Saturday, February 27, 2010

Girls Weekend out-- Bali style

This weekend Abby and I joined our friend Meredith and her baby girl Adrienne for a Mommy Baby weekend in Bali. We flew out Friday mid-day. The girls were great even though we had a two hour delay in the airport. They hung out in Adrienne's sweet stroller. Abby chewed on random toys and Adrienne had someone entertaining to watch.
It is a quick little flight to Bali. Flying in the views of the volcanoes and beaches was amazing. The airport itself looked like it had been plopped in the middle of an ancient temple. (you disembark the plane right on the tarmac and walk across it to the terminal)
This huge statue was at the main roundabout as you left. I loved his sarong. You have to put on a sarong to enter a temple here. You can either just buy one and carry it around with you or they rent them. I just loved that even their statues had sarongs.
We were picked up by our hotel (it was fun to see our name on a paper haa!) and on the way out of the airport I saw a Baskin Robbins and new I would like this place :) We are staying the first few days in an art enclave in the mountains called Ubud. The ride up through the main city of Depensar and then on through the jungles/ rice paddies was gorgeous.
I tried to make myself not cry with regret for not bringing my nice camera (I was afraid I would end up leaving it on a table or having it stolen-- REALLY regret it) Abby zonked out so I could try and catch everything. The furniture stores on the sides of the roads were crazy! They are really into doors here.
I am trying to figure out how I can buy things and have them shipped back to Dili. Everyone I have asked makes it sound like a common occurrence and relatively easy so we'll see. I want to use one of their doors as a head board from Chris's and my bed. We arrived at our hotel after the spa had closed so we missed our first appointment but the staff was so nice about it. They showed us to our amazing little villa.
It was situated right next to the Spa and our balcony looked over the pool. When you walk out the door if you look to your right you saw this:
Abby liked sitting on the planks that rested above our own little pond at the entrance.
If you look to your left you saw this:
Abby really looked like she wanted to get in haa!
Words really cannot describe it and unfortunately neither will my pictures this time! We had a delicious dinner and the staff whisked the girls away so we could relax and eat (This happens most places in this part of the world but Abby is such a Mommies girl that she usually only lasts about 5 minutes). We had fun trying to figure out how in the world to eat the fruit in the welcome fruit basket. Finally one of the kind workers showed us how each was supposed to be eaten.
The next morning the girls woke us up nice and early and we thought it would be interesting to go on a tour of the rice paddies. We called the front desk and within five minutes there was a personal guide at our door. He took us through the rice paddies that were right behind the hotel and explained the growing and farming process.

Thankfully Meredith was walking first and spotted this Spider:
If I had seen it first there would have been a lot of shrieking.
Then he walked us through a gorgeous corridor of bungalows and art studios.
You can totally tell artists live in these homes:
who needs a canvas on an easel-- your house works as one!
This art studio reminded me of our artist friend Chris Bodily:
I think if he came here he would never leave.
We went through this huge corridor filled with yoga studios and gorgeous little homes.
I peeked in one of the hundreds of bungalows for rent and this one had its own rice paddy instead of a garden
The stairs were a work of art themselves and the walls were amazing the way they laid out the rocks that grow moss in a pattern.
Walking back up to the hotel a school had just let out for break and there was this group of young boys.
They were excited to take a picture with Abby and I. The people are so mild mannered and kind here. Everywhere you look there are gorgeous old statues, moss and overgrown vegetation. Every structure has its own little "temple" that they place offerings at at least once a day with incense and flowers. So the whole city smells beautifully. Abby was happy the whole time just chillin in the front pack.
When we got back from our walk they were waiting to serve us breakfast. After Abby and Adrienne were very cooperative and slept while we enjoyed our massages. They of course provided a darling women who sat in our room to make sure the girls were safe and happy. After being massaged to pieces we headed into town for some shopping, to see the temples and the monkey Forest. You can pay two dollars and walk through this crazy Forest full of huge tress and teaming with monkeys. You can feed them bananas but have to be careful because they will run off with sunglasses, water bottles, even earrings. I really want to bring the boys back. I think Sam would be terrified but Liam would love it. The shopping in Ubud is crazy. They are known for their silk and lace and the prices are ridiculously cheap. You can barter, which I am horrible at, so I turned that over to Meredith. The girls were getting hot and fussy after a while so we stopped to eat at this darling cafe Wayane. They also offering cooking classes and I really want to come back and take one. Again the food was amazing and so cheap. They held Adrienne the whole time and would take turns playing peekaboo with Abby.
Our hotel picked us right back up and it was naptime again for the girls and hot stone massage for the mommies. Neither of us had experienced one before. It felt like having warm butter melted all over you... really amazing. We had to cool off after being melted and the girls loved floating around in the pool. These flowers (gardenias?) are everywhere and smell so good. It made a perfect girly touch for Abby (because her tutued swimsuit wasn't enough)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Its hard not to cry

Chris and I were very lucky to go to two local orphanages this week and deliver toys and books that were donated by wonderful families back in the states. I already well up just thinking about orphans and it was almost impossible not to cry in front of them. (I did save it until we were back in our car where I am sure I worried our driver when I fell apart).

The children were adorable and loved interacting with the sailors.

Who inturn tried to teach them how to use some of the "trickier" new toys they received. Chris and I worried about broken arms and no medical attention available but what are you going to do,

the kids loved it and at least they had lots of helmets.

The girls were such sweethearts and were so bashful.

I am not going to lie, it was really hard not to take this particular cutie home.

This little guy was hilarious! They sang us these amazing songs with lots of dancing and hand gestures. He was so loud. He was like the proverbial primary child who yells the words during the sacrament program-- the sailors loved it and kept shouting for someone to give him a recording contract!

This was them singing about an elephant and boogie boogie (those are the words I understood)

They loved getting such a warm response from the Sailors, who were all so kind and gentle with the children

Chris and I talked about what an amazingly diverse group there was, between the "american" sailors and UN peacekeepers we covered a huge amount of the globe. (One of the sailors was from Cork Ireland, right off Model Farm road, mom!)

While the cuties played with the sailors and their new toys we were given tours of the orphanages. Both of which are in a very sorry state. At the second orphanage there are 15 children and two beds. We are hoping that the Seabees will be able to come and help them out with some repairs. When we asked what we could bring them they asked for food. I seriously thought I would loose it. The government isn't subsiding them at all so they have no milk or rice for the children. At this point in order not to have a complete meltdown I seriously thought of how strong my mother in law Jan is in situations like this and how my crying wouldn't do anyone any good, instead we would just have to get down to it and work something out so that these kids don't starve. I am formulating a plan on how to subsidize these orphanages...... but for now at least they are enjoying their new fire trucks!

After returning home I think I made Sam and Liam and Abby sit on my lap for a good hour. Just so I could hold them and snuggle them. I am so glad that they will grow up realizing just how truly blessed they are to be Americans, i know it was sure hit home to me today.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The More the Merrier

Remember how I said I was always nervous of people falling off bike and cars and trucks? Well that is especially bad on Sundays. Here in East Timor the locals are great about going to church. The majority (about 98%) are catholic and there are many churches. The problem is most families cannot afford cars. So on Sundays when they are all going to church it tends to look like this:
MInd you there is another child on the front in between the drivers knees!
This weekend we of course hit Caz Bar and brought home a new pet:
Liam lost interest in his croc pretty fast but Sammy likes to cart his around on the back of his bike.
I had to get a few shots of Abbers in her hug floppy hat:
How cute is that!
I just love those cheekers!
This weekend a US Navy ship also came to port to bring the local hospital and orphanage supplies.
The boys were excited to see the huge ship. Chris was invited to a reception on board that evening and then today we are headed to hand out the supplies and I get to take pictures woo hoo! Hopefully I will do a good job haa!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hot New Wheels!

Everyone in the Crawford Clan are owners of hot "new "wheels! Yesterday Che Che and the kiddos and I went down to one of the main market areas and picked them up a bike each. I had seen these bikes while driving around and really wanted to get them for the boys. Of course there was a huge crowd surrounding us and more then once I had to ask people not to touch them. What can I say they are blonde and still pasty white! Liam of course wanted the green bike but kept hopping in the back and made it flip over three times. On the third time the safety bar from the front smacked right into his nose and he lost it. And the crowds went wild. We quickly loaded them up and took them home.
Liam shuffled around on his for a while but then I finally convinced him that the bike wouldn't flip over if Sam was sitting in the front. After that poor Sam had to haul his brother around.
It was so cute, eventually Sam said "Liam don't you want to ride the green bike? Isn' that a great idea?" and when Liam said "No!" Sam quietly said "Your just sooo heavy" haaa!
Abby got her set of wheels on loan from our friends Jan and Meredith. They have this cool excersaucer that is in the shape of a car and is on wheels. The boys love ZOOMING Abby around the house it in. They really go sooo fast. She always has the hugest smile on her face as she goes flying past.
Chris and I died laughing the other night because they were bringing her everywhere with them and after being in their room for a while came running out then looked at each other and Sam gasped "We forgot Abby!" and ran back in and zoomed out with her. She just LOVES being a part of the action. She is currently jumpin all over the place in the Johnny Jump up they let us borrow. Woo hoo for entertainment that lets my hands be free. I had to take a picture of her in her awesome Naartjie outfit her Aunt Melony gave her. When Mel gave this to me I just about died and thought "Wow it will be forever until she is in this" sniff sniff it fits perfect.
(Che Che was kind enough to hold her up for me. Poor girl is probably thinking am I your photography assistant or your house keeper haa!) As for Chris and I we are currently cruising around in a HUGE old Land Cruiser while we try and figure out what car we want to buy. It is on loan from the Embassy and is this old beast of a car that is manual drive haa! Do not only do you have to concentrate on driving on the other side of the road, and not hit a motorpoed riders who are ALL over the roads that have no lanes, but you have to shift! We have loved it though because as mentioned before the roads are terrible and any car you get is going to get pretty banged up. It totally flash backs me to high school when I would Cruise around with my Friend Heidi in her huge Land Cruiser. There is just something endearing about ghetto old cars. You have to have respect for them for lasting so long! Usually I would name it but I don't want to get too attached and then have to give it back in a teary rock throwing "You don't belong here scene"- JUST KIDDING.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wish you were here

But still lovin my shoes.....
{miss you Moon family}

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I am going to watch some one fall to their death

That is seriously what I thought as I sat at our front gate yesterday. As I mentioned before the power has been going out a lot here in Dili, Timor Leste (East Timor). Apparently the city decided to do something about it and sent around crews to work on the power lines. I had to run to a friends house to borrow a few cooking items to work on dinner and all the kids were asleep so I thought ohhh this will be super fast. Well the gate was blocked by the huge truck that decided to park in the middle of our driveway. I hoped out and our guard was kind enough to ask them how long they were going to be. They said five minutes so I jumped back in the car. It started to get interesting when this tiny guy shimmied his way up this huge pole. Once up top he perched himself on this TINY little ledge and started working on the lines. About five minutes into it he looses his balance and I watch as one of his flip flops (he was wearing flip flops!!!) drops to the ground.
I thought aw man I am totally going to have to watch this guy fall to his death. He regained his balance and another guy who looked more official in his orange jumpsuit brought a ladder over, apparently he couldn't shimmy up like the first guy.
They worked out what ever was going on with the lines and started to retract the huge crane thing. It got tangled in all the wires though and there was a lot of shouting and running and luckily the driver stopped the crane before it took out all of Dili's power and phone lines. At this point our Guard and gardner came over to offer their advice.
Another ten minutes later and the crane is retracted and everyone is safely on the ground. I thought oh good I am glad that is over. On my way back home though they were about 100 yards down the street working on the next one. I thought man I hope that guy makes it through the day :) I am sure he is a "professional" it was just totally nerve wracking to watch.
When I got home Liam was up from his nap and apparently trying to help Che Che
He really wants to help all the time these days. It is usually fun and cute but makes me nervous when I am cooking because we have gas stoves thus open flames... I think I am going to order one of those guards you can clip on. ANYWAY this morning we had the fun chance to get together with some friends at Miss Nicolas house (AKA Briggs house-- the place Sam is always begging to go to) and celebrate the birth of three new expat babies and have afternoon tea. The kids had so much fun getting all dressed up in Addies princess outfits.
She had lots of great heels and wands
Liam came running out of her room and said "Mom I'm a cute bug!"
Sam had fun building a huge track with Brigg's trains
Abby chilled with the other babies swapping diaper changing stories I am sure
(I made that tunic for her yesterday. I think I am going to put a tutorial up because it is sooo ridiculously easy, no pattern or anything.)
We had yummy fruit and muffins and Meredith made an apple crumble that was sooooo yummy!
Liam liked being able to sit up to the counter and pick out his snacks.
As I mentioned before Nicola house is a work of art. It is owned by USAID but I think she has added some great touches. I love the yellow in the kitchen. I am so bummed that none of our walls can be painted (you know being metal and all)
But it is the master bath that is really amazing
The ceiling is actually open to the outside. When she moved in she had them put screens because it was literally wide open.
The floor is mainly rocks with little pads for you to stand on
and the mirror hangs down from the ceiling by cables.
These were taken on the other side of the wall of glass that separates the bathroom from their bedroom. Isn't that crazy awesome! There is a huge wall that water slides down in the back of the house and a large atrium with plants and their pet turtle in the middle. Along one edge there is a stripe of rocks. Nicola again had them put a cover on it because you know 2 year olds and loose rocks equals broken flat screens haa! It is one of those houses with floor to cieling windows and so much gorgeous natural light that you just want to kick back and relax! It is a far car from the majority of homes around here. I decided that if I post something about the awesome parts of Timor I will combine it with a reality check. While we live in gorgeous homes most Timorese live in homes that look like this:
What Chris and i have talked about several times though is how clean the locals are. They may live in poverty but they are always wearing clean clothes and generally look very nice. And you can't beat the view from many of the homes: