Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fun and games

We've had a busy weekend. Here's the rundown of what we've been up to...

Thursday: As part of Health and Safety Week at school, two members of the Saprissa basketball team shot hoops with the third and fourth grade students. One player, Khalid Reeves, is the first former NBA player to sign with a Costa Rican team. Erin said both players were very tall and had to bend down to get through the doorways (“like Shaq, Mom!”).

Lauren met an American football player, but she can’t remember his name—only that he is huge and she thinks he played for (oh dear!) Minnesota. She said they played catch with the football on the field at recess and had fun. I’ll avoid saying anything further about him possibly being a former Vikings player, but you Packers fans may feel free to insert your own snarky comments here.

Friday: After school our family went to a birthday party at Brinkas (una brinka is a jump), another venue with giant inflatable play structures. The fiesta was for Emilio, the son of Isa and Gabriel, two of Dan’s coworkers—a really friendly couple from Mexico. The kids expended loads of energy and then refueled with pizza, cake, popcorn, and piñata goodies (what a food fest!), and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with Isa and Gabriel. As a note—my Spanish is very Mexican-influenced, and it was comforting to learn from Isa and Gabriel that even native Spanish speakers are making adjustments to the different vernacular here in Costa Rica.

A highlight of the party for me was during the time Emilio blew out his birthday candles. Everyone sang Feliz Cumpleaños (to the same Happy Birthday tune we sing in the United States), but then, as a wonderful, touching moment, a few people sang Las Mañanitas—a very traditional Mexican birthday song which I vaguely remembered the words to and haven’t heard since I spent a summer in Mexico (circa 1990). I adore Las Mañanitas and only wish we’d had a mariachi band there to play it as well. It was special to see both traditions celebrated.

Saturday: The morning weather was gorgeous—sunny, dry, and breezy—perfect for the school picnic. There were animals to pet, pony and oxcart rides for the little kids, face painting, water balloons, games, music, and lots of food!

Erin and I had a lot of laughs at the water balloon toss (especially because after six balloons I had managed to stay dry).

Lauren loved riding the pony and was especially tickled to hold a small chick—looks like a little duck, right? And the kids held soft rabbits and petted a cow, sheep, and goat, too.

Later the girls ate a quick snack and didn’t want to hang around with the adults, so Dan and I had lunch (scrumptious arroz con pollo) while the kids had their faces painted. We saw several people we know and enjoyed the day—and got out just as the rain started, too.

Sunday: In a break from Costa Rica news, I just wouldn’t be a true Cheesehead without mentioning the following… the Wisconsin Badgers squeaked out a win yesterday, and my all-time favorite pro football player ever Brett Favre broke Dan Marino’s record for career touchdown passes today in a game against the Vikings. I sure would have enjoyed seeing that pass in person—and the game, too, which put the Packers' record at 4 and 0. Awesome for Favre, awesome for Da Pack, awesome for Wisconsinites everywhere. Great end to a great weekend! Go Pack Go!

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