Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On a Moto Episode 14: The Birthday Cake

So you really would have to have visited Haiti to appreciate the constant cloud of dust that flies around (especially when riding a moto).   I can't imagine wanting to eat this cake when it arrives where it's going.  But that's just me.  I am probably being unreasonable, right?

On a Moto Episode 13: Chicken Coops

These are the containers that people carry chickens to and from the market it.  I regret not getting a picture with cases FULL of chickens, but I believe there are a few in the bottom container.  You do not need a truck to transport animals in Haiti.  I repeat-- you do NOT need a truck to transport animals.

On a Moto Episode 12: Plumbing Supplies

Need to put in a toilet or some irrigation.  No problem if you have a 110.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Beggars can't be chosers.

We are in search of some hand-me-downs.

We're headed to the states for a few weeks in late July/early Aug and we're looking to get our hands on some of your gently used stuff you want to get rid of anyway.  WE DON'T WANT NEW STUFF.  We will likely be getting to the point where we will have to pick up some new stuff to fill in the gaps, but we'd be overjoyed to re-use/re-purpose as much used stuff as we can.

Here's what were looking for:

Girl Clothes:
  • Shoes (black dress shoes especially, but sneakers and sandals are great too.)  Sizes girls 1 to ladies 7.5 (focusing mostly on the sizes in the middle.)
  • Play clothes-- shorts, dresses, tank tops, sports clothes, pajamas, etc.  (Sizes girls 8- ladies small)
  • Girls ONE PIECE swimsuits. Swim trunks for girls are also appreciated.  Same sizes-- girls 8- ladies small.
  • Girls church dresses, from girls 8-ladies small.

Boys Clothes/shoes:
  • Shoes (black dress shoes especially, but sneakers, WATER SHOES and sandals are great too.)  Boys size 12- mens 8.
  • Play clothes-- shorts, jeans, t-shirts, etc.  Size boys 6 - Mens 28/30 (small)
  • Boys swimtrunks.  Boys size 6- Mens small
  • Nicer church type clothes for the boys.  Slacks, button down shirts, polo shirts.  Boys size 6 - Mens small.
Toddler clothing:
  •  Boy toddler clothing for Schneider.  Size 2T-3T.  Summer clothes.  Play clothes.  Church clothes.  Shoes/sandals around size 6.
Other non-essentials we're looking for if we can find it:
  • Wii Games that you no longer use.  Wii is like 7 years old a this point and I am pretty sure that a lot of people have moved on to bigger and better things.  It's new technology in our house, however.  And we could use some games.  *NOTE*  We do not want people to go out and buy games for us.  We're just looking for hand-me-downs if they exist.
  •  Seasons of TV shows. Nick and I rarely have time to sit down an watch an entire movie together, but we really love to watch tv shows.  Except that we don't get television here and  the internet is so slow here that downloading tv shows aren't an option. (Plus, a lot of the streaming options don't work in Haiti even IF we did have fast internet.)  So...  we're looking for seasons of TV shows on DVD or digitally.  We like all sorts of things.   We have the first two seasons of Modern Family.  All three seasons of Arrested Development.  Bunch of Office seasons.  A bunch of the Scrubs seasons. One season of Bones.  One season of Grey's Anatomy.  A half season of Glee... And that might be it.  Whatever you have that you are done with and wouldn't mind passing along-- we'd LOVE it.  And you'd also be loved by our missionary community down here who likewise has no options for entertainment. We pass all that stuff around.  And PS on this topic-- it doesn't have to be anything new.  It can be from years and years and years ago.  We most likely haven't seen it.
  •  This one is a reach-- We're looking for an old netbook running Windows XP.  Again.  An OLD one.  Has to have XP.  It's something about our wireless connection sharing or something. can give you more details if you want them.  If this doesn't happen.  NO worries!
  • Used smartphones (Blackberry, Android, iPhone, etc).  Must have a slot for a sim.  We can get them unlocked.
We will be collecting items in the Manteo, NC area, the CNY (near Chittenango) area, and the Triangle, NC area.  From places other than that, donations can be shipped to:
Crosspointe Church
ATTN: Mary McClear (Mangine)
6911 Carpenter Fire Station Road
Cary, NC 27519

 Deadline for sending items in the mail is July30.  We will continue to collect on our routes through the East Coast.

Thanks y'all!

Pics o' the week!

Looking back at some pics from the week (well, a little more than a week in this case) is helpful to remember what happened. 

Here's a slice of our lives over the past several days.

Worked some more on paper bead making.  If I have time, it's a really fun pass time for me.  The kids are each designing bracelets that will be in a silent auction (with tons of other cool stuff) at a fundraiser in the Triangle area of NC.  More details soon.

Nick and I took Yves, Jean Louis, and Fritzie out to dinner at Lakou Nouyok to celebrate the last day of school.   Fritzie got undercooked rotten fish.  I got overcooked rotten chicken.  Wasn't the best culinary experience we've ever had.  But we really weren't there for the food.  We went to see Wanito play.  The signs said it started at 4.  Knowing how Haitian time works, we arrived at 5:30.  When we left at about 10PM, no one had played yet.  Wanito apparently played at around 11.  But then there was a monsoon that night, so I don't think he played for long.  (Not literally a monsoon, but there were over 6 inches of rain in a 24 hour period.)

We love having a lot of fruit trees on the JiH land in Raymond.  Here, Jerry is picking sitwon (key limes) for me to make lime rice.   We backed the truck up into the trees so he could get the high ones.  Good thinking, eh?

 Met this little three day old baby the other day when we stopped by Bwa Vital to visit Kameta.  His mother had died in childbirth at the public hospital from eclampsia.  He has a fantastic extended family who is willing to care for him.  I love that he is going to grow up with his aunt and uncle and cousins.  If there are ways to keep families together when tragedy strikes, that's always the best option, (IMHO).  It's our joy to be able to offer them support in the form of formula for the first year of life.  The family had yet to name him and asked us to do so.  We named him Claude which is part of his mom's last name.

Took a trip into Port with some girlfriends the other day.  Amongst other things, we scooted out to Croix de Boquets to buy some hammered metal artwork for our upcoming furlough fundraisers.  I bought over 80 pieces!  Can't wait to share them all with you.

I know I talk about Church on the Beach all the time, but that's because it's so great.  Yesterday when we were out there just before church, I snapped this picture on my phone.  The water was perfectly blue.  There was a lovely breeze keeping the shaded palm-frond shelter cool.  It's so easy to worship God in an environment like this because it gives such great visuals for lyrics that speak to the beauty of God.

Signing off for now.  

Thanks for reading.

DiY Coffee Roasting

Haitian coffee is FANTASTIC.

For the past few weeks as Nick and I have been planning our US furlough plans, we have been mindful of things that we'd like to bring to the states as fundraisers.  Coffee was towards the top of our list.

But we didn't just want to go to the grocery store and buy already processed coffee-- we thought that buying it from growers who can roast it for us would be so much more special.  Except that we didn't know any of them.

So we sent our cook Magalie to the market to buy some raw coffee.  We thought we'd have someone around here roast it for us and we'd see how it was.  If it was good, we'd go that route.  If not, then we'd just go buy it at the grocery store.

We started with a small quantity just as a sample batch.  I looked into how to do it online.  From that small quantity we'd bought, I got the idea to try to roast it ourselves.  (Not to sell-- just for fun.  And because we were out of coffee.)

So-- I roasted about a cup full of beans.  This is what they look like green.  This is how you buy them in the market.

This was a few minutes into roasting.  The website I used recommended a whirly popper but ours is broken (of course) so I just used a pan and kept  it moving. One criticism of doing it like this is that you get kind of an uneven roast.  Which is why some of the beans are darker than others.

When the beans reach the desired color you take them off of the heat and tap them repeatedly in a colander to remove the chaff.  Once the chaff was gone I realized that the beans were probably not roasted quite enough, but was going to go with it and call it a light roast. :)

Then I put the beans into a pilon (mortar and pestle) and went at it for a few minutes.  This picture was shortly after I started.  When I was done it was still pretty coarsely ground, but was decent.

Threw my freshly ground coffee into the french press with some boiling water.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  Pressed it down.  Moment of truth.  (It smelled good.)

It was perfect! Super fresh. It wasn't super strong.  Pretty mellow actually.  But that's how I like coffee.  Nick made me an egg with grits this morning and it was like I was in a fancy restaurant. 

It was a fun experiment.  I would do it again, but it's too long of a process for every day.  And I wouldn't try to roast it myself for others.   But interestingly, just yesterday we met a coffee guy that just moved into the area.  I think I will just buy our fundraising coffee from him. :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Haiti years.

Have you ever heard the theory of "dog years?"  Basically (although this is not an entirely accurate measurement), the idea is that a dog ages 7 years for every actual year of their life.

Nick and I think the same measurement can be applied to living in Haiti.  We call this phenomenon, "Haiti years."  For every year you spend here, you really age 7.  Don't believe me?  Go check out the facebook of some people you know who've lived in Haiti for a while.  Check out their "before Haiti" pics and their pictures now.  Seven years of sun-damage, hair-graying, wrinkles, etc will easily pile on in just a year.  (Make it an earthquake year and we're talking more like 14, but I digress...)

But it doesn't just apply to people.  It applies to pretty much everything here.  Such as:
  • Cars.  Our car is 3 years old and it drives more like a 21 year old car.
  • Clothing/linens.  Clothes wear out/fade/get tears from handwashing/line-drying in no time at all.  Before moving to Haiti I've had sheets last me 15-20 years.  I literally still had a set I got in 8th grade.  Here, within months there are inevitably holes in the sheets. I don't know how it happens.  Same with clothes.  We go through SO many sheets/towels/clothes.
  • Dogs.  So, there is a bit of an overpopulation of street dogs here.  Virtually no one spays or neuters.  However, dogs in Haiti have a double whammy...  dog years X Haiti years.  That makes it 49 years per actual year.  And considering that the lifespan of these mangy mutts is about 1-2 actual years, I think our estimation is pretty correct.
  • Dishes.  Now, I am not sure how much of this is that I live in an orphanage and how much can be blamed on Haiti years, but yeah.  The rate at which we go through dishes-- glass, ceramic, or even plastic is MIND BOGGLING.  And not because they get lost-- I am sort of a stickler about that.  It's more that they break or chip or crack.
  • Knives.  We grew up with the same knives in my house from the time I was a little kid until I left for college.  Occasionally my mom would find a "new" one at a garage sale or thrift store, but for the most part, they were the same knives.  Here, we're on our 3rd set.  Why?  Because my kids/staff use kitchen knives for things that aren't really appropriate uses-- like to open cans.  Like to chop branches of trees and whittle. Like to slaughter goats. (Just to name a few.)
  • Appliances.  Same thing-- I grew up with the same washer/dryer my whole childhood.  When I got married, we got a new washer/dryer that lasted for the whole time we lived in the states after that and was sold still in excellent condition.  We are now on our 3rd rainwasher.  We also had a high efficiency washer that worked for about 3 days when we first moved here.  Here, things break ALL THE TIME.  Whether it's overuse, electrical surges, or improper use... yeah appliances take a beating.  Haiti years apply.
  • Electronics.  I have been through a great many computers and phones since living here.  3 MacBooks, 2 Iphones (on my third), and at least 2 Blackberries.  And that's just me.  Nick's been through as many of each, with the exception of Blackberries-- he's probably at least on number 6.  Nia's on her second Kindle.  Nick's on his second Kindle Fire.  My iPad is no longer with us thanks to robbers.  We've had two cameras disappear. About an equal number of these items were stolen as were broken.   Haiti years strike again.  We have this portable Bose speaker system that was given to us as a gift from our home church, Crosspointe.  We've already had to have it refurbished once.  And it's in need of being refurbished a second time as it's not working.  We've only lived here THREE YEARS PEOPLE.
Haiti years. 

They are real.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Heart barf.

I was thinking about how I never blog anymore and how I used to really enjoy that.  It was kind of cathartic for me.  Now, well, I don't feel like talking about what I am thinking about because, well, I just don't know if my ideas are RIGHT.  I think there is little use to just writing all my OPINIONS down, only to hurt someone else's feelings who sees things differently.  The older I get the less I know for sure.  And so I am kind of afraid that something I say today will come back to bite me tomorrow-- that I will look back and feel so FOOLISH for the way I see the world.  That's becoming increasingly important to me as community becomes increasingly important to me.  People are worth so much more than opinions or points of view or making a really clever (yet snarky) "observation" about someone. 

So then I thought about this--  rather than spend my blogging time writing about other people and why/how all their ideas are wrong, I thought I'd unload a few things that are heavy on my heart.  So here's some of the real deal (Holyfield) (sorry, channeling my inner Frank Lassen) things stirring in my heart.  They are kind of random.  But I thought just sharing some of the things on my heart might be an impetus to start writing more.
  • I still wake up several times a week around 2AM and spend a significant time awake worried about someone else breaking in.  I don't know how to make the fear go away.
  • I have a really, really hard time loving 2 of my children.  Unconditional love means unconditional-- ie (not conditional on their behavior.)   I do not like how incapable I am of showing this kind of love at times. 
  • I miss the Brown family.  A lot. They were so special and unique.  I find myself wishing that another family that was as cool as theirs would move in, alternated with wishes that a family as cool as theirs doesn't move in, because I don't want to start over with a new set of people.
  • Church on the Beach is pretty great.  I love how doing life together with this group of people is teaching me.  I love watching people truly love one another.  I came from a great church community in the states-- really, great (shout out to my Crosspointe peeps!)  But in so many ways I feel like I am just at the tip of the iceburg when it comes to learning about what it means to be a participant in a community.  Having a small church here (with no other options for another English-speaking church within a couple hour drive) means that you really need to learn how to live together.  There's no option for just leaving and going to another church if you get pissed off or screw up really bad; we're gloriously stuck together.  There's this really, really unique community forming that is so precious.  People love and serving one another-- even people they are very different from.  We are all learning to appreciate different points of view, different pathways of understanding the Lord, different theories on ministry and being a missionary. It is BEAUTIFUL.  However, while I spend 75% of my thoughts about the church on being SO grateful for the place this church has in my life (and the life of my family), the other 25% is worried that something's going to come and mess it up.  Nick and I know nothing about running a church.  What if WE are the thing that messes this beautiful thing up?  
  • I am learning to loosen my mental grip on worry about provision.  I've always been an anxious person (that should be apparent if you've read up until this point.)  But lately it seems like God is teaching me to trust him with more.  And I don't say that because things are really great financially.  I mean, realistically speaking, we are fine.  We eat every single day. (And I can't imagine that being in jeopardy any time soon.)  We live in a comfortable house.  But we have a non-functioning generator.  We have no health insurance.  We have expenses related to the accident in our new (personal) car.  We also have expenses related to the shot-up Daihatsu dump truck sitting in our yard if it will ever be functional to us again.   We have a lot to raise if we ever want to make the dream of living on the Joy in Hope land in Raymond a reality.  We have...  I could go on and on.  I mean, I really, REALLY could.  But I won't.  Because the other day (when I learned our generator was kaput) it never even crossed my mind to think that God didn't already have a plan to provide.  This is an area of growth that I've seen in my heart.
I feel like I could say more, but I think that's enough for tonight.  Somehow 11:30pm rolled around and my usual bedtime is 9.  (Yikes!) 

Bon nwit tout moun!  (Good night everyone.)

Thanks for reading.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Jacmel to Port Au Prince and back (in pictures)

Nick and I took a trip into Port today to (amongst other things) get Josiah's passport renewed and bring Nia to her orthodontist appointment.  As we were taking this trip, (which we take VERY often, as pretty much any and all business needs to be conducted in Port,) we were discussing how many times that one or both of us has made the trip.  Our estimate (which I feel is pretty conservative) is probably right around a hundred times during the past 7 years. 

It's about a 3+/- (usually +) hour ride (each way). Extra time spent usually has to do with traffic, or going to the far side of the city, or both.  My longest (one way) trip in was 7+ hours because of roadblocks.  Nick and/or I generally find at least one or the other of us going in about once a week.  (This past week it was three times-- twice to finish the transfer of a truck Joy in Hope sold, and then this trip to do the passport stuff.)

So-- since we were going in today, I thought I'd share a small glimpse of what the day looked like from our perspective:

Got up at 4:30 to be out the door at 5:00am.  We did pretty good, leaving at 5:04am with both Josiah and Nia in tow.

The first part of the trip in is about an hour through the mountains.  This pic was snapped at 5:51am as the sun was starting to rise.  Other than the carsick factor, it's a lovely ride.

By 6:14am we'd hit the quarry, which is my signal to let out a breath of relief if I haven't puked from carsickness.  The quarry means there's only about 5 minutes left of the mountains.

Finished the mountains and then it's smooth sailing for a while on good roads.  At 6:34am we stopped at a convenience store in Gressier to let the kids get some breakfast.  As you can see, they made really healthy choices.

We continued on our way, hitting the outskirts of Port au Prince (Mariani) (also our first traffic jam of the day) at about 7:03am.  This is not IN Port, just outside, but where the last 1/3 of the trip is spent-- probably traveling less than 8-10 miles.

Continued on and at 7:58am, hit Portail Leogane.  This is where the bus will take you if you take it from Jacmel.  I would still consider this outside of Port.

Next we hit the wharf at 8:04am. 

Weaved in and out of traffic.  Drove past the airport at 8:24am.  (Realized we were going to be late for our 8:30 appointment... but oh well.  TIH.)

Pulled up to the Embassy at 8:42AM.  Went in.  Got Josiah's passport renewal ordered, and new pages in my passport (it was almost full), and scooted out the door at 10:47am.  That felt like really good time considering how long we've waited in the past.

Next we headed right up the road a bit to Secom.  Arrived at 11:01am.This is where we bought our new (to us) car last week and where we brought it after we subsequently wrecked it after only having it for three days.. Went to check on the progress of the repairs.  We were not surprised that it wasn't done.

Our bellies were hungry, so we drove to the Epidor on Delmas 77-- arriving around 11:53am.  Had lunch and ice cream.  Josiah cracked us all up, refusing to finish his ice cream until he went outside as he was too cold from the AC.  He's so Haitian. :)

We scooted up Delmas to Petionville and upon the realization that we had almost an hour until Nia's appointment (you never know with traffic so you have to really plan ahead) we had the luxury of some time to go grocery shopping at Giant.   We don't have a real grocery story in Jacmel-- there are three different convenience store sized "grocery stores" that aren't generally well stocked and all struggle with power.  (Read: don't trust refrigerated/frozen goods from them.)  So it's a real treat to go to the big city to shop.  We arrived at Giant at 1:08pm.  We spent about 25 minutes in the store and then left for Nia's orthodontist appointment.

Arrived at 1:46pm, and Dr. Santo saw her right away.

We were in and out and so we headed BACK DOWN Delmas as we had to hit a specific hardware store down near the airport.  Stopped here at the ATM on the way-- 2:28pm.

Arrived at Eko Depot at 3:02pm.  Did a little shopping for things we needed for the electric in our house, and a little secret Father's Day shopping.

The next half an hour was our only real back-tracking.  I wanted to buy Nick a new backpack for Father's Day.  He needs something sturdy since he's routinely using it on his moto.  The last two backpacks (both pricey name brands- High Sierra and Swiss Army) got stolen.  The first in our home invasion in October, the second when our car was robbed in April.  There's this place near the airport where they sell military surplus.  That does strike me as funny since there isn't a military here, but whatever.  I wanted to buy him a military backpack as I figured that was my option for sturdy around here.  I finally just had to tell him that was part of his Father's Day gift as I couldn't finagle a way to get there without him knowing.  Hit the "military surplus tree" at 3:41pm and by 3:51pm we were working our way back towards Jacmel.

We made a couple more short stops to buy produce on the side of the road.   Watermelons at the wharf at 4:32pm.

Pineapples at the wharf at 4:38pm.

We had moderate traffic in Port and then headed through the Leogane area with no trouble, hit the lovely mountains.  No troubles there either.

One last stop to pic up some avocados at a road-side stand at 6:47pm.

Then crossed the bridge into Jacmel at 6:57pm.

Rolled into our driveway at 7:12pm-- a mere 14 hours and 8 minutes after we'd left.  
Phew!  Exhausting day of travel and traffic, but pretty dang successful for a Port day.  Lots of stops, got a lot done. Less than 150 miles total.  And zero accidents-- which is always fantastic! (Well, other than that one guy hitting our mirror-- but that doesn't count.)  

Thankful to be snuggled safely in my bed tonight.   There really is no place like home.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pics of the week.

Someday I am going to get back to blogging.  I really am. 

But in the meantime-- sharing iPhone pics seem to be a good summary...

I have been driving around with this (pirated) CD in my car of "Classic Instrumental Songs for Marriage."  I love that in Haiti, songs like Pocahontas theme "Colors of the Wind," Michael Jackson's "You are Not Alone," and Elton John's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" make wedding CD cut.  Also-- Not sure I know what the song "Lonely in the Night" is about, but it doesn't sound like a good wedding choice to me.  Finally, Elvira Madigan (I googled her) "Elvira Madigan (4 December 1867 – 20 July 1889) was a Danish tightrope walker and trick rider, whose illicit affair and dramatic death at the hands of her lover were the subject of the Swedish film of 1967." 

We started a new ladies Bible study.  I love it for the community of women that are there, but the coffee-shop-grade coffee drinks don't hurt either.  Ready Whip and chocolate syrup graced the top of my mug last week.  It was perfection.

Nick and I made all these big plans to go to happy hour at a local side of the road bar this past week.  IT. WAS. TERRIBLE.  We've started referring to the incident as the "Sad Hour incident." The service was abysmally bad (even by Haiti standards.) Still, I snapped this awesome pic of Nick looking like a maniac while telling a story (a story unrelated to Sad Hour.)  That was worth the price of admission.

We had an American diesel mechanic come look at our always-breaking generator.  He confirmed what we thought might be the case-- it's dead for good.  Bummer, eh?

Our truck looks like a clown car each Sunday as we leave for church.  People are just shoved in everywhere.

 And then sometimes, like this past week, the truck doesn't start.  Meaning that this is the transportation method for the fam.  (This pic was AFTER we told 4 adults that they couldn't squeeze in and made them get out and take motos.)  Never has a 150cc moto worked as hard as our little blue works.

It's been a sick week at the Mangine house.  Little Jos has had strep throat and malaria.  This is him at the "lab" getting his finger pricked for the malaria test.  You'd think we were cutting off a finger without anesthesia the way he carried on...  I now have strep throat too.  And we also had a lice outbreak.

Working for a non-profit, 501(c)3, we have to keep track of everything we spend.  Nick does a better job at this than I do.  However, yesterday he was in Port and I wanted to play the part of the good wife and so I kept good track of things that I spent.  Here is a tiny glimpse into what we spend "petty cash" on from a day to day basis.  (Note: about 40gourdes to $1 US.)

Nia is a big reader.  The other day she was looking at the back of her "Little Pear" book (leftover from 1st grade) and she declared, "Mom, this review is ridiculous.  I am eight and I LOVE this book."  (She takes things a bit too literally at times.)

The discovery of lice in our home put me to work treating heads and washing/de-lousing all our stuff.  Because the shampoo treatment is not available, we had to use this cream that stays in your hair for  8-12 hours.  So we spent the day looking like thugs.  Or short-term missionaries.

That's all for now. 

Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

iPhone pics of the week

Since I don't have the energy or effort to write a real blog post, here's a few iPhone pics from this past week.

This is baby Nica-- the baby of one of our nannies, Lenise.  I totally forget she lives here. She lives with us but you'd really never know because Lenise really doesn't ever take her out of the bedroom.  Routinely weeks will go by and I will have not seen Nica.

 Fritzie stepped on a rusty nail the other day. (Like you do.)  We had to go to the public hospital to get a tetanus shot.  The absolute lack of systems there is enough to drive anyone crazy.  Even this Haitian-Amish man... he got pissed for a while there.

Nick has some new facial hair.  Check it out.  This is the first time he's ever had a beard.  He gets it trimmed at "Brothers" barber shop.  Cause, he's a brother and all.  Seriously, he is.  Just ask KC.

 I have some new facial hair too.  Check it out?  Seriously, what is it about being over 30 and getting random chin hairs?

  We bought a new (to us) car at Secom this week.  Was (literally) the best customer service experience I have ever had in Haiti.  Only took 3 years to get a good customer service experience!!! Now we just hope the car isn't a piece of crap.

We're trying to get our American kids into the French school.  It's a good school.  So far, Josiah, (because of his age) has the best chance of getting in.  It's very competitive-- 600 applicants for 80 spots, and they only take the most academically prepared kids.  He had to go take placement tests today.  Josiah's smart and all, but the test was given in Kreyol and French, neither of which are his first language... (So that's at least what I am going to tell myself if he doesn't get in.)  It was weird.  As he was sitting there waiting for his turn to take the test, I kept feeling really nervous for him.  And then I remembered that he's 5.  And his ability to get into a good elementary school really isn't going to change his future.  That parent-competitiveness thing is brutal.  Man, I can't imagine how I will feel when it's time for college.

That's all for now.