Monday, November 29, 2010

The joy of easy entertainment

This morning my co-workers and I rose up early to attend a training (by phone) from a guy back in Nashville so we can train some new hires here in Malaysia. So, we head to the office at 6:45 and on the way there we remember that we don't have a key to get in. Just so you know they take security to the next level. When you first come in the building there is a security guard with cameras, during the day we can only enter AND EXIT our office by using a key card, at night they put a magnetic lock on the key card door, and then close the big steel doors over the glass ones and add a chain with a pad lock on it. So, don't think about trying to come and break in our office after hours. Needless to say, we drove all the way to the office, just to get back into a taxi and drive back to the hotel. Thankfully our AM, Rami, has access to all of our systems and we were able to hook up the training from his hotel room. We seriously should have done that from the beginning, but you live and learn. After all of the technical difficulties (locked out of office, guy in Nashville unable to call the hotel room, etc...) we finally began the training. It was pretty straight forward stuff that Jonathan and I had done before, just mainly a refresher course...but now for the funny part.
We were on a shared meeting place that allows us to view the guy in nashville's desktop. At the very end of the training we lost the phone connection. So, we could see him trying to find the number, send an email, and blah blah blah. So, Rami sent him an IM. Well, since we could see his desktop, we could see him typing before he ever pushed the send button on his IM. Now, this may not seem funny to you, but we had A BLAST racing to see if we could answer the question he was typing before he pushed send. We were laughing SOOOO hard!!! I was not excited about getting up that early, having to sit through a training, and having all of those problem for the training to actually start, but that little bit of excitment made it all ok. I love simple things that can entertain me!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Harry Potter

We may not be as hard-core about Harry Potter as some people, but we do enjoy it.  Gary and I have not read the books, but before we came to Malaysia we watched all 6 in sequence so we were ready when the 7th one was released.  We also did go see it the day it was released, but I wasn't feeling well and we had to sit on the front row.  Malaysia assigns seats and even though we were there before over half of the other ticket holders we still had to seat in the front row (BOOOOOO!!!!).  Therefore, when the youth group at church said they were going this past Saturday to see it of course Gary and I jumped on the opportunity!  I did enjoy more the 2nd time and we had great company, which always makes a movie better!

Esther getting zapped!

A Malaysian Thanksgiving

After that sad post, I was revived and uplifted by the love that the people in this country can show. On Thursday night we attended the cell group and instead of the normal 3 B's (Blessing, Burdens, Breakthroughs) we went around the circle and told what were thankful for in celebration of Thanksgiving. Gary and I are the only Americans in the group (apart from Zach who has an American mother) and the fact that they decided to "celebrate" Thanksgiving for us meant soooo much!!!!  Gary started teaching the cell group the week before last and has done a great job so far!! 
On Friday, we had our Thanksgiving feast at the Lee residence!  We had all been so excited about it and everytime we talked to Douglas, Sharon, or Zach they were excited as well and told us how much food there was going to be, but nothing could have prepared us for this...

We were greeted with some AMAZING dips and cheeses to start us off.  I wish I could have eaten more of that!!  There was a spinach dip, a fruit cheese, veggie dip, and the one in the green dish with the crackers around it was my favorite and I can't even remember what it's called.

Then the feast of all feasts.  Oh wait...this isn't even everything because Sharon couldn't fit it all on the table.

2 different types of cranberry sauce because she wasn't sure how we liked it.  There's the sliced version and the chunky version.  In the middle is her homemade chow.

Of course there was TURKEY!!

I am NOT a sweet potato fan, but Sharon's were delicious!!!  Her secret??  Dr. Pepper!!  I didn't even know that you could get DP here, but you can.  She said I should hold out and not drink one from here because they aren't the same and they are super expensive!


Green bean casserole!!  YUM YUM

She had thought of everything that we might want. 

her homemade dressings!!

pumpkin soup.  I didn't get a chance to try this and I'm kind of sad about that, but maybe another time!

a fuzzy picture of the broccoli and cheese casserole!!

Homemade cole slaw that I am now IN LOVE WITH!!!

Homemade dressing with cranberries!!  She is sooo creative!!

Our desserts.  Sweet potato pie with almonds and since I don't like sweet potatos or nuts she made the banana pudding!!!  It was YUMMY!

Sharon did not ask us to bring anything.  1. Because we no longer have a kitchen in the Sheraton and 2. Because she wanted to treat us!!  So, Gary went and got her flowers as a "Thank You."  Ok Ok I asked him to get the flowers, but he did pick them out all by himself!

The one song I know on the piano.  The song from BIG.  Jonathan did the assisting.

Then Jonathan took over the piano playing and Firdouz (Douglas and Sharon's grandchild) and I danced!

Jonathan is the other guy from Nashville that is here working for the 6 months.

Of course we had to play the "face game" 

Most of the time I make a big fool of myself.  HA!!

She had all of her Christmas decorations up too! 

We also had story-time!

Firdouz was very intrigued by Gary's beard! 

He kept running back to touch it.

It was a great night and we are SOOOO THANKFUL that we were able to have a family invite us to celebrate this great holiday with them!! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Found a Treasure

For those of you who know me well, know that I tend to lose the back to my earrings on a regular basis. I wear straitght backed pearls just about EVERYDAY!!! Normally I have a little supply of backs at home for back-up. HAHAHAHA man I crack myself up!!!! Well, it seems as though I have left all of my backs in the states and have slowly been taking them from other earrings throughout my stay. While in India, I lost a back. Surprise Surprise. So, I cut a tip of Gary's eraser off of his pencil to suffice until I could get back to Malaysia and find some backs. By the way, that's not the first time I had done that. I can't remember if it was my grand idea the first time or not, but needless to say if you ever need an earring back an eraser is a GREAT substitute. Back to the topic at hand...So...when I got back to Malaysia, of course I didn't go right away to purchase some backs, but when I finally remembered, all the places I checked didn't sale them without earrings. Ergo, the eraser back has been quite the stand in. I have had to change it a couple of times due to loss (hmmm hmmm) or complete demolishment, but other than that I actually have come to the conclusion that the eraser will probably be a permenant part of my jewelry collection for the next few months.
I said all of that to say this...I found a treasure today!!! I was snooping around in our supply room and guess what I saw???!!!! A WHOLE BOX OF ERASERS!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not talking about the kind that is attached to a pencil, I'm talking full on, big chunk of eraser!!!

I promise I'm not a hoarder, but next time you think about throwing an eraser away, or even an old pencil with a good eraser, think of me!!  I'm sure that happens to you everyday right...HAHA JK!

Happy Erasing,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today is...

Today is Thanksgiving Day and...I'm at work!!! Even though we get the blessing of "celebrating" (that's in quotations because we have to work most holidays anyway) Malaysian holidays, it's quite hard to read this and that when I'm sitting at work not spending time with my family.

For the past few years my family has celebrated Thanksgiving the weekend before because of my dad's work schedule and this year was no different. They all cooked their favorite goodies and headed down south this past Saturday to celebrate one of my favorite holidays! The reason I love this holiday so much is because we spend it with my dad's side of the family. When my parents first got married they came up with the plan that Thanksgiving is spent with my dad's side and Christmas is with my mom's side. It has been quite the tradition, and since my dad's side lives further away from me now it seems that Thanksgiving is one of the only times I get to see all of them together. Just to give you an idea of what a Rowe/Bowen (Rowe is my dad's biological father's name, but Bowen is his step father, my Pawpaw's name) Thanksgiving is like. First, I will just name all of the people that fit into a small really isn't a small house, but when you get that many people stuffed in there it becomes small. We'll start from the top...

You can click on it to make it bigger, if you want

The last couple, Randy and Debbie, have been coming to our family Thanksgiving for years!! So, we just consider them part of the family. Normally, we add a few more bodies such as the Rices and some of my Grammy's friends from church. It is crowded and LOUD (Rowe means "to cause a disturbance" FYI), but it is what we know and love as Thanksgiving.

Friday night and Saturday morning I was calling family members all day to see what they were doing and getting them to describe what their houses smelled like. This Thanksgiving actually had it's trials because not only were Gary and I not there, my Grammy wasn't feeling well and so at the last minute Thanksgiving was moved from Montgomery, AL to Birmingham, AL. My Uncle Barry and Aunt Bridgett didn't make, Randy and Debbie didn't make it, Clint had class, my sister and Jared weren't able to go, and the list seriously goes on-and-on. SO....

After "making it through" the family thanksgiving I thought I was home free from feeling homesick during this particular holiday, but today it has hit me hard. I think it's the fact that everyone at home is off of work the next two days. We have been working like crazy and everyone is soooo exhausted and having a couple of extra days off right now sounds quite nice. On top of that, we are missing black friday. Now I know it might seem crazy to hear those words coming out of my mouth (I know mom), but last year my sister and I had SOOOOO MUCH FUN on black Friday!! We stood in line, we sprinted to get the last crock-pot, we made new friends (while standing in line), we pushed and shoved, we found great deals, and the best part of all we laughed A LOT!!!! Then it was off to my Aunt Karen's house to play games, even though we had just celebrated Thanksgiving with them the weekend before. My Aunt Karen has a tradition that she has game night at her house the Friday after Thanksgiving and just because we have been celebrating Thanksgiving the weekend before doesn't change the Friday night game night. Even if it's only our family that shows up again, we are just as loud and crazy! We do sometimes get some of my cousin's friends in the mix as well! The two week Thanksgiving celebration is always a big highlight to my year and this year I have to do without.
However, I am holding my head high and looking forward to March when my family has decided to have a mock Thanksgiving for our coming home party!! YAY bring on the turkey!! Hey, that means we will have 2 Thanksgivings next year!! WHOOOO HOOOO!!

Before I leave this post, I must mention that a couple here in Malaysia, Douglas and Sharon Lee have invited us over to their house tomorrow night to celebrate Thanksgiving. Even though it won't be like it is at home, we are extremely grateful and excited to have them as our family this year.
So, to those of you who are enjoying being with your family and loved ones this Thanksgiving, please don't take it for granted and enjoy every bite of that turkey and dressing!

Gobble Gobble,

P.S. Please keep in mind that this is only my side of Thanksgiving and now that I'm married we do celebrate Thanksgiving A LOT!!!! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Chinese Celebration

Even though we don't live in China (like some of my friends), we still get the priviledge of seeing a lot of their culture.  There are 3 major cultures that occupy Malaysia...Chinese, Indian, and Malay.  So, if you ever want to go somewhere that you can be very cultured, Malaysia is a great place!!

We were invited several weeks ago to a wedding celebration for Kin and Chrissy Lau's daughter, Rachel and her husband Weston.

I had been to a Chinese wedding reception the first week I was here (sorry never got around to blogging about it), but this one was completely different.  The other one was put on by the couple's church family, so it wasn't as elaborate as one that parents put on for their own children.  Rachel and Weston's gave us more of an idea of the traditional Chinese wedding reception.

YAMSING!!!  That is like Cheers in America.  After they did that on stage 3 times they then go around to each table (remember they had 27) and that table toasts them as well with YAMSING!!!  Everybody was just doing the same old thing, lets see who can hold it out the longest, lets see who can be the loudest.  Well, our table was the coolest of them all.  Instead of just holding Yam out loud and proud, we said, "Yam yam yam yam yam yam yam yam yam SING."  Oh yeah we were cool!!!  Gary and I even got recognized during Kin's speech because we came all the way from America.  Granted we didn't come all that way just for the wedding, but it just worked out that way. 

Rachel and Weston were actually married back in January.  However, since then they have had many celebrations for their unity.  They were first married at the courthouse (I think).  Then they had their American wedding, then this reception.  Thank goodness Gary only has to remember one anniversary!!! 


Us goofing off waiting on our ride to the wedding
I got that cute head band the day before!

Gary being silly.  I wanted to see if we could get a good shot of us with towers in the background from our room.

This is a red packet.  Instead of giving gifts, the Chinese just give red packets with money in them.  This was our very first one!  The traditional way to figure out how much money to give is depending on how much the family pays for the dinner.  You take the total it costs for a table and then divide that by each plate.

Gan and Christi - check out that slammin' shirt he got from the shop below our church building!

KC and Irene - KC is from Singapore and his family is actually still there while he is living here for 2 years for his job.  However, his lovely wife gets to come up and visit quite frequently which is plus for us!

Victor and Pearly.  This is the couple that first took me in!  They have 3 daughters.  One is already married and moved off.  We have met her, but the other two are precious and they have a little special place in my heart.

Sharon and Douglas and Zach.  It was very interesting the first time I met Zach because not only does he have an American mother, but he also went to Internatinal schools his whole life so he speaks very American (what I like to call it).  Sharon didn't even have to tell me which son was hers.  I already knew.  You know in America I wouldn't think anything about him sounding American, but because it's in Malaysia it seems really cool : ).  This is the familly we will be spending Thanksgiving with!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

When Life Throws You Lemons

We have all heard of the phrase, "When life throws you lemons, make lemonade."

This post was first supposed to be about those times when you are thrown rotten lemons.  What do you do?  What do you say?  What do you think?

However, today the lemons were revived and are fresh and yellow again.

So, here's the story...

Yesterday my account manager, Hafiz, pulled me into a room and broke the news that we were going to have to work on Sunday.  Well, that was just completely heartbreaking to me.  I almost started crying as he was talking.  However, I held my head high and tried not to say anything because if I did I would break out into tears.  He explained to me that we wouldn't be able to work on Saturday (which is when we usually work our weekend OT) because they were going to be working on our systems so that only leaves Sunday.  We are very behind in our work right now and if we don't take the extra time now it will only get worse later.  So, I begin to think you know it's just one Sunday, but really just one Sunday means a lot to me.  I was very upset when I got home last night and had to break the news to Gary because not only is it the Lord's Day, but he is starting his bible class lessons on SFT material.  Yes, I have heard it a thousand times, but you know what has become my favorite part about listening to it now?  People's reactions!  I love to see their faces when he points out things they have read over and over again and never thought of it that way.  I love to hear them chit chat about  the stories and how they can use these skills in their own life.  Most of all, I love to see people fall in love with SFT!  A third reason I need to be there is because I agreed to take the church member pictures this Sunday and next.  Not being there just throws the whole process another week behind.  So, how do you deal when you are thrown rotten lemons?

YOU PRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

This morning our other account manager, Rami, came to my desk and asked me to come with him to get my opinion.  I ran to get some water first and as I walked there and back I prayed that God would help me have the right words to say if the topic of Sunday came up.  I prayed that they would tell me it was cancelled or that possibly I didn't have to come in.  The reason I do have to come in is because the other guy who is here from Nashville is in Singapore this weekend and I am the only other one here to answer all of the questions.  So, if the overtime is still scheduled I have to be here.  Needless to say, that meeting had nothing to do with the overtime and so I felt like I had an unanswered prayer (even though I know God answers all of our prayers).  Later this afternoon, we had a meeting with the whole team and Hafiz told the whole team the reason they were having Sunday overtime was because of the IT work on Saturday.  However, they talked to the big dog and they decided that the Nashville and Dublin offices could handle everything and we wouldn't have to work over the weekend!!  WHAT!!???!!!  Did I just hear that???  Oh yes I did!!  Oh the power of prayer, it gets me everytime!

Say your prayers,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A little Mexican in Malaysia

At home, Gary and I are pretty regular Mexican eaters, especially when we are with Lee and Rachel : ).  I would say we eat Mexican, if not once a week, about every other week.  Since we have been in Malaysia we haven't had any...except for that one time when I made fajitas, but that was before Gary got here.

We were told there is a Mexican restaurant really close to our work.  While we were in India, the other Nashvillians checked it out.  They said it was legit.  So, this past Friday night we got a group together from work and hit up the local mexican restaurant.

It was quite interesting to see Malaysians running a mexican place, but hey if you got it you got it right?

They have several license plates from the states hanging on their wall.

Sweet Home Alabama!!  You can't really tell in this picture, but on the left side it says Hazel Green, AL!!

I was able to sign both of them.  Gary put a dot for Nashville (home of country music) and a dot for Murfreesboro and signed his name with an arrow pointing to Murfreesboro! 

So cute, but they looked like mug shots, so...

we had to do it!! 

The girls wanted to taste several different dishes so each of us got something different and just shared.  We had ordered appetizers and asked the server if we could keep our plates, but he was so goofy and brought us clean plates!  They were really cute kid plates!!

They were so entertaining at this restaurant!!  We will definitly be returning in the future near future!!

I think every other table in the restaurant had a birthday that night except ours...but there are 2 of us here who will celebrate our birthdays soon :).