Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We were so thankful that we got to stop by and see Rebekah's "Gigi" before moving to South Asia. We did not have as much time as we wished we had to spend time with all of our friends and family, but Rebekah enjoyed her time chatting with Kristie's Grandmother and walking around with her.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Other Nashville Sites

We had all kinds of fun on our trip to Nashville! The city offers tons of things to do.

For our "last hurrah" before moving to South Asia, we rented a Grand Caravan--the stylish minivan that can hold 7 passengers comfortably. We loved it, and it took us up to and around Nashville with no problems.

We visited Civil War sites...
Former Plantations (Belle Meade is pictured)...

Cooter's Dukes of Hazzard Museum, with the General Lee present...

And Kristie and James revisited the Willie Nelson and Friends Museum (we consider ourselves among his friends), which was one of the highlights of our honeymoon back in 2003.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving in South Asia

We hope all of you are enjoying Thanksgiving, wherever you are this year.

We were conflicted about how much to share about our Thanksgiving here in South Asia, because we want all of you to know that we actually have friends and family to spend our time with during this holiday, but we also didn't want you to see how good we have it and think we were living too cushy a lifestyle!

So, just think of having to cook your entire Thanksgiving dinner in an "oven" this size.

And there were no turkeys to be found in our town, so we had to cook two of the hormone-free chickens found here (i.e., small chickens).

But man, we had some good food: Stove Top Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, and French's Fried Onions for the Green Bean Casserole (all three imported through visitors from the USA in the past year) topped off the homemade rolls, mashed potatoes, pecan and pumpkin pies, sweet-potato casserole, and smoked pork loin (or some piece of a pig--pretty unidentifiable by shape).

Watching these cute kids play and eating all that food made our families feel holiday-like in a town of 1.5 million people where maybe 20 Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving.

And although there was no American football, we did get in a game of basketball and eat enough to fulfill another American Thanksgiving tradition...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Country Music Hall of Fame

During our trip to Nashville, we also spent a day exploring the Country Music roots of the city. We actually spent our honeymoon in Nashville, although it was much colder and we were much younger back then.
As we were on our honeymoon, we were in awe of the history contained in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Rebekah was not as enthralled by all the members of the HOF as we were, but she did pretty good for the three hours we spent there. 


There was a great exhibit on Hank Williams and his family's impact on country music. We even got to read all the lyrics for Hank Williams, Jr.'s Monday Night Football lyrics before his gaffe got those lyrics pulled from MNF (he recorded them all at the beginning of the year).

 And, just like on our honeymoon, we visited the Ryman Auditorium...

And we have now become a family act.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Faces of the People Next Door, Part 1

We live in an idyllic little town. However, our primary purpose for being here is actually not for work here in our state, as much as work needs to be done here.

Rather, after we learn the language (or languages) spoken around here, we hope to devote much of our time to a neighboring state where the work is non-existent in most villages. This year's census gives the population of this state at over 100 million people, while it is smaller in area than the state of Kentucky.

Numbers can overwhelm, though. Each face has a story.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

South Asia: Our Hood

Welcome to Gorkhaland.

The name of our neighborhood is actually seen on the entrance sign here: Agam Singh Nagar. We actually live in a pretty nice little neighborhood (as seen from our apartment's view) by the river on the outskirts of our town. 

So what is Gorkhaland? Well, the name of the new state as proposed by the separatist movement popular in Agam Singh Nagar. Saying you live in the middle of a separatist movement is not the most calming thing to family back in the USA, but it is actually pretty benign. You see rallies occasionally, but mostly just the Gorkhaland flag flying on the top of most building here.

Then there are the faces of our neighborhood: nice people who speak no English (other than numbers, since we discuss the prices we pay them), but have great smiles and are good to practice the language with. 

Our rickshaw driver...

The shoe repairman...

And a local store owner...

Walk about 2/3 of the way into the neighborhood and you'll see our building, of which we occupy the third floor.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nashville Zoo: Lorikeets Are Awesome!!!

Ever been in one of those increasingly popular Lorikeet-feeding exhibits at your local zoo? They are just cool, and while you are paying a dollar for a couple ounces of sugar water, having these little birds eat from your hands and walk on your arms is worth a dollar.

Rebekah was a little nervous at first, so she had daddy hold her. 

And momma looked a little nervous with her outstretched arm...

But, as with most things, Rebekah got used to it and did not want to leave, letting the birds suck up every last drop.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

South Asia: First Views

Living Room View

We have been on the ground in South Asia for just over a month. We had no expectations of what our town would look like, smell like, or sound like.

Master Bedroom Window View

We were pleasantly surprised. Imagine the fresh air of the mountain cabin where you pay to go on vacation, with the cool mornings and green scenery outside the window. That's a little bit of how we feel--although we aren't used to people doing their laundry and hanging out 15 feet from our master bedroom window.

I guess just thinking of the mass of people in South Asia, we did not expect so much open space and green. But just a short drive outside our city revealed all kinds of nature.

Many more pictures will come in the next few years, so check back often.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

D.C. in September

While our trip to Washington, D.C. in August was simply for our own enjoyment, our small group was intent on experiencing other cultures during our day in the capital city in early September. 
What better way to experience other cultures than to walk down Embassy Row? We came upon our old friend Mahatma during the beginning of our walk.

We came to the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., and despite its one tall spire, it was not as impressive or as busy as we thought it might be.

Rebekah got a little bored with our cultural exploration while at the Islamic Center, though, and started climbing on the gate. At this point the imam, who we'd heard was very interactive with visitors, had his only interaction with us in telling Rebekah to get down. I'm sure he's seen two-year-olds, though, so we weren't too worried that we'd offended him.

We ended our walk at the National Zoo, where we saw much more of the Giant Pandas than we had during our previous trip.

We visited a nice Lebanese restaurant, an Indian clothing store (where Kristie got some jewelry that has gotten many positive comments since actually coming to South Asia), and watched all kinds of nationalities interact in the Metro and at Union Station.

Friday, November 4, 2011

School in Virginia

While we were in training for 2 months in Virginia, Rebekah was having an awesome time at her school--don't call it a daycare; they are much more than a daycare.

Along with the other six 2-year-olds in the class, Rebekah played and played and played, but also learned some songs that she would sing and do the motions for repeatedly.

She also learned all about the country she was going to, as well as those that the other students were moving to.

Although the kids were split up at the end of our training, it's good to know Rebekah has friends whose parents are impacting life all over the globe.