Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Oh We're in Iowa, Iowa!"

Kristen says...

Greetings from Iowa! After a "grueling" 2-day 2-flight trip (thanks again Delta, for splitting our trip up after we'd paid for a straight-through trip, not paying for our hotel, AND making us pay for the three bags we brought home since we had to claim our luggage and re-check it for the second leg of our flight. You are no longer my airline of choice, even if you did get me my dog a year and a half ago...) we are home!

We've already had a great time: we spent all day Saturday with my sister, her husband and my nephew Ezra, and then today with Chris' family in the morning and my parents this evening. So far I've seen 2 of my 4 siblings, and will connect with my other sister tomorrow and my brother who lives in Memphis will be here with his wife and my soon-to-be niece or nephew on Tuesday! We helped hang greenery at Chris' parents' church this morning, and put up Mom and Dad's tree tonight, so we're already in the holiday spirit! It (finally) feels like Christmas!

Hope you are all having a great week before Christmas (or before you get a day or so off of work)!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Guess What!? My Parents were Here!!!! :)

Hello again faithful blog readers:

I have heard through the grapevine that some of you have been asking for this post, and I want to apologize for its tardiness. As per usual, coming back from time off of school is hard because you have to play catch-up ball, PLUS I came back to the last three weeks before winter break!

That, of course, means writing final exams, checking all the late work that "magically" appears at the end of the quarter, and pre-planning for Semester 2!

However, I thought I'd better get this written before Friday, because that's when we go home for the Winter Break!!!! :)

So, as I mentioned, my parents were here...
They came in on a Saturday, the same day of my Discovery Teacher's Workshop. The timing couldn't have been more perfect because the Workshop ended at 12 and I was at the airport to pick Mom and Dad up by 1. One of the things I love about Tegucigalpa's airport is the closed-circuit televisions that let you watch the progress of the passengers through customs and picking up their luggage, so I knew exactly where they were in that process.

After visiting the ATM we headed to the apartment for a kiss-filled reunion with Pip:
and a BRIEF repacking and then headed south toward Amapala.

We changed our Amapala routine up a bit this time...we normally stay at a great little place called the Hotel Veleros, but we decided to stay at the (bit more expensive but with a pool) Casa de las Gargolas. I have to say, both places have their charm, but you can't argue with the Gargolas' six hammocks and personal fans (oh, and did I mention the pool?) Dad was even able to catch some Sunday Night Football!
The Gargolas does not have an attached restuarant, so we did make it over to the Veleros a few times for delicious chicken tacos and (sorry Mom) banana soda...ick.

We also traveled around the island, visited the port of Amapala (it used to be the most important port in Honduras)...

...and had a great family dinner (FYI: Mom and I both had that delicious-looking lemonada con soda she's holding, sin alcohol!)

...with a lovely view! The port by evening:

After the boat ride home...

...we headed back to Teguc and out to eat before we headed out for an afternoon trip to Valle de Angeles. (The same day we came back from Amapala...did I mention the week was busy?)

Mom caught a catnap before lunch...

...and bought a painting afterwards!
(does that artist look familiar?! We have at least 8 of his paintings in our apartment)

The next day we went downtown and up the hill to el Cristo del Picacho, a large statue of Jesus that looks out over Teguc (and is just slightly higher up the hill than a huge Coca Cola sign...)

And if that wasn't enough, the NEXT day (if you're keeping up, we're at Wednesday now) we left Teguc and drove to the Copán Ruinas (ok, full disclosure, we took it easy on them and only drove halfway on Wednesday, we actually made it to Copán on Thursday).

After we got into town and checked into our hotel, we decided to take a trip to Macaw Mountain to see the birds.

The next day we spent the morning at the great museum Casa K'Inich:

That afternoon we spent some delightful hours at the actual Ruinas...I didn't know this about my dad, but apparently he'd wanted to see Maya ruins since he was in high school...needless to say, he REALLY enjoyed his time there!

Chris: The dancing jaguar is the new raptor!

Dad: the coach in the Mayan locker room

I think we were a little picture-happy on this trip :)

After two days in Copán it was time to say goodbye. :(

We drove to San Pedro Sula to drop Mom and Dad off, but had a good time watching the Iowa State-Ohio game on the big TV in the airport:

It was a really great week, and I'm sorry it took me so long to share with with you!

Theoretically my next post should be from chilly Iowa!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Birthday Cake, Halloween Costumes, the Beach, and MORE Car Drama!

Kristen says...

Hey, long time no blog!

I am very sorry to those of you who like to read this blog...October and November are always quite busy in the life of this teacher, and it just never seems like there is enough time to eat, sleep, work AND blog...

As you probably figured out from the title, a lot has happened since last I blogged (funnily enough, most of it on weekends)

Starting chronologically, I had a very nice birthday, and even had a belated birthday cake:

(cake by Kristen, decorations by Chris! It was DELICIOUS!)

The Monday after my birthday was another Honduran holiday (Armed Forces Day) and the Monday after that was school "celebrates" this day with Book Characters Day. I came as Daisy from "The Great Gatsby"
(Why yes, I did feel a little silly!)

Here's what I looked like the rest of that day:

(Much better!)

The weekend after (the first weekend of November) we decided it had been WAY too long since we'd seen an Amapala sunset, so we packed up Pip and headed south with some friends.

As always, Pip had a great time exploring the island and getting covered in sand...

...and poor Chris got stung by a jellyfish! Ouch!

But at least the sunset was amazing, as always!

We were really glad we went with friends in their car because, even though we had our car fixed (again) a few weeks back, (btw: transmissions are EXPENSIVE!!) I'm not sure the car would have made it all the way to Amapala.

You see, we ended up sending it back to the good old mechanic again this past Friday night because it was making a really horrible grinding noise all the way home from school that day...the bad news was the car was sick again...good news was it wasn't the new transmission (yay)! Apparently our exhaust pipe had somehow gotten flattened and wasn't releasing exhaust properly. Yikes. It seems to be driving fine, and we took it to Valle for a test drive this afternoon...The lesson we've learned? I refuse to buy any car more than 10 years old ever again! Too much drama!!!

This past weekend we celebrated the birthday of the US Marine Corps by attending the Marine Ball with some friends here in Tegucigalpa. Our quick little trip back to Iowa in September was awesome for a number of reasons, one of which was that we were able to bring back clothes for the Ball (and meaning that we didn't have to go buy new stuff!)

Chris wore a suit he bought to wear when he was groomsman in a wedding a few years back, and I wore my (are you ready for this) 11th grade prom dress! Apparently this is a bit strange and most people can't wear clothes 10 years after they bought them? I have always really liked this dress (burnt orange is my favorite shade of orange) so I was thrilled I could still wear it. I have a picture at home of Chris and I together the first time I wore it, but it's not digital'll jsut have to settle for the 2011 version:
(First time around I wore black elbow-length gloves and my hair pulled back and curled; this time I opted to borrow mom's lace cover-up and leave my hair straight. Either way, I really love that dress!!)

We had a really nice time, especially because we got to spend time with State Department friends who will all be in DC or on to their next assignments within the next 6 months. Sniff. It's going to be so hard to say goodbye to so many friends!

And with that, we're all caught up through today!

I am really looking forward to this week because my parents are coming to town this coming Saturday!! We are really looking forward to seeing them and visiting some of the Honduran sights...should be great! They are only the second people to come visit us, so we're really excited to have guests!

We've been having a lot of really great rainbows here lately...I hope we get one while Mom and Dad are here! (This one was at school as we were leaving on Friday)
I hope you have a wonderful week! Thanks for reading!