Thursday, July 12, 2007

100th Post

This is my 100th post!

Oh, the pressure! What to write about?

Hmmm. I think I'll start with our camping trip.

I'm not really much for camping but it was nice to get out in the open with the kids and let them enjoy the sunshine and the river. Me, I just got a really bad sunburn. Don't get me wrong, I think camping can be a lot of fun. But if you're like me you spend most of your time digging for something in your backpack or reminding yourself not to complain out loud. My favorite part was when Hetee announced that it was time to start picking up the tents to leave.

Speaking of tents we had a really nice one from the container of stuff donated from Hong Kong. It was brand new and we had no idea it was so nice until we got there and set it up. It was big, with 2 smaller compartments inside, one for Nate and Abi and one for Hetee and myself (Kenny didn't come). Because of the closed-off smaller compartments, we were able to sleep totally bug free which was a huge blessing! I almost wanted to spend an extra night. Almost.

The river was nice. The water where we were wasn't deep at all so I couldn't swim much. It also had a funny smell, like too many cattle had passed through upstream. Yuck. But the kids had a lot of fun, especially Abi. She has been infatuated with water and swimming since she was tiny. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that she was born in water?

Anyway, remember the granola bars I said we'd be taking on our camping trip? Well, I received some constructive criticism from Nate about them. Abi and I were eating ours for breakfast and I asked him if he wanted one. He said, "Nah. They taste like the countryside." I asked him what he meant and he said, "You know, grass, sticks, rocks." After I recovered I let him know, in a not-so-friendly tone that it was either that or leftover mutton from the night before. He chose the granola bar. Smart boy.

On the way to the camp site we saw 2 adult blue cranes with 2 baby cranes (what are they called?) They are so beautiful and very rare but we see them every year when they migrate to and from Japan.

We were also visited by a cuckoo bird. The kids thought that was the coolest.

Then, when we were about to leave, a Mongolian cowboy came by to ask for a cigarette. Hetee told him we didn't have any. Being the thoughtful daddy he is, he asked if the kids could ride the horses and the guy obliged. He seemed grateful for the conversation with Hetee and the other guys in our group. Nate and Abi thoroughly enjoyed their horseback riding and once again I was struck by how at ease they both seem in the saddle. Abi, who has a thing for horses , rode unassisted and didn't seem to think much of it. I thought of her Mongol ancestors who grew up in the saddle and were racing horses at Nate's age. I guess it's in their genes. I was so proud of them! Although I was a bundle of nerves to see my 3-year-old baby up on that big horse all by herself. Nate, I could handle seeing like that, but Abi just seems so fragile. I'm glad I kept my fears to myself because she was tickled pink about the whole experience and that much more confident in herself afterward. She's very shy and quiet so I know it was a good thing for her.

In case you're wondering why I didn't post any pictures let me just say that this camping trip was a mini-vacation from all things electronic. I didn't post any pictures because I didn't take any. =)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Going Camping!

Well, Hetee's birthday didn't exactly turn out the way I planned, due to some unforeseen last-minute expenses but we had a great time, nonetheless. Since we weren't able to go the retreat we decided to just go to the river and hang out there. We took a blanket and some snacks and talked and lounged around for about 4 hours. The spot we "found" was so nice that we decided to go back tomorrow with the kids and some close friends (leaders from our 12's) from church. We'll be taking tents and spending the night. I made it clear that I would not be doing any cooking while there so I'm taking chicken salad and granola bars. The others will be BBQ-ing mutton. No thank you!

We saw several gers (yurts) with camels out front on the way. I hope they're still there and we can ride them again. The kids love them!

Speaking of the kids, they were so excited about their daddy's birthday. We wrapped his present the night before and, although I urged them that they HAD to keep it a secret, Abi was having such a hard time. She finally spilled the beans but the poor thing didn't even realize it. We had a book for him and she said, "Daddy, you can't have your surprise book now. You will get it tomorrow." Nate and I both yelled, "ABI!" She looked at us as if to say, "What did I do now?" Then proceeded to cry brokenheartedly.

Hetee liked his book. The title of it was "Why I'm Crazy About My Dad". I also gave him a book of quotes and sayings about husbands. I never know what to get him but he said he liked it too.

Later that day, before going to the river, the kids and I made a german chocolate cake from scratch. It was YUMMY! And Hetee really liked it. I made him beef curry for supper, his favorite meal.

After the river and after we ate supper my parents came over to visit and give Hetee his present. Then right as they were leaving some of our g12 members from church came over with another cake. Their present was really funny-- a fake, bling dog chain with a big dollar sign on it. They totally cracked me up!

On to a different subject... My friend Amanda will soon be moving back to Mongolia! She used to live here about 6 years ago, back when I was single, and she was even here for my wedding. She and I used to teach English at the same school. During that time she discovered that being an English teacher was her calling. I just ran like heck. I am NOT a teacher. I think it's because I learn other languages fairly easily and I just don't get people who don't. I hate explaining things over and over again to people who just don't get it. And believe me, there's at least one in every classroom.

I'm getting way off track here...

Amanda just finished up her masters in Teaching English As a Second Language at Wheaton and will now be moving to Ulaan Baatar to work for 4 years (with ELI China) !!! It's a 2-hour car ride to UB but Hetee has promised that I can go whenever I want once she gets here! He really wants me to have friends and he knows how tough and lonely it gets. I think Amanda will probably spend some weekends here in Darkhan, too. We both love baking and dream of one day opening a bakery/coffee shop in Darkhan and employing unwed mothers and street children to work in it. First, I have to find her a Mongolian husband so she can get a green card. Worked for me. hehe

Anyway, it's late and I still have a ton of last-minute things to finish before we leave in the am.

Have a blessed day!