Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Christmas, this year, we knew was going to be different. First time away from home, first time with a fake tree at home, first year without a Christmas Eve dinner, etc, etc. And no egg-nog latte's from Starbucks...sigh... Our trip to Panama came about from many different levels. First, we knew we had to leave country because our student visas hadn't been approved. We didn't want to be illegal! As my 40th birthday was on the 21st, it seemed ideal for us to leave during that time. So - Panama it was. Christmas day was quiet. We brought Madison's gifts with us (our only gifts to each other, Mike and I, was the trip to Panama). So, Madison opened her gifts, we enjoyed her enjoyment over all of them (thanks to her grandma/pa Pettengill, grandma/pa Brumm, and Aunt Jerry!!!!). Then we ordered KFC for lunch (what else you may ask?! It's the only place open on Christmas - even the hotel dining was closed), watched movies, did a family devotional, and ended our Christmas day.
Today is our last full day in Panama City. On this trip so far I've enjoyed turning 40 years old, celebrating Christmas in a hotel room, visiting the Panama Canal, seeing old Panama, and just RELAXING! We had our annual watch-all-three-extended-edition-Lord of the Rings-in-one-day event yesterday. We've done this every year. We order pizza (no exception - ordered pizza in Spanish and had it delivered to our room - see...we ARE learning something), drank soda, and sat on our king sized bed (ahh...what a blessing - after sleeping on a double for 4 months) and watched them on our lap-top computer. Hey - our screen on our lap top is bigger than our TV screen back in Costa Rica. All in all, a great day! Today we are going to head out to Traffic Islands - the islands that were created from the land pulled out when the canal was dug. Imagine - creating 3 islands from dirt from the canal. Wow! Then, tomorrow we pack and head back to the airport, and back to our current home in Costa Rica. Don't know our plans for New Years Eve - we hear staying at home is the best option - can get a little crazy in San Jose during the holiday - so we may just be staying at home, playing games, and being a family. We shall see.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Here is a 3 minute 30 second video of old Panama City. Yeah…we know…the accompanying music doesn’t fit at all, but, who could resist?
Monday, December 24, 2007
Here is a three minute time lapsed video for you to watch. While this video is only three minutes in length in actualy uses 12 minutes of footage. It is of a cargo ship being raised up in one lock and traveling through the next lock, with only a few feet of space on either side:
Saturday, December 22, 2007
View of canal from the walkway
Friday, December 21, 2007
Naughty little monkey
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Check out this three minute video to see a bit of the Festival:
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Mike has been attending a ministry to the kids at La Carpio on Thursdays. Take a look at this five minute video and learn a little about the kids of La Carpio and the ministry:
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
We have been here for 3 1/2 months - not that long in the grand scheme of things - but here we are getting ready to end the trimester. We have come a long way - here is the nitty gritty for those who want the down and dirty. For more details, keep reading.
Vocabulary words learned: 685
Verbs learned: 310
Over 900+ words we were given to learn...Keep in mind that these are words that we were given to learn. These don't include the hundreds and hundreds of other words we have learned along the way - after the 4th time your teacher says, "por ejemplo", you figure out she is saying "for example" - this is an example of vocabulary we weren't given to learn, we learned from immersion por supuesto (of course).
Now, for the details (stop reading if you are already bored, or could care less):
- Conjugation of verbs in present tense - both regular and irregular verbs
- Conjugation of verbs in two forms of past tense
- We only have 12 more ways to conjugate verbs we have to learn....sigh....
- We learned that EVERY word is either masculine or feminine, and each has an article that goes in front of it: la casa (as an example), or una casa, or unas casas, las casas (the house/es)
- Then of course your adjective has to agree with the masculine or feminine tense as well. Do you live in a red house (rojo)? Then of course it's not rojo - it's raja - because it must match casa - yo vivo en una casa roja.
- Boring you yet?
- We learned about Estar and Ser - both "to be" verbs - and the 20+ different reasons you have to know to determine if you use either Ester or Ser
- Then we learned about "perifrasis verbales" - different phrases to say different things
- Then came direct objects - easy you may say - well, that's in English - Spanish is entirely a different thing!
- Indirect objects, of course, came next.
- Then substitutions of both the direct and indirect objects (Ellen went to the store....changes to "she went to it"...oh so easy you may say? Even third trimester students confuse when/how to use these)
- How to phrase a question - different format than regular sentences
- then comes reflexive verbs. It's used when something directly affects you - such as you look at yourself in the mirror. The sentence structure is different. A VERY different way of thinking about things.
- Intransitives - You think you like the cookie, but in Spanish, the cookie is pleasing to you. In English, "You" is the subject of the sentence, but in these type of set-ups, the "cookie" is the subject of the sentence.
- All of the above is JUST what we learned in our grammar class. We have two other classes
- In our phonetics class - we spent the whole trimester trying to sound like a Spanish speaker, not a gringo - learning diphthongs, accents, syllables, intonation, etc. We have had some success with it :-)
- In our conversation class we try to pull it all together! Each week we have a different topic we discuss. House, family, foods, animals, occupations, etc. We learn words and verbs about each topic, then discuss them in class.
Well my friends - that's it in a nutshell. I've only covered our main topics - we learned so much more, but if you are still reading, I don't want to bore you even further. I've included a picture of the flash cards I made, and vocabulary lists of words I didn't make flash cards for. Enjoy!
Monday, December 3, 2007
Chicago - where Aaron and Jess live
Mike getting ready to go run in the sun!
Madison, on the way to school -shorts and shades!
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The "Churchill" drink of Puntarenas
Margaret and Jerry visited for the day. They arrived into Puntarenas off of their cruise boat, and we grabbed our own private taxi and toured the area seeing some great things (see the above crocodile). There is not much to see in Puntarenas, and the beaches are NOT very nice. So...that's why we got out of dodge. We also went to one of the highest points in the area and saw the entire bay - it was a site that only being there in person can do justice - no picture could take in the beauty! A great day of visiting and being with family! WooHoo!
We also had the opportunity to try a few new foods. The first was ceviche. Me GUSTA!! (I liked it very much!) Madison...not so much...to "citrusy". Ceviche is a Peruvian Dish, a form of citrus marinated seafood salad that originated in the northern region of Peru. The marinade used in ceviche is citrus based, with lemons and limes being the most commonly used. This being said, all citrus will work. In addition to adding flavor, the citric acid causes the proteins in the seafood to become denatured, which pickles or "cooks" the fish without heat. The result tastes more like a cooked dish and less like raw fish preparations such as Japanese sashimi. The other neat thing we tried was the Churchill. The Churchill is a frozen non alcoholic cocktail that contains ice cream, condensed milk, red sugar syrup, powdered milk and with a long spoon and a straw. Yes, as rich as it sounds, but oh was it good :-) See above picture. Don't know the history - if it was named after Churchill or not, but odd that it has the same name if it wasn't. If anyone knows - let me know.
All in all - a long two days, but well worth the trip.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I have decided to take on the roll of music director for next trimester at school. These duties will include putting together worship teams, coordinating those teams to play in chapel twice a week, and possibly being the piano player for a worship team. I look forward to seeing how God will use me in this capacity. Please pray for this ministry and my involvement in it.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Take a look at the 2 minute and 20 second video to see what our Thanksgiving was like:
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
So what is Thanksgiving in Costa Rica like? Well, as it's not a recognized holiday here, many, many people don't even know about it. The reason the school knows about it, and all of our teachers is because 90% of their students are from the USA. So, we still have school, I actually have a test tomorrow. Madison is in school, and I'm sure we will all have homework. However - we do get out an hour early, and Madison gets out 3 1/2 hours early! So, there are some good things.
So what about a turkey? Well, for a medium sized turkey that won't fit in most ovens because the ovens are so small, you can get it for about $40.00. We will be eating at our neighbors house - along with 5 other families. So - it's going to be a big "family" afterall. I'm making pumpkin pie (try that in a country that doesn't eat pie - so doesn't even know what a pie plate is), also try making it without evaporated milk (had to use condensed milk, and mix it with regular milk...hmmm...). The canned pumpkin, cranberry sauce, and stuffing mix came from my awesome mother-in-law - she sure came to the rescue. Someone will be bringing green-bean casserole - try that without cream of mushroom soup, or onion topping, or for that matter, canned green-beans - only fresh ones can be found around here. Someone else is also bringing sweet potatoes - but of course you can't find those here either - there is some other type of tuber that (kind of) tastes like sweet potatoes, but it's white, not orange - should prove interesting. And marshmallows for the top? Well...you can find colored ones ANYWHERE - but white ones are going to be hard to come by - so we shall see.
All in all, it will definitely be an "American" Thanksgiving, but also definitely have a Costa Rican flavor to it. Now all we need are fried plantains and mango salsa. Stay tuned for tomorrow - I'll have some pictures to share from the event.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Watch this two minute video and see what else we did near Arenal:
Friday, November 16, 2007
By the way - got my first hair-cut on foreign land! They did a fine job - but oh is it short! Difficult to have a hair conversation with limited Spanish. You will have a chance to see the final results when I get pics of Arenal posted.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Convenience Store in Costa Rica
Convenience Store in U.S.
Guard Shack in Costa Rica
Guard Shack in the U.S.
Streets in the U.S.
Rain Gutters in Costa Rica
Rain Gutters in the U.S.
Trash Cans in Costa Rica
Trash cans in the U.S.
Home Security in Costa Rica
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Here is the five minute clip the class watched. I encourage you to watch it. It doesn’t matter if you like Mr. Bean’s humor. Watch this clip and think about how you might describe it in past tense. Some of Mr. Bean’s antics are hard enough to describe in English.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
1. con. I haven't seen a sunset in 3 months. It's the rainy season here - I haven't seen the sky for that matter.
1. pro. I've seen the most incredible mountainside right outside my door - every morning!
2. con. I haven't read a book in English in 3 months
2. pro. I've come to understand more and more when I open the Bible in Spanish
3. con. I haven't had a "real" coffee in so long (read - Starbucks)
3. pro. I live in an area that produces some of the best coffee I've had - just not with all the "fancy" stuff to go along with it (read - non-boxed milk, toffee nut syrup, etc)
4. con. The only double-stuffed Oreos I eat are ones sent to me from friends
4. pro. I can eat fried plantains all day!
5. con. I haven't walked anywhere without stumbling on a pot-hold, or slipping on moss-covered sidewalks
5. pro. I've never walked so much in my life - it's a good refreshing thing in the morning and evening from school :-)
6. con. I haven't driven a car in 3 months
6. pro. I haven't driven a car in 3 months
7. con. I don't have a pet to call my own
7. pro. We have a dog we have "adopted" - at least in the mornings, we lavish her with love at the same street-corner every morning
8. con. I've only been to the movie theater once since I've been here
8. pro. We can rent movies for $2.00 before they are even released in the states
9. con. The Internet is so hit-or-miss, I take advantage of it when it's working
9. pro. I spend much less time on the computer
1o. con. Have to walk to church, listen to 3 1/2 hours of Spanish
10. pro. I get to worship with people of a different culture, but worshiping the same God.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Pin the Tail on the Donkey
The "big" kids Piñata
Mike's blog (pettengillmissionaries.org) is the same subject, but it was such a success, it's worth two different blog entries (besides, I can have more pictures :-)
In honor of a tradition by our home church, Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church, we hosted a Reformation Party. This reflects the time that Martin Luther pounded the 95 thesis onto the church door and the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Mike was able to share the story with all the adults and children there. Everyone seemed to be listening intently. We had a GREAT turn-out. We hosted it at a friends house as ours place is too tiny. We knew that there was a lot of interest, but had not idea about how many that would end up being. We had over 50 kids and adults attend. We had 8 games for the kids to enjoy to "earn" candy and prizes including Pin-the-Tail on the Donkey, and Dunking for Apples! This was a good opportunity to have a little taste of home for everyone, and it was much needed!