random ramblings

I hate to start a blog this way, because it’s probably too much information, but like Morgan Grimes said (he’s a character on the show Chuck) “I over-share to connect.”  So I’m just going to say it because I love authenticity and it’s what’s going on with me lately: I have another parasite. Yep, another one. This is so frustrating because I am so careful with how I handle food and about washing my hands. Apparently, not careful enough. I had been in denial about this for a week, but finally I had to admit I just didn’t feel good. So now I’m on meds to kill whatever it is that is making me cranky, tired, and overall feeling yucky.

Well, now that I got that off my chest I can re-cap the latest and greatest of my Asian escapades. They really haven’t been so great, actually, but I will try to play it up the best I can.

Recently, I’ve adopted a new strategy I employ on occasion for men who stare at me inappropriately for overly-extended amounts of time: I stare back, in a way that says “Did your momma teach you to look at women like that?” I must say it makes me uncomfortable and sometimes I just can’t do it, but if I’m in a bad enough mood–look out!

We have also recently had a suitcase full of goodies delivered to us from home, as well as a friend who brought us more wonderful treasures. I cannot tell you how this makes me happy to now have hidden in my closet an entire bag of Reece’s peanut butter cups. I share–a little bit.

Well, I know this blog post has been both inspirational and inspiring, but I need to go to bed now and hope tomorrow I feel a bit more “normal”–whatever that means here.

just not the same

It’s Friday night here and I’m getting ready to turn in, whereas most folks I know are basking in the glow of early morning Black Friday deals. I suppose I could shop online, but I’m just not into it. I’d rather be out on a cold, brisk November morning with my over-priced Starbucks coffee in hand and a friend alongside, driving around the Metroplex in search of good deals. It’s not so much about the stuff as it is the experience.

Christmas is like that. It’s not just the day that I love, but the journey from Black Friday until the twenty-fifth. The sounds and smells as you walk through stores; the gaudy decorations; the politically correct “Happy Holiday” signs up everywhere; these things I will miss this year.

And of course there are the parties with friends where we drink cider and listen to Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole. Ah heaven. Um, I won’t be getting that here. Because even though they acknowledge Christmas, they focus on the most commercial aspects of the holiday, the aesthetics, not the true meaning. Perhaps I shouldn’t be critical of this, though, because recently it seems that our culture does this too. Too much Santa and Jingle Bells and not enough Jesus and Silent Night.

We do have some parties planned, though I must say I’m a fish out of water here. I have no idea what is party food here and even how to be a hostess in this culture. I’m getting a little anxious just thinking about it already!

But ready or not, it’s the Christmas season for us here as everywhere else, even if we are in the minority. I want to make it special for the kids and in some way memorable for good reasons and not because it was the toughest Christmas of our lives because we were away from all of our close family and friends. I have to force myself to push through my emotions that keep telling me “this just doesn’t even feel like Christmas” and try to make it feel like the holidays for my family. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a new perspective on Christmas that will make it even more real and meaningful than it ever has been before…maybe.

 

communication 101

Today I worked like a madwoman to get our apartment cleaned and to prepare for a late lunch we were going to have with all of Jon’s classmates. We were going to order pizza and have some dessert for them so I could have a chance to get to know them and as a way of being hospitable. What could go wrong with this simple plan?

Well, all of his classmates are vegetarians, so I had to do some thinking on what to make. I settled on apple crisp made out of  apples that had the label of “apple grany” printed above them at the supermarket. Sorry Granny Smith. Class was getting out at 1:30 and so I ordered pizza and tried to clean as best as I could since my maid (yeah I have one, don’t hate me) has had the flu since Friday. I know everyone is so sad for me about this, but it really is hard to keep things clean all on my own here! Anyway, I digress.

So the students arrived. The pizzas arrived, but we were still shy a few classmates so everyone decided they had to wait until every person was there before we could eat. The practical me wanted to eat hot pizza, but it didn’t seem to bother them that it was getting cold so I let it go.

As we are all standing around, there was a little lull in the conversation. I felt awkward, so I tried to be funny, which is what I do in uncomfortable situations. I remembered that the Hubs had told me once that one of his teachers had referred to meat eaters as “flesh eaters” and so I referred to us as such thinking that was a funny way to look at it. As if the blank stares weren’t enough, I then proceeded to insert my foot in my mouth even farther when I lamented that it’s so hard to make a dessert without baking something and that required eggs. I also told them not to look in my refrigerator of they would see a whole lot of eggs. I was on a roll.

Silence.

Awkwardness.

Is that something burning in the kitchen? I went to check. A few minutes later I emerged and tried to make small talk with some of the girls, but they aren’t exactly small talk kind of gals I guess. Or maybe it was the cracks I made about eggs and meat. I’m not sure.

There’s still so much I have to learn about the people here and how to communicate without offending is high on the list. So a word to the wise: avoid meat jokes around vegetarians and never refer to yourself as a flesh eater. Lesson learned.

numbering my days

While most the people I know will be watching the GA v. Auburn game, I will be sleeping on the other side of the world.

And right now I should be sleeping, but it’s hard to sleep when every time I lay down a mosquito buzzes close to my ear, telling me that there are going to be at least two new bites on me in the morning. Also, our neighbors are having a little soiree on their terrace and I can hear every chuckle from where I am–could be a long night.

So if I can’t sleep why not blog? Why not indeed. I know that the world is dying to hear my insights, so I shouldn’t keep them in suspense any longer, right?

Today I finished listening to a five-part series entitled “Time” that Andy Stanley did earlier this year. It was brilliant. Convicting and inspiring. I want to listen to parts of it again so I can formulate a plan to use my time more wisely–to procrastinate less and invest small bits of my every day into things that truly matter; ie, the Hubs, the kids, my relationship with God, and other relationships with folks both near and abroad.

I don’t usually go on about sermons, but this series was excellent. I was telling the hubs that Andy has got to be one of the best communicators of the truth of our time. No pun intended.

I have also been convicted about my use of social media. It’s like the filler of my life when there are gaps. Not sure what to do next? I think I’ll just jump on facebook to see what’s going on with so and so. And then twenty minutes later I’m still on trying to feel a little more connected to the world I left behind. I’m determined to make a schedule and stick to it and only give myself a small window each day for FB and email and my all time favorite thing to do–just piddle. My mom’s nick-name is Pitty-Pat, my grandpa loved to just putter around his garage and I love to piddle like those before me. I just sort of float around the apartment doing little bits of this and that, but nothing really gets accomplished. Drives the hubs crazy.

So tomorrow, my mission is to stop the insanity and get my time organized into a more productive schedule. It’s exciting, but a bit intimidating. But I want to do it–there are so many things I’d like to do; carpe diem!

Well, I’ve killed two mosquitoes now–little did they know their days were numbered, too. Perhaps it’s safe once more to try to sleep.

Goodnight and Go Dawgs!

 

Oh Dear

It’s a holiday season here: Firecrackers go off at random times as soon as the sun goes down. Lights are glittering and apparently certain people can freely go around and ask for money. Interesting. Anyway, about a week ago I had one of those unusual cultural experiences that I sort of wish I hadn’t had. However, Katie’s diaper had to be taken downstairs and I was the one who happened to be taking it when I ran into the care-taker of the building who was with a guest. The guest, a woman, greeted me in a rather husky voice and I said hi, but couldn’t help but stare. Something seemed a bit off and the vibe I was getting from her made me feel odd. The clothes were feminine, but that was all. I then ran upstairs and asked my house helper to take a look from the terrace and see if she could see this lady that I had talked to downstairs.

She saw her and another lady–only they weren’t ladies, apparently, they were both male and female. Confused? Yeah, so was I. My helper explained to me that because these people were born with both male and female plumbing they cannot work normal jobs so the government has given them the right to go around neighborhoods on special occasions and demand payment. If you don’t pay they have been known to both harass and flash people. Not wanting to be flashed, our landlord decided to pay them a chunk of money and in return they did some little dance. The whole thing was a bit odd for me and I tried to lay low while they were downstairs.

Yet another cultural experience here that the handbook left out. Wait, no one ever gave me a handbook. Maybe I should write one. These are definitely things I wish somebody would have told me about–the real-life stuff that usually leaves me scratching my head in amazement.