Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gempa means Earthquake

We experienced our first noticeable earthquake late Wednesday afternoon.  There was a 7.9 earthquake centered on the West Coast of Sumatra.  We were working on homework here in the house when we felt the shaking.  Our chandelier started swaying.  There was no damage where we are but it seems that near the epicenter there is quite a bit of damage.  Please keep those people who were hurt and displaced by this earthquake in your prayers.  Thanks for checking in on us!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Indonesian Dance Assembly

Monday we had a dance troupe from Pekanbaru come to school and perform a dance from Western Sumatra called Plate Dancing. It comes from the party the farmers would hold after they had harvested all of their rice. They would dance around with the empty dishes. The crazy part about this is that at one point the male dancers were jumping up and down barefoot on the broken shards of plates. Amazingly no blood!

After the performance they invited the kids down to learn a few moves. Kade and Sydney both were brave enough to head down there and give it a whirl. Neither of them dropped a plate while learning their craft. That cannot be said for all of those receiving lessons. Several plates were lost but it was all in good fun.

Sydney did a great job moving the plates around her body without dropping it.
"You want me to do what with that plate?"
Real Glass, Real Feet, Real Crazy!
Our Guests.
Very elaborate outfits.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The View from our Porch

Road Trip

Our Security Guard poses for a picture at the rest stop halfway between Rumbai and Duri
Yo-Yo the Bowler

This weekend the teachers (and teacher families) from Rumbai hopped on a greyhound style bus and saddled up for our three hour ride to Duri. Some of you may be asking "why?". Well for you in the back; I am glad you asked. We went for our first of two teacher inservice days with our sister school. Rumbai and Duri are kind of like two schools in the same school district.

The two schools are located about 50 km apart. Three hours to travel 50 km seems like a long time. Well you would be right if you were traveling somewhere other than a third world country. Our three hour tour felt a little like Gilligan's trip. So many things to tell.

When we got on the bus at school we were greeted by a kid that looked about 17 in a military uniform carrying an Automatic Rifle. When I asked what he was doing here I was told that he would literally be riding "shotgun." He was our security. I was unaware we were going to need it. Luckily we didn't.

Once we were all settled we started off. We have several members of our staff and their families that get car sick. If you get motion sickness this trip might not be for you. There are several factors working against you.
1. Hairpin turns and the snake like layout of Sumatran roads. There seems to be not one stretch of road here that goes straight for more than 500 meters.
2. If you are used to two lane (or larger) roads with shoulders on both sides stick to North America. The average road here is about 1 3/4 lanes. The other quaint characteristic is that there are no lane lines painted on the road.
3. Road Maintenance: There isn't any. Pot holes, washouts, and ruts, oh, my!
4. Traffic: This was quite possibly the scariest amusement park ride I have ever been on. What? It wasn't the Indiana Jones ride? Wow! Being aboard a charter bus passing a logging truck around a blind corner with oncoming traffic trying the same crazy maneuver 47 times during the course of your trip can wear on you. There were times we would all look at each other as if to say, "that was close." After a while we quit watching the road. Our blood pressure thanked us.

Once we got to Duri the teacher's without children were dropped off at their hotel and the rest of us were taken to our guest houses. The Duri camp is about 3-4 times the size of Rumbai. We drove about 10 minutes away from the school to the outskirts of the camp to our houses. We get to our house and walk in. It was a very small three bedroom house which seemed just fine for a two night stay. After about 30 minutes to settle in we were all taken to the swimming pool for a BBQ with all of the Duri teachers and their families. It was great. The food was good and for new people like Kathi and I we were able to meet the Duri teachers who were all awesome.

After the party we headed back to our house for some shut eye. Once there Kade started the water in the walk in shower for a quick rinse off of the pool water. The drain did not work for some reason. We were unaware of this for some time because when we walked in to get Brooklyn in we were greeted by a flooded bathroom. The biggest problem in this is that they only gave us 3 towels and it wasn't like it was a hotel and we could call down for some more.

They did not have a queen bed for Kathi and I, but a slightly larger than twin mattress. This was going to be tricky. When we pulled back the sheets we were greeted by several spiders and a nice colony of ants. Now living in the tropics you expect ants and spiders all over; even in your house, but one place you don't want them is your bed! This house was beginning to seem a bit underwhelming.

The final nail in the coffin came when in the morning after Kathi and I got about 2 hours of sleep apiece between dodging bugs and each other's elbows in the twin bed. I walk in to Kade's room to wake him up and there is a horrible moldy smell in his room. My first thought is to try and recall just what Kade ate at that BBQ when I hear water dripping. I then look up at the wall mounted A/C and see that has a continual drip of stinky water coming from it that has been dripping all night and has been soaked up by the mattress and pillow just underneath it. I then think to myself that this couldn't have been good for the kid who is allergic to mold. Kade is a trooper and got up and out of there pretty quick.

Those of you who know Kathi well, know that she views camping about like most people view Swine Flu. She will try avoiding it at all costs. If the bed bugs didn't seal the deal this finally did. We talked to the Principal of Duri and he made some magic and got us into a guest house much closer to the school and in much, much better shape. Even a queen bed! Thanks Jeff!

On Saturday all of the teachers were in meetings from 8:00-3:30. This meant that the kids needed to be taken care of. The Duri teachers arranged Ibu's to take care of the kids. 3 years old to 1st grade were at one house. 2nd grade to 4th grade in another and 5th-8th in another. So the Getzinger crew was split 3 ways. Brooklyn did well but was definitely worn out by the end of the day. Kade was in hog heaven being able to play with the older boys and basically spent all day outside. Sydney was excited but got a little nervous when the girls were scheduled to go to the local paintball field to get a few games in. She was actually very nervous about how the paint ball might hurt even though Kathi and I were pushing hard for her to try it. When we saw her at the end of the day she was all smiles showing off her war wounds where she had been hit by the paintballs. I asked her if she hit anybody? Her response, "I think so but I really didn't move around too much. I hid behind stuff and prayed!"

After the meetings the Duri teachers booked the bowling alley for all of the families. They all brought pizza and beverages and the kids and parents bowled the night away. After that we all headed back to our beds for a good (finally) night's sleep.

We hopped back on the bus at 9:00 am on Sunday and made the 3 hour tour back. This time we all tried not to watch the road just the jungle around us. We had a very full weekend and are hoping that we have a good week. We hope you do too!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gliding Dragon

Last week we had another visitor to the gym during school. We had a very unique bearded dragon lizard stop by during P.E. classes. In the pictures you can see how he can fan out his body. He uses this technique to glide from tree to tree, up to 60 meters at a time. These lizards eat bugs in the tree tops and can change color depending on their surrounding in order to blend in. It was extremely rare to see one as they spend almost their entire life in the rainforest canopy.

This week we had Monday and Tuesday off because of the Muslim holidays of HariRaya and Idle Fitri. This was a nice break for all of us. On Sunday the teachers got together for a BBQ. We had burgers and chicken. We brought out the slip and slide for the kids and even played the Bean Bag game. The kids had a great time playing and running around. On Monday evening we went to the Indonesian Culture teacher, Ibu Eva's, home to sample some traditional Western Sumatran fare. It was very good and I was very impressed with Ibu Eva's cooking, SPICY! My favorite.

Also on Friday night one of the teachers hosted Quiz Night. This is a trivia game where you divide up into teams of 6 players and are asked a series of ten questions per round. The teachers team came in 3rd out of 4 teams. Our chant of "We're not last!" could be heard long into the night. We were so proud.

This coming Friday all of the teachers and their families are headed up to Duri. Duri is at the other end of the oil field. We are all heading up there for a training with the staff of the Duri camp. We are excited to get away to see another part of the area. We are however not looking forward to the three hour bus ride involving the snake like, poorly maintained roads.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Monkey Invasion

This weekend we had a troupe of Pigtailed Macaques visit our house. They were all over the house, literally. They came right up to the windows and quite a few climbed up our trees and jumped on the roof. While we were cautiously stepping out of the front door to take pictures the little guy in the second picture kept trying to show how tough he was and faux charge at Kathi and I. One of them even came and slapped our kitchen window. The third picture is of one of the monkeys who jumped up on the roof. He kept sticking his head over the side of our entryway covering our front door trying to check us out. It was really cool to be this close to them (about 5 feet) but a little scary if one decided we were invading their space.

The rest of the weekend was very nice as well. Sydney went to a party at a house outside of camp. One of the families who send their twins to our school and live in Pekanbaru had a bunch of the middle schoolers over. She had a ball getting to see their house and see their twelve turtles. We had a surprise 40th birthday party for one of the teachers. He was clueless so it was pretty neat. Today we took the family to the pool and spent a couple of hours swimming. All of our pool equipment came in the shipment so a blow up raft and orca along with snorkel gear were tried out for the first time. The kids loved it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New School Mascot

This tarantula wandered into the gym today during school. Mr. Anderson, our science teacher, and Mr. Austin the P.E. teacher worked to corral "Tony" into a hot chocolate container and get him into a proper viewing container. He is now residing in our science room. He is very cute and cuddly, don't you think? Honestly; where else does this happen?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Ahh! Now that's Comfort

Our shipment finally arrived! On Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM there were two moving trucks outside Meranti 107, aka casa di Getzinger. Kathi was allowed to stay home and oversee all of the chaos that was about to ensue. There were seven movers as well as our house help. Sydney even stayed home to help Kathi point people in the right direction. The scene was crazy. We had stuff everywhere. The boxes came in, were unpacked and then headed out to make a cardboard and paper mountain in our front yard. The house was quite the ant hill of activity.

Our good friend Shannon came over after school and helped Kathi put the massive amounts of "stuff" in the appropriate places. She was an awesome help! Shannon and Dave then had us over for some of Dave's famous BBQ chicken pizza so that we wouldn't have to worry about finding anything that had yet to be unpacked in the kitchen department. That was great because the kids were able to get some food. At the rate Kathi was going from box to box they might never have sat down to eat.

We live right across from the school and our back yard is the meeting place when there is an emergency at school. We had a fire drill on Tuesday so all of the students were very excited to see all of the movers bringing in our stuff. Because they all had to wait to get their shipments they know what an exciting day it is. It was cute to see how excited they were about our stuff coming. I even got a few high-fives out of the deal.

We all voted on our favorite item we received so here it is:
Brooklyn: Toys- She went around repeating "I am so, so happy! I have toys"
Kade: His John Deere bike. He rode it to school today. We live across a two lane road. It took him longer to walk to our garage and get it out than it did to ride it to school.
Sydney: Food. M&M's are an oh so precious commodity.
Kathi: The couch and love seat. We were sick of the doctor's office furniture.
John: The IPOD sound dock. Music is a wonderful thing!

Kathi did a great job and pretty much everything is put away. We brought a ton of food. I am not sure if our house help was really prepared for all of it. They looked a little lost at seeing all of the stuff we brought especially the food. They just kept shaking their heads. We did get some chocolate chip cookies made out of the deal today. Very tasty.

It is hard to explain but the house finally seems like it is ours. We painted the walls to warm it up but getting stuff from home just makes everyones spirits so much better.

Check out the pictures and have a great day!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Winning Ways

If you know anything about our family you know we like competition. The thrill of victory is definitely more enjoyable than the agony of defeat. Well we couldn't be prouder of Kade and Sydney after their latest displays of "athletic" prowess. Friday after school the Middle School students put on a back to school party, "Mexican Fiesta" for the whole school.  There was great food and several Fiesta games. The Limbo, Pass the Sombrero, and the Nacho Eating contest to name a few.

In the Pass the Sombrero contest Kade was the last man standing proving that no one can touch his hat taking on and off skills. In the Nacho Eating contest Sydney and her partner Sarah were unstoppable. Sarah stood behind Syd and used her arms to stuff Syd's face full of some macho nachos. Sydney may have a future in competitive eating because she looked like Joey Chestnut, the reigning Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Champion. She crushed the competition. After the contest they opened up the buffet line for some great mexican food. Most of it was prepared from the homes of the Mom's and it was all very good. Sydney however was not up for seconds.

Some other big news is that we received conformation that our shipment will be here on Tuesday.  We are very excited to say the least!  It was originally scheduled to come on Wednesday but we have an inservice here at school on Wednesday thru Friday that both Kathi and I have to attend.  So our Principal made some calls and they are now bringing the container on Tuesday evening so we can get it.  Otherwise we would have to wait until next week to get it.  Tuesday night will be crazy but it will definitely be worth it.

We all hope you are having a great weekend and that you are all happy and healthy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


My Classroom
More of my classroom

The hallway to my classroom
Our School