Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Walk to the Fruit Stand

I thought I'd take you on a walk to the vegetable/fruit stand today.  

The one I frequent the most is right across eight busy lanes from my neighborhood.

We live on the road across the street that runs between those two tall buildings (behind the left palm tree).

If you look to the far right, you can see the foot bridge.  This is what I choose to use most days instead of playing Frogger with traffic.

Here's a better picture of the foot bridge.

Then I go down those covered stairs next to that building construction.

And walk to the corner (where the dirt pile is).

When I cross the street, this is what welcomes me.

Isn't that beautiful?

I love all the colors.

The bags are hanging from the tree branches, so you just fill all the individual sacks you want, and then take them to the blue scale which is on the ground in the front right hand side of the picture.

A man totals up what you owe him; you pay; and you walk home happy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Lunch at the Painter's

 Doug received a call last week from the man that had painted our house back in March.  

He and his wife invited us to lunch.  

Doug explained that three of our kids were in school, but that Keira, he, and I would come.

We walked about a mile, and were welcomed with this beautiful sight.

We wondered who else might be coming for lunch.

Apparently, it was supposed to be our kids. 

Here, the kids go to school six days a week, either half a day in the morning or half a day in the afternoon.

He assumed that since our kids were in school in the morning when he called that they would be out by lunch time.


Guess who got to take home all the leftovers with a bunch of dishes she has to fill and return :)

We stayed for two and a half hours, and Doug and I managed the entire meal in the local language!  They were a fun couple.

Yeah for progress!

(The truth is, if this were language like French or Italian or Turkish that doesn't change when you travel from place to place, we might be a little further along.  As it is, our language helper speaks one dialect, and he teaches us in his local dialect.  Our friends across the street have a language helper that comes from a town 25 miles down the road, and she uses totally different words for everything.  Then, our friends around the corner, have another language helper from a town an hour away, and they are learning different words for everything as well.  People also mix in Arabic whenever they feel like it, so basically, we have to learn about 3 words for everything, because you never know what dialect you will come up against in any conversation.  It's a slow process...)

After lunch, Doug, Keira, and I walked a mile back to the house, and when we reached our gate, I realized I had left my purse at the home of the painter. 

So, I turned around and got some more exercise for the day.

On the way home, I took a different route, and I happened to run into this house again.

I showed you a picture of it here, but I promised you a better one when I could get it.

So there you go.  That's a typical "yard" here.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Thanksgiving in the Middle East

Well, it's been six years since our first Thanksgiving overseas.  I love that no matter where you are in the world, there are other Americans to gather with to make it a special holiday.

Another treat was that my kids got out of school on Thanksgiving Day.  They attend a school that has "American" in the title, so they were the only kids in the city with a holiday.  Kylie was sick, and Keira was recovering from her recent illness, so I took Karis and Caleb to the movies.

Our family celebrated the "food part" the next day (Friday) when all the other American kids were off.  But, of course, we're always off on Fridays because it is the Sabbath here.

A couple from a fellowship in Texas came to visit a single lady from their membership, and they brought little happies for everyone PLUS real Thanksgiving/Fall decorations!  It was so much nicer than anything I would have ever done!

The kids went through the line first.

The spread had rotisserie chicken instead of turkey, and the only local food was a pile of naan (flat bread) on the table. 

We played a rousing game of Thanksgiving trivia.

What year did the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade begin?
What character was the first inflatable in the parade?
Which two football teams play a game each year on Thanksgiving?
What is a scripture that talks about "thanks"?

After dinner, we all went to the second floor for dessert.

Pumpkin rolls, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, mousse cups, lemon custard cups, red velvet crinkle cookeis, cheese cake, etc.  A lot of people went to a lot of trouble making these homemade goodies.  I know one lady was cleaning out and cooking pumpkins a month ago in preparation. 

I, on the other hand, bought pumpkins a month ago so we could have some fall-ish decorations.

Each kid had the freedom to do as they chose.

Karis on the left (she loves drawing emojis); and Kylie on the right.

Keira on the left (I drew the face, and she completed the look); and Caleb on the right (he never got around to decorating his, so I took the liberty for painting it for him ;)

I hope the cooler temperatures are coming your way, and I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving.

Can you believe it's December already?

There is no sign of Christmas here. 

No decorations.

No commercials.

No red and green.

No lights. 

No trees.

No music in the stores.

No hint that the celebration is near.

Much like Bethlehem 2000 years ago.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Conversation Class

Recently, I had the privilege of substituting at the language center in an Intermediate Conversation class.

I haven't taught in a classroom since Kylie was born (if you don't count a 10 minute Algebra lesson I gave in an African village).

Kylie, in fact, went with me when I substituted, because she said even though I had been her teacher since Kindergarten, she had never seen me teach in a classroom.

I loved every minute of it.  I didn't realize how much I missed it.

The "conversation topic" for the night was "fear."  It was a two hour class, and we covered a lot of ground.  We role-played, teamed up for a game, let them give presentations on their previous class topic of "Utopia," watched two short videos, and just talked.

Their Utopia presentations were insightful into the culture.  To see what was "perfection" to them in a society was interesting.  In all presentations, money was not needed because everything was free, and all presentations said oil would be nowhere in their land.  I guess they see it as a big problem for their current homeland.  And as for money, in a place where SO many people are not getting paid, this is on the forefront of their minds.

(As a side note, our language helper who went back to work in September in his field of engineering, still hasn't been paid for one day of labor, even though he says he's "sure" they will pay him eventually.)

Back to class.

After the "fear" game, where they came up with 23 fears, we brain-stormed a longer list of fears, and I wrote them on the board so they could copy down any words they weren't familiar with and ask any questions they might have.

It should be interesting for you to see that many of their fears are the same as yours, but it's also interesting to see some of the ones you would never think of...