Monday, January 2, 2012

The big, the beautiful, the freezing, USA.

Hello again Oregon!
And…we’re back. In some ways it feels like we never left; it’s been so easy to jump back into the busy lifestyle we left here without missing a beat. On the other hand, it’s obvious we’ve been gone when it comes to seeing how children have grown up, not recognizing any current movies or music, or wanting to clarify something in Spanish because it would just convey the meaning better than English would. However, the overall theme is contentment. But before I delve into our current chapter, let me wrap up the last one.
Our version of the traditional meal...pretty authentic too!
Our last few weeks in Costa Rica were busier than normal and very meaningful. My family came for Thanksgiving, laden with not only one, but two turkeys from the States to test out in our oven. Yes, they traveled from Idaho to Washington in a car, and then via airplane across the States and down to Costa Rica, only to be put back in a car and driven to the Caribbean. After all that, the centers were still frozen! We cooked the first as a tester and threw some wet wood in the oven to give it a smoked flavor. It wasn’t my Grandpa’s famous smoked recipe, but it cooked overnight and ended up being so moist and delicious! The second was also a winner and we enjoyed eating it along with mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and apple crisp on Thanksgiving Day. I was definitely pleased with the re-creation of the North American Holiday, including the tradition of going around the table and saying what we were thankful for. It’s such a great discipline and made us realize even more fully how blessed we have been this year. There’s so much…we could write a book on all of the ways God provided day after day. I suppose this blog will serve as just that.
Ziplining gang

Along with Thanksgiving festivities my family swam in the Caribbean for the first time, heard the howl of the monkeys, played with our 2nd graders, and tried much of the local fare. It was a great final hurrah as we treasured our “lasts” with them. The hardest was, of course, saying good bye to our students. I can’t count the number of times we were told to not go, how much they loved us, and how much they would miss us. The pure love of children is such a gift to the soul and we already miss them. We still quote them or imitate them without even thinking about how it might sound random and strange to anyone listening. : ) Thank goodness for modern technology though; I’ve already received a couple of emails from Shiwai updating us and wishing us back. Hopefully we can skype with them in March when their school year starts back up and they’re smart 3rd graders.
Teaching Guiselle how to make cinnamon rolls!

It was also strange to leave our home for the last 8 months, and we were again thankful for my family’s rented van so we could load it all up for the trek to San Jose. Once we were there, the last week was a relaxed sort of blur. It was filled with many good byes and final preparations for leaving and for returning. Things like insurances, cell phones, living arrangements, and work. And, of course, reunions. The Baits invited many friends over who prayed for us as we ended and began a new adventure.  It was strange to say good bye to the family that had become like our own, but the fact that they’ll be on home assignment in July is reassuring. Washington is very close!
All of our wonderful friends praying for our next steps.

The flying from CR to the USA is always an ordeal it seems, and after chucking some more items (after we’d already slimmed down our luggage once or twice), giving things away to the airport workers, running to barely catch a connecting flight (exactly like Kevin does it in Home Alone 2 ;)), and freezing our bones just switching terminals in Denver, we arrived safely in Idaho, where we reunited with many wonderful friends and family. My mom probably spent more money in heating for that week than she had the whole month…thanks Mom, we’re slowly acclimating!
Idaho reunion (one of several) with Jenks and Molly.

Putting in the kitchen sink!
Designated Painter
The last few weeks we’ve been working for Chris’ mom by day and assuming the role of construction workers by night to finish up the last few details of the apartment attached to his Dad’s home. We’re so blessed to have a place to stay (Thanks Dad and Janet!), and the biggest place we’ve lived thus far at that! Needless to say, it’s been a busy several weeks!! A few weeks filled with such happiness. Sure, we’re adjusting and trying to figure out jobs and schooling, but we’re with our friends and family, and that makes it all wonderful. Going away only made us appreciate people more.

Bash Bro's and Wives Reunion in Oregon
The struggle now is to remember all that we learned this past year and to put it into practice while continuing our lives here. We don’t want to resume everything just like before, but rather start again and implement the “pura vida” style of living, avoiding unnecessary stress and worry, and taking time to just be—time with people and not chasing earthly pleasures. This Christmas season is perfect for that, as our families have gathered together and we can share life with one another, remembering our Savior’s birth.
First & last snow ball fight of 2011
One last thank you to all of our faithful readers for praying for us, supporting us, and sharing this adventure with us. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Jennifer and Christopher Savage

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