Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Family

This is a warning. I am going to be posting a rant. Yes, a rant about family. I may step on toes and I may offend someone. That totally is not my purpose. Writing is a way for me to express and edit my words. In the end of it all....I've had enough.

I grew up a happy child. I was the middle child. I had an older brother. I had a younger brother. Before my younger brother and into his early toddler years I remember my older brother and I doing things like riding bikes up and down the road, playing a game of basketball HORSE, feeding the chickens, having our own named ducks, building a skateboard out of a piece of salvaged wood and the wheel parts of a broken roller skate. He dared me to go into the cellar--that place was never cool in my books, he also tried to get me in the barn loft but I was too terrified of heights. We played down "where the cats were" in a spring fed ditch/creek run off. We explored our parents property. We learned how to drive the lawn mowers and pick up sticks. We took care of moms washing machine hose (rinse water) when it needed to empty and she watered the garden with it.

My older brother was in 4th grade when I went to kindergarten. My younger brother was born when I was in 1st grade. Over time I was less of a little sister and more of a big sister. I never really remember feeling like a middle child unless we were riding in the backseat of the car and even then I wasn't in the middle. During my little brothers first year of life I was riding bikes with my older brother and we were racing. My brother's front wheel came off his bike. The wheel kept rolling and the forks of my brothers bike landed in the dirt road flipping my brother into the ground a few feet away. I was scared. I rode home as fast as I could. We found my big brother dragging his bike up the road towards home. He ended up being okay but he did have a concussion and ended up having to go to the big hospital an hour away to be checked out. I remember I was wearing my jellie shoes and having to stay at my grandmas for a bit but I think that was only to wait on my dad to get there so we could all go to the hospital because my grandma never ever kept us overnight.

I remember my brother doing a 6th grade program and he had to borrow my dads bathrobe and wear a fake beard. I don't remember a whole lot about the actual program because let's be honest I was the bored younger sister. He went out for several sports but never really was "the team" and I don't remember if he played basketball or just went out of it. He did do track though. Soon his life was enveloped into teenager hood and I was no longer cool.

Enter my little brother. He went to kindergarten the year I was in 7th grade (our older brother was a senior in high school). He was motion sick. There were times I'd go to school with vomit on me because back then we all rode the same bus and got on and off at the same time from our bus stops. I remember there were times I'd want to hide from him. I wanted to do middle school stuff like my brother but mom and dad never did allow me to. I really think by then it was a money issue. I was always excited to see mom in town with her car pulled up to the pick up spot at the school loading zone. Many times we would go to the library after and I got to walk my brother to the store. We could get chips and a drink. We mostly got milk and a bag of chips each but sometimes we got those nasty (I mean I bet I thought they were wonderful when I was a kid) HUGS drinks in the little barrel shaped jugs. We only had so much to spend. It was a treat to walk to the store because we lived out of town.

Then one day just like that my older brother went off to college. I thought things might be better and in some ways it was but to this day it is different. My older brother finally had his out.....out and away from the family. He moved to the college dorms 3 1/2 hours away in another state. Mom and dad had to plan to show up. However, my brother rarely ever asked off from work so we would see him if he was off work or sometimes for 5 minutes at work. When he graduated college that was it....he moved away. Again about 3 1/2 hours away but to a different state yet again. He bought me a bicycle for my high school graduation. I will cherish that stupid bike until the wheels fall off of it. I will keep it until it has rusted through. It was a gift he got just for me. For me to go away from home and take to college with me.

I haven't REALLY seen him in over 6 years back when our grandma died.  I have went to his house about 3 or 4 years ago but since he doesn't take off work -- we only saw him for a few hours. One year I offered to buy his gas and pay for a hotel room if he'd just come visit for Christmas.

So WHY would I think him taking off work to attend our little brothers wedding would happen. It was about 6 weeks ago that I had my suspicions that it wouldn't happen. It's not like we didn't know 13 months ago that this day was coming. However, he kept us on a string......I figured if he was coming he wasn't bringing his wife or their kids.....it would just be him on the motorcycle he said he was watching the weather to make sure it was friendly. I was completely fine with him not being there.....I knew it was going to happen. Then the photographer asked for a sibling photo. That's when I got mad. I'm even madder now. I should have put his head on a card board cut out and made a fan for him. At least his photo could have been in the sibling photo. 

My little brother thinks the world of my kids. He comes to see me. We go to see him. His new-wife loves us. It isn't just words on social media. My brother takes days off work to spend it with MY KIDS and me. My brother takes my kids outdoors and shows the dumb things, cool things, and spends time with them. My older brother hasn't even met my two youngest kids. My baby will be 2  years old in less than a month.

I feel as though he has bulled up and said NO ....... NO to us. No to our family. Like all of our lives were a big lie or that he couldn't wait to dust his hands and begin his own. We are a dying branch of what he's made of. My mom says he's "opted out" of our family.

So pardon me....while I grieve the family I once had. I think what maybe makes this hurt a bit more is my brothers step daughter saying "wish we could have come" and me commenting and I get a message back "we wanted to but with work and family coming in we couldn't" glad to know we are nothing but the back seat of everything. WORK and FAMILY......I thought I was family.

I am done living my life like I need to hang on to everyone in it. So excuse me while I go back to being happy and teaching my kids cool stuff. Maybe one day their uncle will come around but I am not holding my breath.

And for anyone else.....if you are just full of empty promises please just don't say a thing. I am no longer going to get excited for something until I see it before my eyes. I thought a wedding could get my older brother to come....to see us....thought it would be the event of the decade. I was wrong. Dead wrong.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Guatemala, again

We were worn out, spent, from the day before travels and I had zero issues sleeping. The next morning was a Sunday. I was awaken by the sound of a rooster crowing in the distance. That sound came a mere 10 minutes before my alarm. I thought what a wonderful way to wake up. I mean......I grew up with roosters crowing.

We started the morning with some breakfast and then we headed off to praise and worship. This was done completely in Spanish. When we walked in there were girls on stage. There was this one girl with gorgeous curly spiral hair down the middle of her back. She was just dancing and singing away. Next to her were a middle sized girl and on the other side a girl who was likely preschool holding a coloring sheet in a tight grip. They gave Jesus their all. At some point the girls left the stage and the boys came up to the stage. Chairs began to come out each kid pitching in and helping out and a chair for all the kids. That same girl was out on the main floor at the back and now nearer to me....she was still praising God. I watched her and she was having a grand time. Then when Praise and Worship was over the Gringos left and were to come back for an english version of the service a bit later.

When we went back to the church service we were told that what we were to hear in English is what was planned for the kids earlier but he ended up going a different direction and 4 kids ended up being saved. It was a good service. I was a bit embarrassed though when my 10 year old leaned over to me at about 80% over and said in a not so quiet voice "I am so bored, is this over yet?" I can't tell you how it ended because I am sure my face was still in shock.

We had lunch and then headed over to play with the kids. It was a family day which means some of the kids at the home had family come visit them. Other kids who do not have family visit them is where we went to be. Except for, my son wasn't allowed in the girls dorms (of course) and the baby/toddler dorms were all closed due to the family visitations. Some of the boys had got into trouble and since they didn't have family visiting they could have no visitors in their dorms. So another family adult and myself took all our boys back to our dorms area and we began prepping dinner while our boys played outdoors.

After dinner that night all the adults and youth who had not before heard the story of how Casa started went to hear the testimony. It was a neat story. But on Sunday when I left I wondered how some things fit in and by the end of the time at Casa it all made sense. A whole lot of sense.

Sleeping was a little tougher that night because I felt like I didn't accomplish much other then eating and sitting to listen.
The bunk house. I may have already shared this photo but its hard to remember as I had 2 cameras (my phone &another one)

There are 3 showers in our bunk house.

Looking to the road from in front of our bunk house

Looking to the back of the bunk house (side, back)

O, could have spent all day out here just playing. The weather was perfect!

He played most of the day on Sunday

4 square, 9 square if they had more kids.

He loved it outdoors!

Look! There is something on the ceiling

Paper wasps across from our bunk house

door separating us from the boys dorms

The concrete walls are the back of the boys dorm area

old vehicles are the norm

The shops (terrible photo) on the left side are where the boys can come and get work experience in learning how to fix or make things. One of them is a very nice wood working shop.

Same day, more games

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The travel

I recently took my oldest son on a trip. Just mom and son. We went on a family mission trip with our church. We attended family meetings with the rest of our group. We prepped as much as we could ahead of time. We read the Gringo handbook. Finally our bags were packed and we were en route to the airport.

We went to Guatemala!

Leaving Houston was a big mess. Since we were traveling with a group and going international we were not issued a confirmation number ahead of time or anything. We were just supposed to meet in the group area and let them process it. They had no clear signage or anything. It took us (all of us) 2 hours and 10 minutes to process through. There was one incident a simple name misspelling that held the last two people up. At the time of booking the travel agent misspelled the name. The airline said they couldn't change the name the travel agent had to. The travel agent said that was dumb because they had to talk to the airline. In the end there was one seat left on the plane and a new ticket was bought with correct spelling and they were the last ones on the plane (it was a newlywed couple).

The flight was about 35 minutes early landing in Guatemala City. I don't think either my son or I was truly prepared for this. Getting the luggage in Guatemala City was pretty easy except since we checked as a group it all came out as a group and it was like the last luggage. And let's not mention that the AC either was not working or did not exist in the airport. It was hot. Like big fans blowing hot air but only a few big fans here and there. But we navigated customs without hitches and made our way to the exit to find our awaiting transportation.

It was a madhouse. We were told not to go outside to look for the name of the group we were with signage. Once we went outside it was like a carnival. You had the crowd control like waiting in line for a ride to the back and to the sides people were selling balloons on sticks, others were selling their homemade items and a big bunch of Gringos were targets of constant over and over sales pitches even after saying over and over "no, gracias." When my son looked to the otherside and saw the airport was completely surrounded by razor wire and concrete walls and every so often a military police he began to wonder what I had just brought him to. His eyes were as wide as saucers.

We were to have about a 50 minute ride to lunch (McDs) and that was very near the place we were staying the first 5 days of our trip. Well traffic there made me completely appreciate the traffic here. It took us over 2 hours to get to lunch.

When we finally made it to "Casa" we were all very tired from the travel. But we still had to unload our luggage, move to our bunk houses and make our beds. My son......had to sleep on the boys side and I on the girls side. Then we took a tour of the property, had an orientation, and made dinner. I was exhausted and bed even though it was about as comfortable as a picnic table it felt good to lay down. I slept so well that night. The next day was our first day......a new post later!

Walking down to the plane--he's scared

On the plane and after take off.

Street Signs

Up in the air

I thought this was pretty-view from the road

Even McD's delivers.

At Casa

At Casa

At Casa

My bed, all made

My bed, better view, check that old school blanket out!

The bridge at Casa

A wall at Casa

A wall outside of Casa (its on a public street)

Inside our kitchen, meeting area at Casa

A better view of the team bunkhouse. Girls side, of course.

The stairs of our side of the bunkhouse.

The youth group team bunk house

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My job

Today, in a small world kind of way I found out I can meet up with a colleague and fellow job volunteer when I am away. At a time where I am a little worried about pick pocketing. What to do and how to do things safely and still have a fantastic time. I find a person.

Looking forward to next week. Even more so now.