It's been a fun, activity-filled weekend at our house and we all have some happy things to share today. To start with John, he is happy because he is off class all this week since it's a national holiday. We're hoping to do a few fun things this week, including Mexican Dinner night tomorrow! I love to cook Mexican but don't do it very often because of the labor involved, but tomorrow is the night. I'll make the tortillas, grill peppers and onions, make pico de gallo, make sour cream (did you know you can make really great sour cream using whipping cream and vinegar! I didn't either until I moved overseas!), shred the cheese, and make a seasoned chicken filling. Yum yum! I even have a hoarded can of refried beans to break out!
Part of our weekend fun was helping our friend Josh celebrate his birthday. His wife Rachel had made a wonderful meal, including German Chocolate Cake! for us to share together. Clara Anne and Emma had a great time playing, as usual. They love to take baths in the new, shiny bathtub that is at Emma's house. Clara Anne thinks she can swim in it! She is a little fish, and always wants to lie down under the water. For her it's a big bonus, since at our house when she takes a bath, she has to use a little plastic tub in which there is literally barely room for her to stretch out her legs. If she wants to lie down in our tub she has to stick her legs out!
One of the disadvantages of living in another culture and learning its language is that your English skills deteriorate rapidly. You might find yourself using odd words or phrases, just because they translate well in the local language. For example, the word congming in the local language is often translated "clever," but its usage is more along the lines of "smart" or "intelligent." I hardly ever used the word "clever" before in my life before we moved here. Another example came this weekend when Clara Anne and Emma were having a bath together. Emma was saying something that we couldn't understand and then beating on her belly. I looked at Rachel and said, "what is the meaning?" We both laughed to realize that no native English speaker would use that phrase! Another one we find ourselves saying, "Maybe my money (or time) is not enough." If it sounds strange in English, it makes perfect sense in the local language!
Chloe had a happy weekend too. On Saturday morning she was up bright and early and grinning at me from her crib as soon as I got in her line of vision. After she ate, I was holding her for awhile and talking to her, and she started to almost giggle! It was so close to a real laugh--but she just couldn't quite sustain it. Her sweet happy voice was a joy to hear!
As for me, I am happily enjoying my new house helper. She is pretty well trained in now and is doing some great cooking for us on the days she is here. It is really a wonderful blessing to be able to sit down and read with Clara Anne, or hold Chloe and talk to her, knowing that lunch is being prepared and the dishes will get done afterwards, too! Mimi is also a great challenge to my language learning--she is a typical woman who loves to chat and talks a mile a minute. I'm learning lots from her!
To leave you with thoughts of chocolate, which should make anyone happy, the quote of the weekend came from my friend Rachel. When discussing food preferences, and noting how, if given the choice to eat extra food, John would choose meat but I would choose sweets, Rachel said, "But surely you don't need meat when you have chocolate to tide you over!" Amen, sister!