The Marsh Family

The Marsh Family

Monday, August 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, Courtney!

Yesterday was Courtney's 28th Birthday. We partied on Friday and had a great turn out and time! Then yesterday we went to a place called The Sand and Sea Inn in Cayey. Yesterday was also our friend Janette's birthday and she had a get together up there. It is HIGH up in the mountains...up twisty and NARROW roads. It was a beautiful view, a little chilly, and there was great food. Here are some pictures from his party...

Here are the girls doing a shot for our girl Kisha (she moved to the states this year) and then there's Katie and I at the beginning of the night (you know we have to take before and after pictures!).

Here are the 2 Manny's...Courtney is wearing one of Manny's old baseball jerseys that Manny gave him (it's #12) and the real Manny Bones. Then there's Vicki, Katie, Janette, and me...would have been a great picture but just as he snapped it Janette pinched my butt!!

Katie did LOTS of dancing...
If you remember Courtney's party last year you might remember a picture we took of all the women. There were about 5 people in the's the picture of all the women from Friday...

Kate will kill me for this one but since I showed the "before" shot I now have to show the "after" was a long afternoon (yes, afternoon - we began our party at 3:00!)

Sunday's party was much more relaxed. After finally getting to the restaurant (it felt like forever to get there and then was fast to get home!) we ordered and had great food. Here are a few "shots" I took of the birthday people.

And last - the view from the restaurant. Not too sure how well you can see it but if you look closely you can see the ocean and Guayama is a little to the left, Patillas is on the right. It really was breathtaking!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

We survived Dean...

In case any of you are wondering - yes, we survived Dean. He actually passed about 180 miles South of us late Friday night into yesterday morning. We did have some storms and heavy winds but nothing too major. We were prepared with plenty of water, canned foods, flashlights, etc. because we were in a Tropical Storm Warning for the weekend. I would say we got pretty lucky! We will continue to keep our eyes out because they are saying the biggest fear right now is several more storms following Dean off of Africa. We are in what is officially being called a "worriesome few weeks" in the "Hurricane Zone". Yesterday we lost power at about 9:00 am and got it back today at 10:30 am. We decided that since we had no power we might as well go sightseeing! We drove to Brandemar Beach (you've seen pictures of it before) and the waves were CRAZY! There are never usually waves there! We also drove over towards one of the beaches we frequent that we call Lighthouse Beach and the waves were equally impressive. Believe it or not there were some idiots on surfboards and boogieboards out in the water!! The most we did was video tape and take some pictures. Although we weren't in an actual Tropical Storm or Hurricane we did see a lot of destruction while we were driving. Trees, branches, coconuts, etc. all over the sides of the roads. I'll post again tonight or tomorrow as today is actually Courtney's birthday! We had a party for him Friday and had a great time and this afternoon we are heading to a nice restaurant for a joint birthday party with our friend Janette. (Her birthday is today well as Bill Clinton...) Here are some pictures of the waves. I know it looks dark (it was still stormy) and you can't see it well but we saw some waves at least 12 feet or was intense! Keep your eyes and ears open for any more weather we might have and we'll keep you updated.

Monday, August 06, 2007

It's a new school year!

Last year: Showed up outside of the house and realized Katie and I were dressed alike - black skirt, white shirt.

This year: Showed up at school and realized Katie and I were dressed alike - black skirt, teal shirt.

Last year: Went outside to pick up students and was COMPLETELY overwhelmed, didn't know where to go, knew noone and nothing.

This year: Showed up outside to pick up students and was (still) overwhelmed, students from last year swarmed to me to kiss me, knew my place in line, and knew the names of my students already. (I memorize quickly!)

Last year: Got kids into classroom, parents wouldn't leave, started going crazy, couldn't communicate with children, completely lost about snack time.

This year: Got kids into classroom, parents still wouldn't leave, stayed cool and collected, started working with children on rules, etc. right away, took students out to snack early to get "our" tables.

Last year: Prep period began at 9:30, I headed upstairs where I saw my husband and CRIED.

This year: Courtney came down before my prep period to check in on me. Prep period began at 10:10, I headed upstairs where I saw my husband and had NO TEARS - only smiles and positive things to discuss.

Last year: Still lost at lunch time, had duty but knew nothing about what to do and had no help from others on duty (mainly because the other person with me was new also). Did not want to go back to class - wanted to go home...NOW!

This year: Students went outside and remembered where they sat at snack and automatically went there. Had lunch duty but was under control and now have lunch duty with Katie. Ready to get back to class to keep moving on.

Last year: Went home after school and had an "I have to get out of this hell hole" beer then had to drive to Ponce to pick up our new car.

This year: Went home after school and had a "celebratory" beer and am now relaxing!

Last year: Couldn't pronounce name but had some pretty adorable kids. Had a few pains in my butt but everything turned out fine in the end.

This year: Able to pronounce all my names and kids are still adorable. I have the smallest child I've ever seen in my life and one of the most adorable ones at the same time. I have a boy that if you're not careful you'll call him by the name of the lead singer from Guns 'N Roses and I have the Puerto Rican Harry Potter...according to Mrs. Oben.

What a difference a year makes!!! (Oh, in case you're wondering...Courtney's day went pretty well too!) :)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

You may have partied in a wheat field but have you ever partied in a plantain field?

As you may recall, if you've been a faithful BLOG reader, that last year we had a full week of meetings before school began and they took us to a fancy staff dinner complete with a wine break. Remember?! Well, this year we had just 3 days of meetings (for the new teachers, really only 1/2 day for us old folks) and on Friday after school they said we had 5 minutes to go home, get chairs, put on bug spray, and follow the caravan to a "place". We ran home and got loaded up and found the a plantain field. We had never been to one before but were pretty excited about it. Plantains are a big deal down here and the trees are really beautiful. Plantain trees grow, give off plantains, and then are cut down. The way they keep plantain trees going is little baby plantain trees grow around the base of the big ones, they dig them up and then transplant them. Yes, they look like banana trees and yes plantains look like huge bananas. Anyway!! They had a cookout set up for us complete with fried chicken (yes, Courtney got STUFFED!) and tostones which are plantains that have been smashed and fried up...plantain chips if you will. Here's the cook out all set up and while we were eating.

After we were done eating we were just sitting around drinking and talking (so what's new about that?!) and then Katie and I decided to go climb on the tractors and bulldozers. For those of you who know the story behind "tractor babe", yes, she made an appearance. She even had her picture taken but I don't think she needs to be recognized on this BLOG. I will, however, put up a picture that this little boy took of Katie and I on a tractor. He spoke no English so Katie got to try out her Spanish on him. Even the little kids here speak fast!! After climbing all over farm machinery we got a tour of the field. They have miles and miles of plantain trees and they also have some papaya trees, chili bushes, bell pepper bushes, guineos trees (tiny bananas), some sugar cane, and, of course, bee hives mixed in there. Courtney ate a red chili while we were walking through the field, Katie, Sara (new 1st grade teacher from CO), and I, on the other hand, stuck with guineos. They are delicious and just the right size! We're holding guineos in the picture here.

The next exciting thing to happen was when they brought us over some sugar cane. Apparently Brent really enjoyed sugar cane when he lived in Ecuador but this was our first experience with it. In the first picture the little boy that took our picture is showing Brent how to cut it and in the 2nd picture -which Katie loves for some reason! - is me with my mouth FULL of sugar cane. Courtney cut off a big piece and I tried to suck on it but it was too much so he took it back and cut it in half. Then he decided to shove the second piece in my mouth. As you can see I thought it was hillarious which is why I didn't take it out of my mouth!

When we were done there we went and spent some time at our secretaries house before heading home for some shut eye. Saturday we did laundry, shopping for school and grocceries, and planned for school...that's right people, we start tomorrow! Last night our Science teacher, Jorge, who owns a bar downtown had karaoke so we went. I'm glad we did because he spent part of yesterday looking for karaoke CDs in English just so we could sing. I'm a hit when we sing in the comfort of our own homes but when we go out Katie and I ususally sing together. Katie sang by herself last night so I had to do the same. We had a good time. Today we've been finishing up school stuff and relaxing. We have to get up bright and early tomorrow to begin molding the minds of the children... hopefully tomorrow's post will be better than the one from the first day of school last year! Don't worry - I'm mentally prepared this year. Have a great week.