Monday, January 25, 2010

Natalie's Theme Song

I feel pretty, oh so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright!
And I pity any girl who isn't me tonight.

I feel charming, oh so charming.
It's alarming how charming I feel!
And so pretty that I hardly can believe I'm real.

I feel pretty, oh so pretty
that the city should give me its key.
A committee should be organized to honor me.

I feel dizzy, I feel sunny,
I feel fizzy and funny and fine,
And so pretty, Miss America can just resign!

See the pretty girl in that mirror there
Who can that attractive girl be?
Such a pretty face,
Such a pretty dress,
Such a pretty smile,
Such a pretty me!

I feel stunning and entrancing,
feel like running and dancing for joy,
for I'm loved by some pretty wonderful boys!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Man Makes Plans and God Laughs...

Please allow me to introduce Natalie Sarah Fischer...

Sometimes we wish we could figure out everything God has planned for us but sometimes I am so glad that we can't because His plans are so much better than we could ever imagine!

AS you know, we have two beautiful, healthy boys and we love them dearly. But my heart has yearned for a girl. I wanted a daughter. But I thought, really, I am a little too old to start over with a newborn so I tried to put it out of my head and then we moved here.

But on Monday night everything changed. A local orphanage called. There is a 15yo girl who just gave birth and wants to put the baby up for adoption. Are we interested? It took about 5 minutes for us to decide. So the next morning we drove 5 hours to Kuala Lumpur to pick her up!!!!

She is tiny (6lbs) but beautiful and healthy. We decided on Natalie Sarah for her name (Natalie because she was born at Christmas, Sarah for my mother).

It all happened quite quickly. We received a phone call from the orphanage late Monday night and they asked us to pick her up by noon on Tuesday. We called our friends, Peter and Ailee, since we knew Peter was from KL and may be able to help us navigate that crazy city. They brought us a baby car seat and then instead of giving us directions, Peter actually volunteered to drive with us to KL and guide us through the trip! We are so grateful. We never would have found that hospital if it were not for him.

Then we called other dear friends, Larry and Debbie, to see if they could watch our boys for the day. Not only did they agree to it, Larry cooked up this idea to contact the Dalat staff and ask for help for us and our complete lack of baby stuff! When we got in last night we were surprised with a truckload of baby items! Then today a woman from our church gave us a huge amount of baby clothes and a brand new stroller thanks to a phone call from Ailee! And this Sunday the staff is having an impromptu baby shower for us.

We are absolutely humbled and amazed by the blessings God has poured out on our family. He grants us the blessing of a beautiful baby girl and He sends us to Dalat where a group of people live, work and love together in ways we have never experienced before. We are so grateful at the generosity of our colleagues and friends that it is difficult to find words to express it.

And I thank you for your prayers as well. We are overwhelmed by it all.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Java in the Jungle

As many of you know, we are avid coffee drinkers. Yes, even my boys have been known to sip on a cuppajoe. So when friends of ours said they had a new coffee place they wanted to introduce us to we were happy to go along. This is no yuppie Starbucks. The coffee they serve will put hair on your chest.

It is located on a quaint street filled with buildings reminiscent of the colonial era...

We sat drinking our insomnia-inducing coffee and enjoying conversation with friends in the cozy atmosphere and I did not hear the word "Venti" one single time. It was a good day.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Techno Kids!

As most of you know, John splits his day between working with the high school eLearning classes and teaching computer skills to elementary students. The man has the patience of Job. Imagine 20 seven-year-old kids all yelling "Mr. Fischer" at the same time.

The moment he walks up to the SmartBoard at the front of the room to demonstrate some computer skill a hand shoots up and he hears the plaintive whine of "Mr. Fischer, my computer won't work." Well, that's because you were banging on a bunch of keys instead of listening.

As he goes to fix that problem, another student who is wearing his headphones for no particular reason, decides to stand up and walk across the room dragging the laptop off the desk with him...still attached to the headphones that he shouldn't be wearing anyways!

John helps that kid pick up the laptop and get back on track and another kid is pulling on his shirt-tail. As he goes to help this child, the child sneezes...ah, ah, ah-CHOO...all over the keyboard and mouse. Disgusting.

But between the sneezing and germs and bathroom requests and computer mishaps, he still manages to teach them a thing or two. But I am pretty sure he wishes he was married to a high school principal instead of an elementary principal who REALLY needed him to teach these classes. :)

Eating in Penang

Another great reason to live in Penang is that it is cheaper to eat out than it is to cook at home! All over the island there are these food court places the locals call "stalls". You show up, grab a tanle (they are all numbered), and immediately someone comes up to your table to take your drink order. Then you walk around and choose from the tons of different foods offered at the different food stands. Pick what you'd like, give your order and table number to the worker, and go sit down. In minutes your food will be delivered right to your table. It is delicious, fast and cheap. Our family of four can eat for the equivalent of about $8. Here are some of our favorite dishes:

Tropical Gingerbread Houses

I lived in the snowy, wintery north my entire life until 6 months ago and I had never made a gingerbread house. So I move to the other side of the world where it is summer all year round and I finally give in. Friends of ours invited us over so the kids could make gingerbread houses for Christmas. It was quite a sight!

Debbie and Larry made the dough and the rest of us brought loads of candy to decorate. We determined to let the boys decide on the design of the house (I would just be happy if it was actually 3D) and decorate it (which really tested my OCD tendencies). They had so much fun! The results were funny and creative (and 3D). The kitchen was a disaster area when we were done but the adults took care of clean-up so it all worked out.

My boys decided they wanted to make a church and to be honest, the only way you can tell it is a church is because they put a cross on the back. The Chinn family made a pirate ship which was really awesome then proceeded to decorate it with candy until it was unrecognizable (albeit yummy). And of course, the Brewster family's castle was engineered as perfectly as their father could get it. :)

We rushed to get the castle home before it melted in the heat. Then we went to the Christmas Eve service at church. When we returned, our cute little gingerbread house had become the hotspot for all the local ants. Oh well, we threw it away and saved money on more dental appointments!

Temple Tour

As I've mentioned before, Penang is a really unusual place when it comes to religion. It is a very small island and there are churches, temples, mosques, etc. all over the place. Hindus, Muslims, Christians and more all seem to coexist peacefully. All religious holidays are given equal time and you can see worship buildings of all the different religions even on the same street! So I snapped a few pics of some of the really interesting ones as we drove around. Enjoy...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Trip to the Bukit Hijau Waterfalls

First of all, let me just say how much I lOVE having 4 weeks off for Christmas vacation. The Malaysians really know how to take a vacation!

We have alternated between being completely and utterly lazy and watching 24 on DVD for hours on end....and doing unfun things like dentist appointments...and taking some really cool day trips. One trip we took was to a place on the mainland called "Bukit Hijau". It is an enormous recreation area located n the middle of nowhere. You drive for about an hour with nothing but palm trees and rubber trees on either side of you and then suddenly you enter the Garden of Eden (minus the angel with the flaming sword).

We went with two other families and there were 18 of us in all. We took the ferry to the mainland instead of the bridge (not sure which one I dislike the most) and the kids LOVED it. They thought it was so cool to drive your car onto a boat and then have the boat take you across. They got out of the car and went to the front of the boat to look out at the water. I did too for about 3 minutes at which point the world started to spin and I retreated back to the car.

The park itself is amazing...absolutely beautiful with breathtaking views and huge waterfalls. We all spent the day walking up to the highest waterfall then swimming and playing in it, having a picnic and chatting. It was a really great day!