Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Starting School and Toads in the Bookshelves

As you can see by the following photos we have begun our homeschooling. Believe it or not they were begging to start, I think we were all ready for some sort of normal schedule since the move and this has given us a chance to do that and also spend some great time together doing read alouds and all the other fun stuff we can pack into our day.

It has been an interesting week as we prepared for school some of the highlights were: twice I found toads in our schoolroom bookshelf (lovely I know, apparently they would like to be educated too, sorry...not gonna happen!), chased down a very fast large spider in my bathroom (seriously, the dude has eight legs, is it too much to ask that he trips so I can stomp him to death?!), spotted a three foot long Monitor Lizard in my backyard (always exciting, he must have been just passing through, didn't even stay long enough for me to get a pic!) and found a cockroach and a cecak in my cupboards! Yikes! That alone is enough to send me to the loony bin, here's a great idea...let's start homeschooling! I do love homeschooling though, not to say that we don't have our days when I desire the long yellow bus or the short one for that matter to come and take the children away :), but most days it's fun and I enjoy watching them grow and learn with me guiding them.

This year we have taken on a task that I tried to do two years ago but we had so much going on in our life it was just impossible to focus on, and that is to memorize the book of James. That's right, all 108 verses! I started not to tell you because the little voice in my head (I said voice, not voices!) said, "What if you tell and then you don't do it?", "What if you tell and you find out it's too hard and people ask you about it, what will you say?" stupid pride! But then I thought that telling you all might help keep me accountable, novel idea, I know! :) So anyway, then I thought it might be fun if some of you joined us and we could keep each other accountable. I think it sounds fun! So far we have all successfully memorized 1:1-5 in the first three days of school. We do it first thing in the morning then ask them to say it at lunch and then again at dinner or bedtime. Haddon was sure she couldn't do it but she has been the most surprising in that she is really enjoying it and has kept pace with her older siblings. If you want to join us leave a comment and let me know!

Well, I need to get to bed because we are starting school at 7am so we can beat the heat but I wanted to ask that you continue in your conversations to the CEO about us. We have a team retreat next week (one week of school and then a week off...can't beat that! :)) and we will be vision casting for this next phase. We need to hear clearly from the CEO and don't want to miss out on what he has for us!

Hope all of you are well, we really enjoy hearing from you all so please post comments and let us know what is going on with you! You also can message me on FB or email us for the new address if you would like to have it. Thanks and love you guys!

How did he get to be in 8th grade? He has a very rigorous curriculum this year, can't wait to see how the CEO will use it to shape him!

In a couple of months Hudson will be 12 years old!! The fact that he is in 6th grade is crazy!!

And don't even get me started on Campbell, in the 3rd grade and almost 9 years old, where did my little chubby cheeked baby go?

And then there is Haddon. Little Miss 2nd grade and 7 years old! She definitely keeps school interesting, especially when she quotes he verses in her "detective" voice! I'll have to catch that on video!

These are just for fun. When we took our friends to that airport we all got a good laugh out of these English bloopers.

I know...the boys need a haircut! I think they are both ready to go shorter...stay tuned, you never know what they'll end up with at one of these barbers!! LOL

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hari ini Bapak Barry Berkhotbah dalam Bahasanya Baru

Or...Today Barry Gave a S*rm*n in His New Language. And according to my very biased opinion, he did a great job! I was very proud of him! Here is a sampling, sorry that the sound quality isn't better but hey, most of you wouldn't be able to understand it anyway, right? :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Crate Adventure

The guy talking is one of the gang members who is trying making his case for why we need to pay him double for one crate what we paid for a full truck load. You see, this month is R*m*d*n and for them that is their major holiday season. It is also the month of "the 13th salary". According to their law, you must pay all of your employees an extra months salary this month. Your gardener, house helper, trash man, etc. receives an extra salary. This also helps them to be able to afford the many feasts and gift giving that goes on at this time. I think he was trying to pull that on us. We really didn't consider them employees or hired help if you know what I mean!

The driver, by Barry, was explaining that this was only one crate, not a whole truck load. They didn't want to hear any of it, their minds were made up. Barry kept negotiating and told them what we paid for a whole truck load before and what our friends had paid a week earlier. I left to go in the house because it was very frustrating. They wouldn't let the drivers undo our crate until they were paid. All in all their were 25 men there, after the negotiating several left but many stayed to unload the crate. Uhh..thanks! In the end we ended up paying around $35 US for their "protection".

They were standing in our crate unloading it from the top, then they asked if anything was breakable! After they got it half empty they pulled the side off and unloaded from the front. I only had a couple of small things break and I am pretty sure it was from them standing on the boxes because everything overall was in really good condition. I didn't want any of them in our home so we just had them place everything on our porch.

After the crate was unloaded into our yard (we wanted to keep the wood) they all came and shook all of our hands and said thank you!! What a crack up!

I sure would like to know how that money gets divided! There are so many of them and who do you trust to give it out equally? I have been told by several people that the gangs actually have a letter from the police stating that they have the right to do this! Go fig! Crazy!

Here we have some very happy kids who were glad to see toys, personal items, and bedspreads, etc. that had been packed up 20 months ago!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


While I am sitting here anxiously awaiting the arrival of my crate...and it's thugs, sorry, it's uhmm..."protectors", I thought I would write a post about our experience at getting a driver's license.

Before we left to come over here we went to AAA and got International Driver's Licenses which are only good for one year. So basically for the last 3 months we have been driving without a valid license which may be similar to many other people here, but that is besides the point! :) Anyway after being here for about a week a date was set aside for us to go with a national helper to get our driver's license.

Now, I was a little nervous about this but many people had said that the whole process was nothing, they may ask a couple of questions, but it was no big deal. No driving test or written test was required. Whew...that's a relief!! So on a sunny, bright, and particularly hot day we drove to their version of the DMV, and if it is any consolation the lines are just as long here as they are in the States!

Fortunately these were new facilities which had a nice covered outdoor seating area. So we sit for a long time while our friend is handling all of the paperwork when all of the sudden Barry says, "Justine, go, they just called your name." I am pretty sure I didn't hear my name but okay, "Where do I go?" So they nudge me toward the policemen sitting at the table with the microphone. With my paper in hand I somewhat sheepishly walk up to them and say that my name was called, so they point to a door. Feeling very out of place I walk through the door and see a table with four policeman with computers and digital cameras on tripods. Everyone looks up at me but nobody says anything. So I smile and stand there like a dork. People get up and go to another room but nobody says a word to me. Finally an officer asks me to sit down, I tell him my name was called, he asks by who, and I say the officer out front. He asks me to move over to the next chair, so I do. Then they flip through a bunch of papers and ask me to sit in the next chair over, so I do that again while other people are occupying my previous seats and getting their licences. Then I look up and another person is waiting for my seat so they ask me to go back out into the waiting area. Now, I am not normally easily intimidated but this was not a comfortable situation, not because they were mean, but because I really couldn't understand them and they would talk and laugh amongst themselves and whether it was about me or not, of course I felt like it was!!

So I go back outside and tell Barry and our friend that they told me to come back out, so our friend goes in there to see what was going on, apparently my name wasn't called or got called out of order. Lovely! Glad I had that little cultural experience to add to my already overloaded file! :)

Not longer after that, both mine and Barry's names were called so we walk in and there is a man standing there and he looks at our cards and sees that we are numbers 61 and 62 and shows us that he is 63 and lets us get in front of him, niiiice! So I sit down get photographed and fingerprinted and they tell me to go to the next room. By this time Barry was already done so I was anxious to find out what was going to happen in the next room. And can I tell you that my jaw literally dropped and hit the floor as I entered and saw a room full of computer screens and there is Barry with headphones on.....TAKING A TEST!! Panic....try to make my self invisible again, which never works, think quick on my feet, but there is nothing to do but move toward the policeman who is showing me where I can sit to take my test. GULP!!

Now, I have to say that you have to click only one of two things, "salah", wrong or "benar", right. However, in my hazy thoughts I cannot process what it is asking me while it shows me little video pictures of cartoon streets and cars! The first five questions I get wrong!! Wrong people!!

Here is the deal, first of all, as far as I can tell, there are no road rules here. There are no speed limits. I have never seen a cop pull anyone over for anything other than to check license of motorcycle drivers. People never stay in marked lanes and will turn in front of you or on all sides of you for that matter! I figure that as long as you don't hurt anyone then whatever you want to do you can! Everyday I see cars and motorcycles driving the wrong way on a road, what in the world can this test be about? Once, it actually had a picture of a truck loaded like the one that brought our furniture in and asked if this was right or wrong, of course I put "right" because those trucks are everywhere...and I got the question WRONG!! The officer said it was packed too high! Seriously?!

I look over at Barry and can tell he is having trouble understanding it too, it was about that time that the officers started walking around and then one stood beside me and one stood beside Barry, and what did they do? They started giving us the answers!! Yep, you heard me! They would give us about two or three answers then walk away, come back and give us a few more!! What a riot!! By this time I was learning to listen to the color of the car they were wanting me to answer about and I had begun getting them right on my own. But I really couldn't believe they helped us so much....and we didn't have to pay them! LOL And in case you wondered, I never saw them help the nationals who were taking their tests!

So in the end we passed, shocker I know, and were awarded our official Macchiato driver's license. Now, if I can just conquer the stick shift, I'll really be going places!!

Last but not least I have a short video clip of us driving in "Folgers". It will give you a taste of driving in Macchiato. If you turn it up you can hear Barry trying to make funny commentary!! LOL Oops! He just came by and read this...he said he wasn't "trying" to make funny commentary but was "successfully" making funny commentary. I say let's let the people be the judge!