Serving with ESL


This week our kids volunteered for a special week of ESL hosted by our local church in conjunction with a short-term team from Southridge Fellowship Church in Langley, British Colombia.

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The Canadian group, which consisted of 15 youth and four adults, worked in a foundation serving handicapped children during the day.  In the evenings, from 7-9 pm, they taught English as part of the local church’s outreach to the community.


Emilio, Caroline and Natalie were each assigned their own table with a few members from the Canadian team and local Colombians.  All three taught ESL, acted as translators for the table, and genuinely enjoyed themselves.

You’re a Winner

The evenings began with a drawing for prizes (to encourage people to show up early) and incorporated lots of games and conversational activities, making each session seem much shorter than a typical classroom environment.


Our kids interacted with the local community and members of our church, met a wonderful team of Canadians with whom they quickly bonded, and greatly enjoyed serving other people in their acquisition of a new language.  To top it all, I think they might even have some innate teachings skills.


Indeed, Emilio was asked to teach in the weekly Wed-Fri English classes that the church offers.  I didn’t think his head could swell any bigger after getting accepted to Phillips Exeter Academy!  🙂



Feliz Navidad 2014

Karakey Kids Christmas Video

Emilio, Caroline and Natalie began instrument lessons about 18 months ago.  Listen to the fruit of their labor.  Emilio arranged the music for the flute and clarinet based off a four-part saxophone music for “Carol of the Bells”.

Sus Amigos en Cristo,

Gustavo, Rochelle, Emilio, Caroline and Natalie Karakey

Summer Plans 2014

The kids are psyched that the 2013-2014 school year has come to an end.  It’s been wonderful but nothing compares to SUMMER TIME!

They are looking forward to:

  • Seeing their cousins, aunt, uncle, great aunt, second cousins, third cousins and most of all their grandmother in Texas in a few days!
  • Visiting San Antonio with the Alamo and the River Walk.
  • Floating down the Guadalupe River in an inner tube near New Braunfels.
  • Emilio taking the SAT Biology Subject Test on June 7 (well, looking forward to getting it done!)
  • Visiting and interviewing with several New England boarding schools!
  • Seeing all of their Boston friends.
  • Emilio celebrating 16 years of life.
  • Spending wonderful weeks at Camp Brookwoods and Deer Run in NH.
  • Natalie attending and Rochelle helping out at Kidsweek at Park Street Church.
  • Caroline spending two weeks with BFF playing beach volleyball in Long Island.

School Year 2013 has begun

School has begun.  Emilio (9th), Caroline (8th) and Natalie (7th) are excited about their new school year.  No, really, they are!  It will prove to be challenging to accomplish all that we set out to do but we are eager to give it a try.

Academics this year include:  Math, Science, Logic, History (1800 – today), Latin II, English Composition (online Veritas Press classes), French I, Spanish Grammar, and Literature.

IMG_5453Outside of home, the kids are super involved in a city-sponsored music school.  Natalie is learning the clarinet, Caroline the flute and Emilio just began with the saxophone.  Each week they attend four hour-long classes:  theory, choir, instrument instruction and beginning band.  Let’s just say we spend a great deal of time at the music school.  Thank goodness it is a short drive away or a 15 minute walk!

For sports, Emilio has found his love for volleyball.  After a few months in two different levels of mixed-gender beginner classes, he was promoted to the all boy competitive intermediate level class.  After only two classes, he has already learned more than he did in two months last spring!  His classes are two hours long, twice a week.  Emilio and Caroline continue with weekly tennis classes and the girls continue with weekly gymnastic classes.

Finally, the kids enjoy walking with their father on Friday afternoons to a local art studio where they participate in a two hour drawing and painting classes.

We feel very fortunate to live in a city that offers so many wonderful experiences.

Lorenzo, Leonardo, Leo, Luther, Henry, Elizabeth, Walter, Pocohontas, Galileo, Squanto, …

Addressing someone by their first name usually indicates a degree of familiarity, a relationship that has gone beyond initial pleasantries.  Although these names refer to personalities long gone by many centuries, the kids and I somehow feel as if we know each of them, personally.

After reading books upon books, watching movies, mapping journeys, placing names and summaries on a timeline, discussing the political, religious, and geographic motives behind a myriad of decisions, we have a much better understanding of the Renaissance and Reformation time periods.  This knowledge in turn has helped us better grasp what the Puritans were facing as they were forced to immigrant first to Holland and then later to the New World.

Since September, we have had the privilege of traveling through time, from the Middle Ages through the early 1600’s.  We look forward to the coming weeks as we continue to learn how God has been intimately involved in all of history but especially in the founding of our nation.

Our prayer and hope is that the study of times past will help shape our understanding of the world around us, making us accepting of and sensitive towards different cultures and peoples.  By understand all of our histories better, we can fully engage in the present and positively impact the future as we allow God, the Lord of all history, to be our guide.


Karakey Kids Interview BSC Kids

It’s that time of year when our kids pull out the Flip camera and do their magic.  Watch to learn about the kids on campus, why they are here, what their future plans are, and what they like about the campus most.

Interview with BSC Kids Video Part One:

Interview with BSC Kids Video Part Two:


Karakey kids pass the test!


One always worries about their children.  Did we as parents make the right decision?  Are our children adapting?  Are they thriving?  It is true that the younger the child is, the easier it is for them to adapt to a new culture and language.  It’s the older ones you have to worry about.

My heart soared today when Emilio blurbed out “I love it here!”.  Ahhh….  Soul food.  A year ago, he wouldn’t have said that.  He has entered the fourth stage of adaptation.  His sisters have been there waiting for him.  Life is good.  God is good.  We are so blessed!

What are the commonly accepted cross-culture adaptation phases?  See below.  One never wants to get stuck in the Negotiation stage.  Those that do usually move back home. In fact, Failure in language and/or Cultural Acquisition is one of the top 10 reasons missionaries leave the field prematurely.

How can you help?  Please pray for the missionaries around the world to Pass the Test!

Honeymoon Phase

  • The honeymoon phase occurs when the person first moves to a new culture. The person delights in learning about the new place and finds the differences in culture charming. The foods, habits, language and lifestyle all are part of the wondrous discovery process. The honeymoon phase usually lasts between a few days to a month.

Negotiation Phase

  • The negotiation phase usually begins to occur after several months (two to three). The differences in the culture lose their charm and can create stress. Frustration and anger can occur as the person tries to assimilate. Barriers of language and differences in lifestyle become apparent and can lead to isolation and frustration. Feelings of homesickness are common, and people may experience difficulty cultivating new relationships and communicating meaningfully.

Adjustment Phase

  • After approximately six months to a year, the person grows used to the new culture and can develop a routine there. The person no longer feels like an outsider and understands subtle cultural nuances. Things begin to normalize. Skills are developed to deal with cultural differences in a positive way. The culture begins to make sense and a deeper appreciation of it can occur.

Mastery Phase

  • The mastery stage occurs when a person can fully participate in the culture like a local. Language and communication issues are gone. A local’s understanding occurs, and the person feels at home in the culture. The person does not lose their original cultural orientation but retains it and can comfortably switch back and forth when necessary.

Taken from:   Stages of New Culture Adaptation