Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Made it!!!

We are alive…safe and sound on the island of Penang. It has been quite a week…

Last Sunday- My brother and his wife dropped us at Detroit Metro Airport. We had 9 pieces of luggage plus 6 carry-on items which is, by the way, more than you are supposed to bring. What can I say, I have a lot of stuff.

We arrived at the ticket counter to find that our flight had been delayed by 3 hours which meant we were going to miss our connection in Dallas. And, of course, it seemed every flight was full. The ticket agent named Marsha worked with us for over an hour until she finally found a flight to Dallas. And our wonderful baggage guy Mike helped us make sure that all our luggage including the extra stuff got on the plane.

We arrived in Dallas knowing we missed our connection, knowing the next flight was completely booked, and praying for a miracle so we could make our next connection in Los Angeles. It came down to the ticket agent offering all sorts of free items to anyone who would volunteer to take a later flight and God graciously chose 4 people, exactly the amount of seats we needed. We sat waiting for the flight in the Dallas airport and having a huge picnic on the floor. My mom had packed us an enormous bag of food…and this wasn’t junk food, mind you….this was good food! We had pita bread and cheese and summer sausage and fruit and all sorts of goodies. And the boys found ways to occupy themselves while we waited.

Our flight arrived in L.A. and we knew we had missed our connection to Hong Kong as well and we prayed for yet another miracle. God pulled through for us again and got us on a flight at 2am to Hong Kong. The flight to Hong Kong was wonderful! I had all these nightmares about a 14 hour flight only to find that it passed by rather quickly. The service on Cathay Pacific was outstanding, the food was delicious, and we each had our own TV with all sorts of movies to choose from (the kids even had video games to play). We were kind of bummed that we didn’t get to sit all together but we were grateful for the flight.

The Hong Kong airport is huge and beautiful with all kinds of ritzy high-end shops and restaurants. Everyone was wearing face masks and all I could think was that either Americans are far too cavalier about this whole swine flu thing or the people in Hong Kong are way too hyper about it. We found some comfy benches and rested for a while and the boys found some friends to play with who were also waiting. Eventually we cleaned up, changed clothes and had some sushi then got ready for our final flight to Malaysia. That flight was uneventful and we arrived without a problem.

The school sent a welcome committee to pick us up and we were greeted with welcome signs and happy faces (theirs, not ours). I am quite sure that we looked like we’d been on a three-day bender as we had little to no sleep for 48 hours! Our host family, The Brewsters, took us to our new home and we fell face first into our beds. It was Tuesday night.

The next few days were a whirlwind. The Brewsters are so great and they drove us all over…to the grocery store, to the bank, to the appliance store to buy a dryer (there is no way I am hang drying clothes), to the mall to get handphones (cell phones), etc. They also took us to all these awesome outdoor eateries the locals call “stalls”. We have had the most amazing food! And they make all these fresh fruit juices, pineapple, watermelon, you name it. The food is super cheap too!

On Friday night, they have dinner and a movie at the school. Everyone brings a pot luck dish and then we watched a movie on a big screen outside. We had a chance to meet many other staff members and I got to have some girl chat time while the boys watched the movie. They didn’t make it through the whole thing though.

On Saturday another staff member named Barend (he’s from South Africa) took us to a place called Jusco, which is a lot like Wal-Mart, so we could get some other things we needed. It is attached to a great mall with some awesome stores and we had the most amazing sushi for lunch. Little plates of it spun around the whole restaurant on conveyor belts and you just grabbed whatever you wanted to eat. Way cool!

On Sunday we went to Penang International Church. It is a church filled mostly with expats from all over the place. The pastor is from Canada. He gave a great sermon and the people were really warm and friendly and the boys made several new friends. After church we went out to eat with the Brewsters at…Chilis!! Yes, they have Chilis here and a TGIFridays. I know, I know…it’s a cop-out, right? Honestly, after several days of eating wonderful food filled with spices my body has never had before, I needed to give my stomach a rest with some good old American food that I knew how to pronounce.

Today we had our first day of orientation and got to meet all the other new staff members. They all seem really great and the director, Karl, did a great job. It is all well-organized and everyone is really helpful.

So far our experience has been really great. It is definitely hot here and I have a feeling our electricity bill will be sky high as we make much use of the A/C. We love our new home and its spectacular views.

And now that our internet is finally working (that took all week to get settled) we can keep in touch with family and friends. School starts on Aug. 11!

Prayer requests: that we are able to find a car in our budget without getting ripped off, that our stuff we shipped to Malaysia gets here soon (we really need a lot of things in that shipment), that our transition continues to go smoothly, that our family and friends back home have some peace about our move, that we are able to represent America and Christians in a good light to a part of the world that may not appreciate either very much.

We miss you and love you all!!


  1. Hi! I found your blog via the WTM forum. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. What an exciting experience for you and your family. We'll be living vicariously through your family and your Malaysian adventure. :)

  2. Congratulations, may your needs be met. Thanks for sharing this with us. I enjoyed your view very much.

  3. Glad you made it! Can't wait to read more.

  4. What an exciting adventure! I'll have to keep checking back to see what you all are up to.--Christy aka Cricket at WTM

  5. We love you guys and will continue to pray for this chapter in your life :-)

  6. I also found you on TWTM board and as a fellow American Expat I am glad to follow your adventure! We have been overseas for 5.5 years now and I have never regretted the things we are learning. Embrace each moment.....even the culture shocking ones because one day you'll laugh about it :) even those moments that had you in tears the first time around.....eventually they all add up to changing you :) growing you :) stretching you :) ENJOY!

  7. So glad you're able to get back to blogging. I love living this trip vicariously through your writing.

  8. Hey Heather. Loved the blog entry. Great job! Now, it's my turn, and I'm not sure I have enough energy to try to summarize my trip to Bolivia. I am home, though, and very thankful to have had that experience. TTYS. Love, Ang