Thursday, July 31, 2008


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 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.


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


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!