Monday, July 28, 2008

Hijacked Blog

Hi! This is Brooke. I'm here in Indonesia visiting Greg and Martha and the kids. I taught with them back when they were here the first time. Now I'm just back visiting for a few weeks.
If you're anything like me, you get on this website at least once a day to see if Martha has updated her blog. If you're anything like me, you get sad when it hasn't been updated in a long time. If you're anything like me, you wonder, "what's going on over there? I haven't heard any fun stories in a long time!!!" If you're anything like me, you get way excited when there are new pictures to see and new adventures to read about.
As I was sitting here checking my email this morning, I decided to look at the blog and see if there was anything new. Nope! So, I've hijacked the blog so that all of you people can know what's been going on for the past couple of weeks.
Let's see . . . I got here on July 18th. It was SO good to see Martha again. I haven't seen her since the day they left the States (I live in Texas, but I was out in California visiting). My plane got in at 6:10, but for some reason, the information that Martha had said I was to get in at 4:30. She was a bit worried when I didn't arrive on that plane, but knew that's the way things go in Indonesia!! We had a nice ride home, talking and catching up. It's good to be with friends! That first week I was here was spent seeing old familiar faces and places. We went by my old house, which had been completely redone, it doesn't even look like the same place! And, right next door is a new "grocery store" that sells American food!!! It has everything from cereal to pasta sauce to refried beans (they are even the same refried beans that my granddad uses back in Texas to make his famous chalupas!!) We went to the school, which seems to have doubled in size since I taught there. We had some delicious martabak and sate! Delicious food that I ate WAY TOO MUCH of, but how could I not??
The kids went to day camp on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Friday, the boys came home with their faces painted as tigers. Their other 3 friends at school were tigers, too, because they wanted to be a "family." Too cute! I wish I had gotten pictures of this, but I forgot. Sorry!!
On Saturday, we went to a town about 1 1/2 hours away to an Italian restaurant called O-Solo-Mio. We went for Martha's birthday (no, you haven't missed her birthday, we celebrated early . . . it's Aug 6 . . .FYI) It was Greg's first driving experience outside of Salatiga. He did a GREAT job. It did take a little longer than usual, but I'm sure that's just because there was extra traffic on the road =)
My boyfriend came in to town on Friday (don't forget that this is Brooke writing, Martha does NOT have a boyfriend!!) and we're all leaving for Bali this afternoon. We found some good prices on airline tickets and a place to stay. So we're packing up and taking off for the week. Needless to say, you don't need to check back on the blog for at least the next 5 days. When we get back from Bali, I'll try to get some pictures put on here. Hopefully we'll have all kinds of fun stories about snorkling, shopping, playing on the beach, and other fun adventures!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Grandma and Grandpa are on their way home

our time with grandma and grandpa is done for now and we left them at the airport for their trek back to the USA. we are grateful for their time here and how they blessed us with great places to stay in this country. the time flew by very fast and the kids were so excited to show them around their 'host country'. i think the kids are a little more settled in now that g-ma and g-pa have seen where they sleep, eat, play and live. we spent most of our days on the go to give a wide variety of experiences and i think they went home pretty tired but glad for coming. you would have to ask them personally what they REALLY thought of it here :D there isn't just one pat answer.

and since i am a little emotional tonight...i do have to say my kids tears broke my heart on the way home from the airport...and this would be the number one reason why it's hard to live overseas...and that is our kids hearts break because they miss their family and friends. as soon as we got to our car hazel realized what had just happened and she began to weep a very sad cry. we see her cry everyday but i had never seen this kind of cry... she was just really sad...along with gavin and together they sat on my lap and mourned their grandparents all the way home. (good thing we don't have to wear seat belts here for cases like this) but what a great thing to be able to love someone so much that you cry when they leave and you can't wait to see them till the next start counting down the days from 300!!!! we are blessed in this life to have family and friends to love and who love us back and i just wanted to say that many tears have been shed on this side of the world because we miss so many of you but we are grateful that we have you to miss. blessings to you.

Borodudur Temple and Jogyakarta

A great view from the top of Borobudur (nirvana) there were a lot of tourist making the climb this day and we joined them and stopped when they wanted our picture with them. we feel like movie stars cuz there is a poperazi (i am NOT famous so i don't know how to spell that word) following us wherever we go!

as we hiked up Borodudur and made it to the top...sweet little hazel announced "i have to poo!" so i trekked back down and then she said "i don't have to..." and i said "yes you do!" and after i realized i forgot our 10 cents to enter the bathroom...i asked very politely if my crying child could use their hole in the ground free of charge! they let her...and we climbed back up and i thought my knees were going to give out! if any of you have ever climbed might understand the sympathy i need here!
because we needed to get some good gifts for grandma and grandpa to take back, we went to Jogya (the big city) and enjoyed the bird market, shopping, the beceks, and grandma and grandpa even saw a good play while we were there....and of course...McDonald's was a highlight for the kiddos.

Karimun Jawa

this is our story to the 27 islands north of java named Karimun Jawa...this story is not all in order but that doesn't matter cuz it's all vacation and there is no order to a vacation like this! these are some shots of our boat ride to the smaller a smaller boat...(not the main island or our ferry)...but we loved the clear blue water and white sand beaches...

can you see the blue/purple/yellow fish in the center of the picture?
this is a sunrise we saw from the door of our hotel room...pretty nice huh??? we can thank God all over the place for giving us such beautiful scenes and colors this whole weekend! and we can thank our kids for being early risers so that we can see such great sites!

while Greg's parents were here we wanted to explore Java a little more and found this great island chain north of us. so we hopped on a boat/ferry that took us across to our new adventure. the boat ride was a little worse than normal (so they say) cuz it was for 4 hours we saw a lot of rocking and the women got sea sick but the men stayed strong and children slept. but we arrived to paradise and since it was NOT high season...there wasn't too much food on the island (cuz it has to be imported) but we made do and had a fabulous time anyway...cuz how could one NOT have a fabulous time at a place like this that God made for us to relax and enjoy ourselves...i couldn't help but wonder... "where do all the natives of this island go when they want to 'get away from it all?" and carolyn (greg's mom) answered, "the mall" :D


this is a boat we rented to take us from our paradise island "karimun jawa" to another smaller paradise island where there are no inhabitants...we sat in the open air on the front of the boat...but on the way to the smaller island...
we stopped at this other little island (cuz there are 27 little islands in a chain) where fishermen have put these sharks in a pool with rock walls after they catch them in their nets.
everyone petted the sharks and greg felt that just wasn't enough...he needed to be closer
so greg being the wild, dangerous, and crazy person he is...jumped into the pool with the sharks after the natives told him he could. they said he would be fine cuz they feed the sharks well...he just needed to remain calm...they sense he laughingly climbed in and swam with the sharks! but funny...because they could smell his wildside...the sharks were scared of greg and wouldn't come too i didn't get a good shot...this is the best i did...but there was a fish about the size of a dinner plate that came and started attacking greg and nipping at him...this scared greg a bit and he fought back but the fish wasn't about to stop so greg hopped out of the water before the fish bit him too bad!!!! we had a good laugh when it was all over!
and as you can see...greg made it back on the boat safe and sound with his mama right beside him and gavin so very calm too...

Karimun Jawa...enjoying ourselves

a shot of our hotel from the beach (and two guys who wanted their picture taken)...a very very nice place to rest our heads

Karimun Jawa beach time

for a full day we just played on this beach (and another close by) and had fun with the 'rest' and 'relaxation' that comes with being at the beach. we miss being just 20 minutes away!
Grandma and Grandpa enjoyed playing in the water with kids's fun for all...
Greg took turns with the boys taking them snorkling on his back...the water was a little rough from all the wind for them to try themselves but it was good for them to open their eyes to a whole new world under the sea! we saw so many different kinds of fish and coral. my favorite was the blue starfish...

had to make uncle mike a birthday cake since this is where we were to celebrate! happy birthday mike!

the kids always have to be buried...and since there was "time"...sculptures had to be made!

Karimun Jawa

Gavin used his writing skills and knowledge of his family and put it together in large font on the beach. he is so smart!
A sunrise from our balcony...
Eating with a view like this was heavenly...if only the hotel was prepared to have guests...we could have had food other than nasi goreng! (stir fried rice) but we made do and had a great time with our own private beach cuz no one else was at the hotel for the first 2 nights!

The hotel even had a four wheeler that we got to use whenever we wanted. and this is a funny side note...when grandma and grandpa were packing to come they had asked "what do the kids want us to bring them?" and paul answered "a four wheeler!" so of course he forgot about his request but i reminded him that it was pretty special that we got to ride a four wheeler cuz that is what he asked from then on he thought the four wheeler was his...but he let the rest of ride it :D

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

did you know??

that this is how a cashew grows? and this is grown on a tree that towers like a big oak tree with good climbing branches. each nut has it's own "pepper" and is pulled off to dry when the "pepper" is red in color and then the nut is roasted for our eating pleasure. i enjoy eat nut more knowing this for some reason...

eating at Ibu Rini's

we love going to this little resturant where we get a good view of the two volcanoes here in our town and the rice of course we had to take the parents there for grilled fish and chicken and a good sunset.


grandma enjoying her pineapple on a stick (there is a picture later of the making of this)
and none of us were brave enough to try the fish on a stick
dried fish
walking in the pasar market
this cute little lady was selling shrimp...i loved the colors and her attitude for life :D

the pasar...local market

various bags of snacks
chickens with their heads hanging over the to the cucumbers...
fish in baskets...i think we would say sardines
i have no idea what these are but they are so funny looking
this nice woman cut up pineapples for us to eat on the's an art...fresh and beautiful

the train ride

took an hour train ride through the rice fields and it was quite the ride. we rode through areas where we were right up next to peoples houses and could look in on them sleeping, washing, and looking at us. we saw half a surf board, a horse and a water buffalo in 3 different houses! in these shots you will see workers in the fields and most were very excited to see us go by even though this train goes by every hour or so...this country is so relational :D but i am glad to see that these shot actually turned out cuz i was shooting randomly from a moving train.

rice fields above and fishing below
we also saw this site on the ride...this picture below is for all those of you who like to do mud masks. this is where they are getting the mud from...the bottom of this river...the scoop it up and carry it can see a man with a bucket on his head and they load it into big trucks and then they ship it off to europe and america and people pay high money to put it on their bodies :D way to go bath and body works!

still having fun

We eat most of our meals in our backyard now...nice and refreshing...

Grandpa is really getting into the swing of things

the first day we took Gma and Gpa to our local "resort" and hung out at the pool

everyone swam, ate good food, and then to help G-ma and G-pa get over their jet lag we bought them their very first massages ever! since then they have had another and today they want to go for another...i think we have them hooked :D

Daddy and Hazel love vacation as well...