The Marsh Family

The Marsh Family

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I just thought I'd let everyone know that as of January you MUST HAVE a passport to come to Puerto Rico. This won't mean too much to those of you that already have one but if you're planning on coming to visit after January you will need to get one. If you have any questions about it let us know by e-mail or by calling. GO GET THOSE PASSPORTS!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

More of Guayama

Here's Courtney under a really cool, big tree in the plaza.

Here are some of the old buildings & churches on the plaza.

Guayama, Puerto Rico

Today was finally a nice and sunny day so we decided to go out to the city's plaza to see the vendors and take pictures. We were planning on doing this yesterday but were instead kept inside due to Tropical Storm Ernesto. As you may know, he's been upgraded to hurricane status but luckily went around us. We were prepared well as we could be...we filled everything with water just in case.

We like the city we live in but are a little disappointed in how Americanized it is. We live just down the street from "Plaza Wal-Mart", K-Mart, Burger King, McDonalds, etc. We were really looking forward to getting up on the weekends to go to the fresh fruit markets or veggie markets but those aren't around here. Oh well! The plaza in Guayama is not as Americanized. There are vendors there on Saturdays and Sundays and we're looking forward to going there to do some shopping. Today our neighbor bought some jewelry from a vendor and then we drove to Arroyo to buy a hammock. We've (Katie & I!) have been talking about wanting hammocks for a couple of weeks now so today we convinced the boys to take us shopping for them! We found a really neat "Puerto Rico" hammock but haven't hung it up yet...maybe tomorrow.

Here's a statue you see at the plaza. The man's name was Luis Pales Matos and he was a Puerto Rican poet. You can still buy his poetry books today!

Here is the fountain in the middle of the plaza. Behind the plaza you can see a church, one of many in Guayama. There's also a picture of the fountain alone.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Our first month in Puerto Rico

Well, yesterday marked 1 month since we arrived in Guayama. How did we celebrate you ask?

We did actually have an "interesting" night. Courtney & I were outside eating, not an unusual thing because it's cooler outside than inside. At about 7:15 Courtney asked our neighbor, Katie, if she'd help me walk the dogs when I was ready for bed. She said yes and Courtney went to bed!! He wasn't feeling too good yesterday apparently. I wonder if it was allergies. I went to bed about 9:30...I know, sad, on a Friday night?!?! Then at about 11:45 Courtney went outside with his cane (different story) to chase away a stray dog that had been barking for at least 1/2 an hour. At 5:00 I got up to get a bigger fan to put in the room to drown out the frogs that wouldn't shut up. The rest of the night was spent listening to the rain & thunder. That's probably from Tropical Storm Ernesto which is supposed to go South of us and not cause any problems. When the last Tropical Storm went through they did begin to shut our water off in case it developed into a Hurricane. We've now been in school for 3 weeks and things are getting better. Courtney is enjoying his 5th & 6th graders. He even got a typed letter from one little girl. Apparently students are not allowed to wear make up at GPS and one of his homeroom students was. She got in trouble from the Principal and then she wrote Courtney a note apologizing profusely for what she had done. She assured him she was "very, very, very, very" sorry for wearing make up and she will never touch make up again! She also offered to help him with anything he needs for causing a problem. It was sweet! Courtney didn't care she was wearing it but the Principal did. My days are getting a little better. There are still moments of "WHAT AM I DOING HERE?!?!" but for the most part it's getting better. In case you haven't heard my sister, Joy, is coming to visit next weekend!! We are so excited! We were already planning to go to Rincon next weekend because we have Monday the 4th off. We were planning on meeting some other teachers at the beach there to relax and hang out for the Holiday weekend. Now we'll pick Joy up on Saturday morning and head to Rincon from San Juan, stay Saturday night and be back in Guayama on Sunday. I need to have her back in San Juan Tuesday after school so it will be a quick visit yet much needed visit. It seems like we've been here longer than a month! It definitely seems like we've been away from family and friends longer than that. Keep checking in on us and hopefully we'll see some of you soon!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Our neighbors, Brent & Katie, got a new puppy on Sunday. They got another pure bred Boston Terrier but this time it's a girl. She looks healthier than Rico and bigger. Her color is opposite of Rico's so she's mainly black. She is adorable! Her name is Lola. The boys aren't as interested in her as they were Rico. She's also not as easy to take pictures of as Rico was because she's much more active!

Check out Winston's new favorite past time...he loves to sit in the flower bed (minus the flowers) and stare at lizards. The boys have only caught 2 lizards so far...there's a picture of one they caught.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Protecting the Planet!

Life's STILL a beach...

Okay now I'm getting a little frustrated! I don't think the BLOG people like all my pictures. Let's try to finish this one...

We also learned yesterday that Miller is not a beach dog. We wonder if he's afraid of the water. He refused to go near the water, even for a family picture. He also didn't like the wet sand in his paws and spent most of the time biting his paws. He was, however, content sitting in the sand with Courtney who also does not like the water.

On our way to Punta Tuna we stopped at a restaurant in Patillas called Tranquilidad which sits right on the Caribbean Sea. We had a drink and a few appetizers and watched the pelicans dive into the water to get fish. It was pretty entertaining. We also saw several crabs crawling around. They were close to our feet so we kept a good eye on them. It wasn't a very sunny day but it was still beautiful. Here's Katie & I with our drinks. I got a Midori Sour that they put a piece of Star Fruit on the side of. When you cut this fruit into slices it looks like a star. It was pretty neat!

See the star?!?

Life's a Beach!

Katie, Brent, Miller, Winston, Courtney, & I decided to go exploring yesterday for Courtney's birthday. We drove through some towns (and the mountains) to try to find Punta Tuna which is supposed to be a beautiful beach with a Lighthouse. Well, we drove and found a pretty nasty place and decided to ask where we needed to go. Brent asked how to get to Punta Tuna and the guy said, "This is it.". It's pretty safe to say we were disappointed. So we turned around and found a little road, turned on it and saw a MUCH better place to visit. There were only a few old people there so we basically had most of it to ourselves. We looked over our shoulders and saw the Lighthouse. Apparently we just needed to drive a little farther down the road to find the "3 miles of white sand beach" as according to Frommer. We were happy where we were though so we just hung out for a while. What a beautiful view!

We learned yesterday that Winston is a beach dog! The two of us ran up and down the beach, he played with the water coming up the sand, he drank the water, etc. He really had a ball!

Happy Birthday...Part Deux

This BLOG thing can get a little tricky. It was giving me problems with putting up pictures so hopefully this will work better. Here are more pics from Courtney's birthday party on Friday night. Katie & I baked & decorated a cake for him. It will make sense if you've read our previous posts (see "Just another night in Puerto Rico" if you're confused).

Winston had a ball in his Tinkerbell party hat. In case you didn't know, my husband has a crush on the little fairy!

Courtney & the boys just hanging out! That's Brent, Courtney, Harry, & Elvin. Harry is Lisa's husband and Elvin is Kisha's husband.

Trying our hands at salsa dancing...what a great way to lose a few pounds! It's harder than it looks!! I'm dancing with Harry, Courtney's with Lisa and Katie's with Kisha. I think we're going to try to go salsa dancing some night at a club...sounds like fun! Come on down and you can go with us!

We are having a ball down here in Guayama but we do miss our friends and family terribly!! We wish you could have been here to help Courtney celebrate. I think he had a good time but you know, things are always better with your friends & family around! Keep checking out what we're up to...I know we've got LOTS of adventures yet to come!

We love you all,

Kelly & Courtney


Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Courtney,
Happy Birthday to you!

Yesterday was Courtney's 27th birthday. I wrote the birthday message to him in the sand at the beach yesterday...there will be another post for that. After the basketball game on Friday night we decorated the patio, Katie & I baked a cake and we partied like Rock Stars! We had quite a turn out for his birthday shindig, including the Headmaster of our school (kind of like a Superintendent), the man in charge of finances, housing & is the Pres. of the Board of Trustees, our Principal, our neighbor Charles Rivera, and lots of teachers. The party was to begin at 7:00 but Puerto Ricans are like Brazilians and have their own time. The first guests arrived at 8:00 (yes, we were getting a little worried) and the last guest arrived at 11:45. They brought salsa music so we could dance and they brought lots of alcohol for did they know?! We tried our hands at dancing and had a blast. One of the teachers, Lisa, and her husband, Harry, were salsa dancing champions in the '90s. Harry tried to help Courtney with his moves. Here are some pictures of Courtney & Harry and me and the girls (Lisa, Mariola, Katie, & Kisha).

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I'm a Wrestler but I'm playing basketball today

I wish I was a little bit taller,
I wish I was a baller,
I wish I had a girl who looked good
I would call her...

Courtney was asked to play basketball with some other teachers against some students yesterday. Sure, no problem! The only problem is HE'S A WRESTLER!! Brent, our neighbor, played also so Katie & I watched for a while. Then we had to go get ready for our party for Courtney's birthday. During the game, Courtney got hit in the eye by one of his teammates. The same teammate got hit in the nose and had a major bloody nose during the next game. Katie & I were gone by that time. Enjoy some pictures of Courtney & the others ballin', don't try this at home!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In Memory of Rico

Well, Miller & Winston had a new best friend for a few days. This is Rico. Our neighbors, Brent & Katie, bought Rico on Saturday in Arroyo which is not too far from Guayama. He was so cute! He weighed 1 lb 7 oz and was a pure bred Boston Terrier. The boys were getting along great with him. They were very curious about the "little guy". We had the pleasure of knowing Rico from Saturday until yesterday. Unfortunately there was an accident yesterday (don't didn't involve Courtney, me, Miller or Winston) and Rico fell and hit his head. He hit hard enough that he had trauma to the brain. He began to have seizures after his fall. Luckily they found a wonderful vet who did everything he could. He even took Rico to his own home to work with him last night. Unfortunately, little Rico passed away this morning. Being pet lovers this has hit us all pretty hard and we will miss him. Winston was so cute! He saw that Katie was upset yesterday so he went up and laid his head in her lap just looking at her. He wasn't being a pest, just trying to help her. It's good to know there is a good vet close by in case we need anything for "the boys".
Ride on little Rico!! We love you!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Our home

In case you couldn't tell, this BLOG thing has become addictive! I cleaned the house today so I decided to take some pictures of it. Now you can all see we don't live in a tree house or a hut and we do have furniture!

Here's what you see when you first walk in our house.

We really enjoy our neon colored living room!

Our big kitchen. The size sure beats ours in Leavenworth.

I didn't think I needed to add pictures of our guest room which we have lovingly named "the dorm room". I took pictures of our bedroom but it's small enough that the pictures aren't that great. And of course, a bathroom is a bathroom. However...our bathroom is pink & blue with flowers and, of course, a fish theme for the accessories & shower curtain that don't match! Come visit and you'll get the whole tour...

We are NOT hermits!

We went on our first outing last night. We had a staff meeting after school yesterday (no wine this time, just donuts) and then it was off to "happy hour" at the home of 2 other American teachers. That's a picture of Katie & Mary getting their drink on. Believe it or not, Mary spent a semester at Benedictine College in Atchison and Manny spent a year playing baseball at KU! We traveled all the way to Puerto Rico just to find 3 people who have lived in Kansas at some point in their lives. I'll tell the story of the 3rd person, Charles, later...

After "happy hour" Courtney, Katie, Brent, & I went to watch a semi-pro baseball game here in Guayama. We went to see the Guayama Brujos (Wizards) because one of our P.E. teachers at school plays for them. His name is Manny Bones (pronounced Bone-es) and he's the one that played at KU. He was just the designated hitter last night but really did well. Here's a picture of Manny up to bat. This was the final game of the league series so we had to go watch. It only costs $4.00 to get into the game but we told the guy at the ticket counter that we were friends of Manny's and he let us all in for free! We sat in the visitors section and it got CRAZY! They treat their semi-pro ball like we treat professional football or like Brazilians treat soccer. The police started coming in and forming lines...CRAZY! During the game we all got a beer. Courtney paid for 2 beers, a whopping total of $3.00!! Beer and baseball...that's good living. When we got there the other team was up 4 - 0. Then the Brujos scored 3 runs and it was looking good. Well, we switched pitchers...twice...bad move both times. We left in the top of the 8th and the score was 9 - 3...told you, bad move! When we were leaving there was a fight starting in the stands so the police yelled at us which way to go. I'm sure we stuck out pretty easily. We didn't feel like fighting last night!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Meester & Missy Marsh

I finally got around to taking some pictures of our classrooms today. Today was my best day so far this week. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow...I have a break from 8:50-12:15! Specials back to back to back to back all morning. It will fly by!

Outside of my classroom.

Different angles of my classroom.
The 1st grade classrooms are quite
big! The desks are so big and top heavy that on the first day my kids were constantly falling out of them!

We do have marker boards in each
room...though they're kind of small.
Can you believe it?! Mrs. Marsh's
desk is CLEAN!!!! I know you're
all shocked.

I have to show you these bags. Imagine a
tiny 1st grader dragging one in every day.
I do mean they are tiny...some of them are
just now 5 years old!! My lovely assistant,
Katie, is showing the bag up against an
adult...imagine them up against a little kid.
AND we have to find a place to put them
every morning!

Outside of Meester Marsh's room.
Courtney is adjusting very well to
teaching 5th & 6th graders. He's also teaching new material for him. He has to teach Language Arts, Reading, Handwriting and even Spelling. I know, Courtney teaching Handwriting is kind of funny! He's the first to admit he's got bad writing.