Monday, August 26, 2013

Kids (who don't remember America) say the Darndest Things

I recently read an article about a man who got out of prison at age 54.  He had started his sentence at age 16, back in 1959.  When he got out, he could only ride a bike because he didn't have his drivers' license.  He had only seen the new kinds of cars on TV.  The digital age was everywhere, and he was completely overwhelmed, as you might imagine.

The story intrigued me, and I really shouldn't even dare a comparison after living overseas for three years, but many things he said struck a chord with me.  For me, TV seemed foreign at first.  I don't turn it on like I used to, and even if I did, I wouldn't recognize many of the shows.  I also don't recognize many songs on the radio.  Restaurant food doesn't taste like I remember it tasting, and the list goes on.

The list is longer and different for my kids.  They don't remember much of anything, so most of it is all new.  My oldest remembers the most, but the younger two (who can talk) don't remember much of anything.

(By the way, as a side note, this post is in no way written to make fun of my kids.)

I love my kids all so dearly.

 If you ever want to sit down sometime and hear about how wonderful they are, I'll be glad to tell you... I think any kids who go through transitions that come about because of parents and the things we do and life decisions we make, deserve a lot of credit.

 My kids have experienced a lot, just like yours, and like most kids, they have been resilient and come out of it with their heads high and as champions in my eyes.

 Back in June, when we went to a conference in Virginia our first month here, all of our kids went to classes, as well as Doug and me.  Caleb learned the Pledge of
--> Allegiance, all about American holidays, the months of the year, and about...Daniel.  They discussed how we can be like Daniel, who succeeded in another culture without letting the culture consume him.  I think there is a lesson in there for all of us.
So here are a few observations that have been made and some funnies that have been said since we got home and we juggle the culture we have just entered. 

June 14, 2013  (Landing in America)

We landed and saw a big sign that said, "Welcome to the United States of America."  There were some big smiles in our group.
Kylie took a deep breath through her nose, and said, "It even smells like America!"

We were all excited to see the United States flag, and we noticed that security was tighter in the airports compared to when we were here last.

Keira needed some water, and I filled her sippy cup with water out of the sink.  Karis' jaw dropped that I was actually using sink water, and she tried to stop me at first!

The carts to get luggage were $5!!!  They were always free overseas.

Caleb bought a McDonald's Happy Meal that came with apples???

I realized, driving home from the airport, that there are no RV's in Uganda.  I hadn't seen one in a while.  That kind of living-vehicle would totally blow their minds.

I also took a fresh look at subdivisions with matching roof tiles, straight streets, and driveways.  Wow!

We stopped for our first meal at Whataburger on the way home.  The lady behind the counter gave Caleb an empty cup, and he looked at me puzzled.  

I took him to the drink fountain and told him he could have any one he wanted and fill up his cup as many times as he wanted.  His eyes and smile got so big.  He was SO excited!  We all filled up on Dr. Pepper!

(In Uganda, you get glass bottles of soda, and we never ordered them until our food came, which sometimes was upward of 1.5-2 hours, and we never allowed them to get more than one bottle).

June 15, 2013 (first day at my mom's)

Karis:  What is that?

My mom:  A dishwasher 
Karis:  You have a machine in your wall that washes dishes!?

Caleb in tub

Me: "That's enough water."

Caleb:  But I can't find the stopper!"

Me:  I already did it with this lever.

Caleb:  How? There are still holes.

Me:  It shuts off the water under the holes.

Caleb:  Ooooh! Cool.

June 16, 2013 (Father's Day)

Parking at church in my dad's truck:

Caleb:  Something weird just happened.  When the truck stopped, the lock on my door went up, but I didn't touch it.

After church, Caleb was thirsty and asked if I had brought a bottle of water to church (because I always had in Uganda).  I said no, but he could use the water fountain.  I explained how to use it, but he didn't know to close his mouth and swallow, so the water was just splashing into his mouth and falling back out onto his shirt and onto the floor.  Then Karis tried with adults looking on, and it was a similar experience with her.  They had a good time with it, though, and didn't seem embarrassed.

Doug:  We're going to stop at sonic on the way to Nana and Pop's. 
Caleb:  No!  I want to go back to Whataburger to get free refills.

June 17, 2013 (at Doug's parent's house)

Observation:  Wrestling has increased tremendously with carpet around.

The same length of toilet paper we would use in Uganda for one bathroom visit can be used for three different visits to the bathroom in America because it's so thick.

Doug:  Caleb, what do you want me to get you at Chick-fil-a?
Caleb: Do they have hamburgers?

Caleb: That man has a lot of "chair hest"

Caleb: Are there mosquitoes in America?
Doug:  Yes
Caleb: Can I get malaria?

June 18, 2013

Kylie: Why does dad have to pump the gas? 
(In Uganda, it is all full-serve.  You never have to get out of your car)

Observation:  It feels a little weird to turn on the radio and not know ONE SINGLE SONG!

At a fast food Mexican restaurant in Waco:
Karis: I want tacos, but I don't want spaghetti on them (she saw a picture of grated cheese on the taco).

July 21, 2013
Keira's top two teeth broke through. (you wanted to know that, right?)

July 25, 2013
Caleb "informing" one of our Mississippi friends:  Your mosquitoes don’t have malaria because they don’t really suck blood.

July 29, 2013
Seeing the Ross Barnett Reservoir boat arena:
Caleb said, "That’s a dirty pool."  Little did he know, that is where he was going to go tubing.

July 30, 2013
Keira stood up on her own for the first time
(You can't forget about Keira, right?)

August 1, 2013
Kylie, helping Doug and I find some place to eat: “There’s a Whataburger in 24 hours."

Well, here it is, August 26, 2013, and I've taken my kids to school for the first time today.  Kylie and Karis did attend for 6 weeks before, but that was a long time ago.  All three have grown over an inch since June, and all three had trouble sleeping last night because of excitement, but they all left this morning with smiles on their faces and big backpacks strapped on

When they get home, I'm sure they will have stories to tell.

I can't imagine what they will think about electric pencil sharpeners!?

Friday, August 9, 2013

It Seems like Yesterday

Remember this?  

This was the kids leaving Texas January 4, 2010.  Our friend Natalie brought doughnuts to the airport for the kids to eat as we checked in, which took a long time.

The airline wouldn't let us on because we didn't have a return ticket.  We had to contact our company and get a letter faxed to the airport, so that they would allow us on the plane.

We arrived in London for a layover,

And started life in Uganda.

Riding bodas became the norm

Watch dogs and a guard on the compound became a part of our life

Receiving packages was such a joy

Learning to cook in a new environment was a new challenge.

This is our house during the most recent packing marathon in June 2013.

We found a gecko behind a box in the garage
Looks like he had been "stuck" here quite a while

We brought several bags home (I'll spare you the number), and we left several behind for some wonderful people from Arkansas to carry (again, I'll spare you the number).

In case you've missed the news somewhere along the way, we will not be returning to Uganda when we come back overseas.  

The other news is that we don't know yet where we WILL be going.

So, in the meantime, feel free to follow our journeys as a family full of children who don't quite remember America, and the interesting observations they make.

Celebration and Goodbyes

In May, our colleagues had a going-away party for us at their house.

Two tents were set up.


Chairs were unloaded.

A pig was cooked.

Enya (the local food) was made.

(no picture...sorry)

People came.

Speeches were given.



Eric Allen

Rev. Alice


Food was eaten.

And pictures were taken as we visited with friends and said goodbyes.

As a side note. Pasca called me yesterday (8/8) to tell me her husband died.  Pray for her and her 4 kids.

It was so much fun to have so many friends in one place.  
Here are a few of the things that were written or told to us:

*Kathryn, when i received Dougs Message of farewell i felt am going to miss alot of thing. I started thinking about the time we had together with Doug in learning stories from the Bible and how those stories have transformed me spiritual. These days i can stand to preach the word of God withought fear beause of doug, i can preach how to get into right relationship with God through Jesus and the right Baptism and many many others i have real learned.  i have real appreciate your work may God be with you and bless you. 

 *your family has really challenged me.

     After giving me a gift, my friend said, "This is not enough.  You have given me everything.  You gave me salvation and a Bible and everything."  
     I said, "I didn't give you salvation.  God did."
     Then she said, "But you gave me life in His Word.  You taught me, encouraged me, and if I ever need anything or feel down, you have left me His Word."