Monday, August 24, 2009

Not really culture shock.

Although I am still noticing differences in culture after being "home" for a week I would hardly call it shock. It is more like simply noticing little things that I forgot about after being away for a while. For example, milk. I am not a huge milk person but I forgot how heavenly milk here tastes compared to there. Another example would be squishy couches. I have become quite accustomed to seeing a soft looking couch yet sitting down with care because looks can be oh-so-deceiving (if you've ever visited Brazil you know exactly what I'm talking about :-) And then there is slight shock when you go out to eat but have to take out a loan to pay it all off at one time. I am missing Brazilian food (especially the abundance of avacado) but enjoying the not-always-so-good-for-you food here.

Meet Jonathan's cousin, Lorna. Hi, Lorna.

Lorna came all the way from WA to visit us this week! She, I'm afraid, may have experienced more culture shock than we have been experiencing. I even heard a few conversations like this....

Lorna: So what food item can you eat here that is TOTALLY different.

Jonathan: Boiled peanuts!

Me: (thinking to myself) What? Boiled peanuts? What are you talking about? Doesn't everybody eat boiled peanuts?

Lorna: NO WAY. They boil the peanuts? Are they soggy?

Jonathan: Yeah! They're really weird. Kell made me try one a few years ago.

Me: (thinking to myself, still) Huh? Soggy? They're not soggy...they're just boiled peanuts. The only nut worth eating (aside from pecans, that is)

Perhaps growing up in the panhandle of FL I am more southern than I ever realized. Sometimes I put "howdy" in the subject line of an email and up until a few years ago, I believe, I used to always say "y'all." But being away has minimized some of the southern influence in my life. I now notice when somebody says "y'all come back now, ya hear?" or "bless your little heart." And of course the very common "well now, how about that" (in the form of a statement.)

Ok, so getting back to Lorna. She is not southern and seeing TN through her eyes was enlightening.

Only Lorna noticed a sign like this.....

We had a lot of fun with Lorna this past week. One adventure was traveling a bit to go to the Mayfield plant.

Karis' favorite part was wearing a hair net. She even chose to keep hers on after we left the plant and passed the big bin where everybody else dumped theirs.

I am happy to report that my child now knows how to drink from a water-fountain.

The Kroeker's have this great tradition where when somebody has a birthday we all go out to eat - mom and dad Kroeker's treat (no matter who's birthday it is.) I really like this tradition. For August it was mom's birthday so she and dad took us to a Japanese steakhouse. OH. YUM.



Karis ate her entire salad with chop-sticks with a rubber-band on the end. It was awesome.

Then another day this week we traveled a little over an hour away to do a few other fun things...

Like play in a water-fountain. She had a blast!

And climb a mountain (perhaps we cheated a bit with the car.)

Usually I don't even bother taking pictures like this as the picture never does the view justice. However this one came pretty close!

We're heading off to NC tomorrow! Neither of us are really wanting to travel now but both feel it's important to start scouting out our different options. J's parents are going with us so that will be nice to have them along!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Saying goodbye to Via. And my tooth.

We have been on U.S. soil for almost a week now. Back to Papa John's pizza, clean houses (which means clean feet), carpet and self-activated stuff. It has only been 8 months since I was in the States for my brother's wedding yet walking into a bathroom where the toilet flushes on it's own (and not always at the correct time), has motion activated soap-dispenser and then motion activated HOT water come out of the sink. Well, it's a bit of a shock! And because I was so preoccupied with other things when I took Karis up to get a drink of water out of a water-fountain (a first for her) it was really humorous to watch her jump back as the water came out! I finally convinced her to try and take a little sip but then she was done. "I not firsty anymore, Mom."

Backing up a little over a month ago. Wow, life got hectic. Real "quick-like" as they say here in the hills of Tennessee. Our summer was busy as it was but as we stopped to catch our breath we realized that our plans to come back for furlough and make some hard decisions had changed a bit. We knew that we would not be returning to least for a few years. So then it made sense to close things down, which meant selling or giving away every item we had accumulated in 5 1/2 years except for what could fit into 6 suitcases.

Karis did really well during the chaos even though she was rather neglected. And not only was she rather neglected but she had two semi-cranky parents who were selling or giving away all of her toys.

As her toys began to disappear her creativity began to kick in. Of course this was when she still had SOME toys, lots of boxes and furniture to work with.

With the boxes used up the couches became "boats" with her few toys that were still around. Of course 3 weeks before we left she was down to no furniture and about 3 toys.

And because we didn't want to get too comfortable in the chaos we decided to get the first part of my dental implant done. I can't remember what I have mentioned about that in previous posts but after 6 months of having the tooth extracted the bone regrew enough to do an implant without a bone graft. And I needed to do it soon or the bone would continue to deteriorate without any tooth to keep the bone from...well, deteriorating.

Jonathan did take a closer picture of the bruised gum and stitches but it showed way too many nose hairs so I opted for this less-disgusting shot.

The first few days after the implant were fine (what you see is not a tooth that was implanted. You can't even see what he did as he put a titanium stud up into bone and then sewed the gum shut to keep out infection. After six months I can get a tooth put in when the bone has healed and grown around the stud.) But then by the 5th day I was in a lot of pain. Day 6 I was completely useless as I walked around moaning. And day 7 after going back to the dentist and determining that I had infection in the bone. Well, it wasn't pretty folks. Oh wow, the pain. So then onto antibiotics and strong pain meds. After a few more days I was able to start sleeping at night again and my poor husband who took great care of me could concentrate on the 153 things he needed to now get done in a week and a half. Poor guy.

So as a side note I now have a flipper in my mouth (a retainer with a tooth on it!) This will just be until I can get a tooth put into the implant. At first I was a bit insecure about the whole deal but am now feeling rather used to being able to take my front tooth in and out. Jonathan's cousin is here and since she was unaware of what has happened I had this great idea to take it out at supper time and see her reaction as I casually smiled without a tooth. But I crack myself up so much that all day as I thought about it (and wondered what I would do if somebody looked at me without a front tooth) I spent a good part of the day laughing at myself. Then of course when I tried to give her a big smile I laughed so hard I had to put my head down on the table and ruined all I had envisioned. She didn't even have time to notice. Ah well, there's a first time for everything. I have 6 months to practice!

Enough of the whole tooth/implant saga.

As I mentioned before, we had to fit everything we wanted to bring back into 6 suitcases. Jonathan did an amazing job, though we did end up bringing back 1 extra piece of luggage to get all of the last minute necessities in.

This is an accurate picture of how we all felt those last few weeks.

As I was laying in bed one night thinking of everything that had gone wrong or added to our already busy schedules I asked the Lord "Could anything else go wrong?" And then it struck me. Yes, things could definitely be worse. There were a few families who had recently had bouts of lice and although we had been careful...well, had we been careful enough? So of course for several hours when I should have been sleeping I sat in bed scratching my head and feeling very sorry for myself. And I spent the next week doing random checks in our hair throughout the day. Thankfully we were spared that grief.

We had to say goodbye to our furry family members. That was sad. And I did tell Jonathan "no matter what, do NOT let me get an animal for at least another year." You see, I have a bad habit of collecting animals and then not being able to keep them for whatever reason. We have been through 6 dogs in less than 6 years. Yeah.

And we all had many difficult goodbyes ahead of us with our not-so-furry friends.

The last supper.

And of course our child who has traveled more than most people do in their entire lives did great on all four flights and 36 1/2 hours of traveling. After the last flight she was rather dissappointed as she wanted to go on several more airplanes. You know, to try out the different colored ones.

Now we are in TN being spoiled by Jonathan's parents and catching up on a summer's amount of lost sleep. Besides a few episodes of crying for Chief (our huge puppy) she has been nothing but smiles since we arrived.

We really don't know what the future (as in, the next 6 months) holds for us. We will make a trip over to NC to check out a job opportunity there as well as make a trip to FL to see my family. Besides that we have have no idea. Kind of exciting and scary all at the same time!