Thursday, August 31, 2017

First Day Of College 2017

Here she is... Ready to take on the World!!  All the best to you Marz!! xo

Hillsdale - Moving In

Main Campus Building

As you may have read in my previous post, we finally made it to Hillsdale Friday night, August 25th. Marz wanted to show Brandei the campus ASAP, so we went for a walk about.  We really didn't make it very far, only to the dorm, because as we arrived the head dorm mom asked if we wanted to move Mersades' stuff in right away.  We thought why not?  Get it out of the way of everyone else moving in and of course clearing out the car to fit in more shopping!

This is a sweet picture of Marz and Brandei, walking back to the car, having a little chit chat.

This is the only picture I have of moving in... Thankfully Brandei took it to post on Facebook with the caption, "Any guesses as to what an 18 year old girl has in this box??? And it's going in her dorm room???"

We did get everything unpacked and livable Saturday and part of Sunday.

The answer to what was in the box... :D  A girl after my own heart!! :)

Outdoor area between the two wings.  I think I would love sitting out here!  Lucky girls!

Then it was time for Freshman Convocation.  This was a special event and one where I really wish Chris was there for.  All Freshmen took a pledge to "commit ourselves to diligent study and patient reflection.  Having come to learn, we are proud to do so with integrity and will conduct ourselves with exemplary honor.  As sacrifices past and present make possible our education, we too become stewards of this College for the generations yet to come.  We pledge ourselves to the pursuit of truth, the love of the good, and the cultivation of beauty, for the sake of our minds and hearts and for the ennobled society.  By so doing, we embrace the high calling of liberal education."

Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, addressing the Freshmen.

Then it was time to say good-bye.  The Freshman were wisked away to go meet with their advisers and then enjoy a dinner.

This was after the tears... Thank goodness for Photo Shop!! ;)

We had to come up with a name for Brandei to explain her existence...  I'm not 100% positive, but almost, we were the only "alternative" family.  So we came up with a name for Brandie. Introducing...

The Step-in-mom.
Thankfully, Brandei will be there for Marz when I am unable.  I am indebted for life!!  I say that with all sincerity and a tear in my eye... Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

One last shot of the Fabulous Three!

And then TROUBLE  returned and tried to get me drunk... When pigs fly... ;)

One was enough for me, but TROUBLE just couldn't resist!
That's my story and I'm sticking to it! ;)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Road Trip!

This may have been the road trip of the decade... The BIG college move!!  

We, Chris and I, decided to let Marz take my car to school so she could "practice" her driving.  After all, she is almost 19, and has only driven a total of six months in her whole life.  Her only chance for driving is in the summer when we come home from Asia. So the only way to get the car to school is have a GIRLS ROAD TRIP!!!

So we loaded up the car with pretty much everything Marz owns and my stuff to leave to go back home to Tembagapura.  The car was FULL!! and we haven't even started shopping!!  But I wasn't too concerned because my stuff for Indo was going to be dropped off at my sisters to be picked up at a later date...  My stuff was three suitcases... ;)

Believe it or not, but we got it all stuffed in the car!!  But we still have a minor problem... Where are we going to put "TROUBLE"?  More to come on that...

Day 1... To Omaha, NE we go...

On our way to Omaha, we stopped by South Dakota State U to visit my niece, who had just started school that day.

Then we stopped for lunch at a burger joint.  You see, our intention was not to eat at any chain restaurant and only find mom and pop joints, but we kinda failed at that... At this burger joint, we splurged and got a burger and milk shake!  I was on a sugar high, so we got back in the car and headed down the highway.

Marz looks way better at this straw drinking picture thingy... ;)

After the sugar high, the crash always comes and I was getting tired... But remember, my almost 19 year old hasn't driven much, and I wasn't sure she was ready for 80 mph down the interstate... We decided that we would take the "back roads" to get to Omaha.  So, Marz ended up in the drivers seat! Heaven help me!! ;) 

Another great plan of ours was to stop at EVERY one of these historical markers along side the road! We stopped at one!  It was boring!  We never stopped again!! LOL!!

Then Marz found this Swedish Heritage Center.  It was locked.

She tried to break in! ;)

We are now in small town Nebraska.  I'm sure everyone knows everyone in this town... which explains why we had sooooo many people staring at us as they drove by.  I guess it could be, just maybe, because there were two blondish gals walking around the streets with big hair... maybe... ;)

Onwards we drive...  We are still about an hour ++ from Omaha and Marz is still driving...  All I am going to say is that I am alive and well today writing this blog!  We made it! ;)  Actually Marz did quite well driving in a LARGE city for the very first time!

Now why did we go south through Omaha?  Well, for a few reasons. 
1.  I did not want to drive through Minneapolis or Chicago
2.  We needed to find TROUBLE in Des Moines
3.  There was an Outlet Mall in Omaha and Marz and I had an extra day before we could pick up TROUBLE.  So why not??  ;)

As I wrote before, we had to drop my stuff off at my sisters.  Why we had to do this is so we fit TROUBLE in the car with us... Well after a day of shopping, we pretty much filled up TROUBLES spot...

Sorry!  No room for you!! ;)

Ok, true story, we stuffed and we stuffed all that shopping in every crack and crevice in that car so we could pick up TROUBLE Wednesday morning!!

TROUBLE found us!!

Most people know TROUBLE as my sister.  She joined us to help with the driving and the big move to school... That and to hold my hand... ;)

Now we are on our way to our next pit stop. Antique Archeology. aka American Pickers

Have to say, this was anticlimactic... :(  It's cool to see some of the different parts of the show, but there wasn't a whole lot of antiques to view and the place was smaller than it looks on TV.

Marz, that is a great model shot if I've ever seen one... ;)

Now, I am pretty sure this shirt was made for us and became the theme of our Road Trip! LOL!!!

Onward to South Bend!  We decided to make this a stop on the Road Trip because we were going to stay at a retirement community, I Kid You Not!!, to "save" our money!  Yes, laughable because the only other thing we have done on the road is SHOP!! Brandei's husband runs these retirement homes, which is why we had a "free" room. 

Well, well, well.  Guess what???  When we got to South Bend, around 7 pm, we found a shopping center on our way to Primrose (retirement home)!  And we SHOPPED!!  We closed the stores down!!  Now since it was after 10 at night, we decided we probably shouldn't stay in our "free" room, because we would have had to walk through the memory care unit, or something like that, and we probably would have made enough noise to wake everyone up. Sooooo we found a hotel and drove through the worse part of town to get there!!  I tell you!! ;)

The next day we were to get up and go visit Notre Dame and be in Hillsdale around noon.... well....  Did I tell you TROUBLE and Marz like to shop???  Well, they like to be tourists too!  Our "ok, lets only do two hours here and then go shopping" turned into about four hours at Notre Dame and then lunch and then MORE shopping!!  

Notre Dame was pretty cool.  ;)

Trying to get a pic with the three of us and "Touchdown Jesus" in the picture.  I tell you no one, NO ONE was staring at us!! Freaks!! ;) lol!

Random ducks...

No one was staring at us here either!  We really need a selfie stick!

Brandei doing what she does...

A guy offered to take our photo...  We finally got one without having a head chopped off!

What Marz wanted to see...

Other random pictures...

Remember we were doing shopping after Notre Dame.  Marz had to travel like this for a bit...  Well, actually not really... we had a second car at this point!! LOL!!  Again, not kidding!!

We finally get to Hillsdale, check into the hotel, and decide to walk around.  Well the hotel is not far from Marz's dorm, so we walk down there to check it out.  The dorm mom was there and asked if we wanted to move Marz's stuff in that night.  So we did.

Then we went to Walmart...  Will it fit in the car?? Of course... The story of our Road Trip!!

We finally got to bed Friday night at midnight.  We had arrived!! :D

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Landslide 2017

It is bound to happen just because of the environment in which we live.  We live at 6500 feet with steep mountains all around.  We get an average of 300+ inches of rain a year.

Last Tuesday night, Papua Indonesia time, I was chatting with Chris, he was using FaceTime on his computer, when the power went out...  Chris calls me back on his phone and remarks that there is a massive downpour going on.  I told him I had heard that they were getting a lot of rain because Gabby was sending me messages from Malaysia.  Gabby was telling me that water was knocking on the apartment door of her roommate Ty's house in HiddenValley.  After Chris and I chatted for a few minutes longer, just before hanging up, Chris says that they are now having an earthquake.  In my dry humor tone of voice I commented, "Or maybe a landslide..." He says.... Maybe...  I then suggest he get out of bed and go stand on the balcony to see if he can see anything...

Then I don't hear from him...  I truly figured he fell asleep. It's been known to happen.....

A little while later, I get this picture from him.

I guess he went out and did a little recon...

Then I get a message that the bridge at HR is gone, from a massive landslide.  I reply, "Good!  That bridge needed to be gone a long time ago..." Well, we were talking about two different bridges...  He was talking about a heavy equipment/light vehicle bridge at the back of HR and I was talking about a walking bridge in front of HR.

Then I don't hear from him again for a while...

After a couple hours, I finally get a message from him...  "Just got home, the front of the school's parking lot is blown out!"  Then I ask him if water got in the school...  Nothing... Radio silence...

I actually messaged a friend that stuff was going on and what Chris wrote about the parking lot being blown out... My exact comments were, "Maybe and exaggeration.... Maybe not...."   I really thought he was exaggerating or he meant "blown out" as in a lot of water was in the parking lot.

Chris' message the next morning, "4.5 inches of rain yesterday.  I will get water restored today."

Then again nothing....  Then I start getting pictures...

It's going to be difficult to explain what is what in these pictures, I will try to do my best...

I made a map from a photo I had taken a while ago on the chopper...  It's quite zoomed in, so not the best quality...  I should also say the flow of the water would be from the bottom of the photo to the top.  So the top of the photo is actually down the mountain.

The National and International Schools.  From the front door of the schools was a parking lot and then stepped down to a sidewalk, that ran along side, and then along side the sidewalk was a road.  On the side of the road closest to the river was a rock wall.  Now gone!  In the place, one massive void!

Where the eroded part is by the walking bridge (this is not the one I was talking about earlier) was a small parking lot, fit about 8 vehicles.  That's gone too!  It was connected to the road that fell away also.

A view up stream.  The school is to the left of the picture.

This is an arial photo, of the mess in front of the school, I pulled off FB...

Standing on the same bridge as two pics above but looking as if you were going to cross the bridge.

A view from the same bridge going down stream.  Do you see where the railing is???  There WAS a sidewalk there that when I'm on site, I walk on every. single. day. Two, three, or four times a day!  Gone!

Moving to another part of town....  This area is upstream of the school.  I'm guessing it's where most of the debris from the landslide deposited itself.

If you look closely, just above where the track hoe is buried/upside down, where the green pipes are bent around, that is where we once had a road, a little bridge across the river.  There was also a sidewalk with rails... you can see the cream-ish rails bent around buy the tree in the center...  The greenish poles in the picture used to be our driving range and now is/was a bus parking lot.

I'm not even sure...  I think where the dump trucks at the orange bus are is the bus parking lot.

A closer view of the no longer sidewalk and the track hoe.

Bus parking

Standing on the sidewalk across from the hospital.  You can see the bridge that crossed over to the school and that small parking lot.

Looking back upstream.  I'm pretty sure that is our food supply warehouse.  Thank heavens that is not gone!!

Back to the school.  Chris was standing on the bridge that crosses over to the school and hospital.

I believe these next pictures were taken from Chris office window in Tembagapura.  Just above the green pipe was the bridge/road.  The muddy mess was flow into the back of HR's parking.  It did take out a few buildings there!  But most importantly, the DHL container is still sitting there!!!

You can see what's left of the river, it's quite full, and the bus parking lot is over where the green poles are to the left of the pic

Just a little more down...

I really do not know what this is...  I think it's by the bus parking... but I could be wrong.

So that's the massive destruction that can be caused and was caused by a landslide, and this was only Tembagapura!  Hidden Valley, two miles up the road, is also a mess.  Sorry, I don't have any pictures of that.  I do know many ground floor apartments have major mud and water damage. The most unfortunate event was, one life lost, and another is still not accounted for.  Mother nature is a force to be reckoned with.

However, we Tembagapurians are tough and we will fight back.  It's not the first time... we have been through three landslides in town in the last 7.5 years... nor will it be the last.  One thing that you can guarantee that will come out of a disaster like this is that the camaraderie and the fortitude that we have, will always be shown!  We are all a family there and when things are needing to get done, the best in people always come out.  We see this with every disaster!  We are special people on that mountain.  We may have our problems, but we also know that when things get tough, we Tembagapurians are tougher.  We will mourn the loss of life.  We will clean up. We will rebuild.    We will depend on each other.  And we will keep being a family!  Because what disasters do in Tembagapura is bring us together.

The clean up has already begun. It started immediately!

Water and power have been restored.  They are digging out the river and building back up the banks.  Chris was out yesterday morning taking pictures for me...

I wasn't there, but my friends and family were.  I am so proud of everyone pulling together and doing what needed to be done in a great time of trial!  Keep your heads up, because tomorrow we will rebuild and shine, one more time!