12 May 2013

Back in Central Europe

Ahhhhh. After over four years, we have found our family back in Central Europe. This time we are settling in to life in Prague, Czech Republic. I have seen so many clever names for blogs and have not have a good brainstorm for ours (yet). I have enjoyed using alliteration in the past, so I will put my thinking cap on.

I'm anxious to share some photos and bits and pieces of our life here as we learn to live together in a culture not our own. It's always interesting, sometimes frustrating and requires lots of "reframing" to cope on a daily basis.

I'm not deleting my past posts from our two years in Louisville, Kentucky (then titled Living Large in Louisville, then changed to Living on Less in Louisville) or 9 months in Slovakia (then titled Bratislava and Beyond). But we'll just keep them back there so I know where to find everything. 

19 July 2010

Leaving Louisville

June 19, 2010 found us packed into a Budget 24' moving truck and on the road to Michigan. Goodbyes really stink. Goodbye to our dog, Shakespeare. He got a really great family, a fire hydrant in his new yard, the same neighborhood and a dog sister. Tears and goodbyes to struggling refugee families; the best job I've ever had; four Iraqi sisters living in America whose story still gives me chills.
Goodbye to friends whose company was easy, comfortable and fun.

Thanks to God for all the bittersweet goodbyes. Divine appointments of relationship and circumstance I will never forget and will treasure as God's care for His child.

Our family will be moving to Muscat, Oman on August 11. I'll start a new, yet unnamed, blog soon in hopes of sharing another part of the world with our friends and family.

27 April 2009

Kentucky Derby Week

Here it is: "Derby Week". Louisville is in full bloom - grass is green, dogwoods are stunning, azaleas are bright and full. Almost all the debris from the giant ice storm in February has been cleaned up. It was getting to be a dangerous obstacle course on the side streets. Now it can officially be put behind us! Thursday is a parade in downtown Louisville. I heard it has big balloons like Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! That sounds like a blast for the kids if we can brave the heat and the crowds. Friday is "Oaks" day. A lesser race day for those who can't afford a spot at the Run for the Roses on Saturday. We have a tip on a few even cheaper options - Dawn at the Downs, a morning trip to Churchill Downs to see the horses take their first run of the day. We could do that and have the kids be just a tiny bit late to school! We have not been invited to any Derby parties(yet). It's probably just as well, because I don't have a proper Derby hat. They really do wear fancy hats to the Kentucky Derby and all the events surrounding it.

24 April 2009

Wal-Mart with the Refugees

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take some newly-arrived refugees from Darfur to get their first groceries. They had only arrived in Louisville the previous night! Three single men, one male translator, and I got our "basket" (they don't call them carts in Kentucky) and started out. I thought it was an amusing and interesting sight for anyone who took notice: three very dark African men and one lily white American with a shopping basket in Wal-Mart. It was suggested that I could help by explaining value to the guys. Example: loaves of bread: two 12" loaves of Pepperidge Farm french bread - $3.19. "Too expensive" - showed them American bread: nicely squared off loaf of sliced bread 98 cents. Next example: carrots - show them the word "organic" and tell them it is too expensive. You can buy regular carrots for much less.

After my overseas experiences I can imagine the culture shock of a store such as Wal-Mart. The variety is unbelievable, the size of the store is also overwhelming. In my perfect world, I would take an incoming refugee family to a local grocery store that is close to their country of origin. They could find their own comfort foods and feel a bit in control of their own destiny...........but the shopping needs to be done where there are funds available. In this case, Wal-Mart gift cards were given to help the refugees!

25 March 2009

Renamed my blog - (we just aren't living very LARGE)

Life this past six months has been a lot about learning to live on less. We had shrunk our spending while living overseas, BUT it is much more challenging here in the USA.

Haircuts: my first haircut here was $30. I was told that was a reasonable rate for this area. I decided I could get one haircut every six months. Last week A GREAT FIND - a local beauty school! Today I got my first $5 haircut. I had a lovely conversation with my stylist and even got a coupon for 1/2 price next time. Am I a risk taker or what?

Kids need socks: Anya has sworn off ruffled socks - Justin's socks have worn out. I got a $10 COUPON from BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY in the mail. They are having a Grand Reopening. Anya will have a new 5-pack in her Easter Basket. Justin will have a new 3-pack. Total cost $1.03.

Prescription: Needed a prescription--CVS was offering a $25 giftcard for any new or transferred Rx. I will spend part of that on Easter candy!

Thrift Store: Got a $5 off any purchase coupon in the Val-Pak envelope. Got one from my neighbor's mail, too! Got myself a new pair of black denim jeans (Lands End, size 12P). Bought something else to sell on ebay.

20 November 2008

I Don't mind being "green" but.....

I am glad to be separating our trash into two containers. The recyclables are plastic, bottles, cans, paper........the rest goes into the dumpster. We have two trash pick up days in Louisville. This is a good habit to begin. But maybe I'm watching too much news because I'm starting to feel guilty if I put an empty toilet paper roll in the real trash instead of the recycler. Like I don't have enough to feel guilty about. (Yelling at my kids, messy house, making a lousy meal, surfing ebay). I don't think the media is helping with this.
I think Global Warming is real, I understand many in in Africa use only 5 gallons of water per day, compared to an American using 150. I just could get overwhelmed with the enormity of the problem. So we are told all the things we can do to help. I think it's good to know how the rest of the world lives. But if those in Africa had the water available like we do, I think they would use just a bit more - maybe the difference wouldn't seem so obscene.

We also have giant washer and dryers in America. Europeans have tiny washers and no dryers. A dishwasher is for the rich. Currently, the house we are renting has no dishwasher. What a miserable quality of life I am living. Yes, there are dirty dishes in the sink and on the counters most of the time. This, I do not feel guilty about.

Returning back from our Michigan Christmas trip, we discovered our orange recycling bin has been stolen. Now, do I wait for the new one to be delivered and hold the separated trash, or do I take this opportunity to just dump it all together. Haven't decided.

14 November 2008

Theatre Mom

Wow - I'm a "theatre Mom". It's fun. Soon after we arrived Justin was able to audition for a Louisville Youth Theatre production of Willy Wonka, Jr. The production is a musical, so this would be a singing/dancing part for Justin. He began practicing and was cast as an Oompa Loompa and a Squirrel. We faithfully taxied Justin to his rehearsals twice a week and listened to our CD in the car on the way to and fro. The last two weeks were hectic, with intensive rehearsal, dress rehearsals, building up to performance time. The first two performances were to school groups. Then followed four more open to the public and finishing with a final school group performance. My main job was to help with the quick costume change for four Oompas. The Oompas had to quickly change into Squirrels, then another quick change back to Oompas! Talk about pressure......all worked out well, but it took at least three tries before we figured out the quickest way to get the boys changed! I also combed wigs, put on hairnets, kept the actors quiet in the "green room"..... It was so much fun. Also, as a newbie to the area, it gave me an opportunity to get to know some moms and their kids.