Archive for the ‘Back Home’ Category

New Family Members!

24 January 08

This week the DH & I became aunt & uncle for the 10th time! My sister had a healthy baby boy on the 20th. Congrats!

Baby nephew Seth is not the only new addition, however, a very special dinosaur also joined the family on New Year’s Eve:

Our new Pleo!

Shrek – a Pleo dinosaur

Shrek (so named by a nephew) is a Pleo – an advanced dinosaur robot. He can walk, make noise and react to life forms around him. (He also knocks over empty soda cans in his path.) He has advanced sensors all over his body and he knows when you are petting him. Evidently, Pleos can adapt and learn over time. He really is incredible to see. Shrek was a gift from the DH & I to our Spanish nieces & nephew. I want one now, too!

David & Shrek

Our nephew David & Shrek. He loves to be scratched behind the ears.

Shrek dancing

Shrek singing & dancing Christmas songs (an added feature)

Tios!

14 September 07

I almost forgot to announce that on September 12th, the DH & I became aunt & uncle (tios) for the 9th time!

The DH’s brother and his wife have just welcomed their third child. 🙂 Enhorabuena! Congratulations!

On the DH’s side: 4 nieces, 1 nephew
On my side: 3 nieces, 1 nephew, 1 unknown (my sister is expecting her third)

So What Do You Miss?

27 March 07

I’m thinking of visiting the US soon, (It’s been 2 years…) and so I thought I’d answer a question I get asked a lot: What do you miss about back home?

First of all, the concept of back home is kind of difficult for me. Which home do you mean? Do you mean my birth state of New Mexico? The happy childhood years I spent in Colorado? All of my moves in Texas? Perhaps my high school years in Kuwait? What about that adventure in Costa Rica? Or my husband’s home in Spain? I spent 3 years in Toronto, too, does that count? How about my grandparent’s place in Utah? My parents’ house? What about where I am right now? Where exactly is home?

For our purposes today, I am gonna say that home is Texas, where my parents live, where I attended college and where I had my first job. But in a general sense, I also mean the United States. For instance, (and you’re gonna think I am soooo weird) I really miss cottage cheese. That is not just a Texas thing. I’m pretty sure cottage cheese is a standard issue supermarket staple across the US. (It is not, however, across the globe.)

When I ask myself, “what do you miss?” I immediately think of food. What else matters, right?

The truth is that I’m not your typical American, and that goes for my food choices, too. Among the things I most desperately miss are: V8 juice, cottage cheese, all-natural sugar-free plain yogurt, buttermilk, Perrier water and my indulgence, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

What a sicko, you are probably thinking. All the great food available and she misses sour milk and pureed vegetables? Yeah, okay. But I also miss Mexican food and kolaches and Texas barbecue and Jolly Rancher candies. So I’m not a complete nut. Mmmm nuts. I miss pecans, too.

As far as non-food items go, I think I most miss the absolute ease of getting things done in the US, where there is very little baeurocracy (How in the *** do you spell that word?) and things like mailing a package or getting a driver’s license are pretty straightforward. Also, I kind of sort of miss the ability to converse freely in my own language any time I want. Like if I am at a clothing store, how great would it be to be able to get assistance without having to mime “No, I need a bigger size. Go ahead and laugh at the enormity of the foreigner.”?

I don’t really miss too much. Life can be lived no matter where you are. I remember before we moved to Kuwait, my mom went to Sam’s and bought all these giant sized items to ship over. Like, what if there is no Windex in Kuwait? Some of those things came in handy, some didn’t. I’ve made that mistake in my own moves, too. When I went to Costa Rica, I tried to bring a year supply of the beauty products I loved the most, only to find I could buy almost anything there. Now that I live out of one suitcase, I like to just stick with necessary items. (And if you’re planning a move to China anytime soon, that list should contain deodorant! ☺) You live and you learn. Mostly I’ve learned not to get too attached to any one kind of shampoo.

That being said, the moment I made the decision to go back for a visit, the first thing I did was put in an order to Sephora and Drugstore.com for all the products I’ve been craving. One thing is being able to survive and another thing is being spoiled.

So if you are an expat, what do you miss? And if not, what do you think you would miss?

Happy Thanksgiving America!

23 November 06

Once again I nearly forgot about this one. I couldn’t figure out why no one was emailing today. As you can imagine, Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing & gravy is pretty hard to come by in rural China and even more difficult to recreate in a hotel room. I did have my lunch today with some of the other company employees. We ate rice, boiled peanuts, some kind of bean and shredded potatoes. Not a bad way to spend the day.

I taught my first Radio Telephony class today, which was interesting. I tried to sound as authoritative as possible even though my only real experience with aircraft radio exchanges is the 30 times I’ve seen Top Gun. I think it went okay. I have 34 students. They are all Chinese, in their 20s. They have all graduated from University and I am lucky that their English level is pretty good. Teaching is a little difficult for me because I am a very introverted person, but once I am in front of the room it is like I am onstage. And I’m one of those introverts who LOVES to be on a stage acting. Strange but true. If my mom were here blogging I’m sure she would share an embarrassing story about my overly dramatic tendencies.

Blighted Homeland

21 November 06

This doesn’t have anything to do with China, but I thought that some of my family from the 4 corners area of the US might be interested in this story I found in the LA Times.

Uranium mining was huge in the 4 corners – where Colorado, Utah, Arizona & New Mexico meet. I remember distinctly my father talking about his friends who worked in the uranium mines in New Mexico. I also remember hearing about tailing ponds that were lakes of viruntly radioactive material.  (I’m not sure that viruntly is a word, but you get my idea.)

The LA Times newspaper is running a four part series about this uranium mining and how it has affected the Navajo Indians in the area. The Navajo are a group particularly close to my heart and I was just horrified to read the articles. Again, another case of humanity’s reckless disregard for both the planet and her people.

Blighted Homeland 

Tell a Veteran Thank You

11 November 06

To all veterans, my brother & my father included, Thank You. (And to my Mom, too, as she just reminded me she serves in the Army Nurse Corps.)

From the Foreign Policy blog:

“Take a minute out of your day to visit Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project, which is collecting the oral histories of American soldiers.”

Politics Light

3 November 06

I don’t really like to talk politics, but I love reading about politics. Until now. Until the US election machine began to roll. I am very, very grateful that I am not actually in the US right now so I don’t have to watch all the dirty campaign ads. The online newspaper stories are bad enough.

I just have one question. (Actually four.) Is it possible for America to be bipartisan? Can’t we all just get along? Do we really have to be with “them” or against “them”? (Not that I know who “them” is.) Do we have to be a nation so divided?

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

10 October 05

To all my Canadian friends ~ Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all enjoy the day and eat lots of good food! For those of you working today ~ yea! Time & a half!