Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Peep

I love Peeps. Thanks to my dear friend, Kaylee, I, like most Americans, got to eat some Peeps for Easter.
 
But, I want to know how many people have ever met a Peep.

Confused?


This little chicky was really active. He just wouldn't stay inside his yard. Not sure how he ended up pink. Really, I hope 'he' is a girl! If not, it could have been extremely damaging to his ego.
Oh, the things we see....
~Abby

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"For to Such Belongs the Kingdom of Heaven...."

After drying off from a morning in the waterfalls, we got back into our cars and started off to the next village. When we pulled in, the children of this church were already there waiting for us. There were lots of them, too! It was magnificent to hear these precious ones sing - they sang with all their hearts! Their voices echoed through the building, really an unforgettable sound!


Waiting to get the service started.


Devora and myself with the little girls. They were adorable! I tried to talk to a few of them but they wouldn't say anything. Slightly bashful, yes, but they were probably more perplexed at this white girl speaking Spanish. I guess they thought I looked a little funny....
I love that little girl near the middle in the back laughing and covering her mouth! They all just giggled the whole time!


The little boys lining up for a picture with Brad and Jonathan.

After pictures and songs, Jonathan shared a message with the children. The kids always listened so intently to Jonathan. They probably thought he looked a little funny, too. Then we gave out the gifts.....


Because there were so many children here, we opted to take a few items out of the bags for each child. There were a lot of other churches awaiting our arrival, and we knew this church would have wiped us clear out of the back packs! So, we created a large goody bag, and I had the privilege of choosing a couple things for every girl. We had to do this on multiple occasions because the churches had so many little ones! What a blessing!

Really, I liked it this way. We were able to choose things specifically for a certain child. It's pretty obvious that the tiny princess in the fluffy dress and sparkling head band really isn't that interested in jacks and a bouncy ball. No, she would be much more pleased with the lipgloss and glittery flip flops at the bottom of the bag. And this way, we got to see the children's faces light up when they saw what we chose for them! It brings tears to my eyes to just think of it.

"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:11


Bradley got to do the same thing for all the boys! Looks like the little guy with the frisbee is pretty excited!

Pondering all these things in my heart,
~Abby

Friday, April 23, 2010

Las Cascaditas

A little refresher - the Lord knows we need it sometimes.  This was one of ours during our time in Chiapas.

After we left Paradise, we drove through a valley between loads of mountains to get to these little waterfalls.  J, Brad and I seriously thought we were lost right before we parked the cars and got out - only to hear the rush of waterfalls in the distance.  Such a sweet sound, I think!  So, we walked down a path a little ways and found this nifty spot.

I don't know the name of the place, hence the blog tittle : The little waterfalls.


Behind the waterfalls, my dear husband discovered, was a cave.  It wasn't very big, but it was dark and slimy.  It took me a minute to get up the guts to go back into it, but J helped me and I screamed like a girl the whole way through.  I was just sure some snake was going to pop out right in front of my face to greet me and welcome me to his home.  I probably would've passed out.

None the less, once through, we sat under the falls, wishing we had brought shampoo since there was never any guarantee that the next place we slept was going to have a fully equipped bathroom. Actually, come the think of it, the next place we spent the night, we bathed with buckets of ridiculously cold water



These 'pools' were pretty deep and the bottoms were all rocks, which made the water even more clear.


There was also a big rock, about 8-10 feet high, to jump off of into that big pool of water in the picture below. Well, the rock isn't in the picture below, it's farther to the right, but the pool of water is. Oh whatever...


Do notice the pole going across the top of the photo.  When we jumped off the rock we had to dodge the pole in order to not hit our heads.  Fortunately, no one hit their head.  Also, notice Brad about to fall.  The rocks were really slippery.  Again, thankfully, he didn't fall and hit his head.

'Twas positively wonderful.

-Abby

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

True Friendship

I got a note in the mail Friday telling me I had a package waiting at the Post Office.  Yippie, my first mail in over 4 months!!

My dearest friend, Kaylee, sent me a happy!  It was stuffed with Easter candy (since the Easter candy down here left something to be desired), hair accessories, socks, tea tree oil, and a few other things....



True friendship spends more on the shipping than the contents.  

Munching on slightly squished, minimally melted, decadently delicious jelly beans....

~Abby

Friday, April 16, 2010

Paradise

That was the name of the first village we went to in Chiapas.  It was a little different than I had imagined Paradise to be, but it was quaint, and honestly larger than most of the villages we visited.  Upon arrival, Jonathan asked where the streets of gold were, to which Inmer replied : "Somebody stole them."  I think that pretty much explains it.  The people there were very hospitable; the church members were waiting for us when we arrived.  We spent the night at Reina's house, a young lady from the church, on an air mattress we had just purchased from Wal-mart in the last large town.  Having been warned that we may end up sleeping on the floors of churches, we decided this minor purchase could make the trip much more enjoyable.  It also kept our hosts from offering their own beds and in turn, them sleeping on the floor.  All in all, a decent purchase.  We should have, however, sprung for the electric air pump because it took Jonathan, Inmer and Bradley 30 minutes each night to blow the thing up with a bicycle pump.  Who knew?


The next morning we went to the church; Jonathan shared a short message and then we gave bags to the children.  It is really remarkable - children who have so little, are pleased with so little.  All the older boys received soccer balls, which made then indescribably happy.  

(A sweet little girl with her pink goodie bag)

The bags are all filled by churches in the States and brought down by Phil and Marianne - the American couple we are working with down here.  For girls, the bags consisted of anything from clothes, Lip Smackers, crayons and coloring books, to soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrushes & toothpaste, hair accessories, flip flops, dolls, Barbies, stuffed animals etc...

(Happy girls!)

For boys, the bags typically included a soccer ball, pencils and paper or coloring books, yoyos, socks, again hygiene items, calculators, frisbees, toy trucks and so on. 

What a joy it was to see the smiles on the children's faces when they opened their bags.  Some of the children were so sweet, they would just sit there until finally one of us realized they weren't going to open their bags until we told them they could.  You would've thought it was Christmas.  Really, it was like Christmas to these children.  And the farther we got up into the mountains, the less the people had and the more excited the children got!

(Bradley, myself and Inmer in Paradise.  I didn't want to show them up with my massive muscles, so I kept my arms hidden.)

Tootles!
~Abby

P.S. If you are interested in filling any of the bags with treats, please contact us.  We can always use more!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Germ-X

After our stop at Aqua Azul, day 2 of driving through Chiapas to our first village got really long. And by really long, I mean r-e-a-l-l-y long.  We spent the best part of the day in the middle of no where, driving up and down mountains and being stared at since the few people in these parts have more than likely never seen white people except possibly on TV - if they even have TVs? - let alone on their back roads!  I wish I could have counted the double takes.

Anyways, by late-afternoon, our car, which consisted of Jonathan, Bradley, Inmer and myself, was really hurting for a potty.  After walkie-talkie-ing (who named them that?!) Ricardo to ask to pull into the next bathroom and realizing it might be a while, we opted to pull over on the side of the road.  You gotta do what you gotta do, people!  We found a nice trail, probably some poor mountain farmer's drive way, and located the nearest, large trees.  I won't go into any more detail than that, but let's just say I was really hoping Mr. Mountain Man wasn't about to herd his cattle down the path cause that really would have created an extremely awkward situation. 

(Jonathan and me running back from the trail, toilet paper in hand.)

I will give Inmer credit - he did not lower himself to our weird American standard, and must have held it to the next town.

Meet Salvador.  The crazy doctor who Ricardo and Devora somehow know, and needed a ride back to Chiapas.  He believes in clean hands.




He jumped out of the car and came running with Germ-X.


Inmer must have felt he needed it, too, just being in the same car with all of us crazy Americans.

Thanks, pal, for keeping us all de-germified. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Agua Azul

Early during day #2 of driving, we stopped in the mountains at a popular tourist venue, Agua Azul.  On the way down the road to the parking, there were loads of women and children walking in front of our cars trying to sell us anything and everything they had. 



Here is our awesome navigator, Ricardo:


Pretty water color:



Jonathan looks like a giant.  Really, he was on the highest rock.  Regardless, he's a lot taller than all the rest of us!








(Tarzan 1 and Tarzan 2)


Empanadas come with potatoes, beef, cheese, chicken, or pretty much anything else you can think of to put in a tortilla and fry.  They are very popular in these parts - delicious with a little extra cheese (aka fat), drizzled with a little half and half ( more fat), and a little spicy green salsa (healthy cause it's made with jalapeƱos, right?)


(Nevermind Tarzan in the background, he's still looking for Jane.)


Bradley decided he wanted to risk his life walking across the falls.
(For all you worriers: It's not really as high as it looks.  Although, there's no need to worry since it's already taken place.)



And behold, he made it across safely.


Beautiful! 

-Abby

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CPK

I have a lot to tell about our 2 week trip to Chiapas, but until I get a chance to weed through all the pictures and let my creative juices start flowing, I figured I'd give you something to drool over....

Mmmmmmm.....

Did you know that I love barbeque chicken pizza? It's something about the sweet barbeque sauce, or the smokey chicken flavor, or the soft, floury crust - or maybe just a mixture of all three - that makes my taste buds unreasonably happy.

We frequent this joint, California Pizza Kitchen, to devour two of these mouthwatering, lip-smacking, delectable pizzas! 

But, first, we stop by the Oxxo to grab a few drinks. The 50 pesos (approx. $4.25) is about what we save by just getting Jonathan's and Brad's drinks at the quickie - I bring my H2O from home. The drinks are insane at this place - 32 pesos (~$2.75) for a fountain drink and they'll only give one refill! I think not....


Okay. On to the grub...


Oh. My. Goodness. Heavenly!


Hangin' out with my boo.



Bradley trying to connect to the internet to catch Hannah - his boo. :O)

Now for the real reason I come. Not really, but kinda.

Okay, really.


Caramel, fudge, pecan cheesecake. I'd like to order a whole one of these babies as a welcome gift in my heavenly mansion. 

The only way I can justify the calories (I dare not ask how many!) is that my wonderful husband helps me eat it. 


Hey, thanks! It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

-Abby