Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Trying on a Christmas tree hat

Christmas Tree Collage
Christmas tree at the mall

The month of December has been a very busy one for us! We covered a lot of ground in our language studies and finished up with a big test at the end of our semester. I think I can speak for both of us to say we were mentally exhausted! It also started cooling down in our country and without having central heating in our apartment, that's been a big adjustment as well. So far the lowest it's gotten down to has been 45 degrees I think. We do have a few space heaters so that helps knock the chill off the room. Everyone's told us how expensive electricity is so we haven't wanted to run them a lot. We did get a gas heater a few weeks so that has helped out a lot! We have had to resort to sleeping in multiple layers of clothing though and have woken up seeing our breath on one occasion, fun times!

Watching cartoons on the plane

For Christmas we have gone to the Gulf for a few weeks to hang out with some new friends that are from the States. It's interesting to see how different is is here. I think I wrote about that in a previous post. You better believe we hit up Krispy Kreme as soon as we got here for a dozen donuts, oh yeah!

Hello taste of home!

Christmas Eve was spent with friends singing carols and eating cupcakes in celebration of Jesus' birthday. Earlier in the day all the kids got together and made the cupcakes and decorated them. Judah was very confused when he put icing and sprinkles on his cupcakes but then couldn't eat them!

Hey! What's under the tree!?

Christmas Day we woke up and I told Judah Merry Christmas. He then looked at me and said, "Merry Christmas! Jesus' birthday! Santa Claus brought presents!" It was really cute. He opened his stocking first and then his presents from under the tree. He did great this year and was really into opening the gifts by himself. He even kept the paper all together and was really organized! Where does that come from? His favorite toys by far have been his Buzz Lightyear doll and his VTech Laptop (from Mamaw) that he calls his "pooter." Haha!

I think it goes without saying that it's hard being away from family for Christmas but thankfully we were able to talk to people back home on Skype! (We love you and miss you!)

Stocking time!

Gift exchange with friends

We have really been enjoying being in the Gulf so far, especially the warm weather in the 70s! We've also really enjoyed taking long, hot showers, washing clothes then getting to use a dryer and eating lots of yummy Asian food! It's also been great being surrounded by friends with young kids so Judah has had lots of playmates around his age. Oh and not to mention the brief reprieve from language study too of course!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Where did November go?

Judah was excited about our packages!

Another month has gone by at the speed of light and now it's December! A lot happened during November. We finally went to the post office and got a PO Box and not long after we were blessed with our first packages! This picture doesn't do them justice. Most people lay the goodies out all nice and neat in organized rows but this was the best I did until we started ripping into things. Some of the goodies we received were PayDays (my fave!), Quaker Instant Grits (wahoo!), Lance cheese crackers, cute clothes, warm pajamas and bath toys for Judah, some pretty embroidered bags for me to put things in, a few maternity shirts and some Lifesavers Gummies. We were spoiled! Thanks so much to Susan and Eleyse G. and Kelly and Franklin A. for blessing us. You guys are awesome!

Studying Arabic

We're here studying language full time and this month it cranked up a notch. They don't say Arabic is one of the two hardest languages in the world (the other is Chinese) for nothing! We started learning verbs and all their tenses and how to conjugate them all. Ahhhh! My head hurts just thinking about it. 

Judah sharing his ice cream with Mamaw

The biggest even of the month was our visit from my mom and Thomas's dad. My mom had already booked her trip for the week of Thanksgiving and Thomas's dad happened to be in a nearby country for a conference and decided to come for a visit on his way back to Uganda. What a blessing! Two grandparents at one time! I don't think they minded sharing their Judah time too much. We still had language class every day so we only had the evenings and the weekend to go out and explore, but we made the most of it. It was fun showing them around our city and what our day to day lives are like here. 

Riding on Babu's shoulders

Enjoying some Arabic food

My mom really outdid herself and brought two entire suitcases full of stuff for us! Judah really racked up with lots of new toys and clothes wahoooo! (We were able to save a few of them to be used as Christmas gifts thank goodness.) She brought Thomas and I some warm clothes, me some maternity clothes and some other food items we'd been craving. Who are we kidding, food for the preggo – more grits, chocolate chips, Reese's peanut butter chips, a couple SunDrops and some Raisinettes!

Judah and Babu playing with his new toys

Thomas's dad had to return to Uganda on Thanksgiving so he wasn't able to spend the day with us, boo! We celebrated Thanksgiving with about 20 people at a friends' apartment and had all the traditional American foods, even a turkey! It was a great time of fellowship and we all pigged out and enjoyed ourselves. It was really nice to have all those tastes from home! Not to mention how special it was to have my mom there with us. The pic below was our contribution.

Broccoli casserole, green bean casserole, corn, stuffing, cranberry sauce

That weekend we took my mom to a lot of the Biblical sites close to our city and we even spent the night at a hotel at the Dead Sea. (Thanks mom!) The resort was beautiful and we had a wonderful time relaxing, swimming in the heated winter pool and rubbing mud all over ourselves down at the Sea. It was nice to get out of the city for a bit and enjoy the scenery. 

Our resort at the Dead Sea

Judah having fun in the sand

Mom floating in the water

The river where Jesus was baptized

This month we'll be traveling to the Gulf to visit some friends for Christmas. We're looking forward to a short break from language and also to warmer weather and a change of scenery. I can't believe it's almost 2013! We've had such a blessed and exciting year!

Merry Christmas from us and our little elf!