We woke up at around 8 a.m., got ready, and went out of our room at 8:30. The kids were all awake and Paulina was making pancakes. We realized that we had forgotten to bring maple syrup from home this time. We had checked a bag and everything, so we could have easily brought some like we had in January. The family has a sweet tooth and they had enjoyed tasting something that was native to our part of the world.
We enjoyed our pancake breakfast. Paola was working on her homework. The kids played with the computer and the camera. After breakfast, Craig played soccer with Eddy in the courtyard. Aracely typed on the computer in approximated spelling that she wants a computer, dog, and a turtle for her birthday. It was great to see her writing English words phonetically.
It seemed like a good time to do an activity with Aracely and Eddy. We presented them with some "reusable sticker books", which were like ColorForms we used to have when we were kids (little pieces of plastic in various shapes which can be stuck onto cardboard to create various scenes). We went outside into the hallway between the guest rooms and sat on the floor. Aracely played with the more girly themed set (dress up, ballet, etc.) while Eddy played with one which featured animals and dinosaurs. Aracely carefully picked up only the pieces she needed, and she placed them very deliberately onto the background. Eddy was interested and attentive but not as confident. He asked me where to place each and every item, and he insisted on using every single sticker from the page. After he placed each one he said,"Veddy Goooooood," in what seemed to be an imitation of my praise for him. He tried to place way more stickers than would fit on the background, so he ended up layering the stickers on top of one another. He sat for a good hour playing with rapt attention. This bodes well for him to start preschool in the fall.
Yasmin and Yoselin came home from school and Aracely showed them the sticker books. we all played together, and then Paulina called us to lunch. We unwrapped tamalitos from the corn leaves Paulina had bought at the market yesterday. They were served with black beans and rice, and we had fresh pineapple juice to drink.
After lunch we played with the computer. Eddy loves the New Year's video which feqatures all of the kids, but loses patience with some of the other videos. Aracely used Notepad to type that she wants a dog for her birthday. We used this as an opportunity to talk to her about Terry, their dog which had recently passed away. She said in English, "I want to show you where we..." she didn't know the next word. She made a motion of slitting her throat and rolling her eyes back in her head. "Buried him", we suggested. She nodded.
Craig asked if they put a cross on his grave and she said yes. She said she was going to get her shoes and then she would take us there. She disappeared and then re-appeared a couple of minutes later. She led us out in front of the chicken coop and gestured at a hastily drawn cross scraped in the dirt. She had obviously just done this. She tried to explain in English that she was sad and showed us where they had found him dead, next to the stairs in the guest building.
We told her about our cat Brownie dying, and how we were sad and missed her. This prompted her to tell us about her friend Ilene, whose cat had also died. Humberto had told us that her friend Ilene from school had just moved away with her family to Belgium. We took this opportunity to talk with her about this. She brought us into her parents' room and showed us a poster that Ilene had given her. It was a red rose in the rain, with a Spanish poem about being friends forever.
After a few uncharacteristically solemn minutes, Aracely was back to her cheerful self and we went back into the dining room. We showed Galapagos and Mali videos to Paulina on the netbook. Yoselin was doing her homework at the table.
Paulina got out Aracely's schoolwork from her past two years of school for us to look through. We had seen her excellent report card, and we were interested to see what kind of work she was doing. We read through her word journal, with its English spelling words and verb conjugations.
She also had many math worksheets: fractions, Venn diagrams, graphing, patterns...and the most impressive worksheet with math problems like 18 - ___ = 13. That's basic algebra! In kindergarten. We were very impressed. We had heard some rumors that her school might be closing or merging with a nearby school due to financial constraints. We hoped that this wouldn't be the case, because Aracely was obviously having such a great experience there, and we don't want that to change.
Paulina was playing with Eddy with the sticker book. He was very attentive to what he was doing. Once again we noted that he was definitely showing signs of readiness for preschool in a couple of months.
We spent a long time looking through Aracely's school papers. The early childhood education major in me is floored by the ambitious curriculum, and to think that Aracely is learning it while immersed in English is even more impressive.
Paulina helped Yoselin with her homework. We noticed that they were reading about Darwin and the Galapagos. We explained to Yoselin that we had been there, and we showed her a picture of us next to a statue of Darwin. We also played her the videos montages that we put together for each of the three islands we had visited. Yoselin was excited by this connection to her lesson.
Aracely, Eddy, and Yasmin played with the sticker books in the bedroom. Vanesa came home from school and hung out in the office. Humberto got home from work at around 7 o'clock. He gathered everyone together and announced that we would be going to the kids' Auntie Isabela's restaurant for tacos. Just as Humberto was shutting off the lights in the house, the whole neighborhood's electricity went out. Aracely, who had bee holding my hand, was scared. They got a flashlight and we walked down the alley. We stopped at the office to pick up Vanesa and the lights came back on.
We walked down to the end of the street and turned down Rancho Grande in the direction of the lake. Paola was sitting on the curb with a friend. She didn't acknowledge any of us. We wondered if she would end up eating with us. We walked a couple of buildings down and arrived at Isabela's restaurant. As we entered, a patron was just paying his bill. We pretty much took over the place. Humberto, Paulina, and Craig shared a grande Gallo beer. The kids and I got sodas (I had Tiky, a pineapple soda.)The house specialty was tacos, and we let Humberto order for us - plates of chicken tacos. Paola met us after all, coming in, putting down her backpack, and giving us each a hug. Some of the girls decided on burgers instead of tacos (Vanesa, Aracely, and Paola).
The kids washed their hands and then went into the back with Isabela. Eddy was pretending to run a restaurant and he took our orders and then pretended to prepare the food. Soon Yoselin and Yasmin and Aracely were playing restaurant with him as well. Yasmin's friend Yoselin walked by on the street and smiled and waved when she saw all of us.
Isabela's daughter Heidy came in to help with the rush that our arrival had caused. Heidy's husband and their two little kids Chino and Diana soon followed. Chino and Diana jumped right into the game. The kids arranged chairs in a line and sat in them while Yoselin took their orders.
Soon the kids were called back to the table as our food was delivered by Heidy and Isabela. The tacos were really good - they came three on a plate: soft corn tortillas stuffed with chicken, onions, and peppers. There was picante to add which was hot and spicy.
Humberto also had a platter of additional tacos. He put a fourth onto Craig's plate, and we dug right in. They were delicious! And obviously the kids thought so as well. Vanesa and Paola proceeded to eat 3 tacos after their large cheeseburgers. And Yasmin ate a total of 6 tacos! It was impressive; after 3 I had absolutely no more room.
It was so much fun and everyone was enjoying stuffing themselves with food. We made plans to go out for pizza on Saturday night. Yasmin was boasting about being able to eat 20 pizzas. The kids ran around the restaurant, playing soccer with a bottlecap. There were two more rounds of beers. While Humberto was in the bathroom, Paola squeezed a couple of limes into his last 2 inches of beer. When he got back, Paulina toasted. He tried to get her to take some of his beer and she refused. He suspiciously took a sip and recoiled. There were a lot of laughs and joking. It was a great evening, and we were happy to be able to support Isabela's new establishment.
We left the restaurant at around 10 o'clock. When we got back to the house, one section of roofing was completely missing, and another had been knocked down. It must have been very windy while we were at dinner to disturb the tiles so much. We said our goodnights in the courtyard and went into our room. I Wrote in the journaland we went to sleep shortly after 11 o'clock.
Eddy and Craig
Craig and Aracely
Steph and Aracely
Yoselin does her homework
Paulina, Eddy, and Yoselin
Isabela takes our order
Dinner at Isabela's restaurant
Yoselin, Chino, Aracely, and Diana