Friday, January 31, 2014

New Year, New Adventures

Its been awhile since I have posted, and I have missed it. It used to be that blogging was my way to decompress. To vent. My way to work through whatever was floating around in my head. Then I moved here and blogging was really no longer an option. And when I was in the states, so many other things were going on that I didn’t really have the time anymore to blog, and more than that I had gotten out of the habit of blogging. Plus I felt that since so much time had passed, I felt like what I wanted to say wasn’t relevant or important anymore.  But after dealing with so much stuff recently, I have decided to pick up pen and paper – so to speak – and clear my mind again.

First though, lets catch up. It’s been a couple of years since I have updated anything here, and with so many people in this family, a lot has been going on.

Gisela, now 19, just finished her second year of University in Honduras. She is doing really well – she always has done well in school. This year is going to be an exciting year for her, as she has a lot going on. At the end of May she is due to have a baby. (I’m going to be a grandma!!)  Mid June she has an appointment with the U.S.  Embassy for a visa as the university partners with two different universities in the states and they U.S. universities invite students from Gisela’s university to come and visit for two weeks, and she was lucky enough, and her grades are high enough, that she was invited to join. If all goes well, she will be heading off for the tour in October. (there are no pictures of Gisela, because when she was on her break from University and at the house, we didn't have batteries for the camera :( 

The day Andre left for Basic. I'm 5'11" tall,
and he towers over me

Andre is now technically an adult. Last year he turned 18. Its hard to believe that so much time has passed. I remember when I found out I was pregnant with him, and now I am saying good-bye to him and sending him out to be a useful contributor to society. Its funny to see how he has grown. He now towers over me. At 6’4” + he is finally beginning to grow into his feet. (a size 15/16 if you can believe it!) This past year he has also started to fill out, and he is no longer that long thin stick, lol.  Last year we went to the Army recruiting office and talked to the recruiter, and we were told that because he was homeschooled, but not under an umbrella school, his diploma wouldn’t be accepted for the Army, so Andre took his GED and passed with no problem at all. When we went back with his GED paperwork a different recruiter told us that since he was homeschooled overseas his homeschool diploma was sufficient, but because he took his GED, the GED over-ruled the diploma, and now he would have to have 15 college credits before he would be able to sign up for the Army. He decided to take classes during the summer session. For those of you who don’t know they take a normal college class and cram everything into 6 weeks. The same amount of work is expected, the same homework is assigned, everything the same as the usual 3 – 4 month college class except that you have way less time to do it in. Anyway, Andre was awesome, he took a full load of 15 credits – 5 classes – during the 1 summer session and came away with four4 A’s and one B. I wasn’t surprised though, he is, and always has been a super intelligent person. 

Andre and my 91 yr old grandfather.

Jordan and Mickey
Jordan just turned 16, and is at the ago of trying to figure out what she wants to do with herself and her future. For the longest time she wanted to be a nurse, and we have been trying to work towards that with her schooling, but she has recently decided that she wants to drop out of school. Not sure why, she just says because she wants to (she’s homeschooled). Im not freaking out, and doing my best not to nag. I told her that it is her life and the final decision is up to her, because ultimately it will be her that is affected by that decision, but if that’s what she chooses to do, that’s on her. However by allowing her to do that, she will have to study for her GED and take her GED sometime in the next two years. So when it is time to purchase school books for the younger kids, it looks like I will be getting GED test prep books as well. I am disappointed, but there is only so much I can do. She will not be sitting at home watching tv all day though, as this year I will be working away from home 6 days a week, and she will be in charge at home for part of the time, and running our store (for minimum wage) until I get home in the evening. Im trying to figure out what interests her enough that she would be willing to take some type of classes to further her education in some way shape or form. Some type of vocational school something. To me, education is important, and learning is something that you should never stop doing.

Sendy and I hanging out, out back.
Sendy will be 18 in March, and he is entering his final year of high school. He is another one who I am proud of. He could have dropped out – he stopped going for a year in 2011, switched schools and started back in 2012 – but he didn’t. He found something he really likes and wanted to learn, and he will graduate this November. (Schools here run from February to November.) This past year was his first year with no ‘notas rojas’ – failing grades – and I am so proud of him. Every year since he came to live with me he has always had at least one failing grade each quarter. Usually multiple, but with the exception of two classes, he has been able to at least have a passing grade in each class. (the two classes he failed, he took the equivalent to summer school and passed) But this past year there was no failing grade on his report card at the end of the year. Once he switched schools and began studying electricity, his grades have improved with each report card. I told him that this final year I want him to not have any grade below a 75%, and he just laughed at me, but said he would try.

The younger six are still the younger six. Mickey is almost 11, and Isa just turned 10. Johan is almost 9. Lana is 7, Levi is 6 and Ari is almost 5. They each are so funny, and its fun to watch them grow up and grow into their personalities. 

The younger six. I will never get a picture
 with all normal faces and smiles, lol

Mickey has finally started to become interested in being more girly girlish, much to Jordan’s delight. But she doesn’t know what to make of herself. She will dress up, and do her hair, then be embarrassed because she isn’t used to being girly. I do my best to encourage it, because I know she wants to be more girly, but I myself am more comfortable in old shorts and a tank top, no make up and just grunging around. I want Mickey to be comfortable.  Schoolwise, Mickey is doing well. I do a mixture of schooling. I do some unschooling, where they learn different concepts by doing everyday type of things. Mickey will be working in our store later this year as well. She is like another Andre, so many things come easy to her, and she learns things quickly and loves to learn. I can explain a concept to her and Isa, and she will get it right away, then explain it to Isa and help her understand it.

Mickey and Isa

Isa is still Isa. She is such a goofball. You never know what will come out of Isa’s mouth, and what is floating around in that head of hers. Isa worries though. She worries about things that one normally wouldn’t worry about. And by worry I don’t mean a passing worry, I mean like a neurotic type of worry. She said she would never get on a plane because she found out that if a plane crashes, the likely hood of surviving a plane crash is low. But when we explained that one is more likely to be in a vehicle crash than in a plane crash, she said she would never get on the bus or in a car again because that now scares her. And she was being serious. So we have to be careful in what we say to her, and how we say it because she takes everything to heart.

Johan in borrowed boots
Johan is Johan. He is such a daddy’s boy. If he can pass the day with his dad, working along side of him in whatever his dad is doing, he is happy. If daddy is up the mountain cutting grass with a machete, he wants to be right there with him. If he is fixing a fence, Johan is there with his own hammer and nails. If he is building a house, or mixing cement, that’s where you will find Johan. Johan knows how many shovelfuls of sand needs to be mixed in with the cement, and how to mix in the water. Johan would prefer to be working with his father than to be at home doing schoolwork. So I try to work around that. When his dad is doing woodwork – making doors and stuff, Johan is right there learning how to measure and cut and everything else. Then at home he is taught in the evening, and Isa and Mickey fill him in on what they learned that day as well.

Lana and Isa
Lana is my little model. She loves to have her picture taken and loves to sing and dance. She is very smart, but is funny about some things. When she was learning to read, she recognized so many sight words, then when we began reading books, all of that went out of the window. She began to sound out each and every word she came across. EVEN sight words. EVEN if she just read the word a few words ago. In that aspect, I suck as a teacher, because I don’t have the patience. I get frustrated because I just want to yell at her and say ‘You know these words, you don’t have to sound them out. Why are you sounding them out?!?!’ I have said that actually. But I don’t have the patience. I let it go, and let her sit there and read to herself, and tune an ear to her to check on what she is saying. She does really well with writing words phonetically, and reading the TV menu. She can scroll through and read everything that is on and that is coming on with no problem. So I just keep on keeping on in that aspect, and pray that I’m doing enough. I also have her read to Ari and Levi.

Lana and Isa

Johan and Levi
Levi is a typical kindergarten just turned 6 year old boy. Levi likes to learn, he knows his letters and numbers and all the sounds of the letters. He knows how to write them and if I am right there, he can sound out a word. But I have to point to each letter. He hates to go and work. In that way, he is the total opposite of Johan. When the kids all have to go out and bring in firewood, he goes out, hides and cries. If he goes to work with Johan and his dad, Johan and Lale are working while Levi is busy playing. If Levi could just sit at my side and love on me all day, he would gladly do that. Levi is a total Momma’s boy. He is a cuddle bear, and love bug. Its nice in some ways, but in other ways its annoying, frustrating and Im not sure how to deal with it. (for example, I taught the kids how to play a modified version of kickball, and he was touched with the ball, so he was out, and then it was his turn to kick again, and he couldn’t continue to play unless he had a hug and kiss from me. Once he got a hug and kiss from Mommy, all was right with his world and he was able to play again.)

Johan and Levi

Johan and Ari. One of my
 favorite pictures of Ari
Ari is almost 5, and she swears she is almost 25. Ari is a spitfire. Always has been, and always will. She is going to be an awesome boss of some business someday. Or an awesome drill instructor. She told me that she and I and her Nana (my mom) we were the bosses of everyone. She told Jordan to do something one day, and Jordan said, ‘Be quiet Ari, your not my mother’ and Ari said “I am to your mother and you will do what I say.’ That pretty much describes Ari, lol. She also like Andre, smart wise, but even more so than him. At two she recognized 30 different names of family members, and then when you showed her the alphabet you could point to the G and she would say G is for Gisela and Gloria. Or you could say show me Jordan, and she would point to the J and say this is for Jordan and also for Johan and Jennifer. Now at 4 – almost 5 – she knows more than Levi as far as the letters and sounds. If you tell her a simple word (by simple I mean a word where there are no hidden sounds when you say the word)she will go through the word and can spell it with no problem. She loves words, and loves school work. She is working on the 1st grade level with Levi. I just have to explain one time how to do something and she just gets it. Like Mickey, she is always asking for more homework to do. And when I don’t give her something, she will get out a notebook, pull a book down off the bookshelf and will copy the book onto the notebook.

Ari and Lana

These past few years for me have been hard. Ive been dealing with some things, and it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been letting life drive, while I just sit back and watch the view. That isn’t any way to live. Life is a gift from God. He didn’t give us this gift for us to not use it. Sometimes auto pilot is an ok thing to do, but only for short distances, you know. I needed the time to sort of go on auto pilot, but I forgot to take back over, and auto pilot became a habit.

On top of the issues I have been trying to deal with in my life, I also have to deal with arthritis. Many of you know that I have bad arthritis in my hands. I also have it in my feet, in my back, in my shoulders, my neck, my elbows, wrists, and my fingers. My left ankle has no cartilidge in it. It is all bone on bone. If I spend more than 15 minutes on it, it swells up, and I can’t walk. That’s 15 minutes standing or walking. My elbows are so bad that I can’t straighten out my arms. When I sit my upper arm on the table, my wrist/hand sits up at about a 45 degree angle. I can pull on my hands and separate my wrist from my arm, and have it sit (very painfully I might add) off center and not be able to move it. One of things I am hoping for, when I move back to the states is to be able to try Enbrel, or a medication along those lines. They aren’t available in Honduras. Right now I take 5 different medications (2 are for high blood pressure that I have because of my arthritis medications) each day as well as shots as needed. (Andre, Jordan, Mickey, Isa, Johan and my mom all give me shots, lol. It used to be just Jordan, but she wasn’t here one time and I needed a shot and I woke up Andre, and the first time he gave me a shot, he was mostly asleep)  Anyways, with me dealing with the arthritis, Jordan now does the shopping. I write the list and what not and send her down to go shopping, so I rarely leave my house. Jordan has said that I have become a hermit. And I really have in so many ways. I don’t like to deal with people anymore. I don’t know if that is just me getting older, or what. But even when I am at my moms house, I don’t want to go out and see people. People annoy me. But I am forcing myself out of that habit.

This year is really going to be a year of changes for me. I have opened a ESL school, and will be teaching a total of 12 classes a week. 2 per day 6 days a week. In the two hours between classes I will be doing tutoring if anyone needs it. Also in April, construction will begin on a pulperia, which is sort of like a local corner store type place, at my house. I am planning for it to be ready and up and running by the end of June/early July. Jordan will be in charge of that during the day and Mickey will run it some days too. Ill take over once I get home from class.

This January I also have begun the paperwork for Sendy, Gisela and Lale. I haven’t done it before now because with Lale, I have to wait 10 years before he even qualifies to apply for the hardship waiver to the ban. (Because he was captured by immigration the first time he went to the states, he had an order of deportation placed on him. He went back to Honduras in 2003, then went back to the states illegally in 2004, so even though he wasn’t captured the second time, the fact that he entered the U.S. illegally twice, he has a 20 year ban. But after 10 years we are eligible to apply for a waiver for the ban.) This will be his 7th year in Honduras, so I am able to begin the paperwork. Before I can file for the waiver, I have to file an I130, and that takes 1 ½ - 2 years for it to go through, which brings us to his 9th year or so out of the country, then I can file the waiver, which will take another 1 ½ - 2 years or so to come up for review, which takes us to right around the 10 year mark. I had to wait to apply for Sendy and Gisela because I had to apply for all three at the same time. They may be able to get their paperwork done and be able to move to the states before I can take care of Lale’s papers. The good thing though is that once I am in the states, I can get disability, and that will help my hardship case.

Another thing that looks like will be happening is that we may be moving back to the states full time sometime in 2015. I have had the land for sale for awhile, but not actively trying to sell it. Andre had asked me not to sell the land because he wanted to have a place to go to in Honduras. I explained to him that in order for me to be able to move back to the states, I would need to sell the house and land, otherwise there would be no way I would be able to afford to move back. He then found out that the Army has a loan program to buy a house. His way of thinking is that for the next year while he is in basic and AIT he will save most of his paycheck for a down payment, then in early 2015 he will apply for a loan and buy the land and house from me, and I can purchase a house in the states to live there full time. I told Andre that he may change his mind, and if he does, and he no longer wants to buy the house, that that is ok, its not an obligation. After being in the Army for a year or more, he may not want to live here, or whatever. So either until he buys the house, or tells me he is no longer interested in it, I am holding the land for him.  The little kids are excited and hopes he buys the house – for a couple of reasons. 1 – so that they can be back in the states, land of Olive Garden, Dominoes and Publix, lol and 2 – so that when we come back to Honduras to visit, our house will always be here for us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, you've had so many changes! I'm glad you updated. I just came across your blog again & can't stop reading. The kids have gotten so big & they are such beautiful kids. I can't believe how they've grown! I didn't know you had a store or a school! I'm so proud of you Jennifer! Keep your head up & prayers continual.
~ Angela Lopez
Tennessee amiga