Tuesday January 5, 2016 - Paola's 17th birthday, Circus school

We woke up at around 7 a.m. Eddy and Aracely stopped in to our room before heading off to school, a tradition that we very much appreciate.

Today was Paola's 17th birthday. It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating her quinceañera (15th birthday), and we will be celebrating Yasmin's on Saturday! We gave Paola a photo collage, showing how much she has grown up since we first met her. We also gave her a jacket. She was very grateful and said that she liked the gifts very much.

Paola's 17th birthday

I logged in to work and Skyped into a meeting. I was so intent on the call that I didn't notice Humberto (in a motorcycle helmet) skulk up behind me for a photobomb. Too funny!

I took a break for breakfast. We gave shirts to the kids, and a tiny Nike sweatsuit for Ian. The girls cooed over Ian's little outfit, and tried it on him right away. Again, we are so impressed with how they take care of him. Baby Ian is adorable as ever. Today he learned how to stick out his tongue (they say he has never done this before).

For breakfast, we had pancakes with pure peanut butter and fresh juice made from carrots and apples. Then I went back to work. Craig hung out with the girls at their computer, and saw part of Ylvis' creepy "What Does the Fox Say" video. You can't unsee that, so he would later show it to me, and we would have that annoying hook in our head for days.

I joined the family in the dining room for lunch. We enjoyed small bundles of green beans tied together and fried in egg batter. These were served with, guacamole, rice, and salsa. I had to finish my lunch in our room because I had to call into a meeting.

Craig napped while I worked in the afternoon. He generally felt healthy on this trip, but he was often tired. It was perfect for him to take a nap each day before Aracely and Eddy came home from school. That way he could recharge his batteries and be ready to play with them in the afternoon/evening.

After I was done with work, Aracely and Eddy returned home from school. I helped Eddy with his homework (classifying English words as nouns or verbs). He definitely knows the definition of noun and verb, and easily classified most of the words without any coaching.

At 4:30, it was time for Aracely and Eddy to attend a "circus school" afterschool activity. Vanesa would be chaperoning, and Aracely invited us to join them. It sounded like fun, so we grabbed the camera and were on our way. We rode in a tuk-tuk to a property across the river.

We entered the gated property, which contained a house, a treehouse, and lots of garden vegetation. There were three large round trampolines. Aerial yoga silks were suspended from a branch of the treehouse, and tumbling mats were arranged on the ground. Some expat teachers from their school helped to coach the kids, as did some local yoga teachers. The whole program seemed to be be run by a Guatemalan man.

Aracely literally jumped right into the activities, taking off her shoes and bouncing from trampoline to trampoline with her school friends. There were boys and girls there from their school, some blonde-haired blue-eyed US expat kids, some local Mayan kids like Aracely and Eddy, all with adult chaperones. It struck us that Vanesa was a full-fledged adult - she was chaperoning two of her younger siblings, sitting with Craig on a bench and beaming like a proud parent.

There was one adorable 4-year-old Mayan girl who appeared to be the younger sibling of a student. She was interested in tumbling and headstands and really getting a lot of one-on-one since her "turn" would be up and nobody was waiting to be next. We all enjoyed watching her try some handstands. What a fun job this must be; coaching kids to do such fun things that boost their confidence. I admired these free spirited individuals.

Eddy is more shy and took some coaxing to participate. He started off swinging in a hammock. Then he did some handstands on the gymnastics mats, and went for a tour of the treehouse. Aracely's teacher, Miss Ashley, who was helping with the program, actually rented this treehouse as her apartment. She took the kids on tours of her place, and Aracely got photos with my camera of the bed with mosquito net, hammock chair, futon, etc.

One precocious gringa girl around Eddy's age asked me if I was Eddy's mom. I said, "I am his Godmother." She said, "Godmothers make wishes come true." I replied, "Well, I'm not a fairy godmother..." She looked at me skeptically and asked, "Well then, what kind of Godmother ARE you?" Indeed!

Aracely learned how to climb up the aerial yoga silks easily, and she climbed very high. (She is in the yoga club at school, so she is very adept at this kind of thing, though she had never done aerial yoga before). She then bounced on the trampolines with her friends, doing a somersault in the air.

Eddy resisted the trampolines, though we encouraged him. Eventually, he started to bounce, and then you couldn't tear him away. He was having so much fun, and we are very glad that he got over his initial shyness and enjoyed the opportunity.

Aracely climbed the silks one more time, doing some aerial poses and eventually sliding down the silks "like an angel", as Miss Ashley said.

It started to get dark and it was time to leave. It was difficult to get Eddy off of the trampoline. Vanesa joked that first he didn't want to participate, and now he didn't want to leave. Miss Ashley climbed the silks and then disconnected them from the tree. They bundled up the tumbling mats, and piled them into the vintage baby blue VW bus parked in the yard.

We had a lot of fun and were glad that the kids invited us to join them. We walked all the way home. Paola had a boy over (we would later learn that it is her boyfriend Jeremias), and they were working on some decorations for Yasmin's upcoming party in the hallway. We didn't want to embarrass them, so we said a casual hello and then continued on our way to the dining room. We had tea and played with baby Ian.

For dinner, we had beef in mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and zucchini. Then we showed the family the photos and videos that we took at the circus school. Eddy still had some Spanish homework to do. Paulina, Craig, and I helped him. He had a list of six combinations of letters. He needed to roll dice, and then match the number to the letters. Then he needed to think up a word which started with that letter combinations. It was fun and challenging. For us, it was fun because it was like trying to play Scrabble in a foreign language. Sometimes I thought of a word that fit the bill, but wouldn't be appropriate for a 1st grade paper (orinar).

By 10:45, we had to call it a night. We said goodnight to the kids and went to bed.
Humberto photobombs Steph while she's working

Humberto photobombs Steph while she's working

Ian learns to stick out his tongue

Ian learns to stick out his tongue

Vanesa and Craig chaperoning circus school

Vanesa and Craig chaperoning circus school

Aracely climbs the yoga silks

Aracely climbs the yoga silks

Group photo: AMA at circus school

Group photo: AMA at circus school



See more pictures from this day

Previous Day Trip Overview

Back to Craig and Steph's Vacations
Next day

Read our guest book   Guest book Sign our guest book
Please send any questions or comments to steph@craigandstephsvacations.com
All photographs and text copyright 1996-Present www.craigandstephsvacations.com except where noted.