December 31, 2007

Are You Manage?

I took The Rush to get washed today (our gold SUVan) at our regular place. Sharon has taken it the last couple times so most of the guys there know who we are. But today I had an interesting conversation with an new Indian teenager who's second language is Bahasa and whose third language is English. After the formalities of discussing where I'm from and where I'm working, the conversation starts progressing like this:

TEEN: Are you manage?

ME: Sorry, am I what?

TEEN: Are you manage yet?

ME: Am I a manager yet?

TEEN: Yes.

ME: No, not yet. I've just started working for a small company.

TEEN: (with a confused look I've seen AND given too many times to count) Oh, ok... Well, how about you manage her? (pointing to his tall, beautiful Indian sister)

ME: (the light turns on) Oh, wait! You mean am I married yet? Oh, so sorry. Yes I'm married and my wife is pregnant.

TEEN: Oh, ok. Do you like boys or girls?

ME: (knowing he couldn't mean what he was saying, I realized he was asking if I wanted a son or daughter) You mean what child do I want?

TEEN: Yes, do you like boys or girls?

ME: I want a boy.

Now, don't think I'm knocking this guy - he speaks a third language better than I can speak a second language. Some of the things I've said in Bahasa are downright crazy. Makes me wonder how many times I've asked some really weird question in Bahasa and the person walked away thinking, "That white man is dumb."

December 27, 2007

Highland Christmas

We went back with Justin and Daniela to the Highlands for Christmas.
Yes we are still only 2 degrees above the equator.
Yes that is a real fire you see behind us.
Yes it was necessary to burn because we were really cold.

We took the "mountain road" up to the highlands this time in order to take advantage of some of the tribal handicrafts sold along the mountain road. The back road can make your stomach queasy, but the views are spectacular.

Here is Anthony's handmade blowgun bought along the mountain road.And here is the blowgun in action. There was a big spider... so why use a shoe when you have a blowgun?

The highlands are known for delicious strawberries, tea, and other produce. This photo is for our friends out there who have ever eaten mangosteen (or the local word here, "mangis"). Mangosteen tastes like fruit's amazing. The normal sized fruits are the size of an average tomato. So, when we saw these at a stall we had to check them out...
Turns out these are "African Sea Coconuts" NOT ginormous mangosteen like we thought.
"Rugi besar-lah!"
Here are some of the strawberry goodies we ate while there...

And... no tourist destination would be complete without exciting attractions like...
The "Time Tunnel" was basically a long couple of rooms with a bunch of old stuff in them. Some of it was interesting and unlike the US, you could touch just about everything.
This is kinda what the guy looks like that made Anthony's blowgun.
One of the coolest tricycles we've ever seen.
The end of the time tunnel... not sure why there is a random signpost thingy with major cities on it, but we think it added a nice touch to the strawberries grown outside. I mean really, who wouldn't want to know the way to Toronto while they're picking strawberries?
For Christmas Dinner Justin and Daniela made their famous Eggplant Parmesan... it wasn't a "normal" Christmas dinner, but none of us minded a bit... it was SO delicious!
We missed all our family back home in the states and wished we could've been there with everyone. We were blessed though to be with good friends and have a memorable Christmas! We hope yours was a good one too!

December 18, 2007

Whitey Christmas

We hosted our business Christmas party at our house last night. We all have local friends that we have and will do stuff with for Christmas, but other than K5, all the people at the party last night were white Americans (K5 is case that isn't blatantly obvious) We went out to eat and then came back to our house for some songs, desserts, and games.
Since our new camera still hasn't arrived from the states (we're expecting it in early January!) the pictures aren't so great and the video is a bit dark. But we played a fun game where you have to pick up a paper bag with your mouth without putting your hands or knees on the ground. After every round, the top of the bag is cut off and the bag gets shorter.I participated in the first round before the bag started getting cut down... see the vein in my neck?
This game was really fun, but in hindsight we'd recommend only playing it with people you know well (and would pick up a bag with your mouth that they had just picked up with theirs) and are willing to squat in awkward positions in front of while they take pictures of you (i.e.- your rear-end is up in the air).Since the Guru, Mrs. Guru, and the K's are going to the states for the Christmas holiday, Mrs. Guru decided not to put up the Christmas tree at their house. K5 loved the glittery ornaments on our tree and spent most of the night touching and laying under it. So cute!

December 09, 2007

Wedding near Christmas...

We went to a wedding today. We didn't know the couple, but that's ok here... as long as you're somehow connected to a friend of the bride and groom and live close-by, it's kind of understood that you can come.
"Weddings" here are like "Wedding Receptions" in the states. Meaning, most of the time you never actually see the actual ceremony and sometimes the groom isn't even there yet. Guests just greet the parents, eat, and leave.
Today while we were leaving the groom showed up. We've seen this before and even participated in a couple of friends' "arrivals" as they were the grooms. It's generally known what day he'll come, but what time he actually shows up always varies and the bride has to be ready.
Everytime we witness the bridegroom coming, we're reminded of the story from the Bible about Jesus telling of his second coming. He says we all need to be prepared because he could show up at anytime...those not prepared will be left outside the incredible celebration when he comes to get his bride.

How awesome then that we celebrate Christmas?

I mean, the first time Jesus came, he came as a baby.
Angels announced his arrival as the salvation God had promised long ago with Abraham.
The world was finally getting it's Savior.

God totally fulfills his promises.

Which, being reminded of God's perfect record of promise-keeping, and his promise that he would come again, means we can count on him doing it.

The second time it's not gonna be as a sweet baby boy to save, but as the Almighty King and Judge to claim his bride and finally set the world straight.


It's gonna be incredible.
MORE incredible than those angels that appeared to the shepherds back in Bethlehem.
And it's for sure gonna happen.
Just nobody knows when.
Just like nobody knew when he was coming the first time.

But just like that Groom came for his GORGEOUS bride today,
He IS coming.
I'm so glad we got to go to that wedding today and be reminded once again of His promises.

Our job now is to let Christmas remind us of God's perfect promises
...and to make sure we are ready for when He comes again.

December 04, 2007

Language Experts...

This past weekend we helped out at an "English Weekend" for some of the country's most promising students. All the students there were in pre-med programs, pre-law, engineering and basically every other brainiac major in college. We were asked to come because we are "native speakers" of the English Language. We had a great time with the students and loved helping them with their English.Our favorite activity of the weekend was "Cocktail Night." It was a chance for the students to practice how they're supposed to act and talk when they get out in the real world and are invited to functions where they will have to "chit chat" in English. The super fun part was this was a "Mismatch Party." It really helped all the students to relax and only worry about their English, not about what they were wearing or how they looked... it was so much fun! Sorry we don't have more pictures...our camera isn't doing so well these days. (You can see another "native English speaker" in the background of the first photo wearing a collared shirt and tie with his pajama pants... it really was a blast!)

November 25, 2007

High Tea...

So the Highlands was way fun again this Thanksgiving.

On to the pictures...

It's chilly in the Highlands and basically exactly like Thanksgiving weather in Florida (highs in the low to mid-70's). Since Justin and Daniela and both of us are all from Florida, the cool, sunny weather was exactly right to make it feel like Thanksgiving (even though we ate Tacos for Thanksgiving dinner!)
Here's Justin getting ready to enjoy a nap under a blanket. The Highlands is famous for its flowers. Roses galore! Anthony bought these for me (and it only cost him $3.50!)We tried out a restaurant listed in a Lonely Planet guide. The food was decent, but we thought one of the wall-hangings was funny... click on the picture to read...One of the things I like to do is get my hair washed/styled while there. It's a fun outing (you get a scalp, neck, and shoulder massage...divine lemme tell ya!) and this time Daniela and Mrs. Guru came with me. We all have curly hair, so it was nice to have it blown-dried straight (and the cool weather meant it STAYED straight 'til we washed it again!)The K's had fun at their tree-swing...its in some of the woods near the place we stay. They made it a while ago and play on it everytime they come.
We went with Justin and Daniela to a Honey Bee Farm. The Highlands is also famous for it's honey. The entrance was free...and the nice Chinese lady at the gate reminds you not to "pluck" any of the flowers or touch the bees. Seems like the bee-part is self-explanatory.Since the bees were mostly in the boxes away from the sidewalk, it was nice that they had ginormous cartoon bees to make the pictures more interesting.

And here's a video... we're thinking of submitting to National Geographic just in case they'd want to use it in some kind of stinging insect documentary.

Hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving. Let us know if you want to join us next year in the Highlands!

November 20, 2007

We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!
We are headed to the cold (by cold we mean the low 70's!) Highlands this weekend to celebrate with our co-workers.
We won't be having traditional turkey (or Big Bird!)
but we will still be celebrating the amazing goodness and blessing of God in our lives.

He has done so many wonderful things for us that we absolutely do not deserve or merit.
And for that He deserves all the thankfulness and gratitude our hearts can manage to express!

What will you be thanking God for this Thanksgiving?

November 16, 2007

...the mystery craft...

So here is the making of the craft I got yesterday at the Christmas Bazaar (read the post below this if you're not sure what I'm talking about)

The materials-a string of garland with wood ornament cut-outs on it, glue, cardboard letters, non-toxic acrylic paint, and various glitters and sequins.

Paint, apply glitter, sequins, and letters... and wah-lah!A fun garland to hang on the Christmas tree! The colors on my tree are mostly blue and lime-green, so I went with those colors. I think I got a bit out-of-control with the glitter and the sequins, but I haven't done a crafty project in a while and it was hard to contain myself!
I made it for Isaac. (obviously) I figured it was more fun than just one ornament...although for his first Christmas next year he'll probably get one of those too. In my mind I think it'll be fun to make one for all our kids as their own special thing to put on the tree every year... we'll see when the time comes. I know I'LL have fun putting it on the tree THIS year:)

November 15, 2007

A culture more familiar...

Today I went with Daniela, Mrs. Guru and K5 to a Christmas Bazaar!The event was put on by a group of Americans in a nice hotel ballroom downtown.
There were many tables full of Christmas decorations and other tables with gift ideas and arts and crafts. I got a few ornaments (and a cute arts and crafts project to make for Isaac for our tree... I'll post that later once it's finished!)It was strange to be in a room with so many white (and a couple black!:) people at blend in and (other than an occasional comment about my belly) go unnoticed was wonderful. There were many countries represented, but probably the majority of the women there were American. As I perused the tables my heart relished in the moments when I overheard things like, "Oh, I just luv' that!" or "This is just so purty!" spoken in deep Southern accents. The whole time walking between those crowded tables I heard "Excuse me" and "Oh, sorry...just comin' thru..." (Not that the culture is rude here, but it's not a necessity to squeeze by somebody and excuse's just understood people gotta get by:) It's amazing the little things that can make you feel at home.For a few hours, surrounded by all those Christmas items and "ordinary" faces speaking REAL English, it was like I had been transported home, even for just a little while!

November 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom (aka-Mama Lou)

Today is Mom's birthday! Mary Lou Rivers (Mama Lou as Sharon calls her) graced the world with her presence this day back in.... uh... well... that's up to her to say. Here she is looking oh-so lovely with our niece Katie. Today is ALSO Grandma Puccio's birthday! (Mary Lou's mom) That's right! This family is full of double birthdays...and a triple birthday when you know that Uncle Eddie (Mary Lou's older brother) share's February 26th with us... fun huh?
We hope your day is wonderful!

"Selamat Hari Jadi,
Selamat Hari Jadi,
Selamat Hari Jadi Mary Louuuuuuu...
Selamat Hari Jadi!"

Happy Birthday Mom! We love you!

November 02, 2007

Not Halloween in Asia...

But it was a somewhat Asian Halloween for our nieces Kaelyn and Adrienne! We bought these outfits for them in Chinatown in Singapore. Kaelyn was a princess for her big preschool party, but when it came time to trick-or-treat she wanted to match lil' sis Adrienne and be China dolls. We think they're adorable and will fit right in when they come to visit us in the spring.

October 29, 2007


I posted 3 posts be sure to keep reading until you get to the melted plastic bucket from Friday...

a Royally good time...

We hung out with our co-workers quite a bit this weekend and one thing we did together was visit the Royal Selangor Pewter factory. Apparently this company makes some of the best and most famous pewter crafts in the world. We were expecting a hot humid factory, but instead it was a state-of-the-art museum/learning center, factory, and gift shop all rolled into one- and it was all air-conditioned!Drinking complimentary Sprite from a pewter cup (pewter is heavy!)
Getting hands on experience at 'hammering' pewter...
These creatures are actually old pewter money! Apparently before coins they used animal-shaped pewter as currency here... the bigger the animal, the more money you had...
And a replica of the twin-towers made from pewter was HUGE!
This is the World's Largest Tankard- the sign to the left of it (out of the frame, sorry) is the "certification" from the Guiness Book of World Records... I would have thought some town in Germany would be the home to that record!

Got my Eye on you!

You may know that one of the attractions in London is "The Eye." The gargantuan super nice ferris-wheel the Brits have made famous.
What you may not know is that there is a second "Eye." This eye travels the world and is set up in various countries for important events and what not. For several months now the Eye has been here because of the 50th year of Independence we went with our co-workers to see it before it leaves...K5 got butterfly wings...too cute.
And then Justin wanted to look cute in front of the Eye too... (actually he was forced to put them on:)Then K3 and K4 got picked on by the clown...
And here's us up in the Eye! What a view! The rain cloud moving in made for perfect weather and cool pictures.
Here's the K's and their parents in the "gondola" below us on the Eye...
Good times!