Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Farewell Dinner

Our last night was spent at a friend's house. Sister Niem from our ward wanted to make us a farewell dinner. There were a few people that were invited.
Dinner was delicious as always, but I was feeling a lot of mixed emotions. I was sad to leave.
Everyone was going gaga over Jayce. He's was eating up all the attention.
It was a nice night. We had fun and ate WAY too much. Sister Niem always makes tons of food. Eventually we had to leave. We couldn't stay out too late because the kids and I were flying out early the next morning.

As we drove home, I was sighing internally. Who knows if I'll ever see Vietnam again? I will miss this place. I will remember with fondness the millions of motorbikes, the humidity, the ever flowering plumeria trees, all the palm trees, the numerous shops selling random things, the millions of quirky things and of course the amazing people we were privileged to meet.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Saying Goodbye to People Who Helped Us So Much

Before we left Vietnam, we had to get pictures taken with Hang and Duc. They are people who've helped us so much.
When I had to say goodbye to Hang I started getting choked up. She was more than just my housekeeper, she was my friend too.
Our life in Vietnam would have been full of a lot more frustration if not for both of these people. Hang was absolutely indispensable to me. She helped me with so many thing.
Duc was pretty indispensable to Sean. The fact that he spoke such good English and knew the roads so well was a great help.
We will miss them and all the help they gave us. We wish them good luck in finding a new job and whatever new endeavors the search for.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Carrrrrific Birthday

Terryn got invited to a birthday that was today. For the last few days I've been telling him about Cooper's birthday. He was really excited about it. The party's theme was race cars.
We entered through their gate and saw this pretty spectacular contraption in their driveway. Along side it was a "road". We got to find out what all this was for about 30 minutes later.
In the meantime, Terryn had fun playing with all his friends from school. He road on bikes, jumped on the trampoline, ate some food and played on their jungle gym. Then the kiddos put on their swim suits.
The fancy contraption was a car wash.
The kids would ride their bikes through the car wash and get wet by the streams of water, the sponges or the fabric. 
 I think the kid car wash was just about THE COOLEST PARTY IDEA EVER!!!!
 The kids kept going around and around and around in it. They had so much fun.
Some of the kids had some problems turning and they'd knock loose one of the pipes. Some of the parents worked "pipe duty" where they kept connecting the pipes as they'd come apart. It kept them on their toes.
At some point Sean took one of the sponges and started scrubbing Terryn with it. Terryn thought this was great and it started a trend with the other kids.
 It was hilarious to watch the kids scrubbing themselves through the car wash.
 The kids played in the water for a long time.
 Then it was snack time and time for cup cakes.
 Everybody sang happy birthday to Cooper who was turning 3.
 Then Cooper, or rather his sisters, blew out the candles.
 Terryn enjoyed licking the icing off his cupcake.
 
We really had a great time at Cooper's party. I was really sad that I didn't get to know Cooper's parents earlier. I really liked meeting Kelly, his mom. She was awesome. I could have seen us being good friends. Sigh... I will miss it here.
Kelly gave all the kids a parting gift. There were a few car toys inside and then an awesome custom T-shirt. Seriously?! How rockin' is that?!!! I think this was probably one of the best kid's parties I have ever been to.... EVER! Don't be mad Kelly if I steal your idea for some future get-together.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Brother in Pajamas

The other day I was buying some clothes for the kids. 
I happened upon some PJs in sizes for both Terryn and Jayce that were the same. It's difficult to find PJs here anyway so I jumped all over that.
When I showed Terryn that both him and Jayce had the same PJs, he giggled and got excited. So last night we had them wear them.
They were being so cute together. Terryn was playing with his GeoTrax and Jayce was watching with such interest. It was adorable. Then Terryn wanted to hold "Baby Base", so I grabbed my camera and had him hold the baby.
Terryn kept doing his cheeser smile and holding Jayce's face all weird, but I managed to get a few decent shots of them.
Jayce has been standing on his own for awhile now. Sean said that last night he actually got up to a standing position from a squat all by himself and without holding on to anything.
I told my mom that he's probably going to start walking while we're staying with her. Then, nothing will be safe. This little guy likes to get into everything! But he sure is cute!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Changed again

Wow. For those of you who've been following the blog... I guess you've been on the roller coaster ride along with us. We keep flip-flopping between places and it hasn't been entirely our fault.

I want to say that THIS place is for sure, but I've already been made a liar twice with that statement. So Hong Kong is OUT. Now... what we think is for sure is New York/ New Jersey. We will have a brief stay in the Seattle area to arrange our affairs and then it's off to find housing in probably the New Jersey area near Newark.

This whole process of moving and trying to find a job has been excruciatingly painful. We've been so stressed out. All this uncertainty has definitely taken it's toll. We're literally leaving the country in 7 days and haven't finished packing. I'm kinda mad now because Sean changed his mind about having movers pack our stuff. I've wasted money and a LOT of time packing up stuff... that in fact I didn't need to pack. I could have spent that time saying goodbye to friends or researching places to live.

Once we're settled into our new place and with Sean working in his new job... I'll finally believe that this madness is over. I feel like the universe has been conspiring against us in someway so it's hard for me to let my guard down now and think we're safe. The saddest part is I'm afraid the horrendous events of the last 5 months will somehow jade the awesome and epic time we've spent here. We've had such a great time living overseas. Unfortunately the bureaucracy totally messed things up for us a couple times and made things SUPER complicated when it didn't have to be.

So I guess I can stop packing and try to relax. And maybe keep Terryn from packing himself up in a box...

We're looking forward to seeing our friends and family again. Sorry for telling you all a million different places we were moving.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We're Moving

*****THIS POST IS NO LONGER UP TO DATE. READ NEXT ENTRY*****

So yesterday Sean finally accepted a job offer. It took forever to finally come to a decision on this. We kept flipping back and forth between NY and Hong Kong.

On Friday we went to our farewell party and we were sure we were going to NY. So it was decided. I felt less stressed out since I knew where we were going. I'd already basically had my nervous breakdown about all this. I don't think anything could faze me anymore. We told our families we were going to NY and they were pretty excited. I'm sure they started fantasizing how it would be to visit us there. As we were at our party Sean kept talking to different people about his decision. Everyone here was super bummed out that we weren't going to Hong Kong. One of our friends asked us, "Did you guys run the numbers?" We were like, "We did them in our head and NY was the better offer". He said, "Are you sure? Once you put everything into account, it may not turn out how you think." Interesting. Sean took that piece of advice to heart.

Our farewell party was nice. We ate lots of food and got to enjoy the company of our friends.
Terryn got to run around with some other kids and wore himself out. 
Jayce was being passed around so everyone could hold the "baby". 

At around 7:00 or so Terryn wasn't feeling so good and he fell asleep on a bench. 
All in all, it was a good night. We're lucky that it didn't rain too.

The next day, Sean ran the numbers between NY and Hong Kong. He put in everything he could think of. He even put in spending extra money on rent and schooling if we lived in Hong Kong. You know what? Our friend was right. The numbers showed that Hong Kong was the better offer, even after paying for schooling.

Now Sean and I wrestled again with deciding between the two places. Sean did a fast on Sunday to help him know where we should go. We both been praying a lot about this. My answer never really changed. I felt like both places were good and that it was up to us. We'd done our research, now we'd run the numbers. It was up to Sean to determine which job he wanted more and if we wanted to still live overseas.

There were still some pieces of information that we needed to get from Hong Kong HR about some things. That in and of itself was a huge challenge. They have been EXTREMELY difficult to work with. Especially since two of the ladies we're supposed to be talking to were on leave. Really? It was very frustrating, but we finally got some of our questions answered.

Then yesterday after all our ordeal and getting more information, Sean accepted a job offer. We will be moving to Hong Kong. Our residence cards expire in 9 days and I'm not sure if we'll have to extend our stay here until we get our visas for Hong Kong. Now it's the whole moving part of the ordeal that's gonna stress me out. I'm still just packing up our stuff. I have to just focus on that part of it and let Sean worry about the rest or I'm going to go crazy. So it looks like we'll be living overseas for awhile yet. We're excited. I guess after we move there and get a little settled down, we'll have to celebrate by going to the temple and then taking the kids to Hong Kong Disney. Booyah!

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Birthday

So last night I went to bed completely exhausted. I was so frustrated, sad and angry at how Sean's job proceedings were going. I kept cycling through different emotions. I'd be angry and venting about everything. So steamed up that I'd start ranting about our impending move. It took all my willpower not to lash out at Terryn. He's been driving me nuts the last few days because he doesn't listen or when he does hear what  I say will do the exact opposite of it.  Then I'd get upset and start getting weepy. I was sad that we're leaving. I'm terrible at goodbyes. There are many people and things I will miss here. Then I'd have to focus my energy on not crying. I'm also totally frustrated at how packing has been going. I haven't gotten much done and time is running out.

So I woke up this morning in the shadow of all those feelings. I've been so stressed out that I haven't been sleeping well. I think I woke up around 5:30am when Sean got up. I didn't really fall back asleep, but I was in a half dazed state. Then Sean brought Jayce into the bedroom for me to feed. I fed him and then tried to get him to go back to sleep. He wiggled for a little bit, but then he did manage to doze off again. That's about the time Terryn decided to be noisy. He was screaming about something and then of course that woke up Jayce. I groaned, knowing that I would have to get up too. Ugh... I am SO tired.

At some point Terryn came into the bedroom. I had to use the restroom. I saw Terryn pick up my phone before I went in there and then I called for him to bring it to me. When I looked at it, he had somehow managed to lock my SIM card. Seriously?!!! So now I can't use my phone anymore. It wasn't really that big of a deal because I could use a different SIM card that we have for our guest phone, but that was just it for me. I started crying and I couldn't stop. I felt like I was living in a nightmare being in stuck in limbo with no end in sight.

This was my birthday. I'm not supposed to feel like this today. :( Sean was worried about me I could tell. He had a whole day set up for me with massages and stuff to help me relax. While it was nice, it could not completely suppress the worry and anxiety that was gnawing at my insides. Still no news. To me this was utter insanity. We have 13 days to figure out how and where we're going to move to another country. This is madness!!!

At one point in the day, Sean and I came to a conclusion. It was not necessarily the one we had initially wanted, but as soon as we made it, I felt this HUGE weight come off me. Most of my stress and anxiety evaporated. I could breathe again. I was actually able to enjoy the rest of my birthday.

So we think we know where we're going now, but it's not for sure yet. You'll all have to wait until the next post to find out where it is. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Unknown Still

For those of you waiting for a move update, here it is. We are moving to... somewhere. That's right. It's the 16th of May and we have to leave the country by the 1st of June and we still don't know where we're moving. That's in 17 days.

I cannot adequately express to you how frustrating that is. There are things here that we need to sell if we're moving back to the states. We won't need our appliances that run on 220 volts in the states. However if we move to Hong Kong, it'd be better to keep these appliance and just get a plug adapter instead of buying all new gadgets. Also, some of our furniture we could offload if we're moving back since we have a storage unit full of all our stuff from the house.

Everyone keeps asking me if I know where we're moving yet. We should have known like a LONG time ago, but we thought for sure we'd know a week ago. We're running out of time and one of the offered jobs seems to be stringing us along and taking their sweet old time with things. We don't have time for that. We were hoping we'd get a trip to wherever we'd be moving first before we actually had to leave Vietnam for good. With how things are going it looks like that is not going to happen. Which makes packing even harder.

The kids can tell that something's up too. Terryn's been acting up a little bit. I'm pretty sure he's sensing the anxiety Sean and I have from this impending move. Jayce is also an attention seeker lately which has been making packing extremely difficult. I've had to resort to having my housekeeper watch him. Before, he could play quietly by himself and he'd be happy about it. Now... if he's left to himself he just cries.

Some people keep texting me or emailing me asking if I know where we're going or if they can buy some of the stuff I had initially intended to sell. I've started ignoring these for the time being because I just can't handle it anymore. I am so STRESSED out about it because the answer hasn't changed. I DON'T KNOW. Believe me, when I find out... everyone will know okay?

In the meantime I am packing and it feels like I am getting nothing accomplished because my kids will not let me pack. Arggg. I'm also sad about leaving and a little mad.

We weren't expecting to leave Vietnam yet. We thought we had one more year here. Then some stuff happened and we had to get out of here. So we thought we were moving back to the States. I was in the mind set that we were U.S. bound. We thought we were either moving to Seattle, L.A. or NYC. So I was planning for that in my mind. Then it was just between Seattle and NYC. Okay. I started looking into housing costs in NYC and  nearby areas. Then it looked like we might have a short stint in Seattle and it was looking like it was a for sure type thing. Okay... Seattle. We could move back into our old house. That would make things easy. Then we found out that job was also in NYC. Okay... so we're moving to NYC. Then from out of nowhere this Hong Kong job came up. It was the job Sean wanted but we weren't sure about the salary or incentives. So I again had to shift my mindset. Maybe we weren't going back to the states. Sigh... my head hurts from all this research I keep doing that ends up being for naught. I NEED to know where we're moving so I can figure out about where we'll live, schools, transportation, etc. There's a lot of work to be done.

I had to laugh today. Our friends are throwing us a farewell party this weekend. Who goes to their own farewell party without knowing where they're going? Doesn't that seem a little ridiculous? Oh well. We will for sure know in a couple days because if this one job that Sean's hoping for doesn't get their act together, we will have no other choice but to accept the other offer.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Up in the Air

So for those of you who don't already know... we're moving. We're moving in three weeks before our residence cards for Vietnam expire. They expire June 1st.

So where are we moving? Ummm... we don't know yet. There about a 50/50 chance between the New York City area and Hong Kong.

It's been a bit crazy around here with all the unknown. I haven't even really started packing because I don't know where I'm packing for yet. Luckily we don't have THAT much stuff here. Aside from one small pallet of goods we had shipped here, everything was either purchased here or was brought in our luggage.

We're hoping to find out where we're going in the next few days. It depends on which job offer Sean and I feel will best suit our family. Please send us your prayers and good vibes to help us know where to go. At the very least, wish us luck!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Vacation Ends

Well, we weren't in a mad rush in the morning we left Phuket... surprisingly. We had already packed the night before and had everything more or less in order. We had found a taxi to come get us and he was supposed to be at our hotel at 7:30.

We were ready pretty much on time and then headed off to the airport. Things got a little complicated from here on out. Somehow I had misplaced our ticket information. Normally this wouldn't be a huge deal, but since we had a connecting flight in Bangkok that was on a different airlines that I had booked on my own separately... this could have the potential of making us miss our connecting flight.

It took us forever to check in because we didn't have the information we needed. Sean had to find our ticket info on his laptop. We finally got everything arranged and then we headed toward our gate. It was weird because this was a domestic flight. They had everyone going to a final international destination do their security check through the international terminal and then everyone just going to Bangkok did theirs through the domestic terminal. The international people then walked down a long separated hallway back towards the domestic terminal to board the aircraft.

While waiting to board, the power went out in the airport. Well... it sort of half went out. Most of the lights turned off, but the security check station and the departure TVs stayed on. Weird.

The flight went quickly. Sean got the window seat this time so he could see the beautiful beaches of Phuket fade with the rising altitude. We arrived in Bangkok about an hour and a half later.

In Phuket, Bangkok Airways said that they would check our baggage all the way through to Ho Chi Minh City. I kept my fingers crossed, but I wasn't going to hold me breath on that one. Our lay over was only supposed to be an hour and a half, but our first flight had been delayed by about 20 minutes.

The staff for Bangkok Airways in Bangkok led us through security in Bangkok and took us all the way to our terminal for our next flight with Qatar Airlines. We NEVER would have found this on our own. They had us go through some additional security in a weird location. The airport in Bangkok is not a small one either.

We waited for a short time at our gate and then it was off to our final destination. We were kind of excited to fly on Qatar Airlines. They are supposed to be really nice.... and we weren't disappointed. Each seat had it's own TV where you could choose what you wanted to watch. They served everyone a decent little snack and they gave Terryn a Sponge Bob backpack with all sorts of goodies in it.

We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City and thought everything was peachy keen. Terryn ran off once and I was about ready to strangle him. I was tired and sick of dealing with him taking off and me not being able to chase after him quick enough. When we got to immigration we had another issue. They weren't going to let Jayce back into the country. Terryn, Sean and I all have residence cards so we were all fine, but Jayce was in the country on a tourist visa. It had an expiration of June 1st. We kept asking why Jayce couldn't go in and the guy kept saying, "Canceled." That was not very helpful so I had to wait in the special visa line.

We finally realized that for some idiotic reason Jayce had a single entry visa and when it was extended, it was not changed to a multi-entry visa. Once we left the country his visa was invalid. Argggg. Somehow Sean talked a guy into letting him grab our luggage while we waited to sort out the issue.  Then he managed to talk another guy into letting us buy another visa. So after 2 hours of being at the airport we were able to exit immigration.

By this time there was a huge lightning storm going on outside and we were hungry. So we decided to get some Burger King. I think it may be one of the only Burger Kings in the whole country and it's at the airport. Hahahaha... we're ridiculous, I know. The stupid thing was I didn't know where it was. Sean was pushing the luggage cart and I had the stroller. We couldn't all fit int eh elevator so Sean went first and I was going to take the escalator. Unfortunately Sean only told me vaguely where it was with his assurance, "You see it. Trust me." Uhhhhh.... right. I got so lost. I went up and down multiple times and there were three floors that had food on them. Arggg. The other thing was that Sean never gave me back my SIM card for my phone so I couldn't call him. After like 20 minutes I finally found it and by this time I was in a REALLY bad mood. I did NOT need that in addition to the visa mess.

So hours and hours after we landed, after getting hassled by immigration, going through customs, getting lost from Sean, eating dinner, gabbing a taxi and riding through traffic... we finally made it home. Everything there was still in order. Nothing appeared to be stolen, our khoi fish were still alive, and now we could get ready and go to bed.

We had a great vacation, but now it was time to relax and get back on a routine. Can I maybe go on a vacation to recover from my vacation?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Thaibodia Day 13 – Rain and Fantasea

This morning we actually slept in. We all got up around 7:00am. There was a thunderstorm going on out side though and it was pouring buckets. We turned on the TV and Terryn got to watch some Disney Junior and we ate our breakfast. My eye was still irritating me a little, but it felt a lot better. In the middle of the night I had actually woken up to find my eye crusted shut. Gross.

Eventually Sean decided to take Terryn out to the beach and pool. I stayed in the room and caught up on my blogging. Jayce was getting sleepy anyway and so I put him down to bed. I ended up blogging for like 3 hours or something ridiculous. I was way behind and I didn’t want to do it all when we get home. My memory is not the greatest so if I wait too long I don’t remember things.

When Sean and Terryn returned, we all when out to find food. We ended up getting some Pad Thai and Fried Rice from a street vendor. We were sad that the pancake guy wasn’t around. Those pancakes are addictive.

We went back to our room and Terryn watched a bit of TV while we got situated to put him down for a nap. Terryn and Jayce both fell asleep. Sean and I packed up our bags so we wouldn’t be doing it in the morning, then Sean went to the tailor for his final fitting.

We were being picked up for a big buffet dinner and theatrical show at 4:00pm. I was excited and hoping it would be cool. Our ride showed up right on time. We got on the bus and sat next to an Australian family that had a 6 year old boy that was just as hyper as Terryn. We had fun watching them interact with each other. They kept tickling each other and giggling. It made the ride go quickly for us since Terryn was distracted and able to play.

We arrived at the Fantasea complex and I got our tickets. We had to wait around for about 45 minutes before they’d let us into the park. We spent the time keeping Terryn from stealing ice cream and taking pictures near the khoi pond.
 We managed to get a picture of Terryn and the boy from the bus.
 And here's Terryn looking longing at the popcorn and ice cream he so desperately wanted.
 I tried to take some pictures of the boys in their matching outfits, but it was really difficult.
Once they let people in we meandered our way through the complex. There were carnival style games, shops, restaurants lining the pathway to where the buffet and theater were. You had to walk through everything to get to the main event. The buffet didn’t open its doors for about 30 minutes so we wandered around a shop.

There was a big pile of elephant stuffed animals. We had fun covering up our children with elephants. It kept Terryn entertained for a while. Then we had Terryn touch the electroball. He thought that was pretty cool.
The building that housed the theater was called the Palace of the Elephants. It was decorated like an old temple surrounded by elephant statues. The buffet hall was decorated like a gilded temple.
Once the buffet doors opened we found our seats and ate our food. They had a pretty big selection of stuff, but we had to kind of hurry and eat so we’d make it to the show on time.

When we made our way to the show, the pathway was lined with people in costumes, elephants, baby tigers and other various opportunities to spend your money buying souvenirs or photo ops.

The show itself was pretty fun. Terryn was in love with the elephants. The show started with a procession of people entering the stage from the side aisles right in front of us. It was inclusive of people riding elephants and people holding torches.

Parts of the show depicted dances that told some of the Thai mythology. Other parts were magic shows, while others featured traditional dances. There was once part of the show where they had 8 women on trapeze. It was lit up by black light and they glowed. It was pretty awesome.

They used lots of different animals in the show too. I remember seeing elephants, a water buffalo, roosters, goats and doves. At one point, when they were doing the elephant spectacular, I counted 16 elephants on stage!

I think Terryn really liked the show, but there were parts where they used pyrotechnics and they made really loud sounds. Also there was a war scene that looked like it took place in the underworld and it was kind of scary. Terryn started crying a couple of times because he was scared. It was kind of cute.

By the time the show was over Jayce was asleep and Terryn wasn’t far from it. He was really quiet and still and just looked around and had Daddy hold him. We caught our ride home and were dropped off at our hotel. We took a quick jaunt down to the beach to watch the waves for the last time and then got some Thai pancakes and went back to our room. It was our last night in Thailand. Aside from the not so nice weather, we’d really enjoyed our time in Phuket. We kinda wished that we would have stayed one more night in Phuket instead of Bangkok.