For the past couple of weeks, I have wanted to update our blog to give our readers an update from my point-of-view. I would first like to thank everyone who has prayed for my grandfather. Praise God! He is doing a little better. I am so thankful for technology–we have seen and talked to him twice on Skype. What a blessing it has been to see both my grandparents and for them to see our family, including the new baby. We named Joyanna after my grandma (her name is Anna)!
Dan and I are so glad to be serving here in Cyprus. We have made a lot of sacrifices, but now that we are here, it has definitely been worth it. Dan is enjoying his work at SAT-7 and I am enjoying raising our children in a different culture. My days are very busy with homeschooling Calvin (2nd grade) and Elisa (Kindergarten), and of course, taking care of our new little one. Joyanna’s schedule seems to change every couple of weeks, so she keeps me on my toes. I am struggling keeping up with our household chores and ministry administration stuff (keeping track of our ministry expenses, writing thank you notes to donors, etc.). I am trying to relax about not being able to “do it all”. Babies stay babies for such a short time, so I am trying to savor the moments of smiles and laughs with Joyanna.
Both Calvin and Elisa are doing really well this year in school. Calvin has become our math wiz and our Google Earth expert. I am really pleased with how quickly Elisa is picking up on reading. There are definite struggles with homeschooling (sometimes attitudes can flare up), but overall I am thankful to have this precious time with the children.
We live in a mostly Cypriot neighborhood, so we hear a lot of Greek when we go to the local park. The kids have interacted pretty well with other Cypriot children. I was really proud of Calvin one day at Burger King (yes, they have Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s and a few other “American” restaurants here–the menus are different than they are in the States). Cypriots lives revolve around their children, so almost all restaurants have HUGE playcenters. Burger King’s playcenter is a smaller version of Escapades in Muncie. A lot of children were playing in the ball pit and Calvin began to feel overwhelmed with all the balls thrown at him. He said “ohxi” and the children stopped throwing balls. “Ohxi” means “no”. Then, when he wanted the balls thrown at him he said “nay”, which means “yes”. I was proud of him to use Greek to communicate to the other children. Elisa has also used some Greek with other girls. She has told them she is “penday” years old (5). As part of our homeschool curriculum, we are studying Rosetta Stone Greek. I don’t think it will get us fluent in Greek, but it has been helpful. Most Cypriots understand some English and many foreigners don’t bother learning Greek. It has been fun to learn a little Greek with the kids.
I am finally somewhat comfortable driving here. I struggled staying in the middle of the lane at first, since the driver sits on the right-hand side of the car and one’s perspective totally changes when you drive on the left-hand side of the road. I got a crash course on driving, though, one evening when I got lost for over two hours. Nicosia is the largest city I’ve ever lived in, so that also added to my feeling overwhelmed. I can get around to the places I need to go each week fine now. Each week the kids have a few outside activities. Calvin is in a Boy Scout troop at the American International School. He is really enjoying it! He also plays soccer every Saturday at the UN Headquarters. Elisa is in a ballet class that meets once a week for 45 minutes. The teacher commented to me that Elisa is talented. Hmmm….it will be interesting to see if Elisa has a future in singing and dancing!
I’ve been very pleased with both children’s growth in the their love for the Lord. Calvin is now reading an adult Bible and he reads out of it every day without being told. Elisa is enjoying the devotions we do and the stories I read about Christian missionaries.
Calvin had some strange ticks (jerky involuntary movements) this past summer, but they seem to be gone now. Both kids talk about missing their previous homes in the States and our dog, Zeus, but they have been bringing this up less and less. They love to receive emails and letters from their friends and Skype calls have been fun a few times too.
I am doing better now, after a very long and hot summer. It took me awhile to get used to the heat while being pregnant. I also had to get used to the hard floors in the homes here. Now that I am finally healed after my c-section and the temperatures are cooler, I am enjoying the sunny skies and stroller rides around the neighborhood. I don’t know if I will ever get over the uncomfortable feeling I get when there are communication issues with other people. It is challenging to have a baby here and to not feel completely understood when I take her to a clinic to get immunizations. Different medicines, different immunization schedules, different formulas with all the labels in Greek (I nurse mostly, but also bottle-feed some), all add some stress into life.
Overall, we are doing well and adjusting to life here in Cyprus. Your prayers mean so much to us!