2009 in review. The thing to do.

So, word on the streets of blog-land has it that a review of 2009 is in order.

Alright, I'll oblige, but it may be more facts that feelings.

The count-down to 2009 took place in a friend-of-the-family's living room in Winnipeg. It was were my mom, Tom, and I were staying while my dad recouped in the Health Sciences Center's cardiac ward. The man recouped, we were able to stay in Manitoba until he returned home, then we returned home to Montreal.

In January we already knew we were heading back to Costa Rica later in the year, we hadn't really broken the news to many people, as we weren't exactly sure how or when, but we knew.

Having no idea what we were actually getting ourselves into, we volunteered to join our youth pastor and adult leaders in supervising a youth retreat early in the year. What we thought was going to be a one-time deal, turned into life-changing relationships and invaluable lessons over our remaining time in Montreal; just fast-forward from that youth retreat to 4:00am October 17th, and you'd see it too.

I turned a quarter of a century. We went to upstate New York.

On a last minute deal we flew out to meet up with Tom's parents on Vancouver Island, and
I was able to meet Tom's grandmother in beautiful Victoria.

Winter in Montreal was snowy and I was in my last semester of classes at grad school. I was busy writing a literature review, essays, and giving presentations. Tom and I enrolled in weekly Spanish classes at the college across the street. We were officially accepted by Lakeshore church to serve in Costa Rica for 6 months; a true answer to prayer.

We flew to Manitoba for a grand 60th birthday in April. We also used the trip to officially announce our missionary plans and start our (what seemed to be never ending) fund raising initiatives.

Two days after returning from Manitoba I had eye-ball surgery.

May was jammed packed with statistics work. Boy-howdy am I glad that's done!!

In June I had an 'exploratory interview' with World Vision, we toured Toronto and visited Niagra Falls while we were in the area. I had never been to the Falls before. We fell in love with Cambridge, Ontario.

The summer flew by, jammed with thesis prep, defense prep, CR prep, moving prep... and then implementations. We spent many summer nights walking along the board walk in beautiful Ste-Anne's. My mom flew in for August long weekend, which was a much needed and lovely break from everything. My brother also visited.

I saw my first live rubber-ducky duck race.

We leapt from the SRL to the micro 4/3 world.

On August 27th I defended my master's. On the 30th we moved out of our apartment.

We lived with friends in Montreal for a few weeks then went to Manitoba for a gloriously long visit after Tom finished up work mid September. We helped on my parent's grain farm and had plus 30 degree weather. We spent time at Tom's parent's cabin. I did my first ever scheduled 'photo shoot', with glowingly pregnant Lyla, but had to drive through a snow-storm to get there. Oh Manitoba weather.

The first load of good-byes came when we had to fly back to Montreal. Which was followed by two sleeps and another load of good-byes. I had never fully grasped the size of our family before that week.

We landed in beautiful CR a few short days before our 2nd anniversary. I was terribly ill, which was the beginning of (what seems to be) a string of health issues. We jumped right into Spanish lessons, serving within the community, and preparing for what would-be an amazing trip to remote Chirripo.

Our good friends Bob and Erica joined us for a short while late November. We visited a volcano. The four of us did, indeed, survive Chirripo.

Bob and Erica left.
Crystal left.

Combating loneliness, which seemed to be sneaking up on us as Christmas approached, we clung to our Costa Rican family. We headed to beautiful Punta Uva playa as an early Christmas gift for them. We ensured to busy ourselves with all sorts of Christmas activities.

Celebrating Christmas away from our (blood) families and traditions changed me a bit. As have many things over this past year. It has been a year of change, I guess. I'm done school, for the first time in over, gulp, 7 years. Tom left his job. We moved. Etc. We do fight feelings of rootlessness; no home, no jobs; but at the same time we feel so liberated by being bill-free, root-free... Well, home-free!!

God has brought us a long way in 2009. It was an amazing year, full of challenges and amazing experiences.

And, as I sit here reflecting on the past year, sitting in my cocoon hammock gazin' out passed the palm trees and listening to a man a few meters behind me chopping down a banana tree with a machete, I wonder where were we will be a year from now. The funny thing is, I draw a balnk, because I have no idea. And I've strived hard to get to that place: Peace in knowing we have no plans, but comfort in knowing God will reveal them in good time.


It's a small world after all!

We may be separated by a few thousand kilometres, and about 50 degrees celsius, but sometimes a little technology can make things seem a little closer.

A little video-conferencing magic. Gracias a Dios.

A Christmas message for everybody.



For those of you not familiar with our other blog, give it a look and find a link to a ton of pictures.


Not in Kansas, part II

If you've missed Part I, read it here.

  • You find a cat lounging on the shelf in the store... And he is in no way startled when you pick up the item next to him.
  • When you buy candy, it must be weighed at the candy section, receive a sticker for the price, and then you can proceed to the till. The same process occurs when you buy a pre-packaged and sealed bag of candy; it must be weighed, and receive a price sticker (Why must they weigh a bad that states 450g??? Why don't they price them before hand?)
  • In the middle of the day, when sitting on your couch, you may hear a random tuba rocking to Ricky Martin, as a rooster crows and a dog howls.. All at the same time.
  • To the question of "Do I bring an umbrella?" The answer is always yes.
  • Shopping involves English, Spanish, and charades.
  • Lawns are mowed with a weed wacker... Or a goat.
  • Oranges grow on trees.
  • Real lemons cannot be found. Anywhere.
  • While writing a post about not being in Kanses, a cockroach runs across the living room floor.
  • Sigh.
  • Christmas festivities include a two-man donkey, men dressed up in old lady outfits, and Christmas carols that are based off of "Noel Noel", in English, which of course is from French, but in Spanish.
  • While you are studying at the dinning room table in your house, a bat flies by your head.
  • Seriously, while sitting IN your house.
  • You have a house with a wall decoratively missing, so you can see the great outdoors... And the great outdoors can be attracted to, and apparently join, the bugs that are free to fly in and hang around your lights bulbs.
  • You've experienced 3 earth-trembles in less than 3 months.
  • Garbage bags are sold in "Lemon Scent"... Because a hint of lemon will make all that nasty garbage odor disappear (?)
  • When you look out your window, onto your lawn, there may be a horse on it. And you don't know who's it is.
  • There is no such thing as house numbers. Or street addresses. Which can make receiving mail a little tricky.

More than likely to be continued...


Hasta luego, mi amiga!

My bestest friend in Costa Rica, who just so happens to not be Costa Rican at all, returned to the states with passed week.

We will miss you dearly Cristal!
What a blessing you have been to our time here.

I can't thank you enough.

Here's my attempt at a farewell and thank you.

Te amo.



My husband's turning into a serial killer.

By necessity.

It was a matter of self defense, people.


Chirripo Trip

If you'd like to read about our latest adventure...

Please do from someone else's perspective

or our perspective.