Thursday, November 22, 2012


Kids swinging at the Piñatas
         Happy Thanksgiving from Costa Rica! We've had a crazy, but incredibly enjoyable past 24 hours. Yesterday morning at this time I was just finishing up a written and oral grammar test. Suzy was at the doctor with Kaia for her check-up and a few shots. I spent the rest of the morning on my 'route,' talking with Costa Rican men around our community. I came home, ate lunch, and just over an hour later we were heading back to campus to prepare for the Roblealto Christmas party.

          Roblealto is the name of an orphanage home/community here in Costa Rica. Several families live on a piece of land together and other children who don't have families or homes live with them. Every year the students at our language school hold a Christmas celebration for all of the kids from Roblealto. There were about 200 people in all from Roblealto in attendance yesterday! In addition to buying each child a Christmas present, we organized a carnival (essentially) with games, face painting, dinner, Bible stories, music, and piñatas!

Suzy & Kaia with the food, waiting to deliver it to the kids
         Our family bought gifts for 2 different children-- a board game for one and a soccer jersey of a local team for the other. One thing I noticed as I looked through the Christmas lists of the children was that many of them wanted soccer balls, goalie gloves, soccer shoes, and jerseys of their favorite teams. Soccer is such a huge part of the culture here, it's really pretty incredible! I'm not sure if you can fully grasp just how intertwined soccer is with the culture until you live in a latin american country.

          I was recruited to paint faces. I sketched about 15 different full-face paint options as well as a few random things I could paint on cheeks or arms. Of course, I included the crests of the two most popular soccer teams. I had no idea just how popular those would be... though I should have anticipated it.

         Suzy helped to coordinate all of the food for the event. She and 3 other students baked and frosted 200 christmas tree shaped sugar cookies the day before the event and also prepared boxes of food to distribute to each child at the event. Each box included a subway style sandwich, a juice box, chips, and the homemade sugar cookie. And of course, as you can see above, Kaia helped, too!

        So, the day before Thanksgiving, we held a huge Christmas celebration, and I painted face after face with soccer logos. The cool thing was that after the Roblealto event, I went with a group of students and a couple of Colombians to a soccer game featuring one of the two most-liked soccer teams: La Liga de Alajuela. With tickets only costing $6 a person, it's a great cultural experience-- and it's just really fun, too! It was fun to talk with the boys while painting their faces about the fact that I was a fan of their team, too, and that I'd be going to watch the game in just a few hours.

Two of the Roblealto boys with La Liga's crest on their faces

          The event went great! The kids loved the games, ate great food and loved opening presents with items they had specifically hoped to receive. And after the event, I joined up with some friends and we took the bus to Alajuela. It was an incredible game and the crowds were alive with excitement! As we're leaving Costa Rica in just over 3 weeks, it will be my last soccer game here, and it was a great one to go out on! La Liga won 2 - 1, and that win put them into first place in the division. Needless to say, the Liga fans were rejoicing!

The group of 'gringos' from our school

         And today is Thaksgiving. We started the day with some banana chocolate-chip pancakes and coffee, watched a Garfield Thanksgiving Special, and have been having skype and facetime conversations with family members all morning. Our power just went out about 5 minutes ago, so unfortunately I doubt I'll get to post this before we leave for our Thanksgiving celebration. We're getting together with 4 other families from the language school and we're all doing our best to create the typical dishes using slightly different products with necessary modifications... but I'm sure all of the food will be wonderful! I any case, It'll be fun to gather with other brothers and sisters in Christ and give thanks for the many blessings Christ has bestowed upon us!

       So, as we celebrate this Thanksgiving, we are thankful for where God has us in this moment in time. We are thankful for the culture we are in, we are thankful for the culture we've come from, and we're thankful for all of the amazing people in our lives. We're thankful especially for our family and friends who are supporting us in our response to God's call in our lives and are making it possible for us to be where we are. Without all of you, we would not be speaking Spanish as well as we are in this moment, nor would we be about to embark upon a new life in Ecuador in three weeks from now.

    Therefore: Thank you! Thanks for caring about us, praying for us, and being involved in our lives. We are so thankful for all of you! May God bless you richly!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Your friend,


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