Monday, January 31, 2011


I am not a good blog post titler. So that will have to suffice, even with all caps. They convey my frustration with subject lines and paper titles and blog post titles and all of those things, you see.

Just like John Dickinson! Um, you don't see the correlation? See, I am reading John Dickinson, a rather sharp colonist who published some letters right before the Revolutionary War (I'm reading some of his Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania for Freedom's), and he totally typed in all caps.

I know, I know. He didn't type. But what I'd like to know is, how did he convey his frustration with a quill pen? Jab holes in his paper? Occasionally dump his ink pot under the important phrases?

...or maybe he actually scrawled in all caps.

But that was completely irrelevant to this blog post, although it is something I was thinking about tonight. Maybe you can tell I'm desperate to fill space here?

I don't have much to say, mainly because last week was fairly quiet. Quiet in the sense that I was sick and spent an awful lot of time sleeping. A bunch of the kids have been sick too, so we were all rather miserable. Well, I speak for myself. ;)

But, after nearly a straight week of being feverish, achy, weirdly tired, weak, and just overall blahhh, I'm very thankful to be almost completely better today!

It's a good feeling.

Today has been a great day, especially compared with last week. The box of books that my family mailed me a few weeks ago arrived at the post office today!!! You know, the box of books that I need to finish the school semester. Pretty cool!

Yesterday I finished a missionary biography of the life of James Fraser called Mountain Rain. I highly recommend it; very inspiring. Anyhow, I was in a contemplative mood, and one of his quotes struck me:
"I often think that it is only the very, very few who are prepared, by rigorous self-discipline (not a very popular thing nowadays), for a lifetime of great usefulness like John Wesley."
So now I am wondering if I am preparing in the best way possible so that God can make my life greatly useful. I want Him to maximize my life for His glory.

A few random thoughts before I sign off here...

-Josh's phonetic spelling continues to crack me up. Tonight he told me he was "gunu et slopejos." Then, concerned about my health, he asked "hav you ben eting ulot"). I laughed.
-I fail at eating tacos. I think there's an art that I have yet to cultivate. Mine collapse on my plate in a sad heap of...taco insides. But I will learn!

I'm going to bed early tonight, so this is it for now. I'll try to update sometime when there's something more blogworthy to write about!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I try to placate the masses by writing an informative, gigantic blog post, and what happens?

They turn around and spam my facebook wall, demanding that I put up something new. In fact, I am informed that one friend is sitting on my blog right now, periodically hitting refresh. That, my friends, is dedication. And total insanity.

But that's beside the point.

The point is, ....ehh, what is the point?

I have no idea.

All I know is that I am being forced to blog, but I have absolutely nothing to say. Normally I store up little "blogging tidbits" (it should be "blogging bits," don't you think, for the alliteration and all?) in my brain. But this time, I have nothing.

So this will be a stream-of-consciousness blog. Because I don't want blogger to explode with a certain person's continual refreshing.

I guess I should start with what's new. Except I'm not sure if anything is particularly new.

I am still here in Mexico.
I am still living.
I am still in dire need of learning more Spanish.
I am still keeping up with my classes.


Today I taped up my syllabi on the wall, and I feel much more organized. See, I always post my syllabi on the wall at home, and it just didn't feel like school had started without them staring ominously down at me while I type posts. So, those are up.

On Saturday, we had a work day to fix up the house that will soon be a church!

Newsflash: I am not very good with pliers.

What's that? You wanted to hear something NEW?

Then I suppose saying that I'm not athletic and managed to injure myself at gymnastics the first day wouldn't be very novel, either.

Ah, I have learned something. Well, lots of things. But we'll go with this one:

The green stuff in the bowl on the table at the taco place isn't guacamole. Or even remotely avocado-ish.

I roasted my esophagus.

Those two points were entirely unrelated. Hah.

But hey, it's part of the Mexico experience. Right? Right.

I would write more, but I would like to get some reading done for my Freedom's class before I head to bed.

Placated, masses?


Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'm in Mexico!


This blog post maybe more than slightly disjointed, because I've been working on it periodically over the last...week? Yeah, probably. I wanted to be detailed and descriptive, but in the interest of actually publishing something, this will have to suffice!

So without further ado, here is what I wrote probably a week ago:

Well, I really expected to blog more often this, but it's been rather crazy for the last few days.

Right now it's 7:05 AM on a school day, so I'll be heading over to the house to start teaching for the day in about 25 minutes. I'm sitting in the little cabin where Rachel and I are staying, and I can see my breath...and my fingers are almost numb as I'm typing. It's coooold here!

BUT! I have water on for tea, and I can hear it starting to boil. Excellent!

Actually, scratch that. I made hot chocolate instead. Happiness...let the blogging go on.

Let me see if I can do a quick wrap-up of what has transpired since my last blog post.

After I wrote that post, I finished last-minute packing (you know, toothbrush, etc.) and said goodbye to the family who stayed home. Let's just say I was thankful for waterproof makeup that morning... I'm not usually the emotional type, but it was tough!

My dad and four of the kids drove me to the airport (Katrina only went along to ride on the "essselater."). Going through security was a breeze, and I was at my gate with plenty of time. The only book I had ended up packing in my backpack (my carryon) was my Bible, so I read that for awhile.

It was pretty cool, I was supposed to read Isaiah 6 next, and I don't think any chapter could have been more appropriate, because verse 8 struck me with a totally new meaning as I sat and thought about leaving home for 4 months.

It says, "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me."

Pretty sweet, huh? It was like one last confirmation that this was what I was supposed to be doing.

(Speaking of Bible passages taking on new meaning, the tower of Babel account...ohhh man. Let's just say Spanish isn't coming easily. 'nough said!)

On the plane from Buffalo to Atlanta, I had the distinct privilege of sitting behind a man who was reading about plane crashes on his kindle. Haha, it was an interesting choice, to say the least.

And ahh, I will have to finish this tonight because I need to get ready to head over!

Ok, so, it's now the noche, and I am speaking Spanglish. Let's see if I can finish wrapping this up...

I met Rachel in the Atlanta airport, and the flight from there to Mexico City was long but interesting. We had a sort of kerfuffle in the Mexico City airport because we ended up going through customs twice...once without our baggage, and once with. ;) It was confusing because nobody seemed to speak English, which was to be expected since Spanish IS the official language here. (It's strange to be in the minority for the first time in my life!)

The Goldfuss family picked us up from there, and we stopped and ate tacos on the way home...I was a little out of it, I think, but they were good tacos. :)

They had mentioned that there was a surprise waiting for us...which turned out to be that Rachel and I get to stay in a cabin in their yard rather than in the room above the garage!

New Years Eve (the next night) involved watching Prince Caspian in Spanish (and understanding next to nothing), attempting to hit the pinata, and toasting in the new year (with cranberry juice, parents ;)).

I'm afraid I'll have to speak in generalities if I want this published tonight, so let's just hit the highlights here....

-School started up on January 3rd, which meant that Rachel and I had a few days to get used to our surroundings, unpack, and get the schedule run-down.
-The homeschooling is going very well; I think we're getting into a routine which helps tremendously.
-I only teach the three oldest kids, and only a couple subjects each.
-Here's a general idea of the school week schedule:

6:30: get up, shower, do devotions, and such.
7:30: head over to the house, eat breakfast
8:00-1:30- teach school (the ending time rather varies...)
1:30-2:00: my Spanish lesson with Reme
2:30: lunch.

After that, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I go to gymnastics (at least, that's the plan; it didn't work today because I came down with a fever) for two hours (4-6).

On Sundays...we go to church (no surprise there ;)). Being immersed in Spanish (singing, praying, and the sermon) for roughly four hours is both awesome and exhausting. Awesome because I learn a lot that way (I understand much more than I can speak, and I think my listening comprehension has improved significantly in just the two weeks I've been here), but exhausting because I still have to translate everything in my head (and I have SO much to learn!). I know that I need to be able to "think Spanish"...but I end up having to think of the English word every time.

Learning vocab from Reme is helping greatly, and I'm also studying a little bit on my own since (to my great joy) the code for my Spanish 3 & 4 textbook still works even though I'm not home to take Spanish 4, meaning that I can work through the online exercises and tutorials while I'm here. See, the textbook I bought was for both semesters, so I brought it along to keep working through it (heh, trying to teach myself verb conjugations from Spanish 4 without the aid of the prof; should be interesting!).

Also, since Mike writes out his sermons (but doesn't read directly from them), I've been working through translating them so that I can get more from the sermons AND improve my Spanish. It's been tremendously helpful! Carissa actually likes helping me understand the words and phrases that I just don't quite get, which is fantastic. She's a big help with that, though all the kids--even Cara--have taught me new Spanish words.

My college classes officially started on Wednesday, but I started the reading last week to try and stay somewhat ahead. We'll see how THAT works out. Oh, something cool...God's sovereignty, really: about 7 or 8 of the books I needed for my West Lit 2 class didn't come in the mail (to New York) until after I'd flown down here. I thought I had ordered with plenty of time, but apparently not!

Anyhow, I brought all the books I had gotten already and waited with fear and trembling for the Lit syllabus to be posted, not knowing which books I'd need first. Thankfully (praise the Lord!), I "happened" to have all the books I need for the first 3 1/2 weeks, due to a certain friend who "happened" to have some of the ones I needed. So that's a huge relief and blessing, and now we're testing the reliability of the US-Mexico mail system...

Ok, a few things I've learned:

-Pescado and pecado are entirely different. And that's all I have to say about that. ;)
-Dulce doesn't always mean candy.
-Pronunciation can be kinda crucial.
-Understanding a chemistry-type concept and explaining it are also vastly different.
-Mexican food is aMAZing! And picante. I've gotten to try so many new things, and I've liked just about everything. Really!
-Being able to sit on the roof without people thinking I've completely "lost it" is pretty sweet. At home when I sat on the porch roof studying, people driving by would slow waaaay down and gawk sometimes. But here it's normal!
-Never trust Mikey. Especially his lectures on Mexican culture and how to eat things, haha.
-When someone has written "I <3 [name]" on your arm, the difficulty of washing it off is directly proportional to the chance that aforementioned [name] will visit that day. Awkward.
-Skype is awesome.
-So are emails from siblings and friends.
-Aaaand so are *cough* blog comments gently prodding (maybe more like a violently POKING) me to blog... :P
-Fridays rock.
-My little brother is hysterical, and chatting with him is predictably amusing.
For example:
(edited for your sanity)

Jess: hi Josh :D
Josh: so hav you ben ding skul
Jess: yes, I am
Jess: did you learn how to write better?
Josh: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 kis
Jess: awww! do you love me?
Josh: ya
Jess: do you have a lot of snow?
Josh: yae
Jess: is it snowing right now?
Josh: no
Jess: good!
Josh: x-( i lik it wen it is snoing :'(
Jess: haha, good for you! and you are getting good at typing!
Jess: I am impressed
Jess: is anyone helping you?
Josh: no wun is helping [never would have guessed :P]
Jess: wow, you are such a big dude now!
Jess: how is school?
Josh: gud [hope he works on spelling!]
Josh: bi
Jess: bye!

-I brought too much pink. Wait, is that possible? Yeah, I think so.
-Ohh! Pictures would be cool, eh? Since I'm too lazy to upload, here's a public link to my Mexico album...I'll keep adding to it.

All right, I've got to finish listening to a Freedom's lecture before I fall asleep, so I'll catch you all later!