I have enjoyed my homeschooling job so much this week. I really enjoy hanging out with Levi anyways, and this week was no exception. He is 7 years old and is king of the facial expressions (just like his dad). Every day begins with schoolwork for him which takes him about an hour to and hour and 15 minutes to finish. During this time, I usually read while he is doing his lessons because I can do little to help (unless it is math) since it is all in Dutch. Then we usually read a book in English and color and play with Duplos or Knex and watch a film. The first three days, we watched Ice Age 3, 2, then Incredibles (in Dutch). In that order. His choice. We’ve also been playing a lot of games. Monday we played Boggle (probably a bad choice considering my extensively broad vocabulary in comparison with his) and a Dutch fruit game. Tuesday and Wednesday we played Battleship. He won Tuesday and I won Wednesday. It was more interesting than I thought it would be because we were playing half English, half Dutch. For saying coordinates, he didn’t know all his letters, so for a while when I said a letter we had a piece of paper with the letters he got confused with to point at to help with understanding. Plus we used the Dutch words for hit and miss. Quite amusing if I do say so myself.
Today was a little different because we went to the beach for the afternoon. We brought sand toys to make a sand castle or a sand animal with, but the sand had too many broken shells and wasn’t wet or dry enough. Even so, we found a bunch of clams and had fun discovering how they burrow into the sand and trying to see what they looked like inside. It took a while, but we finally were able to pry one little guy open. It’s hard to believe such a funny blob of goo can live in a shell. Then we went and played in the waves in the ocean. They were just right to make it an adventure but not dangerous. We had a blast. Once we were done swimming, we rinsed off and had a milkshake, then changed into dry clothes and came back to headquarters.
I’ve been learning a little Dutch here and there – not so hard when we have so many people on our team who are from Holland. Plus, I know that my mom’s side of the family will be thrilled that I’m learning at least a little bit. Might give me a reason to go back and visit again. My vocab is pretty poor, but I can sometimes follow a conversation. Pretty fun.
Despite the fact that this birthday was not exactly as expected, it turned out to be an awesome day in which I felt overwhelmingly loved and cared for. I have such an awesome team to work and live with, and my birthday did nothing but reinforce that. Since I wasn’t quite sure when I was supposed to be at the apartment to hang out with Levi, I got up at 6:30am and got breakfast (tapalapa from the bitik behind the headquarters compound and chocolate spread with my coffee), did my devotion, and went to the apartment at 8. Levi’s mom, Thamar wasn’t there, so I just sat and talked with Levi about what we would do that day until she got back. When she did arrive, she brought one of our other Dutch team members bearing gifts and singing Happy Birthday. Then Thamar pulled out presents that other team members had left for me to open on my birthday: body wash, shower set, fudge, body butter. Wow, I already felt spoiled and it was only 8 o’clock in the morning. Then since I wasn’t actually needed until 9, I went back to my room and started reading a novel (sidenote: The Zion Covenant Series by Thoene is pretty sweet – Totally got sucked in this week). When it was time, I went and hung out with Levi for the day, only interrupted by breaktime/ second breakfast, and lunch (super yummy Gambian meal with birthday cake – was sung to again). At 4 in the afternoon, I was released of my duties with Levi so I got on the internet and got to chat with people back home for a while. During the day, my friend Mez came down from Sibanor during the day and the plan was to go out for pizza to celebrate. At the appointed time, we walked out to the parking lot where I was greeted with a crowd of almost the entire team that was down in Kombo singing Happy Birthday (yet again) to accompany us to pizza. I had a tricolore pizza (spinach, onion, and sweet pepper!) and proceeded to get presents from 3 other people (candles, and chocolate). At the end, someone told our waiter that it was my birthday so they sang Happy Birthday twice (don’t ask me why) and the DJ played a birthday medley for the rest of the time that we were there. Throughout the day, I handed out birthday treats to the workers at headquarters and to the staff at the restaurant. I really had a good day, and am very grateful that I have such awesome friends here. Also received a package yesterday so that was a good continuation of my birthday.
God’s plan is better than mine
On Wednesday, I received an email that my mom was in the hospital with chest pain. That was about the scariest thing that could happen while I am away from home. It turned out to be all right – only minor blockage of small arteries – nothing that a month on warfarin wouldn’t fix (btw, I did experiments in Pharmacology with warfarin so I know it works well). Whew. She is now out of the hospital and doing well. I really discovered how well the crisis management team works here though. They made sure to check on me to make sure I was okay and to get updates. They were ready to send me back home at a moment’s notice if necessary! I was blessed to be here when I received the news though because I would not have been able to get updates as easily. God really knew what he was doing when he sent me here for the week.
I am super excited because this weekend, I will be camping on the beach with other short-termers from my village (James, Mez, and Simeon). James is bringing the tents, I’m bringing the junk food (since I’m nearest the grocery stores), and so we should have a blast this weekend. Don’t be too jealous! I will be able to be on the internet again November 3 to 5 or 6, and then again the week of November 15. Hope to catch some of you all then! Have a blessed rest of October! Miss you all. Keep in touch!