Our journey

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas is Coming

We broke out the small box of Christmas decorations we brought with us tonight. We also procured a tree from a family that went back to the US recently. We spent some good time decorating while watching "It's a Wonderful Life." We're preparing to have some of our neighbors over for Christmas in a few weeks.Happy ElfOur tree. I'm not sure what the Gig'em is for?


We got a TV the other day and just hooked it up to our DVD player. First on the playlist was the Baby Einstein Mozart video of course. We tried to get Selah to sit and watch with us.
But, she would always end up needing to get an up close experience.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yes, it is cold. Good day.

I spent most of the day with Selah today while Laura was enjoying an international Christmas shopping fair thing. Selah and I enjoyed playing peek-a-boo around the furniture and we even went to the park. Now, that's usually not uncommon, but it's 6 degrees Celsius right now (that's 43 F). I had been looking forward to the cold in order to try out Selah's super fluffy winter suit. (Well, in order for her to try it out, I should say.) I made sure we weren't outside for too long, even though she was as snug as a bug in a rug. I felt her cheeks when we came back in our building and they were warm which I figured was a good sign.

An older lady who lives in our building was near the elevator and commented on how cute Selah was and then she didn't forget to inform me that it was cold outside--as she made a concerned look toward Selah. Now, I think my reaction to this situation with regard to culture shock is very important. Allow me to explain.

Most of our life is made up of many tiny decisions. For example, I think the success or failure of a marriage happens this way. Culture shock is a similar animal. At that time, standing by the elevator with my daughter all bundled up, I had the opportunity to react in two different ways.

1. I could think of (and dwell on) a very hilarious sarcastic remark to myself, such as, "Thank you Doppler Dave, that's why she's not wearing a halter top and sandals!"
2. I could just smile and agree, "Yes, it is cold. Good day." and go on up to our floor.

In my brief experience, living in another culture is doable only if you are able to let small things like that roll off your back. It really sounds like a small thing, but there are so many opportunities each day to get frustrated with the customs and people with whom you interact. And if you spend your time collecting and holding these small negative experiences, soon your load will be too much to carry. People around here love little kids and are (I think) honestly just concerned for their well-being. This may be simplistic, but I think a winning combination for dealing with culture shock is giving people the benefit of the doubt, not being a jerk yourself, and praying a lot.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, we missed our families on Thanksgiving, but we had a really great time with friends over the holiday. We had all of the important dishes, Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, green bean casserole, pies, etc. Instead of watching football we played boxing on our friend's Wii. It was good clean fun. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Back Home

Well, we made it back home. We had such a great time on our trip seeing family and friends. Thanks for making it special, everyone. So much happened, I could probably write about a dozen blog posts to cover it, which, I should probably do, as many people told me they check the blog often and they would appreciate updates more often. You know me, I have to give the people what they want. So, we are aiming for bi-weekly updates. The main event from the trip was Rex's wedding. As you can see below, it was great. If you would like to see larger versions of the pics or download your own copy of some of them, click here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dancin' Daddy Don

Last night we attended my cousin's wedding. It was a great time reconnecting with family, and sharing the special event with Mark and Stephanie. One of the highlights of the night was the dancing at the reception. It was at swanky ballroom in downtown Houston. And we never knew that Uncle Don had such dancing skill. You can see the amount by which we were impressed by the look on Alicia's face.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A big baby

Laura at 9 months (circa 1980)

Today my babysitter asked me to bring back picture of me when I was a baby from the states. She is really curious to find out who Selah looks the most like. She is sure that Selah does not resemble Ryan (see below) and I guess she wants more than my word that she looks most like my dad. I found this picture of me when I was 9 months old. What a cutie! After saying I was very cute, she said I was bigger than Selah. Yes, I was and still am!
Ryan at 2 years old

Just for fun, I also wanted to put a pic of Selah and my dad. Any dissenting opinions on who she resembles?
At Chris' wedding in May 2007

So Long, Professor

For 3 days a week for the past 3 months I have ridden the above ferry to and from the part of the city where I have my language class. Next week my class office is moving to the same side of the water where I live.

Everyone in the city agrees that the ferry is the best way to get around. There are no traffic jams in sight, and the gentle rocking is so relaxing it's actually lulled me into some nice cat naps. Amid the hubbub of the big city, the ferry is a transportive oasis. The fact that the office is going to be closer to our apartment will save me over an hour per day in travel time, but I will miss the regular opportunity to ride the professor and have time to look out over the water and think or pray.

I call it the professor because every ferry is named for someone. The one on my route happens to be named after the distinguished Professor Such And Such. His picture hangs on the first deck. He welcomes his passengers with a smile each morning. Well, Professor, I have enjoyed your services. It's been a good ride.

In other news, Laura and I are heading to Houston in a few hours to attend Rex's wedding. We'll be in Texas for agout 9 days. Maybe we'll see you soon!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Our New Apartment Pics

We moved in almost a month ago, and we have finally gotten around to putting together a proper photo tour of our place. Click here to enjoy. If you look closely, you may spot a little red-headed crawler in a few of them.