Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reaching Level 5

Well.....I would say I gave it the "'Ole college try", but the truth of the matter is that I gave it a much better try than I think I ever did in college, but I just couldn't pull it off. Our company likes us to be at level 5 after we finish a year of language school, then we test every year after that until we reach level 7 at that time we no longer are required to test unless we just want to know for our own personal goals. Now, I haven't had my official results given to me but the language tester felt that Barry was above a level 5 but I was not yet at a level 5.

I am so happy for Barry and so very proud of him, really he amazes me.....but am completely bummed for myself! Definitely disappointed. If any one of you knew me in High School then you know that studying wasn't one of my strong points! I made decent grades but I have never been super motivated academically. (Don't you dare tell those four precious kids I home school about that!) LOL....okay.....they already know...I've confessed....I've already talked about how I want better for them, blah, blah, blah.....!! :) But this time, at this Language School, I did my dead level best. I studied, I conversed with strangers and interviewed them about their culture, I wrote papers, watched films, listened to the radio, took private tutoring, etc. So to do all that and not pass a level five is more than a little frustrating.

On the other hand, we have Barry. My precious academically over-achieving husband, the man is smart! Again, if you knew me in High School you might find it humorous to know that I married a Valedictorian, this is funny because I am pretty sure our valedictorians didn't even know my name and I'm pretty sure I couldn't even pronounce theirs!! (Although after a year of living in Asia, I probably could now!) :) Several of you all have asked how Barry was doing with language school, well...just guess how the H.S. class valedictorian, Oklahoma University President's Leadership Class member, Honor Roll in seminary and invited member of a special Theological Honors Fraternity did? If after reading all that you think he did great, then you are correct! He says that learning Spanish, Hebrew and Greek helped him with this language, so I shouldn't be so hard on myself! But come on...7th grade Spanish should have helped me out too, right? :)

Normally, all of his academic achievements are celebrated with much praise and without jealousy, this is his thing, he's great at it, go for it! But this time, I have to admit a twinge of jealousy. Fortunately for me the CEO says he uses the simple minded and the weak to show He is strong! I have always liked that he put that in the Manual, this gives hope to everyone! How much greater is the work done through us when it's even more obviously Him and not us and our talents. I know that each of us are bestowed certain gifts and abilities, and I know my worth or what can be done through me is not tied to this test and for that I am grateful.

So rejoice with Barry, he has worked hard, did a great job, put in a lot of hard work and used his talents wisely. He is certainly ready for what he has been called to do. Please keep lifting us up that we constantly rely on the CEO for strength and that we never stop being learners! Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to go pack for Bali and not dwell on this any longer!! :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Visiting an attraction....and Being the Attraction

We had a fantastic time visiting this temple, it is quite an impressive structure for it's size alone.....and even more impressive when you realize that they built this without any major machinery to help! That is quite a feat! That being said, it is also an incredibly sad structure in that you realize men built this and came there trying to reach a "status", a certain "level" so that they might have eternal life or at best come back to do it right the next time. These things are such a reminder of the lostness of man, and their feeble attempts to reach "perfection" or heaven. Because we can look at this and think of it as ancient, but we must never loose sight of the fact that this belief is not dead. It continues on to this day and millions of people follow it.

Again, it was really cool to see something so old. I remember when Oklahoma was celebrating it's 100th birthday of Statehood, and that seemed so old until that same year we traveled to Jamestown, VA for it's 400th birthday and there was a huge impressive monument that was placed there for it's 300th birthday...the same time in which Oklahoma was just becoming a State!! It has a way of putting it in perspective. So to see something built around 800 AD was crazy!

We also became the attraction at the attraction! People came to us in droves to have their picture taken with us, it was a very interesting experience and can do wonders for your self-esteem! LOL It does get old after a while but the kids did good and kept smiling! It was killer hot that day also so to stand there with sweat poring off of you and these people squeezing up to you as if they were a relative or something can be kind of awkward but, we survived and had some great conversations with a lot of people. One kid came up to me and said. "Are you from New Zealand?" I replied, "No, I am American" while laughing to myself because maybe Europe, Australia or America , as people have guessed before, but it was so random to guess New Zealand of all places!! What? Do I look like a "Kiwi"? :)

Oh....and in case you wondered....volcanic stone is very unforgiving and hard! When you see the pic with a stone box looking thing ( a trash can, I guess) at the foot of the stairs, I tripped over that as I turned for another pic and scraped my shin to shreds!! OUCH! Most pain I've had in a long time, pretty sure I bruised it to the bone! Of course being surrounded by all these students I kept a smile, and of coursed laughed like I always do when I am in major pain! (someday I will ask why He made me that way, I laugh when I am happy, I laugh when I am nervous, and when I am weird!) I didn't go all the way down but that thing did not budge! So embarrassing!

Well, gotta run, we take the boys to camp in the morning, please lift them up to the CEO!! Enjoy the slideshow and please use it to talk to the CEO about it's followers!!!

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Maybe for the Next Super Bowl....?

Okay...seriously? Could he be any more adorable? This was the photographer at the temple (you know, like a "Party Pic" guy) and we became fast friends. He spoke fairly good English and was very proud of the fact that he knew some of our history (think George Washington) and that he could sing our National Anthem! Now, I know what you are thinking....sure he is your friend, he just wants to take your picture and make money!! Well, I am sure that was true, but as we began our trek up to the top we were stopped by a group of students who were doing a 2 week intensive English class and so we allowed them to be our guide. Our little photographer friend patiently waited as we conversed with the students and seemingly became the main attraction as we were consistently mobbed for photo opps by others who were visiting the temple. He stayed with us shooting 3 pics as we made our way to the top. When we met up with him later, he told us that we were not like most Westerners, we were kinder than most! Not to pat ourselves on the back, but hearing that was like music to our ears....because that is what we want! We want to be different, it totally opens up the door to tell them WHY we are different! Ya' gotta love how things turn out sometimes!

Pic #1 - Before we enter the temple grounds.....

Pic #2 - After we enter and climb up to the entrance..those ladies on the sides are two of about 20 that took their picture with us before we go any farther!

Pic #3 - Only about 5 steps from the very top! The steep steps up and the insanely hot temp seemed bearable because we were so involved in talking with the students.....niiice!

More pics to come but we had a fun day visiting this 8th century temple and being reminded of why the CEO called us to come here in the first place!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Is that made of.......WOOD? (Remember Joey and his Gopher on Full House)

Our dining room buffet

The girls dresser

Our dining room hutch (with very limited cabinet space and no closets you really have to create your storage)

Master bedroom bedside nightstand

Vanity desk and stool

In April when we ordered our furniture we were surprised that they said it would take two months to complete because we had been told that it could be done in a month. So we settled on the date of June 10th for completion. As we were talking to people about or time frame of moving and packing our furniture up several people said it would be very likely that the furniture would not be completed on time....this made us worry about how we were going to get moved with all our stuff and still be able to check that it was done right, etc.

To our great relief we received a call on Saturday that our furniture was done and could they send it to us on Sunday. But in trying to cover all of our bases we decided that it would be easier for us to drive the three hours to the coastal city and inspect it ourselves before they brought it down here. That way if there was a problem we could just ask them to fix it and it would still be at their shop, this would also give us a chance to talk to them about the cost of them shipping it to "Folgers" for us. Boy...are we glad we did that!

Here is what has been happening, before we moved here the policy was that we could buy furniture here and the company would ship it for us. Everyone told us that this was the best way since you could get furniture so much cheaper over here, so we only packed a small crate and saved the rest of our crate money for making purchases over here. However, then the country and in turn our company have had to deal with lack of funds and so we were now told we would be responsible for moving our own things. This required some creative reworking of our plans but was still do-able.

It is very tricky to find businesses or services that you need over here because there are no Yellow Pages, most businesses have no website, and you just have to find out about things by searching on your own or asking others, simply "word of mouth". I had heard from others who have recently moved from here what they paid and it was costing around $2500 (US) for a move to one of the farthest islands, so when I called our company to ask about the company that they used to use when they shipped our things, that company was no longer, but they had the contact info for the representative who used to work there and now worked for another moving company. Well. to make a long story short they quoted me over $5000 (US) for a 20ft container!! FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS....are you kidding me? Yikes!! Granted, they did everything for you but still, come on, what am I...Bill Gates?!

So then we met with the Post Office since we heard that they would also move us, and we were quoted the price of approximately $1400 (US). Now we are getting somewhere. But while we were at the furniture store the man said for $40 he would send a truck to get our things at the house, and put them with our things from his store, wrapped, and would ship his 20ft container for $650 (US)!! That was great news! And since we were very pleased with his work and how it had been wrapped we got everything in writing but we feel really good about this and how the CEO has provided once again for us!

We still have our stove to buy and are going to wait on mattresses until we get to Folgers to ensure we have enough room in our container but so far things are lining up great!

We have a busy few weeks coming up, we are going to take a day trip to Borobudur, a 4th century temple and go to Barry's eye exam this Thursday, take the boys to Camp MIKI on Sunday, have our company language evaluation on Thursday, leave for Bali with the girls on Friday and then meet the boys there when they fly in with the other campers from our company on Saturday! We will have a week of meetings and then some vacation time at the end. I am ready to go and to not think about moving for a few days!
After we come back on July 1st we will load up our shipping container and then fly out on the 5th, if all goes according to plan!
Please lift up our Language Evaluation for the company which is June 17th! We need to make a "5" to pass it!! Thank you so much, the CEO has really been answering them and we are just so blessed and grateful!!


While in the Capitol for processing paperwork, we were hoping to meet up with friends from language School who have already moved (do you remember Haddon's classmate Ollie?), unfortunately Ollie got sick and they were unable to come see us. But thankfully, he is better now. We did want to do something fun for the kids and so we took them to "KIDZANIA". It says it is for 4-16 year olds and while it was a little young for Marshall, they all found something fun to do that they enjoyed. By the way, all of our paperwork went smoothly which is an answered conversation because this has not always been the case lately. In fact it has become quite an issue, but we are good to go for another year! Yay!

So what is KIDZANIA, you ask? Well, it is a 7,500 square foot theme park for kids where they get to be the adult. You check in and pay at an airport counter where you are given a wrist band and a check for $50 (Kidzos). Upon entering, you go to the bank to cash your check, then you need to get your driver's license but before you can do that, you must go get a physical (eye exam). They literally have to pay $10 for this and then wait in the waiting room, have their exam and then leave to go wait at the DMV to get their license, which cost $20! By this time they have little money left and so they must go find a job and work to earn more money so they can do other activities. You can be Policemen, Firemen, Dentists, Doctors, Construction workers, factory workers, beauticians, cashiers, etc! Every job has a uniform and takes about 20 minutes. After you earn money then you can pay to be the customer at one of these businesses, it is really fun! The parents can't do any of it, it is just for the kids, and when the kids have earned at least $30 they can go to the bank and open up an account to get a debit card which works in four ATM's placed around the complex!

Needless to say, they had a blast! I don't have as many pics of the boys since they left to go get jobs together as Pilots, Construction workers, Pizza makers, etc! Later that evening we went to have dinner at the home of one of our friends from training. It was a fantastic time of great food (roast beef - my fave!), playing Skipbo and she even made a cake to celebrate all of our birthdays from the last year!! Too fun! Thanks J and P!! :) Well, enjoy the slideshow.....

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