Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas to all!

We hope that you had a great Christmas and enjoyed spending time with your family and friends and some great food. We had a great Christmas this year, even though we weren't home with our families to celebrate. On Christmas Eve, we went to Mass and then our friends, Scott and Monica, invited a lot of people over for a "Buenanoche" celebration. There were about 20 people from the school community who came to celebrate together and it was wonderful. Kirsi had a great time playing with Agustina, her little friend, and running around. She lasted until 10:00, absolutely unheard of for our little girl.

On Christmas morning, we started the gift opening just after 7:00. Uncle Trent and Gramma got up early and were ready for the festivities. Surprisingly enough, it was really chilly out; it made it feel more like Christmas for us Canadians! At first, Kirsi wasn't too sure what to do with all the gifts but she soon got into opening her presents and delivering gifts to people. There was one that I thought was a bit tough so I went to help her and she said, "No! Kirsi!!" Too funny. She got lots of great presents but the highlights were her little microwave, her cleaning set and her very own laptop. In the afternoon, we had Scott, Monica and Agustina over for an early dinner. The girls had a lot of fun together again and Kirsi was so excited to have Agus over. We had a great visit with them and enjoyed a relaxing time together.

For Boxing Day, we had a very chilled out day. Kirsi had fun playing with her different toys, helping Daddy clean the car and helping Mommy and Gramma sweep. We enjoyed eating the Christmas leftovers and all the goodies. At 6:30 we went over to Julie, Nathan, Gracie and Ryan's place for dessert. We had a great dessert spread: chocolate fondue, homemade peach ice cream, fresh fruit, sugar cookies and Nanaimo bars. Yummy! It was a beautiful evening out so the kids jumped on the trampoline and the adults had a good visit.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What a week!

It has been quite a week in the Kitch household. Saturday, we went to Pomaire, a small village known for its pottery. It's about an hour and a half from our house so it's a perfect day trip. We took Mom there because we knew it would be a place she'd love. We got there early enough to find a parking spot on the main street where most of the shops, workshops and restaurants are. We decided to have lunch first and it wasn't hard to find a place. In Pomaire, there are young people all the way down the main street handing out flyers for every restaurant. Derwin decided he was going to collect them all, whereas I just ignored everyone. We had a nice lunch at a cute restaurant and then the shopping began! There were little shops with pottery, leather goods, knick knacks, clothes, llama and alpaca scarves and purses. We only bought at two shops but we got some great things: a Mapuche mask, some Nativity scenes made of pottery, a copper etching picture, mortar and pestal made of a hard stone from the north of Chile and a head massager that Derwin is in love with.

Sunday, Derwin's good friend, Trent, arrived from Canada. He has wanted to come down to visit us since we got here but hasn't been able to find the time to come. So we're very happy to have him here with us to celebrate Christmas. Kirsi's reaction to him was so funny. She was super hyper and was showing off like crazy. She has NEVER been like that with someone she meets for the first time. Uncle Trent must have really charmed her!

Yesterday and today were big days in the kitchen. My friend, Julie, wanted to learn how to make perogies and since my mom is here, now was the time. So, we made the filling yesterday and today was the rolling, cutting and pinching day. We made far too much filling so now Mom and I will continue the perogy making tonight with some new dough. I LOVE perogies so it'll be great to have some on hand. I just hate making them by myself; but making them with someone else is fun.

Today was my last tutoring session for a few weeks. I've really enjoyed working one-on-one with the three kids I'm working with. It's great to see their progress week after week.

A quick update on the Santa picture...the second one turned out great and we found it very quickly. Now I need to scan it and then share it with everyone.

Well, it's time to go. Der has the pork chops barbecued and Mom has the mashed potatoes and green beans waiting.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Santa Picture a No-Go

Yesterday, I went to pick up Kirsi's Santa picture at the mall on my way home from mosaics class. The guy at the photo store and I looked through hundreds of photos and spent 10 minutes looking for our picture but it wasn't there! Can you believe it?! Anyways, we have to go back to get the picture taken again. :( I'm sad that we won't have her first Santa picture but what to do?

On Saturday afternoon, Kirsi got her first haircut. She sat so still for Grandma and was a great little customer! It's amazing the difference a little bit of hair gone makes!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Santa Picture

Today we decided to attempt Kirsi's first picture with Santa. Since it's summertime here, Kirsi is dressed in a very summery outfit. We figured it would be a good souvenir of her first Christmas here - a Santa picture dressed in summer clothes! At the mall we went to, if you donate a gift for a needy child, the picture is free. We thought that was a really neat idea. They had a really neat display: a huge Christmas tree, a Nativity scene and tons of bears all over the place, including four big ones that moved. Kirsi thought it was all pretty cool. Santa Claus (el Viejito Pascuero here) was a sweet old man and he was really good with her. He waved to her and gave her hand a kiss to try and warm her up. Now we had anticipated a meltdown so we were prepared for the worst. When we tried to put her on Santa's knee, the tears began to flow. Before she got too upset, Santa said that Mommy could be in the picture. So, Kirsi's first Santa picture will be Santa, Kirsi and Mommy! When we pick up the picture later on this week, I'll try to post it on here.

My mom is finally getting over her cold but all three of us have one now. We're all feeling pretty lousy but hopefully this will be it for our household until the weather changes again in April! I just can't wait till I can taste and smell again!!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Poverty

Ever since moving overseas I've seen some extreme cases of poverty and human suffering, especially with the tsunami in Sri Lanka. It makes one realize how lucky we truly are and I definitely appreciate what I have more than ever.

The main lesson that our relief work with tsunami refugees taught me was that an incredible amount of good can be done by one person or smaller organizations.

There have been some websites and organizations that have started up lately that make it really easy and in some cases free to donate money.

Sites such as freerice or thehungersite donate money every time you click on them. They get the money from businesses who advertise on their site. In freerice's case, you have to answer a vocabulary question and if you get it right, you donate 20 grains of rice.

Then there are sites such as kiva and Heifer International where you can loan (kiva) or give (Heifer) money. With kiva, you can loan money to people in developing nations who will use the money to make business improvements and then pay you back. You become the banker. Heifer International will take your money and buy people animals that provide food and extra income ($20 will buy someone a flock of ducks). The recipients must take offspring and give them to someone else nearby so your gift keeps on giving.

I know this year, Dana and I are getting each kiva gift certficates to each other so we can help someone out. We're also buying our niece and nephews these gift certificates for Christmas. That way they can experience the joy of helping someone else out.

There are more sites and I've posted them on a new website. It's got all of the links and some ideas for educators. I've also started a message board where people can post ideas or other websites that are charity related. Teachers can also post messages on the boards and connect with other teachers around the world or challenge other classes around the world in freerice, for example. I know I'm starting a freerice challenge at school soon.

Anyway, I hope you check the site out and more importantly check out some of the donation sites. If you do, let me know what you think of it or post that on the message boards. If you want to challenge one of my classes with freerice, let me know. I'd also love to hear if you are going to join kiva or Heifer, for example.

And pass on the link to your friends if you think they'll like it, especially if they're teachers.

Anyway, I'm addicted to freerice and am going to get back to it.

Please check out the site and click away!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Patio Bellavista

Today, Mom, Kirsi and I headed out to an area of town called Bellavista. It's considered the "bohemian" section of Santiago and there are a lot of cool little restaurants and shops there. There's a little shopping area tucked in behind the buildings on the street called Patio Bellavista and that's where we went. There are several handicraft shops there selling their goods - typical Chilean outfits, copper handicrafts, leather goods, t-shirts, books, pottery, jewellery - and a few cafes and restaurants to satisfy the hungry or thirsty shopper.

We had a good time looking over all the different things to buy. There are a few shops that sell jewellery made of silver and lapis lazuli, the dark blue stone found here and in Afghanistan. Copper is a huge industry here in Chile and there were a couple shops that sold copper handicrafts. At the leather shop, we could choose from cow leather, ostrich leather or salmon skin.

As usual, Kirsi was a charmer and the shopkeepers wanted to talk to her and give her a big kiss. She's so funny; she loves to wave to people and say "hi" or "hola". And this, of course, makes people's day. I wish I got the same reaction wherever I went!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My First Time

I'm new to the blog world. But I decided that since I'm not writing regular emails anymore, this may be the best way to keep in touch. Let's see how well I do at this!

This week was a crazy week for us. Monday, we had the fumigators come to get our house and yard ready for summer. Last year, we had a problem with snails and wasps in our yard so we wanted to try to avoid them again. Last summer, we found two scorpions in our house (!) and I don't want to come across any more this year. It was a lot of work getting things put away and covered before they came. After they had finished, they laundry began. Even though we had done lots to get ready for them, there still was a ton of washing to do. I was at it until Friday!! Wednesday, they came back and cleaned the carpets on the main level of the house. There were some horrible stains in the dining room - why anyone puts carpet in a dining room is beyond me! - and it was time to get rid of them.

Then Friday, my mom arrived from Avonlea. She had been travelling for a long time and her plane was delayed by an hour and a half due to engine troubles. She was so relieved when she came through those doors at the airport. It took Kirsi a few minutes to warm up to Grandma but then it's been all good since then.

We're having great weather now. It gets pretty hot in the day but in the shade and in the house, it's beautiful. The mornings and evenings are still cool, which is fantastic. Simba is enjoying the warm weather. He is definitely a Sri Lankan dog! :)

It's Derwin's birthday today. We're enjoying a relaxing, chilled out day. This morning, Kirsi and I made him a birthday cake. Then we put up our Christmas tree and decorations. Mom is going to take us out for a birthday supper later on. Once Derwin's birthday is here, we can start celebrating for Christmas. It still seems funny to be preparing for Christmas in warm weather. I don't know if I'll ever get used to it!

I'm staying up-to-date with Kirsi's pictures so you can have a look if you'd like. If you don't remember the password, email me and I'll send it to you. Happy Sunday!!

I got POOPED on at Jurong Bird Park & Mass - Singapore Day 3

So, while the kids were feeding lories and lorikeets nectar from a cup at Jurong Bird Park a bird swooped overhead and dropped a liquid po...