Tuesday, January 31, 2012

i feel afraid...

...when I see things like this hanging on every roadside stand:



I've yet to need so much as a light sweater this "winter." The locals dress their children in fleece body suits, burly men wear toboggans on clear days, and taxi drivers huddle into their cabs with jackets on and no a/c. All the while, Jude's in shorts and I'm in sleeveless.

If highs in the upper 80s and low 90s feel chilly to these people...what could that possibly mean about summertime?

The first words that come to my mind?

Heat Stroke.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bangles & Bling


This weekend we attended our first asian wedding. My neighbor wrapped me up tight in a sari, and loaned me some matching bangles along with some large bedazzled rings.




We got quite a bit of attention in all our formal ware. As if we didn't stick out before, add a sari to the 7 mo preggo white girl. David told me I looked like a princess...so that's all that matters, right:)



As for the wedding...I wasn't brave enough to take along my camera. But let me say honestly, it was one of the most spectacular and elaborate events I've ever attended. We felt like we were in a Bollywood movie. 8 different food bars ranging from Italian to South Indian fare, a Cold Stone section, a fruit mountain the size of Everest, fresh Kiwi, Strawberry and Coconut juice at every turn, a band drumming for hours, professional videographers and photographers on every corner, more flowers than I've ever seen in one place....and a bride with so much gold adornment she couldn't be missed even among the other fanfare.

It was definitely a night to remember.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fit to Fly?



There was a little airport drama this week. At check in, I was chasing Jude around with a juice box and banana. I think all the motion in my delicate state caused consternation among the airline attendants. They asked if I had a "Fit to Fly" certificate. We explained I'm only in my 7th month and there should be no cause for concern.

They were concerned.

I was ushered into a small "hospital" in the basement of the airport. Umm. Let's just say that it's a good thing David was with me. He was exceedingly nice to all the concerned officials. I vacillated between extreme annoyance and extreme laughter at the "seriousness" of the situation.

My blood pressure was taken. My due date inquired. And a doctor was summoned from a back room. He asked if I was feeling any pains, nausea, or having vomiting. I said "no, feeling very fit to fly." He signed a waiver.

They then explained that for the return trip, I would need another certificate, signed less than 24 hours before our flight. But we would be in small town Sri Lanka...on vacation. It didn't matter. They assured me I could not fly home without a doctor's note.

We were then escorted through several lines in the fast lane due to what a guard called my "extreme state."



So on Wednesday afternoon, we found a little clinic. A 90 year old doctor asked what I needed and I told him to please take my blood pressure and write a note that said I was "fit to fly." He asked about my husband, my son, my country of origin...but not much about my pregnancy. They he asked if the certificate needed his stamp on it. I said that would be helpful and he stamped it.

Honestly, by the time we finally made it through all the airport lines, medical forms, and customs officials yesterday I was wondering if I was "fit to fly."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sunshine & Sand


I'm happy to report that the trusty backpack held all that we could need for a few days at the beach. Our getaway couldn't have gone better. It was relaxing, restful, and full of fun. Not without a few hiccups, of course, but more on those later. Here are a few of our favorites...





Because we weren't up for traveling too much this time, due to my "extreme state," we stayed in Negombo. It's a small beach town not far from the capital city...and just a rickshaw ride away from the airport. A fishing village, we took an early morning trip to the wharf to check out the action. Be thankful you can't smell this picture:)



Thanks to a Lonely Planet recommendation, we stopped by the Swiss-run Ice Bear Lodge for breakfast one morning. Homemade muesli & a silver pot of tea, classical music, a breezy veranda overlooking the ocean, and a garden full of turtles and ducks for Jude to play in while we ate. It was so good, we went again the next morning.

Our favorite part? Most definitely the beach...with a one year old. Jude loved sand and splashing...mainly because David built castles for him to destroy and dipped him in the waves just enough for it to be fun.


Definitely a successful vacation in our book!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the backpackers

We're off to Sri Lanka this week for a bit of sunshine and sand. The motivation is that our visa requires us to leave for renewal every 6 months or so...and since Silas will be here around month 6, we're going early. Just so happens there was a cheap ticket to an island paradise to meet the requirement. We'll take it.

We're staying at a backpacker lodge and relying on good ole Lonely Planet to guide us.



I'm not trying to brag...but I kind of am. Our entire family packed for the trip in the faithful old backpacker my mom bought me in college. We'll have another small backpack as a carry on. I consider this no small feat. Of course, with a 1 year old, stroller, and pregnant belly in tow...we won't exactly look like the backpackers of old. But it just shows, at 31 and counting, we've still got it in us:)

Stay tuned for pics from the beach later this week!

Monday, January 23, 2012

generosity


A friend moved back to the states this weekend. Really, she was more of an acquaintance since we'd only hung out a time or two...making her generosity all the kinder.

She said she had some maternity clothes for me.

What was waiting? Bags of maternity clothes, baby supplies, a play mat, jumperoo, and more toys than we currently own. Not to mention the cutest little wood bike.



I'm getting very excited about little bit and all that he will add to our household!

Friday, January 20, 2012

snapshots of semi-reality

There have been a few posts in my little blog world lately that have helped me think more about that site I'm occasionally referencing: Pinterest. I confess that it's among the first places I look these days when I'm searching for a new idea or two. I'm not even a member. I'm a Facebook drop-out so the truth is, I can't join. There have been some pretty fair and timely warnings for me...not to want life to look like as clean cut as a pinterest pic, not to busy my mind with things my hands don't have time to do in this season, etc. I was helped by all these thoughts.

But amid all that, there is something that I really love about sites like Pinterest.

The photos posted aren't entirely real life. I've no doubt some furniture was moved out, a counter was cleared or a board washed.... but they are snippets of real life. One of the things I appreciate most about photography is that it enables us to focus in on beauty in what might have otherwise been a crowded space. Take a room full of objects, in my case, a floor crowded with toys, water stains on the mirror, milk dripped on the floor, a few dust bunnies behind the curtains and grubby hands on my sofa. When I take a photo of Jude's face, what I capture of that moment is the unobstructed by all the other distractions. I see him. He was there in the midst of all the cookie crumbs and misplaced papers, but I didn't see him...at least not in the same way. It helps me to remember the stunning simplicity of beauty in the midst of the daily.

I live in a country where most roads are littered with trash, dirty water is running through the streets, cows and all that they bring with them meander down the lane and rickshaws drive wildly through almost every corner. Sometimes when I look at the whole picture, I feel overwhelmed. And the feeling is not stemming from an abundance of beauty. But, if I look more closely at that same lane, I will find some of the most beautiful faces I've ever beheld, handcrafted iron work and timelessly carved teak, tiny bells on the ankles of little girls that jingle through the muddy water as they make their way home and intricately woven sarees with beads and sequins adorning every edge, draped over graceful women...who just might be dodging rickshaws.

I want to learn to draw out the beauty in every scene I encounter.

This is not so I am oblivious to real life. Real life is blazing before us at every turn. It is shouting to me from every street corner with a beggars hand or shanty house. I want to learn to see beyond what my eyes perceive at first, to look more closely at all that is before me. I think it is possible to train our eyes to see in such a way. Maybe, just maybe, a pretty little picture on pinterest will remind you today to look for the beauty in your own world.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

on the mend



Jude seems to be on the mend. He's had a fever for most of the day, but it appears to be subsiding a bit tonight. Hopefully, after a good night's sleep, he'll wake up fully recovered:) Thankfully, no rash, a little cough and a not-so-alarming daytime temp make it appear to be nothing more than a little cold. Much better than I thought at 2am.

I guess, after all, it is winter here. (It was 90 this afternoon.) It's cold season.

We spent the day watching Annie, reading books, and playing in the pillows on the bed. His favorite toy was the thermometer....



Thanks for the prayers and emails!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

a little fever

Jude-bug woke up feeling quite feverish. He's tucked back into bed and sound asleep. But here I am...googling Dengue Fever and Typhoid symptoms and treatments at 2am.

i like living in South Asia. I like being a mom. Sometimes the two are a hard combo though:)

Praying that little man wakes up fever-free...

wedding duds



We've been invited to a wedding in a few weeks. A fancy-smancy wedding from what we hear. We've been asking all sorts of questions of friends and teachers to make sure we know what to do, what to bring, what to wear. In the city, it's not really protocol for me to wear a sari anywhere. I'm white and everyone knows it. But....a wedding is a different story.



Today my language teacher brought me a wedding-appropriate, all silk, fancy-smancy sari. David measured it. Around 24 feet long. I'll have to call in all my neighbor-ladies to wrap me up in it before the wedding. And a tailor will cut 2 feet or so off the end to make me a belly-showing shirt. Don't worry, I'll have them wrap me nice and modest so Silas doesn't feel exposed:)



Everyone in our little household is quite excited about my new duds:)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

the tables have turned

Remember that daddy-phase Jude went through? My name was daddy. David's name was daddy.

The tables have turned.

David is now oft referred to as "momma." Video proof below and a grateful acknowledgement that hubs is a dish washing machine! Alongside all this is a wonderful little shout-out to Cousin Josie Jane and Aunt Lindsey. Skype calls prompt a lot of love in little man's heart:)

video

Monday, January 16, 2012

Festival of Color


Sankranti is one of the hindu festivals celebrated with a lot of gusto here. Painted doorsteps, kite flying, cow decorating, and a lot of spicy cooking. We were out and about this weekend taking in a few of the sights. It was very interesting to watch. From what we understand, most of the activities don't have a lot to do with worship...but there will be a lot of extra pujas to the sun god, to which the festival is dedicated. Here are a few pics:



Our apartment held a contest for the best ground painting. There were some intricate designs, all full of color. In the villages, every hindu house would have one of these paintings outside the doorstep to celebrate Sankranti.



One of Jude's friends brought him a kite to fly. It never really left the ground, but it was a kind sentiment.



Since Sunday was a pretty windless day, the guys who actually got their kites in the air were basically pros. There were apparently plenty of pros, because the sky was filled in late afternoon with little dots of color.



It really was a beautiful festival....and provoked a lot of though in my heart about the Creator of all things...sun, moon, and stars.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

around the house



I've been working on a few projects today around the house, catching up on laundry and cleaning, and checking some to-dos off the list. I've been intending to enlarge a few photos to add here and there. So this morning I pulled out a cd of photos that dear Robby Followell took last spring. In the shuffle of moving, shockingly I never really did much with them:) Here are a few of my favorites that will make their way to our walls soon!




Friday, January 13, 2012

In Pictures

We had a great time in the village. We're glad to be home:) A few tid-bits from our trip:


We stayed on the campus of an orphanage and school in a smallish town about two hours from where we live. There were plenty of language helpers:



We slept under a beautiful purple mosquito net, and I got plenty of wear out of my moo-moo.



Jude gathered a crowd everywhere we went. Sometimes he loved it. Sometimes...not so much.



I wore toe rings, just in case any of the villagers should wonder if I'm married. And some very large and in charge asian maternity clothes. No skinny jeans and tunics in the village:)


There were plenty of opportunities to sit and chat. It was just what we were hoping for in that regard!




Jude's a little train-obsessed these days so his favorite part may very well have been the train ride home.



Overall, it couldn't have been a better trip!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

village life


We're heading to a village a few hours away for the remainder of the week. Spicy food. Open spaces. Dirt fields to play cricket in. And no doubt a lot of adventure. Language by immersion is the goal. We'll take prayers.

See you on Friday!

Monday, January 9, 2012

nearing confinement

I went to the doctor this weekend. Apparently, Saturday is a routine day to schedule a baby check up:) Did I tell you that I changed doctors? I did. I changed to a hospital that has an "executive" wing. And even though we'll have to pay a little more out of pocket for a private room and nicer delivery area, I'm feeling much better about the decision.

Here are a few interesting observations I made in the waiting room.

1. I walked into the waiting area to find every seat taken. Someone brought in an extra chair for me. I thought I would be there for hours. I was out within 45 minutes. Why? Because only about 10% of the people in that waiting area were actually pregnant moms. I'm pretty sure one lady was there with her husband, dad, and 2 sisters. I was asked by 3 different nurses if I was there by myself. I think you're supposed to bring the family with you to the doctor here.

2. I was recently informed that after childbirth, women are especially fragile. In order to prevent a cold, I should wear a knitted ear warmer like piece around my ears and head. It will be 110 degrees here after I deliver.

In walked a new momma. It was around 90 outside. She had a head warmer tied tightly in place. Her mother followed closely behind with a very swaddled new born. The a/c was going in the waiting room. (For which I was profoundly grateful.) So as soon as her mother sat down, she draped a shawl over the new mother and tucked it 'round her. Apparently to prevent a chill.

In other recent preggo news:

a. I was stopped on the stairs the other day by a neighbor who asked me "if I should be doing that." She was referring to my climbing the stairs. I live on the 2nd floor.

b. My other neighbor asked me when my mother was coming. I told her March and knowing that they are all quite worried over my lack of live-in help said "She's staying for a whole month!" Which, to me, seems like an amazing sacrifice of time. My neighbor frowned and said "so short?!?" I tried to explain that my mom has a job, etc and a month is all that could be spared. It didn't really compute. She still looked concerned.

....and since I didn't take any great photos this weekend, here's one post-New Year's parade before we returned Jude's costume. We rented a banana suit. The asians all informed us he was actually a mango. Anyways, he was a cute piece of fruit.

Friday, January 6, 2012

water world


Apparently, most Asians eat in front of the television. Our dining room has a built in stand for a big screen tv. I opted to use the room as a living room instead. Primarily because the a/c blows right on me when I sit on the couch. Never mind that it's a bit weird to our neighbors. Survival of the summer at 8-9 months pregnant is more essential.

Consequently, we have a sink in our living room.





For the past month, it's held the nativity. But now that the decorations are packed away, Jude's discovered a new favorite spot. Little does he know, David talked to the man in the flower stall this afternoon. Ferns are on their way to camoflauge the sink.

And in case you're wondering where Jude really bathes in our shower-only home:



Even in a little smaller tub, bath time's still his favorite part of the day.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

ball of fun?



I'm looking for a fresh look on my dining room table after the holidays. Last night, I attempted to make some old school thread balls dipped in colored glue and wrapped around a balloon.

It was pretty messy. And I didn't use quite enough glue to make them fully stiff after the balloons were removed. They turned out ok...but I think I'm going to give it another try.

It wasn't quite as simple as I remember it being in 6th grade.

Maybe my standards have changed:)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

tricks

Jude does a few tricks these days, mostly learned under the tutelage of his dad. He rarely lets me catch them on camera though. But today, in a rare act of benevolence toward blog readers, he performed one of his trickiest tricks. Generally speaking, regardless of what is in his mouth, if you pull his ear, his tongue pops out. This is thanks to David's careful training. Here's a peek. Pardon my cheers in the background, I was hoping to encourage greater future participation:

video

And just in case you're wondering...when guests are sitting on our couch, he does occasionally tug their ears until he gets the desired result:)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

feeling my failures

If there's one area that I've consistently battled in the past few years, it's a sweeping feeling of failure. Sometimes it arises from a specific situation, but more often it creeps upon me in the daily matters of my life at home. Let me be very clear in saying that no one is reproaching me with a word of correction, my dear husband is not sighing when I walk into a room, my son is not neglected or out of control(ok, sometimes he's kind of out of control), and generally speaking, our little home is not falling apart around me. The laundry is, for the most part, managed, food makes its way to the table, and we don't crunch on the carpet too much. It is a whisper that follows me though. And I find it particularly cunning in this sweet and tiring season of motherhood. I have become more profoundly aware of it since our move to a far off land.

As we enter the new year, a time when I do like to reflect on changes that I would like to make and goals I would like to work toward, I find the whisper loudening. Part of this is, of course, related to the growing responsibilities on my plate, the growing stomach that seems to forbid progress on some days, and a language that is harder for me to conquer than infamous greek.

Failure is the opposite of success. This is a helpful recognition for me because a true failure would mean that I did not succeed in what I set out to do. I need definitive examples for this general feeling. Usually for me, it's the whole gamut of life, rather than one specific area that is generally the pressure point. That vagueness can be difficult to overcome. Most often I would like to define success as a finished check list at the end of the day. When we were in Louisville, a very wise teacher pointed me to the biblical concept of faithfulness. I am task oriented in many respects. Faithfulness defines success differently. When I am faithful in a day, I may or may not accomplish everything I set out to do. The list might be incomplete for any number of reasons: a cranky toddler who needed more attention, an unexpected guest who required hospitality, a pregnancy that suggested sitting for an hour would be wiser than standing, etc. If I am not being slothful with my time, if I am walking in the good works God prepared for me...many of which I am not aware of until I enter into the day...I should be able to lay my head on my pillow at night and rest well. I've walked faithfully. The list does not define my failure or success.

I wish that simple understanding had deeper root in my heart.

As it is, I have near weekly discussions with my husband about feeling like I am a failure. You can ask him. It's true. I thought I would tell you that because you might not know it from reading my thoughts on painted snails and eggplant recipes. And what often encourages me in moments when I wonder if I will ever really get it together is to look into the lives of women I know....women who might seem to have it all together, but they really don't. They're plodding along faithfully but not perfectly. They are repentant when they are unfaithful. They greet the days giving thanks for God's mercies. Peering into their lives, I see the marks of faithfulness and the seeds that they are unconsciously sowing that will one day be a beautiful harvest. It spurs me on.

Don't grow weary in doing good. Press on. Keep going. At the proper time, (which does not likely seem to be in the midst of young motherhood:) you will reap a harvest.

Asking for faithfulness in our lives this year.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Hoppin' New Year

Our apartment complex was a happenin' place on New Year's Eve. It was a party like we've never seen before in our neck of the woods.



There was plenty of dancing...



An old fashioned costume parade...



Two men on stilts who partied in the middle of the dance floor all the way til midnight...



And crowds of people like only asia could produce...



The grand finale was a fireworks show from the roof of our building that left our ears ringing...and little Jude sleeping soundly in his bed. It was fun to watch...and we're glad it's over. Last night we were tucked in bed by 9pm to recover:)