Saturday, December 25, 2010

Catching Up

Like I said in my previous post, my blog and I have not been getting along! This has been erased several times, so I'm praying it works!

It's been awhile, so I thought I would just catch you up on a little bit of life through pictures.

The latest addition to our Christmas traditions! I got this in the mail right before we moved to Indo and the kids have loved it! I hope it's something I can take with us to all our Christmases, since I have a feeling we won't be "home" (where ever that is!) for all of them. I usually tried to read a scripture every day to them. I hope to add more creative things as the years go on like a craft or special treat. I thought about getting a more "grown up" looking one, but I think the kids will enjoy this even when they are older.

I brought another touch of home, our stockings. Reece colored a wooden nativity scene on the left and the one on the right is from my Mom. Reece felt the need to "put them to bed" every evening, so the colored ones hide behind the stable and the wooden ones got put in the stable with the doors shut.

Daniel, Joe and the bat-removal tool. I really don't like to think much about that evening, so if you want the whole story, you can check out my husband's blog.

First day of school picture! Both the kids had a great time! Joe didn't even cry when we dropped him off, and Reece says she already has a best friend there named Normie. There are about 20 kids there with 3 teachers. It is about half Indoneisan kids and half westerners. They can't wait to go back, but they don't start for another 2 weeks!

Joe and his new big boy bed. He is loving it, but his Daddy and I are not loving trying to make him stay in it every night!

Another first day of school picture. And, yes, Joe had cowie the whole time at school! What will we do with that cow?!

This is our teeny-tiny Christmas tree! They actually have bigger, nicer ones here in Salatiga, but we chose to buy a tiny one because we have a nice one in our crate. It did spend most of it's life tipped over on the ground. We liked our little tree, but while we were out of town for a little 2 night trip, someone came in our house and put up a nice, big tree complete with lights and ornaments! So, now we have two treess! Thanks secret Christmas tree givers!

Reece is having a blast in our little blow up pool! Since it is rainy season, you really have to get going early if you want to play outside or if you want your clothes to dry for the day! But, we got in a good time of splashing this morning. Too bad it ended with Reece being overcome with itching! I really didn't see anything bite her (and I'm pretty sure she would have screamed about that!) but after a shower, dose of benadryl and a nap, she was okay.

The clouds are rolling in over our house fast!

More splashing.

Joe really enjoys wearing his helmet all the time. We didn't even have a scooter at this point, but he still insisted on wearing it all the time! He likes to wear all of our helmets now, and he is obsessed with riding the scooter! He insists on sitting in the front and throws a fit when it's Reece's turn in the front. I really need to get a picture of all of us on the scooter. It must look rather silly!

Reece enjoys wearing her helment, too. Just not quite as much as Joe! :-)
That's all for now! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas as you think about the birth of Jesus! He has changed the world!!
Much Love from Indonesia, Daniel, Becky, Reece and Joe!
Photo Credit: Our wonderful, awesome, kind, generous, talented photographer friend Jonathan Chang!!
He took so many wonderful pictures of our family right before we left. I wish I could share them all with you, but my blog and I are not getting along right now, so I will have to try to upload them again later.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Want to send us a package??

Lots of our friends and family have asked us about sending a package. I wanted to give the details of the "do's and dont's" and then also list some suggestions of what to send. I've talked to several friends here in Salitiga, and these are some of the things they have suggested.

Our Address:
Daniel Perez
JL. Arjuna # 45B Rt. 03/05
Jawa Tengah
Salatiga, 50701

-From what I understand, the best option is to send a package through USPS flat rate boxes.
Here are the prices I found on-line
Small Box-$13.45 and 4 pound limit
Regular Box-$43.45 and 20 pound limit
Large Box-$55.95 and 20 pound limit

-When packing the box, please take everything out of the packaging (include instructions if needed) You can place things in ziplock baggies (freezer quality is best). This is for two reasons. One, I can re-use the ziplock baggies! :) And, two, this will cause the value to go down on the item.

-If the total value of everything in the box is over $50, then we will have to pay taxes on it, but I don't think it really adds up to that much, unless it is something really expensive, like electronics.

-You will have to list everything in the box and list the price. Since the items are "used" (out of the packaging), you can put garage sale prices. I think the reason they do this is because they don't want you re-selling the items over here in Indonesia, but don't worry, we won't do that :) But, I'm not saying you should lie, either.

-I hear the flat rate boxes only take 10 business days to get here, which I thought was pretty amazing!

-Oh, and if you are going to send more than one box, please make sure they are going to arrive a few days apart. If we get two packages in one day, then we have to add up the total value of ALL the boxes and then pay taxes on that.

Here are some things you might think of sending. Since we have only been here a few days, these are mostly things that other people told me they like to receive, so I may change it up a bit later:

Crystal light (or equivalent off-brand … strawberry lemonade or raspberry lemonade are faves)
Instant oatmeal packets (lower sugar preferred)
Zip lock bags (particularly freezer brand)
Candy: a few faves are peanut/regular M&M's, skittles, Snickers, Nerds
Sidewalk chalk
Water balloons
Corn meal (for sprinkling around the house to kill ants and/or making corn bread … Jiffy corn bread mix would work too)
Jerky or summer sausage (especially hard to get pork here and beef is sometimes avail but expensive)
Velveeta or Parmesan cheese (or any kind of cheese that doesn't need to be refrigerated)
Hair detangler-kids brand
Flushable wipes
TV series on DVD
Paper plates
Fall-themed items to give a taste of home
Childrens' Books
Salsa mix
Clorox wipes
Children's acidophilus
Mouthwash (fluoride)
Mac & cheese (you can sometimes find here)
Wax paper (i hear you can sometimes get at an import store here)
Magic cookie bar stuff
Canned pumpkin
Salt & pepper shakers (just the little cheap ones that are sort of 'disposable' and already have salt & pepper in them)
Peanut butter (they also have that here, but it is expensive for a good brand and only comes in small jars)
books & movies
Mayo (they have it here, but it tastes kinda bad)
Microwave popcorn
Glow sticks
Canned tuna (solid white albacore in water preferred, any brand)
Scented candles
Crunchy taco shells
Campbell's cream soups for cooking
Kindergarten worksheets/work books for Reece
Garlic powder and/or garlic salt
Small toys for kids
dried fruit (crasins) and nuts (I'm not sure how available these are here, yet, but I thought I would add this one in anyway.)

I feel a little silly having a blog post about this! We certainly do not expect you to send us a package, it's just that so many people have asked, I thought this might be a better way of getting the information out there. There is actually quite a lot available here (more than I thought!) so don't feel like you need to send something. Only if you want :)

And, thanks in advance! Terima Kasih!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Check this out!

My husband has a blog!! He's a lot funnier than me, so you would be missing out if you didn't visit:
New post coming from me tonight, hopefully :-)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Come with us on our first outing in Jakarta

Our first outing in Jakarta began by climbing into one of these babies. I can't even remember the name of it (some Indo-buddy, help me out!) but they are pretty interesting. Loud, stinky, sticky, held together by cardboard (at least the roof is) but CHEAP! It seems to us that most people in this city do not walk. The sidewalks are small and crowded with vendors and shops, so most people have motorcycles, cars, ride in these things or take a taxi. I prefer the taxi's. The are pretty cheap and very nice. They even have air conditioning. There is also a blue version of this thing, and those are pretty nice, too. They are faster, not loud and stinky, but I'm not sure if they are as cheap as the orange ones.
This is Joe's reaction to our first ride around the city. He did NOT want to get into this thing! Now, he always says, "I wanna get in a car," but he will get in these things now with out crying, at least.

These are some sights you might see out the window. We only took a 5 min ride to a nearby mall/grocery store.

People walking VERY closely to the traffic. It may seem completely crazy at first, but we've had several people tell us the drivers here are better than western drivers. This is because there are less guidelines, so people have to pay attention all the time, with every move they make. Sometimes, people in America (or other places) think if they just stay between the white lines and go somewhere around the speed limit, they don't have to think about anything else (I know that's how I am most of the time!) Anyway, I thought that this made sense after thinking of it that way.

Parking anyone??
Apparently there was a law recently passed to require helmets while riding motorcycles. I was surprised to see that almost everyone does! I guess this is one law that is enforced. And, they just stick their helmet on their handlebars or line then up on a nearby fence. I wonder if they always get their own helmet back??
This is us going through an intersection while all these people wait at a red light. Notice Starbucks coffee and Burger King in the background!

Lots of tall buildings scattered everywhere.

The kids checking out the ice cream selection at a grocery store. We were at a big mall with lots of shopping, and this grocery store was on the basement floor. We were told that if you find a mall, which there are a lot of, there is always a grocery store on the bottom.

More grocery store.

Hanging out.

Of course, no Saturday would be complete with out ice cream from Granddad. Okay, so he wasn't really here, but we made sure the kids knew they were getting it because he wanted them to have it! (Since we've lived in Houston, we always went out to eat on Saturday night with my parents and my dad always got them ice cream afterwards!)

On our way home.
And that concludes our little tour. Our lack of language is definitely noticeable and we do get a lot of stares, but the people are really friendly here and they are always nice stares!
We've enjoyed seeing a little piece of Jakarta, but we are glad that we get to go to our home in Salatiga tomorrow!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Looking for the blessings-our trip in Indonesia!

A few days before we departed for Indonesia, our small group had a prayer time dedicated to our trip, our transition here in Indonesia and our ministry here. I think it might have been Jennifer who prayed that we would look for the blessings in the trip instead of focusing on the negatives. I was really challenged by this! I really expected there to be a lot of negatives, but I decided to focus on the blessings, and I was surprised that there were so many! I'll share with you a few...

It began Wednesday morning as we finished our packing. You can't really tell by this picture, but we checked TEN bags and had eight carry-ons, plus Joe's car seat. We were only planning on checking 9 plus Daniel's guitar, but right before our flight, we just couldn't fit all our last minute items into our bags. So, instead of unpacking and sorting through some things to leave behind, we decided to leave Daniel's guitar and just take another bag.

This is Daniel's family waving goodbye as we had just made it through security.

We had been praying a lot for the baggage check-in people to be gracious to us! God blessed us SO much by helping us get into the right line so that we could get the most gracious check-in person! We had several bags that were 1-2 pounds overweight, but he let them all slide through! I heard the ladies on either side of him charging other passengers the $160 it cost to have overweight bags. Also, he didn't make us weigh any of our carry-on bags, which I know some of them were very over the 15 lb weight limit. I also saw the other check-in people weighing other passengers’ carry-ons. But, the BEST blessing of all was when Daniel went to pay for the extra bags, they only charged us for one! This was really amazing because we were planning on having to pay $100 per extra bag, but it was actually $160 per extra bag.
Getting through security went pretty smoothly. They weren't using the full body scanners, and there didn't seem to be any drama about it. Picture above is us re-grouping after security.

Reece with her travel companion, Uni.

We got to the airport about 3 hours early for our 4:30pm flight, so we stopped for one last American meal. It was a really yummy meal of burgers and fries! Some man offered to take our picture :-)

Okay, so I've never been on a big airplane like this before, so thought I would take a picture for those of you who have never been on one either! I'm sure the other passengers thought I was crazy, though! This plane had 3 aisles of 3 seats. We were on the left. Reece and I sat together with one empty seat in our row and Daniel and Joe sat together right behind us with one empty seat in their row. So, that worked out really nicely for our first 11 hour flight to Moscow.

I'm really not sure what Joe did the whole time we were flying! I think he mostly slept and just sat with cowie. He did come up to sit with Reece and a I couple times, color, eat, play with the little toys I got him and I think he only fussed once before falling asleep. A couple times I walked with him up and down the aisles and we took visits to the bathroom for a change of scenery. He was such a good boy! We couldn't have asked for any better!

Reece and I had fun doing all kind things. We colored, played games, watched movies and ate a lot! She was so content to sit in her chair. I think she only got up to use the bathroom. It seemed like she only had to go on take-off and right when our meals came!

Reece loved all her new airplane surprises. We didn't even get to open most of them! They will keep us entertained for a lot longer here as we get settled.

Singapore airlines is amazing!! They were always bringing us something to make us feel better. And, this dessert right outside of Texas really made Daniel happy!! They were always bringing us hot towels, lots of meals and snacks, toys for the kids and they were always checking on the kids. If any of you come and visit, you have to take Singapore Air! They are wonderful!!

Reece making herself comfy! The kids went to sleep at about 8pm on Wednesday, and I think they would have kept sleeping except they turned on all the lights and started serving breakfast at 2am! Joe slept through most of it, so he got a good 7 hours, but Reece only got about 5. Daniel and I found it much more difficult to sleep since we couldn't stretch out. If Reece wasn't taking up most of our 3 seats during the night, then she was sleeping in the middle seat so I only had one seat to sleep in. But, the blessing was that the more tired we were, the easier it was to sleep in any position!

This is Joe coloring at the Singapore Airport, which is super fancy. But, I'll back up first to our first stop in Moscow. We had to get off the plane so they could clean it and take all our carry-on bags even though we were getting right back on the same plane. We only had about one hour in the airport, which was spent navigating our way through the smokey Russian airport. I guess it was really my first time to be a foreigner, and I really felt it! I felt like most people were giving me crazy looks, and maybe that was just because we had so many random carry on bags that we were lugging around, plus Joe’s car seat! But, after getting through the Russian security, we were able to get back on the airplane. I think the most difficult part of the trip was making our way through the different airports with two tired and distracted children, 6 carry-on bags and Joe’s car seat!

Our flight from Moscow to Singapore was about 10 hours, and it was much fuller, so we didn’t have our empty seat. But, that flight went well and we all slept more since we were so tired! I felt like we ate so many meals, including about 3 breakfasts!, but it was a good distraction. And, they made the kids meals special, so it was fun for the kids to eat.

We were so happy when we got to the Singapore airport because they had free luggage carts so we didn’t have to lug all our bags around! Another blessing! We were able to enjoy their beautiful gardens, have a Starbucks coffee, and all use the restroom before our short 1.5 hour flight to Jakarta. I did notice in the bathroom one stall that had a sign on it that said “squatting pan.” But, they also had a stall that had a child’s seat toilet, so it was just a very accommodating bathroom! :-)

On our first two flights, we sat in front of a mom with her one-year-old daughter and three-year-old, energetic son going to Cambodia! That poor mom! Her baby had a hard time sleeping, and I don’t think mom got any sleep! I was so thankful that I didn’t have to do that by myself!

Both the kids slept from take-off to landing on our last flight.

Reece had big plans to color and watch a movie, but she couldn’t keep her eyes open!

We got into Jakarta in the morning (Indonesian time) but it was just about our kids bed-time Houston time! We expected the airport to be crazy there in Jakarta, but it was fairly empty. Our line through immigration was very short (about 10 minutes) and ALL our bags were waiting for us at baggage claim. Some men loaded them all up on carts for us and we were on our way to find our ride. Once we found him, he said that he had never heard of anyone getting through the Jakarta airport that fast! What a blessing!

We got through the Jakarta traffic and arrived at our room in the guest house. There is a bed in the middle of the room for Daniel and I and another set of bunk beds to the left where Reece is sleeping. There is and air conditioner, which is nice, and a big common living/dining room area.

This was Reece and I right before our first outing into Jakarta! I will post more on that later. We have had a relaxing weekend trying to get over jet-lag (harder than we thought!) and we’re looking forward to getting to our house sometime later this week.

Now, hopefully I can get this posted if the internet will let me!

A Glimpse into the lives of a family on a journey to serve God through aviation in Indonesia!