Friday, November 11, 2011

Today Show videos

posted by Ron.

Matt Lauer from the Today Show was here in KL this week for the segment, "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?". It seems to be the time for people to come to Malaysia because not only is Mr. Lauer here, but my parents are here as well. They have been here for almost two weeks now and we are all patiently waiting the arrival of Brady. Well, Megan might be the least patient for obvious reasons. The due date is the 23rd, but everyone (especially Megan) is hoping for a day much sooner.

Below are some links to a few of the segments the Today show did about my current home town.

Where in the World is Matt Lauer?:

Batu Caves and monkeys:

Malaysia's delicious coconut sticky rice:

Kuala Lumpur's tea pouring ritual:

Kung Fu master pierces finger through coconut:

Malaysian fabric designs:

Rehabilitating Malaysia's baby orangutans:

Matt Lauer greeted by Americans in Malaysia:

Sunday, October 16, 2011


written by Megan

Is it bad that I have had enough of people being totally obsessed with my son - wanting to grab his arm, touch his face, touch his hair, and take a picture with or of him?  I am becoming Super Protective Mom and am going to Flip Out on someone!!!  Again, is this bad?

Ok, so I guess it's exciting, or rare for people here in Malaysia to see not only a young 'white' boy but a young white boy with red hair - that seems to be like spotting an albino flying pig or something!

The Obsession with Caden......Just this weekend:
1. Man just outwardly taking pictures of us (Caden) as we walk past him
2. Man walking by Caden in store making weird whistling-type noises to try to get Caden to look at him
3. Woman greeter at restaurant can barely contain herself - I can tell she wants so badly to touch Caden but can't leave her 'post' - so instead is loudly whispering at him to get his attention
4. Woman at department store, literally grabbing onto Caden's arm and touching his face, forcing him to stand there and talk to her until Mom (me) saves him - pulls him away - and ultimately walks away so the woman will leave him alone!
5. Young girls (probably mid 20s) trying to take a picture of Caden eating his dessert - I say try because the one was pretending to stand there, chugging her water while she was actually trying to figure out how to use the camera on her phone.

Seriously - It's a good thing Caden is so calm about all of it.  If I were him, I'd be hitting and kicking at everyone - I swear!

I know my little buddy is the cutest little guy in the WORLD but seriously people!  BACK OFF.  I might need to hire a body guard just for Caden - he's like a superstar :)

(Oh, and it might be going to his head.  He did say to me "Mommy, everyone really likes me here.  They like me a lot.")  

Oh Boy.                              

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Theme park inside Berjaya Times Square mall.
by Ron.

We've been in KL for 97 days. It feels like 94 days. Nobody ever says something like that do they? It's usually a huge exaggeration in either direction, but never a number close to the real one. Well, I will not let the masses influence my internal clock. It feels like 94. This is a good segue to a great accomplishment I had today.

Megan, Caden, and I went to Berjaya Times Square mall today. We went here because we needed to buy a few things, but more importantly because we heard that they had a big indoor theme park. After we unsuccessfully did some shopping and before we ventured to the rides, we stopped and had some lunch at Papa John's. During our meal, Megan asked what time it was. I hadn't seen a clock in quite some time. I love when this happens. It allows me to use one of the great gifts I have. I feel like I have a really good internal clock. I guessed 11:52am. Guess what? It was 11:51am. Impressed? Of course you are and you should be. I was really impressed with myself. So impressed in fact that it was a true highlight of my day (and it was a pretty good day). I'm sure when Megan reads this entry she will be rolling her eyes because she has probably heard enough about my internal clock abilities. I wish there was some type of way I could use this skill to my benefit.

Ok, I really have no idea now where I was going with this blog entry. It's turned into some weird rambling. However I also sort of like the idea of this entry solely dedicated to my internal clock. When I remember what I was going to write about I will add a new entry. I'll put up some pictures of our day today. It really was a good day (even without the amazing 11:52 guess).

The theme park also had a playground. Caden was
in heaven today. I'm sure we will be coming back here. 

Caden working on some cool sand art. 

Caden's finished project. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Really cool

by Ron.

There is a lot of really cool stuff about living in KL and working at ISKL.  One of the best things is the diversity. Students are from all over the world. They learn a lot from each other and I have learned a lot from them about different cultures. I teach 44 students for math and science. I thought it would be neat to get an idea of where they all are from. Check this out:

United States---10 students
Australia---2 students
Malaysia---7 students
England---3 students
Korea---4 students
Japan---1 student
China---1 student
Columbia---1 student
Kuwait---1 student
Netherlands---1 student
Singapore---1 student
Indonesia---1 student
India---3 students
Venezuela---1 student
Canada---1 student
Thailand---1 student
Uganda---1 student
Pakistan---1 student
France---1 student
Vietnam---1 student
Brazil---1 student

So if you were counting, that is 21 countries represented among my 44 students. Many of these students have lived in 3 more countries as well.

That's it for now. It's Friday. And payday. Pretty good combo.

Monday, September 19, 2011


by Megan

Difference 1
So, Ron and I recently found out that there is no such thing as a "hamburger" at the McDonald's here.  Now, don't get me wrong, one can order a cheeseburger, but if a burger with no cheese is what you're looking for, you need to ask for a "beefburger."  I mean c'mon, it really does make sense!  Speaking of "ham" (sort of), it is not an easy task to find anything made with pork around here.  Most sausages and such are made with chicken (since it is predominately muslim).  It's weird how excited I get when I see bacon - made from pork - on a menu.  I almost feel like I HAVE to order it.

Difference 2
Another difference is how you point to things here.  Now, this is something I read about before coming to Malaysia, but I wasn't really sure how "true" it was.  Oh, it is true.  If you are pointing to anything, do it with your THUMB.  Yep, the "pointer" finger as we American's like to call it is considered sort of rude.  I have gotten so used to it that when I am just with Ron and point to something, he loves to make fun of me like "you just LOVE pointing with that thumb don't ya!"  Funny thing is, BEFORE we came here, Ron would start pointing to things with his thumb in the U.S. just to annoy me - and now he's making fun of ME for doing it in the proper place.  Anyway, once I get back, if I point to anything with my thumb - you can make fun of me - but just give me a bit of a break.

Difference 3
When you are at a restaurant here, the waiter won't bring your check until you ask for it.  Then, once he/she brings it to you, there is no walking away and allowing you time to go into your purse/wallet to get out the money.  Nope, the waiter will stand over you, waiting to be handed the money.  That took some getting used to.

Difference 4
Never assume all bathrooms will have toilet paper or soap to wash your hands with.  This assumption could get you into quite an uncomfortable situation (to say the least).  Bring a small pack of kleenex, wipes, and hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE.  Oh, and just because you are paying to use a bathroom, does NOT mean it's going to be a nice or really very clean one.  The majority of the nicest bathrooms are the free ones in nice malls and hotels.

Someone's blog about Malaysian toilets (most places have at least one "western" toilet - thank goodness)

Difference 5
(Thank goodness we didn't learn this from personal experience - but sadly learned it from friend's experiences):  If you get into an accident, don't assume the person who was actually obeying the law is the one who gets off while the guilty party must pay for damages.  Oh No.  It is the person who gets to the police station and files the report first that is assumed the innocent party.  Yep - even if he/she is CLEARLY in the wrong, it doesn't matter.  (It also helps the other person if he/she is Malaysian and/or willing to pay off the cops).

On the same note - always have cash on you.  If you get pulled over, just hand over some cash and suddenly - whatever you were doing wrong, never happened.  You are free to go.  (Or you can just do what our friend Paul did: the cop made the mistake of saying "Can I give you a ticket now?"  To which Paul replied "No, I didn't do anything wrong."  The cop tried once more, "Ok, I'm going to give you ticket now."  Again, Paul said "No you're not, I didn't do anything."  The cop just walked away.)

Totally Separate Subject:  Here is a video giving a first hand look at why motorbikes here NEVER get stuck in traffic jams.... (and can really make driving scary when one is learning, not only a new city, but how to drive on the other side of the street).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A few random thoughts for the day.

posted by Ron. 

#1. I really should stop asking if something is spicy. The reason I need to stop is not because I don't want to know, but because it's hard to translate the response. Here is what I've figured out so far:
     -Is it spicy?   "no"----this response means that yes it is spicy.
     -Is it spicy?   "a little"---this response means that it will burn your lips off and may melt your face.
     -Is it spicy?   "yes" ----nobody has actually responded yes yet which really scares me.

#2. Everything you've heard about the equator is true. Well, probably. I don't know what you've heard, but if you've heard it's hot then that's true at least. Wow. It's hot. However, other people seem fine. I feel like everyone should just be a sweaty mess and carrying around towels with them. I might have an equator allergy or something, I don't know. It makes me sweat. A lot. Did I say that yet?

#3. You don't have to be friends or family to love Caden. It's amazing how many times people will stop us so they can get their picture with him. Maybe taking your picture with a white red-headed boy means good luck. He used to say, "Why are they taking pictures of me?" He really doesn't ask anymore. He kind of knows he's awesome now.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Shipment Came!! (And other Ramblings)

By Megan

So - our stuff was picked up at our house in Manassas VA on June 10th.  It finally arrived at our door in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on August 24th.  PHEW!  That's a long boat ride :)

I cannot begin to tell you how amazing it feels to have my things.  Its funny how much this helps me feel more at home.  At least now I've learned that if there is anything I might want/need within a few MONTHS of living, then I should just pay for extra suitcases and not ship those items.  Of course, we did end up buying some things that we knew we had coming- but oh, well.

Bad news - I may have ruined our Nintendo Wii (The ONE thing Caden has been asking about since June 10th).  Yes, today, while plugging it in, I accidentally used the 110V instead of the 240V adaptor.  I BLEW a fuse (and when fuses blow here - man do they BLOW - I'm so glad I didn't get hurt).  Now, I can't get the Wii to work - so I'm scared I may have even blown the fuse inside of the Wii console - DANGIT!!!!!!!!  Caden started to cry, I feel horrible - and so frustrated with myself for making such a stupid mistake.  I'm an idiot.

Onto other things:  We officially booked two nights at the Casa Del Rio hotel in Melaka (Malaysia's official historic capital) for next week.  I'm excited to have a short get-a-way, and excited to see another part of Malaysia.  Many colleagues are flying to beaches on the east coast, but Melaka is only a 2-hour(ish) drive, which is all I'm up for at this point- I'm feeling quite pregnant already.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


by Megan

Smiley Face 1:
We FINALLY have CABLE!  It is amazing how much having TV with some American shows helps me feel a little more at home here.  Haha - I love my shows!

Smiley Face 2:
Another celebration - this is our 3rd week of work.  After this week, we get off Monday-Thursday of next week (for Hari Raya).  If the government also calls Friday an official holiday, we'll be off Friday too.  If the government does NOT call Friday a holiday, then we have school on Friday and Saturday.  Weird.  Anyway, we are planning to go somewhere for a night or two.  Maybe Melaka.  It's supposed to be a nice short trip (a few hours drive) - smaller village with British colonial influences.  So, if we do that - I'll be sure to post about it. 

Smiley Face 3:
I've been feeling VERY pregnant lately.  Sore back, Cankles, swollen feet.  So, my friend Kate, her 9-year-old daughter Sarah, and I got pedicures.  It was SO nice.  The best part - it was only 44RM (which is around $15.00!)  SO CHEAP.  I even got a fancy design on my big toe.  Very cool :)  I'll totally be going back there.

Smiley Face 4:
Today we went to KLCC (big mall under the Twin Towers with outdoor eating and park).  We had some lunch, and bought an oven that will fit a 9x13 pan. I can bake again!  I'm very excited to have this.  I miss my recipes :)
Watching the water fountain at KLCC park - (while eating yummy treats)

Smiley Face 5:
As we were leaving to run some errands today, Caden yelled back to our Amah (maid/nanny) "I love you Julie!"  I feel so good knowing he's happy with who we're leaving him with every day :)

Now - if our shipment with all of our stuff would just arrive - then I'd be adding a HUGE smiley face #6.  I can give a Half Smiley though...We found out our stuff is in port here.  So hopefully (fingers crossed), we should be getting it within the next week or so :) 

In case anyone is are pictures of my two humanities classes:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Crazy Busy

Written by Megan

So sorry neither Ron nor I have posted for quite a while.  Our lack of communication through this blog is entirely due to our insane business with our new jobs and our new life, and the fact that we didn't have internet at home until just a few days ago.  We STILL don't have cable either - things do NOT get done as quickly in Malaysia as they do back home.  Then, when we do have things being installed (like internet), if it isn't working 100%, well, we have to find other means of fixing it because there seems to be a quote among the Malaysian workmen here, and that is "Not my job."  UGH!  :)

Ok - so we've had many workers in and out of our house since we moved in on July 10th.  After much frustration and anger, things have gotten much better (and we've found we are not the only ones having house issues here - and we actually haven't had it as bad as some others).  Anyway, here is a list of what we've had fixed since moving in:

1. All beds (yes, the supposed "NEW" beds that were here), have been taken out and we bought our own.  This is because night 1 here - 10:00pm - when I was making the bed, I saw small black WORMS CRAWLING ON THE MATTRESS!!!  Thank goodness for fast friends here who let us sleep at their house that night.
2. Windows in upstairs loft fixed because it would rain into the house
3. Water heater and water "boost" fixed. (We have to flip a switch so we have hot enough water, and a strong enough flow to take a good shower).
4. New air conditioner in our bedroom - old one was leaking water.
5. Gas stove fixed - our Amah had to cover her arms in wet towels so she wouldn't get burned with the blast of fire when she turned on the stove.
6. New roof over the "laundry area" out back.  Old one was leaking onto washer and dryer.
7. New washing machine - old one here was getting our clothes dirtier!
8. House sprayed for bugs.  (Lots of dead bugs in drawers when moved in - nobody had lived here for a while, and I guess bugs taking over is normal for empty homes in this climate).
9. New Shower head in master bath - old one trickled water.
10. Water heater for our Amah's bathroom - since apparently cold showers is acceptable to give maids here - NOT FOR US!!!  (Julie is very thankful)
11. Although this came furnished - the furniture is so hard and awful (to us) that we bought an Ikea couch for the loft upstairs, Dining room table, shelving unit, tv, tv stand, side tables, and a new couch (on top of the new bed in our room).  SHEESH!
12. Contractor had to fix the large gash the furniture movers put into the railing.
13. Tech guy from school had to come over 2 days after we got internet to actually get the internet to work on our Macbooks for work.  (An example of when the actual internet guys were here and said to me "not my job" when I asked to make sure internet would actually WORK on our computers!)

OK - I think that's it.  PHEW.

As for my U.S. friends and family, I'm just going to let you be thankful for the ease of U.S. living.  Anytime you get angry about something not working quite right, just think of us :)

On a POSITIVE NOTE:  We have met such AMAZING and KIND people here.  Everyone is so helpful and nice.  Caden has made great friends.  He literally just said to me "I'm making some really good friends," then went on to name about 7 kids he likes to hang out with.  There is a 2 1/2 year old boy, Liam who lives a few houses down.  His Amah is friends with ours, so they will get the kids together to play.

Speaking of Caden, on September 5th he's going to join a  Montessori style nursery school called Buzzy Bee.  He will get picked up in a van - and ride to school (5 minutes away) with his friends Liam and Fletcher.  He is very excited :)

Ron and I have already been exposed to so much more professional development and collaboration with teachers than we ever got in America, it's mind boggling.  We are learning so much professionally, and doing so many more things with these classes than we ever could with the the large public school classes.  My largest class is 17 kids!  I only teach 2 humanities classes and 1 media literacy class.  That's it!  Plus, overall, these kids actually like learning and want to be in school.  Here is an example, I have my kids write short journals every day.  In the States it was like pulling teeth to get even 5 sentences written.  Here - I have to repeatedly ask my kids to "wrap up their thoughts" so we can move on.  It's great!  I can do so many higher level things - it's been a nice change of pace already.

Although I feel like a first year teacher when it comes to the amount of time and effort put into planning - this is good for me.  No more showing up right before the kids and leaving right after them :)  All ISKL teachers work hard, put in a lot of hours, and are on top of the newest professional material to work with.  It's nice to feel pushed.

Well I hope you are all doing well!  I'll think of you when I have my 5:45 AM wake up call from the mosque nearby singing the "call to prayer" over the loudspeaker.  (This is one of several throughout the day).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Still Alive

by Ron.

We drove today and survived. Only once did I want to drive on the right side and that was in a parking garage.

On an unrelated note, we bought a TV tonight. We purchased a camera/microphone for it so we will be able to access skype on the 40 inch TV. We think Caden will like seeing the grandparents and other friends really big on  the living room TV.

Monday, July 18, 2011

9 nights down, 1 to go

posted by Ron. 

We are approaching the end of our hotel stay at the Renaissance. We have been very busy each day trying to take care of a million different little things, but we have also been able to enjoy the pool and the great location of the hotel right in the middle of the city. Caden is starting to adjust better to the time difference I think because the past few mornings we have been able to sleep in until about 7am (which is way better than 3-4am as that is what was happening earlier this week).

I think in a facebook post a few days ago I mentioned that the heat wasn't so bad. Well, I"m starting to have a different opinion about that. It is hot. I am used to really hot days in July coming from VA, but I think it is going to be strange when it is December and it is still this hot. Luckily we will live very close to a club that has a pool. I think we will make very good use of that.

Yesterday I put down a deposit on the house we will be renting. It all becomes official on tomorrow and then the house will be ours and we will be moving into it when we check out of the hotel. It will be nice when we finally get settled into the house and start to make it feel like a home. Our things we shipped from VA won't get here until mid-August, so we will have to do quite a bit of shopping for this and that. I think we will go on a big shopping spree tomorrow. Internet, phone, and tv may take several weeks so the facebook posting will probably be rapidly slowing down.

I think Megan mentioned in her post that we were having issues with the transfer of ownership paperwork for the car we bought. Well, good news on that front. The woman responded to me and is in the process of mailing the forms (from Australia). I don't know how long everything will take until we are able to drive our car that we bought, but luckily we will have a different starting today for the next week. One of our new teacher friends that Megan will be teaching with was able to get in contact with a different teacher who is on vacation and we are going to be able to use her car until next Tuesday. Everyone at ISKL (our school) has been extremely helpful so far with anything that we've needed.

We have started to meet new teachers and other teachers from the school the past few days. On Saturday night, we ate at Suzi's corner and a had a few tables full of all ISKL people. The next night about 11 of us or so went to a Vietnamese restaurant (Sao Nam). Megan and I had a great time both nights and it was especially nice getting answers to a lot of questions about everything.

We are borrowing that car within the next hour or so and then driving will begin. Steering wheel different side, driving on the other side of the road, watching out for crazy motorbikes who ride on the white lines, Ignoring most of the driving rules I'm used to..These are the things I will have to learn very quickly.

While Megan and Caden went swimming today, I went off to look for a tv. I went to a place called Lowyat Plaza in Bukit Bintang. It was nothing like I've ever seen before. Every store is a technology store which specializes in computers and phones (not many tvs actually). There are literally hundreds of stores in this plaza and they sell nothing but computers, phones, and things related. A bit overwhelming. I am going to try for the tv later on today at KLCC (the mall at the base of the twin towers).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Facing Adversity (and other stuff)

Well, as should have been expected, not everything can go smoothly when moving across the world.  So far, we found a house that we like (many of you saw pics on Facebook).  Right now, we're just waiting for the final word from the landlord because we're trying to negotiate for a few things to be done before we move in.

Now onto the car we bought while back in the U.S.  Everything about the car itself is great.  We've actually heard that we got an awesome deal on it and that it's a good car.  Unfortunately, when Ron met with the insurance guy yesterday, it seems the people who sold it to us did not leave the correct papers for it to be signed over to us (the Malaysian government changed the paperwork a month or two ago, and the people we bought it from left malaysia well over a month ago).  So, Ron had to scan in documents and send them to the previous owners in Australia (thank god for technology and a business center in the hotel).  Now, we're at the mercy of them getting those things mailed back asap.  This means we might not be able to drive our car for a while, which in turn means we'll be moving into our house without a mode of transportation.  So, we'll be at the mercy of taxis.  UGH!!!!!!!!!

Waking up at 3am every morning with Caden, then getting him to go back to sleep until at least 5am is really starting to wear on me!!!!!!!!!  I can't WAIT until he's totally acclimated to the time difference.

Now onto other stuff - We are finding that people here are seriously SO NICE.  Really, every person we've come in contact with has been so incredibly helpful.  People are even friendly when riding the LRT (monorail).  While waiting to get into the train, people just naturally make lines outside the train (really!).  Then while on, young guys will get up from seats so their elders and children can sit.  When it comes to getting out of a packed train, people will make all effort to move out of the way so we could make it out the door.

When it comes to crossing the street, that can be a very daunting task.  Sometimes the "walk" lights won't be working.  So, we've had several motorbike people watch traffic and let us know when we can go.  (These guys are crazy drivers, but they really seem to know the flow of traffic around here).

Anyway, it's so nice to be in a huge city that is filled with friendly people.  Now, that doesn't mean that I'm not  insanely careful about carrying a purse (because of course, there are thieves among men), but overall, people are great.

 Where we eat breakfast at hotel
 Hotel Pool
 Pavilion Mall in Bukit Bintang

 Japanese restaurant with Sushi conveyor belt
All of the workers LOVE Caden (and his hair) 
 Leaving Pavilion Mall
We had to cross this traffic to get to our hotel.  NOT an easy task!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Which way is up???

Okay, so after about 2 days of being here, I finally have the strength to sit and write on the blog.  Phew - 30 hours of straight travelling is, well - dreadful!  We felt pretty awful when we first arrived.  I think Caden felt the best because he seemed to sleep pretty well on the plane, and since he could put his feet up, he was the only one that didn't have incredibly swollen feet and ankles.

Now that we're here - let's just say, as we expected, Malaysia is SO DIFFERENT from home.  That's what we signed up for, right?  Haha.  The hotel is beautiful with a wonderful pool.  The down side is just how much we have to get done in a few days.  Today we met our live-in nanny (called an Amah).  Her name is Julie.  We did immigration and contract stuff with her.  We also went to set up a bank account (in an old looking part of town - the kind of part that looks just like many Asian streets seen on The Amazing Race).  Speaking of Malaysian streets - holy motorbikes weaving in and out of traffic!  Jeez!  I can't believe there isn't a higher death rate (whole families - yes small children - riding on the bikes too! - YIKES).

Today is also packed with meeting with the relocation company and looking at housing with the realtor.  Unfortunately, Caden couldn't handle more than the bank and seeing our new school, so Ron and I had to split up.  Caden and I took a taxi back to the hotel (taxi driver had some weird music on), and Ron is going to look at housing and take LOTS of pictures to show me.  A bit of a bummer I can't go, but hey, he can narrow down choices, and any he likes, we can go back.

Anyway, we haven't had much time to do anything really cool.  We have walked to and had dinner at the Petronas Towers twice.  That is a HUGE and BUSY place.  It has a gigantic mall along the bottom of the two towers - many American and British stores, so not too exciting really.  Our next adventure will be to get some food at a hawker stall.  But first, I think we all need to start feeling normal before trying anything too different.

Oh - I almost forgot.  The very first toilet I used when getting off the plane in Kuala Lumpur was a squatty potty!  Oh man.  Yes, I squatted down into a hole in the floor.  Not fun - especially while pregnant.  I found out, after using that one, that many restrooms here have BOTH squatty and western toilets, so I learned (the hard way) to just look into the stalls until I find a western toilet!  Sheesh.

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Really Happening

written by: Megan

Well, Ron and I took the job at the International School of Kuala Lumpur in February.  Since then, we've gotten updated passports for the family, filled out official documents for Malaysia, gotten vaccinations, emailed freqently with future coworkers, sold cars, bought a car in Malaysia, had momentary freak outs, moved out of our house, etc., but it wasn't until today, when the movers came to put our stuff on a ship headed for Malaysia, that it finally began to feel REAL.  The kind of - Oh My Gosh, what are we doing, we're crazy, breathe breathe breathe - kind of real.  So, I can't really imagine how it's going to feel once we are actually on the plane, beginning our 30 hour trip to the other side of the world.  (once again - breathe!!!)

Thanks to our friends and coworkers, Rachel and Annette, we had an amazing dinner with our colleagues last night.  They gave us gifts, and even had our students all make us "good luck" cards.  Of course I cried, but I'm blaming that on being pregnant.  Really, it had NOTHING to do with the overwhelming out-pouring of love given to us by our friends ;)

Thank goodness for the words of encouragment a friend of ours gave in an email to me today about how she felt when she left her "cushy" job to go abroad: "As I flew across the Atlantic, I thought; What have I done? and I can't believe that I am doing this!  Soon I realized as I settled in that my perspective on life and people gradually changed.  It was the most stimulating four years of my life."  Thanks Mary - this helps :)

Anyway, we'll be sure to post about some actual fun stuff to read once our new adventure begins.