Thursday, November 27, 2008

We are SAFE!

Several people have been concerned about us with the current terrorist seige in Mumbai. We want you all to know that we are safe! However, there are many children in our school who are from Mumbai, and we have several friends living in Mumbai. Please pray for all of them!

We hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! We are not having a big get-together this year because of crazy schedules (things don't slow down around here for our favorite holiday!). But Ryan is really craving pumpkin pie, so I think he will go down to the market today and get one (a pumpkin, that is). Nothing around here is ever easy. We did buy ourselves a food grinder/juicer for Christmas, so that will come in handy. It will also be good for grinding up the cinnamon bark that Ryan ordered the other day (note to self: order ground cinnamon, not just cinnamon).

Thank you especially to those of you who have emailed, posted on our blog, and called us recently (Samuel & Jessie!). We love you, and miss all of you!

I'll close with a prayer from Brenna from last night... "Dear God, thank you for calling my family to India. Even though I didn't want to come, and sometimes I don't like it here, I know it was the right thing to do."

And one from Addie, "Dear Jesus, thank you Nanny and Papa come mine house again. Thank you for Jesus. Amem."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Our First Visitors





Ryan's parents came to visit us this weekend, and we had a great time! Here are a few pics for you to enjoy.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hebron School Needs a Nurse!

The school council has recently approved the hiring of another resident nurse! If you, or anyone you know, might be interested in nursing in India please contact me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Updates

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I last posted - sorry to those of you who worry when you don't get regular updates. We are all doing well, but have been very busy with the start of second term. The second monsoon season started about two weeks ago, so we have been enjoying some amazing showers (rain, that is). The rain has also made us appreciate the bits of sunshine even more!
Work is still busy for both Ryan and I. Ryan is preparing for a piano duet at the end of November with a music teacher from a neighboring school. It's a 30-page Mozart piece, so he's been practicing quite a lot. I am still working the same hours in Hoz, but it has seemed a little more manageable recently. The nurses are meeting today to finalize a schedule for the rest of the term that will spread the load a little more evenly. Please pray that we will be able to accomodate the needs of the staff along with the needs of our community.
Also, I want to let you know that we have a mission family at our school that is really going through a difficult time right now. I can't give many details (please email me if you would like to know more), but there are some serious health and financial issues related to one of our students. The home church (they are not American) is not able to give them any additional financial support at this time, and they are struggling to get their daughter the necessary treatments. Please pray for this family, and also let me know if you would like to give a one-time financial gift to support their family. We have been amazed at the way we have been provided for, and we are trying to pass this on to them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Water Park - India Style






On Tuesday, we took a bus, with two other Hebron families, to a water park called Black Thunder. It was amazing! There were all kinds of amusement rides, water slides, swimming pools, horse/camel rides, paddle boats, and a wildlife refuge (not bad for $5 a person). The scenery was beautiful - it was right at the base of the mountains, and the weather was pretty good (rained fairly hard in the afternoon, but wasn't too cold). Needless to say, we were the ONLY white people in the entire park. During lunch we were the main attraction - seriously, about 40 people just sat and stared at us while we ate our food.

Also, as you can see from the photos, the swimming attire was quite different than what we're used to in the west. There were women and girls in their school uniforms, salwars, and even saris going down the water slides! As you can see from the pictures, I too was fully clothed in the pool - it was quite an experience! To add to the show, we had three little ones with blond, curly hair in our group which made them targets for attention. I don't think I've mentioned this before, but Indians love to pinch the cheeks of white babies. They believe that it's good luck, and they love to pinch hard enough to make them cry! I only had to yell at one group of women for pinching Addie, so that was good. There were a lot of people standing around, so I think the word travelled quickly.

The one ride that we all avoided was the Ferris Wheel. I've never seen a more terrifying ride - it was going so fast! At the other extreme was the Lazy River that went around the park. It was so slow that we ended up paddling with our arms the entire way. The next morning, we were all complaining that our arms were sore, and it took a while before we realized it was from that dumb river.

Side note: in case you're wondering about the volcano that Addie is sliding down... no, it is not made of cement - it's some kind of rubbery something.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chips & Salsa

Yesterday I had a craving for chips & salsa. I went to Modern Stores (that's the biggest grocery in town...about the size of a mini-mart), and found Doritos and some imported salsa - the problem was that it would have cost $12.50!! So, I decided to make my own. Luckily, the ingredients for chips and salsa can be found easily, as they are the same ingredients used in Indian cooking. However, the experience of making chips and salsa in the States and making them in India is quite different. And I probably wouldn't even make them in the States, because I would just go down to El Tenampa and buy them - they're better than homemade!
Well, here is what the experience is like in India. First, you have to pick a day when you have nothing else going on, because it's going to take a long time to get it all prepared. Next, get on the internet (that is if the electricity is on) and find a recipe for tortillas - yep, you're going to have to make the tortillas before you can make the chips. Then take an inventory of your cupboards - flour, hmm... wonder if they have corn flour in India... After this is done, stop for lunch. Undoubtedly these first couple of steps will have taken you all morning to complete!
Now you are ready to head into town. The first stop is Modern Stores to look for corn flour. They don't think they have it, and they don't think they can get it. You don't even bother, because if there was any chance they could get it, then they would have told you to come back next week. You also notice that they have a new little section of fruits and vegetables, but you wonder if you could get a better price down at the market, so you get on your way. Oops, forgot to mention that you ask if they have any rolling pins for making chapatis (that's the Indian equivalent of tortillas), but they don't.
You start your walk down the street, wondering why you decided to do all of this on a Saturday - Indian tourists are everywhere. A nice little shortcut, called Stink Alley, takes you right to the busiest intersection in town which you cross like a local - if you don't make eye contact, then they probably won't hit you with their auto or car or truck or bus, but they sure will honk at you! Too bad for you, the vegetable market closed sometime earlier in the day. Of course you wouldn't really know when, because the posted signs are all in Tamil.
Off you go, towards the main market - pedestrians everywhere, horns honking, beggars singling you out to ask for money. It's all the same as every other time you've gone to the market. On the way you drop into a few shops (like five) to ask about those nifty little rolling pins, but everyone tells you to go to the market. Once in the market, you wander through the labyrinth of booths looking for the little old man with no teeth, yelling, "Bic, bic, bic, bic, bic, bic, bags!" Why didn't you bring some from home, you think. Oh well. You find the man, buy a bag for 5 rupees (about 10 cents), and keep wandering into the depths of the market. You buy garlic from a man who only sells garlic in his stall, and then you get cilantro (only they call it coriander here) from a man who only sells greens. Then you pick out peppers, tomatoes, onions, and limes from another man. All this costs about 50 rupees (a little more than a dollar) - what a deal.
You then wander out of the market - not the way you came in, because you have no idea where you are. You wander past the fish stalls, the chicken crates, and the beef butchers. It's quite an experience trying to breath through your mouth to avoid the odors, and also breathing through your nose as not to inhale any flies. Finally, you reach the end of the market, and you begin your walk back home. Along the way you pass about twenty-five autos, but you don't get one because you figure you should walk the 2 km home since you're going to eat an insane amount of chips and salsa later in the evening. As you pass Modern Stores on the way home, you pick up a few more things for the next day (cheese, yeast, tomato paste - you know the pizza craving will be next), and you notice that the prices for veggies are just as good as in the market. Oh well, you'll know for next time.
When you get home, you still have to mix up and roll out the tortilla dough (you did manage to pick up a rolling pin in the market for 12 rupees), cook the tortillas on the gas stove, wash (in clean drinking water) and cut up the veggies, then cut the tortillas and fry them. It's a very long process, but the end result is so worth it!



So, all of this to say that I hope you will go out to your favorite Mexican Restaurant with some friends or family this week. When they bring your food, I hope that you will pray for us here in India, and know that we wish we could be eating out with you!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

New Bath Tub!


The Ketchum family has a brand new bath tub - hooray! Ryan went to the market today, and came home with this tub. When I saw it I smiled and said, "Wow, that's pink!" He just smiled back and said, "We have three daughters, of course it's pink!" The girls absolutely love it - especially Addie, who can now take a bath without having to be folded up into a little ball.

video

Our Wisteria


I just love this picture that Ryan took today of the wisteria vines that are growing up our bedroom wall.

Exotic Fruit Man



Ever wonder what you get when you have a husband who is extremely creative, loves fruit, and lives in the jungle? You get "Exotic Fruit Man!" Ryan and Addie had a great time making this face out of fruit from the Ooty market. Can you pick out the custard apple, sugar cane, goa (guava), pomegranate, pear, and the banana looking things that are definitely not bananas?!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Botanical Garden



Here are some pictures that Ryan and I took a couple of days ago while walking through the Botanical Gardens. It is really beautiful, and admission is free for Hebronites, so come for a visit and we'll take you through it!

We really do live in India






My mom commented a few weeks ago that we've never posted pictures of Ooty. So, here are a few for starters...

1. Garden Road - to the right is the main part of town, to the left is the Botanical Gardens and Hebron School.
2. The view of Garden Road toward the School - yes, goats are always on this road.
3. Entrance of the Botanical Gardens and Hebron is through the green gate - Tibetan market is on the right.
4. Close up of the Garden entrance - we walk through this every time we come and go from school/home.
5. Once inside the gate, we take a turn to the right to enter Hebron. What a beautiful walk!

Jacuzzi Time!


Well, I posted a picture of Addie taking a bucket bath when we first moved to India, and my parents commented that if we just had a bigger tub and an electric hand mixer then we could have a jacuzzi! Well, the electricity isn't very predictable and our bigger tub is still on order from a shop in the market, so Addie went ahead and made her own jacuzzi using a small piece of plastic pipe. Life is never dull with Addie!
On a side note, can you see the top of the rock just above Addie's right shoulder? I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but it's to prevent rats from coming in through the drain! The people who lived here before us warned us not to remove it, and so far so good. Too bad the people before them didn't tell them why it was there!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Out with Friends


I went out with friends last night, and had a great time. Here is a picture of us! (l-r. Lindsay, me, Keryn (Addie's preschool teacher), Karyn (Hoz coordinator), and Rachel)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cross Country

A few weeks ago was the Hebron cross country event. Students of all ages participated - including Lauren and Brenna.














We were so proud of them for their attitudes and ability to complete the course. The adjustment to the high altitude take several weeks, and I am still noticing that the walk up the main drive into campus is still difficult to walk, not to mention run! Enjoy the pics, and notice that Brenna won 1st place for the girls in her grade level (actually she is the only girl in her grade)! This is quite ironic since she is actually a really good runner, and possibly would have placed first even if there had been competition.

Twins?


Before we moved to India, Lauren received an email from an Irish girl at Hebron named Leah. The girls wrote back and forth to each other over the summer, and we were really excited to put a face to the girl that had befriended Lauren through email. Unfortunately, Leah had to get her tonsils out just before school started so she didn't arrive back in India until after classes had started. Strangely though, Lauren started getting comments about how much she reminded the staff at Hebron of Leah. When Leah's dad and sisters came back a couple of weeks before Leah, he even commented about how much they looked alike! So, I couldn't resist taking this picture and sharing it with all of you!

This is so exciting!!

We are finally able to update our blog from our house! This means that it will be much easier to download photos to our page, and hopefully we will be able to update more often. I have found that when life gets really difficult here, I am less likely to post. Mostly because it's too overwhelming to get to the computer lab. Hopefully this will help. If you notice that it's been a while since you've heard from us, please just pray. This adjustment has not been easy, but God has been so good to all of us!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hebron Website

If you'd like to look at the Hebron School website, please click here. On the left hand side of the screen, you will notice a link to school photos where several pictures of the recent brass concert have just been posted. The Hohenloe quintet from Germany was here, and they invited the Hebron brass players to join them on three songs. One of the songs featured Ryan on first trumpet - he did great! Everyone really loved it, and it was fun to hear the comments... "I didn't know Ryan could play the trumpet!" They all thought he just played the guitar - let's just say that Ryan's musical abilities have yet to be discovered here at Hebron!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sorry, It's been a while...

I'm so sorry that I haven't posted anything for quite a long time - these past two weeks have been a total blur. If you have been awakened during the night (or stirred during the day) to pray for us, please be diligent! We are not close to the violence that is occurring in other areas of India, but we have been dealing with very significant issues here at school. Ryan has been amazing with the girls while I have been working outrageous hours (as have all the nurses in Hoz). We are desperately trying to find the right balance for our family, as well as meet the needs of a very special community. I promise I will write more soon!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Such a Small World!

These next two stories are really for two specific groups of people, but I think that all of you will be amazed by them.

The first story is for the Curtis/Ackley/McConnell family (sorry if the spelling is wrong - I can never remember if it's 2 n's and 1 or 2 l's). When we the new staff first arrived in Ooty, we went out to dinner with the Weber's, a couple of the single staff, and two college-aged volunteers from Australia. We went to a Chinese Restaurant in Ooty - strange combination, but great food. Anyway, we had been ordered our food, and one of the Ozzies (Australians) got a call from a friend that was going to meet up with us at the restaurant. This friend, also an Ozzie, had been in Ooty for a few weeks studying Tamil (the local language). His name was Russell, and he had been a volunteer at Hebron a few years ago. During dinner as the group was talking I (Angie) overheard him say that he was currently teaching in Yemen. Someone else at the table told the group chimed in and said that not only was he teaching there, but he was teaching the President's children. So, being the well-mannered and civilized person that I am, I yelled across the table, "Hey! Do you know Lonnie and Jeran??!!" Needless to say, he looked quite shocked because he knew them quite well, and had taken over some of their responsibilities when they moved back to the States. So, over a meal in India, I met a guy from Australia who knew a couple in Yemen who we knew from Idaho!

The second story is for Ryan's and my immediate family, and all of our friends in Corvallis. Last week while I was working in Hoz, one of the older students at school sprained his ankle. It was pretty swollen so he had to stay overnight and most of the next day icing and elevating it. This would have been bad enough for both of us on a normal school day, but it was the holiday weekend so there was only one word to describe it, BORING! To pass the time, I let him visit with a few friends, but they eventually took off to do fun things in town. They also were off playing in the soccer (we call it football here) tournament that Jonathan, the injured, was supposed to be playing in as well. After a while, when everyone had left, he asked me where I was from. I told him the US, and he said, "I can tell that, I'm an American too. But what part?" I said Idaho, and he told me that he knew where that was because he pretty much grew up in Oregon. I said, "Oregon! What town?" "Oh," he replied, "You probably won't know it because it's not very big....it's called Corvallis." "Corvallis!!" I said. "That's where my husband and I both grew up!"

So, we spent the next little while talking about the years we lived there, what schools we went to, and how our dads both worked for HP. We reminisced about HP picnics, Papa's Pizza, Willamette Park (I think that's where my friend Mindy and I waded in the river and almost weren't allowed to see the age of 7, because our parents were so mad at us) and all kinds of other stuff. It was so crazy, especially since we lived there around the same time, but he's about 15 years younger than us. I asked him what church he attended, and when he told me the name I told him that I really only knew of one family that went to that church (but that was a really long time ago - a neighbor/friend that I knew when I was like 9 years old). When I told him my friend's name, he said that she used to babysit him!

Such a small world!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Shattered

Several of my UK friends have told me today that I look "shattered". I think this means the same thing as exhausted, because that is how I feel. Yesterday was my day off, which was really nice, but it wasn't quite enough to make up for the fact that I was the only one at Hoz from 9am on Friday until 9am on Monday (with a 4 hour break on Saturday). Luckily, I didn't have to sleep at the clinic at night because I didn't have any overnight patients. But it was an exhausting weekend.
Today wasn't too bad. I worked on the computer most of the day, and one of the other nurses worked in the clinic. She saw 5 kids all day, and in the last 4 hours I have seen 10! To kick off the evening, I had to send a student to the hospital to get stitches in his eyelid. It went downhill from there.
So, now it's getting late, and I am feeling even worse than I did earlier today. I think I will sleep tomorrow afternoon with Addie - that should help.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Addie


Here is a pic of Addie from last night that I thought was really cute. What you can't really tell from the picture is that she has a couple of pairs of Lauren's underwear stuffed down her pajamas. She came down the stairs quite proud of new figure, and when we asked her what she had put down there she lit up and said, "Funnies!"

Independence Day!


Today was holiday, but we still had a special Independence Day flag raising and assembly. It was quite formal with most people in traditional Indian dress (except several Korean students who were wearing Han Bok, in celebration of today being Korea's Independence Day). Ryan played the trumpet in a small orchestra - they played the Indian national anthem, which is quite different than anything I've ever heard before. They also played at the the assembly. I didn't get to stay for the whole thing because I was due to open the clinic (Hoz). Ryan had quite a fun day (not) with the girls who were tired, bored, and very emotional.
Here is a picture of Addie after the flag ceremony. In the background is the principal with the guest of honor and his wife, and the color guard. Oh, I forgot to mention that the flag was already at the top of the flag pole at the beginning of the ceremony, so when the guard when to hoist it (so we thought) he actally just pulled a string and the flag opened up - dropping flower petals on the crowd - Addie thought it was great!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

First Day of School (and last, for a while)


Today was the first day of school for Lauren, Brenna, and Addie. Both Lauren and Brenna had a great first day. One of the highlights of the day was getting to wear uniforms to school for the first time. Last week the new staff families were able to get second-hand uniforms for free (great), but they had name labels of the previous owners so new ones had to be sewn on. I was able to get that done and get the clothes sent to the washing ladies on Monday (so they would be back by Wednesday), but with the wet weather the clothes were taking longer to dry. On Wednesday afternoon they still hadn't arrived, so I called around and they were brought to our flat that evening. It all worked out fine, as you can see from the picture. The dresses are really cute, so I'll have to post another picture when they aren't wearing the fleeces (or jumpers, as we now call them. Both girls really enjoy their teachers, so that is really great. Also, Lauren went to prep after dinner. That is the designated homework time that takes place in the dining hall.
It is also great to have Addie in pre-school 5 morning a week. One of our friends is the pre-school teacher, and we are able to walk Addie to and from her class every day. The downside of today was that there was a fire drill this morning at around 9:30am. It was quite traumatic for the preschoolers - having to walk to the main playing field ("Big Pitch"), and standing in a silent line with the entire school community. I think it kind of scared Addie, but she'll be fine.
Tomorrow is India's Independence Day, so there will be no school. It also means that the Indian nurses will be off, so I will be in Hoz from Friday morning at 9am until Monday at 9am (except for 4 hours on Saturday). We'll see how that goes...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

School Starts Tomorrow!

Well, it has been quite a week! Last Tuesday we began New Staff Orientation. We spent much of the time getting to know our way around town, and familiarizing ourselves with Ooty and Hebron. Orientation went until Friday, and on Saturday we started Staff Retreat with all of the returning staff. We stayed on campus for this retreat, and enjoyed a great speaker, C.B. Samuel. There were several worship services - Ryan lead two on the guitar, and played the djembe at another. He hasn't touched a piano since we arrived in Ooty, which seems kind of strange. I'm sure he will play soon. The girls enjoyed attending Holiday Club (sort of like Vacation Bible School) with all of the other staff children. The only staff kid they haven't met yet is Leah - everyone on campus thinks that she and Lauren look alike, so it will be fun to see them together next week when Leah arrives.
Staff Retreat ended on Monday with school business meetings, and yesterday was my first full day in the school clinic (called Hoz). I have been at Hoz all day today, and I will be spending the night here as well. One little girl is ill, and needs to stay overnight.
Lauren and Brenna start school in the morning at 8:45. It's quite funny that all of the students return today and start school tomorrow, only to have Friday off for India's Independence Day!
I will write more tonight when I am bored. When I get a chance,

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pics of the Kitchen

So, I had this great idea to write a few blog entries at home on our laptop, and then copy the text into the blog in the computer lab at the school but it backfired! The problem is that our laptop is a Mac, and the school computer doesn't recognise the format from the laptop. So, I printed off an image of the text, and now I am trying to read it (because it's all fuzzy) and re-type it (Grrrr).
Anyway... Here are a few pics of our kitchen and dining room. Please notice our cute little oven that Ryan bought a couple of days ago, and the red curtain that I purchased in Conoor and hemmed myself (and by hemmed, I mean used the iron-on stuff that I brought from home).
I hope all of you think of us when you go to turn on the hot water in your kitchen. We only have a cold water tap, and we have to heat all of the water for washing dishes on the gas stove (no, I don't have a lady that comes and does my dishes - she only sweeps, mops, and does the laundry!). Also, we can't drink the water from the tap, so that's why we have the stainless steel container on the counter. Drinking water has to be hauled from the dining hall, which for us is just around the corner.
The other two pics are taken from the kitchen, looking into the dining room. The steps in the dining room lead up to the girls' rooms, and the steps that you can see through the brown doorway in the next picture lead in to the closet where we keep tools and firewood.




Funny!

At the moment, Addie is down for a nap (or a sleep as they call it around here) without a diaper (or a nappie as they call it around here). Getting the "lingo" correct can be quite a challenge, but pretty funny at the same time.
We were having dinner with some Kiwi friends (New Zealanders) a couple of nights ago, and we were talking about some of the different names for clothing here at Hebron. For instance, they call pull-over sweaters and fleeces "jumpers", and they call jumpers "pinafores". The British call pants "trousers", and they call underwear "pants". So confusing!
Our friend was saying that she was on a school camping trip a while back, and it had rained the entire weekend. Her pants (Kiwis have the same definition of pants as we do) were hanging on a clothes line over a fire, and when she thought they were dry she reached up to get them but wasn't tall enough. So, she turned to another teacher, who happens to be an ordained minister with the Church of England, and said in a rather loud voice, "Can you pull down my pants?" She could tell by the look on his face (and by the roar of laughter all around her) that she had said something wrong!
When she told us this story we laughed so hard, we almost wet our pants!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Friends


Here is a pic of the girls with the Weber children on our trip to Conoor.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Trip to Conoor





Today we took a trip to Conoor to do some shopping. The Weber family was planning to go with us, but some staff arrived last night sick so Suzanne decided to stay behind to take care of them (I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to do the same in the future). Roger and the kids went with us, though, and we had a great time.
One of the ways to get to and from Conoor is by train. It costs around 15 rupees for the entire family to travel this way (less than 50 cents), so if you don't mind a couple of quick stops along the way it's a beautiful trip. Once in Conoor, we took the kids to Sims Park where we hiked around and looked at flowers, paddled around the pond in a boat, and played at a children's playground. The playgrounds in India are quite different than those in the US, mainly because they don't follow any safety standards. The slides are very steep, and the climbing towers are unusually tall. Oh well, the kids had a great time!
These pics are of the toy train that we rode to Conoor, the engine of the train that we took back to Ooty, and Ketti Valley on the way back. The really green picture is of a tea plantation between Ooty and Conoor - Mom and Kendra, I took that one for you!

Bucket Baths


Does this picture even need an explanation?!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sorry It's Been So Long!


We have been in Ooty now for a week, but we are just now able to log onto the internet. It has been an amazing week! We are making many new friends, and have been having so many new experiences. Our home is just like the pictures that we posted on our blog earlier, but it is quite rustic. The climate here is much like the Oregon coast, so everything gets damp and mildew can be a problem. I attacked our kitchen sink with some bleach, and that seemed to really help. The next project will be the bathroom!
The rest of the new staff will arrive next weekend, and then we will start orientation. Right now we are just trying to venture out a little bit every day. Over the weekend we had a great time with the Parks family. They are the American family that works with Freedom Firm, and he is on the Hebron School Council. They took us to the Holiday Inn for indoor swimming and a "beef burger". Everyone had a really great time!
On Sunday we went to St. Stephen's church (CSI) and then met the Parks at another nice hotel for a great buffet. It was a little spendy by Indian standards - $35 for the entire family, but it was nice to have a little "splurge".
I promise to keep updating daily now. And I promise to add some stories of what we've been doing this past week - with pictures. Right now I need to get home because Ryan has had the girls for over an hour while I worked on online-banking and such. We should have internet in our flat sometime soon as well, so that will be more convenient.
We love and miss you all!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another New Nephew!


Ryan's sister had her baby, Micah Ryan, on Tuesday morning! Both mom & baby are doing great - we just wish we could be with them. Congrats Chris, Cherie, and big sister Abigail!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Staying in Whitefield

We have been in Whitefield (Bangalore suburb) since Saturday, and we've been staying at the same place we stayed last summer. It brings back so many great memories being at the ECC. We are actually in the guesthouse that Todd and Micah shared, and where we had our only rehearsal in India!
Addie is finally sleeping normal hours - didn't wake up this morning until 6am! Of course it was all we could do to stay awake until 9pm. It rained really hard last night, so that was fun to experience. This morning there were giant snails all over our walkway. Brenna has especially enjoyed them (not sure why - it's just one of those quirky Brenna things). She has also liked all of the giant millipedes that are all around the ECC. We were calling for her around breakfast time, and she answered, "Guys, I'm outside watching these millipedes make a baby!" Addie has also liked them, but she calls them minna-peeds. She thinks they're so wonderful that she can't help but step on them after she gets done watching them. Such a pleasant child.
Some big news that we are dying to share from this week is that Addie is finally saying "Thank you". This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but we have been trying to get her to say this forever and she always refused. I think it was Saturday or Sunday, and she asked me to find her blanket. When I gave it to her she said, "Tank you, Mommy." When I asked her today if she needed to go to the bathroom she said, "No tank you, Mommy." Crazy girl - I knew she could say it!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

First Day in India

Well, the last night was pretty rough. Lauren, Brenna, and I slept fine, but Addie did not...at all. Well, that's not totally true because she slept really well from 1-3:00 am. It's just that she was awake from then on. When I woke up at 7:30, I found Ryan sitting against the wall in the living room with this far off look, and Addie was running around like a crazy girl. So, Ryan put in some earplugs and went to bed while I played with the girls and took them to breakfast. Now they are playing with paper dolls, and Ryan is still sleeping. The nice thing about Indian construction is that the floors are concrete, so the girls can run around without causing much noise. The downside is that the floor is extremely hard, as witnessed by Addie who fell off of Brenna's bed a few minutes ago. She now has a small bump over her left ear, but hopefully doesn't have a concussion. It was so sad, as she cried and cried and then said that she wanted to go home. When I told her that this was our home today, she told me that she wanted "Mom-house," which means she wanted to go to my parents' in Colorado. We were able to go out to the living room and find Dora the Explorer on TV. Evidently it doesn't matter to 2 year olds if Dora is speaking Hindi.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Safe in India




We are in India!!! Everything went smoothly today, and tonight we are in our hotel in Bangalore. A good friend met us at the airport, and with a little help we were able to load and unload all of our suitcases on the car and into our hotel room. The place that we are staying is very nice. It's a suite with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a dining/living room.

Everyone has been very friendly, especially the security guard who came up to our room to ask us for some more money (welcome to India). Our friend was able to call the hotel from the road, so there was some toast and jam waiting for us in the room when we arrived. The girls slept through dinner on the plane (just as well, because the food would have been too spicy), so they were quite hungry when we landed. Now they have all eaten and taken their Benadryl, so they are ready for bed.

On a funny note, when we were in the airport I turned to Addie and said, "This is India!" Evidently, she thought I was talking about the guy who was helping us with our luggage because after he left she kept asking, "Where India go?" Oh, Addie.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Safe in Singapore

A lot has happened since my last post, but I don't want to write a long synopsis like I did last time. Here are the highlights:

1. One of our tubs was evidently dropped from the airplane - the entire bottom was broken, and had to be replace before leaving SF.

2. Ryan ended up "running" to Lowe's to get a new one. And by "running", I mean "running."

3. The hotel shuttle was totally late picking us up, and we only got to the airport 1.5 hours before departure (they recommend 3 hours).

4. We had no way of getting all of our luggage into the airport. We finally split up, and I took 2 of the girls with me inside to round up help. A really nice porter came to our rescue.

5. The lady at the ticketing counter insisted on weighing our carry-ons. Over half of them were too heavy - almost two times too heavy!

6. I started crying.

7. They only charged us for one extra bag, even though we had to check two (which was really four, because they had us go down to the shipping office and have the bags saran-wrapped to each other).

8. The total for the bags was about $150.

9. We had to go through all of the bags before checking them to pull out clothes for Singapore, and then had to stuff them in my giant purse.

10. And by clothes, I mean a change of underwear and a swimsuit - the kids have had their heart set on swimming here in the airport.

11. Checking our extra carryons was a total blessing in disguise. There is no way we could have carried it throughout the airport and through the airplane.

12. The flights to Seoul and Singapore were great! Total flying time: SF to Seoul was 11 hours, and Seoul to Singapore was 6 hours. We watched some fun movies, and
the girls slept quite a bit.

13. We are checked into the hotel in the Singapore airport for the night. Please pray that we will be able to get some much needed rest.

Well, so much for making this a short post. We love you all.

Potty Training

Today the girls and I went swimming while Ryan tried to get some sleep in the airport hotel. He had taken the girls around the hotel first thing in the morning to get breakfast and look around while I had gotten some extra sleep. I don't think letting the girls sleep for 3 hours on the last flight was the best idea!
Anyway, after swimming we decided (the girls and I) that we should go find a squat toilet and practice our technique. Needless to say, it was quite the adventure! Lauren did excellent, but Brenna and I struggled a little. I'm not quite sure what happened, but Brenna peed on the floor a bit, and I got my pantleg. All in all, it was fairly successful for a first try.

Korea



We had a one-hour layover in Seoul between San Francisco and Singapore. It was supposed to be two hours, but our flight was a little late getting in. That, coupled with the fact that we were the last ones off the plane and the first to re-board, made for a very short stop. Lauren and Brenna and I walked around a little bit, and looked at some shops and signs. They both enjoyed seeing everything written in Korean, since they have been attending Korean School at ICM on Sunday mornings before church for over a year. I asked Brenna if she could read the words on the sign, and she kind of rolled her eyes and said, "Mom, I can read practically all of those words - I just don't know what they mean."
So, ICM friends if you are reading this, know that we think about you and pray for you everyday! And we thought it was really cool to get to go to Korea - even if it was only for an hour!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Craziest Monday, Ever!

Yesterday was a day that I never want to relive, but I would never want to live without it, either. For those of you who just want to have an update, here it is in a nutshell... We're safe in San Francisco at our hotel. Everything worked out great, and we leave for Singapore (via Seoul, Korea) this afternoon.
For those of you who want to know the details, or at least the that ones that I haven't mentally blocked, here's the whole story. Last time I posted, Ryan and I had spent the entire night doing the last packing of the suitcases. We were in my parents' basement in Colorado carefully packing and weighing each one. Everyone of our bags (all 11 of them) is ounces away from the 50 pound weight limit, and I think our carry-ons are just as heavy! Anyway, the sun came up yesterday and we ate some breakfast, showered, left the kids with my parents, and set off to do a myriad of errands. Ryan needed to get one more immunization at the health department, so I made all sorts of phone calls to Nampa to doctors and dentists to cancel future appointments and finalize any last payments (why did I not do this earlier?). Then we drove across town to Target for last minute toiletries and crafts for the airplane. At the same time, Ryan ran over to the Verizon Store to check on canceling our cell phones. We thought we would have to pay a termination fee, but didn't have to - thank you Lord! By that time we only had about 45 minutes before we were supposed to leave for the airport, so we called my dad to pick up diapers for Addie since he was out getting last minute stuff for us at the local hardware store. My mom was at home with the kids, busily putting on the luggage tags that my dad had made for us earlier that morning. Once in the door we finished the last bit of laundry, made photocopies of all of our visas and passports, and finished loading the cars.
Well, we ended up leaving for the airport 45 minutes late, with more luggage than I have ever seen for a family of five. On the ride to the airport, Ryan and I feverishly worked on more last minute details, all the while trying to imagine how in the world we were going to get all of the luggage into the airport. When we arrived, a skycap helped us unload and check-in. He didn't charge us anything for our extra bags which was amazing! We said quick and tearful good-byes to my parents, and tried to say thank you for everything they have done for us (seemed so small when they have done more for us than we can ever repay). I'm sure it was quite a sight as we walked through the airport - all of us carrying more luggage than would seem humanly possible. We made it through Denver security without any problems - I had even forgotten to pull out my little bag of liquids, but they didn't seem to care. We reloaded our bags and headed for the gate. Luckily for our backs, our gate was the closest one! We unloaded everything, and let Addie run for awhile. As we were loading the plane, we were one of the first to board. Imagine this... 60 people standing around waiting to get on the plane as the Ketchum family walks up to the gate with 10 (or 11) big carry-ons and a baby being rolled in her carseat like one more piece of luggage. As odd as this seems, it was all okay until Lauren ran Addie's seat over Brenna's foot, and the carseat tipped over. So, now anyone who wasn't watching the Ketchum family freak show definitely was now! Luckily, Addie was fine and so were Lauren and Brenna (not even one tear!) The problem now was going to be getting down the aisle with all of the luggage! A really nice man helped Lauren with Addie's seat, and Ryan found the first empty row and stashed all of our stuff. The djembe was the only thing that didn't fit, so it had to be gate-checked. Once again, no extra charge. We had a good flight, and ended up stoping over in San Diego (we knew we had a stop, but didn't know where it would be). When we landed, I turned to Ryan and mentioned that he should call his friend, Rudy Cervantes, who works for Southwest in San Diego. As it turned out, Rudy had just finished unloading luggage off of our plane when Ryan called him, so he came up and gave us hugs and said a quick "Hi" and "Bye". Rudy and Ryan have been good friends for several years - Ryan collaborated with him on a CD project a couple of years ago, so it was really great to see him before our move! After that, we had great service on the plane - Rudy had told them that we were moving to India and that Ryan was a famous musician (to which Ryan denied profusely). It was classic.
Once in San Francisco, we had to get back off the plane but we had a lot of help from all of the flight attendants. When we went to pick up all of our bags, one of the Southwest guys who heard we were moving (but hadn't heard that Ryan was famous) offered help us take everything upstairs to the hotel shuttle - what would we have done without him?! When our hotel shuttle arrived, we were delighted to meet the really nice driver who was... Indian!! He said that he had been to Ooty three times before, and really loved it. We were able to get everything to the hotel in one trip, and when we arrived we found out that all of the front desk staff (an entire family) was Indian, too! They were very friendly and offered to let us store our luggage in a room downstairs so we didn't have to take it upstairs. At 10:00pm we ordered pizza, and tried not to fall asleep while we waited for it to be delivered. We were so exhausted, not only from a long day, but also from not getting any sleep the night before.
This morning we feel really refreshed and ready for an exciting (but long) day. Ryan is on his way to Target to get a heavy duty tub to replace the one that the airline demolished yesterday. The girls and I are relaxing in the hotel for now, but will soon be heading downstairs to send off some faxes and mail. Our shuttle leaves for the airport at 11:00am, so we should have plenty of time to get showered and repacked before setting off on our next adventure. Our next flight is to Seoul, and then immediately to Singapore. Luckily, we don't have to change planes in Seoul, but we will be able to deboard and run around in the airport for a little bit. I think the flight is about 14 hours, followed by a 4.5 hour flight to Singapore.
If you think of us today, please pray that God will protect us and help us to enjoy this journey. We are really excited about finally arriving in India, but we want to be sure to notice all of the little blessings along the way.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Final Day

Well, it's 5:00am on Monday, and Ryan and I have been up all night packing. We're tired...really tired! Everything seems to be coming together, but we still have a million things to do between now and 2:00pm when the car leaves for the airport. It looks like we'll need to check an extra bag, which will cost a little bit more, but we're having a difficult time getting everything in that we think we will need (or want). Letting go has been difficult tonight because we've already scaled down our belongings several times. The funny thing is that we probably won't miss any of the things that we're not taking with us. It's just the process that's difficult.
I guess I should return to the packing. We're getting really close to being done, but like I said before... I'm tired.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Answers to Prayer

First of all, here's an update on our visa situation. Yesterday afternoon we called the outsourcing office in San Francisco (see, not all jobs get outsourced to India) to find out if the document that we had sent in was accepted by the Consulate. The "hang-up of the day" was that the document that the Consulate had requested from us was a letter of recognition - a statement from the government of India that shows that the school is officially sanctioned by the government. Well, the school sent us a scan of the document, but it's a letter from 1913!!! When the outsourcing office received it, they called us saying that the Consulate might not accept it because it didn't have a raised seal on it. Unbelievable! We told them that it was all we had, so they said they would go ahead and send it over to the Consulate and then they would call us.
Well, yesterday afternoon we called the outsourcing office to see if they had heard anything from the Consulate. The first time we called, our cell phone service lost the call. The second time, Ryan talked with a guy that said he hadn't seen anything come through, but it was a little strange because he hadn't even bothered to verify our names or our confirmation numbers. The third time, Ryan talked to a lady that he had talked to several times before, and she put him on hold. When she came back on the phone she said, "The courier just brought over your family's passports from the Consulate, so we'll get them sent to you tomorrow." We were shocked! Not only had the Consulate accepted our 1913 letter, but they had processed our visas in less than 6 hours! So, our passports (with the visas included) are in the mail, and should arrive tomorrow. What an answer to prayer!

In addition to the visas, we've had several other answers to prayer this week.
1. Our van sold!!! A couple who has recently moved back to the US (they were serving with Youth With a Mission in Brazil) bought it in Colorado. We hope that they will enjoy it as much as we have!
2. I (Angie) was approved for a grant through Project MedSend. They will pay my student loans while we are on the field. PTL!
3. We found our flash drive/card/thing-y. You know the little stick that you can store stuff on. We thought it was lost, so we bought a new one. When we found the old one we took the new one back to the store and it saved us $30! Who-hoo!

In addition to these things, we have been blessed with so much more that is even more valuable to us than what money can buy. We are so blessed to have family and friends like you who have supported us with your prayers and encouragement! We are even more blessed to have a Savior who loves us unconditionally and calls us to love others!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

PLEASE PRAY!!

Last Thursday afternoon we received a phone call from the Indian Consulate in San Francisco stating that our visa applications were denied because we were missing one of the necessary documents. It was a very stressful day, since we could not call India and request the document until later that night. After making several phone calls, I was able to reach a friend in Ooty. He went to the school to try and find an employee who could help us. They forwarded us a few documents, and we sent them on to the Embassy this morning.
There is still a chance that the document we sent will not quite be what the Indian Consulate is requiring. PLEASE PRAY that they will accept our applications and that our visas will be processed quickly! We are scheduled to depart Colorado on Monday, and then on to India on Tuesday. As I remember all of the running we did in the LA airport last summer, I wonder if it was for a reason. When we made our reservations this spring, one of our stipulations was that we travel through San Francisco and avoid LAX at all costs. That just might be providential... as we may need to physically go to the Consulate in San Francisco on Monday and pick up our passports and visas in person. We'll keep you updated!

New Babies

One really difficult thing about moving to India is that we will miss out on seeing our neice and nephews grow up. Ryan and I each have one sibling, and both of their families are having baby boys this summer. My brother, Alan, and his wife Charis have just welcomed William Roy into the world on Sunday, June 22nd. They live in Ft.Collins (near my parents) so we have had a great time this past week being with them. Their older son, Gregory, is almost 2 years old.
Ryan's sister, Cherie, and her husband, Chris, are expecting Micah Ryan to be born in the next few weeks. They live in Washington, but came down to Nampa to help us move so we were able to spend a lot of time with them and their daughter, Abigail, who is 18 mos. Unfortunately, we won't get to see Micah until he is quite a bit older. (Once again, I'll post pics as soon as I get them)

Time to catch up on posting!

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind! We've gone through most of our remaining belongings one more time, and we've accumulated a few more suitcases for our move. Today I'll be adding several posts and pictures so you can see what we've been up to!

Monday, July 7, 2008

In Kansas City





Yesterday we drove from Ft.Collins, CO to Kansas City to visit Ryan's parents. It is hot and humid here, so we are thankful for air conditioning! Tonight we went to an outdoor theater production of "Beauty and the Beast." We met some new friends, Rob and Cindy North - former missionaries to South Africa, and their boys, Quinn and Jordan. Once again we were amazed at how quickly our girls made new friends! The show was great, but the company was even better. The popcorn and fireflies made the night complete!