Olympic fever

on Sunday, July 29, 2012
I love the Olympics.  Whenever they roll around, I try to watch as much of them as I possibly can.  I was here in Malaysia for the last summer Olympics in Beijing (was that really 4 years ago??), and Reuben and I went to KL for those few weeks because his mom has cable TV.  Now, we do not.  YouTube to the rescue!  They have an absolutely amazing channel that broadcasts all the events live.  That even we can stream online!

One of the local channels broadcast the opening ceremonies live, which was something like 4am-7:30am on Saturday morning.  It was fun to watch except for the fact that all the commentary was in Bahasa.  It happened before I woke up, but Reuben said that the commentators totally skipped over the entire country of Israel, like it didn't exist.  Then they made a big hoop-la over Palestine.  Yes, Malaysia would do something like that.  I generally forget about the Israel-hatred here; except, of course, when Malaysia was boycotting American products for its support of Israel a few years back.  Even though it IS my namesake, nobody ever says anything about it, and neither of us have encountered any problems.  C'est la vie.

We'll be trying to follow the Olympic events as much as we can, although most of them will be happening while I'm fast asleep.  I hope YouTube has recaps!

In my school

on Saturday, July 28, 2012
In some ways, teaching at LifeBridge is just like teaching at any other school.  The bathrooms are gross, the food is bad, and kids are coughing all over you and hanging on you like monkeys.  Teaching in a school full of Muslim children, however, is completely different than anything I've ever taught before.  A few observations:

Most of my students rock back and forth whenever they read.  They also like to sing the words they are reading.  They learned this in madrasah, where they learn to recite the Koran.  Swaying and singing are apparently part of their training!  It's all fine by me, as long as they are still learning to read!

Children are much more subdued when fasting.  I know I shouldn't be grateful that these kids have to fast from all food and water during Ramadan (which just started last week), but it does make my job a whole lot easier when they're sitting down nicely instead of jumping up and down and running around the room like they usually are.  I don't lose my patience over sleepy children as much as I do the rambunctious ones.

And last but not least, the biggest insult that one child can give to another is to call them a pig.  It seems kind of silly (as far as where I come from) when I hear it but I have to remember what that really means to them.  It's bad!

Happy Little Cloud

on Friday, July 27, 2012
I always knew I loved public television, now even more.  

You're welcome.

The kitten

on Friday, July 20, 2012

Reuben brought home a week-old kitten on Sunday.  He found it abandoned and being eaten by fire ants.  Total sob story.  He went to the vet and they wouldn't do anything and called the local SPCA to find out they put to sleep any kittens they receive under 2 months.  There's no animal shelter here in Penang.  So we stuck it in a shoebox (a laundry basket later became its home) and started feeding it milk with a syringe every few hours.

We're not allowed to have pets in our building.  This kitten may be small, but it's very loud!  We had to close all the doors and windows to make sure we wouldn't get complaints from the neighbors.  Luckily the kitten had the good sense to sleep all the way through the night.  

Reuben just happened to go to the State Veterinary Department this week to fill out some paperwork for a friend who is bringing a dog from the states.  He found a staff person there who was willing to adopt it.  On friday, kitty went to her new home.  In fact, the woman who adopted her said she was a "good luck cat" because of its coloring and white/black face.  Hooray!

Something that doesn't belong

on Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Just another ordinary day of driving in Malaysia.

Something in this picture doesn't belong.

Sunday afternoons

on Monday, July 16, 2012
Sunday is my favorite day of the week.  My time on Sunday is precious to me.  We go to church, have lunch at our usual epic vegetarian restaurant, then go home.  Reuben takes off to teach for Sunday afternoons so I have the place to myself until.  Usually I take a nap, but I finally got my hands on the Hunger Games, and I haven't been able to put it down since Friday evening.  I finished it this afternoon!  Good thing, because it gave me a heck of a lot of anxiety this weekend!  The book is pretty much all my worst nightmares come true, the kind that you don't want to wake up from just yet because you want to hope that it can at least end well.  I devoured it.  

I also devoured this Stonyfield organic yogurt that I found on sale at Cold Storage this week.  Normally we just get the big tub of plain yogurt these days (I don't really care for homemade yogurt, at least how I know to make it!) and I'm pretty tired of it.  I usually don't like to drop 5 dollars on a single-serving container of "imported from the U.S.A." yogurt, but when I saw it on sale I practically bought them all. Yum.

How to grow a pineapple

on Thursday, July 5, 2012
I just discovered (silly me!) that you can grow a pineapple from its crown.  It takes upwards of two years to grow so we'd not likely see any actual fruit come out of it, but I wanted to see for myself if it would work.  There's lots of tips and tricks of how to grow one from the internet.  Within a few weeks of soaking the crowns in water, I have shoots (even though it's just a few)!

Roots: those tiny white fingers coming out of the base of the crown

The leaves on the crown are growing fast, but I don't think I'll put them in soil until they get their roots get more established, which could be another month or two at this rate.  

In other gardening nows, I also tried my hand at growing ginger!  It was as simple as buying some extra ginger at the market, soaking it in hot water for 8 hours, then planting it.  It took about 2 weeks to sprout.  I planted two kinds: one from Thailand (I think) and a smaller Malaysian variety.  I'm excited to see what the plant will grow into!

Happy 4th of July!

on Wednesday, July 4, 2012

 Happy Fourth of July!  I displayed my patriotism by putting up a flag banner on our balcony.  Finally, a reason to use it!  Sadly there was no bbq, I but I did make some delicious coconut muffins.  

What better way to spend fourth of July, though, with a fellow American!  My friend Susie from IslandWood is here with her friend who is working with the Peace Corps in Java.

We actually have quite a few American friends here, and I always dreamed about having a fourth of July bbq.  But this weekend we're out of town for our triathlon.  Maybe next year!