Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Vacation Days, Or Not (and an announcement at the end...)

Week before last was Holy Week - and in a predominately Catholic country, that is a big deal. Everyone gets lots of time off. Kids had last week and this week home from school. Something like 90% of the country got off Holy Thursday and Good Friday. And the way it works out this year, with Easter being so early, 90% also got off last Monday in celebration of some famous President here.

We were under the impression, leading up to Holy Week, that my beloved would have off Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (he generally works 1/2 days Saturdays, which means half the number of clients visited - not necessarily half the time). So we made plans for a day trip on Monday, thinking later in the week we´d have a lazy day. Lazy days are few and far between (meaning in large part we can sleep in, and get up when we are in the mood, istead of rushing out) - since FB works Monday thru Saturday and the last Sunday of every month, that only leaves Sunday. But of course we get up and go to church on Sundays. So, lazy days...? I think we´ve had one since we returned from the honeymoon.

Instead, he had to work Thursday, Saturday, and....drumroll please....EASTER SUNDAY!
I am sure you all understand the logic there - since clients really want to open their door to a stranger to talk about being behind in their payments on EASTER SUNDAY, if they are even home and didn´t take off on a vacation somewhere. No, the logic was - you all had off Monday and Friday - better work Sunday. And since the office closed a little early Thursday, FB had to hit up the office before getting started on Saturday to finish up from Thursday. Then when he finished for the day, he had to prepare all his visits for both Sunday and Monday. So Saturday was a long day of work.

Monday and Friday, the days he did get off, were´t bad, just not lazy days like we´d been looking forward to.

Monday we did the day trip to a pretty and quaint little town about 2 hours away. The 2 of us had been there once before. This time we took along another young married couple and their little boy. I had just recently been thinking we should hang out once in a while (when there´s time - which is the whole issue) with other young marrieds, so I was fine with Herme´s spur of the moment idea to invite them Saturday night. The weather was weird that day, lots and lots of wind, carrying lots and lots of dust. And spring hadn´t quite arrived there like we´d hoped. But we ate at a nice restaurant and then spent several hours at a park where they have created a pond (they call it a lake, cuz there isn´t much water here. but it is only a pond). The temperature was nice, even if it was windy, and we had an enjoyable time, a mix of keeping to ourselves and hanging out all together. Just before heading home, we hit up a vineyard museum, which was interesting, but would have been more so if the guide talked just a little bit slower.

One highlight for me was a stop at the street market on the way out of town. FB and I had stopped there when we were there a little over a year ago, and he bought me a pink shawl. I wore it when announcing our engagement here and in Rochester, and subsequently on any chilly day when I wanted to feel like my fiance was a little closer to me. It was very pretty, and an important memory item for me. But I lost it a couple of months ago. I think what happened was that it was on my lap in the car, and I forgot when I got up to get out and it fell. By the time we realized it, it was long gone. I was devastated. (And for those of you who know, this happened like the same week as another major possession loss.) But anyways, we found the same vendor and bought another shawl. She didn´t have the same color, but otherwise it is the same, and it comforts me to have it.

Friday, we got up about the same time as a workday and headed to a Good Firday service. It`s a gathering of many churches that all form an alliance, and different people from different churches take turns reading the last 7 things Jesus said during the crucifixion. Afterwards, there was a picnic style lunch and everyone fellowshipped for a bit. And in the culture here, that means everyone packed a whole lot of one thing and shared it with everyone else. Everyone always shares here. It was good, and lasted til about mid afternoon. I got sunburned - didn`t know it was outside, and apparently the tarps providing my shade were not all that protective. AFterwards, we spent some time with my in-laws, then headed home to get that budget done.

Easter Sunday our church did a sunrise service (although the sun never rose, it was one of those rare cloudy and chilly days here), so we were able to go to service before FB had to work, which was nice.

The other part of that week that kept life interesting was that when we returned to town Monday evening from our day trip, we headed straight over to my in-laws to pick up 3 very excited children. Our 2 nieces (10 and 7) and great-nephew (6) had been dying to spend the night at our house for weeks. And since they were on vacation for 2 weeks, they came and stayed with us until Thursday morning. Great vacation for them - a bit exhausting for me!

Remember the weird windy weather we had Monday? Well, Tuesday morning, the temperature dropped to the 40s, and there was so much dirt being carried in the wind that visibility was bad. And dirt was coming in thru every crevice of the house - door jams, windows, you name it. So, I had 3 very excited children stuck inside for the better part of the day. I have no toys other than a game of Dominos, a few childrens books, but mostly in English, and no TV - and a pretty small house. The saving grace was when I remembered late in the day the Play-Doh recipe I had - all dead time from that moment on was spent pretending to be a bakery or restaurant. (By the way, the recipe was from a cook-book the church ladies put together back in Rochester a year or 2 ago. Any one from there reading this - I love that little book and reading what you all wrote, and have used several recipes already!)

The next day we had much nicer weather, walked the 20ish minutes to visit someone from church and later hit up a nearby playground. Still tiring, but in a less anxious, pent up kind of way. I taught the kids Mother, May I? and Red Light, Green Light. Since hardly anyone here has any yard to speak of (homes are usually all built right up against each other), any time spend at a playground or even in an open patch of grass is much enjoyed.

Ok, this post is a book. I promise the others I am planning to write shouldn`t be quite this long. But as computer time in the next few days will be devoted to getting my taxes done, I`m not sure when the next post will be. I do hope to write fairly soon, though, because my second prenatal appointment is Friday. Can you believe that today officially marks the beginning of my 2nd trimester already?! And yes, I am trying to figure out how to post the occassional picture of my growing belly.

Oh, and I forgot to post last week in the midst of all my catching up, that I am an aunt again!! My brother and his wife welcomed their first into the world Saturday, March 22. From what I am told, she`s beautiful, with lots of hair. It`s crazy hard not knowing when I will meet her. But then, as they live just that far away from the rest of the family, only my parents have been able to meet her so far, and the others aren`t sure when they will. This is the first baby that we all (or almost all) didn`t meet in the first 48 hours - times are changing in our family I guess.

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