Puppy Love

We’ve got it bad.

Last night, we welcomed Albus Carnell (nerd alert: great wizard, great running back) into the Gregory fam. So far, we are of the opinion that he is pretty much the greatest puppy in the history of puppies.

Exhibit A: Albus taking on Teeny Weeny. (Teeny Weeny is the name of a very popular adult clothing brand featuring, you guessed it, a teeny weeny teddy bear. You can’t make this stuff up.)

Albus is an Airedale Terrier, so he is hypoallergenic and we are told he will grow up to be a very big dog. Half of me is really excited about this (what fun we will have!) and half of me is terrified (apartment life + large dog… well, we all know what trouble that could be).

All I can say, for now, is: we loves him.

P.S. Qingers, we still miss you!

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Home

“I could not quiet that pearly ache in my heart that I diagnosed as the cry of home.”

–Pat Conroy

As of today, we’ve lived in East Asia for one whole year. It’s a joyful thing. I’m thankful, glad, love our life. But sometimes, some mornings, as I hover over my cup(s) of coffee stalking Blogland and Facebook and wedding photos (thanks, Keri)–it’s bittersweet. I miss America. I miss our families. I miss summer in the South and even more than that I miss autumn in the South. I miss weddings and babies and parties and friends in my life stage and Bible Study and  tailgating weather and, oh yeah, church. I miss our families. I miss old friends (phone calls are far too infrequent and sometimes just not enough).

So, indulge me, just for a moment. Here are a few of the things I’ve been most sad, this year, to miss.

This wedding. (Among others.)

These kids.

Along with their parents, grandparents, and aunt and uncle, of course.

This engagement. (Although–praises!–we’ll be home for two weeks in October to see the wedding go down. Ahem. More on that later.)

That crazy Farnsworth family.

This football game (I know, I know).

But let me stop this pity party. Last week, I took my new friend Cat to Metro (the German superstore where we buy Western essentials). In the cab home, we talked about bloglust and contentment and life in Asia, which sometimes seems so so far away from everyone and everything. There are things we miss–rituals and conveniences and mostly people. Over here, we don’t cut down our own Christmas trees. We can’t go home for dinner or the weekend or even holidays. Friends move on with their lives and we miss moments and entire life stages. We’re here, now, and putting down roots, but those roots do not (cannot, due to my native tongue and culture and skin color) grow down as easily as those planted in Chattanooga or Birmingham or Wherever, Southeast USA. The background is too different, the lifestyle too transitory. Life here is not idyllic. But, Cat reminded me, it’s not there, either.

What am I trying to say? That God is good. That our home, really and truly, is not in this world. That, as Paul wrote, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Our satisfaction and strength must come from Christ–all other wells run dry. Oh, that I could remember and believe this truth! He is enough. My home is in him, and no where else. The yearning that wells up in my heart is, indeed, “the cry of home.” Home, you see, is not here. But it is not there either. It’s ahead.


Crafty

Also known as reasons why my husband is awesome.

As you all know, we’ve just moved. Some new friends will be moving into our old apartment and, although we packed up most of our stuff, we left some behind, including our kitchen table and chairs. For years, Michael has wanted to try his hand at woodworking (his grandfather was quite the carpenter) and this was the perfect chance. So, once our stuff was semi-unpacked Michael started his mission. Finding wood was the first step. Although there’s some sort of small home-improvement shop on every corner, the only thing we’d ever seen in those was plywood. Undeterred, Michael managed to find a lumberyard about 20 minutes away from our house and had them deliver these boards.

Step one: find materials. Check!

Thanks to the magic of the Internet (and his own good sense) he was able to figure out what kind of supports a farmhouse table would need…

…and successfully added legs.

Hooray! It stands!

After sanding it down, the last step was staining the wood (surprisingly hard to find and seriously strong), waiting for it to dry (it’s hard to be patient when you’re this excited about something), and moving it inside. Y’all, it is heavy!

Doesn’t it look great?

So, so happy with how it turned out and so proud of Michael for making it happen. Definitely my favorite place in our apartment.

On another note… I got the chairs at the junk/secondhand market in town and want to figure out some way to make the light wood on the seat and back work with the table.  Sand it down and spray paint it? We don’t have any more of the wood stain, by the way. Hmmm.


(re)Settling

I didn’t mention on the blog that we’ve moved, did I? Well, um, yes, we’ve moved. Not so far, just about an hour down the road to a new part of town.

There are some major pluses to our new place, the one we’re most excited about being the bathroom. It’s glorious. A real tub that doesn’t leak water all over the floor every time you use it, no naked lady tiles (a prominent feature in our old place), and, best of all, brand new plumbing that’s strong enough to let us flush our toilet paper. That’s right, we couldn’t flush TP in the old place. Had to toss it in the trash. Ewww…. I promise it’s just as gross as it sounds.

Anyway, the last several days have been busy with moving and cleaning and trying to figure out the new area where we live. Moving is an interesting beast wherever you live but, in my completely impartial opinion, it’s even more of an “adventure” overseas. Although we can speak the language, we’re still not fluent and the dictionary never gives exact equivalents for things like wood stain (spent three hours this morning hunting that down–even once you know how to say it, of course it’s only available in a different part of town). And I can’t find simple things, like a dish drying rack, anywhere close to home probably because I just don’t know where to look.

Things take longer. And that’s OK. It’s just a matter of adjusting expectations and remembering that this is not my country and no one else is playing by my rules. Which in some aspects is a good thing because, as I’m regularly reminded by everyone–moving guys, random workers, you name it–the rules in my country lead to out-of-control spending and living standards well beyond my means. (“Americans just love to swipe-swipe-swipe those credit cards,” one guy told me today.) Thanks for noticing, guys. I feel the same.


Where In the World?

We’ve been MIA for a while, and that is partly because of this! We’ve hit the road again (Thailand, glorious land of fruit shakes and sunshine) and only just got home yesterday afternoon. Sleeping in our own bed was heavenly. Lounging in our pajamas was heavenly. Having fresh coffee this morning was heavenly. Unfortunately, this was all offset by a major downside: getting home to no water.

Oh, well. Living here you get used to such things happening occasionally and it should be coming back on sometime this morning. In the meantime, here are a few photos from our travels.