Saturday, February 27, 2010

Life, Death, and something in between

We all know it but we just don't always care to acknowledge it. The cycle of life that ebbs and flows. It just so happens that this past week, all of life's ebbs and flows got shoved into a very concentrated period of time for me.

Life We were oh-so very thrilled to welcome our little nephew, Jonathan Peek, into the world on February 21. My rockin' sis-in-law labored with the little guy for 24 hours before popping out a healthy little boy. Seeing that our time zone is 13 hours ahead of them, we were happier to take her 5 AM call (our 6 PM) than probably the rest of the family. Chris & Sarah might possibly be coming for a visit in July, so we could potentially be able to give this little guy a hug sooner than we thought.

Death My granny has recently been put in Hospice care, which most likely suggests the beginning of the end. She has had shortness of breath recently because of excessive fluid build-up in her lungs. The drugs they are using to treat that are really hard on her kidneys. So it will probably end up that either her lungs or her kidneys will give out on her. I got to talk with her on the phone twice over the weekend. We had a really sweet conversation. A long time ago, she had told me her favorite hymns so we sang "In the Garden" and "How Great Thou Art" on the phone together. Then she told me her faovrite bible verses: John 3:16 and John 14. "You know," she said, "I think John 3:16 sums it all up." I agree, my sweet granny. I agree. I am thankful for her faith and confidence that she will see her savior Jesus face to face because of her trust in him.

Something in between My little friend Emma turned five this weekend. She is Beans previous owner so she is seriously in love with our wee puppy (who, in fact, is not so wee anymore). As a surprise, we decked Beans out in her pink argyle sweater and birthday signs to meet Emma at the park for her birthday outing. Emma was thrilled, Beans was so excited she made a big puddle on the sidewalk. All in all, a good day.

So the collision of all these emotions has made it quite a tiring week. I'm thankful for rest and for the sovereign God who is over all things.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Most Worthless Vocabulary Contest

OK's time for you to weigh in! As I was re-copying my vocabulary collection (see previous post about the hungry little puppy), I realized that our tutor has accomplished an incredible feat. (Well, I suppose we've accomplished an incredible feat as well.) Since starting this new method last November, we have been exposed to, can comprehend, and use hundreds of new words. Consequently, our tutor has also taught us a handful of entirely bizarre words. Kev & I are curious to know which ones you think are the most worthless.

First, let me give a quick explanation of how we study these days. We have a collection of wordless picture books, from which we select a book for the week. Our tutor records himself telling the story he sees, inventing characters, creating their motivations, crafting internal conflicts and's all quite entertaining. After about ten minutes of recording, we stop and listen to his masterpiece. Whenever we come across a word or grammar structure that we don't understand, we pause the recording and "negotiate" the meaning of the word in our new language. It's kind of like a mixture of storybook hour at the local library, charades, and that party game Catch Phrase.

OK onto the contest...These are my choices of our most random words and the pictures from which they were derived by our tutor (who, I think you'll agree, has quite the imagination)

beer belly
Michael Phelps

to smoke marijuna
rock & roll music

EEG (dear friends who have gone to medical school or like watching doctor shows on TV--is this a fancy word for brain scan?)
hospital beds that go up & down
Empire State Building

to extort; to blackmail
to illegally cross an international border
Cupid (yes, as in Valentine's Day)

T-rex (which, if you look closely enough at this picture, you'll realize that dinosaur isn't a T-rex at all...)
prebyoptic glasses (I have no clue what this word means in Asian-ese, let alone in English!)
jurassic period

eating disorder
unlawful entry; trespassing
wizard hat

Converse All-stars
revealing, scantily clad
backless shirt
really tight pants
platform heels
senator (this country doesn't even have senators!?!?)

The possiblities are endless for the outlandish things we're able to say now...

What's your favorite worthless word? Any ridiculous sentences you'd like to create out of our word list?

(Disclaimer in defense of our wonderful tutor: we do actually learn helpful words too. Those just don't make a very good blog post)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hackneyed Excuses Realized

Not that I've ever really given this paltry excuse in my entire educational life but I can attest that it can actually happen...

My dog ate my homework.

During our tutoring sessions, Kevin & I keep journals of all the new words we're learning. It's like our personal dictionary. Very useful & rather time consuming to maintain. Well, one day, Beans decided she wanted to have her fill of vocab, so she snatched my notebook up, ran under the bed (where all her naughty schemes take place), and before I could track her down, the last week worth of class notes had been reduced to shreds. Thankfully, Kevin keeps an identical notebook so I was able to recover all my lost information.

Puppy for sale...any one? International shipping fee included.

On second thought, maybe I'll keep her. I am rather attached to this little sausage dog.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Let the countdown begin!

It's official! It's officially official! My parents, my brother & sis-in-law are coming to visit. In a mere 73 days, I will get a real mama hug. Now the question remains: how to hasten the countdown?

Here are my options:

Option #1) Make a paper chain like we used to do in elementary school to countdown Christmas. But seeing that my ceilings are made of cement, it will be difficult to properly hang said chain for all to see & share in my countdown excitement.

Option #2) Employ one of those "pregnancy countdowns" on my blog. You know, the ones with the prego lady silhouette with the days left until baby comes. But that might send mixed signals to blog readers (if there really are any of you out there...)

Option #3) Busy myself with the finishing touches on the guest room, making a fun-filled itenerary of all the things things we have to see & do (most certainly including the hour and a half massage for $8).

Yes, I'd say that option #3 seems like the best bet. But don't be surprised if you see a prego baby silhouette on the side of the blog for the next 73 days...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Energy Gluttons of the 4th Floor

Gone are the days of discretion. Gone are the days of a covert envelope arriving in the locked mailbox, informing you (and only you) how much money you owe to the electricity company. Gone are the days...

This is the welcome home we get once a month:

As you can see, the electricity bill for the entire building is posted on the door.

As you can also see, all the numbers surrounding ours are significantly lower. As you can also also see, these numbers are displayed for all to see. And, being the foreigners in town whose strange and curious ways are always worth knowing about, I wouldn't be surprised if any one of our hundreds of neighbors could tell you the exact amount the energy gluttons on the fourth floor are paying this time around.