Can I just say that it is HARD to get the time and brain-power to write from here? I don’t know why that is, but let me just say that I have major respect for the missionary mamas out there who can blog consistently from the field. My hat is off to you ladies, because I am someone who loves to write, and somehow it still escapes me.
Maybe it’s all the language-learning, or the constantly changing routine, or the growing kids, or something else all together, but my days get away from me almost as fast as my energy does. I’m going to have to find a way to remedy this. If you have any tips, send them my way.
So in true Bonham fashion as of late, here’s yet another fire-hydrant style update from our family in Colombia. It’s long, but don’t worry…I’ll include LOTS of pictures (:
First, I’ll back up a bit. Christmas was good…. weird, but good. It was definitely strange being away from our families over the holidays for the first time in our lives, but we expected that. We had a pretty low-key day; we let the boys open the little gifts we got them, made a big breakfast, skyped with our families, made homemade tomato-basil soup for lunch (YUM), and got lots of time to rest. We will probably do a few things a little different next year, but it was good to start creating traditions for our little family, all on our own.
^ my three favorites on Christmas morning
^ the bobbleheads digging through their stockings
^ trying out their instruments and hard hats
^ my three boys whipping up a big christmas morning breakfast
^ snuggling on the couch, watching a christmas movie while waiting to video-chat with the family
^ ending the night with glow-sticks in the playroom
The next night, my parents and little sister came to visit! My dad and sister stayed for 5 days, and my mom stayed for just under 2 weeks. We took them around town and showed them the sights, including Monserrate, which has the best views of this massive city. We got some great pictures from the day:
^ Silly little Bear… not sure what funky thing he’s doing with his hands.
^ Amazing view
^ family picture! my sister Janie, the Bonhams, and my parents
^ love him (:
^ My sweet little Noah
^ An amazing view of an amazing city
It was a fun day of getting to see Bogotá from a whole new perspective. This city is HUGE, and I never really appreciated its size until I could see it from above.
We also showed my family a few other cool parts of the city and spent lots of time playing with the boys. Mom painted for me while she was here, and by the time she left I had a beautiful piece of art to hang on my bare white walls.
^ the artist at work, and the finished product
The next week was spent interviewing potential niñeras and spanish professors. We lost our sweet niñera, Adriana, the week before Christmas because her commission-based side job (a direct sales business) offered her a full-time salaried position. I was sad to see her go, but excited about her new job and the awesome benefits that would come with it. And thankfully, she still comes to visit often and will continue to be a great friend here in Bogotá. (She randomly dropped by tonight, as a matter of fact!) So we started over again, interviewing new ladies for the position.
We found an awesome professor named Clara who has been teaching both english and spanish for 25 years, and she REALLY knows her stuff!
She keeps us on our toes, and we are learning so quickly with her method of teaching. She was also able to give us a much better class schedule, which allows me more time to study, more time at home with the boys, and more time for conversational practice with our new niñera, which boosts my spanish all the more.
The new niñera that we found is amazing as well. God keeps blessing us with awesome (although over-qualified) niñeras, and this one is no different….except that we hope that she won’t have any other job offers in the meantime!! Her name is Hilda, and she has been such a blessing to us. She loves the Lord and loves my children — two things that make my heart happy! The boys love her, and I have really enjoyed our growing friendship as well. We spend about an hour drinking coffee and talking (in spanish) every morning before I go study, so she has become an excellent language partner for me. She is quick to correct my grammar and pronunciation mistakes, which is exactly what I need! And since she is a friend of Emily’s niñera, Nury, the two of them get together every morning with all the kids and take them to the park. So the kids get to play with their buddies every single morning while I study spanish. It’s a perfect fit!
The week after we hired Clara and Hilda, we had the privilege of hosting 3 pastors from Bolivia for a few days. They were in Bogotá to meet with some pastors and learn more about the church here, and we were excited to have them stay with us. It was an intense weekend for Nate, because he had to operate in spanish almost 100% of the time since he accompanied them to almost all of their events all weekend. But he enjoyed it and was able to form some great relationships with them that we hope will prove to be lasting. One of the guys had some travel issues when he was going home, and ended up getting stranded in Bogotá for an extra 6 days. He ended up staying with us while we got it worked out, and we were able to enjoy several more days of his company. It was a great week for building cross-cultural relationships AND building our spanish!
^ our last evening with our new friends, Boris, René, and Nicolas
About a week later, Nate left for Peru with the other guys of the apprenticeship program for 9 days. It was my first time being alone in Colombia while Nate traveled, so my sweet mama flew down to hang out with me while he was gone. I didn’t have to twist her arm too much to come hang out with her favorite grandtwins. My best friend Kelly was supposed to be coming down during that time as well, but something important came up at home, and she had to postpone her trip at the last minute. I was bummed that she wasn’t going to be able to make it. But little did I know that my big sister had booked a ticket on the same flight! It was an AWESOME surprise, and I was so excited to spend 5 days showing her around the city. Having Lacey and Mom here definitely made the time without Nate a little more bearable. (Lacey wrote several posts about the trip on her blog — click to see posts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). Mom also did another awesome painting for my walls while she was here.
^ Girls (plus the twins) weekend in Bogotá!
^ the next masterpiece by my mom… a Colombian Bird of Paradise for my dining room
Lacey left after a couple of days, then Nate returned from Peru, and Mom left the next day. That next week, we prepared for a new family to join our apprenticeship program and two other families to join the long-term Colombia team. The Jesch, Lupton, an Aschmann families have all landed in Bogotá, and we are so happy to have them here! We got to know the Jesch and Lupton families during our month living in NYC for training, so it was a happy reunion. The Jesch’s are part of the same apprenticeship program that we’re in, so we will be seeing LOTS of them! We have tried to help them get settled into their new city as best as we can, because we remember all too well the stress surrounding the big move!
^ The current members of apprenticeship program… LtoR – Gary Waldecker (bossman), Kines, Jesch, Bonham, and Gutierrez families
^ All the folks in Bogotá with our agency! There are 39 of us now, including kids. We are growing!
In the midst of all of this, we’ve been steadily studying spanish and trying to do as much as possible to keep our adoption process moving forward with our most recent homestudy amendment. The language learning is moving along, as is the adoption process, and we hope to see major strides in both this year.
Whew. It’s been 2 busy months. I always say “it’s probably about to slow down a bit,” but we’ve been here for more than 5 months and it hasn’t happened yet. So I’m not going to say that this time. So here’s to another month or two of craziness, and here’s hoping I’ll have the brainpower to write it all down.