Our journey

Friday, August 24, 2007

Selah Developing...

Selah is 8 months old. How time flies. Laura captured some of her mobility talents here. She is coming along nicely.

All the cheerios we have been feeding her have helped her learn to grasp with her fingers and put stuff in her mouth with ease. She demonstrated that talent the other night while we were having dinner with some friends outside on their balcony. We put Selah down next to us on a carpet. Within minutes, I noticed her chewing on something. From the look on her face, I don't think it tasted very good. So, I did the textbook finger sweep in her mouth and retrieved the item. Sure enough, she had found a nice dead bug to chew on. It was a good learning experience for everyone. The more she grows and develops, the more potential there is for her to get into trouble. Hopefully, that's not the same case for our own lives.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fish and Alex Visit

We just enjoyed a great visit from Michael "Fish" Goodwin and Alex. We had fun doing some touristy things that we haven't done yet, like visiting one of the many islands just off the coast. Selah had fun swimming, riding in a horse cart, and even getting a taste of mommy's ice cream. She also saw a school of dolphins swimming just in front of the boat. And to make it a true experience, on the way back across the water on the ferry, we stopped to tow in another ferry, which had broken down.

I'm trying out this slideshow deal for the pics. I hope it looks good.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cooking and Catching up

Two good friends have stopped in our town as they see the world. Alex and Michael are two of Ryan's great friends who have gone to high school and college with him. Selah is a little scared of all of Alex's hair, but he finally won her over this afternoon while Ryan and I were preparing dinner. See the picture for that great moment when she allowed Alex the honor of holding her.Tonight I cooked chicken parmesan without the parmesan. I know I can get it here, but I didn't feel like going to the big grocery store where it probably can be purchased.
I used breadcrumbs that I made the other day from some stale bread for the breading. Though time consuming, cooking has been fun and delicious with all of the fresh, ripe ingredients. Tonight I started with some tomato paste and used only tomatoes, onions and peppers as the sauce. Of course I added some spices to make it taste even better. Ryan thinks I could leave out the tablespoon of sugar in the sauce. We'll see what he thinks next time when I leave it out. I think it tastes a lot better with the little bit of sugar.
The cucumbers were not a part of the sauce; they went in the salad. We also had cheesy garlic bread, steamed zucchini, ranch dressing and sweet tea.

One more thought for today. I know I'm long winded...but so thankful. I'm so glad God gave us Selah before we came here. It has been more complicated and my language acquisition will be slower, but she is such a joy in my life. I also have short conversations with so many people that I would not otherwise talk to because of her. Maybe God brought her when He did so that He could use her to fill in the gaps of my personality (not really being a conversation initiator with strangers).

Learning A LOT

Two language learners...Selah helps me remember that it takes time and a lot of practice with the sounds. We practice together sometimes. Actually, this picture was taken as I opened a package from my best friend, Stacie. She sent Selah some yummy Gerber fruit puffs and an amazing scrapbook of memories for me.

As Selah and I walked to the playground today, we passed two women that were chatting. They stopped me so they could talk to Selah and say how cute and sweet she is. We exchanged a few words and I told them that I know very little language, but want to learn more. They invited me to sit down and I spent the next 30 minutes catching bits and pieces of their conversation. They tried to help me understand what they were saying. At certain points I found myself laughing with them, knowing exactly what they were talking about without understanding their words. My heart was warmed and I silently thanked God.

This afternoon I ventured out again to talk to a woman that I met the other day at the cleaners. I went in and told her that Selah wanted to say hello. She was so happy and talked to me for about 20 minutes. At first she did not know how to help me with my language inadequacies, but she got better as time went on. As we “chatted,” and I used that term very loosely, another woman came in and started talking to us. Selah did something funny and we all laughed—I was reminded of the note that reminded me of how much I have in common with the women here. When I left, she asked me to come back another time. Yea, an invitation to practice more!!

I've learned over the past few days of talking to a few women about what they like to talk about in the initial conversations. They want to know where I am from, how old Selah is, if she is my daughter (or am I the babysitter), if I am nursing, why I am here and if my husband is American. They always tell me my language is very good (I laugh and thank them).

God is good.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Celebrating 5 Years

Last night Ryan and I celebrated our anniversary. On August 10, 2002, we were married in beautiful Amarillo, TX. We had a blast at our reception out at the Blessen Farm (in Uncle Mike's backyard).
Sorry for the ghetto resolution in this picture. We actually don't have any digital pics from our wedding with us and we don't have our scanner yet either. I took a picture of the picture with our digital camera.

We have been blessed to celebrate our anniversaries in some pretty cool places. Our first anniversary was celebrated at the beach close to Bandirma, Turkey. We actually had 2 celebrations because we were in Paris a few days later. How can you not re-celebrate when you go to Paris? We went to the Eiffel Tower, went to a fabulous restaurant where the waiter enjoyed not speaking any English to us so he could watch us struggle (or so we thought), then took an evening cruise down the Seine. We spent our second anniversary in Bali, Indonesia at a really cool hotel called the Bali Aga . We spent our third and fourth anniversaries in Houston.
We celebrated this anniversary by taking a sunset ferry across the sea to a Mexican food restaurant!! It was really good. Ryan and I shared nachos and sour cream chicken enchiladas. We were excited when chips and salsa were brought out while we waited (we thought surely there wouldn't be chips and salsa all the way over here). The only thing missing was a fountain Dr. Pepper. Ryan and I enjoyed a lovely evening with great conversation. I have never stopped feeling blessed by my wonderful husband. He's got to be the best one ever.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Random events of yesterday

We have developed a pretty consistent evening routine: Selah gets a bath, put Selah to bed, study language for 1.5 hours, then catch up on email and other miscellaneous things. Last night, Selah left a little something in the tub. It was pretty gross and funny. Unfortunately, she did not get her hair washed because of the soiled water.

Speaking on 1.5....I was thinking about the specs on our flat yesterday and thought I would show a picture of our "1/2" bath. I wonder if this room was intentionally built as a tool closet with a toilet OR if there used to be a squatty-potty in this room and this is the result of a remodelling job. Check out our 1/2 bath--which has proven to be very handy.

Ryan's sister had given us a backpack child carrier as a baby gift, but we had to leave it with her when we moved because it was too big. Last week, our supervisor gave us a similar Kelty K.I.D.S carrier. It is about 11 years old, but works beautifully. Ryan was in charge of cooking dinner last night and I was helping to chop vegetables. Selah also wanted to be a part of the show, so she hopped in the backpack and joined the fun. She really seems to like the carrier.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

With a Ruff Ruff here!...

I came home yesterday to the beautiful sound of Selah's laughter. I could clearly hear it through the door. I came in and this is what I saw. It almost looks like we set this up, but Laura actually just started recording her a few seconds before I got home. Pretty cool. Apparently Laura was singing Old MacDonald to her and when she got to the part with the dog, Selah thought it was hilarious for some reason. Enjoy.