We woke up at around 8 am. Yoselin and Yasmin came into our room and hopped into bed with us. This is our favorite way to wake up...something that Yoselin has been doing for quite a while. We were soon also joined by Paola, Eddy, and even Terri the dog. They were all pretty low-key and we all laid together quietly. As time went on they started to wake up and they grew more rambunctious.
They went to get the Jenga game, and played on the area rug next to the bed. Aracely finally woke up and joined us in our room. The girls are always curious about all of our belongings. While inspecting Craig's Chapstick, Aracely twisted it up too far and it caused it to get stuck to the cap and broken off of the tube. Paola noticed and, without saying anything, fixed it for him as a surprise.
We went into the dining room and sat down at the table with Humberto. Paulina served us pancakes for breakfast. Aracely always licks the top of the syrup bottle. She is a sugar fiend. We would love to bring a bottle of real Vermont maple syrup for them to try; maybe someday if we ever check a bag and can bring something larger than 3 ounces. We noticed that we had not seen Vanesa yet this morning, and Humberto told us that she was at typing class. The girls all know their way around a computer pretty well, and typing is a good skill for her to learn.
Aracely and Yoselin asked if I had any more mints in my pocketbook, which I didn't. However, this was the first time we had visited near Valentine's Day, so we had brought the girls Valentine conversation heart candies. In lieu of mints, we decided now would be a good time to distribute them, along with matching stickers (“stampitas” in Spanish). Since Vanesa and Rocio weren't around, we put theirs aside for later. Craig and I each ended up with heart stickers on our foreheads. We played Jenga at the dining room table, and even Paulina joined in this time.
Cousins Josue, Andrik, and Neli came over. The girls played with Eddy’s little bugs on wheels. Yasmin made videos of them with the "old camera," as we had started to call it. We all went back into our room, and Craig sat on the bed. The girls climbed up behind him, flipped forward over his shoulder, and Craig would catch them and lower them gently down to the floor. It was like an assembly line, girl after girl running, climbing, and flipping. "Otra vez!" they would cry. We gave piggy-back rides and had chicken fights with kids on our backs. Even normally super-shy Josue eventually acquiesced to a piggy-back ride.
Paulina went to the market and we entertained the kids while she was gone. As much as we enjoy going to the market, we knew that she is able to get her shopping done much faster if we are not with her. Vanesa came home from her typing class. After all of the running and lifting and carrying kids, I was really sweating. Aracely reached into her pocketbook and daintily extracted a tissue to wipe my face. She's such a sweetie. We played hard until 1:45, when we sent the kids out of our room so that we could take showers.
Paulina returned from the market and prepared a delicious lunch of spaghetti in a cream sauce with little pieces of ham. We had fresh orange juice to drink. Humberto joined us all for lunch. Aracely slurped up the spaghetti and ended up with sauce all over her face. Humberto put the TV on their new Spanish-language travel cable channel, and we started to watch a program about Latin American destinations. We could really get hooked on this channel, even though we don't understand every word.
After finishing their food, the kids all went outside to play Jenga in the hallway in front of our room. Junior, Josue, Andrik, and Neli came over and joined in the game. Jenga was certainly a big hit, and we were glad that we had thought to bring it.
It was a lazy Saturday afternoon, and everyone alternated between playing, relaxing, and doing chores. Paola washed a pair of jeans in the outdoor sink. Then Paulina gave Eddy a bath in the outdoor sink. He sat in there with his rubber duckie. Neli swung on the rebar hanging down from the second floor of the guest apartments. Paola made Tikal out of Jenga blocks. Aracely picked off my hangnail just like Yoselin had done back when we first met her, years ago. Maybe they’ll both grow up to be manicurists!
The girls then each took showers in the bathroom of the other completed guest room - we were correct in the thought they would take advantage of the water heaters that exist in the guest bathrooms but not in their main bathroom.
At around 5 o'clock, we walked down to the lake for sunset with Paulina, the girls, and Eddy. This is always one of our favorite activities, and it reminds us of the first time we ever met the girls and took a photo of all of them with the volcanoes in the background. We sat on the stone wall while the girls wandered around the lakefront. Vanesa held Eddy while Aracely and Yoselin slid down the hill on their bottoms until Aracely’s light colored pants were stained brown from the dirt. Paulina just shook her head and laughed. Paola and Yasmin climbed the little observation tower in front of the Hotel Porto del Lago, and Aracely followed them up. Aracely got scared about climbing back down (rightfully so - it hangs rather precariously above the shoreline), so Craig stood behind her as she climbed down the ladder. The sunset became beautiful, lighting up the clouds surrounding the volcanoes in orange and gold hues.
Paola and Vanesa climbed the tower and sat silhouetted in the gorgeous sunset. A group of kids from an Evangelical youth group walked by. We recognized two as Yesmy and Laisa, the girls' cousins whom we had met on a previous visit. We called hello to them and they immediately ran over and excitedly gave us kisses and hugs. We were very flattered that they did this, even in front of their peers. Panajachel really feels like home since Humberto and Paulina's families are so kind to us. As it started to get dark, we walked back to the house.
Humberto was at the house when we returned home. We had Rosa Jamaica tea and bread at the dining room table. Junior and Rocio came over (This was the first time we had seen Rocio all day). Craig, Vanesa, and Paulina played Jenga. They built an extremely high tower, and we all watched with anticipation until it inevitably fell. The girls watched some TV shows on the Disney channel.
We ate fresh chicken tamales (wrapped in banana leaves) for dinner. They are made each Saturday by Humberto's sister-in-law, and they were delicious as usual. We played with the Jenga blocks and enjoyed chatting with Humberto and Paulina. We reflected on the visit thus far, and how much the kids had grown and changed since last time. We noticed, for instance, that Yasmin was being much more affectionate on this visit. And Paola was very mature and always taking responsibility for Eddy. She didn't even seem to mind getting her photo taken if she was with him. On this visit, Eddy was very responsive to the camera as well. He would get a great big smile just as I snapped the photos, which meant that we got a ton of great photos of Eddy (as you can see). The kids were all growing up, and we enjoyed noticing the changes that occur between our visits.
Tomorrow, Eddy's baptism day, would require us to wake up early, so we went to bed at a reasonable 10:30.