Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hot hot heat.

When does your body reach the point where you don't really notice anymore that you are sweating?
 You no longer are consciously hot, you just…sweat. 
We are continuously warm. Day or night, inside or outside. The only exception for this is when we are in an AC Vehicle (rare) or room (even more rare!) and then, I am freezing!
 Don't get me wrong, while the sweating does get annoying, Im so thankful that Im sweating and not freezing! I will take hot over cold any day of the year.
 (Yet another area where Sandi and I are different!) 
I go through at least 2 shirts a day, 3 if I work out. Which means laundry every 2 days, since I have 4 shirts. 
Today I was sitting outside and realized that I hardly even notice the sweat rolling down my back or forming on my brow. It has to be well over 35 before one of us says "Sheesh, its warm today!"
 I guess its normal now?

Our bodies amaze me! We have put them through the wringer these past 10 months. They have eaten strange things, had to travel long distances, withstand very little sleep or sleep in uncomfortable places, loud places, hot places, even a few cold places (AC Buses!). We have eaten well and eaten very poorly. We have been dehydrated and almost passing out from heat. The amount of germs our bodies has been able to withstand is nothing short of a miracle. Our bodies deserve some kind of award! Sure, we have had our share of sickness and hospital trips, but really! You do the math! This many countries, this many months, that many germs? They deserved a small breakdown!

The point of this post? Well, Id be lying if I said there was one. I think it was mostly to make myself feel better about being a sweaty hot mess. (I add the "hot" to boost my self-esteem…)
Thank for listening! 
To make this post more interesting, theres a photo of our local (and my favourite!) beach. Totally deserted, totally beautiful! 

Now go thank you bodies for whatever you have put it through lately! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A day in our life....

Some of you might wonder what I do all day. I have posted some pictures of the beautiful beaches and sunsets and perhaps you have thought "Are they on holiday or what?!"
So I thought I would explain what I do in my day! Its also interesting for me to write down. When I looked back on what I wrote I thought "Sheesh, no wonder Im tired!"
I just have to say, I know a lot of moms. Some are mothers to 1 child, some, to more. I have SO much respect for what you do, seriously.  Parenting these 5 girls (especially going from zero to 5!) has been so challenging but also, amazing! I know its NOTHING compared to raising your own child, but it certainly has its challenges and rewards. I give props to any of you who have ever raised a kid. You are amazing! 

So heres today:

5:45am -Alarm goes off, for 2 seconds I wonder what would possess me to get up this early. Then I quickly remember the kids and jump out of bed, giant smile on my face (Ask Sandi. It happens a lot. Quite annoying to those around me who are not morning people,  or so Im told) 
6:00am - Wake up kids, open windows and sing songs, anything to get them up!
6-6:30- Hound kids to wash faces, drink water, brush teeth and do their chores. ALL of our children do chores and it is a truly wonderful thing! They learn responsibility and the value of being clean. It makes the children have ownership of this home! 
6:30- Breakfast (always rice plus something else.)
6:45- Herd the girls through the shower (think cattle herding, but with small cute girls!) 
7:15- Kids leave for school! I have 15 mins to rest. Instead, I start laundry for the littles. 
7:30 -Start working with Komin (my fetal alcohol boy)
7:30-11:30- We start the day by hand washing Komins clothes. This involved a lot of splashing. Then I tutor Komin to write his name (redirecting every 3 seconds) and learning simple things, such as colouring (picture a dentist, pulling teeth. Quite accurate!) Today we made pie crust (for tomorrows pumpkin pie!) jumped rope, hung up laundry, played with bubbles, chased animals etc. Today was a treat day, we watched a DVD! We take a break to hang up the girl's clothes. 

11:30-LUNCH! Yay food and a chance to sit down! 
12:00-3:00- Nap time! One of my favourite times of the day! Komin goes for a rest and all is quiet! I spent today cutting up shirts to make superhero capes for the kids! I can't wait to finish them, the kids will LOVE them!
2:45- I wander over to the kids room and get excited for them to get home. I find that I miss them when they are gone!
3:00- The little kids come home from school. Quiet turns to loud, calm turns to exciting, clean turns to messy (can I get an amen moms?!) 
Cattle herd them to change into play clothes, wash hands and drink water. 
3:15- Homework and laundry folding time! 
3:30-5:30- Play time for the littles! Bike riding, tree climbing (or Edolbina climbing for some of them!) 
4:30-5:30 Big kids come home! The big girls wash their laundry (by hand!) and lunch pails.
5:30- DINNER! Yay food and a chance to sit down again! 

6-7:00- Play games until its dark out. Kids run around, use their bikes, climb trees etc.
 7:00- Cattle herd girls through the shower, wash hair, brush teeth and into PJ's. Sing songs with them, pray and then kisses good night! 

8pm Thank God for strength for this day, pray for more patience and wisdom for tomorrow. 

We are usually fast asleep by 9:30. Im not even ashamed to write that! 
This role of "house parents" isn't one we asked for or expected at all. But we truly love it. In the evening, when the kids are all asleep in bed, Andrew and I chat about our day. The cute things the kids said, funny prayers they prayed, and faces they made. Its nice. For now, we are their family and its a privilege. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Re-entry into Thailand!

The crossing from Cambodia into Thailand was surprisingly painless! We didnt have the money to pay off the border crossing, so we ended up waiting for a few hours (sad story, but true) but made friends as we waited! 
We were planning on spending a night in Bangkok, but when we got to the train station, there was a bus with 2 seats leaving at 6:30pm. We decided to take it! Andrew quickly grabbed some grub from 7-11 (if you have been to Thailand, you know how plentiful they are here!) since we hadnt eaten all day! 
The bus was fine, although there were some people hacking away close to us. By the time we got to southern Thailand, I had a sore throat and cough (that stayed with me for 2 weeks!) 
 We arrived in Chok Cloi at 5:30am, 27 hours earlier than the ministry expected! We were so thankful that they are flexible and were able to pick us up. We spent an hour and a half at the bus station, because we didnt want to call too early! 
We had been travelling for 24 hours by then and were pretty exhausted.
 From the moment we stepped onto the property, we felt immense peace. It was beautiful and quiet, the kids peeked from inside their house, curious as to who the blondes were! 

The only picture I got of our trip from Cambodia to Thailand. 

This was the sunrise when we got off the bus!

Waiting for it to be a decent time! 

We spent 1 night there and then, because we had already booked it, spent 2 nights at a hotel at a beach. It was Andrews birthday present! 

I liked this place, because it was the "EAK Restaurant". My brothers and I share the same initials (at least I did before I became a Wiebe) and it made me happy. Actually, the only time I hesitated to take Andrews last name was when I realized I wouldn't have the same initials as my brothers anymore!

Yerba mate, our little piece of home! 

After 2 nights on the beach, we were so ready to get started at the orphanage! 
This was our room for the first 2 weeks. We have since moved into the girls home to be house parents (which really deserves a whole nother post!)

The clouds here are some of most beautiful we have ever seen! 

After a long day of yard work, we burn the leaves and branches. The kids love it and we walk away smelling of burning coconut husks! (which doesn't smell good, in case you didn't know!) 

I saw this really handsome Thai man doing yard work. A tall, white, blond thai man! :)

One of our friendly neighbours. I just realized how shocked people from canada would be here. We are constantly covered in bugs.
 All. The. Time. 
In our bed, in our hair, on the ground, in our food. It seems normal to us now! In fact, just the other day, we ate roasted caterpillars without thinking about it. Later on I was like "ewe, that was kinda gross!"

I kid you not, this is what the light is at sunset. It is SO beautiful! I took this picture without filters or editing. The sun is that rich! 

The name of this place is Baan Santisuk, which means "House of Peace" and it really is that! Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of work to do and the kids certainly aren't angels, but Gods presence is here and it is so sweet. I will share more soon! 
I cant wait for you to meet the kids, they are so precious, you will love them!! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hi friends! 
I did a guest post over at One Tiny Starfish.
Go on over and check it out! 
Its my first guest post and I was thrilled when Nikki contacted me to do it! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Opa.

I remember when we were in Paraguay years ago. 
I was 15 and we hadn't been there in a long time. We were all so excited to see everyone. That first day, we got to Oma and Opa's and sat down to eat lunch. I mentioned that I loved the dulche de leche from Loma Plata (carmel spread) and it always tasted like my childhood. Opa jumped out of his seat, ran outside and jumped on his motorcycle. He was back in 5 minutes with a bucket of the stuff! 

That was my opa.

 He loved us so much, would jump through hoops for us! 
He was proud of who we were becoming, thankful that we were getting an education in Canada and living for the Lord. 
When Andrew and I, along with my parents, went to Paraguay together in 2010, I will never forget how Opa greeted me. By this time, alzheimers was settling in, making him forget words, names and people, making a jumble of his memory. When we got to his house, he came up to me and, ever so gently, put both of his wrinkled hands up to my cheeks and held my face.
"Ohhh", he said "Its you! You look just like I remember. I know you." He said it so sweetly. Although he couldnt remember my name by then, he knew in his heart who I was. He knew I was special to him and that he loved me. It almost broke my heart with sweetness.

That was my Opa.

Tough, leathery hands, scarred with years of hard labour. "Four and a half fingers" he would always say, since he lost half of one finger years ago. 
A gravelly voice and laugh, from years of smoking. He started smoking when he was a young boy and continued for about 50 years. Until one day, he decided to stop. And he did, just like that. Cold turkey. "I will not smoke anymore." And he didn't touch a cigarette for the rest of his life. 

That was my Opa. 

Stubborn and tough, set in his ways and oh so sweet. 
I remember when my young cousin wanted to join us while we were up in a tree. She was too small to climb up alone and we weren't helping her! Up hopped Opa, hung upside-down, by his legs, from a branch, and lifted her up! I remember thinking (and possibly saying aloud!) "Opa, you're supposed to be old!" To which he would have laughed. 

That was my Opa. 

Always playing tricks on us, telling us stories that fascinated us. 
Oh the stories he told! 
Some so wild, you wouldn't have believed them. Unless you knew Opa. If you knew Opa (or about Paraguay!) then you would know that they are true. 
The time he killed a cougar with a stick, then sent me a tooth. The snakes and animals he had encountered over the years. The hard life, the hard work, the joy of family, how much he adored his children and grandchildren. 

And when he looked at Oma. Well, that was a story in itself. 
It would be their 53rd anniversary this year. 
A lot of things happen in 53 years. I believe Oma and Opa grew in their love for each other and for God. They had hard times and 
good times. Through it all, they were together. 

The last time in Paraguay, in 2010, Andrew and I were engaged, just a few months away from becoming man and wife. 
Oma and Opa sat us down to have a chat. While they talked, I translated for Andrew. They wanted us to know that they fully supported our union. They would pray for us, and cheer us on. "But," they told me, "you must never, not for one second, think about getting a divorce." They told us, on no uncertain terms, marriage is for life. They stressed the importance of commitment in marriage. I love them for that. They were not afraid to say the truth. 

Opa, I will miss you. 
Many times, I wished we could live closer to each other. But distance certainly didn't make me feel separate from you. I adored you when I was young, I admired you when I got older and I will always, always cherish you. I will tell your great-grandchildren about you and your crazy adventures. 

You left us this morning, but you are not gone. Not really. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Angkor Wat (heavy on the photos!)

There is no wonder Angkor Wat is one of the 7 wonders of the world! 
We spent 3 days exploring it, by bike. 
Thats over 60kms of biking. Yeah. 
It was so worth it though, the ruins were impressive! 
Allow me to share Angkor Wat with you:
Sidenote: This is the 3rd world wonder we have seen in 4 months (4th, if you count Ha Long Bay, which is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.) 

I love this tree! Its taken over this corner. I love how man builds things, but eventually, the earth takes it back! 

I got to know this bike quite well! 

Andrew sprinted up these stairs, that crazy man! See him at the top?

In Angkor Thom, the "Elephant walkway"

Our trusty bikes! 

Angkor Wat! Its impressive, but also under construction! Nothing like a giant green tarp to ruin the view! Oh well, you cant stop progress! 

The view of Angkor Wat from afar. We hiked up some mountain, we were hot and sweaty! But it was worth it! 

These spider webs were everywhere and they all had the same giant spider in it! There were literally hundreds around us! 

This picture? It wasnt skill that took it, its just that beautiful there! 

Oh hey there little lion man! 

Andrew jumped on an elephant friend. Dont tell on him please. 

Nothing is as refreshing as cold coconut water on a stifling hot day! 

We also enjoyed Siem Riep. Its a busy town, full of tourists, but you can still find "cambodia" there. We made friends with some of the locals, including this little one. 

We wandered through the local market...

Enjoyed some local, strong coffee...

looking at local artifacts...

and enjoyed the sun! 

In other words, we had a blast! Angkor Wat was an incredible place to see!