Thursday, January 24, 2008

No more SICKNESS in heaven!

Well, the blog doggy has been sick.  I was feeling kind of weird off and on last week but then on Sunday it hit me like a Mack truck.  Fever, cold, stomach, head, chest all at the same time.  Fortunately we've had enough people on the trip to cover the presentations for this week.  And again the Lord has given us more than we planned on.  Another blessing is that Megan didn't catch it yet!  Pray that she doesn't either.   We have a big parent meeting and reunion tomorrow night and then four presentations in France on Monday.   (This is a picture of us with kids in Bergara last week.)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"La Tamborrada"

In Donosti (San Sebastian) they hold an annual festival commemorating the humiliating defeat of french occupying forces long ago.  

"At midnight, in the Konstituzioa plaza in the "Alde Zaharra/Parte Vieja" (old city), the mayor raises the flag of San Sebastián. For 24 hours, the entire city is awash with the sound of drums. The adults, dressed as cooks and soldiers, march around the city. They march all night with their cook hats and white aprons with the March of San Sebastián." - taken from:án

It's 10:27 at night here and we are counting down to midnight in the Griffin home.  At midnight we'll hit the streets (if we can stay awake) with the entire city...  

(5 days later...)
Well it definitely was an experience we'll never forget.  The entire city raced on foot, bike, car or bus to the city square in the old part of town (see picture above) to capture the opening ceremonies.   Megan and I boarded a bus already jam packed with merry Donostiarrians chanting songs at the top of their lungs.  After a 10 minute ride we huffed the rest of the way alongside scores of people banging on plates and drums.  Most were intoxicated, and we passed groups of young people sitting around mixing drinks as they waited for it to begin.  As we got closer the crowds packed tighter as they jammed the streets leading to the square.  By the time we got near the entrance to the square it was nearly impossible to make your way through.  There were only 5 minutes remaining and we found ourselves caught up in a frenzied river of people determined to get to the edge of the square for a glimpse of the Tamborrada glory.  The glow of lights emanating from the square begged to be seen by one standing in the dark corridor like streets.  We ended up being carried by the river of bodies to the edge of the square just when it began.  For a moment we were just taking it in but within 10 seconds more and more people began pushing into the already packed square and compacting those of us already there.  It was a mob scene for sure.  The pressure of bodies soon became so great that women began to cry.  The whole crowd would push one way and then the other.  Everyone knew they were helpless.  Through prayers Megan and I were able to see a place about 10 feet away that wasn't as densely packed and slowly move toward it.  We eventually made it to the side and started to feel like we would be OK.  Then as suddenly as it started, it stopped and the crowd began to flow again... and we decided to flow OUT!!!   

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A picture after a thousand words.

After speaking for 5 hours straight some photo booth shots (on the Mac) are a welcome relief (plus the kids think Apples are cool).  In the last few days we've shared our presentation and summer program with over 600 students.   Onati and Bergara had some really neat kids.  They were warm to us and fun, which made doing the presentations a joy in spite of being exhausted.  Now for some rest before we hit the road next week.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A tiny town deep in the heart of Basque Country-perfect place for making new friends.

Today was an awesome day of presentations in Onati (own-YAH-tee).  The kids were super responsive and well-behaved and the teachers were supportive and friendly.  Our team presented in 4 different classes to about 90 students in all and with only 3 hours notice we had 12 parents show up at the parent meeting.   Megan and I had a blast presenting together.  Our second presentation was the best with lots of improv and good times laughing with the kids.  Here's a pic of them watching our camp video at the end of one class.  5 more classes tomorrow in Bergara (Bear-gada).  

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Someone's in the kitchen with "Mimi".

Gerald and Jenni's youngest daughter Miriam is just about the cutest thing you ever did see. Bottom line: she makes the picture.  Gerald and Jenni's house is warm and cozy and full of love.   We are so stoked to be staying with them instead of a hotel this time!  It's a full house, with their family (5), Jenni's parents (2) and us (2).  "Many hands makes light work", and good times :)

Luggage was lost, now it's found!

Very cool that when we went back to the airport to pick up Jenni's dad today, Gerald looked in the window and saw my lost piece of luggage all by itself rotating around the carousel.  God has perfect timing and I have more underwear.  Let's get this party started.  Tomorrow is our first day of classroom presentations.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

We're off to see the wizard...Umm I mean Basque Country

I wish the wonderful wizard of OZ was in Basque Country, well actually I don't. The song just got stuck in my head.....

Anyways, we are off in approimately 12 hours (which means that we should have been in bed about 4 hours ago:-)). We will post pics of yummy croissants, our friends Jenni and Gerald and thoughts when we get there, stay tuned..........

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Album Cover

The same "snorkeling night", Chris and his brother continued to spend a lot of time in the "photo booth" on our new computer but I didn't really realize how long they had been playing with it at the time because I was talking to Suzanne and his mom Susan at the table.  And then I hear Chris say, "Meg, come here quick!"  So I went over to Chris and he told me, "It's like the Metallica Black Album."  Thanks to Photo Booth, you too can be in Metallica :-)

Deep Sea Diving

If you don't own a Mac, you are missing out.  There is this cool option called "Photo booth" where you can take a picture of yourself doing various things like snorkeling or going on a roller coaster ride, etc.  It's a great thing to do if you want to kill an hour and laugh a lot :-)

Birthdays and Carebears

Why are birthdays so fun?  Well they are fun for so many reasons, one of which is the most important, birthday cake.  I mean who doesn't love birthday cake?  I sure do and so does our nephew Jackson.  Jackson was born on Dec 30 and his new little brother Finley James was born on Dec 31.  Those birthdays are going to be fun to celebrate!  Jackson was already wanting to include baby brother Finley by sporting his "Big Brother" t-shirt the day of his birthday.  Jackson's 2nd birthday was his first Birthday Party Experience with balloons, guests, cake, decorations and presents.  "Grandma Baco and Aunt Menan" (as Jackson pronounces them) were blessed with the opportunity to make his super sick "bateboard" cake with ramp and boards!  Grandma's famous recipe and Aunt Menan's decorating skills.  Jackson, you're so cute!

My first birthday that I can remember, I think I was turning 5, was the ultimate birthday because not only did my super awesome mom bake me a Carebear cutout cake (the yellow one) but my parents also had a life size Carebear come to my party.  I literally thought I was going to die I was so excited that I was meeting a "celebrity".  I had my Carebear dress on also, just to make the party official :-) The was awesome and I think Carebears rule and so do my parents.  Thanks mom and dad.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Christmas Snow

This is the family photo that John Hayes (Chris's Dad) took of all of us :-)
(from left: myself, Chris, Suzanne with Finley in her belly, Jackson, John Francis, Susan, and John Hayes)

So here is a video of it snowing in Lake Oswego.  I was talking to my fav cousin Carrie at the time about her Christmas Eve, so that's what you're hearing.