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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

sitting in jail

Last night I left this status on Facebook before going to bed: If we were sitting in jail and you could only say four words to me, what would you say?

Here are all the responses that I have received so far:
· what did you do???
· Yessss! We did it!
· Sooo, gasoline IS explosive?!
· Mooning POTUS : Not Okay...
· Oh No You didn't!
· That was awesome brother!
· So, where is Troy?
· Look what u did!!
· we are so dead!
· don't touch her flamingos
· hey, could be worse
· Tasha's gonna KILL you!!!!
· Hey, how've you been?

Does anyone else notice that in just four words, it is very easy to see what friends would sell you out and which ones would hold out until the very end?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On the Wings of Heroes

Some people run, others play video games, and I read kid's novels. Reading is my way to unwind. Today I finished On the Wings of Heros by Richard Peck. It was an amazing book. I first heard about Richard Peck while driving to Pismo Beach. To help the time pass, Kyle and I listened to A Long Way From Chicago. I laughed SOOOO much. I love that Richard paints thought provoking, funny, complicated and yet simple pictures of life 60-100 years ago. He doesn't paint it all nice and rosy like Laura Ingalls Wilder. He paints with hilarious humor, unexpected changes of events, and lots of pranks. He often doesn't paint people as beautiful creatures who do what they are supposed to. Instead there are privies that catch fire, root beer cans that explode, a grandmother who hides in the dark and succeeds in protecting her privy on Halloween, illegal fishing, difficult neighbors, and much more. I don't think I'd want to be in these stories, but boy are they a joy to read.

The books I've read and really recommend:
A Long Way From Chicago
A Year Down Yonder
On the Wings of Heroes
Fair Weather
The Teacher's Funeral-A Comedy in Three Parts

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week 14

This was a few days ago.

At Bible study Sunday night, someone told Tasha that she was starting to show. Someone else that night brought maternity clothes that they are going to loan to Tasha. We are very well cared for.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I've waited to tell my students that I was pregnant until yesterday. But rather than just tell them, I started by giving them a clue every hour or so. It started yesterday afternoon and took until 2:00 today for them to get it.

1. July
2. 13 weeks
3. small clothes
4. eating a lot
5. changing shape
6. new names
7. shower
8. 8 pounds
9. maybe a girl

Some of the comments were absolutely hilarious as they tried to figure things out. Here are some things they said.
*There are 13 weeks in July.
*We are going to have a party in July.
*Summer is 13 weeks long.
*We're going to wear small clothes in July.
*But if we eat a lot of food in July, our small clothes will tear.

They couldn't get past the idea that the clues weren't about them or for them. Even when I told them I wouldn't see them in July, that didn't convince them that we weren't having a party of some kind.

A girl figured it out and then started whispering to a boy about how a baby fit the clues. He, being a much louder student, got all excited and wanted to stop class and share this new information. I told him that everyone had to put away their math homework and get out their science books before we could talk about what he thought he knew. He couldn't wait for everyone, so he just asked if I was going to have a baby. I ignored him and waited for the class to get ready. He then started to talking to other kids about how a baby fit the clues. Once everyone was ready and quiet again, I called on the girl to share what she had figured out. The boy was a bit bummed, but still very excited.

After she shared that she thought a baby would work, I told them that I was going to have a baby. The class screamed with joy and excitement!!! Some thought it was about the music teacher having a baby, but I explained that our due dates are few days apart.

This announcement plunged us into a 20 minute discussion on babies. It was science time, so babies work ... right?

Here are some of the questions and answers.
Q:How long have you known?
A: I've known since the beginning of November.

Q: Why didn't you tell us sooner?
A: Often if a baby is going to miscarry, it does in the first 13 weeks. If that happened, I didn't want all of you to be sad. I'd rather be the one who knew about it.

Q: Doesn't miscarry mean the baby dies?

Q: Why do babies miscarry?
A: There are lots of reasons. Baby's start out as a cell. Cells are really small. There are millions of cells on your hand. This cell multiplies a lot. Sometimes the baby stops multiplying, so it dies. Sometimes mommies don't take care of their bodies. They do drugs or drink too much. The babies can die from that. In you body are things called chromosomes. All girls have two X chromosomes, and all boys have an X and a Y. Sometimes the baby as too many Xs or too many Ys, or not enough of either.

Q: Aren't some babies born small because their mom's did drugs or drank too much?
A: Yes, it is called a low birth weight.

Q: If the baby dies, how does it come out?
A student pretended that a surgeon cut her belly open, and she said that was how.
A: I said that the baby comes out and to ask their mom how.

Q: Has your baby multiplied?
A: Yes. (I'm sure many of them are thinking things like 3 x 4 = 12.) Have you ever been to Red Lobster or Long John Silver? My baby is the size of a large shrimp. (You should have heard the laughter from that!!!)

Q: What are you going to name the baby?
A: We like the name Eliana for a girl and Josiah for a boy.

Q: Are you going to have twins?
A: Probably not, although my mother-in-law, the lady that helped us before Christmas make those Rudolph bags, she wants twins. I went to the doctor, and they only saw one baby.

Q: Are you still going to be our teacher?
A: I won't be your teacher next year, because you'll go to 5th grade. (That got a chuckle out of a few students).

Q:But are you coming back?
A: I don't know yet. I might stay home with the baby, but I might come back.
The girl who demonstrated a c-section said she hoped I'd come back with the baby.

Q: Do you remember how you told us you had the same teacher for 6 years? Could you be our teacher next year?
A: I had the same teacher for 3rd-6th grade. That is 4 years. There are fine 5th grade teachers at our school already, so I don't think I'd be moved to 5th grade.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Traveling Home

We started our afternoon off by traveling through the crazy traffic were there are no lines on the road. Once we got to the airport, just around the first block, all of the men had to exit the van and then got patted down. Once we drove in a little more, we all got out. Sherry and I were patted down in a covered room. The men had our suitcases checked for the first time, and the men got patted down again. While having our bags checked, Kyle was winked at repeatedly by a security person. He asked if the bags were okay and was told yes. The man still winked at him. Kyle then asked if he wanted to see his passport. The man looked it over and kept winking. After getting the bags and passport back he asked our driver what it meant for an Afghan man to wink repeatedly at you. He was told that the man probably wanted money. Kyle was relieved that he did not want a date. We got back in the car and traveled a little more to the first parking lot. Security has heightened quite a bit, so you have to walk quite a ways to get to the airport. We had to leave Perry and Sherry at one of the checkpoints on our walk. We were blessed to have had to opportunity to see them. We passed through another security check before arriving at the line outside of the airport terminal.

As soon as we entered the airport, grandpa Hal and Kyle were again patted down. I went to a separate area to be patted down. We then sent our luggage through the x-ray machines. Kyle and Grandpa Hal had gotten pretty warm with our travels so far, so they got some water and we head upstairs to the next screening process. We went through Passport Control and then had our carry-ons x-rayed and then hand searched. Finally we sat down at our terminal and I ate some nan, the local bread.

In the air to Dubai:
The flight to Dubai was fine. The food wasn't great, but that isn't surprising. I did enjoy the fresh fruit with pomegranate. I didn't enjoy landing since my sinus infection was causing havoc on my ears.

Since we changed airlines, we had to get our luggage and recheck it in. It took us quite awhile to find the departing flights since we had no clear direction and we had to cross a street. We got our stuff scanned and then had to find our airline to get the tickets. That too was quite a process since several airlines worked together for these big international flights. We finally got our tickets and head for our terminal. We stopped at a coffee shop. Grandpa Hal got a large cup of fancy coffee and a berry muffin he gladly shared. Kyle got us waters. Grandpa Hal picked up a new book and Kyle found a great coffee mug for my dad for his birthday. At the boarding gate, they had more heightened security in comparison to our way into Afghanistan. They had all of the carry-on luggage carefully hand searched, and I got patted down again.

In the air to Georgia:
The flight from Dubai to Georgia was okay for a 15 hour flight. My sinus infection wasn't fun to deal with. I think I went through around 40 tissues. Thankfully Sherry had given us a new box of tissues before we left. I was able to get some sleep. I played a couple of card games on my personal tv screen and watched Mulan. I've always loved that Disney movie. I don't know if it was the lack of sleep, but more than likely it is being pregnant, but I sure do get teary eyed at movies these days. I also enjoyed an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. I got to see half an episode of House before the landing process put all of our screens on the landing screen savers. My sinus infection was no better for this landing on my ears.

If you thought the beginning of our flights were crazy, you'll never believe how much Georgia was far superior in its craziness. When we landed we were told that federal workers would be checking our passports before we got off the breeze way and into the airport. That made getting off the plane a much longer process. The breeze way was so cold that we could see our breath. It had been warm in Dubai, so Kyle stuffed all of his sweaters and coats into his checked baggage. Grandpa Hal had on a sweat suit and a coat, so he graciously offered the coat to Kyle. Although Grandpa Hal was the one talked to the most on the flight over, it would be Kyle that was ever so lucky this time around. We were asked several questions by one of the federal workers. I don't think he liked our answers, or the fact that we'd been to another Middle Eastern country four years ago. He wrote some alpha code designation on the top of our customs paper.

When we went through customs, those special letters got our customs paper and our passports put into a red file which was handed to a uniformed man. He escorted us to a questioning room. This room's waiting room automatically locked once you came inside; like a jewelry store. Only a badge or a push code could let you out. Grandpa Hal had gone through with flying colors, so he made his way downstairs. We however waited for about half an hour before Kyle was interrogated. I finished a great children's novel called Fair Weather by Richard Peck. If you like funny stories and want to know about the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, I'd highly recommend it. I also worked on a couple of Suduko puzzles while waiting. Kyle answered all kinds of questions about why we had been in Afghanistan, where his parents worked, and why we had been in yet another tense country. The good thing was that we still had our letters of invitation from Perry's work. After about 15 mintues and a nice stamp on our papers, we found Grandpa Hal downstairs. He was understandably a bit worked up. I had tried to get permission to call him but I was told that he would be waiting for us downstairs. Once we went through another checkpoint, Kyle and I were separated again from Grandpa Hal since our custom papers had those lovely letters on it.

It was getting really close to our departure time, so Kyle asked if we could call our Grandpa. They asked if it was an emergency. Kyle explained that we'd already been separated from Grandpa and that he as already probably having a conniption fit. We were granted a short call. Kyle called Grandpa to tell him to board even if we didn't make it since we each had our our luggage. The odd thing was that Grandpa didn't answer. When going through TSA, he'd left his cell phone in his pocket. So his initial walk through didn't make it. His cell phone was then separated from all of his other stuff and thus mistakenly forgotten. Kyle explained to the TSA worker that answered Grandpa's phone that once he got through this security check point he'd grab the cell phone and then find Grandpa. However, the TSA worker explained that Grandpa would have to pick up his phone. We were called up and asked a few more questions. After a couple of questions, Kyle explained that a nice guy back at the customs office had already talked with him for 15 minutes. That sped up the process quite a bit. We went through TSA and found Grandpa in the process of getting his cell phone. He was describing it to the worker. The guy asked his what the number was for the phone. He explained that he didn't know since he didn't call himself. Ha! We got the cell phone and headed for the train that would take us to our terminal.

Upon arrival of the boarding gate we realized that our flight had been moved. Thankfully, it was only 2 gates over, or so it appeared. The airline was right, and the time was right, but the flight number was not. Grandpa and I stood in the line which was boarding (yes they were already boarding!!!) and Kyle checked with the front desk. We were in the right line! I breathed a sigh of relief and was so glad to sit down on our last flight.

In the air to LAX:
My ears were really a mess by then, so I wasn't able to lean onto Kyle's shoulder without getting nauseous. I ended up not being able to sleep during that 5 hour flight. I also realized I'd left the rest of the nan on our previous flight. I knew we wouldn't get a real meal on this flight. I was a little worried about me and my sudden hunger moments, but it worked out okay. I did pay for blue berry muffin, and it tided me over. The descend didn't work well on my ears, nor on my stomach. But we landed in my home time zone, so what did I have to complain about it.

Los Angeles:
I know that at this point you are hoping I feel great and that life will be easy, but sadly it wasn't. As in our flight to Afghanistan, my luggage got lost. I was exhausted and hungry. My sister and niece were going around the traffic circle and were ready to pick us up. My cell phone and Kyle's were dead. We found a plug, got Tara's number, and then used Grandpa's cell phone to call. We were told that the luggage would probably be on the next flight which would land in about an hour. Being hungry, I opted to grab some food and then come back. Even though I couldn't taste much, a bean burrito from Taco Bell was what I craved. Thankfully there was a Taco Bell near by.

After eating we headed back to LAX. Grandpa and Kyle hopped out while we made the circle of traffic fun. Luckily the luggage had arrived and we headed home. I was pretty sick by this point and bumped Ashlee out of the front seat so that I could see where we were going. I ended up being able to curl up in the front seat without any nausea. I didn't get a whole lot of sleep, but we were headed to my parents' house, and that was all that mattered at the time. During the drive home, Tara, my RN sister, figured I had a sinus infection with my symptoms. Kyle then using Tara's iPhone made a doctor's appointment for me the next day.

We arrived at my parents to realize that none of us had a key. Luckily my mom works near by, so we called. She didn't answer. My brother who works near by didn't answer either. A few minutes later my mom called and happily came home for a minute to let us in.

I was SO grateful for a nice hot shower. All of my clothes needed to be washed, so I borrowed my mom's pj pants, a shirt from my brother, and a sweatshirt of my dad. I then blessedly fell asleep on the couch. My mom made her famous meatball heros, which from the very little I could taste tasted great. Everyone else seemed to enjoy them thoroughly. We got our laundry started and went to bed at a decent hour.

I woke up around 4 since I'd napped so late. I had bowl of cereal. Later I had another bowl of cereal. Before we left I had a wheat English muffin with peanut butter. Before we left town, Kyle got me a bean burrito from Taco Bell. I was glad my appetite was back in full swing, but goodness it is crazy how much I eat in the mornings.

We headed home, and I was able to sleep for a good part of the trip. We didn't have time to stop at home before my dr. appointment. The doctor confirmed that Tara was right, and I got a prescription for some antibiotics.

Now we'd been home for a little while. We did some grocery shopping yesterday. My stomach was sour, so I took a nap yesterday. It turned out to be a 4.5 hour nap form 1:30-6. Kyle made dinner, because he is an amazing husband who takes great care of me. We went to bed at 8:30. I guess it is no wonder why I woke up at 3:06 ready to go for the day. Maybe now that I've been up for 4 hours I can take a nap. Who knew you could take a nap at 7 in the morning? :)

I plan to be back at work on Monday. The antibiotics are working. I can taste most foods again. My ears aren't quite right, but they are much better. I'm excited to get back in the swing of things. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have visited Perry and Sherry despite the drama on the way home. They are worth it!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Things I'll Miss and Things I Won't Miss

Things I'll Miss:
1. Getting to hear Sherry's laugh and Perry's word puns daily.
2. Meeting new friends.
3. Playing Nerts with new friends.
4. Clear days that allow you to see the mountains most of the time.
5. Watching Perry interact with his staff.
6. The roasted chicken from a local restaurant.
7. The smiles on the boys faces when they get to wash the van.
8. Perry and Sherry's dog Tori.
9. Playing Whoonu with family.
10. Getting to see Sherry's school.
11. Eating nan with just about every meal.
12. Hearing stories from Hal.
13. Eating with new friends in the dining hall.
14. Community meetings.
15. Kabob lunches.
16. How grateful I've been for a warm shower each day.

Things I Won't Miss:
1. The dirt that gets everywhere here.
2. The smell of kerosene heaters.
3. The crazy traffic.
4. Milk that has a 6th month shelf life.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Traditional Afghan Dinner

Here is the spread...

We sat on toshaks (floor cushions) and ate over a mat.

Perry likes the green peppers. Here they call french fries "chips".

The fruit was very nice.

This dish was a dumpling with bean garnish.
Oh, these flat breads where wonderful. They were inner lined with onions and a green veggie.
This beef, bean, and broth was great with the large naan (round flat bread).
This dish has long grain white rice, raisens, and carrots. It is delicious!

Tasha was sure of the chicken so she ate it before anything else.
This was dessert. Yogurt, cream, and almond goodness.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Laundry: A Team Effort

I don't think I'll be complaining about doing laundry any time soon. Here is how it works for Perry and Sherry.
Team Member: Expert Wringer Outer

Team Member: Handy Hangerer

Step 1: Fill the bucket with water.

Step 2: Fill agitator with soap, clothes, and buckets (more than one) of water.
Step 3: Move clothes from the agitator to a rise bucket.

Step 4: Squeeze clothes and move them to the spinner.

Step 5: Move clothes to a basket to be taken upstairs for drying.

Step 6: Hang the clothes near a buckeri (kerosene heater) to dry. You can see the buckeri in the back.

Step 7: Fold and put away (picture not available at this time due to the drying process still occurring).