Monday, June 18, 2007

Brahms and Shannon Attends Sac State

Academic Talent Search (ATS) allows young students to experience university instruction. Shannon and Brahms both passed the qualifying exam. Shannon is taking Neurobiology and Flash Animation. Last year she took Poetry and Chinese which she truly enjoyed. I believe that she would have taken other course this year if the schedule was not in conflict with our trip to Belize.

Brahms took a class in Flash animation and Cartooning. He is fascinated with computer animation and would like to do a lot more himself. We might have to buy the software that would allow him and Shannon to apply what they learned. It is quite expensive but we could get the student version for $200-$300.

Brahms at Ridgeview Park, 2007

He and Shannon had so much fun because they both took flash animation but at different schedules. It was good to see them discuss things which both of them knew or learned from the same day.
Yesterday, we got their grades and they were all excellent and that their teachers made very encouraging remarks. Shannon is going to talk to their school councellor to see how her points earned from ATS classes will apply to her high school requirements.

Tim is Back From Asia

Tim was gone for two weeks as he travelled to Beijing and then to Tokyo and Osaka. He was travelling with Guarav who is a vegetarian and doesn't like sushi. Needless to say it was difficult to find a place to eat with him.

When Tim travels he makes it a point that he calls me everyday, emails Shannon and Brahms and entertains Miriam on the Instant Messanger at night. That way we get to know what is going on with him on that day and vice versa. One time I was talking to him on the phone and surprised he tells me that there is a man, outside his hotel room, cleaning his window.

For his Starbucks mug collection he brought one from Osaka and another one from LA. Unlike his last trip to Taiwan he did not forget the mugs in the plane this time. It seems that Starbucks is coming up with more colorful designs these days. For his children he brought them some mini teddy bears from the hotel in Beijing. He brought me some green tea but I think that he does not know how to buy good tea.

One thing that he does when he comes back from a trip is to tell me of the unusual food that he had and if he likes one thing then he would try to make it and have me try what he had. I'm sure it is not the same as what a professional chef would make but it gives me an idea. This time he tried an omelette with cheese, turkey and rice as the filling. It is very Asian but I would have never thought of putting rice in there. It was good.

He siad that in Japan it is considered rude to talk on your cell phone in public. Text messaging is acceptable. Also carrying your food is alright but eating it while walking is not. This reflects the lifesyle that they live in Japan.

Now that he is back I don't have to make my coffee again. I feel at home again.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Belize It or Not

Our family is going on a missions trip to Belize! Tim and I have decided that we would do something different this year. Instead of a pleasure trip for the summer it will be service-oriented. It will be educational, full of history, adventure and even fun.

STEM (Short-Term Evangelical Missions) is one of the few organizations that would take a six-year old girl, like Miriam, to be a misssionary. Yes, she is the youngest in the team. During our orientation last week she was asked to say something about herself and reason for going. She was very confident when she responded. "My name is Miriam. I have a big house... I want to go to Belize because I want others to know about God". We didn't teach her.

Everyone is getting ready: Shannon is polishing her skill in playing the flute. It should not be too hard since she has been in the award-winning Camerado Springs Concert Band; Brahms is collecting all props for a puppet show to teach kids about the parables of Jesus. He is a pro in this area being an active member of the puppeteering group in Cornerstone. Miriam is reading a lot about Belize. Tim is preparing a couple of sermons and devotional topics. He has done all the logistics of this trip from getting our fees and air tickets paid to getting a visa for me. He checks the weather in Belize everyday so we could get accustomed to it. My job is easy: Telling my family about life in a tropical third world country. This includes food (quantity and kind), humidity, temperature, lack of air conditioning, insects or bugs, people, etc. I'm also in the process of making mosquito nets for us to bring. Having slept under one for almost all my life in the Philippines, I know that mosquito nets work well as a barrier between me and mosquitos, centipedes and even cockroaches.

We will soon be asking friends and relatives to start praying for us and our team.

School Year is Over

Shannon finished 8th grade with honors. She did really well and I am very proud of her. Next year she will say Hello to Oakridge High School. Brahms will be going to 7th grade, still in Camerado Springs. Miriam will be in 2nd grade at Brooks Elementary. Three children in three different schools. What a year it will be?!

In the mean time we had to celebrate for all of them having done well during the past school year. Last Wednesday (May 30) we hosted a party where Shannon invited some of her 8th grader friends, Brahms invited his 6th grader friends and Miriam invited Erich, her special friend. There were a lot of fun things to do: LAN games, xbox, ddr, air hockey, pillow fights, chatting and eating.Tim was incharge of grilling ribs and tri-tip steak. The food was good overall. It was a very successful party. All three of them were really happy at the end of the day. Brahms hugged me several times to thank me for making the party possible. Shannon was all smiles as she remembered all the events that went on.

We thank God for the children He has given us. They are good kids. May he continue to guide and protect them.