Friday, March 26, 2010

A few details

Details are trickling in. We are pretty sure we know where we will be living. Our housing contact sent pictures of the actual unit, but they don't fully match with any of the floor plans shown on the website of the place we believe we'll be, so I'm not sure. It is NOT the place that was my first choice but, honestly, if I had never seen my first choice this place would probably be fabulous. It DOES have a spa. (Yea!) And it has a "breakfast room" in the public spaces so I'm not sure but I think they might cook breakfast for us. Seriously I may never want to come back to America! I believe we are about one block from Taipei 101 - - FORMERLY the worlds tallest building, until Dubai opened their place. (The Burj? Have to ask my brother.) One of my brothers is living near The Burj and I'll be living near Taipei 101, so if you have a desire to visit the world's tallest places you can visit various members of my family and you'll be covered!

Eric was able to get his departure pushed back 1 day, so he will at least be here long enough to say hello to his Mom and Aunt.

Our school really wants to get Anna tested for the gifted program so they were a bit frantic for details of when we were leaving. When I told them the kids will be back for at least a bit after Spring Break they were quite relieved. I believe they are making special arrangements to have her tested right after spring break, as I've told them I expect we will be leaving not too long after that.

I did my last volunteer stint in Ethan's classroom today, and I actually realized I'll miss that. I have been getting to know the kids and for the most part I like them - even the "bad" ones. My last 2 times I've been in charge of the painting center and that is a LOT OF WORK!!! But it is fun to see the kids creations. Most of the paintings are pretty predictable, but there are 1 or 2 kids that look to me (like I know anything!!!) like they might have some artistic ability. I am fascinated by what one child in particular paints. I am not sure but I think the child comes from some sort of messy home life. The paintings this child creates are by far, BY FAR more original than anything any of the others do.

I've got a busy day tomorrow. This post is probably very choppy again but you'll just have to deal with that from me for awhile.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tech stuff

In anticipation of "The Big Adventure" I told Eric I would like a new digital camera. As I've said before, ours has been dropped onto too many parking lots and into too many swimming pools to be much good. It works, but barely. What I really really WANT is a digital SLR. So we've been looking at cameras, SLR and "regular". I had decided I would probably abandon the idea of an SLR in an effort to save money. But then...

I must back up.

Over a year ago the economic meltdown hit home for us. We had to stop using credit cold turkey. That has been an interesting journey, let me tell you! I could write a lot about the journey, but time doesn't permit that right now. Let me just say I have been amazed at how I enjoy buying things when I actually pay for them with real money. Everything now is paid for either with cold hard cash or the debit card.

Today I stumbled across something with our checking account/debit card. We have been earning "Rewards Points" that I never knew about. We have accumulated loads of points. Guess what? We have enough points for me to get a DIGITAL SLR! For free!!!

Cash is good. Credit is bad. Cash is good. Credit is bad.

Wow! I have to say thank you to God for this. HE has been the center of our new life. Do I ever wish I had time to write.

I will be on 1 airplane for 17 hours sometime soon. I will have time to write then, and I'll have another new gizmo with me - one that I can write on. I'm getting an IPad to take to Taiwan. (And paying cash for it, of course!) Hopefully I can write then. There is so much to tell. So much...

Trees and life

The last snowstorm really wrecked havoc on the trees in Virginia. The amount of damage continues to amaze me. Everywhere you go there are mangled trees. The manner in which the trees broke is strange to me. Have you ever tried to break a branch or twig of a "green" bush or tree? You know, one that is still very much alive? A dead twig will snap, but a green one shreds. That is how the downed trees around here look - they are shredded, not snapped. Not just branches, whole tree trunks are shredded.

As I contemplated the devastation yet again today I thought of something which seemed worthy of mentioning:

In Minnesota, where I grew up, we got a lot of snow. Many times there was heavy, wet snow as we had recently in Virginia. But I never saw trees in Minnesota shredded like those that I am seeing here. It seems the trees here don't usually have to endure the pressure of a heavy, wet snow, and so they are not conditioned to "take it". I suppose in Minnesota the strength of the tree branches is tested every year. As a result, they grow stronger and are not devastated by the first storm that comes their way.

It seems to me that is rather like life: as we endure pressure we are better able to withstand the storms. If a person has not had much pressure in their life, they might just fall to shreds when a storm hits.

Just a thought...

I should really take some pictures of the trees and show them to you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Excuse me if posts for the foreseeable future are choppy. My head is spinning and I'm not sure I can string two thoughts together!

Eric is supposed to go to Taiwan the 1st week of April - the same day his Mother and Aunt are arriving for a long-planned visit. Oh well... nothing we can do about it!

I am flying "home" to Boise next week for a quick visit with my parents. I haven't seen them in almost 2 years and since our plans change practically day by day I cannot be sure when I might get to visit them if I don't take the opportunity now. So I will fly out for a few days, then it goes like this: I come home, the next day Eric leaves in the morning and his Mom and Aunt arrive in the evening. I don't yet know when the kids and I will head to Taiwan. We have to get all of our paperwork in order first.

Eric's company agreed to put all of us in business class for our international flights. Woo hoo! WOO HOO! That makes me happier than I can possibly express in writing. WOOOO HOOOOO! I have never flown internationally before and am not relishing the idea of 17 hours on an airplane - let alone with kids! Thankfully the kids aren't super little anymore so they should be okay, and in business class the seats lay down flat so we should (hopefully) be able to get some sleep.

We are not clear yet on where we will be staying. We have some Internet links but are not 100% sure we are looking at the right place. I am hoping that one place I looked at is "the" place - the apartments look fabulous AND the building has a spa - - a real spa with facials and massages! Having recently had the first facial of my life and fallen in love with the experience, I'm thinking I could get real used to popping downstairs for a facial. I may never want to return to the states!

I visited with Gloria yesterday. To my immense relief she will be in Taiwan for 1 month of the time I am there. It will be SO COOL to have her as a tour guide! I told her I had read about fabric markets in Beijing and wondered if there was a similar thing in Taipei. There is, and she wrote it in Chinese for me so I can get in a cab and show it to the driver and they will know where to take me. (Very few people in Taiwan speak English. This is really going to be an experience!) She told me there is also a flower market which I MUST visit so she wrote that in Chinese too. I'm hoping it is near where we live so that we can have a constant supply of fresh flowers in our home. I found out Gloria has historically spent a great deal of her summer fishing. She and her husband will take our family fishing one day - that will be cool. There is a great deal of humor in her recounting of her fishing times, but I am no where near having enough time to try to write that now. Maybe another day.

I'll post more as I remember it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

On the Move Again

This Gypsy Family is preparing for another new adventure. You won't believe where we're going this time!


Wow! That was not high on my list of places I wanted to visit. In fact, it wasn't even ON my list. But then, at BSF I became friends with a woman from Taiwan. The first day of class, as we were introducing ourselves, Eric was in Taiwan. When Gloria introduced herself and said she had just come from Taiwan I got all excited and later told her "My husband is there right now." We have become good friends and now, off I go to her country! She broke down my walls of resistance to Taiwan before I ever dreamed I would have to go there.

I'll fill in details as I learn them. It's happening at what feels like lightening speed. At this point all I know is Eric is supposed to be there next month. I am hoping we can all go over together because I really don't want to be with the kids on an international flight without Eric, but we have absolutely no idea yet of timetables. I have to get passports for the kids. And I suppose we have to figure out many things regarding our house here. A security system will be high on the list of priorities. Don't want a repeat of our first venture to Virginia!

Oh and, this is a temporary thing. Four to five months I think. Stay tuned...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hooray for Ethan!

Ethan finally got the trophy he's been wanting all his life. (All 6 years of it!)

Anna received one a couple of years ago just for playing on a soccer team. (I'm happy for her, I guess, but I think it is lame that you get a trophy just for showing up. The cynical side of me believes this practice came about purposefully by American Progressives who wanted to condition our kids for socialism. Whether or not it was purposeful, it surely has had that effect.) Ever since Anna got her trophy Ethan has been green with envy. The following year I asked him about joining a soccer team but he was not interested. I told him he'd get a trophy but he was still not interested. (I was shocked!) Now that I think about it - look how he really HAS been conditioned for socialism! He wants the reward without the work!

Well, yesterday we went to the Pinewood Derby Sectional competition. Once again Ethan did not win for speed, but he won first place for design! He got a real trophy and he could not be more thrilled. It was nail-biting for me, let me tell you! I knew he hadn't won the races, so as they announced design winners I was praying he would win SOMETHING. They started at 5th place. Fifth and fourth received medals and I hoped he WOULDN'T place there because he would not have been satisfied with a medal. So after they announced third and second places I was REALLY nervous. I almost screamed when he won first place! I contained it thankfully, because that would have really embarrassed Ethan. I was so relieved, and happy for Ethan. Sorry I don't have a picture to post - Eric is in Taiwan and he took the digital camera.

On a related note: A friend is signing her kids up for spring baseball and asked if I would be putting Ethan in. It sounded like a great idea to me, but when I asked about it this morning Ethan absolutely refused. He is NOT interested in playing sports. I wish he was, but I guess I can be grateful that I don't have to spend my weekends at kids games. I haven't put Anna in anything since that first year of soccer. About half way through the season it became really difficult to get her to go to practice. I cannot imagine where she got that from!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hi! Remember me?

I wish I had a really good excuse for not writing for so long. Like I'd been doing something very important or been busy volunteering at school or... I don't know, SOMETHING. But I'm going to tell you the truth about what I've been doing instead of writing or making cards or being important. I've been... sleeping. Yeah, I wrote that really small, hoping you might not see it. It's embarrassing.

No, I am not depressed. I am just tired. And I'm not actually sleeping more than a normal person, mostly I'm just sleeping at the wrong times. I am rather like a newborn - I have my days and nights mixed up. I often spend most of the night awake and then, every chance I get during the day, I lay down and sleep. P-LEASE don't lecture me about what I should do differently. This has been going on for months and months so, believe me, I've tried it! Okay, maybe I haven't tried everything, but I've tried a lot. I won't go on about it, but I do have to insert this one exception to what has been my "normal" lately: A couple of weeks ago on a Friday night I slept fairly normally. I got up early in the morning - earlier than anyone else - had coffee, ate breakfast and went back to bed. I proceeded to sleep until NOON. I haven't done that, I don't think, since I was a teenager. Wow, was that wonderful. I mean, I could not believe how good it felt to sleep so much.

That reminds me of a funny story. A few months ago I WAS volunteering at something for my son. I was talking with another mother who was on duty with me. Her name was Joy and she DESERVED that name - she was so happy and just a lot of fun. I think she's a single Mom. She told me that on Friday she fixes breakfast and lunch for her son's for Saturday and when she goes to bed Friday night the boys are told to take care of themselves on Saturday. She sleeps most of the day. I said "Wow, I wish I could sleep like that. I'm too old. I get sore." To which she replied: "Girl! That's why God gave you four sides! You sleep on this one, then you turn and sleep on that one, then you..." Oh my goodness how she made me laugh!

I intended to write about something entirely different here, but I spent too much time on the sleep issue. I need to go pick up kids. Who knows, maybe I'll write my intended post during the night, when I'm NOT sleeping! :-)