Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Maaf, Ibu Justine, you said Amerika incorrectly."

This line was said to me not once, but twice, this week! Forgive me (maaf), but I have only pronounced it that way for FORTY YEARS!!! :) By the way here it is pronounced "Ah-mey-ree-ka". That gives you just a taste of what I have been experiencing, oh and also intstead of a hard "k" sound make a glottal stop...uh huh, now your getting the picture! We started Language School on Monday and while it has been fun, tiring, and at times downright hysterical we have been surprised at the pace at which it runs. There is one speed and it's fast! From 8-12 we are in class going over vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and fluency, with a 20 minute break in the middle. Our trainers (Pelatihs) are great, they are both young guys who speak English well and we have been able to have a lot of fun with them. After class our homework is to take what we have learned and to go out into the community and use it......uh, sure. We have a goal sheet in the back of our workbook in which each day we are trying to reach 15-20 points depending on which activities we can accomplish. That translates to about 2 hours engaging people in conversation, which is a great thing since it forces you to use it, but it also reveals just how little you actually know because when they start talking back we are like huh.....ya sure...right back at ya! It can be so frustrating trying to recall what to say at the right time. They use the same alphabet but about half of the sounds are different, so in a way it's somewhat easier, but it really messes with your mind to say those letters differently. We will have four weeks of Unit 1 before we can hopefully move to Unit 2 in July after we get back from Bali.

Oh, did I mention that I get to spend my birthday in Bali this year? :) We have a meeting to attend there, and since school won't start until after July 5th we are adding a weeks vacation on the end! Yippee!! We are all very excited about getting to go, surfing seems to be what the boys are most excited about. The boys will be at Camp MiKi (for TCK's from our company)the week before we leave so lots of traveling coming up. Their camp is about 3 hours from our home, we hear the whole camp is awesome, many college age TCK's who grew up here come back to run it every year for the current group. So after spending a whole week with these kids they will all be in Bali together, while we have meetings they have a VBS type program run by volunteers from a "business" in the States. I am really looking forward to it.

Well, keep up those conversations with the CEO, we really need to grasp this language quickly, and it will be only through His help!! Hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend. We miss you!!

Monday, May 25, 2009



Our friends Grandmother, she wanted our picture taken together!
Barry and the Chief of Police

The feast!

Before the demonstration

I am so excited right now, I don't even know where to begin!! I was going to post about our first language class but that seems so mundane compared to this evening's events. So I will post about that maybe tomorrow, but I have to share with you what happened to us tonight.
About 3pm we headed to town to fulfill our class homework of talking to and using our phrases with at least 15 people. We easily accomplished this and felt good as we headed home. Upon arriving we realized that we did not have much for supper since our communication with our helper is still a bit rough. So we decided to walk up to a local store, as we are walking we see our neighbors gathered in the street. Now, all weekend something has been going on every night on our street, parades, banners, road being closed etc., we never went because we were unsure if it was a wedding or a "cousins" holiday. Tonight we asked what was going on and we were invited (at least we that's what we think they said :)) they said to come at 7:30.

Forgetting that things here NEVER start on time (except school) we left our home at 7:15 and walked to where a large tent had been set up in the middle of the road along with a huge section of the road covered with interlocking gym mats. There is a band playing and singers singing, food is being cooked and one long table set up with different kinds of fruit. We are led to these chairs unsure of what we should do. The lady that invited us speaks a little English so we are getting to know her, her family is the one preparing mounds of food. This goes on for about 3 hours. Then about 20 black belts from our streets Dojo come out and they begin to warm up.....they are phenomenal, the boys were in awe!!
All of the sudden they stand stick straight and face the beginning of our road as highly decorated police approach!! Everyone is clapping and shaking hands, people start telling us to come forward, we are trying to stay out of the way of the high officials when they come toward us and warmly greet us....all of them, to each one of us!! We greet them and then try again to get out of the way but again they ask us back.....they (the officials) want to have their picture taken with us!!! I am not kidding, I bet there were a hundred cameras going off as my family stood there with the Chief of Police and his men, we didn't know where to look there were flashes everywhere, it was surreal. Campbell says, "Wow, it's like we're movie stars!" Again we try to back out when we are lead by the Chief (who speak pretty good English) to a seat at the table (there are only about 30 chairs, and it is about to rain like a waterfall)!! He ordered for us some yummy food, peeled snake fruit and plantains for the kids and talked away.
I think every person there came by to greet us and they treated us like royalty, it was so much fun and a GREAT experience for the kids. It downpours and our feet are in about three inches of water with mud quickly forming underneath but we didn't care, except Haddon! After a few speeches, in which the Chief acknowledged us, they had a closing "cousin" pryr and the chief gave us his information and asked Barry to please call him. Can you even believe it? My CEO can do anything....I have no idea what may come of this but we want to be ready for anything!!! We really do feel the "work" that you are doing, please continue to remember us!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pics from the week

Marshall found "treasures" in our front garden! He had four altogether, each one got bigger!

This give you an idea of how large these were.

After meal entertainment! Barry made "Pak Satay" from out satay sticks and leftover watermelon rinds! Pak is a word used like "sir".

And last but not least, I found these in a little store that caters to the foreigners. I am guessing this is for the Koreans? We decided to pass! :) If you can't read it they are OCTOPUS flavored chips...Mmmmm, a tasty treat!!

"What did you say we were having for lunch, Mom?"

We have had a good but interesting week. One thing that has been tricky for us is navigating menus with our cook, especially since neither of us speak the others language!! On our menu for lunch one day I thought I would try potato soup. Now, things here are different and so there would be no bacon or cream and all to add to the soup but we decided to be adventurous. This picture of Hudson is a picture of the "soup"!! Hahaha We sat down to the table, Barry and I took one look at it and then looked at each other and died laughing!! I was afraid the kids wouldn't touch it but they all decided to try it and it tasted.......AWESOME!! Now, admittedly it was like thin mashed potatoes but it had great flavor and we literally licked the bowl clean, well.....Haddon did. :) So tonight we were suppose to have Teriyaki chicken, we had been in town running errands all day and came back right before our cook got off for the day and she showed us the chicken and was saying, "No (something that we couldn't understand and now know that it was, no teriyaki!)" I took one look at the chicken and knew this was NOT teriyaki chicken, so Barry and I tasted the mound of shredded meat and discovered that she had mixed it with KETCHUP!! However she had made yummy homemade buns to eat it with so that was supper tonight. Again, everyone loved it and I told no one that it was ketchup since I have some children that won't touch ketchup....hee hee!!
Our next issue came on Wednesday when we were told that we were not going to be able to go to Language School after all because of a visa issue. Apparently for the first time ever, the government officials was demanding that we have a student visa to go to school. We are on a teaching visa, and since the company has already paid multiple thousands (a huge amount) we really couldn't change for one year! After asking my family and posting on Facebook for the CEO's help, the next morning we received a phone call saying that we were able to get in after all (Yay CEO!!) of course it cost us, and probably was not on the up and up on the government's part but unfortunately that is the way things work around here. So we officially start school on Monday as the only two students in Unit One!! We will have school from 8-12 with about two hours of homework a day for the first three Units, with a weeks break between units. Needless to say we will need lots of talking to the CEO to accomplish language learning!! The kids are going to stay with our house help and will be doing assignments that I have prepared for them. Also, we have a break at ten and since we live right down the road from our school we can go check on them!
On Sunday we attended a local Machiatto "business", they had power point so at least we were able to sing along. A friend helped translate for us so we were able to at least know the passage and the gist of the message! The people were very warm and friendly, it was nice!!
I am going to add a few more pics so you can see some other things we have discovered in Machiatto on my next post. Hope you all are doing well and staying close to the CEO, we miss you!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Odds and Ends of Life

We have had a lot of fun in "Macchiato" these past two weeks. There have been adjustments as far as food, most is great, some just taste too different right now. We have a cook who is in training doing a great job, and a cleaner. Right now we are having the cook fix native foods for lunch and American style dishes for supper(they are good just not quite the same). Both ladies are quiet and sweet and have been a big help when someone comes to the door or calls and doesn't speak English. I'm sorry but I really cannot express to you how much I love setting out my laundry piles and having them come back ironed and folded!! When school starts I will really rely on them as my time will be spent studying or taking care of the kids. Both workers are "cousins". Pray that they see the Son in us and that we will be able to share the Truth with them at some point and that our family will be a blessing to them. The kids are being troopers with the food, except once Hudson said the spaghetti noodles were...squishy...uh, do you want them hard?? :)

I was asked about prices and the cost of living here so I'll give you an idea of what certain things cost. First of all you should know that 100.000,00 is their highest bill, it is $10.00 US. They reverse the use of commas and periods here for money. I'll give the US amount.

Propane tank - $7.50(a little larger than the one for our Webber grill)
Parking in town - $.20 You pay to park and attendants help you get into traffic
Major Water Park - $4.00 a person
Six meals @ water park - $8.00 (total)
20 ltr. jug of water for our home - $1.05
20oz. bottle of water - $.10 Can you believe that? Even at the water park!!
Can of Coke - $.50 (even in a restaurant)
Hiring a driver for the day (using our car) - $6.00
Imported cheese block (1 lb cheddar,etc.) $10.00
Imported Instant Oatmeal (box) - $7.00
Importer cereal Post Blueberry Mornings - $5.00

If you buy native foods and groceries it is very inexpensive, but if you buy the VERY LIMITED imported American products you will pay through the nose! It costs us roughly the same amount to eat at McDonalds, maybe a little cheaper, their Happy Meals don't come with fries. They also serve fried chicken and rice in combos called "packets". Next to the "Tomato Sauce" container they always have "Sambal Sauce", a chili sauce that is hot but tasty!

I miss everyone and think of you all often!! Thanks for all the talks with the CEO on our behalf.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Throw it away, we don't eat where the Cecok trod"

A view from our seat on Singapore Air. Three rows of three seats across with movies, games, tv shows and music on demand for each seat! We were spoiled!

Campbell watching a movie while Haddon played a coloring page game.

This was at a restaraunt in the same mall with the big slide (see my FB page for that photo), these are ducks.......about to be someones dinner!

Walking back from the mall in the capitol city. People are selling all kinds of things out of all kinds of containers and kiosks.

Here is a dancing monkey that was on my front porch!! The man has him do all kinds of tricks, he is carrying fish on a pole across his back like the fishermen here do. It was hysterical. Things like this never happened in Oklahoma.

The title quote of this blog were words that came out of Barry's mouth after Campbell dropped an apple slice on the floor and shouted out, "Three second rule!". It thought that was so funny! Cecok (cheechock) are little lizards (geckos) that hang out in your home, but it's a good thing because they eat mosquitos so they are our friends. That gives you a little taste of how our lives are beginning to change, lizards in our home are no big deal!! I would have freaked in America if I had seen one let alone more than one.....wonder what the difference is?

We have a great three bedroom home that has a little office inside and another one outside up the stairs above the laundry room with a great view of an inactive volcano. We have a "wet" bathroom and a dry bathroom. Both have western toilets but one has the shower (just out of the wall) and one has a sink and a mirror. There is no air conditioning but this city is relatively cool as it is in the mountains and it is made so that it is well ventilated. However having it all open and hearing all the traffic and call to pr-yer at 4:30am has been a little hard to get used to. Haddon wishes that man would stop singing into the microphone!!
We have seen dancing monkey's wearing masks and doll heads, a man driving a motorcycle holding a baby AND an umbrella. We see cars, vans, motorcycles, horses pulling wagons and rickshaws (becaks) on the roads everyday. We have eaten at a street vendor and had KFC which only comes in Original or Extra "Spicy" Crispy. We have seen the extreme wealth and extravaganse of the capitol city side by side with beggars and extreme poverty. The native people are very friendly and have always tried to help. The little girls at the msque, just four houses down, hang out the doors and windows just to say hi. This city is used to foreigners so that makes things a little easier, it will be different in our assignment location.

We are excited about Language School starting but hear that the first three months are pretty rough. I think we will start a week from Friday, at least that is when orientation is. The kids will go to school next door to ours and they have taken a tour already, they are excited. Marshall is a little apprehensive so please pray that he will feel comfortable. Most of the families with our company are leaving by July, which is sad to us, they have been so warm and helpful that I hate to not have more time with them! At least two other families from our company will be here and there are many from other like minded companies as well.

I'll write my top ten as soon as I can remember them! I am going to blame jet lag!! Please continue to pray for us, it's a little stressful just learning how to do even the smallest things, it's not that they are hard but it is all very different from what we are used to. We miss you all and pray for you regularly, please continue to talk to the CEO about us, it is our lifeline and we feel it!! Hope all you mothers had a great mothers day!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

We're leavin' on a jet plane....

Don't know when I'll be back again.......(just a little John Denver for ya'!) This is probably my last blog in the good ol' U.S. of A. On Saturday morning at 11:25am we will board a plane that will begin the process of our new life adventure. We are taking a rather different route to our location by flying from Okc to Houston then onto Singapore via Moscow, yes Moscow,from Singapore we will fly to "Machiatto". Who would've thought that I would fly over the Atlantic to get to the Pacific!! Just another crazy chapter in this crazy life I am living!

We are saying our "see ya' laters"....... again. This time it's the real deal, the flights are booked and the bags are repacked! :) It's a strange thing leaving everyone because you know that things will change, people will change, and we will change and I wonder what it will be like to come back. I have lived long enough to know that once things change they don't ever go back, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is different. Something to ponder I guess.

We ask you to please be in prayer for us as we leave that we are patient with each other and the children, that we bring Light to all we meet, and that we make this transition as smooth as possible. They have warned us of culture shock and how it can bring out the ugly in you. Please know that we truly depend on your prayers. Also, the day after we learned of our flight date we received a call that Barry's mom has cancer. She is a breast cancer survivor so she knows what she faces but this time around we will not be here and that is going to be so hard for her and for us. We are praying for healing so we can be reunited with her when we return in three years. Barry has been busy helping make arrangements for her in the middle of our preparations please ask the CEO to give them both His strength and peace. Things get a little more complicated with her dementia and we want her to receive the best care.

I could write a book on all the crazy awful things that have happened to our family and our church since we have been back and yet I refuse to let the enemy have the victory or cause discouragement. Our company's leader said these things would happen, I don't know why we are shocked when they do, somehow we think "We'll be different!" How silly, we are going into the battlefield and we expect our enemy not to fight us? Thank goodness for the Manual that teaches us the truth and how to respond, I would be lost without it!

I will try to blog as soon as I can, wherever that may be, but until strong and courageous always doing the right thing even when you don't feel like it so that the CEO will be honored.