Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's True, Her Hips Don't Lie

Last night we went to the Shakira concert to celebrate Kenny's 30th birthday and, apparently, unbeknowst to me, to fulfil a decade long dream. Apparently, while Kenny was on his mission in Mexico, Shakira, who is from Columbia, came out with one of her early albums and quickly catapulted to stardom and fame in South America. Despite limited access to television and other forms of media, Kenny couldn't help but be caught up in the swirl of Shakira worship even while toiling in the vineyard. Thus began his dreams of seeing Shakira live in concert. And, though I was unaware of the dream, I was aware of his need to be Shakira's champion in light of what he believes to be the systematic perpetration of heinous falsehoods by music producers, promoters, consumers etc. in America with regard to her talent and her place in the music world. Despite the fact that she is often marketed as an ingenue and frequently lumped into the same category as Britney or Jessica or others of that ilk, Kenny is always quick to point out that "she is actually talented," "she writes all her own lyrics and music," "she didn't want to record in English until she could speak the language well enough to write her own stuff," "she is not run of the mill" etc. etc. etc. And, last night, I have to say, that in spite of the fact that I'm not certain of the meaning of most of her songs, and though I am not a total convert to the way she sings (she has Celine Dion's power, Mariah Carey's range, and sounds a bit like the lead singer of the Cranberries), the woman really is very talented. She has clearly had years of dance and in particular her belly dancing prowess is phenomenal. Her songs are varied and musically interesting and despite her penchant for doing a 21st century version of the robocop several times during the evening, she puts on a great show.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I'm a Big Boy Now

Hey everyone, look at all the things I can do...

Sit in the bath tub by myself;

Call my friends;


Pose for the camera;

Drink from a water bottle;

Reach the mobile in my crib;

Give kisses;

And most importantly, I can CRAWL, watch out Mom!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Lima Style

Things we're thankful for:

1) Health (all of us, especially Caleb are in very good health)

2) Our house in Lima -- so nice to have more than 2 rooms, a roof over our heads, and a bedroom just for Caleb

3) Aurora -- she washed ALL the Thanksgiving dishes, I have never been more grateful for her!

4) Our faith

5) Our families

6) Our talents

7) Living abroad with the State Department as a safety net -- it is much easier to be overseas when you don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we need something

and, in that vein 8) Being able to receive things through the diplomatic pouch -- dealing with the Peruvian mail system is less than pleasant -- you cannot send mail from your home here!

9) The usual food to eat, clothes to wear, money to spend -- real luxuries and really obvious in this third world country

10) Insurance (car, health, dental etc.)

11) The Internet -- our lifeline in so many ways

12) Skype -- couldn't live without it

13) 12 place settings that match - though we ended up with 13 guests for Thanksgiving (14 if you count Caleb)

14) The opportunities living in Lima has and will bring

15) All of you dear friends -- we are particularly mindful of how much we appreciate our friends as we work to make knew ones

Happy Thanksgiving!

Caleb's first Thanksgiving - that's turkey and a roll on his high chair tray

Thanksgiving with the Missionaries, Erika, Paul, Kristy, Paola and Emily

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Halloween Little Bald Pumpkin

Something we discovered when we took Caleb to Buenos Aires earlier this year was that Latins LOVE, LOVE, LOVE babies, especially little gringo babies. And, Caleb with his fair skin, light hair, and very blue eyes tends to stand out among Latins, especially in Peru where the post-war European influence isn't as prevalent as it is in Argentina. Everywhere we go (literally everywhere, church, the grocery store -- it takes twice as long to buy groceries, the hardware store, any sidewalk or cafe or, well you get the idea) people stop, or rather stop us, to admire and go a little nuts over Caleb, often taking him from our arms or the stroller -- and of course we have tried to teach our child not be a mama's boy so he happily goes to every perfect stranger who extends their hands toward him -- we're going to have to work on that! Consequently, the words I know best in Spanish are (as you are reading these, think about Peruvian men, women and children saying these things as if there were describing the most delicious food they had ever tasted): muneco (little doll); que lindo (so cute); que prescioso (so precious); sus ojos son muy azul (his eyes are so blue); que bonito (so beautiful); and my personal favorite...ahh peloncito (little bald one). And while these are lovely words, they are not as helpful at the market or the drugstore as you might think, well, in fact they are just as helpful as you might think, i.e. not!

Since this was Caleb's first Halloween (note, you will see many posts from here on out talking about "firsts" for Caleb - he is nine months old, that's the way it is), I wanted to be sure that we celebrated it properly with a cute costume, lots of pictures and plenty of candy. Okay, so even though he did the trick-or-treating (sort of), the candy was really for the grown-ups and we couldn't let it go to waste. Obviously we have to savor access to his candy now before he is old enough to understand why people are giving it to him and that it really does taste better than the pureed sweet potatoes and peas that he is used to having for "dessert" and then refuses to share with Mommy and Daddy ever again.

Our Table

The Embassy in Peru, and I suspect everywhere else in the world, has an annual Halloween party to which all children of all employees are invited. The theme for our party in Lima was a Halloween carnival and several announcements were sent in advance about each section being responsible for a table and a game at the carnival. Thinking this would be a good way to meet some people and get involved, I mentioned to Kenny that I would be happy to help with his section's game. Next thing I know, his boss is thanking me for handling the game and all the accompanying Despite limited resources and time (thank goodness for Oriental Trading Company) we put together a fairly decent Halloween themed bean bag toss (no shortage of beans on this continent) complete with sparkly orange bean bags and lots of candy to distribute to the trick-or-treaters. I had purchased Caleb's Halloween costume (a pumpkin of course -- isn't is required that every baby dress as a pumpkin for their first Halloween?) before we left for Peru and packed it in our things so we would have it even if (read since) our slow boat stuff didn't arrive in time. And while he did not enjoy Mommy shouting hooray each time we had a winner at the bean bag toss, he looked terrific, collected a fair amount of candy and compliments and had, I think, an extremely successful Halloween experience. Now to my list of already useful Spanish words I have added: calabasito -- little pumpkin. Happy Halloween Little Bald Pumpkin!

The Little Bald Pumpkin

The Pumpkin and Daddy


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