Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Day of 2007

It's New Year's Eve, again.  Last year we spent the holiday at the Tanjung Lesung Sailing Club. It was a wonderful, amazing, almost magical holiday.  We thought about heading down for the New Year's but decided we could never recreate the experience, especially with so many of our friends from last year now gone from Jakarta. This year we are just hanging out at home. 

David and I ended up driving all over Jakarta today searching for black eyed peas since the commissary is out and I just gotta have them tomorrow (for good luck).  We finally found them at Caswell's Mom's  in Kemang.  I really hope there is something to all this "good luck and prosperity in the new year if you eat them on New Year's Day" bit because these will be the most expensive black eyed peas I have ever eaten.  Sometimes things that are cheap at home are very expensive overseas.  If  you really want it you just buy it without too much thought about the price.  I guess that explains the jar of caramel vanilla coffee creamer that I payed almost $8 for last week. Still cheaper than Starbucks considering it will make a couple of dozen yummy cups of coffee.


While we were driving David took some pictures of the street venders selling noise makers for New Year's. The bright colors looked so fun that we stopped and bought some to take home to the boys.  Tonight at bedtime we let the boys make a New Year's toast (Sprite and cherries in a fancy glass) and blow on their noise makers.  Cody took his noise maker to a friends party where the teenagers are hanging out to ring in 2008.  I hope her parents are talking to me tomorrow.  Those things are seriously loud!

Grayson is helping us wait up for Cody because the fireworks outside are keeping him awake. Fireworks are not only legal here in the city, they are sold in the grocery stores.  Grayson is terrified of loud noises (rainy season storms have been fun) but I think he is sort of milking it tonight to get away with staying up late. Maybe he will sleep later than 5:15 tomorrow morning. 

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Family Photo


Here is our family photo taken Christmas morning. To see the "other" family photo click here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Selamat Natal & Tahun Baru


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (Indonesian Style)
We saw this on our way to the Embassy and thought it was funny how the commercial west influences the east... even in a country where 90% of the population is Muslim.

Hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Idul Adha


Today the animals are gone from the street side in Jakarta but a week ago on a drive from our house to the high school we passed cows and goats standing patiently in stalls and empty lots all along the way. Last year I managed to be oblivious to the influx of livestock, perhaps because our car still hadn't arrived so my explorations of Jakarta were very limited. I saw a buffalo in the kampung area near my house and few goats tied at the end of the street but that was about it. This year I realized there are a lot of animals being sacrificed for Idul Adha. It really is a BIG deal. Much more than just another day off for my driver and pembantu.


What is Idul Adha? If you are like most Americans you may not have even heard of this Muslim holiday or you may have a vague idea that this is the time of the Haj, when Muslims from all over the world descend on Mecca. Curious David asked Haryono and I googled Idul Adha. Here is what we found out:
  • Every Muslim is supposed to make the Haj at least once in a lifetime. Idul Adha marks the end of the Haj.
  • The animals I saw are bought by individuals, families, or groups and on the morning of Idul Adha they are slaughtered and the meat is donated to the poor. For many poor here in Jakarta this may be the only time of the year they get to eat meat.
  • The slaughter of animals is done in remembrance of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael.
  • The date of Idul Adha varies from year to year and is based on a lunar calendar that is 11 days shorter then the western calendar. Last year it was on New Year's Eve, 10 years from now it will be on September 1st.
  • If you are squeamish DO NOT go for a drive on the morning of Idul Adha, we did and ended up saying "Hey look at that....over there!" to keep the kids from seeing the gore. The animals are slaughtered publicly. We did not take pictures as this is a religious event, to take pictures seemed intrusive and disrespectful.
I hope I have all the basic facts correct. If not just comment and I will fix it. I find learning about cultures other than my own to be the best part of living overseas. I try to keep an open mind.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Expat Life

Conversations among ex-pats in Jakarta this time of year all start the same way. "Where are you going for the holidays?" I have lost count of the number of times I have answered this question in the last two weeks. Everywhere I go: the grocery store, the swimming pool, even the salon it's the same question: "Where are you going for the holidays?"

Most seem taken aback when I tell them we are staying here in Jakarta. I have run into only a few others who are staying here. Most are heading home, where ever that may be,  to share  the holidays with family.  I can certainly understand this. If it didn't take 2 days to get home from here (not to mention a small fortune in airfare) I would consider it too. Those who can't take the time off to go home seem to be heading to Singapore or Bali. We will be staying here and enjoying our time together as a family since David will finally be home after several very long weeks in Bali.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Wolfie

This weekend we were very happy to have Wolfie from Alonzo's class visit our family. Alonzo had a lot of fun doing things with Wolfie and writing about it in Wolfie's Journal. Wolfie visits each student in Ms. Wolff's class. Each student then writes an entry in Wolfie's special journal so the rest of the class can share in his adventures. We were a little sad that David wasn't here to meet Wolfie but perhaps he will visit the school someday soon and introduce himself to Wolfie.


Here Alonzo and Wolfie read some of the older entries in Wolfie's Journal made by his other friends from school.


Wolfie kept Alonzo company while he practiced piano. Alonzo is working on a special song to surprise his Dad when he comes back home next weekend. He is getting pretty good.


Wolfie joined us for dinner, one of Alonzo's favorites, Southwest bean soup and cornbread with butter and honey. Wolfie was careful not to let his paws get all sticky from the honey.


Wolfie even slept with Alonzo in his bunk bed. He thinks it is very comfortable and cool to sleep up so high.

Wolfie didn't want Colin to feel left out so he spent a little time in his bed too. Alonzo didn't even know he was gone. Wolfie can be very quiet.


Wolfie introduced himself to our cats but the cats weren't sure what to think about him. He looks a little like the German shepherd next door that is always trying to eat them. Fluffy did finally decide that Wolfie was OK, for a canine.


Alonzo discovered a small hole just above Wolfie's tail so I performed minor surgery. All is well now but Wolfie found this to be a hair raising experience.

We would like to thank Wolfie for his visit. We all enjoyed it very much. He is always welcome at our home.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Out the Window of a Plane


David and I were on a plane Tuesday when I glanced out the window and saw mountains. I had my usual reaction, being from relatively flat south central Texas, "Hey Cool! Look at the mountains." I am a bit of a mountain junkie.  I am waiting to stand on my first "real" mountain.  I have been to the Smokey Mountains, Big Bend, and of course the Texas Hill country.  All are rugged and beautiful but they are not "real" mountains.  I want towering cliffs, glaciers, snow capped peaks.  The Rockies, the Andes, the Himalayas, the Alps. You know REAL mountains. 

After pressing my face to the window like a 8 year old I said, "They look like volcanoes, look that one even looks like it's smoking.  

Dave said sorta slow, like maybe I'm not that smart, "Umm babe, it is smoking."

GULP!  Is it really a good idea to fly over a smoking volcano??  

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Busy Busy Weekend!

Whew I meant to up date the blog earlier this week but last several days have been crazy.

First I got hit by a stomach bug on Thanksgiving. About 2 o'clock my tummy suddenly cramped by 3:30 I was praying to the porcelain god for a quick death. David took over the cooking. At 5 I managed to make it to the dinner table but I couldn't eat. By dessert I was done for the day. Friday passed in a blur, mostly I slept although I did manage to wake up long enough to spill Gatorade in the piano. By dinner time Friday I was feeling better and was hungry, very hungry. I ate my thanksgiving dinner a day late but it was yummy all the same. David is a very good cook!

Saturday after the Yamaha music repairman finished mopping up the Gatorade, David and I went to the opening of the Ken Pattern art exhibition at Galeri Hadiprana. Ken Pattern is an amazing artist here in Jakarta. He is Canadian but resides here part of the year. He is best know for his stone lithographs that capture the extreme contrasts between modern life and the traditional life in the kampung areas. He also creates stunning acrylics. We enjoyed seeing his new works as they were revealed to the public for the first time.

After lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant Din Tai Fung and headed for the grocery store but stopped to check out the new One Pacific Place the new Ritz Carlton. WOW All I can say is WOW. This is so much more than a hotel. It is a city. It's own city. There are three high rise towers-- hotel, apartments, and business space, connected by what has to be the biggest mall I have ever seen. Most of the stores weren't even open yet but it was seriously overwhelming. The 2 story food court on the is themed as a board walk area complete with lighthouse, water, and moored sailboats. At the very top there was even a children's amusement park Kidzmania

That evening David and the kids surprised me with my birthday present. I say surprised because my birthday is Wednesday but David and I will be in Bali and he wanted to celebrate with the kids. I am thrilled with my pretty blue guitar. Now I just have to learn to play it!


Sunday was more laid back.We rearranged the living room and took the kids for a swim. Then after lunch David and I walked to Kinokuniya bookstore to buy a how to play guitar book. On the way David took pictures along our walk, perhaps inspired by yesterday's art exhibit. After dinner we set up the Christmas tree. Usually we would wait to set it up until about the 10th but David will be in Bali for several weeks (I have to come home after just 2 days) and I wanted everyone here when we set up the tree. We ended the day with the Grinch Christmas cartoon. It was a very nice way to end a busy weekend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Seven & Seven

Thank you Jae, for tagging Shannon! We have never been tagged before either. Shannon thought it would be kool for both of us to do the 7&7. We are excited and hope we can get others to play also.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself
4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.


Dave
1. I like bad jokes.
Man 1: Do you know I what saw?
Man 2: No. What did you see?
Man 1: I did not see anything, but I saw a piece of wood right in two.
Man 2: LOL Ha Ha Ha
2. Did not learn to read until I was in 5th grade
3. My wife and I met in the 9th grade, but we did not date until 2 years after our 10 year reunion. Yes we graduated from the same school, same year, 1986
4. I am 5 of 9
5. My wife is forcing me to do this… ok not really
6. I have circumnavigated the continent of North America during which time I ran around the world in less than 2 minutes and stood on the geographic North Pole
7. With as much as I would love to have a daughter, in this day and age, I am not only thankful, but grateful I have four boys

Shannon
  1. I lived in (or near) San Antonio for the first 38 years of my life.  Now I live in Indonesia and am moving to Germany next year.  Until we got on the plane to fly here I had never even been outside the US (unless you count border towns like Nuevo Laredo and Juarez.) now I have a ton of frequent flyer miles ( I HATE to fly)
  2. I have a maid and a driver, I have a staff! No, I am not rich (by American standards), my husband works for Department of State, and I am a stay at home mom, by the standards of the average Indonesian we are rolling in it. Weird world!
  3. I taught elementary school for 7 years.  Now I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, maybe a writer.
  4. I met my husband in high school but I knew all about him and his family because my best friend in 6th grade had a massive crush on his older brother(s).  We did not date until a few years after our 10-year high school reunion.  We e-mailed for a while and after some interference by the same friend started dating.  Thank you Kari!
  5. I like beer, dark beer, my husband hates all beer.  I am going to love Germany! David is the permanent designated driver.                       
  6. I am a dog person, really, I love dogs.  We have two cats, one of which thinks he is a dog and is trying to crawl into my lap as I am typing this.  He used to go for walks around the neighborhood with me and the boys, back in Texas.  Funny cat.
  7. I am the only female in the house, I have four boys (15, 7, 6 and 3) and a husband.  Even the cats are boys!  HELP ME! 

Monday, November 19, 2007

David's All Time Favorite Commercial!

Here in Asia we see a totally different set of commercials than we did back in the states. For the most part they look strangely familiar, nothing new or terribly different, just the names have been changed. There is one exception. One commercial which never fails to bring David to a halt just to watch. He must have seen this commercial at least a 1000 times by now but he still laughs out loud every time. Here for your enjoyment is that video.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day of Pampering: Part 2

Lest you think that Mom has all the fun, the boys got their chance at being pampered today.

Today was a short day at school so they were home by 11:30. I loaded them into the van and headed off to Kemang for haircuts. Not just any haircuts but haircuts while watching Tom and Jerry, each on their own private video screen, a shampoo, a toy AND a coloring book with colors to take home when we were done. All three boys 165,000rp (less than $20). Some things you just gotta love about Jakarta!



There goes Colin's hair! Look at that pile of hair in his lap, and there was more on the floor. By the time they finished with all three boys it looked like someone had shaved a golden retriever, there was so much blond hair on the floor.



"Ohhh, that feels good! Mom should bring us here to get our hair washed all the time!" Even Grayson sat to have his hair shampooed with out screaming. If Alonzo and Colin did it then it is good enough for him. He never wants to be left out.








Here's the after shot, don't we look handsome?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is that day of the year we stop to remember those who have served to protect our great nation. Please take a moment out of your busy day to remember those who chose to serve and protect. When you see a man or women in uniform please shake his or her hand and just say “thank you”. That is all they need to hear. In the six years that I spent on active duty and the six years I spent in the reserves I can’t remember a single time that anyone ever uttered those words.

All of those that served and wonder this way…“Thank you”. For all of those who had a family member serve and made the ultimate sacrifice…”God be with you”.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Day of Pampering

Tomorrow is the Marine Corps Ball, so what's a girl to do but to do but head to the salon for the works. Today was great, an awesome experience, but a bit surreal for this Texas girl. I found myself with 3 others ensconced in our salon chairs, sipping diet coke and chatting about...well the things women chat about when their husbands aren't around.

While I was relaxing and enjoying conversation and talking to my friends a very nice lady was trimming, filing and buffing my toenails, removing callouses (not that I would have such a thing) and basically making my feet look pretty. She also provided an excellent foot and calf massage before painting my toenails a very pretty shade of dark sparkly pink. Basically she gave me a first rate pedicure. It was wonderful, but wait that's not all....

At the same time I was getting my pedicure another lovely lady was filing and buffing my fingernails, trimming my cuticles, as well as massaging my hands and arms all the way to the shoulder and then painting my fingernails to match my toes. In short, my first ever (but hopefully not last) professional salon manicure...wait still not done...

Now remember there are four of us. We are sitting close enough together to chat while we enjoy this treatment and getting manicures and pedicures all at the same time. Getting the picture yet? Each of us has her own chair, each of us has a woman at our feet working away, each of us has a woman working on our hands, we have the drinks of our choice and good friends to talk to. We are the picture of spoiled. What more could any woman possibly want? A cream bath, of course.

What's a cream bath??? Oh lordy are you missing out! If we could get something like this in the states for less than our weekly grocery bill women would go hungry just to have this done every week, if not everyday. First you get your hair washed, usually my favorite part of a haircut. Next a very nice lady plops a bunch of good smelling deep conditioner onto your head and proceeds to spend the next 15 to 20 minutes massaging your scalp. Then eventually she wraps your head in a hot moist towel and while the conditioner does it's job she massages your neck, shoulders and upper back for about 30 minutes. Next a quick touch up massage of the scalp just in case you have tensed up while she was rubbing your back. Then she pops one of those big old fashioned hair dryer things over your head but instead of blowing hot dry air this one gently steams the conditioner into your hair. Meanwhile she is now scrubbing your shoulders, neck, and upper back back with warm moist towels to remove any left over massage lotion, wouldn't want to stain the clothes later, would we? Eventually there is another round of hair washing followed by a blow dry and styling and a cut if needed.

So there you have it four women sitting surrounded by not 1, not 2, but 3 women each, all working on hands, or feet or hair plus a 4th each for the shampoo. It sort of resembled a well-oiled nascar pit crew.

What would you pay for luxury like this? Manicure, pedicure, cream bath, but no hair cut today. Well if you live in Jakarta the bill would be around 338,000 rupiah, plus a tip for each of the ladies bringing the bill to around 400,000 rupiah. How much in dollars? Well currently $1 = 9100 rupiah. You do the math.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

America We Need a National Costume!

Why you ask, does the United States need a national costume? Because those of us who spend our time overseas working for embassies, consulates, USAID and the like send our children to international schools and once a year they host a UN day. All the children are asked to come to school dressed in the national outfit of their various countries. Everyone looks so nice. There are the wonderful colors of Indian saris, the intricate patterns of Indonesian batiks, the vibrant silks of Asia shown off in the Korean hanbok, Japanese kimono and Chinese cheongsam. Europe was represented with the vibrant Scottish tartan, Spanish Flamenco dresses, and even German lederhosen. What do Americans wear? Well for the most part we look like a 4th of July parade gone astray, with a few cowboys and native Americans (mostly blond for some reason) and this year one lone Lady Liberty thrown in the bunch. To be completely fair the Aussies, Kiwis and Canadians have similar problems. The Australians mostly dress as sports fans showing their favorite teams colors many also sport the "Aussie hat" (David is often mistaken for an Aussie when wearing his hat), New Zealanders do likewise, while the Canadians plaster themselves head to toe with red maple leaves.


More importantly the children spend the week learning about the cultures of the other students. Jakarta International School (JIS) has children from over 50 different nations coming together to work, learn, and play together, just like kids everywhere. This year's UN day at Pattimura Elementary was held on Friday November 2nd. Parents came to school earlier this week to teach about different holidays, I did my turn presenting Thanksgiving while other 2nd grade parents taught about Divali and Idul Fitri. Parents also brought traditional foods to a food festival where kids could get their Pattimura passports stamped after sampling a dish from a country. Colin collected 13 stamps, and Alonzo collected 14 stamps, way to go guys. The week ended with a UN Day Concert followed by a parade of nations.

video

One of the big themes at JIS is creating responsible world citizens. Children are encouraged to recognize problems in the world around them and help work on solutions. Unlike schools in the states most of the fund raisers here at JIS support various charities such as Tolong Anak Anak, which helps homeless Indonesian children with a safe place to live and a chance at education. Even some of the songs selected for the UN Day concert reflect this goal. I found one song performed by the prep seniors (kinder), first, and second graders particularly moving.

Share Your Goodwill
By Teresa Jennings

When you have some food to eat,
When you have a coat to keep you warm,
And shoes upon your feet,
Remember there are people not as fortunate as you.
Remember they might need your help,
You know what you can do.
When you have a place to sleep at night,

You can share your good will.
Oh, share your good will,
Keep in mind humankind,
And share your goodwill.
















When you have a school to teach you things,
When you have a chance to learn,
When you have a job, a livelihood,
A way for you to earn,
Remember there are people not as fortunate as you.
Remember they might need your help.
You know what you can do.

The concert lasted for about an hour. It involved children ranging from prep junior (pre-kinder ) all the way to 5th grade. All of the children behaved beautifully. Songs from a variety of countries were performed in many languages. We even had a surprise appearance by not 1 but 2 JIS Dragons, if you look close you can spot them dancing with 4th and 5th graders in one of the pictures above. Most of the concert was performed by a few grade levels at a time but for the final number all the children were brought back together for one last song We Can Make A Difference presented in the video below. Enjoy the bit of the concert in the videos above and below, UN Day is truly a moving, hopeful experience.

video

Monday, November 5, 2007

Life is Good

We have a new internet provider, it is supposed to be much faster than anything we have had in Jakarta before now. So far so good. I have been unable to get streaming audio until now. The connection was just too slow. Now I am listening to Y100 San Antonio's country music station while I am typing this post. I am happily getting a much needed country music fix, however I must say Dwi seems unimpressed by the "new" music. She came in this morning, cleaned the kitchen then scooted Grayson outside in short order.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Where are we going next?


This is where we are going next. The first person to leave the correct location will receive a free beer when they come to visit us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Grayson

video

If you listen closely at the beginning you will hear Grayson singing a solo “Happy Birthday to You!” He was a little tired of waiting while the adults made sure everything was ready: candles lit, plates ready, camera on, party guests all present…he wanted his song and his cake and he wanted it right now!

The party went very well. It is the first kids party we have thrown here at the house. Until now we have been letting the very competent party planners at the American Club handle all the details, but that just seems impersonal somehow. This time we decided to do what we have always done, throw the party at home. It turns out to be a bit harder to organize a party if you don’t speak the language of the country where you are living but we managed somehow. I made the cake, David ordered a bouncer and Cody designed the invitations. David BBQ hot dogs (does that count as BBQ?), Cody kept the little ones busy and I chopped fruits and vegies to add something healthy to the table. It went so well I can hardly wait until the next party.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Like Riding a Bike!


OK for me, maybe easier than riding a bike considering that I broke both arms flipping my bike a few years back. This is the first cake I have decorated since we have moved to Jakarta over a year ago. The American Club makes really good cakes and I admit to being just plain lazy. If you want to see the finished cake you will just have to check back tomorrow to see the party pictures. Me I need to finish this cake so I can go to bed, it is getting pretty late!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

oleh-oleh

There is a custom in Indonesia that when you travel you should bring a gift of food or souvenir from your travels. This gift is to show gratitude and thanks for everything that you have done for the individual that gives the gift. This gift is referred to as oleh-oleh. Tonight I received a call from Pak Haryono who asked if he could come over. I wasn’t sure what to think. He came to our home with his wife and two young boys. They were bearing gifts from their kampung. They brought us Bakpia from Yogyakarta and battered fried peanuts that Haryono’s wife made. His kids and our kids overcame the language barrier and played for an hour. Then sadly it was time for Pak and his family to head home. I am deeply honored that Pak Haryono shared his family with mine and that he gave us oleh-oleh.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fear Factor Indonesia


Monday evening Alonzo asked if he could bring home some mealworms to show me what they are doing in science class. I said "Sure, why not?" Oops My Bad!

Today he showed up with a small fish tank filled with hundreds of mealworms. It turns out that we are babysitting all of the mealworm larva and beetles from the science center for the entire Idul Fitri holiday. Suddenly my house has turned into Fear Factor Indonesia!

I asked Alonzo what he has learned about the mealworms. Here is what he has learned:
1. Mealworms are stinky.
2. When they turn into a beetle they cannot fly.
3. When they are a larva they do not have wings, and they have sections, and they have a big bum.
4. When they turn into beetles they are called Darkling Beetles.
5. Those little things are called pupa.
6. They are super super super stinky and they are "non-cat-eatable" because they are super stinky .***
7. When you grab the pupa’s tail it will wiggle around.
***Mom says we will keep the lid on anyway because I do not want to explain to the entire class why Fluffy ate their creepy crawlies.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

tiny frat boy strikes again



Carrot cake this time! Carrots are good for your eyes, right??

While I was loading his brothers on the bus one morning last week the tiny frat boy got a butter knife (thank goodness it wasn't a steak knife), dragged a chair into the kitchen, climbed up, opened the cake dome, cut a slice of cake then took just the top layer with all the frosting to the table to eat. He is getting too smart for his own good.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

tiny frat boy

Grayson escaped down the stairs this morning while I was getting dressed. By the time I finished dressing (don't want to flash the driver) and ran downstairs Grayson had helped himself to breakfast. As I came around the corner looking for him he ran by shouting "PIZZA" and waving a half eaten slice of cold pepperoni pizza. He must be practicing to be a frat boy.

Being the good mommy that I am I decided cold pizza wasn't so bad as a breakfast. After all millions of college students eat it all the time. Pizza has bread, dairy, and a meat, so I added a few strawberries and a glass of milk to balance it out and sooth my guilty conscious then made him sit down at the table. Can't have pizza prints on my pretty walls David painted this summer.

Ahh!! The breakfast of champions! Life is good.

Monday, October 1, 2007

karambol


Karambol is a game the drivers play while waiting for hours in the embassy parking lot. Today Pak Haryono and I went to Pasar Santa (pasar means market) and bought a karambol board. When we got it home he showed Colin how to play. It is similar to a game of pool except on a smaller board. You flick a disk with your finger to try and knock other disks into the holes on the corner of the board. Later Dwi played a game with Colin and Alonzo. Fun!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

FInal List

Our final list was submitted to The-Powers-That-Be in DC Monday morning. Now all we can do is wait and see where they will send us. When you receive the bid list, the Career Development Officer (CDO) reiterates that you can be sent to any post on the list, regardless of how you rank the posts. In practice however most people get one of their top ten picks. So here’s our top 10:

The Hague, Netherlands
Frankfurt, Germany
Berlin, Germany
Vienna, Austria
Geneva, Switzerland
Lima, Peru
Mexico City, Mexico
Santiago, Chile
Toronto, Canada
Managua, Nicaragua

The next step is to hurry up and wait. The CDO will submit his three choices from our list to medical and get a "yes" or "no" answer as to whether we can go there. This is because we have a class II medical clearance in our family. After speaking with medical at our current post we do not anticipate any problems with any of the top 10.

In selecting these 10 from the 35 posts on the list given to us, we had many factors that we had to take into consideration. They include but are not limited to: adequate schooling for the three oldest kids, outdoor activities, the actual job description for Dave, the ability for family and friends to come and visit (and for us to go home), availability of medical care, and most important NOT ASIA.

After we submitted the list to the CDO he told us that we should know our next post assignment in early December. But we will not get the official cable from SECSTATE until Dave has what they call paneled. That will not be until early January. Therefore we cannot make any plans for next summer until we get the cable and our next post has approved Dave’s summer schedule.

Please feel free to leave comments. Let us know of the top ten, which one is your favorite.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rockin' and Rollin'


Once again a major Earthquake rocked Jakarta today. The last time was early morning August 8th. I slept right through it, although I had a friend who said she was awoken by the sound of her chandeliers rattling. I figured “No chandeliers! That's why I didn't wake up.” This time I felt nothing even though it happened in the middle of the afternoon while I was wide-awake. Hi-rise buildings here and in Singapore swayed and were evacuated. I think the height of the buildings must amplify the effects of the earthquake. Maybe if I was sitting at the table staring at a glass of water I would have seen the water move. I'm not complaining though, I am perfectly happy to have lived through a 7.9 magnitude earthquake and felt nothing.

There are tsunami warnings this time affecting the Indian Ocean, for those who are geography impaired that is the south side of the archipelago. Jakarta is located on the north side of the island. While we are discussing geography, the epicenter of the earthquake was located in Bengkulu Province, Southern Sumatra, several hundred miles away so it wasn’t really in Jakarta. More the distance of San Antonio to Lubbock.

UPDATE - Thursday morning



The earth is still restless. Aftershocks all evening and into the morning. Any one of the aftershocks would qualify as a pretty major earthquake. This morning the news is reporting yesterdays earthquake as stronger than originally thought, as high as 8.4 magnitude. The news is also reporting some pretty major damage, injuries and casualties, but how bad it is depends on which channel you are watching. I don't have enough Bahasa Indonesia to watch the local news so no help there. I am probably watching the same CNN broadcast here that you are in the states.

There has been another quake in excess of 7.0 this morning and another tsunami warning for the Indian Ocean. At what point is a quake a quake not just another aftershock? Is there a magic number? Things that make you go hmmm...Still haven't felt a thing here, thank goodness.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Everything Old Is New Again

Today Dave and I saw Rush Hour 3. We have a special fondness for the Rush Hour movies since it was after watching the original that David proposed. We were supposed to see something romantic that day, but romantic didn't work out. One of the best thing about our relationship has always been our ability to laugh together, so it is appropriate that Rush Hour became "our" movie. We enjoyed laughing at the antics of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker as much today as we did 9 years ago.

This evening Dakota came to me with an assignment for his English 2 class. He asked me to listen to the lyrics of a song and make sure he had them written down correctly. He explained that they were starting a unit on poetry and Mr. Hara had asked the students to bring in the lyrics to their favorite songs. I put the headphones on my head, turned on the ipod, and smiled. Coming through the head phones I heard the very familiar refrain "Sweet dreams are made of these, who am I to disagree..." In a strange twist of fate Cody had chosen the lyrics to one of my favorite songs from my high school days, of course back then it was sung by the Eurythmics. I can't believe I am saying this but I like at least one song by Marilyn Manson, he did a good cover.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bid List Top 5

Okay after reading hundreds of pages of post reports and educational reports on schools. Shannon and I have finally narrowed down our top five choices for our next assignment. The number one spot was the easiest because we had done plenty of research on this post and already knew that if it were on the list it would be number one. Our number four choice was a surprise to both Shannon and me. At first glance when you look at the list there seems to be a lot of really cool places. But it is not until you do the research that you find that some of the cool places would be neat to visit but not to live, at least for us. Drum Roll Please…..

1. The Hague, Netherlands
2. Vienna, Austria
3. Berlin, Germany
4. Taipei, Taiwan
5. Buenos Aires, Argentina

As you can see from the comments on the previous post, no one told us what they thought our top five would be. Well two people did e-mail me to let me know what they thought. They were Danny (one of my older brothers) and Aprille (one of my younger sisters). I was quite disappointed in the response to our informal survey. Below is what each e-mailed me.

Danny: The Hague, Vienna, Geneva, Buenos Aires, Frankfurt
Aprille: The Hague, Vienna, Santiago, Geneva, Toronto.
I did no research on this, just chose places I'd like to visit!

And the winner is … Danny, he got three of our top five! If he makes it to our next post I will take him out and buy him a beer.

Thank you to everyone who participated… Oh! I guess that would just be Danny and Aprille.

Thanks guys.

Now all we have left to do is rank number 6 through 20 :(

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bid List!!

OK Family, friends, and Cyberbones fans the long awaited bid list has finally arrived. For those of you out of the loop the bid list is the list of Foreign Service posts we may go to when we leave Jakarta next June. We have to rank our top 20 choices and submit them to the Powers-That-Be in DC. We have one month to do this. There are a couple of places where David can't take family so those are out. Darn! I really wanted to go Islamabad. Oh well. Here is the list in particular order:

Santiago, Chili
The Hague, Netherlands
Tirane, Albania
Toronto, Canada
Vienna, Austria
Zagreb, Croatia
Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Taipei, Taiwan
Algiers, Algeria
Bangkok, Thailand
Beijing, China
Beirut, Lebanon
Berlin, Germany
Bogotá, Columbia
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Chengdu, China
Doha, Qatar
Frankfurt, Germany
Geneva, Switzerland
Hong Kong, China
Islamabad, Pakistan
Jakarta, Indonesia
Katmandu, Nepal
Kyiv, Ukraine
Lima, Peru
Lusaka, Zambia
Managua, Nicaragua
Maputo, Mozambique
Mexico City, Mexico
Mumbai, India
Nairobi, Kenya
New Delhi, India
Port Louis, Mauritius

Well that is it for now. Let us know your top 5 picks and who ever gets closest we will buy you a beer (or bottle of wine) when you come to visit us. If you want to find out more about each post you can visit Real Post Reports http://www.talesmag.com/rprweb/home.shtml to read what expats who have really lived there think.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Try to be nice

I decided I would give Gray a treat and chop up the last of the strawberries and put them in his cereal. He walked in and saw what I was doing and came unglued. I had just opened the knife drawer when he shreiked "NO MOMMY! NO BERRIES! BAD MOMMY! NO BERRIES!" Then he grabbed the berries out of my hand and ran to the table where he is gobbling them all down before I can do something stupid like put them in his cereal. Thought I was being nice. Need to go buy more berries I guess.

As I was typing this he announced "Berries all gone. Ate them, Yum." Guess he likes berries. Nice sentence too.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Making a Splash

School starts Thursday so to bid farewell to Summer 2007 I took what's left of last year's gang of Galuh kids to the American Club for swimming, lunch, and ice cream. While the boys splashed in the pool I played with my newest toy, a waterproof camera. Hopefully as new people arrive the gang will grow larger again and maybe we will get a few girls in the group!


Alonzo, Kyle, Sam, Chris, and Colin ham it up for the camera. Even underwater they are too cute!

Alonzo swiped the camera and snapped a picture of Mom hanging out in the pool. Dad is going to be jealous, he still hasn't had a chance to play with the underwater camera.