Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to Start a Day Out Right...

We Pray for Children...

A teacher sent this to all of us today:

We Pray for Children . . .
Ina J. Hughs

We pray for children
who put chocolate fingers everywhere,
Who like to be tickled,
Who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
who sneak popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray children
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never counted potatoes,
who are born in places where we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never go to the circus, who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money
who cover themselves with band-aids and sing off key,
who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,
who slurp their soup.

And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed, and never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
who squirm in church and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and
whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children
who want to be carried and for those who must,
for those we never give up on and
for those who don't get a second chance.
For those we smother . . . and
for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

Last night I caught myself praying for my students. They'll come tomorrow and will bring with them a lot of challenges, funny moments, and things I'll always remember. Ready or not, here they come!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Panama Day 3: Monday

Monday we woke up to a torrential downpour. I'm not talking a Georgia, summer rain. I'm talking flash-flood, DOWNPOUR. So, our agenda that Sister Galke (who will soon be a multi-millionaire for selling world class tours of Panama to college students that Erik and Derrick send over) made us had to be edited a bit.

We moseyed around. The guys watched the World Cup in Spanish while I accidentally slept on the couch. The kids were all at school, so it was pretty quiet.

As anyone should do when it rains, we headed to the mall. There was this superstore called Dorian's. To compare it to somewhere in the US it's like a huge TJMAX...but bigger and wayyy cheaper.

The guys didn't love shopping as much as the girls and filled their time with these kinds of adventures.
Oh my gosh, Sister Galke introduced us to one of the best places in the world to eat in Panama. It's called Lenos. We got like a 4 course meal for 7 dollars. It was shishkabobs (how do you even spell that?) with all kinds of meat and good stuff. Mmmmm... I could live here. Really.
Mark got Popeyes. To each his own.
Eventually, the rain cleared and we began our adventure. Now, this is the life. The Galke's have a boat that they conveniently keep in their garage. We took it out for a spin on the Panama Canal. Yes--apparently you can do that.
Three Guys--Typical picture. They make me laugh.
Amber and Julia
Derrick feeding the monkeys
Braden and the monkeys
Julia and I and the Monkeys

Erik and the monkeys

Let's be honest, I think he's just posing...
Mark and the monkeys
We got a little closer than the tour boat. They were jealous.
Ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!! Ladies and Gentleman. This is NOT zoomed in. He was SO mad.
When boating on the Panama Canal, you might pass this boat carrying, oh, apartment complexes...
Don't run over monkies?
This was Erik and Mark on our hunt for Monkey Island. Try to find it on the internet. You won't. That is because it's a local thing to do. There are all these islands on the Canal, but apparently, the monkeys gravitate to one. It's pretty awesome and we're so lucky that the Galke's knew about it and took us there!!! If you ever go, bananas are over rated. It's all about the marshmallows!!!
Amber and Julia
Swimming in the Canal--this was ended abruptly when the Canal Police "pulled us over." They stopped us and requested licenses. No one had theirs, except me, and I surely didn't want to hand it over. I've had way too many tickets. The Galke's told us they are corrupt and probably jsut wanted money. Anyways, they told us to leave and that they'd follow us. That basically turned into a high speed chase which was pretty scary. We didn't have money so they left us alone... It was an adrenaline rush.
Derrick wakeboarding
Don't worry--a huge wave hit and we all got soaked...including my camera. It's been a good 4 years. RIP Camera. The impressive thing is that the guys took every single picture on this whole trip. EVERY ONE. I was impressed.
That night we went to Mi Ranchita. A little different than the one in Provo--AKA Betos. If you look behind Mark and I, you see water. That's right. A wonderful, ocean front meal for about 8 dollars. Incredible. Seriously. I want to move here...or honeymoon here...or visit them all the time...or something.
Cuna Indian ladies. They embroider lot's of cool things. This is one of the indigenous groups to Panama.

The whole gang

Weird, this never happens
The LDS Panama Temple is about a mile from the Galke's home. It is beautiful!!!

Hi Guys!

It's 12:50, you haven't even left Panama yet. We just got Curt home. Sorry we had to drop you off so early, but I don't think I could have dropped you off on time and picked up Curt at the same time. :)

Thanks for such a fabulous week! I keep telling Curt we need to take day trips and do things, we did for the first couple of months, this has rejuvenated us and inspired us to start playing more around Panama. I am so glad that you came and spent time with us, what a wonderful time. It turned out kind of crazy with Curt's surgery, the boys leaving the same morning and me leaving on Monday, but I would change a thing - INCREIBLE! (New word for Amber and Erik). I don't have Mark's e-mail or as a friend on FB so please pass this along to him.

PLEASE come visit us this summer up at the cabin.
LOVE YOU TONS! -- Alethea

Panama Trip

Road trip to Vegas
Amber Sleeping in the car
World Cup in Cedar City
Parking the Car at the Airport (E2)
Flying to Mexico City
Guy snoring on the plane to Mexico City
Pollo or Pasta… Do you have Ginger ale?
Mexico City Airport
Asking 3 different people for directions and were still lost
Customs (Ambers Orange)
Kicked out of the Airport until 4
Let’s go outside… ok let’s go back in
The smell of Mexico City
Hearts… Derrick lost
Sleeping in the Airport Strategies
Amber- Under the arm rests
Derrick- Let’s make a tent
Erik- just let me sleep
Mark- I can’t sleep

Total hours of sleep: 2 hours per person

Pouring rain Sleeping on the couch World cup Mall Dorian’s Lenos and Carbon Grill/Popeye’s
Missionaries Mark in soccer store being followed Boating Water Monkey Island Bananas
Angry Monkeys Tour Boat Canal Wakeboarding Big Wave Amber's Broken Camera Swimming Angry Police Police Escort Amber’s ID Boy’s Clean boat Derrick finds a newt
Boy’s bit by ants Dinner at Mi Ranchito 11 people/ 1 mini-van Speaking Spanish Kuna Ladies
Derrick’s license plate, Missouri Plate Amber likes fish? Cool city—Causeway Temple at Night
Sleeping with Julia Blogging Tea, toffee, and an orange

Panama: Day 2--Sunday

Ok, please let me begin by saying...I finished a week of EFY at 10 AM and left for Vegas at 10:30 AM. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have made it and would've just thrown in the towel if my roommate, Kristen, didn't let me vent of my emotional breakdown while being exhausted and packing all in 2 minutes. She is seriously so good to me. With that said, The guys/Galke's made fun of me sleeping ALL the time. Isn't that what vacations are all about though?!

Erik and Derrick at the Panama Canal.
Sister Galke, Julia (my roommate for the week) and Me

I was probably pondering this:

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, naturally...)

"The history of the Panama Canal goes back almost to the earliest explorers of the Americas. The narrow land bridge between North and South America offers a unique opportunity to create a water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This potential was meeee by the earliest colonists of Central America, and schemes for such a canal were floated several times in the subsequent years.

By the late-1800s, technological advances and commercial pressure advanced to the point where construction started in earnest. An initial attempt by France to build a sea-level canal failed, but only after a great amount of excavation was carried out. This was of use to the U.S. effort, which finally completed the present Panama Canal in 1914. Along the way, the nation of Panama was created through its separation from Colombia in 1903.

Today, the canal continues to be not only a viable commercial venture, but also a vital link in world shipping."

Brother Galke, Derrick, and Erik
A boat going through the canal. We watched it from the entrance of the canal, watched the locks fill/empty, and watched it travel through. It's truly amazing...
The locks.

And here it is...our walk.
We have lots of fond memories from this Sunday walk: Frogs, Video Frogs, Cutter Ants, Fireflies, and The Jungle

We walked from the Galke's home to the US Embassy. That is where Brother Galke works. The coolest thing is that he rides a bike there!!!! It is a beautiful building up on a hill that provided easy access to the canal back when the US owned it.

That night we went back to the Galke's and celebrated Decker's birthday! (And Julia's...)
The Galke's were seriously SO generous and inviting. They made us feel just at home as early as day one. They are such a wonderful family. We are so grateful for them! On to day 3!

More memories of the day (from the guys):
Julia, Amber, and THE frog
Sunday Night
Amber sleeping on the couch

Here's a clip of the canal...