Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Man in the Making

Willing to branch out and try new dishes and drinks! He loves Mei Goreng (fried noodles) and although they like the coconut drink, the novelty is in the "cup"!

We discovered these ice cream sandwiches on the Fourth of July!
Doing the famous Michael Jordan pose as he jumps in the pool!

Where did the years go? Almost 13 and entering 7th Grade!
There has been quite a discussion around our house lately on what it means to be grown up, to be a man, and thereby earn more freedoms. So in honor of that, I am devoting this post to a few thoughts on this topic. Certainly I am no expert on raising teens. Even after being in Student M*n*stry for about 15 years, we are only now about to enter the territory of having one of our own. However, armed with the wisdom of the Manual, and having watched many of those who have walked this road before us (some by wisdom and others by folly), we will boldly tackle this phase........hopefully with lots of love and laughter on the way!
Here are a few books that I recommend:
Do Hard Things by Alex and Bret Harris
Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz
Created for Work by Bob Schultz
Teach Them Diligently by Lou Priolo
Not an exhaustive list for sure but enough to get you started! Here is an excerpt from Boyhood and Beyond:
"There is not a set day when you become a man. It's not a
matter of age. Manhood is built within you little by little. Each
time you accept one of life's responsibilities as your own, you take a step
toward manhood.
When you begin to see the needs of others and feel the urge to
meet those needs, you're becoming a man. When you develop a useful skill,
gain wisdom, or protect someone that is weak, you are moving toward your
life purpose. Every time you act the way "the CEO" would act
toward those around you, you fulfill His hope for you. You are living like a man.
Developing in manhood is a process. It comes with small
daily choices. Every time you obey "the CEO" instead of your own
selfish desire, you're growing in manhood. Whenever you give up your
comfort to bring comfort to another, you're changing from a boy to a man.
Though it is a process, you have the opportunities today to advance toward the
goal. You can be more of a man today than you were yesterday and farther
along tomorrow than today. It's your decision. Regardless of your
age, you can still begin to act like a man in the areas
you understand."
I also gave Marshall , Do Hard Things to read right before he started school this year because I knew this year has been and will continue to be difficult for him. He left everything he has ever known, all of his friends and family, and began attending a private international school for Jr. High. He has done really well considering, but we are very mindful that this is a critical age for him to be making so many changes. As we had hoped, he has taken to the book and has even taken the time to send the authors an email! We also purchased him a "Warrior of El Shaddai" ring as a reminder of who he is, and how he is called to be different.
All of his life he has never had a teacher who did not comment on how there was something special about him. I don't know what the CEO has for his future but I do know what He expects of us as his parents and please lift up that we will be found faithful!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Day in the Life - Buying String

The random musicians who come by the house playing for money!
One of my "teachers" who loves playing school at home!

The other "teacher", they are really into these maps right now!!

The subject of todays post, the string; the hat is just to fly the colors since football season is almost upon us.........well, not us but for those of you in the US!!:)
Yesterday, we were on a mission. Barry and I decided that while we had time before the kids were out of school, we would try to find the string Campbell needs for a "mobile" book report. Now, let me say that for all the times I hated going to Wal-Mart to get needed items, I never fully appreciated being able to find most items I needed at one location. It is a me on this one!! :)

We walk up and down the crowded street, and although we have passed a few stores with office supply items, we cannot find string. Finally we go into a store that looks like having string might be a possibility. We go up to the counter and, using our handy electronic dictionary, ask for "tali". Seems simple enough, so the man behind the counter nods and leaves to enter the back room. When he emerges he is holding a rather large spool of Raffia! Uh....."lebih kecil" we say (more small). He again nods and comes back with a large spool of nylon cord similar to a shoestring....and it is bright red!! By this time we are furiously typing into the little dictionary all kinds of words that we might could use to explain what it is we wish to buy. At the same time the man has disappeared and reemerged with a smaller spool of nylon cord, it felt and looked like the material you would use to make tassels. In fact it felt just like the tassels that were hanging from our living room curtains when I was a child.......although it was not gold in color!:)

Barry has now come up with the word for cotton, "katun". Believing this word will be the key to finding what we want we proudly announce, "Kami mau tali katun." (we want cotton string) A girl then ducks down behind the counter and emerges guessed it......string!! We nod our approval and they kind of just smile and nod adding up our total while we are standing there feeling proud of this great accomplishment.

However the story does not end there. Today we are in class and like every day we have to stand up and tell our experiences from the day before in our new language. It's my turn. I stand up , tell how many people from Machiatto that I spoke with and begin to recount my day. When I get to the part about buying string, my Pelatih says, "Apa kata tali?", kind of like "what are you saying?". So I then use English to explain, he nods and I go on. After we are done then he goes to the board to make any corrections that might be necessary and, it's always necessary!

He says, "bukan tali, tali is rope", so I asked him what would I say for string, that was all I had in my dictionary! To which he replies, "Apa kata untuk (the word for) string is.......STRING!! Can you even believe it?? The people at that store must have cracked up at us!! I laughed so hard because.......who knew? Obviously not us!! Just a reminder of how you really have to be able to laugh at yourself and just keep trying, eventually you'll get it! You just have to talk like a two year old until then!! :) So next time you go to buy a random item and you are blessed enough to know right where to go to get it (and how to say it!), thank the CEO for just another simple but huge blessing in your life!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ping vs. Pong part III "The Championship"

"D" and I after the game
"J" and one of our Pelatihs "A"
Notice how Campbell is not even opening her mouth and how easily Hudson could take a bite if he wanted to!! :)

When it was all said and done.......I won the championship in the women's bracket!! "D" and I were about at the same playing level but I was able to win both games to take the title!! We had so much fun, it was a great stress reliever since we played our games during our 20 minute break between our four hours of classes. Thanks for all of the encouraging notes and emails, it was fun to share this with my friends from all over the world. You guys crack me up! Apparently we all have a little bit of competitiveness in us!! :) Katrina, thanks for all of the Wii tennis practice.....I think it helped! :) Sorry, had trouble loading it so no video!!
In the men's bracket the Australian, "J", also won both games over the Pelatih. Again, wow, were they good! Friday evening we celebrated Independence day with a flag raising ceremony and singing. All of the language families came and we had a great time of fellowship. Many of the children go to school together at the International school so they enjoyed seeing their friends outside of class. The Pelatihs presented us with a framed certificate of our win and also gave one to the male student soccer team who also won over the Pelatihs and security guards!
Now about these game, as you can see from the pictures, was trying to be the first one to eat the snack off of the string, while they snapped the string they were hanging from!! But, let me tell you, these are called shrimp crackers and I am not lying when I say they taste a lot like Styrofoam! At best they are similar to a rice cake, which I am not real fond of either, I guess I just prefer to eat things that don't remind me of cups at a fellowship!! :P The lady who won wasn't sure whether she was proud or embarrassed of the win! The next game involved hanging a gourd around your waist from your back and trying to navigate it without hands to hit a ball across the finish line! Needless to say.....I didn't win in either of these games which I actually find comfort in! Barry was unable to play that game because they didn't have string cut long enough, not that he was complaining!! Hahaha When my kids played they were cracking us up because they took one bite of the snack and their faces said it all.........after that they were totally faking like they were playing, they were not about to take another bit of that cracker!! We ended the evening sharing a meal together. It was a great evening and we feel very blessed to be in this school with these Pelatihs and these students. We will certainly miss them next year when we move from this island.
On a side note, Marshall has joined the school's soccer team. He is really excited about it and so far has put in the long hours of practice after school with no complaints! He is not in most of the pictures because he came later after practice. Everyone is still enjoying school, so thanks once again for all of the talks to the CEO, they truly make a difference!! Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ping vs.Pong part II

Well, let me tell you.......she put up a fight!! We play two games to ten and you have to win by two points. I won the first game, by one point. She won the second game, by one point. I won the third one point!! So we go into deuces ten times!! Finally......I won!!

She must have been holding back on the Korean lady that she played earlier because I wasn't expecting it to be all that difficult. So now I am playing in the championship tomorrow, and you'll never guess who my opponent will be..........she is an Okie!! What are the odds? We beat out the Asians, the Koreans, the Dutch and it comes down to two girls from Oklahoma! "D" grew up overseas but her parents are from OK and that is where she went when they visited the States. Neither of us have seen each other play so I have no idea what I am in for! The men's final will be played by a Pelatih and an Australian student, and let me just say, I am thankful I am not playing this Pelatih, he is crazy fast and very good at the game!
Our school is hosting it's own Independence Day celebration tomorrow for all of the language students and their families so I will have pictures from that to post tomorrow, it sounds like a lot of fun!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Independence Day Ceremony

Our neighbor is good at helping us know what to do and when to do it! She loves our kids!!

These are the ladies that cooked the tasty beef and rice soup, we aren't use to the snacks yet!!

These are some of the elders of our neighborhood, the young guy is a friend we met at the Sup Buah stand and later found out he was our neighbor, he was the MC.

The children LOVE to have their picture taken and then they run to you so they can see! It was a mini stampede, seriously!!

This is when the elders came forward and they are presented with a mountain made of rice with the Machiatto flag stuck in the top. They prayed, and prayed......for a long time......Barry has nothing on them!! Hahhahaa (sorry couldn't resist!)
After the prayers and a reading of the Independence story they cut off the top of the rice mountain and gave it to the eldest male. The plate was then passed to the other men and onto Barry as a sign of him being an honored guest. Haddon almost fell asleep, which accounts for the lovely hairdo she is displaying in the first picture, and the boys were making hand signals (acting like you can remove your thumb, etc) and shadow puppets with the little boys in front of us who grew tired of sitting still!
I also attended my first neighborhood Women's Meeting and was treated very warmly, they also chose to accept me as a member. I have no idea what it would have been like if they had not, glad I didn't worry about that ahead of time.....awkward!! But as I sat among them, unable to understand all that was being said, my eyes started to well up in tears as I thought of them. Most were "cousins" and I saw them through my father's eyes. Please continue to mention these people to the CEO, our heart aches for them to know the Truth!

Ping vs. Pong

Okay, so here is the update on the Ping Pong Tournament (for you in particular...Fraulein Christina!:))
Barry played on Friday, and while his efforts were valiant, he could not overcome the former student m*n*ster! I know, I know, he used to be one too, but give him a break, it's been awhile!! :)
I played my game this morning during our break and when "R" came out of the office to play she said she was scared! I'm like, you're scared? No way, I am scared of playing you!! So off we go to play two sets of 10 points. Well, not to toot my own horn but........I won!! Can you believe it? I haven't played in forever. However, we did own a ping pong table growing up, in fact, my dad came to know the CEO while playing with a P*st*r, hey, you do what you've got to do to share right?
Tomorrow I will play a lady from Holland, Barry says I can take her easily....hahahha.....we'll see!
I will also try to post pictures from the Independence Day celebration. It was much more low key than what we were expecting. We had a ceremony which included singing the national anthem, a telling of how they earned their independence and sharing food together, all in all we had a good time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First Day of International School

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Here is a little glimpse of the kids school week. I spared Marshall the embarrassment of taking his picture in front of his class, he is Jr High now! :) But this shows you their walk to school and a little bit of the facilities. The school has a great security staff and it is fenced and gated. Every person, vehicle, and bag is checked before you enter the grounds. They even have these mirrors that look like a giant version of what a dentist uses, you know the angled ones, and they check underneath every car as well as inside. These procedures are pretty common to most large malls, hotels and major facilities in this country. The guards, like the rest of the staff have been very friendly.

Marshall is one of three Americans in his class. There are also three Koreans, three Indians (India) and one from Holland. Campbell has classmates from Switzerland, Korea and Australia. It has been a neat experience for them. Barry and I also added two classmates to our class. Last unit an American who was raised in South Africa joined (this is his third language!) and this unit we have a man from Switzerland (this is his fourth language!) There is a joke that says, "What do you call someone who only speaks one language.........American!" :) I get that now, everyone else knows at least two and are working on their third or fourth!! I guess I should have paid more attention in my Spanish class!!! Oops!

So far all of your talks to the CEO have been answered and the first week has been a success, thank you!! We are all exhausted as we adjust to this new schedule. In addition to our four hours of class, Barry and I are doing an additional 1 to 2 hours of tutoring a day for at least this month then we may go to twice a week.

The good news is that this weekend is their Independence Day and so we have a three day weekend (Yippee!!) That should be enough time to catch up on rest and have time to hang out with the kids. Oh, and here's a little side note.....Our school is doing a Ping Pong tournament, Pelatihs and students, and Barry and I signed up to play in it!! Crazy, right? We have not played in years so this ought to be interesting, but they have a table at our school and so everyone has been practicing during our far the Pelatihs are winning (they have home table advantage:)) Barry plays tomorrow but the women's bracket is not until next week. I play on Tuesday against a secretary at the school, it should be comical!

Enjoy the pics and know that there is a family on an Island somewhere in the Pacific who talks to the CEO about you and loves to hear about your life as well!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

On A Midnight Train to Jogja

Pronounced (Joe-ja)

Okay so it was actually in a car, during the day, but when I told my mom where I was going she said it sounds like you are saying Georgia with a heavy accent! So the title of this blog was born out of that conversation!
The picture is of "stoplight entertainment" in the city. There are three guys at this intersection who do a dance and then ask for money while you are at the light. They look a little freaky but they are definitely entertaining in a strange, new culture, sort of way!

We drove the two or so hours to go to the big mall and get some school supplies and a few other things for the kids. Barry also got a toy in his new electronic translator, I am not sure he is going to share....he really likes it! Which is saying something because he is not a techie in any way.
Nothing too eventful happened but I also wanted to let you know that despite my kids actually completing only one semester of this past school year, because of our training and traveling, they each passed a grade evaluation test to move up to their next grade! They were all very excited! I was very proud of them, they must have had a great teacher last year! :) That being said, I am finding myself being a little sad over not being their teacher this year. It's a little sad to not be receiving my box of new books or to be getting out old books for the next child to use! I really hope this is a great school year for all of us, I know it will be a very different and busy one!

Thanks again for all the talks to the CEO, they are our lifeline!! Hope all my homeschooling mom friends have a great start to their year and for everyone else may this season/school year be a fantastic one for you all wherever in life you happen to be!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You are not..........

going up to Unit Four!! That is what my Pelatih said after my evaluation! I said, "I'm not going up?" And he said, "Not to Unit Four." I then sighed a sigh of relief because I realized he was saying "four" and I was being evaluated to go into Unit Three!!! That particular Pelatih has fun frustrating me, he has a funny sense of humor!! So, thank you for all of the talking to the CEO, he answered, we both passed. Yippee!!

This will be our last "normal" week as we start Unit Three on Monday and the kids begin International school on Tuesday. Their school begins at 7:30am and ours is at 8:00am so it will work out good. Here's an interesting piece of information for you: When the kids are in school, there is no cafeteria and the kids don't pack lunches. So what do they do? Well, everyday the Pembantu's (house helpers) fix lunches and bring them up to the students at lunch time! Can you believe that? I mean like half of the school year is during rainy season, I feel bad already! It's just the way things are done here, and since we are in school during their lunch, it's the only way to get it to them. They do have an option where the school places orders with local restaurants and you can pay to do that for your children if you prefer. So many different things to get used to! Please remember the kids as this is their first "going to school" experience because they have been homeschooled. But also, that they don't love it too much because we go back to homeschooling after this year! :) Ha Already we love the principle's and teachers we have met and the whole place has a great atmosphere.
It has done my heart good to hear good reports about TCOTR and thanks to all who have sent encouraging notes and thoughts our way, they really do encourage us, sometimes they are just the right medicine for a day when you are feeling homesick or lonely.
Some have asked about shipping things to us and here is the deal, it is more expensive to ship things to us than what we had previously expected. So I find it hard to ask anyone to send anything, but if you can't help yourself and want to send items, here are some things we would enjoy that would be cheaper and could be sent in an envelope:
Kool Aid packets
Ranch Seasoning packets
Taco Seasoning packets....notice a trend? These would be easy to stick in an envelope!
Any type of seasoning packets :)

If you happen to be independently wealthy and want to send a box :) there are things you can do that will help us not have to pay customs that we can discuss through email if so desired. Please email me if you would like the address.
Also one last note: I have set our comments on the blog to be screened by us before they post, so maybe that is why some of you can't get them to go through, I read them then allow them to be published. Just a thought to help!

Here's a few pics from Haddon's 6th Birthday!!

I was excited to find her a crown here, and it's in English!

Opening gifts!! She was so excited!

She invited a friend, Hee Jung, over to her party!

A long day of partying and swimming wore them out! :)