Seeing as I've neglected this space for a couple of weeks, I've got some catching up to do!
Life's been a bit of a whirl since we started moving out of our our rental house on Tochtli Street...one Saturday we packed up a few things and changed over into the house we're taking care of this summer. Gradually, we were able to go back and finish packing up the rest of our things. Which didn't take long, because we don't have that much!
The next challenge was to find a house to rent in Apizaco, but we were busy preparing for a fun missions event and didn't have time to go out and look for a house. Miguel was also spending hours at the immigration office finalizing the paperwork for our religious visas (religious visas are a little more complicated than regular resident visas). Then some of the kids got sick and we had to stay home and then finally, we had a day when we could take off for Apizaco to see what we could see.
We were able to contact a real estate agent via our friends and he showed us 5 or 6 houses, several of which were good possibilities. The one we liked the best was an older house, but had a fabulous yard! The kids were really excited about the yard...lots of grass and many fruit trees...plenty of space to run around. The carport was even partially covered, which would have been a good place for them to play during hot or rainy days. One of the main issues with that house, however, was its location...it is way out on the edge of town and not very close to where we would have liked to be situated.
After seeing all the houses that the agent had to show us, we were heading back to our friends' house when we happened to see a little sign from another real estate office advertising a house for rent in that area. We called and as it turned out, the house is just a block away from our friends' house, which is also the LAMM offices (read more about LAMM here)! The house looked promising, but we couldn't get it to see it until later. So we hung out at the park...well, Gracia and I stayed in the van playing Phase 10, which was more fun than playing soccer or football...and then we finally got the call to go see the house.
We hadn't been able to see much of the house from the outside because the outside walls are so high, but as we stepped into the patio, I really liked what I saw! The front of the house is pretty and the carport area is really big (which is good, since we have a large vehicle)...a large part of the carport is also covered, which is awesome for those rainy days when the kids just have to get out of the house! Once we stepped inside, we just kept liking what we saw...it has four bedrooms, a studio, 2 1/2 bathrooms, large living room and dining room. One of the bedrooms is small and decorated in pink, perfect for Gracia...another is a bit larger and decorated for young boys, perfect for Jojo and Gugui!
The only thing that was a con about this house is that the patio is completely paved, there is no grass and there are no trees. Miguel left the final decision up to me to choose the house and after lining out all the pros and cons of both houses, we quickly realized that even though this house doesn't have the patio we would have liked, everything else is exactly what we were looking for! It is a block from LAMM offices (which is also our friends' house), it is a block or so from a nice park, there is an empty lot on the other side of the street where we can exercise the dog and it's just a few blocks away from the church that we will be attending. We are rather social people and we decided that we'd rather be closer to the action than more isolated, even if it meant giving up the yard.
The kids weren't exactly sure that they wanted to give up the yard, but once they saw the house they were pretty much sold on it after discovering this awesome 'secret' room behind the toilet in the bathroom downstairs! I just hope they don't startle a guest one day by popping out at an inopportune moment...
So we were able to return on Friday to sign the contract...and Friday turned out to be a day of celebration, because that was also the day we received our visas! We spent a boring couple of hours at the immigration office, while the kids entertained themselves playing Pass the Pigs, much to the amusement of the other people there who had never seen such a game. The kids thought it was most exciting to be able to give their fingerprints...apparently that was the highlight of their time there! Miguel and I considered actually receiving our visas to be the highlight...now we're set to legally work as missionaries/ministers here in Mexico! This also means that we avoid having to take another trip to the border this month to renew our tourist visas.
So that was a good day as we accomplished those two major tasks...getting our visas and signing the contract on a house. The next day, Gracia participated in a dance performance with the rest of her dance studio...we were so very proud of her for that! On Sunday, some friends helped Miguel move the rest of our things up to our new rental house in Apizaco and we were finally able to return the house to the owners. It feels good to have that taken care of.
Our next big thing is receiving a team from our home church in Arkansas on the 14th, which is coming right up! This team will visit the mountains and some of them will participate in giving medical care and some will do some simple construction projects. There are several young people coming along as well, so Miguel has some fun things planned for them to do with the kids in the mountains. We were hoping to go as a family, but there was a mix-up and now there is not room, so just Miguel and Micah will be going along. That was disappointing to me, but I am trusting that God is in control, even in this.
After the team leaves, then we'll be able to make the final move up to our new house in Apizaco. We're excited!
So, now you are (mostly) caught up with what's been going on with us. It's always an adventure!