know at least a little bit of English just from having mission teams come down so often, but we're loving having quality time with all of them on the weekend. We're also realizing how mentally exhausting it is to be translating in our heads all day at school or the compound. Our days are a confusing mix of Creole, French and English. We've been starting to talk what we fondly refer to as "Creolish" (an amusing mix of English and Creole). But we're still faithfully taking Creole classes and prying that the good Lord gives us some extra grace for our language learning ventures.

This past Sunday was the start of a tropical storm that lasted from Sunday at noon and didn't stop until sometime in the middle of the night on Tuesday. That meant RAIN DAY for us on Monday... the only unfortunate part is that we were cooped up inside for two days because everything was wet and flooded and it literally did not stop raining for more than 10 minutes at a time. It got so cold that we were wearing socks, sweatpants, sweaters, and drinking ridiculous amounts of tea. To pass the time we watched a lot of movies, slept, read books, did a thorough reorganization of our tiny house, and baked some dessert snacks with our limited food selection.

Yesterday was probably one of the funnest days we've had at school so far. Krist and I taught our classes about Christmas in Canada and how we get so much snow, and decorate Christmas trees. Then we did an activity where they got to paint Christmas trees by stamping egg cartons onto a triangle. Most of them have never been able to do any type of activity like painting crafts, and they were so excited they could hardly control themselves. It was precious enough seeing them in their little art aprons and I'm sure some of them would have been content to just wear their apron around the class for the rest of the day. It's kind of humbling to realize that something as simple as an art apron can make a child so excited.

One last thought before I finish writing for today. It has been really strange not being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. It's officially December and the closest we've gotten to the "holiday season" is seeing pictures of Christmas trees on Facebook and listening to some occasional Christmas songs. We miss it. We absolutely love Christmas, and decorating and baking sugar cookies, and wearing ugly Christmas sweaters. But ultimately I think what we're really looking forward to is spending deep, quality time with our family and friends, loving and being loved for two short weeks, and getting our fill of Starbucks.

There's a lot that's going to be happening in the next two weeks before we leave for Christmas: Christmas activities at school, testing and another report card period, and a Christmas party for the students and parents at school. But at least we don't have snow!

Sending lots of warm, holiday cheer from Haiti!