I was explaining the significance and purpose behind red envelopes to my favorite little nuggets. Lauren started discussing the different kinds of candy she would purchase with her monetary allowance and proceeded to dish out a series of expert karate chops as if to emphasize her resolute intent. Then Kate, the resident techie (who is also all of three years old), piped up, “If I get money, I’m going to buy an iPad so I don’t have to share with anyone.”

I had stashed a 2 mil bill (about 50 cents) in each li shi, so someone was about to be severely disappointed in this Year of the Snake.

Hosting and cooking for a boisterous group of eleven is no joke, but the sweat and hours of prep were worth getting to share cultural traditions–ones that I find more ingrained in me than ever the longer I live away from my family–with a whole different world. And for someone who doesn’t love Chinese food by any stretch, I must say I was surprised at what I managed to produce…and in my minimal Paraguayan kitchen no less.

Gong hay fat choi! Xing nian kuai le! Happy Chinese New Year from Asuncion!

Chinese New Year 002The kids’ table.

Chinese New Year 008Nuggets all dressed up in their traditional garb.

Chinese New Year 009Goobers.

Chinese New Year 003The full spread.

Chinese New Year 006Saucy noodles.

Chinese New Year 007Dumplings and chong you bing.

Chinese New Year 005Dan tats for dessert!


OANSA: Water Day 2013.

February 10, 2013

“Hamburger, hot dog. Hamburger, hot dog. Hamburger, hot dog…” I intoned as I split the kids into two teams.

One time at OANSA, I thought that encouraging the children to choose their team names would be a nice break from “Red Team” and “Blue Team.” I also had the hope that it would help foster ownership and therefore inspire them to cheer for their teammates. All was good and swell until one leader ran over to me and inquired why half the children were screaming about moonshine whiskey and Coke. Unbeknownst to me and my not-up-to-par Paraguayan slang, a bunch of seven-year-olds had named themselves after a typical Paraguayan clubbing cocktail.

That was the last time I allowed for such creativity.

So for Water Day 2013, I chose two favorite foods of children everywhere, and the kiddos just thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. The novelty alone ensured that the teams were well supported that day. I am sure our church neighbors also thought we had started a concession stand after an entire morning of hot dog and hamburger chants. But so much better a children’s snack cart than a nightclub bar…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHot dog, hot dog, hot diggily dog.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHot dogs and hamburgers preparing for battle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABalancing a sliced up (hence: leaky) jug of water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh no, impending crisis!



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProwling like a jaguar to the “jungle fire.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA baby gorilla and baby parrot on their way to put out the flames.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWater balloon relay.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen they had to sit on the globos…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIce bowling with frozen water balloons.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJump roping with full cups of water in hand.


VBS 2013 185Kicking off the last day of camp.

VBS 2013 189Kiddie demo.

VBS 2013 190They LOVE singing.

VBS 2013 172Painting lion faces.

VBS 2013 178Concentration.

VBS 2013 177RAWR.

VBS 2013 151Baby rawr.

VBS 2013 162Narrating the story of Daniel and the lions’ den.

VBS 2013 166Then acting it out.

VBS 2013 155A den full of growling cubs.

VBS 2013 156Memory verse yo.

VBS 2013 144Dribble dribble.

VBS 2013 148So great seeing some of the older boys helping out.

VBS 2013 153Raceracerace.

VBS 2013 082Giving the rundown on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

VBS 2013 069Grand master of the snacks.

VBS 2013 118Grandmas in action. Sort of.

VBS 2013 085Assembling their furnaces.

VBS 2013 109Sra. R lending a hand.

VBS 2013 092So easy she did it with her eyes closed!

VBS 2013 099My little nuggets with their fiery furnaces.

VBS 2013 110Sweet girls working together on the maze.

VBS 2013 066Lining up for the races.

VBS 2013 067Booger.

VBS 2013 105Team time.

VBS 2013 111Is this not the most precious thing you’ve ever seen?

VBS 2013 080On your marks, get set…

VBS 2013 084…TUG!!!