November 28, 2008


While there are many things here that leave me confounded, and sometimes truly disturbed, recently I have discovered something utterly ingenious that this country has done.

They have revolutionized toilet paper.

No more cardboard roll in the middle. What that means is you get the same amount of toilet paper, except they cut out an entire section of the manufacturing process AND a ton of dead space in shipping.

What might not be clear at first is how to use this new technology. Therefore, I have included four visual aids to walk you through the process.

What is clear, however, is that East Asia is taking TP to a whole new level.

November 26, 2008

Our House!

We wanted you all to see some pictures of where we live. I sent some of these to our family, but forgot to send them all - so enjoy the slide show! And... feel free to stop by anytime. The Corner Restaurant has great fried red beans and all the tai ban (sizzling beef) you could want!

My "Hog"

As many of you know, I have a slight commute (33 kilometers to be exact) to one of the places where we spend a lot of time. After spending a minimum of two hours one way on the very popular and beloved 98 and 170 buses, I decided that something must change. Thankfully, it did.

Allow me to introduce you to "the Hog." Yes folks, she's a beaut and totally electric. I make 50 km/hr in an easy 10 seconds and with a range of around 50k I am free as a bird. Here is a list of the top ten things I see on the road around here:

#10 - Five 98 buses, and 3-4 170 buses, all in my rear view mirrors and all full of people. For at least 3 seconds I feel sorry for them, and then I move on.

#9 - A dozen horse drawn carts, carrying anything from scrap metal to incredibly enormous pieces of foam.

#8 - 7.2 million people who are far from familiar with the rules of the road, American rules that is.

#7 - An entire generation of young men in incredibly tight jeans and David Bowie hair holding lacy sun-umbrellas over their girlfriends' pretty heads as they walk and chew on chicken feet.

#6 - Car, after truck, after horse drawn cart, after weird tractor-like vehicle, after Mian Bao Che (literally bread van, because it is shaped like a loaf of bread) stuck in traffic as I zoom past in the bike lane.

#5 - The beautiful mountains that are normally hidden when one is deep in the streets or between the tall buildings of our city.

#4 - Many old ladies, each of which uses her entire body to hock up a massive loogie that I must be sure to dodge.

#3 - At least twenty "smelly" dofu carts, frying away their shockingly smelly dofu (tofu), which I have tried once and can say with certainty that I have had my full.

#2 - The face of the shop owner near campus who so graciously lets me charge the Hog up for my ride home.

#1 - One massive, vintage, projected picture of Santa that covers the entire side of one building and totally weirds me out.

November 20, 2008

A very special story is being written

I haven't posted lately because every time I'm on the computer, I'm reading a particular blog. My heart is consumed with lifting this family up to The Father. The story is, a little over a month ago, David and Jennifer Dierking were driving with their two-year-old son, Josiah, in the back seat. Jennifer was 32 week pregnant. They hit another car head-on at 50 mph. Josiah was unharmed in the back of the car. David and Jennifer broke their legs. The baby, who they named Kacyn, was taken ceserian that day, 8 weeks early. Other than being premature, he had suffered trauma and there was internal bleeding, including on the brain. At just over 4 pounds, Kacyn was the family's main concern. Then, Jennifer went into cardiac arrest and coded. She had to be resuscitated. What was this? It was bone marrow and other material that had leaked out of her broken femur at some point and were poisoning her body. Some of the toxins had made their way to her lungs and other organs. Suddenly Jennifer was fighting for her life, and she has been ever since (that was October 28). Kaycn is doing well now, which is a miraculous story all its own. But please lift up Jennifer, as she is not doing as well. The doctors say she may not recover from her current state: lying in bed, barely responding to stimuli, with possible brain damage from needing to be revived. The family is believing for a miracle, and their story is amazing. Follow it. Join it. Let's make sure these little boys don't lose their mommy without a REALLY BIG FIGHT from the rest of The Body.

November 12, 2008

Desperate times

When we moved to Asia from America, and moved to the city from a small Southern town, we found ourselves music.

Yes, it is the salve for homesickness, brought to us courtesy of YouTube. We especially like the cover versions, performed by starlets all over the country. There is this one guy in his basement with a ball cap on, who kind of reminds us of our friend Clay Newcomb, singing "Three Wooden Crosses." Daniel has become such a fan that this morning he said he liked it better than Randy Travis himself. Quite a compliment.

We also listen to Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts, along with some John Denver and, though I know it's not country, I've delved into some Rod Stewart when no one is around.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

November 10, 2008

The best job in the world

This morning Bright was very fussy so I got down at eye-level with him and, trying to change the mood, I asked, "When you grow up to be a man, what do you want your job to be every day?"

He didn't respond, but he quit crying. I continued, "A fireman?"

"I decided something else," he said, sniffling.

"A policeman?" I suggested (I was beginning to sound like a kindergarten teacher).

"I decided something else," he repeated.

"Well, what have you decided?" I asked.

"I'm going to play with my children."

November 09, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Can righteousness be legislated? No. Now, where's the beef jerky?"
-Daniel, responding to my concerns about the definition of marriage in America.

p.s. I love Daniel Rupp

November 06, 2008

The benefits of a stint overseas

The kids are becoming indigenous. Here is Zion, doing as a native child his age would do with a bowl of milk (or noodles, or wonton soup, or what-have-you). We did not teach him that, by the way. He picked it up on his own. Bright is also showing signs of a broader worldview. Two days ago he said, "'Little brother' is how you say 'DiDi' in English." I had to think about it, but he was right. He was translating backward, with the assumption that 'DiDi' is the correct way to say it and 'little brother' is our version. What a neat thing to watch in my previously ethnocentric children. Now, if only some of that would rub off on me. I guess it's harder to teach an old dog, or something like that.

November 05, 2008


This was my first time to dress up for Halloween in years. And I loved it. For less than $10, Kayla and I were transformed into Breathless Betty and Buccaneer Bradshaw (our assigned characters at the murder mystery party we attended). In case you don't know... A Buccaneer is a highly skilled sailor hired by the Governor (played by Josh) to bring rebellious and pesky pirates (played by John and others, see below) to justice. Breathless Betty was the Governor's daughter and a young lady I had my eye on for sure. If I could have brought a pirate to justice during the evening, I would have gained her hand in marriage... Unfortunately, I failed miserably, so Breathless is not mine. Thankfully, Kayla Rupp is.

Just imagine the attention we attracted before the party as we walked out of our apartment, down the street, waited at the #1 bus stop, took the extremely crowded #1 bus, and then walked to our friend's apartment in a tuxedo with tails, a sword, and a full length Victorian dress. If you are the least bit self conscious, then dressing up for Halloween and traipsing across the city in East Asia is not advisable. But, it is definitely fun.

p.s. The new pic at the top of our blog is our city from a small hill to the North. Look closely and you can see the top floor of our apartment complex in the bottom right hand corner. It's the only reddish brick one, and it's our home.