Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So Scary...

Make no mistake, Rebekah does not need an excuse to dress up, as seen in her normal after-school outfit here.

As we all celebrate Halloween together tonight, know that Rebekah is not missing out on any of the holiday fun due to living here in South Asia. We improvised a costume last year, but this is our second Halloween in South Asia, and the arrival over the past few weeks of several packages assured Rebekah of several holiday-themed outfits.

The glow-in-the-dark shirt,

The cliched child's Halloween shirt and puffy black skirt,

The jack-o-latern look,

And the "princess dress" we put together from stuff in the market to transform Rebekah into Princess Anastasia at her request (we did not tell her what history suspects really happened to Anastasia, instead opting for the cartoon ending) for the games and fun she had at her toddler dress-up party.

We do not have orange pumpkins here in South Asia, so Kristie and Rebekah painted this little green pumpkin orange as a first step before decorating its face.

And Rebekah even talked James and Kristie into throwing on their Saints jerseys (since they need a chance to wear them during this down-year) and joining in the dress-up fun.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Good Food and Big Friends

On a trip in our country last month, Rebekah was super-excited to see a couple young ladies that we met before we ever stepped foot in South Asia, who she affectionately calls her "big friends."

We love to just hop on the train, get a change of scenery, eat some big-city food, and hang out.

After our obligatory beef- and pork-free McDonald's trip, we ventured into more "fine" dining (You know dining is "fine" when you find swinging chairs and tables in a restaurant. Note: Due to the three-year-old in our party, we did not try eating on swinging tables, although below are the swinging chairs.).

Our trip did not disappoint, as it was Elisa's birthday and we ate at a place with some great American-style cheese (for Mac-and-Cheese and Nachos) and good desserts.

We got a group shot, with the typical South Asian crooked-picture (they may do that on purpose), as we enjoyed the A/C during our outing.

And the day before we left, Julie left on her own trip, despite Rebekah's threats, both verbally and physically, that she would not let Julie out the door. Rebekah eventually let Julie leave, but while we were with them, we had a great time!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Our Little Helper: Momo Edition

From the time we got Rebekah a kitchen for her first birthday, she has always loved pretending to cook.  Kristie often would pull her high-chair up and let her "help" prepare dinner.

Since the high-chair is a distant memory, we now just pull up a stool and Rebekah climbs up and helps more than "gets in the way".

This day, we were making a Tibetan treat, which thankfully has made its way to our part of South Asia:

The Momo.

Momos are vegetables or meat (chicken, pork, water buffalo, or... shhh!!! beef) all spiced up and steamed to be soft or fried to be crispy.

Then they are eaten with your choice of condiments (or not)... ketchup (yuck!), soy sauce, or the super-hot chutney seen in this picture... a result of our (and Rebekah's) hard work.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

We Went to Serampore!!!


The View of the Ganges from Serampore College
Sure, these days a quick search online can tell you the significance of Serampore...

Would it help if we mentioned William Carey?

The Baptists, missionaries, or those from around Southern Mississippi (location of William Carey University) will then possibly connect the dots...

James, having his PhD in Church History, was super-excited about the 3-hour car trip from Kolkata (Calcutta) to Serampore, even practicing Hindi on the way with the driver.

Kristie catches James sitting on Carey's 200-year-old chair

And while Kristie enjoyed herself, the rough ride and keeping up with Rebekah wore her down.

William Carey arrived in Serampore in the late 1700's, began studying the numerous languages and dialects of South Asia, began translating portions of the Bible into dozens of those languages, all the while sharing the Good News of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection with South Asians.

He travelled around with this collapsable pulpit (gotta have a pulpit, don't you?),

Lived with his and several other European families on the grounds of the compound at Serampore College,

And gave his whole life for the spread of the gospel in South Asia. He was a ridiculously productive linguist, and even when he was earning thousands of pounds yearly as a linguistics teacher at colleges in Calcutta, he still invested everything he had (literally and figuratively) in his mission work.

Carey never left South Asia, 

and the words inscribed on his simple gravestone reflect the direction of his--and our--hearts: 

 "A wretched, poor, and helpless worm,
On Thy kind arms I fall."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Now THAT Is a Package

Okay, so the package was not really THAT HUGE, despite the fact that Rebekah could not lift it.

But we needed some excuse for a recent incident that happened while we (Kristie and James) were transporting the package on the motorcycle:

Loose Rocks + 

Numerous Pedestrian Distractions +

One Small Alleyway on an Incline +

James and Kristie on a Motorbike +

Brakes +

An Awesomely Huge Package from Aunt Jess =

The Bike Falling from a standing position to a sideways position, 

Kristie Falling and Got a Nice Looking Bruise on her Thigh,

James Remaining Standing but turning slightly red from embarrassment...

But The Bruise and The Embarrassment Were Worth the Halloween-Themed Treats inside:

As you can see by the crown on her head, Rebekah is all about dressing up. 

So, Scary Shirts,

Wild Dress Up Pants,

Candy Corn and Caramel Candy Corn (Two Thumbs Up!),

and Cake Mixes for the Coming Holidays! 

(The Tuna Packs are not Halloween themed; those are just good to get.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A South Asian Way of Life: Motorcycles

Traffic can be a little crazy here in South Asia.

We experienced the fear of big trucks/buses, the people walking on the sides of the roads, and the lack of real road rules during our time in Africa. 

But one thing Africa did not have was the number of motorcycles and scooters found here. Just due to the (relatively) low cost and the maneuverability they have, motorbikes are essential means of transportation in South Asia.


 Motorbikes are probably ideally built for two two-and-a-half,
but we are well-versed in the South Asian "pack as many as you can" on them for short journeys.

And although James had not driven a motorcycle since he was a teenager,
this is the vehicle our small family has been assigned.

He quickly got the hang of it, and realized that his beard made him look much more natural on the bike.

Whether getting through traffic jams, running quickly around town for a forgotten grocery item, or just taking Rebekah and her stuffed animals on a joy ride, our little Yamaha Gladiator made our life a lot more interesting here in South Asia (especially as Monsoon Season holds on, making our life much more wet).

Saturday, October 6, 2012

One Year, In Pictures

We enjoy looking at Retrospectives at the end of years, decades, and centuries, just because we are a little sentimental, and because our old minds tend to forget a lot of things.

 We scoured a thousand pictures, just trying to figure out where our year went!?!

As of TODAY, we have been in South Asia for 1 year.

We sold most of what we owned, packed up all we thought we might need, and prepared to venture into the great unknown...

The neighborhood in our town, we discovered, is absolutely beautiful, but we still had to adjust to life in South Asia (what? no bathtubs?). 

We learned to dress up for big occasions, and we think we fit in pretty well.

Winter came, and we tried to watch our favorite teams however we could, imagining that we were back in the USA for a few hours!!!

We took an absolutely FREEZING trip to the mountains near our home for New Years,

And definitely looked good in our more natural role as tourists!!!

Rebekah celebrated her 3rd Birthday with a Dora the Explorer party,

 We became accustomed to the South Asian way of getting around on a budget (the train system),

And we survived many bouts of homesickness thanks to an AMAZING number of packages from our friends and family.

We could say our biggest "accomplishment" during our first year was finding a swimming pool bathtub in South Asia,

But the joy we get from sharing the Bible with those who had never heard that God loves them,

 teaching unengaged villages and untouched tribes the Gospel,

and encouraging these new brothers and sisters to share with others have been the fuel that has driven us, along with your prayers. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thanks, Aunt Tiffany!!!


Everyone here in South Asia is your Auntie, Uncle, Sister, or Brother. Even if you are an adult, you show respect to people with these titles. So, we have "relatives" everywhere we go.

Just in time for a weekend trip we were taking, we got a package from our "Aunt Tiffany" in Georgia, who is a big Bulldog fan (as seen from the picture above, before we left the USA).

She packed the box full of all of our favorites, 
which Rebekah proceeded to organize very nicely:

Some Bigs Dill Pickle Sunflower Seeds, Gobstoppers, Hershey's Dark Chocolate, and Smurfs DVDs.

She also sent Rebekah a Dora book that came with a contraption that sings 20 SONGS FROM DORA!!! Twenty songs, really.

We heard them all, a lot, as Rebekah took her "iPod" with her everywhere she went on our trip.

 So thankful for friends!