Thursday, October 15, 2015

Alphabet Project/ D is for Daddy's Hand

I love to watch Zane with his Daddy....Sometimes i just sit back and watch their interactions.  John waited so long to have a child and he savors every moment.


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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Alphabet Project C is for Curious

He is always peaking in somewhere to see what is there....

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Monday, October 05, 2015


Not a new picture...but we just realized that this will be the Tiny American's fifth move in his short life!  

We are moving.....not far, just down the road.  When we decided to make the move to Taiwan John and I came over for a quick visit and to scout out apartments.  I knew myself well enough to know that  having a place already rented when we arrived with our stuff and the Tiny American was crucial to me being able to make the transition.  We spent about 4 days looking at places and areas and finally settling on a list of 3 possibilities.  I had them in oder of preference and left it in the hands of someone else to take care of securing us a home.

We hadn't been back in the States very long when that someone emailed John and Said that the first apartment was no longer available and the third was also off the market but they were in negotiations for our second choice.  It was a nice apartment so I wasn't too worried.  About a week later another email came saying that we didn't get that apartment either.  So now we were going to have to rent an apartment sight unseen!  This was slightly nerve wracking for a control freak like myself.  They sent us some choices and some pictures and we chose one.

I have to say, our apartment is SUPER nice.  There are some really good things about it.  We have tons of storage, we have a room that works perfect for the Tiny American's playroom, we have a large kitchen with a small but decent sized oven.  What we don't have is natural light, a space for Z to be outside at all or a community pool that is actually kid friendly.  Our courtyard is beautiful, but again, not built with a daring toddler in mind. He has already had to be fished out of the fountain!

So we have always kind of had our eye out for a different place.  Mostly I look at other apartments when we go to playdates and we look at the outside of buildings trying to imagine if we would like to live there.  A few weeks ago I happened to see a Facebook post of a friend's apartment and noticed she had what looked like a large outdoor patio.  The next time I saw her I asked about it.  And told her that I would LOVE to have that space for Z.  She casually informed me that the apartment next door to her had just been vacated.  What????!!!

Obviously I did a terrible job of hiding what I was thinking....on the drive home John asked exactly how disappointed I was going to be if we didn't get it, or what if I didn't even like it? As soon as we got home I asked Venus to call and see if they were wanting to rent it. She texted me later and said they did in fact want to rent it and we could see it the next day!  I was excited and nervous and so hopeful that it was what we were looking for.

I walked in and immediately fell in love and then I realized it had no closets and no real oven.  But it had SO much light.  Every room had windows and the views were awesome from every direction.  There were no tall buildings near it and the apartment was on the 24th floor.  There were balconies and 2 big outside spaces, there was even grass!  Yea it was almost perfect.

John looked and me and asked about the oven. The oven had been a deal breaker on several apartments we had seen on our first trip.  He just laughed when I said, no big deal. I don't need a big oven.  And the closets...well I think we have that figured out too. He knew it was the right place for us.

The company agreed to let us move, the landlord let us out of our lease and the paperwork is signed.  We have a small window of time after my brother visits at the beginning of November and the day we go home to the States for the holidays to move.  By a small window of time I mean like 6 days!  Basically we will drop our stuff at the new place and put it away when we return in January but I couldn't be happier!


Sunday, October 04, 2015

Saturday, October 03, 2015

I Thought He Would Live Forever

Today when I was scrolling through Facebook a picture popped up on my screen.  It's a picture I have seen hundreds of times, it is one of my favorites of my Papa.  He is sitting in my Aunt Glenda's kitchen and his signature smile is filling up the picture.  First it made me smile and then it made me tear up...I thought he would live forever.  Okay not really, but I just couldn't imagine him not being there.  I would like nothing more than to have just a few more days with him so that he could meet Zane, so that he could see me happy, so that I could say goodbye again.The last weeks of his life were at a very bumpy place in my story,  I was trying to put pieces of me back together and I missed opportunities to say goodbye.  I thought I had more time...I thought he would live forever.

We were beyond blessed to have had him with us for as long as we did.  For him to have been active and involved in our lives and the lives of our children is a gift that many do not get.  I will forever be grateful that my boys had him as a great-grandfather, a role model and a friend.  They have solid memories of their own of him, not ones they have to manufacture from pictures.  He was there to welcome them each into the world just moments after they arrived , wearing his "hospital Suit" of course.  He filled their heads with silly stories and tales from his childhood. I loved watching him with them.  When Zane is older I will tell him about this man, this gentle giant who would have loved him so much.

When I close my eyes and think about him what I remember most were his hands.  He had the biggest hands and longest fingers I have ever held. He wasn't afraid or embarrassed to touch us, to hold onto us or even pull us onto his lap even when we were grown.  He wanted us to know how much he loved us. If I listen closely I can hear him laugh, he loved to laugh!  I can smell his aftershave and the snuff on his breath.  If I smell ribs cooking on the smoker I still expect to see him standing over it with his overalls on.  No one does them like he did!

What you saw is what you got. He didn't beat around the bush.  He loved without condition and protected his own.  I remember when I told him I was thinking about leaving my marriage he said, "honey do I need to kick his ass?" At over 90 he would have given it his best shot if my answer had been yes....he thought he was indestructible, so did I.  In the words of Randy Travis.... I thought he could walk on water.

He never missed an opportunity to tell us that he loved us or that he was proud  of us.  And he made sure that not only did he tell us, but that we heard him and that we knew it.

I miss him everyday.  I know that he is watching over us and that brings me comfort.  I know no one can live forever, but I thought he would....I hoped he would.


Friday, October 02, 2015

The Tiny American Turns Two

I love to throw a party.  I love the planning and the organizing I enjoy the baking and cooking that goes into a celebration.  I have always thrown parties for the boys for their birthdays and never really worried too  much about who would come or not come and that the food would be a hit and everyone would have a good time, I pride myself on being a good hostess.  Just a few weeks out from the Tiny American's  Birthday John started asking me what I was planning for his party, I was at a loss.  We have no family here, the backbone of 2 year olds party.  We have just started making "couple" friends and Zane and I have a group of friends that we participate in a playgroup with but those are still really new friendships and I wasn't sure about inviting them to a birthday party....I didn't want them to feel obligated to come and at the same time I was worried that none of them would come. I thought about just having his party during our regular playgroup time, but then John would miss it.  I was really struggling with what to do, so I was doing nothing.

Finally I decided to have a small gathering on the evening of his birthday and invite two other families, both of which have a child that Zane really enjoys playing with and of course Venus.  I have never waffled back and forth so much about what to serve for a meal at a birthday party.  We don't have a grill which would be the go to good for a fall birthday.  Hamburgers and hotdogs, you can't go wrong.  I also worried about if our Taiwanese guests would like the American food I fixed, I think I am just a worrier. At the end of the day I don't think anyone really but me cared what I served.  I settled on pulled pork sandwiches, pasta salad and fresh fruit. I planned to make homemade chicken nuggets for the kiddos, YUM!

For the theme I had no idea what to do.  He still loves Mickey but we did that last year. (Of course Tucker had the Batman theme for at least 4 birthdays!) I never imagined that finding party supplies would be an issue here, honestly I kind of thought all of that stuff was probably made here.  But it was a challenge and presented it's own set of problems. Toys R Us  had a small section of supplies but nothing really reached out and grabbed me.  IKEA had some things that I liked and so I went with their Woodland Animals theme.  I was not really excited about doing a cake that went with that theme, but my desire to have my theme come together was nagging at me. I could have had a cake made, I have had some of the boys cakes made in the past, but I really prefer making it myself.  SO  in the end I decided to veer from the theme and do a construction cake...please do not try and connect the dots and assume I am suggesting through my theme that we plow through the woods and knock down trees, in Taiwan I just have to go with what I've got to work with. The Tiny American could careless about the theme, I know this is my issue.

All my worrying was for not.  The day before his birthday he started having a runny nose and didn't sleep well, by the morning of his birthday he was in full blown cold mode..runny nose, runny eyes and total grump!  We decided that subjecting anyone to this version of the birthday boy would not be in ours or their best interest, we canceled the party.  His birthday was great anyway.  He woke up early and I had the apartment decorated with balloons and his presents from family back home.  Before John left for work we let him open his gifts.  When Daddy got home we had dinner and birthday cake.  He loved the candles and we had to lite them and blow them out twice!

 Next week we will go to Hong Kong Disney and celebrate some more.  He will get the chance to meet his favorites in person!  The Tiny American has had an amazing second year....I can't wait to see what adventures year 3 brings!!

Seychelles Mama


Life as an Expat is  challenging.  It pushes you to do things that in your normal life you might not do. When we first moved here, really even before we moved here, I had figured out how many days we would be here.  I was thinking about how I would get from one home visit to the next.  It wasn't long after we got here that I realized that this thinking would not work, that is no way to live.  This has to be home, at least while we are here.  That means making our apartment a home not just a place to be while we are here.  It means making friends, not just for the Tiny American but for me as well.  It means becoming involved in my community in some way.

I recently read a book for a book club I participate in that was about making friends and cultivating those friendships into long lasting relationships.  It talked about that over the course of months and then years putting in the time, making yourself available and vulnerable will result in a friendship that will stand the test of time.  When you are an Expat you don't have months and years to cultivate these relationships.  People come and go in your Expat community.  You often have to accelerate the available and vulnerable part because you feel like you are falling apart and need someone who has been in exactly the same place emotionally to help prop you up.

When your husband goes to work and you are left alone in an unfamiliar country where you don't speak the language or understand the rules you find yourself doing things that you would not normally do in your other life.  For example there is little to no chance that I would agree to meet up with a random person on Facebook that commented on a post I made on a community message board back in Texas.  I would definitely not agree to have that person pick the Tiny American and I up in her vehicle and drive off tho who knows where.  But HERE it's different.  I looked at her Facebook page, she looked harmless enough, she was American AND she knew where the grocery store was.  Fortunately it turned out that she was NOT a serial killer, she is just a mom like me and had been new to this whole thing just like me.  She is a wealth of information and has turned out to be a really good friend.

In my other life I would never walk up to a random person at the grocery store or a restaurant and invite them to hang out, that is so not me.  I wouldn't go as far as to say I am a social butterfly but recently I noticed an American mom, close to my age, but most importantly with a little boy that looked to be about the same age as the Tiny American.  She was minding her own business at Starbucks when I approached her and asked if she wanted to hang out.  In my other life that might come off as desperate or weird, but  here it is survival.  Tiny and I both need other people to talk to and interact with.  I am so glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and spoke to her.  Her little boy turned out to just be a few days older than the Tiny American and they play great together.

What I am learning from this experience is that we do all need friends. One of the things the author of this book pointed out was that some people will say they don't need friends, that they are ok without them because that is easier than being rejected by putting yourself out there.  This is so true for me.  I have always been pretty guarded with people not allowing myself to be vulnerable.  What I am learning from this experience is that when you are in an Expat situation that doesn't really work.  You DO need friends.  When you take away all that is familiar and remove even idle conversations that you have at Walmart or the bank or with the waitress at your favorite coffee shop, you feel isolated and lonely.  You have to reach out and sometimes you might get rejected, but chances are the person you reach out to is feeling some very similar feelings as you. You have to be vulnerable, but chances are it will pay off.