Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One little bump in the road

Living without electricity was fun. The kids enjoyed using flashlights and wearing headlamps at night while we played cards or did other silly things. And reading by headlamp isn’t too bad either.

One of the funny things I realized I needed a flashlight for was make sure I got everything when I wiped Caleb in the bathroom, but everything else was do-able. When one of Karis’ friends came for the afternoon today, she didn’t quite understand why I wouldn’t let her turn the light on when she went to the restroom. Her parents know what our assignment was, but I would love to hear a 4 ½ year olds version of what she understood. Her family is going to South Asia, so they didn’t have this assignment.

During my ESL class last Saturday, it poured rain, so Doug and the kids just played cards, play-doh and games at the Quad when they came back from the post office. My class was interesting, fun, and a small review of my linguistics class at A&M.

The food assignment got put on hold this weekend. The Quad decided we would all cook next weekend, just on the stove top, after we had a chance to get to a grocery store. It has been decided that for my family, eggs and fruit for breakfast would be good. For lunch, the quad is going to do a "buffet." I'm going to saute squash and onions in my two omelet pans. I only have enough room to saute about three squash, and I'm thinking the other rooms are going to be in the same situation. We decided, after we eat all the food, we would head to the cafeteria to fill up the rest of our bellies.

I hope that's okay with the "uppers."

Our one bump in the road came Sunday morning. Caleb came to my room at 5am to snuggle with me, and he peed on my side of the bed!

Now I know that I could have saved the sheets until Monday and put some of the available twin sheets on our bed (Doug and I have put two twins together to make a King), but I didn't. I "pretended" that there was electricity in another sector of the "city," and I hauled my sheets to Quad #21 to wash. I live in #3, so I figured I traveled a good distance :)

It's been rainy here, but nice and cool. Monday and Tuesday were "Special Meal" days in the cafeteria (while our kids were in school - although Kylie did this exact thing with her class). That means, wash your hands thoroughly, walk into the cafeteria, sit down, and when the table has all 8 people, someone goes to the kitchen to get the tray of food. We have discussion questions to go through while we eat, and we pray for the area of the world where the food came from.

Since we were eating in "right-handed cultures" we tried to keep our left hand in our lap. Our first meal, on Monday, we had no untensils, just pita bread to pick up our meat and salad mixture. It was Middle Eastern food, and it was divine!

Our second meal was curry-filled Indonesian food. Spicy!! But we did get a spoon. Doug and I really liked it. The toppings for the rice and curry-meat were the most interesting: tomatoes, coconut, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and preserves.

I had African culture worship practice tonight, so I need to start homework instead of procrastinating some more. (Sunday night worship is going to be all in African languages, and I'm going to be on the dance/worship team singing in Swahili. And in case you are wondering, no, I do not know what I'm saying when I sing the words.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lights out in the Quad

This week we had 12 enlightening hours worth of seminars on spiritual warfare from Dr. Jerry Rankin. Those 12 hours and the "talk" from Gordon Fort this morning, were our favorites. We've also had two "fun" seminars from the medical clinic. One was a full hour on malaria: which one (1) can kill you, and which ones (3) can't; all the symptoms; how to prevent it; what kind of medication to take and when; and how to get tested if you think you might have it, etc.

The second seminar was today on all the other diseases you can get and how they are transmitted. We learned how to wash food, which foods to never eat, which things to never drink, and how to prevent some of these problems. Our next one will be all the things you deal with overseas. It's called the "diarrhea talk." Don't you wish you could be there for that one?

I've decided to let somethings emailing or blogging every day. I'm not able to get everything done each day, but my new goal is to get more sleep, and I think that is going to mean choosing somethings and letting somethings go.

I'm writing really quickly right now for a reason. One of our cultural assignments for our Sub-Sahara Africa Affinity group is to go without electricity one weekend. Three out of the four quad mates have agreed that this is a good weekend to do it. It will get it out of the way, and we will hopefully have mild weather before we have to go without heat during a really cold time. In addition to that activity, we have to cook two meals from scratch during the weekend using only our stove top (because we will have gas stoves in Africa). The interesting dilemma is I was only supplied with two small omelet pans. Two of the quads have small pots, but if we are all trying to cook this weekend, I'm going to have to make a go of it in the saute pans. I see bacon and eggs for Sunday breakfast, and I still haven't figured out lunch. Doug will have to go shopping tomorrow.

I am taking a class tomorrow from 9 to 5 to get ESL certified, so Doug will have the kids, and he is borrowing someone's car to go to the post office in town to mail our Visa information to Uganda and he will pick up something for me to cook.

I'm going to stay off the internet all weekend. I think I have enough reading assignments to keep me busy. As of today, I have 5 books in my possession I'm supposed to read, there is one more available in the library I supposed to get, 12 articles on Africa, plus two movies Doug and I are supposed to watch. He is actually at the library right now seeing if one is available to watch before our midnight electricity cut-off time.

I've unplugged all the nightlights, all the heaters are off, no clocks, we will switch to cell phone light or flashlight, we can't open our fridge and use anything, and I'm washing my last load of clothes. Between you and me, I don't see myself taking a cold shower, so I'm guessing I'll be smelling by Sunday evening. But if I can boil a couple of saute pans worth of water and add them to about 2 inches or less of water in the tub, I might could stand to rinse off my body in tepid water. Too bad I don't have any baby wipes:)

I'm sure you wanted to hear all of that, but I'll still take this over living without electricity after a hurricane in the deep south with 105% humidity. And I'm actually excited that when it gets dark, I might just have to

Well, it's almost 10pm here, I'm going to read a little before Doug gets back from the library or I have to cut my lamp off, whichever comes first.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fitness Test

I had already tried to tell myself that if I walked during my fitness test, then in December, even if I ran a LITTLE, it would be an improvement. Oh well, so much for that.

I was put in a group that had a couple who must sprint marathons for a living! There was one marathoner in another group that hadn't even broken a sweat and was just finding his stride when the 12 minute timer went off. Yes, I know, 12 minutes isn't much to most of you, but I...don't...exercise.

The wife sprinter easily lapped me twice before I made it around the gym once (it was too wet and cold to do it outside), and I was running!

Yes, I ran.

I don't know what was wrong with me.

Maybe, it was a little competitive side of me, but I didn't think I had one.

So, crazy me ran the whole thing except for the two straight-aways I chose to walk and catch my breath.

Not smart.

Not smart.
I made it around 19 times in 12 minutes. Doug did something like 25 or 26. The sprinters did 31 or something.

The point is (and it's not a good point), I have to beat 19 in December. What was I thinking???

It's mandatory to work out 4 times a week here, so hopefully, I will have improved by then.

I'll let you know.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's 41 degrees this morning!

Well, we're here! We slept with the heater on last night and we all had on coats this morning.

We spent the night in Austin Monday, and got up at 4:45 yesterday to fly here. The kids were great travelers, just a little tired and hungry when we arrived.

Kylie has 5 kids in her class with two teachers. Three boys, two girls, and the other little girl is named Kyleigh, too. They became fast friends, and then they loved each other more when they realized they both had the same American Girl! (insert commercial: "American Girl - bringing the world together - one doll at a time").

Karis has about 6 kids in her class (I couldn't count because I was walking through to drop off Caleb), also with two teachers. Karis was pretty excited about the new day, so I look forward to good stories.

One of Caleb's teacher's name is Cinderella. I'm sure it will be a "magical" day. He had no problem saying goodbye to me when he saw plastic tigers on the ground to play with.

Doug and I are off to class now in this beautiful 41 degree weather. We are starting a little later today, but that is nice. When we arrived yesterday, we had to unpack our 8 pieces of luggage, sign up for ministry teams, participate in a scavenger hunt to learn the property, and find out where all of our children's classrooms would be. Thankfully, some of our friends babysat our three for one hour after dinner so we could make beds and set up "house."

Thank you for everyone who emailed and texted. We love you. Thank you for praying!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Scrambled Eggs for Brains

Karis wanted Doug and I to eat lunch with her today at school, so after working in the storage shed all morning, we got cleaned up, ate some yummy cafeteria food, and now we're at the library again.

We are checking the girls out in an hour to go to Victoria to a Walgreens and try to get flu shots for the girls. All three towns closer to us were out yesterday when I called. I'm hoping Walgreens can also help with our fluoride prescription. The pharmacy here can't get what we need, and I need a 3 years supply of fluoride tablets for the kids before we go.

These "drugs" are taking up a lot of space in our crate. I hope they don't push out my dishes or peanut butter. Monday, we bought 18 bottles of Flintstones, and 17 bottles of Vitamin C. Rather than count them off the shelf in Sam's, we just took the whole box. Nice.

On top of that, we got mulit-vitamins for Doug and I, and Super B Complex and odorless garlic to help fend off mosquitos. 480 bandaids, 26 tubes of toothpaste for all 5 of us, 5 bottles of hair de-tangler for the girls, 6 bottles of sunscreen, 52 razors, LOTS of batteries (for our cool headlamps and a few toys), and then smaller amounts of every kind of medicine you might need on a yearly Africa.

My mom suggested I take pictures of our haul from Sam's so it would help people get their heads around it. When I went to do it, we had already taken every tube and bottle out of each box, but I'll try to download the pictures to my computer soon.

Packing is getting crazy. What goes to Virginia? What goes to Africa in a crate? What goes to Africa in one of our 15+ suitcases? What goes to Virginia and then Africa? What goes to Virgina for the cold weather, and then goes back to storage? Better get back to work...

If brains can look like scrambled eggs, then I'm there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

5 States in a month

We have unpacked our suitcases, and we will only pack them two more times this year. Granted, the number of suitcases we will pack the next couple of times is exponentially increasing.

From Colorado to Florida, and then driving around Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, I feel so drained, but it's a good drained.

We saw so many people we love and who loved on us. It was so nice to be encouraged! The body of Christ is an AMAZING thing.

I'm sending out "Christmas" letters with prayer cards this week to all the people we didn't get to see on our journey, because we leave next Tuesday and won't be back in Yoakum until December 11th.

I hope to update more often while we are in Virginia and stuff is actually going on.

For example, would you want to hear that we got our International Drivers' Licenses yesterday, and are now qualified to drive like James Uganda...on dirt, pot-hole-filled roads.

We also spent about $1400 buying vitamins and a few other knick knacks like seasonings, trash bags, and zip locks at Sam's yesterday. The only good news about that, is that there should be no out-of-pocket expense for vitamins (and other things) for the next 3 1/2 years. Nope. The thought didn't make me feel any better either.

We bought new wedding rings because we didn't want to wear our gold and diamonds in Uganda. Maybe I should take one of those cute wedding-type photos of our hands together, so you can see the new rings...Nah!

Today, we worked in our storage unboxing all the toothpaste and medications we are taking with us. The extra air in the boxes is just too precious when it comes to crating.

We are still working on purchasing all the "things" we need for solar power. The process has been slow since we have been driving around and not always near internet access.

Which leads me to now. It is 10 minutes until 6pm, and the library is getting ready to close. My parents lost internet a week and a half ago when God answered all our prayers and sent rain to this area of Texas. Doug and I now have to come to the library to get work done. So, I'm being kicked out. Gotta go. Write more later.