Sunday, October 29, 2006

October 29, 2006

Some Photos from the race last Saturday...

This is our picture of the TV tower. Eli is on Mike's shoulders.

We are professional Tai Chi people.
For the Race, we were supposed to find something very unique for 10 yuan and get a photo with the seller. He did not want his photo, and everyone around us thought it was so funny.

Here is our driver, Jiang, imitating our special "antique market" purchase.
We were supposed to have a creative photo taken in front of the Nanjing Lion Statue. We found a grounds-cleaner, and he got us, but not the lion.(???)
We needed a silly photo with at least 30 bikes. Not hard to find.

This last week, I’ve had computer problems, again! I wasn’t able to upload photos to my blog page. I’ll try to re-cap a bit of what went on. Last Saturday morning, there was a school activity. I had signed the family up to participate, and it sounded like a good idea, until we had to get up and be there by 8:00am that morning! Well, it was a “Race, Around Nanjing”. We were given a map, and a list of places and tasks to fulfill at these places. We were to leave at 8:00am and return no later than 1:00pm. We really had a fun time, and actually found some places that we had never been. One of the sights was the old International School. It was fun for the kids to see where it used to be. I think they were very glad that they have a nice new school. The old one wasn’t so nice. We had Nicole’s friend Maggie with us. We did really well, and although the boys started to niggle (a new word I learned from my Aussie friends) each other toward the end, it turned out great. We ended up with third place, and, lucky us, we won some gift certificates to McDonalds. We gave one to Maggie and the rest to our driver. We figured he did most of the work, anyway.

Rachel and Nicole are heading out today and tomorrow to their trip-weeks with their school classes. Rachel went to Xi’an and Nicole will leave tomorrow to Hongzhou. They are very excited, and are both taking cameras, so I’m sure I’ll have some fun pictures to put on the blog.

On Friday night, was the school Halloween party. I don’t know how we got ourselves into this, but we were in charge of a story room for the middle and high school. Yes, it is impossible to find a story that will actually scare that age-group without going an evil route. So, Mike and I used the startle-factor instead. We were in a sound-proof band room, and we covered the instruments and drums with black cloth. Mike told the “Hook” story about a young high-school couple and a killer with a hook. Well, it wasn’t really that scary, but it was dark, and I was hiding behind some instruments and we would scream as loud as we could at the end. We did this over and over for an hour and a half. Our throats were so sore at the end! Most of the kids weren’t scared, but they were good sports. The middle-school boys had to act tough and all made a point that they were NOT scared, but the best groups were the Korean girls. They were hilarious! I swear they were scaring themselves. They would scream and whimper the whole time. Mike could hardly even get them to come into the room! He had to tell them at the end, that the story wasn’t real. Anyway, Mike was a good sport, and it was much less work than a haunted house!

Eli turns 5 this week. I can’t believe he is growing up so fast! He has asked for Cheeseburgers for his birthday dinner. He also requested a transformer cake, but I talked him into a chocolate bat. Happy Birthday Eli!

A Few More Indonesia and Singapore Pics...

The view from our back patio at Club Med.
Here, Mike is standing at the base, I mean on the base, of a tree in Bintan.

The boys loved riding the elephant one afternoon.

At the Singapore Aquarium, Rachel and I get cuddly with a Japanese Crab.
Our guide took our photo at the Aquarium. The kids had a great time. They had some neat animals.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Photos From Trip

The three girls get kisses!

Eli dancing with the dolphin.
Here is the pier in Bintan.
Here is a group-shot of the trapeze performers.
Rachel, Nicole, and Caitlin were in a fashion show.
Lonnie's favorite spot.
A really big lizard-over 2 feet
I'm king of...this big rock!
The kids had such a wonderful time.

My man at the beach
This is little India
.Nicole will probably kill me for putting this in, but she spilled her curry on her lap. It didn't really look like that...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Indonesia and Singapore Favorites:

Last Wednesday, we returned home from a 10 day trip to Indonesia, and Singapore. We had such a lovely time. I thought I would write down some of the highlights.

The first thing that must be mentioned is the Singaporeair plane. Everyone was so happy and excited about this. The attendants wear pretty Singapore dresses, the food is edible, and everyone had their own entertainment screens. Happy flight!

We went to a Club Med Resort on Bintan, and Island of Indonesia for one week. It had a beautiful private beach, good all-you-can-eat buffets, and plenty of things to do. What more could we ask for?

Jay and Eli spent the week playing for part of the day with the children's club. They did all sorts of activities, like swimming, playing at the beach, and one day there was even a parade and real elephant rides. They did archery and trapeze as well. But, I think their favorite part was learning to snorkel with Mom and Dad, and swimming, swimming, swimming. They were fish! It is fun to see how well they can swim, now. Better than me, I think.

Rachel, Nicole, and Caitlin had a wonderful time with the teen club. They had so many fun activities. They spent many hours perfecting their trapeze skills, and got quite good. Rachel and Nicole were in a show one night with their trapeze tricks. They did a lot of snorkeling, sailing, and sports. Even some Yoga. They were very involved with the performances as well, which included a fashion show, singing on-stage, and a play. The staff were very sad to see them go because of the great help they were in making things fun.

Mike and I, as you can see, actually had some free-time to relax, and get to know each other again:-) What could be better than that? We did snorkeling, sailing, and Mike taught me how to play tennis. It was fun for us to do things with the children, like snorkel, and watch their shows. There was even a chance for a walk along the beach in the full moon.

One morning we signed up for an excursion. I think because I always wanted to do this when I was young, we went to "swim with the dolphins". We were picked up at 8:00am, and drove on the very windy roads of Bintan for about an hour. This was an adventure in itself. The people of Bintan are very poor, and we saw some very humble circumstances. We also saw a bare-foot, bare-chested man with very large hair walking down the street with a machetti!! Every time we went into a town, we stopped at security, where they used mirrors to check for bombs under the cars. Wow, it was a different world! Well, we finally made it to this sad little dock, and climbed in a boat. It was a fiber-glass boat. Most of the chairs were broken,and there was hydraulic fluid leaking from the steering-wheel. We went very fast, over lots of choppy waves to a small island. It was a very exciting ride. Almost too exciting! Well, after all this, we arrived to our destination. A very run-down tired looking beach where they kept the dolphins. We actually got to get in with them for about an hour, though. We had a wonderful time playing and interacting with the dolphins. They kissed us, hugged us, and even danced with us. They did tricks for us, played catch with us. We even held one (they are very heavy). I think it's something we will always remember!

We had a wonderful experience attending Church in Singapore. We met with a branch the first Sunday, and it was terrific! We had no idea if we were going to find it or not, but we did. And the next Sunday, we went to a hotel, where they were playing Conference from the week before. It was really neat meeting with the Saints in Singapore, hearing the same thing we would hear in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world, like China.

Singapore is a huge beautiful country/city, with 4 million people and a huge Asian mixture of people. The stronghold the government has, is paying off as far as a nice, clean city goes. This is the place that will flog you for chewing gum, or not flushing a public toilet. There is a death sentence for drug possession. We weren't afraid of that law. We felt safe in that we brought no gum, and prayed the toilet wouldn't have flushing problems...just kidding. We really didn't worry about it. We'd heard it referred to as Disneyland with a death penalty. It sort of felt like Pleasantville. We had fun shopping, and we did some sight-seeing. A really fun thing, is that we were able to meet with a couple who served with Mike on his mission in Korea. Mike and I went to dinner with them, and I heard a lot about that time in his life. We, of course spent way too much at the bookstore, and stuffed a couple of food items into our bag, though they didn't have as many items as I'd hoped. I think the true highlight of the trip was eating at Carl's Jr. Not once, but twice. We ordered Hamburgers, fries, and a shake. YUMMY!

We all had a wonderful vacation and are now trying to get back into life!