Last night we enjoyed a Fiesta as only Tico's can host. Tico's and Tica's are what Costa Rican's are called. Tico being the men, Tica's the ladies. It's fun picking up phrases in Spanish but there is no way I can string enough words together to make complete sentences and really have a meaningful conversation with a Tica. Still, we try!! Last nights party gave us ample opportunity. Jeremey speaks pretty fluent Spanish, his son Jake is very competent and Colette is picking it up well. Bruce seems to retain what he has learned better than I.... we flounder with our spanglish and smile and use hand gestures... we get by.
The party was much gusto! Very fun. There were about 40 people in attendance mostly from Cherie's church. Her pastor and his wife are awesome. We are looking forward to worship on Sunday with them. there were many children running around... in fact since we arrived at the house yesterday there were extra kids who came with the Tia's (aunties, which is an affectionate term for the ladies who help Cherie with the children) so I have not yet truly identified which 6 children are Cheries new family! ah well, still time to meet and get to know them.
We had lots of food of course, with a very American flavor... fruit and veggie trays, potato salad, bbq meat and coke. Oh but there was also rice and beans, and the best fresh homemade pico de gallo I have EVER eaten.... I think I could live off that alone for many days. yum. so fresh. And cilantro grows like grass around the yard and it's spicy pungent aroma permeates the air and makes my mouth water for more.
During dinner Bruce and I got to chat with Cecilia, Pastor Javiar's wife. Cecilia speaks her own version of Spanglish, which is exactly what she called it to my delight! She is a beautiful charismatic woman with grace and humor. I liked her very much. We chatted despite the language barrier with some assistance from her lovely daughter Natalia who speaks near fluent english. Again, hand gestures and laughter transcend the language barrier.
The party highlights were a visit from 'Santa' who brought gifts for the 6 children, and a pinata. This was of course a huge thrill for the kids. The 6 children have been living at Hogar de Vida for many years, knowing that was a temporary house for them. Most of the children in the foster system are not adoptable as either parents have not released them for adoption, yet have given them up due to their lifestyle issues and choices (alcohol, drugs, prostitution) or the children have physical or mental handicaps or there are siblings and the government works to try and keep the families intact. This all makes adoption challenging. So these little homes have been established to provide safe housing for them. Hogar de Vida is one of those places and it is through them that Cherie got involved. She was a Tia there for a long time and eventually the desire to establish her own non profit home came out of her large loving heart. She started working on bringing home 6-10 children about 3 years ago and in the last couple of months things came together very quickly resulting in the children coming home this week. When we planned our trip last spring we had no idea the children would be moving into their 'forever home' the very first day we would show up at the house. But God knew.
This is very rewarding for Jeremy, Colette, Jake and Jordan who have been here previously and have done a lot of work in helping Cherie get the place set up for the kids. Bruce and I are along for the ride so to speak but we still catch the joy and excitement of the moment.
On the way home last night, Jeremy exclaimed that someone had reminded him that is was my birthday today! LOL. I had almost forgot myself. Anyway, he asked if Bruce and I wanted the day off to play and celebrate or did we want to work. Bruce and I thought about it and then took the discussion to the privacy of our room. Bruce wanted to give me whatever I wanted... hmmm, no pressure right? LOL. Well all I could think of was the list of work projects they had planned and only one full week to do it all in. I know my husband and chomping at the bit to jump in whole hog describes his heart perfectly even as he strives to bring me what I need.
what did I need? Easy answer for an introvert whose been exposed to over stimulation since Wed. So it was decided that Bruce would go with the team to work today and the birthday girl would stay here at the hotel and rest. Do I feel guilty? Not at all. I have learned that when I need downtime I need to respect that and take it. Besides this gives me a chance to upload pictures, edit them, blog, send email and ok, read all my lovely birthday greetings on Facebook, maybe read a little down by the pool and allow my body some rest.
While the water here in both the hotel and Cherie's is safe to drink and the food is not over-the-top foreign (rice and beans and corn tortillas, fruit etc) there is still something about travel that can wreak havoc on a person's body.... and I do feel tuckered out!! But as the birthday card from the rest of the team said "Hope you aren't too pooped to party" Well we partied last night so I think a nice dinner out this evening will be just fine!