February 27, 2007

And this one goes out to the birthday kids...

All this birthday fun has brought about warm wishes from friends, cards, and gifts.
Yet Anthony is a bit confused...
He has a $50 itunes gift card from his mom
(he already spent the $15 you gave him Cara...that much exhausted the songs he's been wanting to buy)
but he has run out of ideas for song choices.

Any of you out there have a great song or two you'd like to recommend?

And Micah, we already have all the Point of Grace and Petra we could ever need,
but thanks for the suggestion anyway.

Also in the birthday confusion is to figure out which Australian Gold tanning product I should use which day on our sunny trip to Thailand?
Jenny Brown...I'm countin' on you to help out.
And how great is it to have a mother-in-law who grew up in Miami?!?
She is always ready for the beach.
Thanks MammaLou for out-doing yourself with the package...the sweet-scented pineapple/coconut/mango deliciousness that is Australian Gold will make my time on the beach complete. THANK YOU!

February 26, 2007

Just what the Doctor Ordered...

So in continuing our birthday fun...
This past weekend, we traveled a couple hours to a 'traditional kampung' to experience rural life.
There were no hotels, motels, or hostels...we stayed in people's homes.
It's actually a great program our country is known for...
a person can travel through the entire country without ever having to go to a hotel, it's a great way to experience the life off the beaten tourist path.
With people that don't speak any English.
Here's pictures of our Saturday and Sunday...Here was the nice "aunt and uncle" and their home. She made DELUXIOUS salted fish (a village specialty) one of my favorites...
We introduced "Ultimate Frisbee" to this village...the older kids caught on pretty well, but this little guy was more interested in the cones. So cute.
We got to travel several miles up river to an "original people's" village- the equivalent to our Native Americans. There were some other white ladies there...they were troopers and made the boat ride more fun- they got the most wet out of anybody. The boat ride was something out of National Geographic and served as a sweet relief from the sweltering heat of the day...
Man on a traditional bamboo raft...sweet.
At the Original People's village some children arrived by boat for school...There were 3 Floridians and 1 Californian in the boat, so we represented the Disney inside each of us. (for those that don't get that- on rides at theme parks, you hold your hands up if you're part of the cool group) The trip that day was like Jungle Cruise on steroids.Today- the 26th- our actual birthday, I got my hair done (tried to post a picture but it was turned the wrong way...and I think the post does just fine without new hair), we saw Ghostrider...AND we found the mac-daddy of all import grocery stores.
Take a gander at this photo...Yes...that's Dr. Pepper you see there.
12 whole cans.
Straight from the wonderful land of Texas.
Also included are Pop-tarts, Cool-Ranch Doritos, and blow-pops.
Again, Happy Birthday to US!

We also want to send out a special THANK YOU to Mrs. Geral Marie in Bowling Green for the sweet birthday card she sent us. Thank you...it was just what we needed!

February 23, 2007

The Party starts early...

For those of you who don't know, which I think most of you do because you either know us that well, or you're such an avid reader of our blog that you've even read the February 2006 archives and know this coincidental tidbit about us...

Anthony and I have the same birthday.
February 26

We call each other 2-26ers (although here they do their dates dd/mm so we're 26-2ers)
...but not all the time
Actually very infrequently.
But this time of year it comes up.
Anthony's Uncle Eddie is a 2-26er too.
Just FYI.

Except Anthony was born in 1980, and I in 1981.
Monday we'll be turning 27 and 26 respectively.
So why the birthday post now?
Because we've already started the birthday festivities, that's why.

The birthday festivities necessarily started now because there's a 3rd Birthday kid here with us...
No, she's not quite the lucky enough to be a 2-26.
She's a 2-27er.
That's Josh Groban's birthday.
Again, just FYI.

Thursday night we did 3 things for the 3 bday kids.
Bowling, out to eat at the amazing "Paddington House of Pancakes," and dessert at "Baskin Robins" (like we needed dessert after the Pancake House, you'll see what I mean...keep reading)

First bowling...
Six of us played. D-Lad and Justin pretty well ran the board...but we didn't do too bad.
Justin only beat me by 99.
And 8 year old K4 beat all us birthday kids with his whopping 85!
Don't worry. Any unsportsmanlike feelings were smoothed away at the Paddington-HOP...

The pancakes were long gone by this point, so we posed with the cute malt glasses.

Then today we got to go to the post office- which thank heaven people spoke English there, even though we brought Kakak and Abang just in case- a WONDERFUL package arrived from several of our friends in the US...Thanks to Cara, Danielle, Lauren and Mindy!

Then...just as we had everything laid out on my lap for this picture, a horn honked outside...and ...
wa-lah!ANOTHER package from my mom...except hers had tax info in it and a card to remind us of our SWEET Mac that I'm using this very moment...The moment was like one that belonged in a movie...Happy Birthday to US!

February 18, 2007

(Try and) Join the Club...

So right now, I'm beach-tired.
You know, when you spend the whole day at the beach...
saltwater, lotion, sand, waves, sun...
The best part is coming home to eat, take a shower to wash everything off but the sun-tan, and sleep - which is welcomed and easy.
That's how I feel.
'Cept there were no waves, no lotion, and no tan because we were in a rainforest.

This is a run-down of our overnight to the sungai with the Sungai-sungai.
For those that didn't read my last post because it had no pictures, this will hopefully make up for that.
So when we (Abang, Kakak, and kids, along with a couple more local families, the Kings, and Us) first got there, it was raining.
Everyone's spirits were a little low because of it...

gosh that picture is funny...I love it...
but we changed campsites and things improved. We were all excited to be camping and were determined to make the most of it, rain or shine.
Like this guy and his 4x4...fun.

How rainforest-y does this picture look? Its really that cool...but better in person because you can hear the river and the jungle creatures.
So within an hour of setting up camp, Adik (the 3 year old) was the first to get a leech.
Leeches...the area was wet and that meant more were out. People say leechs are opportunistic, but as the weekend evolved, I formed a theory that they're actually very discriminatory and must have secret criteria for who's blood they select...
After the rain finally stopped, Justin, Anthony, and I set out to make a fire. By this point, Justin, Daniela, Abang, and Kakak's daughters all found leeches on themselves... maybe their ankles have a certain smell that meets leech criteria...
The sun went down so we didn't take any pictures...but we ate and watched "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" on our sweet Mac computer.
In the morning I woke early (7:30 or so) and made pancakes. After explaining to the locals that its best to eat pancakes with a fork (which I brought for them) because the syrup makes your hands too sticky, we dug in... and I think the local ladies were glad to see the American girl could 'cook.'
After breakfast we all enjoyed the sungai...the kids played in the water all day, the adults did a little. Here's me and Kakak washing dishes. Nothing like sitting in the 'sink' while you wash the dishes...
Abang - like myself and others - caught a nap... (I love this picture too)While I was napping over in our tent, Anthony joined the Leech Club ...lucky for all of you, he got a picture of the 2nd one...the aftermath of the 1st is on the right. (I thought one of the leech club criteria might be the height of the arch of your foot...but since Anthony was wearing boots, thats out.)The afternoon brought more adventures in the river. Isn't that waterfall great? I neglected to take a picture of this very same waterfall back in August on our first trip here. I just knew walking to the waterfall through the jungle or swimming in the river would have resulted in a leech on my leg...but alas, I was leechless. I'm sure the club dues are too expensive and you have to sign in blood (da, da, ch...I know it was a bad joke...but I'm beach tired so it's all I could think of).
It's not that I don't think they're gross. I do. They're disgusting. But there's just something about confronting a fear or an anxiety (not a huge one or anything) that makes me anticipate it until it happens. I left as the only one who was leechless. The anticipation continues.
But to help rid you (and myself as I type this) of the leechless blues, here's a picture of a guy sliding down the waterfall...
Fun huh?
Now we're gonna complete the "beach tired" day and watch an episode of LOST and sleep soundly afterwards.
What a great weekend!

February 16, 2007

6 months and a week...

So we've been here 6 months now. Anthony got to blogger last Friday before I did, and I didn't want to usurp his post.
It's amazing all that's happened in 6 months.
This might be long...but read if you want.

I'm here to share some of the ways we've changed.
Or maybe just describe our existence now.
As much as you may think of us as our "pre-move" selves,
We're different.
It's inevitable.
Our change was ordained long ago.
For us to walk in...for our good.

I can't go outside to check the mail or get something out of the car
without having my legs covered to the knees.
Our neighbors might see me and think the worst.
"There goes the neighborhood" translates into other languages you know.
So most of the time, I just leave whatever it is I need in the car...
It can wait.
I don't want to go outside because that means putting on pants...
and pants are hot.

But I do wear pants everyday when I go 'out.'
Out for real I mean, not just to the car.
I love these people and their modesty.
Because of their modesty, I had an excuse to buy
super-cute pants at JCrew before I left.
I also bought a couple cute long-sleeve shirts from the likes of
Ann Taylor Loft, Gap, JCrew, and uh...what was the name of that other one?
Not sure...I forget...It's been 6 months.

And 6 months of long sleeves and cute JCrew pants ain't half bad.
Even when the average temperature is 28.
That's right...we're learning CELSIUS temperatures.
They're shocked to hear that our home state of Florida can reach 40 degrees in the summer.
"40 degrees? Wow...panas lah"-is what they say.
"Yuh...sangat panas di musim panas"- is my confirmation to them.

Not that my language skills are that great.
Anthony is pulling ahead.
He's so smart. I love it when he speaks Bahasa.
He speaks with an American accent...
that's where my "ghetto" genius comes in...I'm smart too...
but with sounding like them, not necessarily using the right words.
The guys in Chinatown here believe me when I declare
"MAHAL NYA!" at their ridiculous price...
That means "EXPENSIVE!"
Then I say a lower price, in Bahasa, and I get it...

But its incredible to speak another language.
However craptacular I speak it.
Am I really becoming a person that is bi-lingual?
Gosh that's a cool title.
Bi-lingual? Oh yes, Sharon's bi-lingual.
My friend Cara speaks 2 languages, my friend Sarah speaks 3, my Indian neighbor's son speaks 4, and the Senegalese dishwasher at Outback in Louisville speaks 8.
I'm excited about becoming truly bi-lingual...in a couple years or so.
But I'm sure if any of you came here now, you'd notice a difference in us when we relate to our neighbors.
Can't put my finger on that difference, but you'd realize it.

Maybe its a change in how we view those that are 'different.'
Different colors
Different religions
Different languages
Don't get me wrong. My mama didn't raise no fool.
I've always had friends that were 'different' than me.
You can't really not in the US
But now we realize that the precious (That's right, she's precious!)
Mexican woman at Wal-mart with kids around her is totally confused as to what she should buy.
She might stare at someone hoping they help her.
I'll never again hold it against 'her' that she hasn't "picked up" English yet.

The Mexican guys loitering outside the grocery store do it because they like it.
Not to bother me. Not to make me feel afraid.
They're just chillin'- and NO, they don't understand the "No Loitering" sign.
But they'd understand way more in Mexico than I ever could.
They're probably hoping for someone to hire them for a small job of some sort too.
As illegal as it might be, as someone in another country that hopes she can find a job and get a work visa when the time comes...
I feel their desperation.
And the lost feeling at the grocery store.

We've asked for a heart for the nations...
one of the differences is that we realize the heart we can have at home for the nations.
My heart inevitably changed when I was that woman confused as to how to buy vegetables at Tesco. (British version of Walmart)
Here I have to take it to the lady who weighs it and puts the price sticker on it IN the produce department.
That may seem like nothing, but when I took my bananas, tomatoes, and green beans up to the check-out counter and the lady looked at me like I was crazy, I didn't even know how to ask what was wrong.
Then she turned to the bag boy and said something that I didn't understand.
The Chinese people in line behind me could have killed with the "You're stupid" looks.
That really happened.
After recovering from the humiliation and frustration
(Because I'm SO capable of going to the grocery store back home...don't they know that?)
I remember how I was that lady giving the 'UGH!" stares behind the Spanish-speaking lady in front of me that didn't understand what she could use her food stamps for.

Never again.

We're not even gonna get into the food.
Well, maybe a little.
We eat with one hand at our friends' homes.
While sitting on the floor.
Ever peeled a shrimp with one hand? (while you're balancing your plate as your legs go to sleep because you're on the floor?)

I have this "Drink to food" ratio that must be equal for me to enjoy my food.
The cups are abnormally small here.
At a birthday party Tuesday night I went half the meal without a cup even in sight.
I'm not looking for sympathy.
And don't hold it against my hostess.
Be excited for me.
I get to eat shrimp with one hand, mix spicy veges with rice, and bare it all without much to drink.
The cups are half the size I 'need' when they do come.
It's just not 'their' way of doing things.
And its ok. They're so hospitable...and I love shrimp
even if its mangled by the time it gets to my mouth.
Although I have wondered what they'd think about the ginormous tea glasses at Sonny's BBQ.

We think of home.
We wonder if it will ever be 'home' again.
We see how home prepared us for here.
Our friends, family, and experiences were all exactly what we needed before moving here.
Here is great.
When we have kids, they'll think of this as home.
One handed shrimp eating, small glasses, and tile floors will be home.
Not Sonny's BBQ.
Hopefully they'll be bi-lingual.

Weird as it is, we're learning to live, accept, and even love it.
So when we come back- hopefully not for another couple years or so,
we may not act the same.
Sorry if you don't feel like you know us as well then.
It's ok.
We'll be altered.
But probably still funny.
My JCrew pants will be SO out of style by then.
But if your heart trusts in the Lord, praise him with us for all that he's doing.
Doing to change us.
To make us different.
To adapt us to here so we're not so weird to those we need to show Love to.
Love that will change them for the better...
just like it's changing us.

February 09, 2007

Chinatown Treasures

Season One, Episode One

As many of you know, our parents came over to our part of the world this past Christmas. Like any good tour guides, we figured that a trip to our local Chinatown was in order. Chinatown did not disappoint - you couldn't throw a rock without hitting an "genuine copy" of anything you desire... either that or a Lonely Planet guide-toting European backpacker.

As we were perusing the stalls, a little something caught my eye:

For the guitar-impaired, this is a pretty good copy of a Les Paul Studio... in fact, its a replica of the first "real" electric guitar I owned. I spent many hours in my room making Jimi Hendrix and Metallica songs sound absolutely horrible on this guitar.

Oh, but wait my friend. It's so much more than a copy of a Les Paul Studio. What else can this be?

Be amazed and witness the devastation of...

I apologize to those prone to seizures.

Sometimes, when I can't sleep, I reach for my flame-throwing guitar axe to watch it light up the midnight darkness.

This is usually followed by a swift hit from my wife.

Hendrix had his detractors too.

And so I shred on.

February 06, 2007


Thought you all would enjoy a photo or two from our time in Singapore this past weekend. It's almost Chinese new year and Chinatown was buzzing- more so than usual. Mr. Lion up above was one of many decorations lining C-town.
The extras also included a delightful Chinese puppet theater.
And of course a little shopping- here's Sharon at one of the 'rare' Indian shops in Chinatown.
In case your wondering if the rumors are true, they are. Singapore still doesn't sell bubble gum.