What Are You Studying?


Some teachers demonstrating Tico dance

Flash cards, notes, and textbooks identify our house as one that is inhabited by students. Each member of our family is now a student. Interestingly, the path that we have chosen has literally created a new occupation for each of us.  In learning spanish, the word “student” is to be used with a conjugated verb form of “to be” which indicates a more permanent condition.  It is this same verb, “ser”, that would be used for general occupations such as doctor, lawyer, ski instructor…..ok.  To be sick, on the other hand, is considered a temporary condition and must be used with another verb “estar”, because it is not a permanent condition….OK, but we were all students at one point, which in my mind makes it temporary??????  I hope, that at some point, this all makes sense. I guess the spanish speaking world believes that “once a student, always a student.” Maybe there is something more to be said about being a student.

Living life as a student provides us with opportunities to learn something new each and every day. The student will always be looking for ways to understand the subject at hand. Most of us are students and do not even know it. Some students are studying the wrong subject, while others are studying a subject in which they have little interest. For those who have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others while pursuing their passion should encourage others to do the same.

Over time, Kerry and I realized that the gifts bestowed upon us were not being used to their fullest.  Our church family, friends and most influentially, our faith, had us questioning our purpose. Critical to these Q&A sessions was identifying the gifts that our God had given us. While in this process, the question became, “What do we do with them?”

If you are wondering, it has been our love of community, teaching, sports, friends and family, and of course faith, that have guided us down our chosen path. Although these gifts do not always provide a clear purpose, it is our faith that guides us through times of darkness. If I were to say that the path leading us out of Durango was as obvious as our local Highway 550, I would be a big fat liar. Not only do I, on occasion, question our decision to relocate, our kids make no hesitation in questioning why we had to take them away from friends, skiing, rafting, and their toys.  It is not only our given gift of faith, but the faith that you have in us, that keeps us going.

a smile- the universal language…

This path that has brought us to San Jose and the language school, is helping to reinforce the notion that we are students and that yes, it is a permanent condition. It’s funny how a grammar class is making this point more clear. We will continue to study.  The foundation that we will leave here with, in 2 months, will ensure that we are students for some time.  There’s so much to learn, so many choices to make.  And I’m not just talking spanish….

15 replies
  1. Bill and Valerie Mangrum
    Bill and Valerie Mangrum says:

    Thank you for your inspiring words on being a student. Discovering the gifts that God gives us and being open to how He wants to use them is a lifelong process. It usually ends up looking very different than we imagined! We pray for you every day and miss you!

  2. Sheri & Guillermo Collins
    Sheri & Guillermo Collins says:

    Mike and Kerry – being a lifelong learner – just think – it includes all that God would have us know as well as things like the geography of Costa Rica and Honduras, local foods, customs, and the richness of friendships as well as enriching your kids lives with change and new experiences. Don’t second guess yourselves. You have such opportunities ahead of you! Of course, we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers, looking forward to every update! Hasta la vista Sheri & Bill

  3. Bill Postler
    Bill Postler says:

    Mike and Kerry,
    Spanish has it right: we are (or should be) lifelong students. A friend recently asked me if (now that I’m 60)I have all the answers to life’s questions. when I told her I didn’t she was disappointed. She hoped that when you got as old as me(!) you had finally figured it out. (of course, maybe I’m just slow.) Thanks for the updates. You continue to be in our prayers. Bill

  4. Patt Emmett
    Patt Emmett says:

    Tichi family – the value of what your children will carry forward from the expanded horizons you are providing is a side product of your unselfish program to “feed” our brothers and sisters. When I studied anthropological linguistics at U of CR and did field work there, telephone to U.S. was still via radio, and mail took weeks when it didn’t go to Puerto Rico first. And now we read your reports same day. The world of your children will surely be that much different again from 2010. My children are old enough now to thank me for those crazy vacations where we took school desks in their horse(show) trailer to Kino Bay Mexico, etc., and are paying forward in their own way. The Butterfly effect. Raise them up when they are young…

  5. Jim and Barbara Edmanson
    Jim and Barbara Edmanson says:

    Estudiando. Todo el tiempo.
    Keep going!
    We are thinking about you and you are in our prayers.

  6. Cuntz Family
    Cuntz Family says:

    Hey, the quilt squares are really cool. So our square is the organge and white one. You all must be building quite an awesome team correspondence quilt. Will we be able to see it all together one day??

  7. Cuntz Family
    Cuntz Family says:

    Wow, we are students here hanging on to your every word. The photo is beautiful and says everything! Sending our brightest smiles to you with so much love and hopes for goodness and strength to make a difference in this world 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 Jen, Dave, Martin and Ana

  8. Ellen MacKenzie (McCoola)
    Ellen MacKenzie (McCoola) says:

    Mike and Kerry – I am loving reading your updates. Talking about the kids brings back memories of my youth. When I was in fifth grade my family moved to Beirut, Lebonon, for six months while my dad went to the Near East School of Theology. We had a family vote before going and I was the only one that voted not to go. I too didn’t want to leave my friends and the comfort of our own country. We were actually overseas for a year, we kids went to the British Community School and so didn’t really need to learn Arabic but it was definitely a different world. Anyway, that year is one of my fondest memories of my youth. It’s hard to convince your kids that they will feel that way too but I promise you, you are doing a wonderful thing for them. Ellen

  9. Greg Vlaming
    Greg Vlaming says:

    Mike, Kerry et al.,
    Thanks for the update on your experiences. You picked a great winter to ‘go tropical’! Lots of snow and cloudy days again here. Keep up the good work, Gman

  10. Ginger Hall
    Ginger Hall says:

    Sounds like you’re all busy & very happy! Yes, the snow is deep & I miss seeing you whiz by me on Elliot’s. The sunshine & warmth in your pictures looks inviting though. All the best to you & your family.

  11. Ginny Dignum
    Ginny Dignum says:

    I so enjoy your travels through Spanish. I still struggle with my preterite and imperfect tense and why “se usa una en vez de la otra”. Keep well and my best to you all.

  12. Erin Youngblood
    Erin Youngblood says:

    Keep up the good work…prayers and blessings to you and your family:)
    Erin and Meghan Youngblood

    • Jenny Houle
      Jenny Houle says:

      Hi All! I love getting the updates from you. Most of all I love seeing your smiling faces!! The boys and I miss you so much. Be safe and enjoy life.

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