Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Our House

Here are some pictures of the inside of our house. We live on the 3rd and 4th level of a 5 story traditional row house. These types of houses are usually found in the city, and they are connected together. Thus, our 5 story house kind of stands out here in the country! Our front door is actually on the back of the house and it is up about 30 steep steps. A few weeks ago we found a baby gate in a local baby store - it has been a life saver (literally).

This is a view of our kitchen from around the front door. Our dining area is just to the right of this. You can also barely see a door way behind the rattan cabinet - that is where our washing machine is.

This is the hallway just beyond our kitchen/dining area. Our bedroom is on the right, Megann's bedroom is on the left, and one of our SIX bathrooms is straight ahead. If you turn left at the bathroom you will pass the stairs to the girls' rooms and then you'll end up in the living room.

This is the living room. The door you see leads to a small balcony that is on the front of our house (see below). We have a matching sofa, but we can't get it around the curves in the hallway, so it's upstairs. This room is large and has several windows, so if there is any breeze outside it comes through this room nicely (good for air flow, but bad for dust).

A front-ish view of our house. You can't see the bottom level, so our flat starts at the 2nd bank of windows. You can also see the balcony off our living room (the living room is 2 stories tall). We also have a beautiful covered roof. Our laundry dries up there, and we would eventually like to put some kind of table and chairs to put there for those nights when it's too hot to eat inside.


Here a few random pictures that I thought you would enjoy...

This is what happens when you're out on the moto (motorcycle) and it starts to rain!

Bath-time with hairstyling and a concert - a nightly tradition for Addie and Meg.

Sweet Megann

Our Anniversary

A few weeks ago we celebrated our 13th anniversary! It has become our tradition on Sunday mornings to go out for coffee, just the two of us. We ventured downtown to a great little place for an iced coffee (it's just too hot for the warm stuff), and enjoyed just being together.

We were given some money for our anniversary, so we decided to spend it on a little rooftop garden. One thing that I really missed in Ooty was gardening, but we were blessed with beautiful gardens both at our house/school and next door at the Botanical Gardens. Here are some pictures of the place where we bought the pots, and another place down the road where we bought the plants.

The pot shop - they're imported from Vietnam. I think I paid $3-10 per pot! The tallest pot won't have a plant in it because it holds the umbrellas by the front door.


The finished product!

Catchin' Up

Well, we've been in Cambodia for 2 months! In some ways it seems like 2 days and in other ways it seems like 2 years! Sometimes when I'm getting overwhelmed it's good to remember that we're still new around here. Couples who have 2 month old babies aren't parenting experts and professionals with only 2 months of experience aren't usually regarded as experts in their field, so I'm trying to be a little easier on myself when it comes to adjusting to this new life.

I'm really behind on blogging, so I have a lot of pictures and updates to post. I'll get going on it right now, since Megann is sleeping and I probably won't have the mental energy to get on the blog in the near future (did I mention that I started my Masters?).

Here's one picture for now. This is the packaging for the local rehydration powder (kind of like Gatorade). Ryan bought a big box of it because he needed to break $20 and thought it would be good to have at the house. I think the writing is hilarious - I just wish they would have included a picture at the top of some heavy sweating people!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This is the way we go to school...

This is how the girls come and go to school each day. It's called a tuk-tuk (sounds like took) and it's pulled by a moto (motorcycle) driven by our friend Wibol (pronounced Vee-bol). Clear?!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Our House

I don't have any pictures of the inside of our house, except for a couple of shots taken just after our crate from India exploded in our kitchen, that I really want to (okay, so the crate didn't actually explode, but from the mess you would've thought it had). But I do have some pictures of the view from our house. I'll work on getting more shots - until then, just enjoy these!

Looking west from our rooftop - the road you can see is 1966, heading towards Hanoi

Looking west from our front door (which is actually on the back of the house). The white balcony on the right is the kitchen balcony.

The view straight out of the kitchen door (looking south). The field behind our house is flooded from the monsoon rains, but our property is surrounded by a high concrete wall that keeps the water from flooding us (or at least our landlords - our house is on the 2nd and 3rd story, so we don't worry too much about floods).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Staying Cool by Any Means Possible

Cambodia is hot. Now, most people here will say that it's not that hot, or that we should just wait until the hot season gets here. But to us, Cambodia is hot. So, we've had to get a little creative in dealing with the temperature and the humidity. This is what we've tried so far...

Facing one of the many fans in the house (singing is optional, but also very fun)

Swimming at Logos School (the pool is amazing!)

Eating crushed ice with new friends (at a great little restaurant downtown called The Blue Pumpkin)

Having your sister squirt lime juice into your mouth (while relaxing at an air-conditioned coffee shop)

And if all else fails - taking off your diaper and pointing your bottom straight at the fan during afternoon naptime!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Safe in Cambodia!

These past few weeks have been absolutely crazy! We had a great 4 weeks in the US visiting with family and friends following our very tearful goodbyes in India. Now we are in Cambodia - moving into our house, getting around town knowing almost no Khmer (local language), making new friends, adjusting to the heat, getting acquainted with Logos School, and did I mention trying to adjust to the heat?!!

The thought of trying to write out everything that has happened recently feels really overwhelming, so I'm going to list it out according to winners and losers - hope you enjoy!

1. Incredibly welcoming community. The Logos/Asian Hope staff have been so good to us, and we are really thankful for their care and support.

2. Our shipment arrived from India! I know life isn't about stuff, but it makes me happy having my own towels, sheets, and kitchen things (not to mention the guitar, drums, trumpet, etc)

3. Indoor playgrounds, nice restaurants and beautiful grocery stores - need I say more?

4. An incredibly adaptable family! We are amazed at how our girls have adjusted to everything that's happened over the past few months. They are settling well into life here, and are really looking forward to going to school in a little over a week.
1. Grumpy immigration officers at the airport when we arrived (not what we needed after traveling for almost 30 hours with 4 kids!)

2. Snakes and rats - luckily the snake wasn't in the house...

3. The HEAT! This is rainy season, so some days (like today) aren't too bad. But, having the temperature inside your house in the upper 80's is exhausting.

4. Cold showers... strangely enough, we're going to be purchasing a water heater before any air conditioners. I don't think we're going to be able to afford our water bill if I have to let it run forever just to get up the courage to get wet!

Well, that's just a taste of what's going on with us. Thank you to all of you who have been so incredibly supportive of us! We left India and the US with such a sense of being loved - we are so blessed to have you in our lives!

(pictures to come soon!)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Packin' Up

We're officially living out of suitcases, as you can see! We spent our first night in the new (to us) flat, but we're continuing to sort and pack at our old place during the day. It's a little crazy trying to juggle our work schedules, our kids, and all of the requirements of moving away from India (then going to the US, then going to Cambodia). But we're learning a lot in the process!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The End is Near...

The countdown has begun - we will be leaving India in three weeks. After 3 years of living and serving in this amazing country, our departure feels very bittersweet. We will miss our friends (even more than we realize now), we will miss the beautiful Ooty climate, we will miss the amazing students of Hebron... However, we are so looking forward to what God has next for us in Cambodia. It feels good to be simplifying once again (as you can see by my smile in the pic below), and it feels good to be making conscious decisions about how God wants us to live as a family. We are committed to serving Him and honoring Him - which makes all of life's craziness (and believe me, it's been crazy) worth it!

This week we are moving houses so that we can downsize before our "big" move. We'll be living out of suitcases and essentially "camping" in a smaller apartment so that we can send off all of our stuff in the next week or so, and can focus on "leaving well". We'll be shipping a small container to Cambodia, and the rest of our belongings will go into suitcases.

Last weekend, Lauren's dorm had a Jumble Sale (yard sale) to raise money for a service project in North India and to help feed local beggars. We donated several boxes and bags of clothes and household items - they raised almost $700! It was great to donate to such a good cause (and great not to have to deal with selling it ourselves). Unfortunately, our belongings seem to be like the widow's oil that would never run out, so we'll probably be having a sale of our own in a couple weeks. The money will go towards setting up our new home, so hopefully it will go well :)

In closing, I should probably leave you with some "Bubba" cuteness. When Addie was little, this is what she called her best friend, Jordan. And this is now what Megann calls herself. The Tamils call her "Papa" which means baby, and he Ozzies refer to all babies as "bubba". So, with all of those influences, the nickname stuck. Her sisters, of course, add their own flavor and call her "Bubba Choo Choo".

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Sunday Tradition

This is tourist season in Ooty. Local schools are on summer holiday, and our town is flooded with people. I don't know quite how to explain it, but even for India the crowds are crazy. Unfortunately, our school entrance is just inside the gate of one of the most popular tourist attractions - the Botanical Garden. For the past few weeks the crowds and traffic have been almost more than we can handle, so we've been finding creative ways to escape the craziness.

Our new Sunday tradition is to go to one of the nice hotels on the edge of town for the afternoon. We can't afford to eat there, but we enjoy a cup of tea out on the lawn with friends, while our kids play with rabbits, ride bikes, and just have a great old time!

Here are some pictures for you to enjoy...

Addie and her new friend playing with rabbits

Lauren, Addie and Megann playing with friends

Addie - making friends like only Addie can (no, we don't know these people)

Brenna and her new talent (whistling)

Ryan - helping Addie learn to ride a bicycle...

Giving up, but still having fun!

And one last picture for my Grandma Bass - 'cause she appreciates the importance of sticking out your tongue when you're really trying to concentrate!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Two weeks ago, Ryan's parents came to see us! They were only with us for a few days (it was an add-on to a speaking engagement already planned in India), but we had a wonderful time! We were able to spend a couple of nights in Coimbatore resting and enjoying being together without other responsibilities. We did a lot of relaxing and swimming and eating out and playing and talking. Also, it was a chance to enjoy some warm weather!

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Tooth Situation

Here's a picture to update you on Megann's teeth. One of her top front teeth is just about to come through the gum (we think that was the reason for one very sleepless night last night), so her mouth won't look like this for much longer. It does make for a very cute and ornery grin! Funny enough, Brenna's teeth also came in this order, so it doesn't seem too out of the ordinary.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Addie turns 5!

It's hard to believe that the little two-year-old girl with blonde curls that we brought to India turned 5 this month!

Addie celebrated her birthday with four friends (and her sisters) by having a Princess Pizza Party. Everyone dressed up, and we went out to our favorite pizza place in town (okay, so it's the only pizza place in town). We played games, ate pizza (veg only, of course), played more games, opened presents, ate brownies and ice cream, and sang songs in the car on the way home (what else do you do when the car is loaded with girls!?!). It was such a fun night for all of us to celebrate a little girl who brings so much life to our family - Happy Birthday, Addie!

6 princesses and one "drama-queen" (ha!)

** As a side note, I just had to add these two pictures to give you a better understanding of our life here. When we go into town, people stare at us. When go into town with with Megann, people stop and giggle and stare at us (and pull out their cell phones to take pictures). But when we go into town with Megann and 7 girls dressed like princesses, people stop, stare, giggle, pull out their cameras, and eat their pizza while taking pictures of us eating ours. I have to say, it's little weird and a bit awkward.

All this to say that these two pictures are neither weird or awkward, it's just what happens whenever we go to this restaurant - the waiters take care of Meg (and occasionally pass her on to other customers). It's cool. It's normal. This is our life.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sweet Meggie-girl

Megann is crawling!! Unfortunately, our home is not safe for a crawling baby, so we have to watch her very closely. We have dirty fireplaces, concrete floors, steps and ledges. This, coupled with Megann's insatiable desire to chew on dirty shoes, is going to make for an interesting few months.

This is what happens when your big sisters get nail stickers from Grandma and run out of nails to stick them on - you get a faux nose ring!

Pure sweetness

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brown Eyed Girl

Brenna - this month you turned 10! From the time you were born, we knew you were special. You had crazy hair and big brown eyes. You started crawling before you could sit up, and you started walking well before your first birthday. You loved to wear tutus and rain boots, and you could often be seen parading around our yard carrying the neighbor's cat like a sack of potatoes.

You are an amazing mix of confidence and reserve. I have learned not to be concerned when you lock yourself in your room or when you want to play with friends (or by yourself) for hours on end. You love reading biographies about people like Anne Frank, Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill and Bethany Hamilton but you also love the fanciful world of imagination. You are introspective and yet dramatic, and you are deeply affected by suffering around you. You continue amaze me in the way that make and keep friends so easily, and the way that you bring out the best in others.

Don't worry, I promise not to freak out when you tell me that you're dropping out of college and moving to a slum to help the poor and needy, or when you decide that you're not going to have any children or get married. But I also know you well enough that I'd better expect just the opposite, because you're predictably unpredictable. More than anything I want you to know that I love you and I'm so proud of who you are and who you're becoming. And I'm so glad that I get to be your mom.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Addie. Oh, Addie...

This is Addie at home watching movies on Christmas Eve after she threw up in the car on our way to a big party with our friends.

This is Addie on Brenna's birthday. She had thrown up earlier in the day in the dining room when we were trying to decide where to go for lunch.

Last Friday Addie came down with a fever and what she said were "mosquito bites". Well, it definitely wasn't mosquito bites, but rather a mild case of chicken pox! And how fitting since this Friday is Addie's 5th birthday. Thankfully, she is feeling much better (hopefully it will last for a little while longer).