Sunday, August 27, 2006

Spanish is Coming Back and "Why We Fight"

Aysha had a good day today. She went swimming in the afternoon with Mom and then out to the park in the evening. We live about a 20 minute walk from a playground. There were two other teachers from the school with kids around Aysha’s age amidst the tens of kids running around. It was b-u-s-y. Parents just sat around and kids were on the loose. Aysha went over and grabbed a beach ball out of another stroller and when I tried to give it back the mom and grandma sent me to give it back to Aysha.

Aysha’s Spanish is coming back too. She has started beckoning us to follow her. Instead of walk over and grab a finger to have us do her bidding, she holds out her hand palm-up and motions to us with all her fingers. At the same time, she says “veng,” which is Spanish for “come.” Also, Karla was telling me about Gabriel (one of the kids at the playground), and how his mother was telling Karla that whenever something falls, he says the Spanish equivalent of “uh-oh.” Well, as soon as the word (which I can’t remember) was out of Karla’s mouth, Aysha said it too.

Her English is developing as well. She is pointing to the family members now and identifying us, “Dada, Mama, Aysha.” Facial features are another fun-to-identify set of words she uses.

Aysha is still carrying her baby around with her everywhere. When I was giving her a horsey-ride, she hopped down in the middle and plopped baby on me. “Mooooore.” After about three seconds of baby’s ride, it was Aysha’s turn again, but she did share a bit.

Here are a couple of Karla's photos of Aysha sporting one of Claudina’s many marvelous hair styles. Every day when we get home she has done something different with Aysha’s hair. Claudina says that Aysha just sits calmly while she puts them in, but Aysha just wiggles and squirms for us.

Last night we watched a very well made documentary called Why We Fight. It goes back to a speech Dwight Eisenhower gave as he left the presidency. In it he warned Americans to be weary of the power of the defense industry. The movie then goes on to examine how the defense industry has encouraged war to support its business. It’s nothing new about the current war, but it does give a slightly different interpretation. Wars are not fought for ideas or the necessity of having a wrong to right, but to maximize the benefit to the victors. Well worth your time.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Missing Piece

I noticed this week that there is an important piece of information missing from our blog. Karla is pregnant and we are expecting another baby in January. We didn't post it on the blog sooner to be able to tell people in person over the summer. Then by the time we got back to Colombia and started posting again, it was old news and never occurred to me to post here until now.

We saw the first of the two doctors that have been recommended to us. The first doctor did and ultrasound and gave the baby an clean bill of health. He thinks that the baby will be born around January 15th, but Karla isn't convinced. She is sticking to her prediction of the end of January. We get the second doctor's opinion on the 31st.

Last week we bought our tickets home for the Christmas vacation. The school has given us the last week of school-the exam period-off. We leave here the 10th of December and fly overnight to Calgary. We fly to Saskatoon on the 18th and then back to Cartagena on the 29th. As long as the second doctor's estimated due date is close to Karla's, our travel plans should be fine. If not, we may need to see a doctor in Canada before the return flight to get medical clearance. We are checking with the insurance agent about the possibility of delivering the baby in Canada. (as a backup plan only- grandparents, don't get your hopes up)

Karla and Aysha are having their morning nap. Karla had a girls' night last night and I went out with the boys for poker night. We' re all a little tired today. And Aysha's up again.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Sandal Queen

Aysha is the sandal queen. She has fallen in love with her sandals. Usually, before we leave for school in the morning, she finds them and brings them to someone for help putting them on. She wears them all day around the house and cries at night when we take them off her to go to bed.

It's Sunday morning: nap time for Mom and Aysha. Yesterday we went out to the islands with the school. It's the big integration activity. It involves drinking beer and sitting by or in the ocean. For anyone who came to Cartagena and braved the trip out to the islands with us, this trip reminded me why we took you. In August, when we first went out, the water is smooth and the boat roars out to the islands. It's an easy trip when the seas are calm. Unfortunately, in the winter when visitors are here, the seas get all excited and bumpy.

Aysha and Erin kayaking.

Alba and Julian's noodle battle.

We all had fun, but I am still sore from going tubing.

The latest chapter of Made in America has been describing some of the myth making around the creation of the US. Is was actually a problem filled process whose result instill few hopes of success. Aside from the key figures being drunks, womanizers, avoiders of baths, and all around failures, the founding fathers rarely agreed with one another. The Constitution was widely regarded as too full of compromises to be useful and it was only hoped it would last a few years until something better could replace it. When George Washington was sworn in as President, most of the members of the House and Senate didn't bother to show up. It was a month before enough members of the House arrived to establish quorum and more than that before the Senate could operate.

Now is it pure ignorance of history that lead the US to believe it could set up an effective government in Iraq? Or does the ignorance simple make people's expectations of what kind of government can be imposed hopelessly optimistic? I have been critical of the slow progress of the government forming in Iraq. Maybe it's actually going well. It would seem that the idea that no deal is better than a bad deal is not correct. Who's to say what a bad deal is.

Well, it's time to head down to the pool. Until the next nap...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Shaun of the Dead and Made in America

It's 9:30 here and Karla's been asleep for two hours. She and Aysha went down about the same time. Aysha is still off her bottle - three whole days now. When she asks for her tete (tay-tay - her bottle), we offer leche (lay-chay - milk) in a sippy cup. She is drinking less, but eating considerably more.

Karla has two appointments to see the doctor - one on the 31st to see the probable doctor, and another on the 22nd to see another recommended doctor. Those were the first times the doctors had available to see her. We have talked to the school, who are going to let us off a week early to come home. As soon as we know when Karla is officially due, then we can book tickets for Christmas and start to make plans. We'll keep you posted.

Since nights like tonight are becoming a regular occurrence, I have been left with time in the evening to occupy myself. I finished watching Shaun of the Dead tonight, a comedy about a slacker thirty something that tries to save himself and his friends from a zombie horde. The movie doesn't live up to its clever name, but it did have manage to slowly catch my interest. At the end of the first 45 minutes (when I took an overnight break), I wasn't excited about watching the second half. By the end of the film, as Shaun and his girlfriend rally for one more attempt to escape, I have to admit, I felt sorry for their poor, doomed, soon-to-be-eaten-by-zombie characters.

After I've soaked up a bit of culture, I've been reading Made in America, Bill Bryson's history of the American version of English. So far it hasn't been as good as the first couple chapters of his book The Mother Tongue, a history of the English language, which I managed to start this summer. So far the Puritans have just arrived and are busy getting rid of words like slobberchops (a messy eater) and simplifying other words by forming new words out of combinations of others. So chilblains was replaced by frostbite and counterpaine by bedspread.

Ten o'clock has rolled around and it's time for this little camper to hit the hay.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Cliche and a half

"22,524 posts matching long-time-no-blog"

I was going to start this with the title "Long time, no blog". However seeing as 22,524 people have already used my clever twist on an old saying, I won't.

We're back in Colombia and tomorrow we start our first full week back at school. We had students for three days last week.

Over the summer, we were too busy going to weddings, a folk festival, and visiting family to keep up with our blogging responsibilities. Here are a few photos of the summer:

Aysha and two of her great- grand- parents

Aysha at the park with Grandpa and Jenna

On a hike at Island Lake Lodge

At the playground

Frisbee time!

Canada Day fireworks over Fernie

Aysha and Auntie Lianne at the wedding.

A Germaine family photo

We had a difficult trip back to Colombia. Our 6am flight to Toronto (that we got up at 3:30 to catch) was cancelled. After an hour of exploring, the agent managed to find us an alternate route through Houston that would get us to Cartagena on time. Once in Houston, we had a couple hours to kill before the airline, Continental, hit us up for $40 each for airport taxes that we hadn't paid with our original ticket. In the end they let us go without paying the taxes. But we did get stuck in the very back row where the seats don't recline for the five hour flight.

When we got to Bogota, we arrived late and were immediately told that we would miss our connection - that last flight to Cartagena that day. When we got down to the Avianca desk, they told us that since it was a long weekend, all the flights were full until Sunday (2 days later).

Air Canada was our saviour, although a slow one. It took them more than two hours to work it all out, but they got us on a flight on Saturday and put us up in a hotel until then. It was 1am by the time we got to the hotel. Whew!

The day we had in Bogota was a blessing is disguise - although we missed a day of work when we could have begun getting our plans together, we were forced to take a day to do nothing and relax.

Friday we did make time to go up to Monserrate, a church perched on top of one of the mountains that surround Bogota. Here are a couple shots from there.

Karla and Aysha in the chapel

I had no idea they came in any other variety!

On Saturday, we did get back to Cartagena and had some time to unpack and settle in. Aysha was excited to be back home and ran around for the first day rediscovering all the stuff she had almost forgotten about.

Aysha saved her protest about having to sleep alone in her room until the night before the students arrived when she cried from 11:30 until 3:00. We did try the usual calming technique of going in and sitting beside her, but she just didn't want to be in her crib. In the end, we left her to cry. After a little while we heard the familiar rattle of chupo, her soother, falling on the floor. We got it for her a couple times. Then as soon as Karla got back into bed from another retrieval trip, we heard rattle and "“Uh-oh". The little devil had figured out a way that she could make us come in to see her. After that, it stayed on the floor. By morning, her pillow, baby and blanket had also made it to the floor.

The next night, the crying lasted about 30 minutes. It only lasted 5 minutes the night after that. Now she's slept through the night twice.

Aysha was happy to see her friends again. Claudina and her granddaughter, Maria Claudia, have been welcome visitors, as has Julian, the son of other teachers. Aysha hasn't been as warm towards the other teachers - I guess we know who's really important to little Miss Playtime.

Aysha went for a playdate tonight with Julian while I did a bit of treadmilling and found time to finish off this post. They're late getting back so I guess they are having fun over there.

There's lots more to say, but there's not enough time tonight to get it all down. There have been more visits to the website since we got back so I thought I had better put up something before you all give up.