Friday, July 30, 2010

Turning a House into a Home

Here are some pics of the "Skittles" house! We have now been in the house for four days and we are really enjoying it. So far so good!!

A banana tree in our backyard! We also have a palm tree with coconuts and a rambutan tree

Kids/Guests bathroom

The Master Bedroom

Marshall's room

Dining room

Dinning room entry into kitchen and living room

School room, like a screened in porch area....formerly a garage

Kitchen, complete with doors to Munchkin Land!! :)

Storage room off of kitchen, I saw Barry talking to our pembantu in here and had to take a picture....hysterical!!

Master bath, it too has a Munchkin door, Barry has to be careful in the middle of the night!

I love this view! From the kitchen/living room doorway looking into the dinning room

Another favorite! Our living room

Front door and "tamu" room, where we receive guests

Girls Bedroom

Hudson's room

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Can't" Never Did Do Anything

I heard these words all the time growing up from my parents, especially out of the mouth of my father *sigh* I miss him. But the other day as we were attempting to put together 5 beds that were in pieces and non too clearly marked, I found myself holding about 30 screws with an end that looked like a bubble with 4 small holes in them......and of course, I have no allen wrenches! :) So anyway here I am trying to figure what I can do to get these together because the last thing I want to do is go in search of a tool that I have no idea where to find or what it is called!

Then I remember that I put my handy dandy Home Depot Multi-Head Screwdriver in my purse and one of it's interchangeable heads is a tool that just might fit! So as I am putting the screws in (in case you are wondering where Barry was, he was having to hold the bed together while I placed the screws!) Marshall comes in and says, "Hey, I thought you couldn't put them together because you didn't have the right tool?" And then the next words out of my mouth were, "I remembered my screwdriver, sometimes you just always need to look for ways that you CAN, and stop looking for ways you CAN'T.", then lo and behold I remembered my father's words which I then repeated to my children, who then told me that was not good grammar!! :) Funny kids. Their favorite phrase to say during school is, "You know, I ain't got no grammar." to which Barry and I always reply, "Yes you do, you have two "grammar's" just no "grandpers"!" I know, we are dorks, but that is what makes our life so fun!

Okay, back to the topic at hand. As we are facing this new challenge in our life and the challenge of the work before us, the CEO reminded me that I need to keep that attitude in all my tasks, whether it is intentionally meeting new people, struggling with my new language, learning to cook with the ingredients I can find, homeschooling my children, enduring the heat, etc.

How many times a day does that happen? You know, when you are disciplining or instructing your kids on something and immediately you hear that same message being sent directly to your own heart in it's own personal application? YIKES, I hate that! Well, not really "hate" per se, but usually at the time I am not wanting to focus on my own actions!! And if for some reason you all are scratching your head saying, "That never happens to me, what is she talking about?" Don't tell me about it. I choose to believe that I am not a "lone, lonely, loner" in this!! (to quote Sid the Sloth, he totally cracks me up!)

Anyway.......I suppose that is the challenge which is set before all of us: Always look for ways you can, stop looking for ways that you can't! Of course this is written by the girl who became her husbands s*rmon illustration on how things need to be used for the purpose for which they were created, (all because I used a hockey puck to hammer nails in our first apartment) hey, it was what I had on hand and it got the job done, of course that puck never quite looked the same after that.....maybe he has a point! :) Lucky for me, this time the screwdriver saved the day and is none worse the wear.......well, at least that's my story and I am sticking to it! :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Fun of Paying "Protection" Fees

We were warned that around the edge of the city sits members of gangs who follow trucks in and then "strongly suggest" that you should pay them for protecting your things. Nice of them isn't it, all that protection and all...just so thoughtful! :/ Anyway since our items arrived at night we thought that would be in our favor and it might be missed by the gangs, but in the morning we found out the truck didn't go on to our house that night but stayed in town so of course when the truck arrived, so did our "protectors".

This pic shows Barry and our team member who came to help us sort out the amount we would pay for their "help". All in all we paid about $30 and then they all left but one, which I wasn't really crazy about but eventually he left also. I kept taking the items from him so that he wouldn't go into the house! We ended up with several pieces of wood furniture broken and bad rope burns on our sofa due to the fact that they never wrapped anything and obviously did not use a closed container. We literally spent hours on the phone to the men in charge but of course no one would accept responsibility. They increased our moving fees by almost $300 so we were trying to get them to knock that off in exchange for the damaged items but in the end we just ate it.

There are so many more details to this but suffice it to say that it wasn't at all like we expected but it did arrive and after we get some things fixed and clean up some others we'll be in good shape.

Not really sure why this moving guy was running in front of the truck, but this is how it arrived at 7 in the morning.

Notice the small crowd gathering on the right, they are the gang members. Always lots to learn here and again I just keep remembering The Pineapple Story, it has really helped keep me focused. If you have never read the book, here is a link to the actual man sharing his story. It's about an hour long but worth your time. I just clicked "download" and I was able to listen to it with no delays. I have no idea what else is on that site but was happy to find this available.
See, I am getting caught up, still lots to share and I have slightly gotten out of order but that just keeps it exciting right? :)

Movers and Shakers....literally

Picked the kids up from their last Day Camp at the International School and Marshall had to ride in the back with the boxes!

So....this is the truck that showed up to move our things to another city three hours away where reportedly all the furniture would be wrapped and packed for shipping in a closed container. I was not feeling confident at this point as this truck was suppose to be a closed container also. Let's just say things did not go according to plan and the workers were very rough with our things, then demanded a tip before they left, and really, how are you not going to tip them when they are about to drive off with everything you own? Wow..this was a real different experience!

It's funny when I think of all the times I saw trucks like these around the island and always wondered what they were carrying, never dreaming that my furniture would be one of those loads someday!

"So they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly, Hills that is......." Seriously, all we needed was a rocking chair on top!! LOL My native friend asked if this was how we moved in America and laughed as I searched for words to respond!

It rained after they left....Murphy's Law....and I realized that I had to just let it go, that it was all out of my control at this point. We couldn't afford the $5000 fee of the professional movers so we went with what we could find. It really was an act of faith, I had to come to the point where you say it is only "things" and trust it to the CEO to protect and provide. Now we just hoped and prayed that not only would it arrive safely...but that it would arrive at all. We had things in writing from everyone involved about responsibility for lost or damaged goods but in the end we knew we would have little or no recourse if something were to happen to it, we were at their mercy. What a learning experience this has been!

The "Official" Language Evaluation Result (or "How I Got My Water Buffalo")

Water Buffalo envy. You may have never heard of it, but I had it! Yes, I am ashamed to admit it, but the ugly truth is still the truth. Here is a little background, in our group after you complete your 9 unit language course and successfully reach a "level 5", you receive a Water Buffalo. They are great, they can help you plough your fields of rice, carry all of your heavy objects, etc.......okay, okay, it's not a real water buffalo, just a carved one! :)

Why, you ask? Because Water Buffalo's represent perseverance through hard work which they liken to us completing a hard year of language learning. They actually give a carved statue and a certificate that states we have been inducted into the "Royal Order of the Water Buffalo".

*Side note: Due to budget cuts they were not able to actually give the carved Water Buffalo's this year but still gave out the certificates.

So, if you read my last post you know that I was given some very discouraging news from my tester right before we left for Bali. As much as I wanted to reach the appropriate language level, I also did not want to have to remain in my seat while all of the other language students, including Barry, received theirs! Note to self: learn how to make myself invisible! Yikes! I was mortified at the thought! So with fear and trembling I carried my interview CD to Bali and handed it over to be given to an official native evaluator...GULP.....and waited!

That being said, I was encouraged by several friends and colleagues, you know who you are, to wait for the official result especially since I had finished language school with a good final score. So, are you ready to hear the official result?

I PASSED!! :) And to make everything a little sweeter, they called out my name first because my sweet friend "B" knew that I was dying to know the results!! It ended up being a lot of fun as I was so relieved to have the official answer come back favorably and also becasue I had so many other people there rejoicing with me!

I hope my admission of coveting a Water Buffalo doesn't make you think less of me, I am obviously a work in progress and as much as I would like to think I am above such silliness and sin, the facts are the facts and the CEO is constantly needing to prune and tweak me to form me more into who I was created to be, I sure don't make it easy on Him! Recently I began rereading "The Shadow of the Almighty" (the Jim Elliot biography) and was reminded that, "Anyone who puts his hand to the plough and then looks behind him is useless to the CEO". That is a very vivid mental image as we all know that the plough will veer of course whenever the person steering it looks back........OUCH! I needed that word now more than ever with all of these new changes we are dealing with, so excuse me while I log off of here and go repent for my recent longing of Pop-Secret Movie Theater Butter microwave popcorn!! :) As you can see...we need you to continue to lift us up!

I decided to pick up where I left off.....but more posts are coming, keep checking in! Love y'all!