Saturday, June 30, 2007

Presenting a new Martin

This week we took the plunge and added a canine companion to our family. This is Luna:

Luna is a Bernese Mountain Dog. My brother Ray has one where he lives in Alaska and we love visiting her. Every time we meet a Berner we are impressed by what calm and sensitive dogs they are, so we decided this was the breed for us. We put a picture of Luna's mother so you can see what she will look like as an adult. (She was still slightly large because she has been nursing eight pups!!!!
We were worried that there would be a lot of crying, but so far we only had one episode from 5:30 to 6am. Then she quieted down. We are totally impressed! The Bernese Mountain Dog is from Switzerland and was used to watch over sheep and also to haul carts full of milk and cheese to market in other towns. Here is a picture of my brother's dog fulfilling her calling:

Having a dog is a huge change for us and I feel very apprehensive and worried that I will not meet her needs. When they put her in my lap for the ride home yesterday I felt like a huge responsibility had been given to me. I wonder if that's how you feel when you have a baby--although I am sure it is more with a child! I said a prayer that Heavenly Father would help me be a good dog-parent to this beautiful creature of his.
We are loving our Luna already--I am leaving for three weeks and I know I will miss her! She is coming to Utah in August with Juan Carlos and me to meet the rest of the family and her canine cousin Sage from Alaska.
That's it for now. I am sure I will be posting more often since I now have something very fun and wiggly to post about!!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

We are as different as the sun and the sea

This week has been a revelation for Juan Carlos and me. We have moved at least 4 times since we got married and we managed to do just fine. The move to the new house (where we are finally installed, by the way!) has been horrific. We are finishing our basement and we have a bunch of guys working in the basement. The plumber cut the wrong tube and shut down our AC for the two days in Rhode Island when it happened to be 93 degrees outside. The builder we purchased from has not taken care of anything we listed when we did the walkthrough. On top of this our plumber also hasn't finished some adjustments to the hot water heater so we have had no hot water for three days (although this was not a hardship on the hot days). Our reaction to all of this is pretty interesting. Juan Carlos paces back and forth until he can't stand it anymore and then goes into a fit of cleaning (I guess there are worse things to have a fit about). He grumbles under his breath, expresses his displeasure to the workers, and generally climbs the walls. He just cannot handle it. My reaction to his shouting is to shut down completely. I just can not communicate with someone who is not in control. I can't do it. So we growl at each other throughout the day, forcing ourselves to be polite.

I, on the other hand, sit down and wait for whoever to come fix whatever it is. I just feel like getting upset does not make things happen faster and is also a waste of energy that I cannot afford to waste. Juan Carlos has extremely high energy though, so he must have an extra supply. So I don't yell and I sit and read or do whatever in the 90 degrees indoor heat. What else can you do? This is when Juan Carlos looks at me like I am an alien.

It is true that Juan Carlos' way sometimes gets results faster, but he is jumped up and stressed out for hours or days after things like this happen. However, Juan Carlos definitely gets more done than I do. I feel like I keep a more stable emotional level, but things might take longer to get done--sometimes too long.

Juan Carlos comes from a family and a culture that is very expressive. (of every emotion!) I, on the other hand, was never allowed to express extreme emotion--either out of control happiness or out of control anger-- while growing up. I don't know that this is the best approach, but it certainly makes me more non-confrontational. (Although I can be plenty confrontational when a student is out of line).

Anyway, it has been a TERRIBLE week for the both of us and we look forward to putting a leash on our snarling beasts and getting on with life. The AC is back on and it's amazing how it lightens up the mood around here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Some thoughts

Again, I found this fun personality test on Lara's blog. It is pretty interesting. Click here to see my results. I was surprised at how accurate some of the statements are. It is also interesting to me how different I am as an adult. A lot of this is because I wanted to change some things about myself, but it seems like more change than what I consciously thought about. I think of how I was as a child and even a young adult and the difference is startling to me. I wonder if this happens to everyone.

On a different note, school will be over (finally) next week. The end of every school year is hard for me. I love my students and have a great time with them, but at the end of the year they walk away and you never know whether you actually contributed something to their lives. I think part of this is feeling tired and worn out. I have asked some colleagues, however and they admit to feeling the same way. I suppose teaching is different from most professions because you do not see the results of your work; indeed, they run out the door at the end of the year and you never see them again! So I am always a little sad at the end of the year. I will miss my students and I hope they will remember something from Ms. Martín's class.

I am more than ready for the year to be over, but the summer is going to be busier than I would like. I will be spending a good part of July and August in Utah and also attending the wedding of my sister in Austin, TX. All of these things are wonderful and I am excited about the visits, but I wish I didn't have to spend so much time on airplanes! :-)

And on a last note, Juan Carlos and I went fishing off Cape Cod for our 7th anniversary last weekend. We had a great time. Here is a picture of Juan Carlos at one big moment.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Here to Stay

We have had a very long year and have made it through our first New England winter. It has been a little more difficult for me to adjust than it has been for Juan Carlos. I am not sure why. I think it is a lot of things together: the extremely high cost of living, the job that doesn't pay enough, (Boy, has my testimony of paying tithing grown!) or maybe just the fact that people are not that friendly here. We have made some commitments though, and it looks like we are not going to be giving up on New England anytime soon.

The bad news: Massachusetts is too expensive for us. There is no decent place in the state where we can afford to purchase a home. (Where do all these people work that they can pay $300,000 for a two bedroom house built in 1850?) Also, taxes are astronomically high and health care is almost unaffordable. I always thought that the health care issue was no big deal, but the truth of it is that isn't a big deal in North Carolina. It is in Massachusetts.

The good news: We are moving to Rhode Island. We found affordable housing in Pawtucket and so we are about to become homeowners for the first time. Unfortunately the affordable housing does not run to actual houses. So we are starting with a condo. Maybe someday we will have a house! (Pics below)

The bad news: My job (and job enviroment) has been very difficult. I have discovered recently that I am making a lot less than even public school teachers. The mistake I made was thinking that a Catholic school in North Carolina (which I loved) is the same as a Catholic school in Massachusetts. It's not the same (except for the salary!)

The good news: I have found a new position (hopefully a permanent one) at the Wheeler School in Providence. I will be teaching AP Spanish there. This will be a challenge but I am looking forward to it. It is better money (not a lot but enough) and a much needed change of atmosphere. It will be nice to get back to an independent school setting, as well--it fits my teaching personality more.

The bad news: One sad thing is that our ward here in Massachusetts has been one bright spot in a difficult year. We are really going to miss it.

The good news: We haven't ever been in a bad ward so we are looking forward to getting to know the members in Rhode Island.

Some random good news: We went for a walk tonight and saw a whole lot of Canadian geese with their goslings. It made me happy beyond all reason. (Pic at the bottom)

It has been a hard year. But we still feel that this is where we are supposed to be, and the Lord has provided the way and the means.