Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Television in China

We have lots of TV channels here in China. Typically, I can find this smattering of options on the tube:

1. Chinese Gong Show
2. Chinese Soap Opera
3. Chinese MTV
4. Chinese VH1
5. Chinese Soap Opera 2
6. Chinese movie channel
7. Chinese Spanish channel
8. Chinese news and weather
9. ESPN, Europe
10. CNN
11. National Geographic
12. Australian Soap Opera
13. Star Channel (plays popular American shows, ie, American Idol, The Office, etc)

Today, I read some startling news online at


China has chosen not to renew their contract with ESPN. Granted, ESPN here consists of 98% football (that's soccer) and 2% everything else including rugby and cricket. Yeah, so basketball gets roughly the .012%...total. The game of soccer has grown on me a little bit mostly because it's the only sport option available unless the ping pong tournaments are on. And badminton is altogether too intense. So, I actually started to enjoy watching the "English Premier League" soccer matches.

The fun was shortlived. It's back to the Gong Show, China style for me!

Here are some random pictures...

1. Our favorite Hope football player of all time, #66 dominated his opponent on the ensuing play. Shout out to Lance Rodgers!

2. Ryan kicking it at Cedar Point with friends last year. Everyone here thinks I'm 15 years old.

3. A favorite picture of a younger Anna.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Shyeah Shyeah

Means thank you in Chinese. As in thanks for the encouragement and prayers for Aimee. She has had a much better week this week!

The boat shipment arrives tomorrow, not a minute too soon. Aimee ran out of deodorant last week. Mine is still going though I alternate armpits each day. We scraped the inside of the cap clean on Saturday morning. We are excited to get the remainder of our stuff.

We visited a ginormous mall for the second time on Saturday. It's called the Super Brand Mall and appropriately so. It has lots of everything from food, kid's stuff (arcade/carousels/games/etc) to hundreds of stores. They also have a large Toys 'R' Us that helped us complete Elijah's Bday shopping. He turns 2 on Groundhog Day (that's February 2).

All but Aimee got haircuts this week. We each paid 20 RMB (roughly $3.00) and got better than what we paid for. Elijah's looks great. Anna just got a slight trim. I knew I was in trouble when I had to impersonate my own clippers and "buzz" the side of my head. It turned out OK but not as good as home. I may try somewhere else next time. Or perhaps I'll just go with the old "Michael Bolton" look for our return to the USA.

The pictures are:

1. Our Saturday visit to a small "wildlife exhibit" included seeing lots of insects, some snakes, turtles, fish and some stuffed wild animals like tigers. It was more insect museum than anything else. It was fun but not worth going back for.

However, there is a wild animal park in Shanghai where you drive around amongst tigers and other safari-type animals. The website says they throw chickens out for the tigers during the tours. Elijah and Anna would LOVE that.....until they had to go to sleep.

2. The insect museum had an indoor pond with fish and stepping stones that you could leap upon. It was a little different considering the water was 12 or so inches deep. Anna did a little leaping with Dad's close supervision. We saw one chinese girl fall in. And the blowdryer they had stationed in the corner for such an occasion decided not to work. It also had a rickety bridge for traversing which is where this pic is taken.

3. It's the year of the Pig in China so pigs are EVERYWHERE! I'm hoping it means a good year for eating lots of bacon.

4. View from 8th floor of the mall looking down on the 5th floor. There was also an indoor ice rink on this floor. Anna and I ventured up to the top via the elevators while Mom and Elijah shopped around.

5. Ryan and Elijah on the stepping stones.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Right on Schedule

The other day, another Shanghai expat gave me a book for living in Shanghai with kids—written specifically for expatriate families. I am quite relieved that I am normal! (At least in my response to China.) We are at the end of our second month here, soon to start the third. Typical feelings during that time are “disenchantment, restlessness, impatience, irritability, search for security in familiar activities, withdrawal, discouragement, homesickness”-- this kind of sums it up!

The past couple of weeks have been difficult for me. Last week I had my first break down where I just couldn’t stop crying. I missed all of you and life in the United States so much. On the worst day, I kept thinking of all that we had given up—possibly even the future of Ryan’s job at JCI and our life in Holland by coming here. I found a quote that I love that God has been using to heal my heart.
“When the world threatens to crush our hope, we must cling to the knowledge of God’s goodness. Even when our feelings tell us otherwise--knowing God’s goodness will gradually restore our sight. Then we will see our situation clearly, as daughters of a heavenly father who desires our good more than we possibly can imagine.” (from a devotional on the Israelites as they complain about the desert and how life was better in Egypt) God has used this to remind me that he has given me his peace throughout this season and his plan is perfect and what I want—his plan is what is best for every member of our family, although it may look different at times than what I want it to look like. I have to keep reminding myself that God is faithful and good, and it is okay that I have opened up my hands and life to Him--He will take care of me.

Although I am very thankful for the help that comes with the Ayi, it is difficult to have her here. I had visions of someone just coming to clean the things that I asked to be cleaned… the bathrooms and floors being the ones that I wanted most. From my experience with this Ayi, she comes into the house and takes over—everything. Like when I was at the sink, rinsing dishes from lunch and putting them in the dishwasher, she came and took over, when Elijah is crying or throwing a fit, she comes and takes him from me. After the second day of her being here, I had an identity crisis… who am I and what am I supposed to do in China? Things are a little better this week. I have set some boundaries of household responsibilities that I want to keep and on being the parent which has helped, along with the realization that even with her cleaning 2 days a week, there are still 5 other days where milk is spilled, meals are made, toys are played with—so there is still work for the kids and I to do together. I am contemplating having her come only once a week—I think that would be enough time for the kids to still get to know her and a more reasonable amount of time for the work that I want done. (With needing to fill 16 hours a week, last week Ayi went through all of our drawers, taking all of the clothes out and refolding them, and today refolded all of the clothes from our walk-in closet!) The kids are doing better with her, although the language barrier is difficult for them too. She is always trying to help, but many times when the kids don’t want/need help and they get frustrated with her, because no matter what they say, she just smiles and continues to do what she is doing (like helping Elijah color by taking his hand and coloring with him or taking Anna’s hand and writing her letters for her.) Anna has made the most progress. Today, before nap, she said that she liked her but Ayi is always talking and Anna doesn’t understand what she is saying to her—that will come too.

There has been good in the past couple of weeks too…we met a Christian family that lives in our compound and goes to our church. They have only been here since the beginning of January and are very nice. The wife, Florence and I are talking about doing a Bible study together once a week, and are actually going grocery shopping together tomorrow. She has friends here from England that have taken her around to show her where to shop, where to get the best meat etc and she is going to help me out! Yeah! Please be praying for like-minded friends for me. I have found that I am very different than the normal expat in Shanghai. Most love the spoiled lifestyle that is readily available here. I don’t want someone to take over all of my responsibilities including house and children. I love spending time with my kids, and feel that I am making the right decision to be with them, but seem to be the only one here who does. I know there has to be others, but I have not met them. The days where the kids and I are home or Ryan is home are great… the days that Ayi is here or we have to go out of the compound are difficult. I’m sorry to write such a downer blog! I know there are many people praying for us though, so wanted to share my heart with you so you can know how to pray. Thank you! Much love to you all.

The pictures are of the kids playing at the indoor play zone that is right in the Belle Wood compound. It is a great place that the kids love once we get there. Right now, the problem is getting there. It is about a 10 min walk, which Anna hates so everytime we go down there, it is a battle. I am hoping that with the arrival of the bike and double stroller, she will look forward to playing there so we can go more often. It is a nice change of scene, and if we go in the evening or a weekend, a good place to meet people.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Trouble on the homefront

Our "boat" shipment is estimated to be delivered this week. Unfortunately, it may be too late.

You see, the Bowman's are running out of deodorant. Deodorant is a seasonal product in China and difficult to find in the middle of winter unless one wants to pay a price that would warrant financing. I grossly underestimated how much I would need before the motherload arrived on the ship. I mean, who really gauges the material usage on deodorant? With as infrequently as I use the stuff anyways, I thought my tube would last at least a year or 2.

Aimee came more prepared and kindly offered her partially-used spare. I chose her Adidas "Cool Gel for Women, Icy Burst" over the Secret Platinum "Velvet Powder" and have been using it diligently for the last 3 or 4 weeks. (Yes, I said GROSSLY underestimated).

A couple of days ago, Aimee mentioned that her roll-on was "bottoming out". There was utter fear in her eyes. Up stinky creek with no paddle came to mind. When I inspected my "cool gel for women", I realized that my days, too, were numbered. Aimee passed out at that point.

A quick whiff of one of Elijah's "BOMBS AWAY!!" diapers and Aimee came to.

At last estimation, the boat delivery should be made "by the end of this week". And for all of mainland China, I hope the forecast proves too skeptical.

On a more positive note, we found our favorite new restaurant in Shanghai, for western food. The "Moon River Diner" serves up breakfast all day, gigantic burgers and all sorts of sandwiches. Popcorn came as an appetizer and the kids got balloons too. Here are some pictures capturing the big event!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

How refreshing to see Simon Cowell

Yes. We get American Idol in Shanghai. There is actually a channel dedicated to playing popular American sitcoms. We get it a day later than the US but the horrendous still sound horrid any day of the week.

It was good to see that my brother, aka "Red", got to be the last audition from Seattle. He represented my own karoke skills pretty well with his rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.

Other than a little American Idol here in Shanghai, things are continuing to settle down. The boat shipment finally arrives soon. Appararently, it starts the customs clearance process Friday. No one really knows how long it could be there.

The boat shipment includes lots more kitchen stuff, outdoor kids' toys (bikes), and the rocking chair. Oh, how I miss the rocking chair. We've created a small spot on the floor in Elijah's to read him books before bed. It's cozy but can't hold a candle to the rocker. And it's an old LCC "Heartland" rocker that we inherited because the Heartland setup guys were tired of moving it on and off the trailer. So, one of the Bowman sentimental favorites will arrive shortly!

Uh, one of the kids is starting to groan in bed. See ya.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ayi is "awww-IGHT"!! (Reggie Dabbs, PK speaker)

Nee how. Y'all wanna see a cool website that puts Bible geography "on the map"? BibleMap.org It launches the point of interest on Google Earth and provides interesting details. Nice. I plucked this link off of Noel's sight from my list of favorites over there on the right hand side.

In China news, the "ayi" or househelper started work today. She was outstanding and Aimee was super impressed and thrilled that things worked out so well. Aimee may post more details later. Send her an email if you definitely want the details on how to hire her for your home. She said she will travel for a small travel fee.

And speaking of small travel fees, we have our first visitors from the states confirmed. Dan and Kathy Bowman, aka, Ryan's parents will be arriving March 24 and departing April 7. They found the best deal on Kayak.com for $750.00 per ticket, round trip. And remember, they'll be well on their way to 2 free tickets to anywhere in the continental US based upon all the miles they'll rack up. It's about 9,000 miles, one way and many airlines, including NWA, require just 25,000 miles for a free ticket. Couple that with Boris from citibank and you could be "racking up the flier points. Very Rewarding!"

So, let's add up what you get for a mere $750.00:
1. 2 weeks of unlimited Hide-and-Seek with Anna and Elijah.
2. Watch the ayi work the magic on Mondays/Wednesdays. (see Aimee's house cleaner than you ever will again--written by Aimee)
3. 72% of a free plane ticket to anywhere in the continental US.
4. Private room in the prestigious Belle Wood estates.
5. All-you-can-eat buffet all day every day
6. Visit our church and listen to an Irish man lead worship and an Israeli preach, pending schedule
7. Watch Anna swim underwater with her eyes OPEN, enabled by her new pink goggles
8. Round trip travel to China
9. Sleep in while Ryan has to go to work
10. See Ryan "suck wind" as our driver, Mr. Liu, narrowly misses pedestrians
11. Enjoy "guest blogger" status on the Bowman Blog
12. Try out the "rumble strips" for yourself

A few pictures from life at home:

-This is what happens when you've got no yard work/snow shoveling to do. The kids are taking after Dad.
-Anna is ready to be mini-Mommy to little bro/sis.
-Notice it's got sleeves and therefore, it doesn't qualify as a "wife-beater"
-Snuggling on the lounger. Aimee's hidden under there somewhere.
Sigh jyen.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Cheers.....to Kareoke next time.

Well, it turns out that dinner and "playing cards or KTV singsong" turned into only dinner once reality struck. The dinner was extravagant with a view from one of the finest Shanghai dining establishments yet, there was still a hole in my heart when I hopped in the taxi cab.

Yes, I was somewhat disappointed that I didn't get to see any real, live kareoke. I'm positive there will be other opportunities, especially if I pursue it. So, all you hardcore fans out there, the dream is still alive.

The evening was fun and a learning experience. The most unique aspect of the evening were "toasts" going on throughout the evening. I quickly realized that it's appropriate to "toast" to your colleagues and your customer. So, there was sporadic toasting in the first 90 minutes. A GM engineer first raised his glass to me early with "Here's to you looking more like an American this year!" JK. But in the second 90 minutes, the toasting approached a frenzied pace. There was everything from one-to-one toasts t0 one-to-20 toasts. It was different at first but I quickly got the hang of it.

Oddly enough, it felt a little bit like a high school dance. I felt those nerves that keep you in your seat until your best friend kicks you in the pants. It was funny to see the outgoing managers/sales guys giving my colleagues "the kick in the pants" to go toast their customer counterpart(s).

The first picture is of 2 of my colleagues finishing one of their several toasts. The customer folks retuned the favor throughout the night with stuff like, "Here's to you being less of a slacker this year" and "Why must purchasing always source the low-cost supplier?" Joking aside, the evening created some neat comraderie. When I toasted Liu Yi, I told him it's been a pleasure working with such a hard worker and good friend. He responded in broken english, "It's really my pleasure to work with you, you are a very good friend, and I feel...well, I can't describe my feelings right now." I just smiled and thanked the Lord that he didn't try to kiss me!

Hey, and the rest of the pics are from our trip to the Shanghai aquarium today. It was very cool and we plan to use our family membership regularly.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


the fans wanted it (at least 2 of you anyways) and so we're bringing it to you almost live.

we were warned before getting to china to always "go" before you head out for an extended period of time. yeah, and it's real easy to tell anna to just hold it for 4 1/2 more hours or ask elijah to explain why Mr. Darcy is so stinkin' irritable.
and they told us, always carry your own tp because most washrooms don't supply it. i know that the millions of chinese people that use the public restrooms everyday all carry their own roll in their back pocket (ignorance is bliss, isn't it?).

well, anna has already had a bad experience at one of the restrooms, bless her heart. she and aimee thought she had nailed it only to realize that she wet on her pants. that was a tough day.

detailed analysis:

before we begin, know that I've never actually seen a professional use one of these contraptions so my thoughts are purely conjecture. they don't mount "how to" instructions or an ODS on the door.

the only seat is the imaginary one you pretend is there. squatting is king in china. fortunately, there are several luxuries that pamper the user, easily making the experience an effective one. first, "rumble strips" are provided on both sides to reduce the risk of losing your footing. staticians here say that 4 out of 10 users slipped during the ordeal before rumble strips were added. and ironically, trouser sales were higher during that period as well. second, there's what i'll call a "front stop" on one end that can catch any "wild pitches". third, public intoxication really is not a problem in china because drinking and effective toilet use are mutually exclusive. fourth, there's no seat to wipe down. you don't have to touch anything except your tp. and finally, and most importantly, it makes you appreciate the luxuries we have in the usa.

we certainly have it good at home. life here reminds me that we've got it good in every way....from personal vehicles to even the bathroom facilities. there's a life lesson buried in this that won't be overlooked by the bowmans.

appreciate your seats this weekend or better yet, recreate your own China experience in the back yard. bring the kids. freak out the neighbors.

tune back in for a karoeke update!

Doubled up. 2 posts on Thursday.

Aimee took photos of our home. It feels like home for me and Elijah. Anna and Aimee are slowly getting there I think. This evening, Anna told a dinner guest that she lived in Holland on Jacob Avenue. Ah, the sweet days of Jacob Avenue.

We had Huong Xiaona over for dinner tonight. She is the translator/human resource person that has helped us out a ton over the last 6 weeks. And she's super sweet and nice so we like hanging out with her.

Anna got a big kick out of her Chinese skills. Xiaona got a big kick out of Anna using her name frequently in conversation just like it was Abbi, Alex, or Jacob. We were all impressed.

Aimee and I were impressed when Xiaona explained that one of here favorite novels was Pride and Prejudice! She had to read it for a college class (her major was English). So, we actually spoke about Mr. Darcy with a Chinese friend tonight. Go figure. Most Americans don't understand the love triangle that is Mr. Darcy/Lizzie/Mr. Collins (LOL) but Xiaona does!

Anna also tried to demonstrate her chops stick skills for Xiaona but eventually gave up when, after 15 minutes, she realized she hadn't eaten anything.

We had a good time introducing her to tacos/tortilla chips/salsa and choc chip cookies. It was a lot of fun.

Enjoy checking out the Bowman crib! And remember, it's even better in person.


The cafeteria bowls are revealed.

I worked late last night and had dinner in the cafeteria. A coworker and friend, Liu Yi, also was working late. I had my camera with me (hint,hint) so I decided I would take some pictures of the cafeteria food for all of you.

For a brief moment, I thought the head chef (at least I think he's the head dude because his hat is the biggest) was going to confiscate my camera. As soon as I had it out and was snapping photos, he rushed over behind me to check out what I was doing. It was a little strange but worth it to bring the very best footage to you! They probably see me as the paparrazi or a red-haired american spy.

So, I just took a couple of photos. But only one is good enough to post. The tray in front is mine and the other of Liu Yi's meal. My meal had the big bowl of rice (standard issue), a meatball, cooked cauliflower, a green vegetable and some soup. Liu Yi's meal had some of the same but he doubled up on one of the strange dishes they serve. I tried it once but didn't like it. Liu Yi doesn't have an english name for it. You can barely see in the pictures that it's small, disc shaped "plates" with holes in it. Maybe it's a vegetable or perhaps sliced eel. Anyways, if you see it at Meijer on sale this week, I'd steer clear.

The other photograph is a shot of the cafeteria. Not sure if it's what you had in mind. If you were thinking grass hut with a dirt floor, perhaps I lead you astray somewhere. I've also got 1.5 pictures of Liu Yi. I also did a brief interview with him on video but the download would take an eon.

Many at work have slowly caught on to my sense of humor. I gage their understanding by the look on their faces. Liu Yi is one that I can joke with. I learned that some, however, just don't get it. I'm the guy giving you Americans a bad name!! Although, some have noted that "you are a skinny American! I thought you all were fat!" I decked one girl on behalf of all the American fat people. Your welcome and please pass the french fries.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

An update by the Mrs.

Ryan told me at dinner tonight that I needed to post a blog. Now that I have read the last post, I understand why. He wants some sanity represented on this site. I will make sure that all pictures posted are appropriate (that is if I am awake when he posts them).

Being the serious representative of our family, I'll give you my kind of updates...
We went to church on Sunday for the first time as a family and it was great. At first I almost cried because it was just one more place where I didn't know anybody or how anything worked (meaning the kids programs, sign in, etc). Things got better soon after the kids were dismissed to children's church. Another mom bringing her daughter noticed that we looked new so showed us where to go and made us feel at home. She has a four year old who held Anna's hand as I left the room, and is home Tuesdays and Thursdays--the first 4 year old we have found not in school all day, every day! We talked about playing sometime soon. After church was dismissed, we found many people to talk to who encouraged us. It was so nice to meet like-minded people who have been where we are at now, know how difficult it can be, but share how good it will become. God is good!

Anna had her first swimming lesson on Monday and LOVED it! She did a great job holding her breath and going under the water. Towards the end, she even was being propelled across a short distance of the pool by her teacher. While she swam, Elijah and I met the other moms of kids taking swimming lessons. Each of the families was from Great Britain. I had fun listening to their accents, though sometimes had no idea what they were saying to me... Smile and nod. They all seemed very nice. On the freezing walk home, we met our next door neighbor who is expecting her second child any day now. She is from Sweden and has been here for 1 1/2 years. She has a 2 1/2 year old boy so hopefully we have another play mate right next door!

Elijah is a little talker. Everyday he surprises me with some new word or phrase. He is such a happy guy. I think he gets cuter everyday! He is Anna's and my big helper. Anna does not like to be upstairs by herself so anytime she is going to go upstairs, she asks Elijah if he will go up with her. I am amazed, but he always says yes and follows her up the stairs and then back down again. He is a sweetheart! He likes to help me sweep, wash dishes, well, you saw the video! He is a cleaning machine! He is still a daddy's boy--it is very fun to see him pummel and wrestle Ryan to the ground every evening after dinner. Tonight, Ryan said "do you want to see the definition of a magnet" then went and layed on the ground, and not 10 seconds later, Elijah came and jumped, throwing his body on top of Ryan's and the wrestling began, (Anna is never far behind, poor Ryan)

This week Anna and I started doing "school" again. She loves doing art projects and working on her letters. It is very fun to see her love of learning. We both look forward to the games, manipulatives, books and other supplies that come on the boat soon.

I hired an Ayi today. She starts next Monday. I will let you know how that goes. I think that I can find common Chinese phrases on the internet so I can have a list of things that I want her to do. My next doctor apt. is next week Wednesday so if things go well on Monday, I may leave the kids with her. Right now, I am a little doubtful that they will stay though. They still are pretty shy around people that they don't know--especially when they do not speak English. I think it will probably take some time for them to get used to Cui Daorong (and me to learn how to say her name!). It is a blessing that we can afford the help. Because I only want her part time, we have to pay a little more than normal, but are still only paying 14 RMB (about $2) an hour. Crazy! That's it for now. Thanks again for all of your prayers. I see God's hand in our lives everyday.

Ryan wanted me to post, "3 days and counting."

Monday, January 08, 2007

The countdown has begun.....

And, no, the countdown is not to the infamous Karoeke night on Friday night. We countdown only to those things in life that we look forward to with unbridled excitement and anticipation. Kareoke night hardly qualifies and, really, should just be banned.

The most anticipated blog post of all time will come later this week. Can you guess it? Are you blind? Have you been keeping up with the Bowman Blog?

Yeah, and you officially won't be sleeping until the post/pictures/maybe some video (ewww!) arrives.

THE TOILET BLOG!!!! And this is a shout out (Vanilla Ice uses the term "shout out" I think) to Linda A. for coining this now famous blogline. I would venture a not so risky guess that this may indeed be the first Blog post EVER dedicated to analyzing/documenting/detailing a Chinese toilet. It certainly ain't like the kemodes we enjoy in the great US of A.

Disclaimer: Material in the "toilet blog" may not be suitable for everyone. It may be the train wreck that you just won't be able to look away from. You might be late to work, forget to pick the kids up, or even forget to shower for days on end. And so, this blog post isn't for your mother. She certainly would not approve.

Until then, happy trails in your neck of the woods.

4 days-ish and counting.....

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Pictures are back!

Egad! I think the pictures might actually load! The connectivity speed has moved from zero to 4 on a scale of 100 so we are making progress!

We are all moved into the house. Our driver was a huge help in the move, driving the van back and forth and helping us to unload. He was a workhorse.

I took him out to lunch as a sign of our appreciation. It was interesting to have lunch with a guy that doesn’t speak your language. We both had our translation dictionaries and talked about our hopes and dreams, rice crispy treats and Kim Jong Il.

Well, actually, maybe we just pointed at the food and pronounced the Chinese and English words for it. There were no verbs, adjectives, prepositions, or adverbs spoken. Just imagine Jane and Tarzan meeting at a Chinese restaurant rather than in the jungle. This was certainly a meal where the talking was more awkward than the silences. : )

Today, Saturday, we interviewed 3 potential “ayis” (pronounced I-E s) or home helpers. They typically help around the house with kids and cleaning. We would like someone to work a couple days per week to help Aimee around the house, especially as the baby delivery approaches and thereafter. We also explained to the ayis that we’ll need someone full time in June during the 3-4 days that Aimee is at the hospital. We hope introducing them to the family now will provide ample time for a comfort level to develop between her and the kids.

The ayis speak very little English and so we had an office worker from our neighborhood serve as a translator. Aimee has been practicing her charade skills. The Bowman charade games are really going to pay some dividends! We hope the ayi is a good charade “guesser”. Perhaps we should have run a mock charade game during the interview. Hmmm.

They all seemed like good candidates but 2 of the 3 stood out a little more and fortunately, those 2 currently work part time elsewhere in our neighborhood so we hope to talk to their other employers.

I think we’ll make a decision quickly and begin that adventure within the next week or so. You could pray for that transition because it will most definitely be a new and challenging experience, at least, initially.

Tomorrow, we are going to go to church as a family for the first time in 6 weeks. We are excited though our new home is much further away than the temporary housing was.

And thanks to Phil B and Paul T for the rousing kareoke votes. Aimee and I both were laughing out loud! Thanks for the input! I am taking it into careful consideration!

Sigh Jyen!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Houston, we have a problem.

Today, I read this statement in an email from the technical manager at work regarding an "end of year party with the customer":

"After dinner, there may be a extra activity like playing card or KTV singsong depend on the situation then. Please arrange you personal schedule well for it. Any problem, let me know."

(Yeah, KTV singsong is some sick nickname for Kareoke.)

After checking my pants for extra-curricular activity, I wiped the sweat from my brow and began to realize there was no way out. I have to "arrange my personal schedule well for this." That means that the only reasonable excuse is a previous Kareoke commitment or death. And, please....play cards versus Kareoke? You might as well be choosing between Cedar Point and the state pen.

So, it looks like this thing may happen. It's scheduled for January 12. As of now, the only official blog vote tallied is "the lion sleeps tonight". An unofficial vote came in for "Ice Ice Baby" via email.

My story is that I'm an "alto" and therefore, "lion sleeps tonight" is not well suited to my vocal talent (note "talent" is not plural). The commitee removed it from consideration from the multiple choice question for this very reason. Ice Ice Baby is preferred especially considering my wealth of experience with rapping.

This is a shout-out to all my boyz, if you want Bowman to stop yappin' like a rapper, y'allz betta vote fo' sumpin else.


Monday, January 01, 2007

The Richter scale understands my internet woes

After several days of issues with our internet connectivity, I think I may have found the problem.


I had heard about this earthquake from the I.T. guy at work but never figured it would have such profound effects.

So, it will be more difficult/impossible for me to upload pictures. I'm 0-for-5 trying to get christmas pics to upload.

We are in the house. Our new phone number is 8621 5083-5402.

We had successful Skype video conferences even after the earthquake at the apartment. Here, at the house, we had issues (slurred speech, "strobe light" like movements, echos) this AM using skype but I think that's a function of our new ISP. I've asked them to upgrade us to the faster connection speed.

Also, we are still able to send/receive email.

Regarding karoke, the planned date was for Jan 5, 2006, but I have not heard anything more about it and, quite frankly, I'm afraid to ask. 2 colleagues, er, backup singers are headed to Europe unexpectedly on business on Friday AM so I wonder if that will change the plan. If karoke talk rears it's ugly head again, I'll be sure to inform you all.

Today, Tuesday, we don't have any firm plans. We'd like to go for a walk to check out the 'hood (think Compton, only with expat thugs) and clubhouse but the rain has not let up. Tomorrow, we head to IKEA to try and fill out some of the furniture holes in the house. We also hope to pick up one of those gigantic Dragon costumes for the family on 90% "post-new-year" clearance.

Happy New Year!