Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The last post for Tris and Kim's Indonesian Adventure: Saying Goodbye

This is it.  It's been almost one year since I last wrote, and although I think of blogging regularly, haven't had much opportunity to do so.  It has become obvious that it is time to say goodbye, that this blog did what it was meant to do, and that was to both keep family and friends back home updated on the goings on of our lives, as well as to help me personally settle into a new life in a new land.  That new life has now become routine, and the new land has become a second home.

One final update for what has been going on and what is to come.  Our family has grown up.  In fact, today is Abby's 16th birthday.  Matt turned 18 in October.  Tris and I are well into our 40s.  We came here to Indonesia for a 2 year stint and fell in love with the lifestyle, the people, and the culture.  While there are still some things we don't understand, like why some of the older rich women back comb their hair so much that the hair above their head is the same length as their face, and why Indonesian men allow the few hairs on their face to grow to braidable lengths, we continue to make new discoveries.  Tris likes to imitate one that you often see on the side of the road, usually near a food stall, and that is men pulling their shirts above their bellies and then rubbing their bellies.  While our family is still very much Canadian, I find that my kids have some very 'Indo' qualities about them.  They don't rub their bellies like Tris does, but they do love Indonesian food, and Matt covers everything in hot sauce.  I'm not sure that it's Indonesian, and I think it's more school culture, but they spend a lot of time studying with friends and doing homework.  One thing we have done that is very non-Indonesian, and that is to adopt a black dog.  Dog's here are considered dirty (by the Muslim population), and black ones are considered evil by many, so if poor Jasper was to wander beyond our gates I'm not too sure he'd do all that well on his own.
Jasper the dog

Our personal updates?  Tris is working as the Diploma Program (IB) Coordinator at our school (SPH) as well as teaching physics and chemistry.  He's also involved in some other programs that allow him to travel a bit around Asia.  Just recently he began helping to coach Abby's basketball team.  Matt is prepping to leave us next school year, and is very busy with university applications and school projects and exams.  He has applied to schools across Canada and the US but we haven't heard where he'll end up.  My hope?  Close to family (UBC) but as Matt wants to spread his wings a bit, he's rooting for something a bit more to the east. For fun, Matt still loves to socialize, and he's in a running club that he and a friend organized.  Abby is busy as well.  Today, on her 16th birthday, she'll finish up an exam schedule that will lead us into the holidays.  Abby's time is spent studying, playing sports (soccer last term, basketball now) and perusing Pinterest in any spare time that she can find.  She has more ideas of  things to make over the holidays than we have hours, so we'll have to prioritize a bit.  Both kids are involved with Student Council (Matt with Motley, kind of like a school spirit club, and Abby with Social Committee, where they focus on people who are less privileged).  Time is precious in this family, and so we are going to use the 2 weeks that we have coming up to relax, eat, and recupe for the upcoming year.  I don't think our family has ever been this busy.  We do meet up at dinner time most evenings, thankfully.  My news?  I have been doing a Masters of Education for the last 2 years, and just have my practicum to finish up (Jan to April).  Once that's done, I will be eligible to work as an elementary teacher.  I will graduate the same time as Matt, and when he goes to university, hopefully I'll go to work to help pay for it:)  

I've tried to think of ways to end this blog, by possibly giving some sage advice or offer some profound bit of wisdom.  I've had a year to think about it and since I haven't come up with anything specific, I'll leave it.  What I have learned over the past 5.5 years is that everything comes down to God and His will for our lives.  When we're in it, things work, regardless of the level of difficulty.  When we chose to do our own thing, struggles seem to grow exponentially, and there is no peace.  My hope for my family, including myself, is that no matter what we do, where we go, or where we end up, that our eyes will be focused on God, and that our attitudes, actions and choices would reflect the wisdom, grace, strength, peace and love of God.

Thanks for reading.  

The End.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Abigail Turns 15!

Almost a month ago, my baby girl turned 15 years old.  As we were taking a holiday from all things intellectual (work and school), I decided not to blog.  However, now is a good time to celebrate Abigail.

One of the disadvantages of living away from your home country is that usually all your old photos are back where you came from, and that is the case with us.  However, I have managed to collect a few favourites and this is definitely one of them.  Abby was a DOLLY when she was a little girl, and every year we are quite convinced that she gets more beautiful, both inside and out.

Tris and I are pretty proud of her and how hard she works.  I would like to post a photo of her awards and trophies but #1, she's hidden them away in her closet and #2, she'd probably chase me down.  I will say, however, that I believe that the hard work ethic that she maintains at 15 will help her to succeed in future years, and she follows God's leading and puts her mind to what He directs her to.

Although Abby works hard, she also knows how to play.  I'm tempted to post a few of her goofier moments but usually her bbf Zoe is usually in most of those photos and I'm afraid I may be blacklisted if I do.  A few summers ago my mom came up with an old pair of very large, very '80s, glasses, which Abby and Matt have adopted.  They loved them so much they bought a 2nd pair at the Thrift Store.  This past month, Abby and Zoe wore them to the local mall (lense-less), and as I watched them enter the mall, I saw more than a few double-looks.  Made me laugh!

It's good to have Abby around, because when she's ready to relax, she often forces us to as well.  One of my favourite memories is of a picnic (sushi and rice paper spring rolls) we had outside one Sunday afternoon, under our pink Frangipani tree.  It was during Ramadhan, so we weren't really supposed to eat in public, so we made sure we were hidden from inquiring minds.

One of the greatest blessings in my life is my children, and I love that they like each other.  They usually enjoy each other's company, and I hope and pray that this lasts into a lifetime relationship of communication, loyalty and commitment.

I've mentioned it before, and I will say it again, that having a blog is a great way to tell others how wonderful I think my children are.  So, happy birthday my Abby-girl!  You are a blessing to me and your Dad, and we can't think of anything more wonderful than to have you as our daughter.

Monday, December 10, 2012

WaterBorn Exhibition

If you've been reading this blog over the years, you may recognize this painting by Amelia Alcock-White.  She is Tris' cousin, and is an artist living in Vancouver, BC (Canada, for those of you wondering).  She just recently held an Exhibition at the Petley Jones Gallery on 6th in Vancouver, and her painting of Matt was the theme painting.  We are very sad not to have been a part of this event, but thankfully the Internet has allowed us to see her show and even some of the guests who attended.  For a more in-depth look at her work, check out Amelia's website.

This photo was taken at a hotel in Singapore, and is significant to our family because it signifies our new lives overseas.  We were stopping over in Singapore to have our visas taken care of before we landed in Indonesia.  I love how this water theme (overseas) links up with Amelia's WaterBorn theme.  Don't forget to take a look at her work...she says a lot without words.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!  Well, that was a month ago, but time and lack of turkey dictated that we eat our Thanksgiving meal a little later than usual. It IS almost American Thanksgiving, so technically we're doing ok.  When my kids were little it was lots of fun to decorate the table with dried leaves and ceramic pumpkins, but things change, and it's harder to remember Autumn when it's a humid 70% and 31*C outside.  The grey skies add a little to the long-weekend feeling, as well as the fact that we have Thursday and Friday off for Islamic New Year.

As I write, turkey's in the oven, cheese cake and apple pies are on the counters, veggies are cut, and I'm procrastinating doing any coursework.  Company is coming at 6:00 and with a few hours left, I'm just going to sit and enjoy the smells of the kitchen.  I might even haul out a few ceramic pumpkins and a candle or 2.

No matter what time of year, what season or celebration, my family is always on my mind.  I miss sitting around the table with the ones I love, participating in all the "kibbitzing" as my mom calls it, and I even miss the rat-tail tea towel whips that my brothers make, even to this day (does this ever stop? Like, once they turn 50 or something?).  At least those rat-tails mean that they're doing the dishes.  I especially miss the kids.  They're growing big without me, and that is the hardest part of being overseas.  All of our nieces and nephews are incredible, and we miss the time that we're NOT getting with them.

I remember a saying that used to make me chuckle as a kid, and it's "you can pick your friends, you can  pick your nose, but you can't pick your family"...or is it "you can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose"...Silliness aside (thanks Poppa), I am thankful for my family, both my childhood one and the one I married into (plus those lovely extras that married my brothers).  If I pine after one thing about Canada, it's my family.

One thing I am thankful for here is that when you do live in a community like ours, you CAN pick your family.  We have friends coming over to share our Thanksgiving meal, that we consider our 'Indo relatives,' and we have others who help us care for our kids when we need a hand.  We are surrounded by people who love us and who we love like family, and for that I am thankful.

It's been a while since I've posted, and lots has gone on, but this is what's up today.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Contemplation 2012

Wow, it's amazing how life changes and how priorities are adjusted.  When I first began this blog, it was a wonderful way to process moving to Indonesia and all the adjustments that we encountered.  I remember very specifically writing so that I wouldn't offend my new country members who might be reading, and I wouldn't cause my friends and family back home in Canada to insist that I come home immediately.  In setting these boundaries for myself, I was force to look at the good in where I was living, and to make the best of some really difficult situations.  Now, 4 years later, I feel that I am in a new stage of life and blogging is no longer as necessary as it was for me.  Couple that with having much less free time and the result is fewer posts...that and forgetting my password for a few weeks!

Our latest updates in a nutshell (o so many):
Tris and Sunny came to Indonesia for almost 5 weeks, and we had a great visit.  Revisited Bali for almost a week, and while in Lippo they were able to take advantage of the local country club while the rest of us worked or studied each weekday.  Time went by quickly and before we knew it, they had flown home and we were preparing to return for our summer visit to Canada.

We adopted a black dog named Jasper, and he is keeping us on our toes.  It's different adopting a dog that is almost an adult but we're willing to tackle the challenge.  He's not really very much like our Canadian Corgie dog, Willie, but he has some promise.  We think he's a cross between a border Collie and an Australian shepherd.  He's got this weird ridge back that friends of ours call a 'faux hawk.'  Very cute.

I've completed 3 of 12 Masters (teaching) courses and so am 25% finished.  Boy that feels good, although knowing I have 9 more to go can be a little daunting at times.  I'm studying online through a Christian university, and I love the challenges that the content provides.  It's causing me to really examine what I believe, why, and how I will take what I believe and appy it to all areas of my life.  This is a lot different from my first university degree!

Matt has finished grade 10 and will be starting his International Baccalaureate (IB) program for grade 11 and 12.  This is an intense program but it will be beneficial when it's time to head to university, as it focuses on preparing students for further study.

Abby finished grade 8 with a bang, earning a bunch of awards.  The highlight (for her parents) was Top Student for grade 8, and Scholar Athlete as well.  There were others but I may get in trouble if I put them all up for all to see:)

Tris has a new job description that gives him more admin and less teaching next year, which will be a nice challenge and change for him.  He's already starting working during the summer, with emails flying back and forth from Canada to Indonesia.  He's really looking forward to what this year will bring.

We're here in Canada now, and sadly, are halfway through our visit (today is the marker).  Heading back to Indonesia is always bittersweet, as we love our lives there, but it's hard to leave family and friends behind.  This year will be particularly difficult to return, though, as many of our good friends have moved to their home countries for various reasons, and there will be a big hole left.  We do look forward to meeting new friends though, and so will head home with a good attitude.

It's been a good day, spent with family and friends.  Trout fishing is the plan for tomorrow and so it's time to head to bed.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Company's Coming!

They're almost on their way!  Tris' parents are heading here for their 2nd visit (first was Dec 2009) for almost 5 weeks and we're really excited.  This time will be a little different as last time it was over Christmas break and this time it's over April break (no Spring Break here...Spring doesn't exist!), so we don't have as much visit time.  However, we plan on making the best use of our time and hopefully they'll have a lot of opportunity to just relax.  One of my mom in law's favourite Indonesian things:  having her dirty clothes picked up in the morning and delivered the next day, washed, dried, ironed and folded!

March is flying by so fast it's making my head spin.  My days are full of books, reading, writing and lots of editing of papers and assignments.  I'm learning a lot in my first class, and am looking forward to learning in the second one that I just started last Monday.  It's a research/statistics class, and that kind of scares me.  It's kind of fun working alongside my kids, as they work on essays and projects, and meet school deadlines.

We still have fun around here, it's just more intentional.  Our school held it's annual Soccer Carnival a few weeks ago, and Tris and the kids were really into preparing for it.  Our house team (Merapi...named after the volcano) was going with a military theme, and so our family went along with another Merapi family, the Comries, to some shops far, far away in Jakarta to buy military garb.  Once all was said and done, they looked great.  Abby, our friend Sophie, and a few other girls did a cheerleading dance to get our team going (all-school assembly just before the carnival started).
I thought matt was going for 'sasquatch' but apparently this is military camouflage.

Report cards came out and the kids did really well.  It's neat to see what areas they're really developing into, and what gifts God has given them.  Abby loves to write, and it shows.  Matt loves art, especially photography, and it shows.  Below is a photo that he took for a lighting lesson in digital art.  He was supposed to use lighting to show emotion.  Here, it's hopelessness.  
Thankfully, this is just a staged photo.

We're off to Bali in April, something that we haven't done since Tris and Sunny were last here, and so we're really, really excited.  

thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Update

Wow, things have changed!  It used to be that I'd write a post every 2nd day or so, which graduated to once a week, and now, sadly, once a month.  However, maybe that's not sad.  It's just an indication that I actually have a life now, or at least one that keeps my mind busy.  There have been a lot of things going on here, some worthy of sharing, others that if I wrote down would just seem kind of random, but things we enjoy regardless.  

Matthew has finished his grade 10 personal project (otherwise known as his "pp"...I hate it when people call it that) and has gone back into his old routine of hanging out more, homework less.  His project was to make a photo book about Jakarta and the surrounding areas, and he did an excellent job.  He's got a great eye for shots, and it shows.  Two days ago he and some friend from school were filming their modern take on Romeo and Juliet in our living room.  That was interesting, especially when his sports jock friend donned a pink dress and played the role of ... I'm not really sure.  

Abby is plugging along with her schoolwork and sports.  She's worked hard too, and I think both kids are ready for the upcoming Easter break.  Tris and I have gone to watch some of her soccer games and it's nice to see how much the girls have improved over the year.  Improvement is good;)

O dear, as I write this, our helper has arrived for work.  It's raining outside, she's got her big padded winter-looking jacket on and she's shivering.  I can admit to actually shivering here in Indonesia outside once...I was thrilled, thinking I'm becoming Indonesian!  She walked in saying "Dingin sekali!!  (Very cold!)"  Yes, it's a cold 27 degrees out there, with a wind chill factor.

Tris is starting into his new job, training for next year's Curriculum Co-ordinator.  He loves the position and is looking forward to the challenges that it will bring.  He'll keep teaching a little bit, but will mostly work at this position.  He's been playing guitar and writing songs lately, inspired a lot by the things we're learning about God and the roles He plays in our lives.  And he continues to golf...

He's golfing and playing guitar even more now that I've started my Masters in Arts of Teaching (MAT) and am not around to hang with as much.  I'm 3 weeks in and have got many, many more to go!  The first week was hell, I admit.  Twenty years of no reading, writing or research, and then I have assignments due that have to sound at least semi-intellectual.  However, I survived and will continue to do so until I can call myself a teacher.  I actually think I'm a bit addicted to studying, which may be a good thing, so I'll just run with it.

One thing before I head off.  There's a BC family that lives here in Lippo with us (they're from Smithers).  Their 2 year old daughter, Kiera, was recently diagnosed with Viral Encephalitis, and has had some serious symptoms from it.  After 3-4 weeks of dealing with it here in Indo and then in Singapore, Kiera and  her mom will fly to Vancouver, BC to head to Children's Hospital.  They are hoping to leave Singapore on Friday.  Kiera's dad and 6 month old son will stay here until the school year is out.  Please join our family and our community in praying for Kiera and her family, for healing, intervention, patience and stamina as they go without being together for a long time.  Thank you!

Thanks for reading.