Saturday, February 25, 2012

Today and every other day

My mother-in-love not so gently reminded me to write a post already. Ok. Ok.

Today was Saturday. So much happens here all the time that it's hard to put every thought into words. I can't count how many diapers I changed or mouths I fed. And, that's a good thing. Because, if I could remember, I might not be too motivated to get up and do it again tomorrow! In all reality, though, it is an attitude of servitude that one adopts. Or, is it servant-hood? Spell check corrects me, so I don't know.

Such helpless little babies with only 3 main needs: to be fed, loved and changed.

When we wake at 6:30 (which is when the sun comes up behind the mountain outside our bedroom window) we begin with personal devotions and prayer. I shower and Charley and John usually have breakfast waiting on the table downstairs when I am dressed and ready for the day. We read devotions together over breakfast and then I, Jackie, head over to the Home. On a sunny day I ride my bike. I have a little basket on the front that holds my water and purse. I turn left out of our apartment complex and ride over to the lake, Plum Blossom Lake. There are usually several people walking, riding bikes or taking their dogs on a stroll. It's a lovely ride except for the impending Temple above the lake that shouts interesting music, pounding drums or fireworks all hours of the night and day. It's part of the culture and I embrace and appreciate this. But, the things that the Temple represents cause me to shudder!

I ride by our little market street to get to the Home. There are usually 6 or 8 stray dogs loafing around. Another two left turns and I am on the little palm lined drive of the Home.

I need to interject here - most days it is NOT sunny and I drive over or Charley takes me. IT RAINS HERE A LOT, FOLKS.  A LOT. A LOT. A LOT. For instance, it's been sunny 12 or so days here since October of last year. LAST YEAR!

Back to the regularly scheduled programming...

Now begins the fun...waking the babies at 8:30 and changing diapers. Bottles and 4 servings of solid food is passed around and there is, of course, more diaper changes and kisses and gurgles and coos.

Play time is next on the agenda. All the bright lights overhead and sweet music on the cd player keep us all alive and kicking. Lunch time rolls around and more diapers, bottles and burping.

While the babes we walk over to the orphanage side where we eat the lunch that the housemothers have made. Nap time provides an hour or so of checking on my boys at home, taking a little siesta if the kiddos have worn me out, or reading.

More of the same in the afternoon: feeding, diapers, love, singing, laughing, playing, making silly faces and strange noises. Around 5 more solid food goes down the hatch for the 4 little ones who are over 6 months.

Stop. Would you like to know names of these precious little ones!? Even if you can't see faces on the world wide web, names are appropriate! There is precious 8-10 month old Anastasia, Anika, and Blaise. Then there is sweet 6 month old Trip...who is truly a trip! Next come Luke, Josiah, Robbie, Cassie, Rossie, Eden, Ethan, and Mary is the newest, smallest addition to the troupe. They are all precious and each is endearing in their own ways. I am ashamed to admit that I am forgetting several someones. For the life of me, I cannot remember every little life in the nursery! Yikes! I am getting old.

Dinner finds the babes asleep at around 5:30. 6 o'clock is dinner time on the orphanage side and it is truly a blessing to be able to eat and fellowship even though we don't speak the same language. I'll save dinner stories for another time. It's late and I must get some rest in order to wake up early with my little man. After dinner we are too pooped to pop. Or, as John says, "too popped to poop." We turn in to bed before evening devotions. We are sad to miss that time of fellowship, but John is exhausted by 7pm. (That was his usual bedtime in the States.) We head home, spend a few minutes together as a family and then head to bed in order to rise again early and do it all again! Thursdays are our days off. Last Thursday we were blessed by an intern, Word, a great young man who is an intern. He volunteered to play with John so that we could have the better part of the day to ourselves! It was great to be able to have some time to ourselves to talk without having to filter and spell out words to each other.

My fingers are falling asleep and my head is lolling onto my chin as I write. Goodnight!

P.S. I am sure there are typos. Please forgive.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Little Slice...

...of Taiwanese life.

It's Wednesday evening here across the globe. At home, EST, it's Wednesday.
 And, your time is 5:30am. 
We are finishing our day and you are just beginning yours. Weird!
This living overseas thing is h.a.r.d.
We didn't realize how much of an adjustment it would be. 

Today we went to the hospital to see a doctor for my hypothyroidism.
 Bev, the U.S. born missionary who is now a legal resident of Taiwan, was our guide.
It was an adventure.
 And, the process was much like the U.S., but totally different too. Huh.
 Don't try to figure out the logic there.

Yesterday was a different kind of adventure. 
Ted took us to an amazing place on earth...Taroko Gorge.
 We traveled by train south about 1 hour. 
Then we rented a car and drove to the Gorge. It was filled with tourists. 
We even saw a few Caucasian people!
 Anytime we saw someone on the train or in the Gorge we smiled and said hello to one
 another like we were long lost friends. It was a bit ridiculous, but also wonderful.
 It is hard to be the minority is a sea of lovely Asian people! 

So, there are pictures to follow. 

We are in the middle of week 3 in *Luo-Dung, Taiwan.
 We are over the initial homesick hurdle most much of the time. 
In the States, we have seen either side of our families very often in the past 3 years. 
We miss them fiercely. 

A couple of equally strange and wonderful things about life here:

1. The multitudes of children and babies are a breath of fresh air & kids are kids everywhere.

2.  The smells that assault the senses are a mix of the above: strange and wonderful.

3. The drainage is different - no TP in the toilets. Wha? That's right. TP = trash cans. Ewww for this lady.

4. The rain hardly slants. It's just steady and straight down.

5. The impatients (flowers) grow wild rocks, on the side of streets, etc. 

6. Poinsettias can be 8 + feet tall!

7. Everyone speaks Chinese. 
(Does this surprise you?) 

8. The Taiwanese people that we have met are warm and kind.

9.  My husband is a fearless driver. (I think in part thanks to his northern upbringing!) He zips around scooters, watches out for pedestrians and doesn't break a sweat. It's pretty amazing. We are blessed to drive a somewhat really older vehicle that we have named, "Bessie the Blue Bomb." 
(We added the Bessie part b/c at times she doesn't want to move.)

10. When the sun shines the whole place lights up. 

Luo-Dung* village (our town)

Plum Blossom Lake, 2 blocks from our apartment

In front of the train station in Luo-Dung*

An old historic church. 
A devout Christian Taiwanese lady led many people to the Lord during 
the Japanese* occupation in the late 1800's. 

The people met inside this very small cave. Together, we all sang "Then Sings My Soul." Precious.

Finishing lunch and pineapple for dessert in a beautiful pagoda near a waterfall.

I didn't want a photo of the 3 Buddhist* statues. But, I though the incense
 and the orchids were picture -worthy :)

The heights were astounding. We've seen the Smokies and the Rockies. 
Nothing compares to the mountains on this little island the size of Indiana.

Charley and the rest of the group walked across a swinging bridge over the Gorge. 
It was something out of a movie. Seriously high. 

I have more pix, but they kept loading sideways. So, I'm going to work on them and post them later gaters.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A day in the life...

     I'm not sure what you see on your Google home page but, here in Taiwan, we see's Lantern Festival time. This, coming right after Chinese New Year!  (I am sure my Chinese grammer in the previous sentence would be horrendous.) Tonite everyone will light lanterns and, if the weather is nice, we'll walk down to Plum Blossom Lake for devotions in the dusk with the brightly lit lanterns! Our sweet boy is not feeling well...he's running a fever and has some chills. His appetite is still good and he is sleeping well. But, his level of play is way down. We would appreciate your prayers for him! So...all of that to say that we will most likely not be on the lantern walk unfortunately. But, I'm sure there will be more of those.

Today as I was driving over to the Home (with LOADS OF LAUNDRY), I came upon a funeral. I had no idea of the magnitude of such an event. A large bright yellow canopy with lots of flowers and lanterns, etc was blocking the entire road - with just an entrance, or walkway, into the families home. (And, when I say large, I mean it covers the whole road and is about 2 or more stories high.) Last evening we were coming over for dinner and saw Anna, Ted and Bev and several others representing the family walking home from the house where the person had passed. Ted was pushing a wheelbarrow. The custom is to take rice and pay respects, as far as we could gather.

The weather today is glorious. Right now, it is Monday and the time is 12:24pm. I do believe that it is 11:24pm EST in the US. So, the kiddos just finished lunch. I am upstairs just outside Ted's main office. There is a little computer room set up for the kids with a large table so that a few of us can set up laptops. The internet is excellent upstairs! Charley was even able to catch up on the CATS yesterday for a few minutes! Can't believe their win over SC...wait, yes we can. Best. Season. Ever. for Univ. of KY basketball.

Yesterday we made our first adventure into *Lo-Dung. It is a fairly large city (or about the size of Lexington, maybe a little smaller) and you can see mountains in the distance and water-filled rice patties everywhere. In the city itself there are many shopfronts with much for sale. The other day Anna took up to the Post Office, the bank, and the grocery store. And, we were able to find each of those things again yesterday. We are pretty proud of ourselves! (We only got lost once...just a small panic that lasted about 30 minutes :). Today we are cleaning, cleaning, cleaning the apartment. It feels good to get some things accomplished in our living space.

The rain has held off for 2 days, praise God! It's supposed to arrive again tonite or tomorrow. Pray for sun!

 John and Hannah just before we left
 John and Braden  (Sorry about the side view)
 In the *Hong Kong airport

Just outside our apartment, with the rain behind. All of the apartments look alike - so you can see the far complex in the back to get an idea of what the front of ours looks like.

I am sure there is so much more we'd like to say, but just can't think of the words right now. We pray each of you is well and your weather is sunny right now!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

We've arrived!

In Taiwan - 1pm local time. We just had a delicious lunch at the Home and before that we were handed two precious babes to feed! It's so nice and quiet and orderly and feels like home. We got about 4 hours of sleep after having a really hard night with Johnny. He misses "tucky" as he calls Kentucky. We'll need prayer for his comfort and transition. The flights were comfortable with plenty of food and entertainment - Cathay Pacific is the way to go! Will post again later as we have time and are more settled with a schedule. Thanks for your prayers. More again soon!