15 June 2008

Goede reis, George and Mery!

This week has been full! Monday was a big day, as it was the day that our dear friends were leaving for Holland.

They had spent the last week in IDC (Immigration Detention Center), so it was such a happy occasion to see them get out and prepare for their new lives, yet it was sad to say goodbye. While they were in IDC, I went with a few other women in our ward to visit them and take them fresh water, produce, and some other things they can’t get there. I’ve now been to IDC several times to visit the Dhakal family (see here) and take them their regular supply of things from the ward. Although it hurts my heart every time I come through security and first see this family looking through the fences, it was extra hard to see my friend, Mery, behind the fence for the first time. To give you an idea of how this goes, you have to fill out an application, wait 30 min. for visiting hour, check your things, get patted down (more than I ever have been before), they look through everything you’ve brought in for the inmates, then you can go through to a fenced area, where you are on one side, there’s a few feet, then another fence, where they are on the other side. We are pretty much yelling through the fence and empty space, trying to talk over, and ignore everyone else around us. It’s a little bit of a challenge. Jeff has left sometimes with a sore throat for having to talk so loud for so long. So, while Mery and her family were in IDC, four of us went together so she and her husband could come out, as well as Bro. and Sis. Dhakal. This is pretty much the only time men and women get to see each other. They were happy to be back together, and we got to hear about how they are doing and what else they needed. We had told the two families about each other, and were happy that they had found each other and seemed to be helping each other out, despite their cultural differences. The Dhakals are now waiting and we’re all praying they will be accepted by New Zealand soon. If not, they have nowhere else to go. They’ve been in there for more than a year now. That really isn’t a place where anyone should live. It was hard enough on George and Mery for just a week! They both lost weight, and Diran, their son, wouldn’t eat anything but a little bread and the curry their Sri Lankan friends sent in with us for them. So, moving on… it was a happy occasion for me to go to the airport to be able to say a proper goodbye. Not through bars, but with a hug!

They had quite the fan club at the airport to see them off! I found them around 9pm, and got to meet all their Sri Lankan friends. I loved seeing how many good people they had met while living here. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so “white” in my life! When I first arrived, they all just smiled and stared at me, and took LOTS of pictures. I felt like I was getting passed around to get pictures with each different family, sometimes adding or taking away one or two people for another shot. Now I know what Jane feels like! Lucky for you, all those pictures were with their cameras! Here's just some of them.

We have loved this family and are SO happy that they are able to start their new lives in Holland!

Other fun news… we bought a new table this week! Our apartment came furnished, so very little in it is actually ours. They make fantastic furniture here though, and we’ve been working on doing this one since November when we were in Chiang Mai! So, it finally happened, and after many, many calls between this company and Jeff’s friend at work, we finally got it all finished and delivered! We were happy to send this one away with all these “love marks”. Anyone want to guess what those BIG scrapes are from? Think Jane… and teething.

We’re loving having a new shape in our dining area, and when we have company…voila! It has a butterfly leaf and can seat 10!

I mentioned last week about Jack sleeping in his bed. Well, floor bed, in his room. His reward was to go see Kung Fu Panda this weekend. He thought it was the best, and he and Janie were Kung Fu–ing all weekend. I thought it was fun, but hoped it would be as good as Horton Hears a Who. It wasn’t.

The Preens invited us to the British Family Fun fair yesterday and we really had a great time! It was a totally free event, in conjunction with the library’s used book sale. So, we bought some great used children’s books, then enjoyed a fun afternoon doing everything the kids could fit in!

Jack, Jane, and Scarlett spent a lot of time on the huge blow up castle slide. I didn’t get a good picture of them on it, but it was TALL and I was shocked at how effortlessly Jane could go up and down with no fear! I guess she just wanted to keep up with the big kids! They LOVE that, but we realized after we got home, they didn’t get off without injury! The both had some serious friction wounds from playing so hard.

Jack was loving the games. He threw some balls (and he was awesome!) and knocked the coconut off the stand, and guess what he won?

A coconut! What does a little boy do with a big coconut? I know what my boy did. He gave it back, and moved onto the next game!

Meanwhile, this is what Jane found...

Jack was awesome at the darts. He hit 3 balloons with his 3 darts! He was loading up on all kinds of prizes we'll throw out in a week!

And Jane loved...

Jack's favorite was the rock wall. It didn't surprise me he was fascinated by it, but it did surprise both Jeff and me that he really did it! He was an incredible climber (of course, I shouldn't be surprised at that!), but this is different than bookshelves and counter tops. He got about half way up, and then realized how high he was and was done. But, he loved it and did it 2 more times! He was so pleased with himself!

And Jane found another one! Notice the brand on the jailbird's shoes. What is this implying exactly?

Heather and Jim were really hoping to see a real American Cowboy get on the mechanical bull. Jeff wasn't quite up for it, so Jack was a good second! He got a kick out of this at first, but apparently it wasn't thrilling enough, and lost interest before he got bucked off.

Jane's always been one to imitate things so we know what she's talking about. This is her imitating herself in a picture we took a while back. I love the shape of her cheeks and chin. Anybody else just want to eat her up?

Jane is in this position a LOT lately when I go to check on her before I go to bed. I used to move her out of it, but now realize she is pretty comfortable like that. Crazy.

In addition to it being American Father's Day, today was also a special day because Elder Mortensen came back to visit! He and his parents arrived Friday, and we were so happy to see them at church today! We knew he'd be coming back soon, but were so happy it was on a day where we could easily have them over for a meal and a visit. We loved this Elder, and it was fun to catch up with him and get to know his parents who, we weren't surprised to find out, were fantastic! Jack immediately took to Margaret, and told her way more about our family than anyone would ever want to know (kind of how you feel when you read my blog, I'm sure)! He also insisted on playing his violin for us during dinner. Who's going to complain about some nice dinner music? He's been working so hard on his violin and is very pleased to share his new songs!

We felt so honored to be able to have Alex (although it feels weird to call him that) and his parents over during their short stay. He had many amazing experiences here on his mission, and it was fun to hear even more about his favorite memories now that he's been home for a few months. (Anybody else feel like we have SO many photos in this setting? Gotta love that camera timer!)

Although it wasn't a super relaxed Father's Day for my sweet hubby, he was such a great sport about it! He was so helpful with the company, the kids, and he even taught the Elders Quorum lesson today. Can I just say that my husband is amazing? He doesn't get nearly enough credit for all he does. He's a super dad, through and through. He can fix anything, tell the best stories, knows all kinds of random trivia, and has never-ending patience. One thing I've appreciated more now than ever, is his ability to keep his priorities straight. He provides for this family temporally and spiritually. There's no doubt, he takes his role as a father very seriously. What more could a family ask for?

Happy Father's Day to my two wonderful Dads! I love you both and couldn't have hand-picked better Fathers to raise Jeff and me. We both love you dearly.


Malia said...

Still love reading your blog each week...even though thinking about the IDC makes me so sad. I'm glad people have your family there.

Team Hanni said...

That IDC place sounds just awful! I'm sure it is really tough to see friends suffer through that. You are wonderful friends!!!

Bevany said...

You are probably sick of my comments, but I'm going to leave another one anyways. You guys pack a lot into a week! The IDC sounds absolutely horrible. I don't think I could visit a place like that. Your kids seriously are way too cute. Love the pics of Jane in the cut outs. Love the fact that Jack plays the violin. Do you teach him yourself? Sorry for the novel...you guys are such a cute family!

Mimi and Papa in Provo said...

Mindy, your post was so newsy and full of photos, I LOVED IT. Sometimes we feel so far away from you loved ones; but when we read the blog we feel very close. Thanks for doing such a wonderful job on it. Having the missionary return with his parents reminded me of the absolutely fantastic time we spent with Jesse in Mexico with the dear sweet people that loved him while he served the Lord. All is status quo here. Jo is mending from her back problems and we haven't even visited an ER this week!!! Now that is a good week. We love you, Mom

Mimi and Papa in Provo said...

I like Janie with her legs up in the air. This is really good for her legs! NO BLOOD CLOTS!!! :-)