Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Friday, September 23, 2016

Home Improvements

During our time away, our landlord made some improvements on our house.  Arriving home, we discovered our house and roof had a fresh coat of paint, our floors were re-polished and there were now walkways around the perimeter of the house.  Before, we had a good deal of underbrush growing around the house, so the cleared walking spaces are a welcome change!

I tucked a few special things in my luggage to sprinkle around the house, too.  I've got just about everything put where I want it, except the kitchen curtains I made which are waiting for their rods.  We'll grab those on our next trip down to the city.

Oftentimes I wondered what sort of house we'd end up with once we had signed on to come to Lesotho.  I really had no idea what to imagine.  This house has such a special place in my heart now and I really enjoy just about everything about it.  Sure, the leaky roof is annoying at times, the electricity is spotty (not the house's fault, of course) and occasionally the pipes burst.  Nevertheless, the house has far exceeded our expectations for rural African living.  It really is home.  I plan to have my artist sister sketch a drawing of it so we can take it with us wherever we go.

Gift from my NY visit in August

Christmas gift from my Sister in Law

A favorite decoration

Another favorite

My very favorite kind of decoration cookie

New diaper rinsing/storage spot.  This faucet is outside, just under the kitchen window.

New walkway which continues around the back of the house.

View from the backyard

View from the road

This happy new table runner was a joint project w/ my mama.  Centerpiece by Ellee!

Love this place.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Snow in September

We awoke this morning to a white Mokhotlong!  It was totally unexpected, to us at least.  Admittedly, I don't bother to follow the weather here.  Every time I have ever attempted to follow the forecast for Mokhotlong, I find it to be ridiculously off.  Now I just step outside and decide for myself what the weather will be like that day.  It is supposed to be spring, but the winds have been cold.  Although the last few days have been chilly, I certainly was not expecting to see snow on the ground this morning.

I ran around like a little kid taking pictures through the windows.  Shortly after I took these, it was coming down heavily with huge snow flakes.  Here are a few to share!

Out Ellee's window

The diapers are now hanging on that clothes line.  I doubt they will ever dry today.

Front of the house

Cold Rocky

It has all melted now but it's still chilly and drizzling.  The ground certainly wasn't cold enough to hold it for long.  We bundled up and went off to church anyway.  Church here is BYOB.  Bring Your Old Blanket.

Happy Sunday nap time...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Up on the Roof of Africa

Did you know that Lesotho hosts a bicycling race called "Roof of Africa?"  Lesotho, made up primarily of mountains, is the only country in the world in which all of its land mass exceeds 1,000m (3,281ft) above sea level.  It's highest point, which is nearby where we live, is 3,482m (11,424ft).  This is why Lesotho has earned the nickname "the Kingdom in the Sky."

When I first began writing this blog, I did so on the roof of our mission center in Mexico.  I used to climb up the ladder to the roof above our third floor apartment and think, pray, rest, or just listen to the hustle and bustle of the city below.  It is sometimes hard for me to remember those kid-free days when I could really ponder life.  Occasionally I've considered changing the name of my blog to something more fitting to my life now.  Something like, "Piled High With Laundry."  Then I'm reminded that, although I cannot comfortably hang out on the roof of my house in Mokhotlong and I barely have time to ponder, I am still Up on the Roof.  And all these little people give me a new and different perspective.

I've always loved the mountains.  It often makes me smile when I look out my window and see the beautiful layers of mountains which surround us.  The Lord knew right where I belonged.  Nestled in the middle of no where.  I enjoy Mokhotlong being home.  It's easy to see why......


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Kyle Starts Kindergarten (And Thoughts From a Former Homeschooler)

This poor, long forgotten blog.  I haven't totally forgotten about it.  Thus, I am going to attempt to revive it now that we are back home in Mokhotlong.

This week we started school with Kyle.  He is so excited about it!  He says he didn't think he was going to like school but now he does!  I'm taking it easy for kindergarten.  I still firmly believe that children learn most from playing, living and exploring their little worlds.  Kyle has been trying to read for months now.  I've been putting him off because I wanted to wait until we got home from America before we started anything structured.  He also loves math like his mama.  He walks around trying to make up math problems for himself.  Weirdo.  I used to do the exact same thing.  He is following me around during the day asking if he can do more school. 

For K-5, we are doing Reading Made Easy, some handwriting and simple math, Uncle Arthur's Story time for character building, Bible memory, read aloud books and lots of games!  He's soaking it up.  I feel like I'm working with a blank slate or a pile of soft clay.  His little heart and mind are so malleable and it touches my soul.  I feel so grateful to be the one who gets to invest in his life everyday!

Reading the Uncle Arthur stories bring me to tears.  I grew up listening to them.  They are great life lessons for children and such sweet and moving depictions of biblical principles.  Kyle listens with his eyes open wide, waiting to learn how the story ends.

I hope Kyle (and his sisters) will grow up loving to learn, loving to be home with us, loving having the people who love him the most as his teachers.  It took me quite a few years to discover how blessed I was that I had the opportunity to experience all those things.  

I grew up homeschooled.  For many years I both loved and hated it. I loved being with my mom and I enjoyed learning what she taught me.  But I desperately wanted to be normal, to fit in and to be accepted by my peers.  I had been teased for much of my life about the fact that I didn't go to real school and thus somehow wasn't a valid learner.  When I finally did attempt school in a classroom setting during high school, it took very little time for me to discover that "real school" wasn't all it was cracked up to be. While I learned a lot through my various teachers, I also learned more than I ever wished to know about the social structure in school.  If you weren't exactly like the mold your peers wanted you to fit into, you would still be teased and ridiculed.  I couldn't shake my desire to not follow, to talk to whomever I wished, and to interact with people of all ages.  Thus I didn't fit into the "normal" mold and was picked on because of it.  

That year I realized how unimportant those things were, popularity and normalcy.  Why did I care so much about fitting in?  I finally realized how much I was gaining from being home, watching my mom, interacting with my siblings, helping around the house and the flexibility that homeschool allowed.  I discovered that my real friends were the ones who liked me because I was me, and popularity wasn't all that important after all.  In the end, I only had a couple close friends.  I still do.  But they were the right friends and for that I am so thankful.  

Oftentimes socialization is the first thing people mention when you say you are homeschooled.  I realize homeschooling isn't for everyone.  But just because you are homeschooled does not mean you are unable to interact with others.  By being homeschooled, I realized that I loved to converse with adults; I could trust them to be more level headed and genuinely kind than my own peers.  I learned to appreciate and not look down on children who were younger than I was.  It didn't matter to me if someone was a year or two (or five) younger or older, if I liked them, I wanted to be their friend.  That didn't fit well into the social structure I saw at school and it caused me plenty of problems.  But now in my adult life, I can appreciate that I enjoy the company of folks much older than I am, because I almost always find myself as the youngest in the group even now!  

Being homeschooled molded my future.  It taught me to be different, to not hold back if I wanted to achieve something - even if it was unusual and not necessarily the "normal" thing to do.  It taught me to respect people of all ages and to go out of my way to include those who were ostracized for one reason or another.  It taught me to be sensitive to other people's feelings because I know how it feels to be teased for being different.  And it taught me that I wanted to homeschool my kids, because I want to invest in their lives and try to show them what being homeschooled taught me.  Plus, I want the satisfaction of knowing I taught them all to read!

Homeschooling has been my plan for my entire adult life and I am thankful I have the opportunity to do it now with my boy.  Here's to hoping it will be as smooth sailing as this first week has been!