Wednesday, January 5, 2011


This will be my last blog post from this site. Mark has set up a new blog for us to use while in China. I guess I wont be able to use this one while we are there. Words that pop into my mind to describe how I feel right now are; excited, sad,bittersweet,trusting,discombobulated,happy,in limbo,sentimental,sick to stomach,optimistic,in disarray,frustrated,loved and so many more emotions. Oh, and emotional(just to forewarn everyone). I know everything will be alright and that we are making a good decision for our family at this time. I will keep in touch with everyone, maybe not through FB but emails and maybe even snail mail. Could any of you that read this send me your home address. It's been so long since I've sent an actual letter but I remember loving sending and receiving them when I lived in Taiwan, of course that was pre-email so it might not be as exciting. Zaijian peeps.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Chapter

We are leaving for China in less than two months. I can't believe how fast time is going. Some days I'm so excited and other days I'm really sad to leave our life here. We have lived here a little over 6 yrs and out of all the places we've lived, this is what I consider to be "Home", well except for Logan(which will always be home). I've lived in Asia. First time I went I was 19 yrs old, second time I was 21, third time I was 24. Now at 42, I've lost some of that "nerve" that I had each time I went to Taiwan to teach English. I was so adventurous. I guess I still am to a degree or I wouldn't be moving to Beijing with my family. I think that's the key though, I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't with my family. A couple things have already happened that have made me realize that this move(18-24 months)has already opened doors to some new friendships and opportunities. First, I was looking online about 1 1/2 months ago for blogs written by people who have either lived in Beijing or who are living in Beijing now. I came across a single woman's blog that is from Tennessee and who lived in Beijing for 3 years. She wrote an amazing blog about her time living in Beijing and about all the things she did there. I really admire her because she traveled so much within China, she pretty much spent the majority of her time with people from China and Beijing and she experienced everything. Her name is Teresa and we've become really good friends through email and FB. I ask her all kinds of questions and she writes back and gives me all kinds of great information. Come to find out she was an extra in one of the "Work and the Glory" films. She is going to be in Beijing in March and I look forward to meeting her in person and hanging out with her. Secondly, Mark's work is being so generous with what they will pay for that we felt like it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up on. Our kids get to go to a private school with amazing benefits, they will pay for Kiah to come over while she's not in school and they will pay for our housing, which during this time in our lives we(as is the case for all of us)need a break from a huge house payment. I don't mean to brag but instead want to say how grateful I feel for this opportunity. It's a blessing in disguise so to speak. It came at a good time in our lives and I truly feel is going to be an experience filled with so many wonderful possibilities. I am going to miss home like crazy, our friends and family, our church congregation here. I'm sad but it's such a short time really that it will be over in no time and we will be back in Issaquah hanging out with friends again.I guess I shouldn't say this is a new chapter because it's not like my chapter of living here in Washington is over. Maybe I should say it's a new book and my life here in Issaquah is a really good one(like a good book) and I've just sat it down for a minute to check out this new book. That's pretty much what I do anyhow. I always have a few books going at one time. I'll be posting about our life in China, I will keep everyone updated and for those that can or want a big adventure, come visit. PLEASE!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Traugott und Helene

Our trip to Europe had it's ups and downs for sure. I fell and hurt my ankle and knee at the beginning of the trip which caused pain throughout the rest of the trip. I also got sick and ended up having a sinus infection and bronchitis. It was a trip where one night we took a train to a new city(got in around 8pm) then the next day Mark had meetings all day and I checked out of the hotel around noon and left the suitcases at the hotel and then went out site seeing(as best as I could with a swollen ankle and knee), then we would catch another train around 5:30 and do the same thing all over again. I realize we were in Europe, so I shouldn't complain BUT when you don't feel good and you are running from one city to the next it's not ideal. Paris with Mark was amazing(except from falling outside Notre Dame) and then the end of the trip was wonderful. 24 yrs ago I went on exchange program to a small little town in Germany, Hereford. We were matched up with a student who first came and stayed at our houses and then we went and stayed at theirs. I was paired with Dagmar Hagerbaumer. Like me she is the youngest in her family and like me she has two older brothers. Our parents are close in age, hers are now 71 and mine are 78. We hit it off immediately unlike some of my friends who never got along with their exchange student. I felt very blessed. While I was in Germany we traveled to Berlin and this was when the wall was still up. Our German teacher set it up for us to be able to travel into East Berlin and meet secretly with a group of LDS German teenagers. In East Berlin the LDS people were not allowed to practice their religion but in their homes they secretly held church. It was amazing to meet with them yet at the same time it was very depressing. I remember their questions were about things like Michael Jackson and movie stars. We weren't allowed to take the money we had exchanged from the German deutchmark into the East Berlin dollar back into West Berlin. We all gave our money to the LDS group we met with. It was very little but they were so appreciative. At the end of this trip we went to Berlin for a night and a day. The whole time I was there I felt like I had a huge smile on my face. Our hotel (which was amazing) was in the East side of Berlin. Where back in 1986 the East side was blah and drab in colors and feeling, now the East side has new buildings, fancy hotels and a huge amazing train station. More money has been put into the East side which was nice to see. I went to the Jewish Museum and spent about 3 hrs there, it was one place I was told to not miss. It was worth the limping around. After that I took a tour bus and sat up top like a tourist but it was nice to sit for a little bit and be able to see all the sites. It was amazing to see all the places I remember seeing with my High School class. We would drive by a historical site and I could see my friend Alison and I walking around as teenagers and I couldn't help but smile. After Berlin we took a train to Bielefeld, which is a really small town about 20 minutes from where my host family lives. It was so random that Mark and his co-workers needed to meet with a seller in this small town yet such a blessing. Dagmar's parents Traugott and Helene have sent my parents and my family a Christmas card ever since 1986. As far as I know I am the only one in my High School group that has kept in touch with their student and host family. Dagmar and her 2 yr old daughter Naya came and picked me up in the morning and took me to her parents house. When we pulled up to their home they had stuck an American flag in a flower pot and on the door their was a big piece of paper that said Herzliche Wilkommen(translate to happy welcome or much welcome). They were standing there waving with huge smiles on their faces and I instantly felt at home. We spent a long time talking(Dagmar's dad speaks English pretty well but her mother doesn't speak any English)and looking at photo's. Then we had a yummy soup that her mother made and Dagmar's brother Fred joined us for lunch. It was so relaxing and such a great day spent with her family. We then went to Dagmar's home and let Naya take a short nap and then we went shopping for the kids and to buy a bunch of chocolate for my family. That night we met Mark,Dagmar's parents, Dagmar's husband and teenage son for dinner at a Chinese place in Bielefeld near the train station so that we could catch the train to Hanover after dinner.
It was a great night and I will never forget my day spent with them. It was the perfect ending to a long but wonderful trip.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Trains,planes and automobiles

This is not a relaxing trip to say the least. It's been wonderful and beautiful but I have never been more ready to say goodbye to my suitcase and the clothes I brought with me as much as I do right now. I don't know if it was the cobblestone streets and my weak ankles or just being tired but in Paris I fell. No surprise I know but it happened. My left ankle and right knee swelled up immediately. Right by Notre Dame so at least I had a beautiful view as I fell in front of everyone. I can walk (thank goodness) but it kills. What do you do though when you still have 6 days left in your trip that includes planes, trains and taxi's? You buckle up and make do. I did see a doctor in my hotel room yesterday in Munich(cost was 180$). She suggested I go to a hospital and have x-rays taken. First she suggested an ambulance which I said "no thank you but I think I'll take a taxi". Mark took me to a hospital where after seeing a doctor(and students, I felt like I was in Grey's anatomy minus the good looking doctors)getting x-rays(which they made me do in my underwear, I think just to make fun of the American)and then seeing the doctor again it cost just 100$. Crazy, US Er's would never cost so little. It's a little strange having students feel your ankle and knee while talking in German. They were all very nice though and very thorough. Now we are in Leipzig and then heading to Berlin tonight. It's been an amazing trip and despite having an ankle that compares to an elephants, it's been great. I get to see my babies in 4 days. I'm so excited. Ich liebe meine Kinder. I think I said that right.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hanging out in Luxembourg, Luxembourg

I don't have any photo's yet to add to this post but I wanted to get some thoughts out. We have been in Luxembourg for three days now and tonight we leave for Paris. I'm a bit nervous because of the strikes and riots that are going on but we are hoping (based on what people have told us) that the Parisians will take a break for the weekend and not riot, instead go spend some time with their families and relax from all that striking and fighting with the police. I hope! I'm missing the kids a lot. You think you wont because as a parent(and especially a mom) you are kind of ready for a vacation but then of course you realize how much you miss their cute little faces and getting hugs and kisses from them. That's how I'm feeling today. I miss my kids.:(
I love Luxembourg though and the people. I love how they speak both French and German and in their conversations they will go back and forth in both languages. I can pick out certain words in German and understand a tiny bit what they are saying but then the French flies right over my head. I'm really excited to see Dagmar and her family next week. I'm tagging along with Mark as he goes from city to city in Germany meeting some of Germany's biggest sellers with Amazon. It's a coincidence that the last town we visit is only 1/2 hr from the town my host family lives in. The Hagerbaumers are picking me up next Thursday and taking me out to lunch and to hang out with them. I haven't seen them since I was 17, yet we have kept in touch every Christmas. Dagmar's parents send my parents a card every year. They are good people.
You don't realize how young of a country we live in until you go outside of the US. I love all the old churches here, the fort that goes right through the city and I love all the cobblestone streets, though they are making me feel a bit lopsided for some reason. Things I like so far on the trip; being with Mark,the people(saying Merci goes a long way here),croissants, croissants and croissants. Things I don't like; being away from family,not being able to speak French and that everything seems very expensive. That's vacation though, right? Hope this finds everyone well.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Times they are a changing

Sofia started 6th grade this year(middle school,oh my)atI MS. What a big change for her. I think she looks too young to be in Middle School, as do a lot of her friends. Sofia said to me one day "middle school is going to be fun, right mom"? What was I to say " No, it was some of the worst years of my school years"! Instead I told her it was a lot of fun and she would love it as well. Now almost a month later, she does love it. She doesn't love all of her teachers (who does?) but she likes going from class to class, she has some great teachers(one being a neighbor of ours) and she's made some new friends. Maybe she will be the 1st kid to love Middle School. Ha ha.
Miles started 1st grade and going all day. He wasn't so sure about his teacher(since Sofia had been talking about how she had his teacher and didn't like her and that she was mean, which she wasn't)and didn't want to go. The first day he came home and said to me "Mom, guess what? My teacher is really nice"! Phew, I was so happy to hear those words and hear how happy he was. He has class with two friends, Maggie Noble and Ben Hawkins, both from church. He as well is still happy with his class and loves going. A big plus for Mark and I is that at night he's completely worn out and goes to be much better. Thank goodness. It was weird to not take photo's of all three kids on their first day of school. It was strange to not be there for Kiah's first day of school and to have her come home and tell us all about it. Now we talk on the phone and she tells us about school and all that goes along with it. Such changes in our home this year, from college aged, to middle school, to Miles going all day. It's going to be a great year and I'm excited to see the kids continue to grow.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Two weeks in Utah part uno

I can't possibly blog about everything we did in Utah and post photo's. That would take too long. Plus Mark is out of town on a hike, so I can't call him to figure out how to do what I want to do with this post. I'll try and get by on my own though. We spent two wonderful weeks in Utah, mainly in Logan visiting my parents. We were able to see family and friends during that time and also catch up with my parents who we hadn't seen in two years. With my foot surgery last year and being in a cast most of the summer we weren't able to visit them. Because of that we decided to spend two weeks in Logan. I said that already, sorry. It was a bit bittersweet because we also dropped Kiah off at school, so it was fun to be with her but sad to leave her. Here is a photo of all that we packed. We had to pack for us but also Kiah's stuff to drop off for school. We were jammed pack to say the least, oh and we had Hope with us. That was fun.
Now on to the trip. Here is a photo of my beautiful niece Kim and her nephew Alex (my nephew's son). Floating down Logan canal is a must. Miles and Sofia loved it. Here's Mark canoeing out at the marshes. We always spend a day or two with the Zollinger's out at the farm. I love this barn and so do the kids. Maybe if one of the Zollinger's read this, they can tell me how old the barn is? I know it's a Historical landmark but I can't remember when it was built. If you look real close you can see Sofia at the end. She's about to swing from a rope. The kids love it there. I wish this photo could truly grasp how beautiful of a night it was when we were driving past the Logan Temple (where Mark and I were married). It was a gorgeous summer night and the moon was breathtaking. The kids were griping about us going down memory lane while in Logan but they love to see the temple an finally gave us a break and didn't make fun of us. No trip to Logan is complete without a day spent at Bear Lake. The blue water, the raspberry shakes and tots with fry sauce. yum. Unfortunately the day we decided to go was so windy that we couldn't even play in the water. That didn't stop us from having fun though. The kids still waded in the water, we went to LaBeau's (where I worked and lived for a summer as a teenager) and took some great family photo's. Kiah and her tot dipped in fry sauce. Family shot that Mark was adamant to get. We celebrated Sofi's 11th Birthday in Ione,Idaho at Mark's aunt Marcia's house. I don't think it was her ideal birthday, she'd rather have been at home with friends but we made do with what we had. Plus we left the next morning to drive home and we left Kiah in Idaho. I think Sofi was a bit sad about that. Despite their complaining about each other, they are very close and Sofi really misses her big sister.