Friday, April 26, 2013

Yerba mate around the world...

I started drinking yerba mate while I was in my mothers womb. 
At least, thats what Im told. 
I do have memories, sitting with my brother in our little chairs, in Paraguay. We would use lemon aid instead of water, passing the guampa back and forth. 
It was always a social thing. Someone would stop by for a visit and my parents, no matter what they were doing, would stop and prepare yerba. We would sit together, chatting about life, passing it around. To me it speaks of family, heritage, community and togetherness. I always loved how my parents made time for people, making them feel valued. Yerba mate is an extension of that. If you have spent any amount of time in my parents house, you have been offered to partake. Hopefully you accepted! 

Thankfully, I married a man who loves the horn. He starts every morning with mate (the hot version, terere is when we drink it cold) and reading his bible. 
I love it. 
We have shared mate in many countries across this beautiful world, and I thought I would share some of those memories with you. 
No matter where we are, mate always makes us feel at home.

Recently the kids here in Thailand have been drinking terere with us (well, once we are have drank enough that its weak! We do want them to sleep at night!) Andrew has been teaching them the "rules" and they love participating! They sit patiently and wait their turn. Its adorable

We enjoyed it in Jordan, especially in the evenings, on the rooftop! 

In Israel we shared the love with all we met. Our roommates loved it. We would prepare terere, then they would make arabic coffee! An awesome (jittery!) exchange! 

In India we drank it a lot. It was our connection to normalcy in a difficult season. We hooked our friends in Dehli and they have since requested that we send them their own guampa! 

In Halong Bay, Vietnam, it was the perfect way to wake up on the ship! The scenery wasn't too bad either! 

I love this picture. It captures Andrews travelling style so much. Relaxed, bible close-by, yerba in hand.  We enjoyed drinking away many hours on buses and trains! 

A trip to the beach is never complete without terere! 

In Phuket, we celebrated Andrews birthday on the beach, our faithful guampa by our side. 

There were many times when I (now) wish I would have captured moments of us drinking yerba. In Greece in our tiny rented apartment. Walking the streets of New York City. On the longboat in Laos, watching elephants pull logs.

 We brought 5 kilos with us and have been sent another 5 by our parents. 
10 kilos in 14 months. Awesome.
There were times when we were about to reach the end of a bag and we would just pray, "Please make it last another week!" and it would! 
It was awesome. 
Maybe it was God, maybe it was good portion control. Either way, we have immensely enjoyed drinking yerba around the world. It has started conversations, hydrated us, kept us sane, bonded us together, and made us feel "home" wherever we are. 

A friend once told me, while in Australia, "If I can drink tea, I am home". 
I laughed at the time, but now I couldn't agree more. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

He grows.

As an auntie, Im entitled to some privledges. 
My nephews (two and counting!) will come to me for fun, perhaps advice, perhaps suggestions of how to stay out of trouble (or at least not get caught!) 
I am entitled to feed them too much junk food, stay up later than normal (eventually!) and live a little louder than usual. 
I. can't. wait! 

All that said, my other privilege? Bragging rights. I can post blogs, pictures and status updates, allllllll about them and no one can tell me to stop! Well, they can, but I wont listen!  

So here you go, another shameless bragging blog about my newest nephew. I cant wait to meet this little guy! 

I think he looks so much like Elger here. Adorable!

That hat, that smile. Precious! 

Look at this face! I wonder what he's thinking! 

Doesn't this one just make you want to squish his little face! It just kills me! 

 For right now, I depend on his parents to update me with pictures, but soon and very soon, I shall be the one being camera happy! Declan, Im coming for you! 

Friday, April 19, 2013

On going home...

When I think of going back to Canada, I have a hard time trying to explain what I am feeling.
We are asked often "Are you excited?" or "How do you feel?" and Ive been trying to answer honestly. 
Yes. No. Scared. Excited. Nervous. 
Its been a challenge, processing the past 13-ish months. 
There have been moments of pure beauty, and ones of pain and hurt. 
How do you sum up a million moments, a dozen countries, countless encounters? 

There are aspects of being in Canada that make me so excited. This morning, I was picturing being reunited with my family and I got so excited that my legs went numb. True story. 

Then there are moments when Im nervous.
Over the past year, the only person I have seen often is Andrew. 
He is it.

When I picture being in a room with dozens of friend and family, its kind of overwhelming. I haven't been around people that we know in a long time.
What if I have changed and become something they dont like? 
What if, in all of this streching and growing, Ive somehow been broken in a way that drives away people?
What if I cant handle the culture shock?
What if we are so busy that I rarely see Andrew? 
Im sad that our time alone will diminish. Im selfishly sad that I will have to share him with family, friends, work and responsibilities. 

I know that these things are exactly what they are. Fears.
 Mostly unfounded and silly. But they are real. 

This doesn't, however, change the fact that we are beyond thrilled to be home. 
And thats exactly what's hard to explain. 
 How can you explain that on one hand, you are so excited to see them, on the other, you are scared of what that will be like. 
I dont want people to offended, because I really, truly, am thrilled to see everyone again.
But, as most chapters that must be over, its hard when you get to the end. 
Is our trip over? What of the experiences and lessons? Will they be erased? Can we somehow continue to live them out in the luxury of Canada, even just for the 3 months that we will live there?

Im convinced we can and Andrews assures me that Im right. 

So yes, we are heading "home" (a concept that continues to change) in time for my brother, Eleano and his beautiful fiancĂ©, Roni's wedding! We have missed ALL of their engagement, which makes us sad, but are thrilled to be a part of their big day!
Can I just take a moment and say: How the heck does time fly by so quickly! I swear Eleano was my baby just the other day, now he's getting married! We are so happy for them, they are an awesome couple.

(Aren't they adorable!)

What will it be like to be somewhere that has 90% less bugs? A place where you don't (hardly ever) sweat through one, never mind two, shirts. What will it be like to have (almost) everything within driving distance. 
Cheese? No problem! Bacon? Easy! Clothes? Done! Toilet paper? A given!

"Surreal" doesn't even begin to describe it. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Happy Songkran!

The Songkran festival is the old thai new year.But we have come to know it as a country-wide water fight! 
And how to participate? Put garbage cans and large tubs in the back of the truck and fill with water. Add smaller buckets for throwing water on people, some cute kids, and you've got yourself Songkran! 

We took the littles out in the mid-morning, and it was a blast! The streets in town were lined with people and large tubs of water. Some water was icy-cold, some was warm. When you drive pass (and the driver slows) they throw water on you and smear food colouring all over your face! Because we are farang (foreigners) we got the worst (or best?!) of it! 
This is officially my favourite holiday ever! 

No that is not blood, its just dye. It does stain your skin for a little bit, but I managed to get it off after a couple of showers. 

As you can imagine, it was rather hard to take pictures! We managed to only snap a few, so I found some online to give you a better idea of how huge the water fight is!  

Image found here. 

It was such a blast! In northern Thailand, the celebrations go on for 4 or 5 days, but here, it only lasts for 2 days. While this wouldn't work for Canada, I think its just an awesome time. Theres something so wholesome about throwing water at strangers! We are so grateful that we could experience it! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A day at the beach.

Another beautiful day at the beach. 
We will never take for granted that this is a daily activity for us. 

I love watching Andrew with the kids. He is kind, fun, compassionate and a hundred other things. He will make an amazing dad. 

A girl after my own beach-exploring heart! We spend the majority of the time walking on rocks, exploring and saying "Look! Wow!" at creatures, shells and random discoveries. 

Purple rocks! Literally! :)

Little K decided that he was protecting me from scary animals. He lead me around and would only let me pass if he had made sure there was nothing to attack me. Precious

He was stabbing something. I think it was imagined, but I cant be sure. 


Like I said, amazing dad. 

Believe it or not, this was her "non-posed" pose. Girl has drama all over her. 

We are soaking up every moment here, all to aware that it will end shortly. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Easter in Thailand.

Last year at this time, we were celebrating Passover in Israel. It was such an amazing experience for us, we were wishing we could do it again this year. 
Fortunately, easter in Thailand was pretty great too. I have to admit, we didnt realize it was easter until a couple of days before hand. We (or honestly, I!) have a hard time keeping track of months right now. 
Just the other day I thought it was January again! 

Anyway, we can thank Pinterest for clueing me in as to what time of the year it was. 
Church was earlier on sunday, and was held in a park. This means a few things:
1. Bugs. everywhere. 
2. Monkeys attacking cars and people. They are like small (terrifying) gangs. 
3. Heat. Oh the heat. 
4. Numb legs from sitting on the ground criss-cross-apple-sauce. (See picture below for proof)

But it also meant a beautiful view!

The sermon was preached (dont ask me what it was about, it was all in thai), the songs were sung and prayers were prayed. 

The staff had hidden 40 eggs (hard-boiled painted eggs) and we were sent out to find them. 
Yours truly found none. Zero. Zip. 
Finally one of the kids took pity and gave me one of theirs. Sad but true. 

Then the kids played a game. They paired off, each with an (unbroken) hardboiled egg in hand. On the count of 3, they had to smash their egg into the other persons. Whichever one didn't break, won! Simple. 

(This one cracks me up and drives me crazy, all in one breath. I love her!) 

(I kinda thought the size difference made this pairing a bit uneven. David vs Goliath. But this time, Davids egg broke.)

Then they washed the egg off in the (flithy) pond and ate the egg. 
No, I didn't wash my egg in the pond, I didn't want to spend the next week sick!

After the game, we ate our lunch. Rice and side dishes, like usual. (What will we do when we don't have rice with every meal? I honestly don't know!) 

We had this delicious punch. The one on the right was orange/starfruit/sugar punch and the one on the right, lime-leaf sweet tea! It was delicious! Everything in Thailand has sugar (and I mean EVERYTHING, from stir-fry to spaghetti!) and this tea was surprisingly lacking in sugar! It was such a treat!  
Oh and the cups said "Happy xmas Day" on them, which just added to the charm. 

Then it was time to explore (read: burn off the kids energy) so to the pinnacles it was! There are path underneath, so we explored those. 

And the paths lead to this! 
Not too bad eh?

You have to be careful for the monkey, they are super aggressive and will attack if you get too close.  
K-man, getting a touch too comfortable with the monkeys. 

They only look cute. They are mean, scary animals! Wait, now that I look closer, they dont look cute at all! They LOOK mean and scary! 


This is just a few of them, there were over 15 before I could grab a camera!

Peace-signing it up with 2 cuties. 

While easter was nothing like "usual", I could say that about every detail of my life, so it seems right! It was a great day, full of reminders of love.