The Marsh Family

The Marsh Family

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving is here...

It's officially Thanksgiving and we celebrated a lot today! It was us, the Dills, the Lakners, and our friend, Angel, for dinner. We had all the goods: turkey, ham, stuffing, deviled eggs, baked beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, and the list goes on. We'll be eating for days!!!

Angel carved the turkey for us.

Us with the Dills before lunch. We were glad Brent was able to join us...he was very sick last night.

One of the few times Lola came out from under the table. She was guarding the food!

Courtney enjoying his baked beans on top of mashed potatoes...a Hoard family tradition. I couldn't let him go without!

We ate and then watched 'bout them COWBOYS?!?! We were supposed to go watch the Chiefs game tonight but the 2 places that said they would be open aren't, so instead I'm here Blogging...just for you! What a great day! :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006



We feel very blessed this year to have such an opportunity as we do to be
teaching in Puerto Rico and we are having the time of our lives.
We miss our families & friends but we know this is where we are meant
to be right now. We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving
and is able to be with people that love them. We wish we could
be at home to help everyone celebrate but we will be with our neighbors
and their family so things won't be bad. Celebrate your families and the time you
have with them. Be thankful for what you have and celebrate it everyday!
Eat way too much turkey for us (eat some ham for Courtney!), watch
some football, and be happy. We can't wait to see everyone soon!
Much, much, much love to everyone,

The Marshes

Monday in Culebra

Our plan for Monday morning was to get up and drive to Zone Beach for sunrise. Well, the alarm went off at 5:15 and we decided it was a great morning to sleep in instead. We got up round 8:30 or so, got packed, got gas in "the Thing", got breakfast, and drove to the beach. It was a long drive for such a small island but the roads are narrow and winding. There were a few steep hills that I wasn't sure our Thing would make it back up but it performed like a champ! We ate our breakfast on the beach and headed back to catch the afternoon ferry back to the main island. Here are a few pictures we took on Zone beach. I love the picture of Courtney & me that Tori took and I especially loved the picture of Courtney...he had no idea I was taking it!

We drove back and got our things loaded up (which took up all of the room in the Thing) then headed to take our car back to Dick, the man we rented from. The entire island of Culebra is basically old hippies and Dick is just that! Here's a picture of our Thing loaded up (or down, however you'd like to say it!) and us with Dick, the Thing's owner.

To take us back to the dock, Dick loaded us and all of our goodies into his beat up van. It is rusting out...completely. The back door is just about to fall off! Courtney had to sit in the back with our stuff. We got on the ferry to come home and while we were riding we saw some interesting things. We saw dolphins jumping in the water...I was so excited! Then we looked over to the island of Vieques (where the Dill's and Lakner's were) and we saw a funnel cloud over the water. We got home safe and sound and have spent the last 2 days recovering and cleaning up from our trip. If you come down to visit and want to go on a somewhat secluded island adventure we'll take you to Culebra! See ya in a month!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Saturday (& Sunday!) in Culebra

We have had a very busy last few weeks here in Paradise. Last week was Puerto Rico Discovery Week. On Thursday we had an assembly that different classes performed in. Katie and I were adventurous and taught our classes a Puerto Rican dance called the Plena with the help of Mrs. Rosa. We also kicked off our dance with a Bomba which is kind of like "Yo Momma" jokes in English. Katie and I even said our own Bombas in Spanish and everyone went wild! Then Thursday night Katie's parents arrived. We're having a great time getting to know John & Jean Lakner...wonderful people. We are off of school this entire week and we're pretty happy about it! We took the first part of our Thanksgiving vacation and went to an island called Culebra off of Puerto Rico. The island is about 12 miles from Puerto Rico and 13 miles from St. Thomas. Culebra is only 7 miles long and 3 miles wide. In 1901 the US Military arrived in Culebra to establish an area for the military to use as a firing range and to hold marine exercises. Two remaining stone houses built by the military in the area of the Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife are witness to that era. There is a museum in the house marked 1908. The military stopped using Culebra as a bombing range in 1975. There are still rusting tanks on Flamenco beach.We went with another American teacher to Culebra and stayed in a guest house because there are no hotels on Culebra. We needed a vehicle so we rented from a friend of the man we were staying with. We ended up with an old, beat up Volkswagon Thing...I kid you not...the name of it is a Thing!! In case you're wondering, yes the top does come off...with velcro! Here's our beautiful piece of machinery.

When we got to the guest house and got settled in we started to walk out front to get loaded up. We saw a huge iguanna walking past our car. Here's a picture of our friend.

Our first order of business was to find a beach. We've been told many things about a beautiful beach in Culebra called Flamenco beach. We found it and everyone was right, it is stunning! It was perhaps the most beautiful beach I've seen to date. The sand was perfect, the water was so clear you could see all the way down to the sandy bottom. We just stood there on the shore for several minutes with our mouths hanging open. We spent all day on the beach taking in the sun, drinking, eating, swimming, you name it.

We took a walk to find some of the rusted old tanks on the beach. We found one in the water and decided to climb on top for a better look and, of course, for pictures! Here's a picture of Tori and I on one of the tanks.

Here's a picture at the end of our day on Flamenco beach with the sun beginning to set. There's nothing like a sunset on the beach!

After Flamenco we drove our Thing back to the guest house to shower up and get ready for the next adventure. We were told about a restaurant so we decided to go check out Mamacita's. It was a lovely open air restaurant and our waiter was fabulous. We even found jalapeƱo poppers on the menu!! I know, I know, who gets so excited about those? Well, when you love poppers and you haven't had any for 4 months you get excited!! Tori had to take a picture of us because, according to her, when they came to our table our faces were glowing! They were great by the way!

To cap off our night we walked and found Professional Wrestling. Courtney was so excited! Apparently there's an old Puerto Rican wrestler (from Culebra) who now does commentary and every year he brings some "talent" to Culebra. We just happened to have picked the right weekend for it. Courtney even called Dustin and gave him some play by play. I know the people were thinking, "What is this drunk white guy doing?!" If you look closely you can see the ring in the background.

After wrestling we went to a bar and hung out. Then it was off to bed to get up early Sunday morning for a private boat tour of the surrounding islands. We hopped on the boat around 10:00 Sunday morning and headed out. It was a nice boat ride, a little choppy but not too bad. We stopped to go snorkeling first. I jumped in complete with flippers, mask, snorkel, everything and freaked out! I think I was a little ambitious for my first time snorkeling. I got scared when the first breath I took the mask plugged up my nose, then I didn't like the flippers because I thought they were weighing me down. Courtney of course stayed in the boat because he doesn't get in the water. I took off all the gear and decided to just swim. We climbed back in the boat and went to a beach where Courtney could relax because he was feeling a tad seasick...mixed with a hangover...bad combination! After spending the afternoon on the beach we headed back out to snorkel. This time I did it! I decided not to use the flippers because I don't like them so I just used the mask and snorkel. It was amazing! I saw so many things that you don't always realize are in the water. I was happy as a clam just snorkeling away when I looked up and saw my hubby hanging over the edge. I thought he was looking at fish so I said, "Are you okay?" to which he replied "NO!" That was our cue to get back in the boat and head for land. We went back "home", showered up, relaxed, ate dinner, and went to bed early.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Guilligan's Island

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip. That started from this tropic port,aboard this tiny ship. The mate was a mighty sailin' man,the skipper brave and sure. Five passengers set sail that day,for a three hour tour, a three hour tour………The weather started getting rough,the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew,the Minnow would be lost; the Minnow would be lost. The ship took ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle,with Gilligan, the Skipper too, the Millionaire, and his Wife, the Movie Star, the Professor and Mary Ann, here on Gilligan's Isle.

Well, we had yet another weekend on our little island paradise. This past weekend it was even more literally a little island. We went to Guanica on Friday night with some other teachers where we rented an apartment from the father of another teacher and spent the weekend on Guilligan's (that's how they spell it here) Island. We didn't see any Skippers or Movie Stars but we do have our very own Gilligan. The first picture is Guilligan's Island from the front porch of our apartment. Here we are Saturday morning loading up to go catch the ferry. We loaded up all 8 of us in the little truck complete
with beach gear and a kayak. The Casa Benny 5 rode in the back. I sat on the tailgate and Courtney say in the kayak...really he got us there. We climbed aboard a ferry minus Angel & Clate because they decided to kayak their way to the island. Angel owns his own kayak and Clate rented one. Katie & I wanted to do that but since neither one of us has before we decided it wasn't a wise idea. The ferry ride took about 10 minutes. The island wasn't that crowded when we arrived so we were able to find a nice place to put our things near the water. This place was much like Mata la Gata so Courtney swam. In fact, he stayed in the water with the rest of us ALL day. It's the most he's been in the water since we arrived! We swam over into the mangroves surrounding the island and all of the men (boys?) climbed trees and jumped in. Courtney's favorite was, you guessed it, cannonballs! Here's a picture of me, Katie, and Janette, another teacher at our school. Janette brought her son, Martin, along for the weekend as well as her pug, Choco. We had 8 people and 5, yes 5, dogs! We spent the entire day Saturday in the water. We played a game of water football and, unfortunately, the boys won. It was really difficult to "run" in the water. I also had a "wardrobe malfunction" for the majority of the game. I bought a strapless swimsuit to wear down here so I wouldn't have tan lines. Well...the game got rough and several time my top came down. I don't know for sure, but I think Martin saw my who-whas at least once. Eventually Angel gave me his shirt that he had been wearing in the water so I didn't have to keep stopping to pull my top up. We finished up at Guilligan's just before the rain came and went to the apartment to get showered. We didn't do much that evening, ate dinner and hung out. We got up Sunday morning, went to get breakfast and decided to do some exploring. We found another beach that had beautiful sand, water, and rocks. I luckily had my camera with me and Angel told Courtney & I to climb the rocks. We did, very interesting to watch I might add, and he took our picture. You can tell from our picture that we had literally crawled out of bed and went to get breakfast. I wasn't looking my best, I would have to say! While we were there we saw a little crab running around. Angel wanted to catch it so we all started helping him try to stop it. Courtney and Brent were running by it putting their foot down so it wouldn't move anymore and that's when it happened....Courtney stepped, shall we say, a little too close and SMASH. No more crab! He did end up catching one and got it to puff it's eyes up so we could see them. He said if we stay at the beaches late enough you can see hundreds of crabs crawling up & down the shore. Maybe we'll do that some time. We then went to an old lighthouse on the side of the mountain. It was pretty interesting. We got out and walked right up to it. It's falling apart and there's graffiti all over it. The stairs were gone so we couldn't get up to the top. That would have made for some interesting pictures! After the lighthouse we went back to the apartment to pick up everyone else. We then decided to spend the day at the public beach nearby. We did that until 2:00 in the afternoon and then drove home. All in all it was a great weekend. We had a lot of fun getting to know the other teachers even better. It's so nice to be making such great friends down here. It will be sad to leave them when we're done here but at least we'll have people to come visit! Today was just another day at school...well sort-of. this morning my kids started freaking out. They were screaming and yelling and jumping on desks. I was like, "What is your problem?" They kept saying there was a "worm with a tail and legs" crawling under my desk. I asked if it was a I asked if it was a Anyone know what a worm with a tail and legs is? We went to snack recess and I left my door open hoping it would leave. When we got back one of my brave girls crawled under my desk. She moved a paper that was down there and said it was under a poster tube that was there. She moved the poster tube and low and behold there it was....a HUGE centipede! I don't know if you know this or not but those are pretty much the most poisonous things we have here in PR. I went to get Mr. Dill (Brent) because he's right next door. I asked him if he thought I should get Raffa, our maintenance man. He said yes so I did. Raffa came and and I believe his words were, "Oh my God!" He then smashed it with his foot...nasty juices everywhere! I asked if it was poisonous to which he replied, "I think so." How comforting! That was the first one I've seen and hopefully the last! We hope everyone has a great week this week. Please pray for my family as my Grandpa Butler is not doing well. I am hoping above all hopes that he makes it until I come home at Christmas but I am also being realistic. I'll keep you updated on that one...anyway, have a great week and enjoy the pictures of our trip!
Muchos besos!