Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
they collect trash for a living and sell it
they live in a 12x9 room...that completes their house
when it rains...they get wet...along with everything else
they can't afford to send their daughter to school (nor can most indonesians as the price of gas just went up 20% here...it's a stiff price to pay when you can't even give the necessities in life...like food and clean water)
they bath in the open air behind some trees and a free standing wall
they treasure everything we throw away...it's weird to throw things away now cuz i know it's like "giving" it to her. she collects our trash for the little fee of putting her daughter through kindergarten. but now that she is entering grade one...it's a little more. of course we help and of course we want to solve all their problems but this culture prohibits us from doing too much. we have already done too much in the communities eyes around us. there is jealously going on. we must be fair to all...but it's hard when they are the most in need. if we don't...it will be dangerous for them and for us.
and its so completely hard to have this kind of life around us when we are trying to make our home "a home"...and even though we live minimally...we still have way more than they will ever dream to have...and we live next door! they come visit every day and watch sponge bob, tomand jerry (the universal cartoon cuz it has no words!) or veggie tales with the kids...they play outside all day with ours as well...i really like her. she really tries to help me out with cultural situations...like yesterday a kid fell out of a 3 story coconut tree and i asked her what we need to do. usually all the women go and visit all at once when someone is sick (or in his case...a broken leg) and the men all go and visit another time. and you bring money with you. anywhere from $1-5 to help with costs of not working and medical care. she is quick to help me cuz she knows we don't have a clue!
in the picture above of their family...this is the first time they have had their family photo. had i known...we would have done things differently but she was so cute...this is how she wanted it. so maybe this is best :D. i had asked her earlier in the day to get their family photo sometime...well she came over THAT same night with everyone bathed and in nice clothes for this special occasion. i can't wait to get it framed for their house! so...this is just one story...there are so many more...please pray for them...we love them so...
one of paul's favorite past times is playing computer games. we try to go to the educational sites cuz they have some great games...like poptropica...at funbrain...it's so great! pbs kids has some good ones too...and then of course there is fancy pants...a modern version of what we used to play as kids...mario brothers? it's fast and fun and has great music...and yeah...but i am amazed at how kids are born with computer chips in them these days...he can get around and do whatever he needs to...he only needs help reading...and even then he is figuring out what some words "look like" because he knows he needs to "exit" or "enter" or type passwords...it's amazing and fun to watch!
so i just ask for prayers for more health and strength to finish out lang. school this next month. i feel myself coming back a little bit but i can't do too much yet or else i get depleted right away. my hands have this tingling, burning, itchy feeling and they say that is another way for a virus to leave your body??? still fighting off a cold that has different symptoms every other day for a month now...i'm really sick of being sick and more sick of trying to figure out what it is... so i am glad to "kind of know" and just rest in that it's slowly coming out of my system.
and here are the kiddos of some of our close friends here...eating away...they were playing so hard that i think they ALL ate very well. our yard becomes VERY busy when they are all over and the noise level rises almost to a 10! it's amazing! but they all get along great (for the most part) we only had 2 ice packs out the whole night!
here is the new tent/shade cover (all the little roadside businesses are getting them...so i am just trying to 'fit it')...and our friends enjoying the night of fun...it was humorous talk around the table with a lot of laughing...my kind of party :D it feels good to be laughing more and more!
and here are our good friends and teammates...lisa and jeff. we just said goodbye to them today. they went back to the states for a time of renewal after being here 6 years. we are borrowing their car, microwave, TV, spices, baskets, and lamps...it's great! but we would much rather have them around than have their "things" :( we will miss them a whole lot and hope they return in January!
He relaxed around the house reading a new magazine we just got in the mail from our good friends in Canada...it was fun to sit and look at "North America"...THANK YOU PATTI!! (the kids also say thanks!) we also just had this bench made by our good friend Pak Wijaya. so it was fun to sit on it for the first time on his birthday.
then when he went to class, the kids and i and our helpers got ready for his surprise birthday party #1. and we got a little picnic for the backyard ready so that after his class he came home to a picnic on the bamboo extravaganza. it was good times. we gave him a charcoal grill and a patio cover (shade thingy) for his birthday. little did he know, we were going to use it all that night for a fun party #2! after his lunch he laid down for a nap with hazel and then he woke up to go "out for coffee" with Jan. but when they got to the resturant/resort...they really had a massage planned for him. He, Jan, and Paul Noble, another friend of ours, pampered themselves with an hour massage. Greg was in heaven!
Meanwhile, back home, we were scrambling to change the backyard into a resturant and fixing up the food. we laughed cuz here were the women trying to learn how to grill on a charcoal grill while the men were getting massages! our helpers made great food and this is what every Indonesian has at his birthday. A volcano of rice! Pretty good stuff and i hope you can see all the detail of "happy birthday" and the vegetables made to look like flowers. this culture is so artistic. it was fun to get ready and keep everything a surprise. but paul did say at the picnic, "this is party #1 and we are waiting for party #2 tonight! but i'm not telling you about it!"
Thursday, May 22, 2008
gavin and paul sleep in bunk beds so we labeled the walls in the right places for them to see as they go to sleep...
then we have a zebra's bum-bum with a bird on it...seems to be most favorite part of the room from short people's standards. and i don't know if you can see it but there is a jungle sized ant on a vine as well here...
in the room there are 4 trees in the 4 corners...this being one of them...and there is ocean behind all the jungle because this is paul and gavin's own little island :D
here is the cougar (leapord?) that you have already seen, a bird perched on a vine, an elephant bathing in the water below and monkey's far out on the branch...another corner of the room...
very modern for indonesian standards...and most foreigners have a very little fridge but we came to the school when there were none left so they had to buy a new one! it's so nice and we also have a new stove for the same reason...none left at the school.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Gavin posing as uncle "Ehwic"
this past week Gavin stayed ALL day at school...to get in some extra learning and understand what going to 1st grade means, the class went swimming, made kites, picked up trash around the neighborhood, played kickball against the older kids (and gavin got a home run!) and they even had ice cream! the last week of school is truly for learning what life is all about! meanwhile paul is home wondering, "When is Gavin going to be home?" Paul found himself busy with more neighborhood kids, picking on his sister, bike riding with dad, playing cards with mom, swimming in his own little pool (with goggles) and of course watching movies on our "newly borrowed" TV from friends who are going to America! Life is great with little kids!
it's been a year since we took this picture and left our friends there in bellflower. and we miss them all so! it's a great thing to miss people we love...i would much rather have it that way than not miss anyone at all. we have traveled a lot of miles, in cars and in planes, seen a lot of faces...new and old, and in my opinion...experienced too many "new" things for one year! i think we are all a little exhausted as we look back on what we have come through but i am writing to cheer ourselves on! tomorrow greg and i have an 8th anniversary! we made it! tomorrow gavin graduates from kindergarten! he and we made it! tomorrow signifies the beginning to summer and one more unit left in language! we are making it! this year has been so hard but i am rejoicing today that we have not been left to do it on our own...we would not be rejoicing if that had been the case!! God has stepped in and held us the whole way...we have a huge support system of friends and family who care enough to stand with us as well...community is such an important factor in our lives and we want you all to rejoice with us as we celebrate tomorrow!
aka...Gavin and Paul's room :D
i had a bit of time to put something on the blog and so i am going back in time to find old pictures and here were a few of the mural Greg has done in the boy's room. we have more to add but will soon...after we get a camera...most likely tomorrow! we have been waiting to get the "final" touches done on the walls before posting...but seeing as how we did this back in march and haven't had time to finish...i am thinking it might just "be done" :D the boys love it and that is what matters, yeah?
Friday, May 16, 2008
we are continually being challenged by our two year old. Hazel Basil. she loves life so much! and she expects a lot out of it. her passions run deep and she is on a mission most days. she insists that our number system goes 1,2,3,6,8,9,10...there is no room for 4,5 or 7 and she really believes this! how her little brain works in both indonesian and english is quite amazing...i can see she understands so much indonesian. i think she believes she is actually Paul or Gavin's age and this is what gets her into so much frustration. she really WANTS to be able to do and think like they do...writing, drawing, communicating, running, swimming, going...but some things just can't be done at their level yet! because of her strong will, she spends a part of every day crying/yelling about not getting her way...and she doesn't give up easily! with her smile and quick wit, she wins people over in an instant here and all the neighbors and friends love her. they don't understand this "other side" and they can't stand to hear her cry. i say all this because we are having "a time" trying to be consistant with her. when we are here alone, she knows our rules. (and doesn't always like them) when we are with her and there are Indonesians around, she knows there is a different standard and she will get her way with them. when we aren't with her and she is with our Indonesian helpers only...i can only imagine her world is perfect! this culture doesn't want to hear children cry so they tend to get whatever they want to keep them from crying. most kids i see though, don't show that much emotion or strong will...so i just wonder what they do here with "hazel's" born into the culture? i wonder what that looks like? we are trying to figure it out for ourselves and right now we feel a little bit like our hands are tied to how we truly want to parent her because raising her is a community effort here. we have had to hand over the right to single handedly raise her because we are in language school. they know we are weird and have foreign ideas but i think hazel is beginning to think we are weird and have foreign ideas as well! so i write all this to ask you to pray for wisdom in raising our kids. i know a lot of you read this cuz you care about them...and i know you pray already...just giving a little more specific ways to do so! God has made her with a special purpose and he has made us to be her parents...so this all fits but we still need good wisdom and humor and flexibility and stability and love...about all...we need love!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
Paul and hazel have some little chicks here today from the neighbors yard…and they are in a cage…but Paul opened the door…and one got out and I had to chase it around the yard to put it back in the cage.
He said “mom, the chick was just trying to be a “nickpacker” cuz it wanted to nick on this wood and pack it down.” So needless to say, he took the wood out of the cage to prevent such things from happening again. i guess chicks don't want to be "nickpackers" and that is why he HAD to escape from his cage.
and big news! our caterpillar is now a beautiful butterfly! Saturday morning it came out of it's cocoon and we let it fly free. we would have pictures for you but Hazel broke our camera. she is such the photographer. i did get video of it but i do not yet have it figured out how to put YOU-TUBE on our blog :D sometime i will learn... when things slow down :D or...stina...could you just come over and help me??? again???
we were back on the sick wagon for only a bit...now we are all better today! head colds, the big D, and fevers...sickness never makes sense here in our family. but we are getting longer spurts of time between sicknesses...which means we are getting adjusted...right?
today, like every monday, we have a test in lang. so i better keep studying. it's not Cramming...like i used to do...it's actually remembering what i have already studied. have a great monday wherever you are in the world! i say that cuz i have recently met old friends on facebook from different places...one being our foreign exchange student in 1990, Defne, from Turkey! i love facebook!
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Blinker. Amidst the smoke there's a blinding light shining on us from the roaming camera crew, and a speaker system so loud and distorted I winced every time someone spoke loudly. I happened to be 15 feet directly in front of a speaker.
Behind the wedding party, there's a huge display of flowers, draped over really ornate wooden dividers. The men are all wearing black and gold sarongs (like an Irish kilt) with a tux-like suit coat, a wrapped hat, and a sword tucked behind their back and into a cloth waist belt. There are two little girls with fans, like our little flower girls, who flank the wedding couple and fan them off and on. They couple feeds each other some wedding cake, like we do, and some tea. I was looking for one of them to smash the cake into their spouse's face, but it didn't happen. Then there are some more songs, one by a guy who paused for 10 seconds at a time, singing mostly through his nose. All of this so different, so fascinating.
Then the whole wedding party leaves, and another box meal is served. At this point I am thinking it is over, because usually when you serve food that is the signal that you can eat and then leave. But 15 minutes later the wedding party returns, having changed clothes. They bride and groom are now both wearing solid bright yellow outfits from head to toe. I'm watching them slowly proceed to the front when I get hit in the chest by something. It startled me and when I touch my chest I feel this small round object in my shirt pocket! I quietly fished it out and saw that it was an olive-shaped nut that had fallen from the tree above me. How goofy.
So once they all were seated again, a man gets up and begins to talk really slow and serious. He then begins to pick speed, cracking jokes one after the other. At first, the wedding party was to uptight to laugh, but pretty soon they couldn't help it and would occasionally break into laughter for a few brief seconds. I was really wishing I could understand him, I was the only foreigner at the wedding, and the only one not knowing what's so funny. At one point, he turns to me and says, in decent English, "I am sorry, I do speak English very well" and then he went back to his stand-up act. I was surprised he even saw me amidst the crowed of 200+ people. He must have went on for a solid hour, cracking jokes one after the other. He reminded me a lot of Chris Rock. Fast talker, lots of different voices and facial expressions. He was so different from the formal, slow rhythm of the whole ceremony, it just made it all the more interesting. As soon as he finished, it was all done and I went home with a huge headache but a great memories.