Tuesday, January 13, 2015

personal // better late than never! EOYR for 2014

The first two weeks of this new year have really caught me off guard! I was not prepared to start the new year and all that it entails yet! Part of the reason is because we were home in Virginia visiting family until January 5th and actually got back to our own apartment in Honduras on the night of Jan 6th. So, I sort of pretended that the new year didn't start until Jan 7th. So in my pretend world, 2015 has only been around for 6 days. :) So maybe you all can pretend with me that this post isn't THAT late?

Last year Jamey and I did a "End of Year Review" post in the beginning of 2014 and I have sincerely loved getting to go back and read it and see all that made up our year in 2013. Mainly because I have a very bad memory and everything starts to run together for me after a while. So, I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to do it again this year and talk about 2014.

So here we go! Our End of Year Review for 2014. 

What did you do in 2014 that you had never done before?
- We learned a language.... like, actually learned it! For the first few months we were just making out what people were saying to us and nodding and smiling. Responding with "yes", "no", and "I don't know". Cognate words (words that look and sound the similar in different languages) really helped us to get started. Then, we found the "sabor" (flavor) of the language. We enjoyed that much more! Finding "flavorful" words that mean a lot in Spanish really helped us to get our point across and now, though we will always be learning more, we actually enjoy speaking in Spanish! Check one off the bucket list!

What are you most happy about completing?
- Building www.totalwater.org -- the website for the ministry Jamey began in partnership with GCLA, called Total Water. This was one of the biggest things (besides starting the ministry, of course) that we completed this year and it truly was a labor of love. We have so much respect for people who work in that industry and are constantly designing new things. It's amazing and really hard to do!

What song will always remind you of 2014?
- Just like last year, we just can't pick ONE single song. And so, we have categories yet again. :) Pop favorites: Shake it off by Taylor Swift and Ghost by Ella Henderson. These two songs were on repeat many a time in 2014, and were also often played when we needed a sing/dance break in the middle of our days! Country genre: Sweet Annie by Zac Brown Band and From this Valley by the The Civil Wars. Both had melodies that were soothing and sounded like home. And lastly, we would normally included a category of Christian music, but it just so happens that most of the Christian music we listened to in 2014 was in Spanish. So I'm not sure whether to call this section Christian or Spanish, but nevertheless they are: Gloria en lo Alto by Christine D'Clario and Eterno Amor by Hillsong.

What was your favorite meal?
- We probably ate our own weight in Honduran Empanadas this year after our friend Tania introduced them to us and then Lesley started making them for the kids at the Danli Children's Development Center. It was the number one most requested meal by the students and they would keep coming back for more leftovers until there were none left... but also always sent one or two home with Lesley to give to Jamey. :) In our home, homemade pizza was a definite favorite. Lesley finally perfected her pizza crust recipe and Jamey declared it better than Digiorno Pizza. He's sweet, huh?

What was your favorite TV program?
- Lesley: Grey's Anatomy; Yes, she started it in 2014 and made it through the 9 seasons that are available on Netflix. And can't believe she never watched it before now!!
- Jamey: Reckless; This was another Netflix find, but introduced to us by Jamey's mom. It's first season aired as a summer show, and was set in Charleston, SC. We all adored it, and then went to see when the next season would start. We found out that it had not been renewed and cried our eyes out. We want another network to pick it up!! Long live Roy Rader.

What was your favorite film of this year?
- Well, we didn't see many of the movies that came out in 2014, to be honest. But, we really enjoyed the ones we were able to see, which was Divergent (caught it on a plane ride. Yay free movies on Delta flights!) and The Hunger Games, Mockingjay Pt 1. Yes, we realize there are some similarities between these two and another 2014 movie, The Giver. But we liked them all! Hopefully eventually we will catch up on the movies we missed in 2014.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
- People are people, no matter the language, country, or culture. Also, DO NOT buy a fridge without a full-on separate door for the freezer. It's a mess.

What are you most grateful for this past year?
- Internet access and modern advances in communication for missionaries! We could Skype with friends in Swaziland, Africa y'all. That's just too great. And we know that people who moved overseas years ago did not have these technologies (and some still don't!) and we are so incredibly grateful for them.

What restaurant did you eat at most often?
- Every Saturday night, we get out of church between 8pm and 8:30, depending on our responsibilities and how much we chat. Then we are super hungry and go get Baleadas at one of the church deacon's stores just like half of the church does. So, you could say we went there a LOT. Also, Pizza Hut. It's the one American chain restaurant in Danli, Honduras and sometimes we wanted U.S. food.

Did you attend any weddings or major personal events for friends and family in 2014?
Yes! Jamey was a groomsman in Josh and Louisa Hammett's wedding in July 2014.

What did you wear most often in your closet?
- If we're being honest, Jamey often looked like a Target employee through a lot of 2014; he really loved to wear a combination of a plain red t-shirt and khaki shorts. But, his newest and most used addition to his "look" were his glasses, which he'd never really been accustomed to wearing regularly, but came to love! For Lesley, she finally gave in to a life-long fear of wearing extremely light colored jeans and bought a capri pair from Loft, which she wore ALL the time. (Hey, the fear was a result of being a 90's baby, okay? We were put in some pretty terrible outfits.) Also, she lived in sandals permanently (even during times she probably should have been wearing tennis shoes.) We live in permanent summer!

What did you really, really, really get excited about?
- Our rug in our living room. It's a small 8x5 rug that we found for like $30 in Tegucigalpa, and it has brought so much happiness to us and people who visited our apartment! You always, always wear shoes inside in Honduras, so this little spot is the one place we take our shoes off and rub our feet on. Once, we had teenagers from another city staying with us and they admitted to having stayed up for hours the night before just walking all over this rug because it was so soft. haha!

Also, Lesley probably got unreasonably excited about school supplies in 2014, but after a school supplies drive we did for the children's development center, we realized just how much having supplies changes everything!

Where did you feel most connected to God this year?
- Sunsets. Danli, Honduras where we live has some wonderful pink and orange soft sunsets that we really love. But really anywhere we were, we always took a moment to just be still and know during the sunsets.

What was a memorable gift you gave this year and who was it too?
- All of the memorable gifts that we gave this year were small things but that meant a lot to someone else. We found vanilla and cherry Cokes for a friend who had always wanted to try them, and he felt really special that we remembered him and got them for him. We also found someone who was willing to give shoes to one of ours students who's only pair had burned in a house fire. When we visited homes, we gave crayons to the little kids and sat down to draw pictures with them. Things like these were the most memorable!

What was a fun surprise you had this year?
- We were pleasantly and hilariously surprised with our Honduran friends' obsession with a pumpkin spice candle from Walmart that we were sent in Lesley's birthday care package. It is to the point where if friends are over, the candle MUST be burning and be in the "special spot" for best smell distribution throughout the apartment. :) Also, finding chai latte mix in the capital city. That was a really big win for us!

Looking into 2015... what does it hold for you?
- Total Water project construction,
- More mission teams this year than ever before,
- An intern living with us,
- Jamey's parents visiting Honduras (and first time ever leaving the U.S.!)