Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Interesting Days

Besides our normal daily activities, we took a weekend trip to a nearby city. The kids were excited to go and look around a new place. Benjamin loved that he was able to play his DS nearly all day. A kid's dream come true. The bus ride was good and no problems.
It started out as a hazy overcast day, but the next day was beautiful. We have not seen the sun in a while, but it seems the weather is finally warming up and we are loving it.
Once we were in the other city, the kids made themselves right at home and all hid inside the tv cabinet. They wanted me to come and find them. Katherine really is in there...I had them rearrange themselves so that I could see her too (picture below).

So, this was at a museum that we visited. They used to carry the bride in this "box" through the town and then to her husband's house to live. I thought it was very interesting.
We also visited some different neighborhoods. This one turned out to be "under construction" so we had to wear hard hats when walking around.
This was the view from one of the places in the city. I love being able to see the mountains! It reminds me a little of home.
Regan ordered some fried rice and ate almost all of it.
Love this one....
Anyone want to buy a snack?
After the trip, my language teacher took me out for what we call a "life script." What that means is you do some activity together and talk about everything you saw and did (not in English of coarse) So, we went to the market together. I learned many things about language and life. So, if you are one of my squeamish readers, you can end the blog here. If you are more curious about how to pick out a good chicken to eat, then you can keep reading. (that was part of our class)
So, here are a bunch of chickens. The white ones are really expensive because it is thought that they are very healthy for your body because all of their meat is black and all of their feathers are white.
This is the chicken that was chosen. Apparently, it is a complicated process. You need to pick out a young chicken and not an old one. You have to check the color of the skin under the feathers. You have to feel their legs to see if they have good leg muscles (my terminology) because if they do then they are too old and you don't want that one. Then you want one that has never laid an egg because that means they are still young and the meat will be tender.
After you choose your chicken, they kill it for you (no pics of that...it's so sad) Then after the chicken has died, they throw it in this pot of hot water and stir it around for a bit to "clean" it and loosen the feathers.
After that, they throw it in this dryer or washer looking thing with screws sticking out of it. It spins the chicken round and rund and literally takes off all the feathers within a minute or two. Then we got to tak the thing home on the bus. We gave half to our neighbor and the other half our Ayi will use. It was definately an interesting day.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Women's Day

So, it was International Women's Day and they actually celebrate it. I thought that kind of thing was just on a calendar :) Aparently many places actually give women the day off to go shop and have fun with their friends. Who knew! The day before the holiday, Katherine's school had a special day for all the moms, aunts, and grandmas. Katherine was supposed to bring a picture of just me and her to her school. They never told me about this...I was only told about a drawing that we were supposed to do together...but she was right. Her teachers needed 2 pictures of us with no one else in them. I was actually really happy that Katherine understands so much. One day she's going to come out of her shy little shell and sound just like a local! :)
One of our other pictures...
I have to say that I have never seen hotdogs in a jar before, but nevertheless, these claim to be real American hot dogs. I still wasn't brave enough to try them (let alone fork out the money for them). I was just excited to see something so American on a shelf in the store. Maybe they will still have them when the 4th of July rolls around :)
Benjamin is playing his DS and Lauren is taking good notes so that she can sneak his DS while he is at school and play it.
So, this was a new little friend that came to play with Regan on Saturday. It was quite the play date. She and her mom came over for a while and we talked and got to know each other. Then my neighbor came over and we all talked some more. Then another knock on the door and it was a hall way full of guests for my neighbor, so she left but the little 3 yr old girl wanted to come in and play. So, she walked right on in and her family went to my neighbors house. A few minutes later, another knock at the door, and it was a few of Regan's local friends. They came right on in and started playing. We had quite the houseful. They were playing games, painting, doing crafts, watching Dora in Chinese, and just playing with whatever they could. It was a lot of fun.
Someone brought us ALL of these strawberries to eat! YUM! I have never seen so many stawberries in this country. We searched for months last year and could not find them. We have found them since then but only really small ones. I felt like I should have been selling these out on the street I had so many. We were able to share and freeze some, too. (I'm trying to plan ahead this year for my American flag cake)
Lauren got her first birthday card. She is showing off her 3 US dollars for turnign 3 years old (soon).
Her card also had a punch out Minnie Mouse crown. Too cute!
We also got a care package in the mail. The kids were so excited about everything (Benjamin is below do a his happy dance) We just love all the orange that has managed to stay in our family. We may live far away, but we are trainign our kids to be Volunteers :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Long Celebration

It's my birthday! Well, it was! I have two weeks worth of stuff to cover :) I still can't believe that we ran across Magic Shell of all things, but sometimes you just have to splurge when you see such rare and fun items. We celebrated my birthday early since we were going to be traveling out of the country on my actual birthday.
I really enjoyed my made completely from scratch red velvet cake and my delicious vanilla ice cream topped with magic shell. What a fun start to a long birthday celebration!
Before we left we also received a birthday package that had my bday, Lauren's bday, and Benjamin's bday in it. I got some much needed things and some fun things! It was a lot of fun.
Lauren's birthday is next and she opened up a little baby doll with a paci and bottle and diapers. She has not put it down. She loves babies, so it was perfect for her.
Benjamin was next and was so excited to get a bunch of Scooby Doo cartoons. We literally had a Scooby Doo Marathan at our house. :)
We then started packing to leave the country for a week. We tried some new dramamine patches for Benjamin. He got sick on the last two trips either on the plane or in the back of a van. He does ok on short trips, but not the long ones. It worked pretty good. No problems going and only a little coming home.
The hotel we stayed in was NOT built for tall people. Jonathan's not THAT tall, but he came so close to the ceilings and actually hit his head once. I was afraid Lauren might get a bump in the head too. Actually, I was more nervous about the low railings and our rooms being on the 7th floor.
So, on my actual birthday Regan and I went on an adventure. We rode in a tuktuk to a night market and did some souvenier shopping. We didn't really find too much, but had a fun time together.
the night market
At the market, there were people who made all sorts of handicrafts. We enjoyed looking at them all. We did not speak the language, so I think they were giving us the foreigner price on a lot of things (which is one reason we did not buy much) but we did find some cute little keychains, a skirt and a new backpack.
The kids enjoyed getting to swim in the pool. They can't wait for ours to open, but I don't think it will be until May.
I just love best bud pictures...
more best buds...
On the way home, the airport had beautiful real flowers. All the kids wated pictures by them :)
So that was week one...and now I will try to sumarize week 2. To summarize you must learn a new word....mafan. It literally means trouble. In English, we would say I don't want to bother you (here we say mafan you) or we would say that was a lot of trouble to to something. It's really a great little word because it can be used in so many situations.
Week 2: We are coming home from the airport and we are about 10 minutes form the house when Lauren starts throwing up in the van. There's just not much you can do at that point but get out at the apartment complex and give the guy a tip and say sorry for the mafan.
We get to bed and wake up the next morning to realize that we have been gone for a week and the weather had cause many things in our house to get molded....mafan.
Later that day, the worst "sweating" of the walls I have seen since we have lived here. Our entire apartment was covered in water (not moisture...water)...mafan! We began the battle by sweeping up water several times a day, turning on all the fans, and drying walls with towels.
The next day, we realized that the wall behind the shoe rack was still wet and now some of the shoes were growing mold. So, we have spent several days inspecting, cleaning, throwing away, and doing whatever we can to keep things dry.
So far so good. The weather seems to be getting better and according to our local friends it should continue to improve. Although, I was told today that I have to wear a jacket until April (even if it is 90 degrees outside..haha) I told my friend that that's the easiest way to spot a foreigner right now....all the ones with no jackets!