We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Monday, April 30, 2007

One-on-Two Defense, Day 1

So Far So Good
Today was the first day of a 5-day experiment to see if I can handle the kids all by myself. I'll be writing these posts without my usual copy editor, so there may be spelling or grammar mistakes you're not accostumed to seeing here.

Beth left today around noon for a conference on helping people learn the language. We all learn to speak the language from native speakers, but we also meet with other Americans every week for the first several months for tips on learning and advice on adapting to the new culture. Beth is going to learn how to be a "coach" and to help other coaches do their job better. It's a little hard to explain!

Today was to be Sawyer's first day at the daycare where Lee Anna goes. He's only five days short of a year old, and he can walk around and defend himself from bigger kids (like Lee Anna). And it seemed like it might make it easier for me to get the breakfast dishes washed before supper if both kids were at school. Lee Anna is excited about him joining her there.

But Sawyer's been sick for about a week, and didn't really feel up to going to school today, so he stayed home with Daddy all afternoon. Tomorrow seems like a good "first day of school," right?

When we got Lee Anna from schoool today, there was a note in her bag about the trip they are taking on Wednesday (they take a trip almost every Wednesday). And the bottom line of the note says "The nursery will be closed tomorrow because of Labour Day!!!" So we'll all hang out at home tomorrow, I guess.

Hardee's was kind enough to prepare dinner for Lee Anna and me this evening and bring it to us. I can't see doing a lot of cooking while holding a sick baby and trying to keep another toddler in line!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Home Decor

When we were looking at this flat, before we signed the lease, there was no furniture in it. The owner of the building told me, "I know you Americans will want simple, nice-looking furniture. And if we get something you don't like, we'll end up having to take it out and store it somewhere." He told me all that, and then his brother--the building manager--went and bought this!

And it's not just a couch--we also have a loveseat and two armchairs that look just like this. Their (literally) breathtaking looks are exceeded only by their extreme levels of discomfort. When a big group of people are here, they fight to sit on the tile floor instead of the couches! We're in the process of having some new furniture built--with foam padding and a boring, plain blue fabric. Watch this space for pictures of that.

Any guesses what this is? No, not a UFO or a strange fan. This is the light fixture hanging over our bed. One friend said it would be like sleeping under a waterfall. My favorite quote on this one came from Beth: "I hope he wasn't looking at it when he picked out that light fixture." Maybe it was just a number in a catalog list.

Overall, we're loving our new flat--even if it has a little polishing to be done. As I write this, however, we're listening to the unbelievably loud music from a wedding party going on on our roof, about five floors above us. It sounds like they're having a great time. And it's already 11:15, so just a few more hours and they'll all go home!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Quick Visit!

The last week of March, G.G. and Jason's Aunt Ruth stopped by for a very brief visit. They had been in Italy on a choir tour, and arranged to hop across the ocean while they were in the neighborhood. They visited some of the tourist hot-spots, but mostly they enjoyed seeing the grandbabies. Here's Lee Anna taking a picture of someone taking a picture of her. Even though the camera she is holding is not digital, she still thinks part of taking a picture is turning the camera around so that you can see the back of the camera as soon as the picture is taken.

Above, you'll see G.G. loving on Lee Anna. Below, you'll see a group of Arab cuties loving on Sawyer. They told us to take a picture with our camera, but they didn't even want to see it. Maybe they just wanted him to remember them twenty years from now.
Here's Lee Anna riding her new tricycle on our big back porch. The balcony in our last flat was about six feet wide and three feet deep. This one is closer to 40 by 40! The kids love running around out back, and sweeping the leaves up feels a little reminiscent of doing spring yard work in Texas.
Thanks for coming to see us, G.G. and Aunt Ruth.
It was great to see you!

Moving Day!

We made the move to our new flat a few weeks ago, but we didn't do it without a little help from our friends. Here is Sawyer, helping Akita pack up our old kitchen. Sawyer loves to hang out with Akita!It won't be long before this lovely furniture gets replaced. We could probably get used to the colors and patterns (at least Jason could...), but the comfort level is somewhere between sitting on lumpy rocks and sitting on an old, worn-out school bus seat that doesn't have any padding. We told the landlord it wasn't comfortable, and he said to "wait one month and it will fall and be soft." Right.
Here's Matt supervising Jason as he puts the fridge in place. Or is Jason just pointing at a spot on the wall? Either way, our new kitchen is the same size as our old one.

Our new kitchen has one big advantage, though. We bought a clothes dryer so we don't have to hang the clothes outside any more! When we bought the dryer, I asked if they could deliver it. Now last time I bought big appliances in the States, they used a truck for delivery. Not this guy. He just threw the dryer up on his shoulder and walked the half mile from the shop to the house. I gave him a generous tip! I'm not sure these girls helped a lot, but they enjoyed riding Lee Anna's elephant for a while so the rest of us could work. Overall, we're loving the new place. We've got a big outdoor area out back for the kids to play and for the parents to grill meat and drink lemonade. Watch this space for pictures soon.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

We hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebration!
We did, even though you can't tell it from Lee Anna's face.
Stay tuned for more posts soon as we catch you up
on a very busy month!