We had fun this year planning surprises for Dave. I knew that something BIG needed to happen for Dave's birthday and I got some help with the planning from the pastor of our church. We had 30+ people at our home on Saturday celebrating with us as we ate "tacos al pastor" - it's actually seasoned pork meat put on soft taco shells with cilantro, onion, pineapple, and sauces like guacamole and cream and hot salsa. Delicous - and one of Dave's favorite meals! After dinner at around 8:30 or so, we enjoyed chocolate cake and later played some games outside while the kids enjoyed a movie. On Sunday we ordered a really large cake from a family in the church and had a chance to celebrate with everyone in the congregation. I had fun watching the surprise on Dave's face throughout it all - 33 years old - WOW! (I know, I know, my day is coming . . . )
Just wanted everyone to know how old you are, Babe! And that we love you very much!
Ok, things are getting kind of fishy down here in Mérida. Guess where we were able to travel last week??? The beach! A family from church was planning to visit the coast with relatives - minor problem, one car and 10 people. They would have sent their kids on with an aunt and uncle, but we thought, "hey, we have a car and a few days with no plans - how about going together?!"
I love when good ideas become a reality :-)
We traveled to San Felipe, a small fishing town - a 2 1/2 hour drive from Mérida. There we rented a newly built one bedroom house that we shared with our friends. Yup, shared a one bedroom house with no beds and no kitchen installed yet. We strung 5 hammocks up in the "bedroom" and they put 3 hammocks in the "living room" each of the 2 nights we were there. Their relatives, who live in the place next door, had had their home destroyed by hurricane Isadora and were in the process of reconstructing their own home. So, despite the fact that their living room was in the remains of their wooden home, and the kitchen in the new part of their home didn't have a roof - they welcomed us with open arms to share in their life on the coast. The dad, Chucho, caught fish as well as a "small" shark, with which they prepared meals for all of us while we were there. The food was delicious but very different from any type of seafood I have had in the past. The mom, Martina, made a salsa of chili jabanero and garlic - yum!
The beach itself is not right on the mainland. The family took us on their fishing boat to the beach which was a 5-10 minute ride out where the water was blue and there were grass huts on which to hang our hammocks (boy, those come in handy!). All of us experienced a lot of sun (can you say "peeling"?) and waves. While in the town the second day, we stopped to buy "bolis" which are homemade ice pops made with fruit/water or chocolate/milk - yum, yum!! We saw the carcass of a horseshoe crab in the water, much bigger than the one we saw in Progreso, but instead of calling it some type of crab in Spanish, they call it a "cucaracha del mar" - know what that is? A Sea Cockroach! What an "aha! moment" when I figured out that one :-)
The highlight of the trip (as much as I love the beach) was spending time with these families. Our kids played with theirs, we shared food together, played on the beach, relaxed together - it was just good to be there. They plan to visit Mérida in June, and I am looking forward to the chance to reciprocate the hospitality and genuine love we experienced during our brief vacation in San Felipe. I pray that our "adiós" (good-bye) is in reality an "hasta luego" (until later)!
Our family finally had a chance to go to the beach. This time it was to watch a baptismal service with the people at the church. 6 people were baptized in the ocean while the kids half played and half watched. Very neat experience! Later on, after being in the sun way too much (I'm really burnt), we enjoyed fresh fried fish. I've never tasted fish THAT good. Here's Rebekah with her fish - teeth and eyes and all! To read more about what we've been doing lately, check out our ministry website where Dave has more pictures from the baptisms.