Poco por poco.

We are currently on week 7 in this busy, beautiful and dynamic city.

We have officially taught for almost a month, and are still standing!

Current mosquito bite count: Too many to count.

With transitioning a bit more day-by-day, we’re slowly acclimating to the culture, the school, our classes, and creating a classroom environment that encourages, teaches, and supports the international students who attend our school.

photo 1

Brandon playing a little basketball with some Middle schoolers during lunch.

In the weeks that have passed between updates, I had my very own Venezuelan birthday, attended other friends’ birthday celebrations, walked, went grocery shopping, got a flat tire in the rain, walked some more, found a Venezuelan church, walked some more, and the list goes on.

photo 3

August birthday buddies.


More celebrations with friends.

It’s hard to put it all into words, but, each day brings about a deeper connection and awareness of our new city and community.

Instead of writing the book that we could on just the short amount of time we’ve been here, let me briefly list what we have learned over the past couple of weeks:

  1. If you can’t find something at the store, you can definitely attempt to make it from scratch. Example: pesto, hummus, peanut butter, granola, tortilla chips. Who knew it would take moving internationally to bring out the inner chef?
  2. Procrastination from lesson planning can definitely be done by making aforementioned food items.
  3. Procrastination also comes in the form of “weekend projects”. One of which was putting together the extra furniture that was provided in the spare room of our apartment.
photo 2

Our latest weekend project. The finished product!

photo 3

Before and after!

  1. If you do not find a staple food item (milk, eggs, coffee, oil) at one grocery store, it turns into a little bit of a scavenger hunt as you may find it at another grocery store.
photo 1

We found coffee! Therefore, we went a little crazy.

  1. How to order meat/cheese from the deli at a grocery store. More difficult than you think… Especially since all the measurements are in kilograms and I am not well-versed in said measurements.
  2. How to order meat (in kilograms) from the butcher.
  3. Why do these all have to do with food?
  4.  It can and will rain at any moment.
  5. How to get to a handful of places via public transportation.
  6. Where to buy the best mosquito bite ointment.
  7. How to create an ant-killing mixture and set up traps within the house (my weekend project 2 weekends ago).
photo 1

Essential ingredients.

photo 2

The results!

I feel like we are sponges that are constantly absorbing EVERYTHING. The language, the customs, the norms. There is not a day that goes by that we do not learn something(s) new.

Along with those daily realities come the deeper issues and areas that we have seen the Lord working and moving in. These lessons include:

The knowledge that things will not always go as planned nor will it happen as you expect it to. Therefore, while you cannot rush things, you are still fully in control of your reactions and how to respond to the situation.

Gratitude is incredibly powerful. Even when your first instinct would not be to feel that way.

Community is key. The Venezuelan staff and teachers here from the States have played such a prominent role in our time here. They are wonderful, generous, loving, and both the backdrop and focus of the portrait of God’s love that is far-reaching and above what we can imagine.

Vulnerability is unavoidable. It is not a sign of weakness, but, an opportunity for grace.

Brandon is awesome. I am so thankful to have the best life partner to go through this adventure with!

photo 4

Case in point: Handyman husband putting together furniture in the spare room.


God does provide. In the big in small ways… In a friend giving us dish soap when we are almost out and it can’t be found at any store. In rides to the grocery store. In finding a fantastic church that is God-honoring, and being able to join in and worship there. In creativity and inspiration in the lesson planning and the sometimes chaos of teaching. In friends who are caring and dear. In technology that allows us to still be able to contact friends and family at home.

It is so exciting and encouraging to see the ways, both big and subtle, God is planning on both using us and teaching us here. It is my prayer that we are aware of what is taking place, to be fully present, open-handed, and looking for opportunities to simple be here. In all contexts of that word. It goes way beyond what we can do (believe me, that is very limited). However, that state of being and living truly begins and is strengthened only in recognizing what He can do. We are learning and adapting more and more, little by little.

Poco por poco.

photo 4

Game nights at our friends’, who are willing to share their prized possessions (cookies from England) with us.

photo 3

Our next weekend project:1) finding a hammock, 2) hanging it in our apartment, 3) relaxing.

photo 5

I can’t stop walking in the room now that it’s done! Visitors are welcome.


4 thoughts on “Poco por poco.

  1. Kelly Chakerian says:

    wahoo!! Praying for you guys and what the Lord has in store for you! Glad that he has sustained you thus far!! 🙂 SO many fun adventures for you guys. AND so glad you found a church you love there 🙂 We miss you guys!


  2. Don Hallum says:

    So cool, Sallie! Good job, Brandon!

    Now that you built your furniture, they will come.

    Mom and I are waiting for the call from Zach and Lo…I guess it can be any day now, Aunt Sallie.

    We’re working on adding a new suite downstairs…Mom has her “painting muscle” back…I get to play in the crawl space ( plumbing); I’ll post some pics on fb soon.

    Love you! Dad.

    Donald W. Hallum DW Hallum Design, Inc. 4005 Bridge Ave Cleveland, OH 44113-3319 216.262.7574



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