Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A little Halloween Fun

Holidays now have become events where we have an excuse to celebrate something. Therefore we were glad to hear that our colleagues wanted to have a Halloween Party. You must know that when we have a party here we do it right, so this meant dressing up, carving pumpkins, stuffing ourselves silly with sugar, and a few favorite Halloween TV shows.

First of all we would like to show you what we looked like this Halloween. Here we are.......
If you are wondering what we dressed up as we were PIGS IN A BLANKET!!! Thanks to Marvin this idea turned out great. My original idea was to be a snowman and a snowwoman but Marvin didn't want to get in a taxi dressed up like a snowman. Oh well there is always next year.

Since we were having a Halloween party we needed a cake, so I thought I might as well try my luck at decorating a cake. It turned out a little better than I thought, but I think I still need some practice.

Thanks to a local colleague at the business school we found some pumpkins, but there is one little difference; Pumpkins here are not orange like we have in the states but are instead green. The good news is that other than the color they are the same thing. When the lights are off you don't even notice the color. (And yes that is a birthday candle in our pumpkin, it worked quite well.)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Staying Warm

The weather turn a little colder about two weeks ago and our house has been a bit on the chilly side. Marvin actually went upstairs on Sunday and he could see his breath. It was pretty crazy. When we moved out to the village we were showed a billion things about the house and well we didn't remember all of them especially how to turn the heat on, apparently there were a few more steps that we were unaware of so we had to wait until a friend could come out and show us how to do it. In the meantime we bundled up in sweaters and wrapped ourselves in blankets at all times, we averaged around 60- 61 degrees F. So we decided to make a fire, our first attempt didn't go so well as it filled our entire living room with smoke, but we decided to try it again and it was successful. Our heat is on now, but we are looking forward to using the fireplace this winter.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Village Trip

A few students at the school we work at agreed to host our guests who came to visit, and we tagged along. The village we went to was only about 10 minutes away from town, but it took us a while to get there because the student we were with decided to be our tour guide for the afternoon and evening. It turned out it was a rainy day so we were a little cold, but we made it through and actually saw some beautiful things.

This is a picture of Blue Lake. The water is very clear and is very deep, infact they don't know who deep it is. The leaves were starting to turn and it was just goregus. I do want to visit again on a nicer day this fall.

Then our "tour guide" took us a tunnel through the mountains, which almost lead to a little nausea on my part, but PTL we were able to stop a couple of times for photo opportunities. You cannot tell very well from the picture I posted but there was literally a 180 drop off from the cliff that you could drive your car out on. I was a little freaked out, but also I was in awe at the beauty of this part of the world.

We finally convinced our tour guide that we didn't have time to visit the waterfalls approximately 40 minutes away because it would be dark there by the time we saw them, and so he took us back to his village and finally was about to meet this young man's parents. Of course they treated us to a wonderful meal with the most unbelievable hospitality you can imagine. It was a great time for all involved.

The Birthday Boy

We celebrated Marvin's birthday two weekends ago with a quiet little party, but I couldn't resisted putting up a few balloons in honor of the K-State game the next day. Marvin stayed up late to catch the end of the game and was very pleased that we squeezed out a win.

We had Marvin's favorites for dinner, all of which are our grandmothers recipes. Tacos (the real ones filled with meat potatoes and peas then fried) and Sopa (a Mexican rice dish). Dinner was followed up by peanut butter pie. FYI candles are not the best in a pudding substances, especially 26 of them. (Kathy thanks for the pudding.)

Then the next day Marvin enjoyed pizza at the best pizza place in the area while he was waiting to pick up some visitors at the airport.

We also wanted to say Happy Belate Birthday Grandpa. We didn't forget it was your big day as well. We love you and miss you!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Assalam Aleikom

We are two weeks into Ramadan here, and by the looks of restaurants in town during the noon hour you would not have guessed it. In the village it is another story, many women cover their heads, and the call to prayer is sounded 5 times a day. One interesting aspect of Ramadan here is every Thursday neighbors bring lacoom, fried bread, and candies. When receiving the bread and candies you are suppose to respond by saying, may your fast go well, however we don’t say that. On my way home from work today it was an interesting sight seeing all of the women out wearing their house dresses, slippers and the occasional robe delivering these treats to all of their neighbors. We finally learned the routine of accepting the treats taking them inside and putting them on one of our plates and then going back outside to give them their plate back. The picture is of what they brought us today, minus one lacoom as we ate one before I took the picture, sorry we couldn’t resist. (My favorite way to eat lacoom is to put a little plum jam that I made on the top; it tastes just like a toaster strudel!)


We have mentioned before the number of Remont places in our town, basically it a place where you can get something fixed. There are remont places to fix TVs, radios, anything electronic, anything in your house, shoes, cell phones, you name it they have it. So when the switch to our lamp quit working I decided rather than buying a new lamp I would try to get it fixed instead. I figured it would be easier to get it fixed than to find two more lamps that were not in the shape of a dolphin. I am really not joking it took us a while to find normal lamps.

So I ventured out with our secretary to get them fixed two hours later we were back with working lamps! Here was the process
1. Knowing that we would need to purchase a part we thought we would try to get ahead of the game and we went to a part store, then we walk to the repair man to have him install the new lamp switches.
2. The repair man looks at the switch and tells us the switch we bought won’t work, we need to go to a part store 2 blocks away and purchase two new switches. (Yes repair men here do not keep parts at their store; you must go and buy them yourself).
3. We go and buy the new switches.
4. We come back and it takes the man approximately 5 minutes to replace both switches.
5. Then we walk back to the first store and return the switches that did not work and get my $1.00 back.

With all this said and done we are glad our lamps are working and for a grand total of $2.00 we now have two working lamps, which do not look like dolphins!!!

I also discovered in this trip a place that will fix your umbrella if it is broken. Yes there is a Remont for everything.

Settlers of Nineveh

Marvin discovered this game before we left America and has quickly become his favorite game right now; I however have not discovered the fun of the game. Shortly after arriving here Marvin decided it would be great to make his own settlers game with a local twist, so he developed Settlers of Nineveh.

Here is a picture of the first local to play this game. It was the game of choice for guy’s night this past week.

Language update

Recently I have decided I will try to speak as much as I can and not worry so much if I am saying things correctly. I decided the whole grammar thing was intimidating me too much and really who cares if I use the wrong to go verb. This new attitude has actually helped me as I catch myself making mistakes and correct them the next time I say something.

Now are you ready for a story that I just think is hilarious, I hope you do too.
Well we skyped with my parents last weekend and stayed later to spend some time on the internet trying to find a hotel for our vacation in December. We decided it was getting late and we needed to call a taxi. So I do what I have done a hundred times I called a taxi, all is going well until they call back and rattle something off extremely fast, all I caught was the verb to go. So I said “K Ville 1” thinking maybe they didn’t remember where we were going. The lady was really confused and then just hung up on me (taxi dispatchers are not the most patient people in the world). So about 30 seconds later the phone rings again, I answer it and it is the same lady who says slower, why did you say K-Ville 1? I could not think of anything else to say but, “I don’t know” like I was in trouble or something. She then proceeded to tell me the taxi will come in 5 minutes. So I guess I don’t know that much language, but at least we are trying.


Thank you to all of you who sent a frosting recipe. I didn’t mention in my e-mail but she loves sugar. It really made here day special thanks, for your help.