Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Big Five

Five things every PYP activity must have:
  1. A porch full of kids
  2. Dessert (Thank You, Justine!) and Sugary Pop
  3. Growing in our faith
  4. Lots of NOISE
  5. MESSY Activity

This weekends PYP had all five and it was a blast. I have to admit this may have been the second messiest activity we have done all year. I think that the pumpkin war still reigns supreme. The human banana split was a definitely a four star for messiness.

The missing school supplies finally made it.
Can I get a "Hallelujah" from the audience? :)

Ready to be packed!

Stuffing Bags

Ice Cream Sunday Relay Race

Lookin' Good Sydney!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sydney!

Last week we attempted a surprise party for Sydney's 13th Birthday. That's right, Syd is finally a teenager. We normally do not make a huge deal out of Birthdays here as we like to keep them a family affair but you only turn 13 once, right?

Kathi had quietly e-mailed (is there another way?) the PYP kids and told them to come to our house at 7:00 PM. While that was going on Sydney's friend Milena and I were running interference. First Milena had Syd stay longer than normal our the weekly Frisbee game. From there I picked them up and we headed to a friend's house off camp so I could, "get their new phone number."

This was all working so well. When we arrived at our friends house I started talking to my friend Chip and the girls went in to see his three children and their mom, Melanie, while they were watching a kids movie. While I stalled for time with Chip apparently Mel asked Sydney how she liked her surprise party. Milena was standing behind Syd giving Mel the "NO" sign. Too Late! Syd was like, "I have no idea what you are talking about."

We almost made it. Only 15 minutes from flawless execution and bam...up in smoke. It was really no problem at all. Sydney still had a great time with all her friends.

The highlight of the party was geocaching in the dark. My friends Shane and Barry helped me set up a geocaching course around our neighborhood the day before. The kids paired up in teams to find the 12 points using GPS handheld monitors. They had a ball and the best part was the adults were able to stay inside and visit while the kids ran around the neighborhood. One of the beauties of living here is that you can let your kids run around without fear of crazies out to get them, especially in the immediate neighborhood.

Happy Birthday Sydney!

What is in this thing?

Milena tried so hard to help us keep this a secret. Thanks Milena!

Gifts from the family.

Sydney making her own cake! She is quite the baker.

A little tired after running about the 'hood!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bad Monkeys meet Clarabell

The other afternoon a troupe of long tail macaque monkeys came through our yard. This is the first time I have ever seen them react so aggressively to our cat. Clarabell being the jungle cat that she is was not about to let the monkeys get the upper hand. It was a crazy scene. There must have been 15 monkeys jumping up on window trying to get to Clarabell. She would hiss and strike at them. They would show their teeth and hit the windows. They just wouldn't give up.

We have seen the monkeys try to get Brooklyn's toys but never to the cats. I wonder if the next time they come through if they will come looking for her? This time I will be sure to grab the video camera.

Pancake War

Humm... Is that pancake on my floor?

Why "Yes" it is.

Who in my family would make such a mess?

The Guilty Party!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Orphanage Update

New Orphanage

Orphanage Update:

Thank you so much to those of you heard the call to help Insan Parmata. God is providing for the needs of these kids in big ways. We are just $650 short of our goal of $4000. I know without a shadow of doubt that God will provide the rest of the needed funds. I wish that I could fly each of you hear to spend some time with these kids. They are amazing and they are so excited about getting into the new home. I think the kids can't wait to be able to play outside. Currently they have to play on a small balcony because the yard isn't safe.

If you would like to help you can send a check to:

P. O. Box 2050
Fairfax, VA 22031-2050

Please mark the check PICF- Insan Permata. The donation is tax deductible so if you would like a receipt just make sure to include your mailing address.

John and a couple men from our church took a look at the new facility the orphanage had picked out. It is going to be perfect for them. There still is some cosmetic work that needs to be done but it is structurally sound and more importantly safe.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year! We celebrated Chinese New Year Eve with two of our favorite families from school. The food was amazing. John and I were thrilled to learn more about the Chinese culture and Brooklyn LOVED eating the food. A big thanks to Lights for hosting such a wonderful evening.

Scorpions 0 - Clarabell 2

Clarabell caught her second scorpion last weekend. This time it was in our kitchen by our garbage can. She had been meowing for about half and hour and I had just ignored her thinking she was chasing a little lizard. When she did not give up the meowing I thought she was hungry so I went into the kitchen to get her some food. I stepped right over the biggest scorpion I have ever seen. John had the joy of trying to scoop this guy into our dust pan.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hoi An

Hoi An, an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Asian trading port, is an outstanding material manifestation of the fusion of cultures over time in an international maritime commercial centre.

The town is a special example of a traditional trading port in South-East Asia which has been completely and assiduously preserved: it is the only town in Viet Nam that has survived intact in this way. Most of the buildings are in the traditional architectural style of the 19th and 20th centuries. They are aligned along narrow lanes of traditional type. They include many religious buildings, such as pagodas, temples, meeting houses, etc., which relate to the development of a port community. The traditional lifestyle, religion, customs and cooking have been preserved and many festivals still take place annually.

I took that description from the UNESCO website. I figured they could explain it better than I. This was about the only truly "cultural" experience we had. That was purely our choice as the beach was so great. That being said this was such an awesome place. The buildings, people, boats, and shops all made it seem like we had stepped back in time.

The Vietnamese people were very polite and not as pushy in selling their wares as I have seen in places like Bali or China. They respected the words "no thanks" pretty well. That made walking up and down these narrow streets very easy. They do not allow motorized vehicles in most areas here so you felt free to take your time and take in the sights. There were so many cool little shops with everything from lanterns to knock off clothing to tailors and amazing art shops. You could even take boat rides and throw some traditional fishing nets as Kade did. All for a price, mind you. Luckily it wasn't too outrageous.

If you were to ever visit Vietnam I highly recommend seeing Hoi An. It was a great day and we actually wished we had a little more time to spend there.
Brooklyn looking ready to hit the rice fields. She wore that hat all day long.

I nice picture of the streets of Hoi An.

You didn't have to worry about cars, carts however...
Traditional boats on the river.

The local ferry.

Fishing the old fashion way.

Kade didn't catch anything but he had fun.

The captain let Kade drive the boat. Syd said it was a little scary.

Hoi An is known for their lanterns. There were some very colorful designs and styles.

A cafe along the street.

Bread of Life

One of the toughest things for me living abroad is finding food my entire family enjoys. John and Brooklyn are by far the two most adventurous eaters in the Getzinger Family. Brooklyn has been in Hog Heaven since moving back to Asia. She can't get enough of the local cuisine. I on the other hand, not so much. I don't mind trying new things but I am not wanting to seek adventure at every meal.

So before leaving for Vietnam I did a little research on places to eat. The idea of eating authentic Vietnamese every meal was a bit much for me. Thanks to TripAdvisor, I found a gem of a restaurant called the Bread of Life. Bread of Life was like no restaurant I have ever been too. What made it so unique is all the servers and cooks are deaf. The restaurant was started by a couple name Bob and Kathleen Huff. The proceeds from the business go back into their deaf ministry. Who wouldn't like supporting a wonderful cause by eating delicious food?

We managed to eat at this restaurant six out of the seven days we were Vietnam. We all became very attached to one of the deaf servers. His name is Bihn. Bihn was our waiter on the first night. He noticed that we were Christian because he saw us praying before dinner. He signed to us that he was a Christian too. My first year teaching I had a deaf student in my class so I can sign some which came in handy. Bihn spent a lot of time chatting with us and teaching us new signs.

I have to admit the last day at the restaurant was tough. We all knew this would probably be the last time we would see one another. I will never forget what Bihn signed to me. He told me not to be sad. He said he would see me again. Next time it would be in heaven. He is absolutely right. This wasn't goodbye it was see you later. What a glorious day that will be; when all of us from every corner of the earth bow down at His feet. Thanks for the perspective, Bihn.

Staff at Bread of Life

Yummy Food

Enjoying dinner with great friends


Friday, January 13, 2012

Let's Go Surfin