(Emailed 2/1/08 pre-blog)

Hi everyone – I was hoping to be able to write and give you our cell phone numbers, but no luck.  Hubby thought he was getting his FM3 the other day but it turned out it was just fingerprints.  It will have to wait until he gets back from France (he’s leaving Wed, back Monday).  Once he gets his FM3 visa, then we can get cell phones. 
The girls are doing great.  They are sharing a room and swimming together every day in the pool so I think it is forcing them to get a long a LITTLE better.
Today is their first full day of school.  Each day this week, the school had me stay for several hours, then leave, then come back and get them early.  Today is the day we’ve been working towards – a full day. It is also loco calcintines day at school – crazy sock day. All the kids are encouraged to wear their craziest socks – it’s cute.  We left most of our socks in Boston, so we shopped for some yesterday.  Its funny, our kids are the least dressed at the school.  It’s at least 85 degrees and most of the kids have on the sweatsuits – one girl had on a turtleneck yesterday! H & J wear shorts and tshirts everyday.  Don’t know what we’ll do when it gets “hot”.  Their school is doing a production of The Wizard of Oz at the end of February.  Usually, they do smaller productions – but this year they decided to go all out.  They’ve rented a theatre in town and even hired a costume maker to make gorgeous custum fit outfits- the kids were trying on their costumes yesterday – they were incredible.  H & J had their measurements taken so they can take part.  J will be corn (don’t ask how that fits into the wizard of oz – I don’t know)  H is thrilled to be in the chorus that also has cool costumes. 
H has had a harder time adjusting, but we expected that.  No major clingy separation issues at all, it’s just tougher. She is making friends – her closest are Pamela & Jania.  The hardest thing for her is that Spanish is the first half of her day, but I think that is good for her because she has English to look forward to, rather than dreading the switch to Spanish.  H especially loves art – which is 90 minutes long so they really get into a project and wushu which the older kids have once a week in addition to gym.  J is adjusting amazingly, she passes me in the hall and says hi mom and keeps going.  She still does her funny little dances as she’s moving down the hall.  The other day she said bye to her teacher and I told her to say “Hasta Manana” instead.  She looked at me exasperated and said “Moooooooooom – that’s my ENGLISH teacher!” 
Sometimes they come home famished because they didn’t like what was for lunch at school (spicy things) , other days they like it – (spaghetti). They also have breakfast at school – pancakes, yogurt, watermelon.  They like a common drink here call horchata which is a very sweet concentrated rice milk that you buy in a small bottle and cut with water.
Hub and I are doing fine.  Hub has a lot of work, he’ll be happy when he gets the FM3 and our car gets here (currently in Georgia, will be on a boat soon and here in a week or two) so that he can focus solely on work and not the busywork adjustment stuff.  My life here has been made easier by a woman named Maria and her son Raul,22. Raul is the gatekeeper, maintenance guy for our complex and Maria is a cleaning person.  They speak no English – but they are incredibly sweet and patient with me as I parse together my new words to try to get what I need.
Things to adjust to:  people smoking in restaurants, tipping at the gas station, the amount of gas we use (price is pretty similar as home, but I hardly ever drove at home, also there is only one brand of gas station here, gvt owned Pemex), dangerous 8 point rotaries, tipping at the grocery store, not assuming that a person can read. Many things are inexpensive, but then other things are incredibly expensive.  It took me a week and $150 dollars to find a comforter that wasn’t polyester.
Funniest subtitle moment so far: A guy on TV said he went to Yale, but the subtitle said he went to Harvard.
My brother will arrive tomorrow night – yay!  Just in time for Carnivale – it’s very big here.  They’ve been setting up the main street – Montejo – for a week now with food stands, rides, floats, etc.  No school on Monday or Tuesday either because of it, so we will have fun with Uncle JK before Hub leaves for France.
I will send pictures soon!  Hope all is well.  Please keep in touch – we love email.