I suppose if you haven't heard this military abbreviation before it could mean anything to you. It could mean Ranting and Raging, or Riots and Romance for instance - which could be a good description of our holiday as well! But it has been mostly lots of Rest and Recuperation.
We took a week off together as a family and decided to have a few days of 'staycation' and a few days away at our land-lord's holiday home a couple of hours away from Mexico City in a little town called Tequisquiapan.
It was a truly a gift from God. We planned out the time so that we could all fill our tanks in our individual ways.
So we started off with a day of baking... 'Hot Cross Buns'!!! We enjoyed Hot Cross Buns so much when we were back in the UK (not least Charlie) that we decided to give it a go, and we were actually quite surprised how authentic they tasted!!
Then we had a family sleepover and watched 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' projected on to the wall of the lounge. The girls didn't get much sleep that night as you can imagine, but they loved the novelty of it!
Then we met up with Eli and her kids and went on the canal boats in a place called Xochimilco in the south of the city. The girls were excited that we got the boat with their two middle names on it! Of course we spent most of the time trying to stop Charlie from jumping in the water!
Then we went to an awesome Kid's World called 'Kidzania' based on the version in London (which we've never been to and is apparently about 3 times as expensive!). The kids got to pretend to be grown ups for the day; they worked in a factory making snack bars, dressed up as firemen and put out a fire, rode on motorbikes and got their 'driving licences' (They had to have a training session for this, which mainly consisted of learning what a red light meant, which Anya then completely ignored when she was out on the motorbike and almost caused a pile up!!!). They then got to make some medicines in a pharmacy (Vitamin C) which they got to keep so they could take it each day, and finally got to be paramedics in the little hospital and went in an ambulance to rescue someone who had supposedly broken their leg!! So Steve says they are now ready to be sent out to work for their keep!!
We then met up with some friends and went to a little fairground inside a huge plaza. They all enjoyed the adrenalin fix (including Steve!).
We then went on our few days out of the big city (Helen's main tank filling activity!). We spent most of the time in the little swimming pool and swinging on the hammocks in the garden and searching for 'Teresa' the tortoise which the land-lord had rescued from the barren countryside surrounding the town. We also visited our favourite French and Italian restaurants that we found last time we were there. The only place you can find 'boeuf bourguignon', 'rosemary ice cream' and 'brie and pear pizza 'in Mexico!!
Then we came back to label pencils and crayons, cover books, put names on uniforms and have an early night ready to get up for school at 6.3oam on the Monday. The girls have done really well in their first week at their new school. We're calling it the 'Sunshine' school as the emblem looks like a sun. They were a bit nervous, and Anya has been waking up in the night again as a reaction to all the change, but they have both come back really happy each day and chatting non-stop about what they've done. They are already famous in the school as they are the only non-Mexican kids there, and Nisha had to go and chat to all the English classes on one of the days this week - to demonstrated how to speak 'proper English'!! Their teachers are really lovely and have been very welcoming, and Nisha and Anya already knew quite a few of the other kids there - our neighbour's girls go there, one of our good friend's Cari's girls go, and some of their friends from their old Kindergarten go as well. We are already sharing lifts which is God's amazing provision - it means Nisha get's a lift to school at 7.30 am with the neighbours, Anya goes with me at 8.30am and then I sometimes pick up 6 girls at 2.30 (Cari's girls and the neighbours girls sometimes come home with us). We have especially been blessed by Cari's girls Lorena and Sofia - they recently became Christians along with their mum Cari, and the whole family was baptised before Christmas last year. They have grown so much in their faith and all 3 of them come along to the Bible Study we have in our home on Thursday. They are already great mentors for the girls (and for Charlie!).
Here they are with their teachers. Please pray for good relationships with the other kids, parents and teachers at the school.
Steve is preparing to go back to school as well. He is currently sorting out his student visa so that he can start his MA in Intercultural studies, in the States in September, which will lead up to a Doctorate in 2016. He will be going twice a year for a week at a time. The rest of the time he'll study at home or online.