Modern Day Pilgrims

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

For the last two years, Chris and I have had people over for Thanksgiving, but this year, Chris's boss, Lance, was nice enough to ask us over. This was really nice since I've only been here for 2 weeks and didn't really feel like cooking an elaborate meal! Lance's wife, Elizabeth, did a wonderful job and spoiled us rotten! The food was soooo delicious and we had a nice time with all our new friends. I couldn't have asked for a nicer Thanksgiving!!

Charlotte had too much Turkey!!

This is Nick and he's a marine. He's a stand-up guy and Chris talks so highly of him. He and his wife Sherry are expecting their 2nd child this December. They already have a little boy named Aiden and they're now expecting a little girl that they're going to name Autumn! Unfortunately, Sherry and Aiden are in the states but Nick will join them in December for Autumn's arrival. Nick really enjoyed holding Charlotte and I think it's really helping him look forward to having a little girl!

Bahrain Starbucks

I went to Starbucks yesterday with my neighbor who is also American. I was curious to see how alike or different the Starbucks here would be from home. It looked exactly the same and 75% of the menu items were the same. They didn't have warm hot cider or the seasonal peppermint mocha or eggnog lattes, but they did have a toffee nut latte and a gooseberry frappucino...two things I don't think are sold at Starbucks in the states. I ordered a standard "coffee of the day" (yeah, real adventerous) and my neighbor ordered a mango berry frappucino. We went and sat down outside and they delivered our drinks on a tray!! They even put my coffee in a real mug! I was in Starbucks heaven until I took a sip of my coffee. When I ordered a "coffee of the day", I was expecting to get a regular cup of joe made from freshly ground coffee beans. The coffee they gave me tasted very instant and I had to force down every sip. So maybe "coffee of the day" means something different here, because I can't imagine Starbucks would plant stores in other countries to serve instant coffee. Or maybe it was a communication problem/language barrier? Oh well. I'll know not to order it again! And in the grand scheme of things, who cares that I got a cup of instant coffee!! I'm sure no one will have to twist my arm to get me back there again!! :-)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I can't wait to put up our Christmas decorations tomorrow!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Charlotte and I had a fun day today. We got to check out the Bahrain International Circuit where an F1 Race takes place every year. We didn't go there for a car race; we went there for a running race! Chris and a bunch of other guys from work participated in a marathon relay that is an annual event here. It was a pretty big deal with lots and lots of runners. Chris' team came in 14th but they would've done a lot better if something hadn't gone amiss. One of the runners on his team wasn't at his spot to receive the baton and he didn't show for some time later. Needless to say, none of the guys on his team were very happy! Here's some pictures from the day. They even had a play area for the kids! Too bad Charlotte is still a little too small for that. The race track pictures are probably more for my dad who looooves racing (especially F1), and I hope he'll get to see it in person before Chris and I leave Bahrain in 3 years.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Birthday

On Friday night, Chris and I were sitting outside and it struck me that my birthday was in two days. I could hardly believe it since I've been so busy settling into Bahrain, trying to get sleep, etc. I mentioned it to Chris and he didn't believe me either! He said, "No, it can't be the 15th so soon. What day is it?" And I told him it was the 13th already! Needless to say, my birthday was an unexpected surprise even though the date hasn't changed in the 27 years I've been alive! We weren't expecting that I'd be in Bahrain on my birthday, so I can't blame Chris for having nothing prepared. Yet he still did a WONDERFUL job with such last minute planning. He came home with some beautiful flowers, the most loving card, and a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake. He gave me the choice to eat out or in, but since I've been so sleep deprived (my body isn't adjusting well to the 8 hour time difference), we ordered Pizza Hut and called it a night. In all honesty, it was my kind of night. No hoopla, no extravagance - just a quiet and wonderful evening with my loving husband and beautiful daughter. Thanks, hubby!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dressing Herself Already?

Chris tended to Charlotte this morning, and when I got up and saw what Charlotte was wearing, I couldn't help but comment. Chris said in an innocent tone, "Charlotte picked it out and who was I to disagree?" Hilarious.

Friday, November 13, 2009

First Impressions

Two days shy from a year ago, we found out Bahrain was our next assignment, and it’s hard to believe that I’m finally here. I’ve been here for almost 48 hours so I think I’ve seen enough to at least write a little bit about my impressions and experience thus far. To sum up in one sentence (before getting into specifics), I can honestly say I’m enjoying my time here and I’m optimistic that this is going to be a good three years. This should say a lot, because I think most of you know that I was not exactly “excited” to come. I was more “curious” or “interested” to see what Bahrain would be like, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was excited about it. I really struggled living in Nigeria and I still have a sour taste in my mouth from Chris’ employer. I knew Bahrain would be better, but that didn’t mean I preferred living here to living in the states. After talking with my sweet friend Jan, she and I started praying that I would have an expectant heart and enjoy my time here. God is good, because I would say that’s exactly what I have: an expectant heart.

I’ll backtrack first and talk about the plane ride over. Charlotte did WONDERFUL. She got a little fussy on the Amsterdam to Bahrain flight, but she never actually cried and I was able to calm her very quickly. I didn’t get any annoyed looks and no one asked to be moved when they found out they were seated next to a baby. Whew! One person commented on how good she was, and others ooed and awed over her. The KLM flight attendants were especially great. On a side note, the Dutch are the nicest people I’ve ever met. Seriously, I’d really like to live in the Netherlands one day. I’ve never had a negative experience with a Dutch person, and I’d love if Chris and I can get a tour there sometime. Sorry…back to my point: the KLM flight attendants were beyond helpful and just went gaga over Charlotte. I also had my first experience with Bahraini’s on my flight from Amsterdam to Bahrain. They were all VERY nice and I even talked a bit with a lady who sat behind me. She was very nice and offered to help get my luggage down from the overhead and also offered to help carry something off the plane so that I wouldn’t have to juggle my two carry on’s and Charlotte in her car seat. Very sweet indeed.

Once I was off the plane, the Bahraini customs and airport workers were very kind. I had no problems getting through customs, for which I am very thankful. One weird thing I noticed was that they had Christmas trees and other Christmas decorations up. I found this weird since Bahrain is a Muslim country. I pointed them out to Chris and he laughed and said, “Welcome to the softer side of the Middle East.” On the way home from the airport, I couldn’t see a whole lot since it was dark (11:00 pm local time), but I did notice a McDonald’s and Chili’s. Yay for something American! When we got home from the airport, Chris gave me the tour of the house and my first impression was that we have incredibly tall ceilings!! I also noticed the beautiful crown molding that is in the entire house. I wanted to see the baby room last, and I’m glad I did. It was so special and fun to walk in and see Charlotte’s room for the first time. It’s so precious and I can’t wait until we get everything hung on the walls so that I can take pictures and post them online for you all to see. It’s my new favorite room in the house and I’ve loved spending time in there over the past 48 hours. Chris got me a “welcome home” present…it’s a griddle and buffet server in one. It’s awesome!! I can’t wait to use it when we have our first guests over. I also got to sleep on our new king sized mattress for the first time, and it was HEAVENLY! I love it!!

Speaking of sleep, Chris and I went to sleep around midnight, and he was nice enough to let me sleep in as late as I wanted. I slept until 4 pm!!! Ahhh! 4 pm here is only 8 am in the states, so it really didn’t help in trying to get me adjusted to the time difference. I guess flying and being a new mom has really worn me out. It turns out that Charlotte is having as difficult a time adjusting as I am. She is not sleeping at night but sleeps ALL day. So I may be a night owl for a while since we have a feeling it’s going to be a gradual process getting Charlotte adjusted. So we really didn’t do much yesterday since I didn’t get up until 4 pm. Some new friends made us spaghetti sauce and meatballs (such a sweet gesture) so that we could quickly whip up spaghetti. So Chris prepared that for us and we watched a movie (The Changeling). I was up ALL night since I slept in until 4 pm, but Charlotte was, too, so it allowed Chris to get a full night of sleep while I stayed up and attended to the baby. When he woke up at 7 am, I slept for about 4 hours before getting up to get ready for church.

Church on Friday? That may be what you’re thinking. Yes, church on a Friday. This is a Muslim country and mosque is on Friday’s. As a result, the weekend in Bahrain is Friday and Saturday. Sunday is their Monday and is the first workday of the week. We went to the American Naval base for church, and I was pleasantly surprised. They have a contemporary service and traditional service, and since we both prefer the traditional style, we opted for that. It was great singing hymns we both knew and the sermon was good as well. The chaplain spoke on the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives. He even shared the gospel in the message, which I was very happy about. With it being “multi-denominational”, I wasn’t sure how “watered down” the message would be, but it was sound and was fairly full of “meat”. Man that was a lot of quotation marks in that last sentence…sorry! After the service, we met and talked with a few of the other people who went to that church. Most were people who lived and worked at the base, but I also met a few people that Chris works with who also go to the Naval base for church. Let me just say that I have felt very welcome by everyone. God is good!! He is good indeed.

I had expressed my concern to Chris before church that we try and find a church that we can get involved in since I know that God wants us to serve wherever we attend. I wasn’t sure if the Naval base church would offer this, but I was glad to find out that they do. They have a choir, special music, and need servants to be a greeter, usher, scripture reader, offering counter, etc. They also have Friday school (Sunday school), a mid week Bible study, and a men’s ministry and women’s ministry on Saturday mornings. The only downfall is that there’s no nursery. We’ll have to sit in the back in case Charlotte ever gets fussy. Today she slept the whole time since she’s so messed up with the time difference, but I know it won’t be like that every Sunday – especially as she gets older and finds her voice!

After church, we ate lunch at the Naval base food court (Taco Bell!) and then we shopped at the commissary. It was sooooo awesome shopping at the commissary. Oh if only we had had that in Nigeria and if only our friends still there could have that! They had Christmas decorations, a few aisles of books and magazines, and almost all the American food you can think of. We didn’t even go upstairs, but I guess it’s all electronics and home goods. It may not sound like a big deal when you can run to just about any old grocery or department store in the U.S. to find those things, but it is SO a big deal when you are living overseas. There was NOTHING like this in Nigeria, so I am abundantly thankful for even this “little thing”. This will sound really strange, but I was especially glad to see wrapping paper and a wide selection of greeting cards. Oh the joy I have in knowing that we’ll be able to use real wrapping paper and normal-sized greeting cards. In Nigeria, the wrapping paper was sheets of cheaply printed paper and the greeting cards were quite ugly, were about 20 inches tall and 12 inches wide, and they had the most cheesy sayings inside. Seriously. It was ridiculous. Haha!!

I’ll talk a bit about the drive to and from the Naval base this morning. Pretty much everything but the skyscrapers are of concrete construction, so it’s not the most beautiful architecture. There’s certainly not the variety of stones, wood, and bricks that we build with in America. Since this is the desert, it’s also pretty dusty and arid. They don’t seem to like color here because all the buildings are tan. So everything kind of blends in with everything else and it’s all sort of bland. I imagine it will take me awhile to figure out where things are since everything looks the same. I did notice LOTS of American restaurants though. On the way to church, here’s all the restaurants we passed (that I can remember): McDonald’s, Hardee’s, KFC, Burger King, Bennigan’s, Fuddrucker’s, Macaroni Grill, Chili’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Little Caesar’s, Krispy Kreme, Subway, Popeye’s Chicken, Baskin Robbins, Starbuck’s, Caribou Coffee, and TGI Friday’s. Sooooo…I don’t think I’ll be lacking for “comforts of home” between the Naval base and all the American restaurants. :-) We also passed a few malls on the way to church, and they had a few of the stores advertised on the outside of the mall. I noticed that one of the malls have an H&M and a Saks Fifth Avenue. I highly doubt I’ll spend money at Saks, but H&M may be a different story!!

I’ll sum up by saying that I’m thankful and encouraged by my time here so far. I’m still praying for that expectant heart and am looking to the Lord to be my strength and contentment – not Chris or my surroundings. I’m also praying that He’ll help Chris and I to get plugged into the right church and to get involved so that we can be growing spiritually and serving others. I’m praying that the Lord will use my gifts while I’m here for His glory because I want the focus to be taken off me and to be put on Him so that I can rest in His presence, be content, and JOYFUL!! Thanks for praying with me to that end.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Month Old!

It's hard to believe that Charlotte is already a month old today. Sure this last month has been beyond exhausting, but even more so, it's been an incredible joy and blessing to be Charlotte's mommy. Happy one month baby girl!!

As an update, Charlotte and I got our medical clearances yesterday! Charlotte weighed in at 10 lbs, 13 oz...2 lbs and 12 oz more than her birth weight!! Geez super fudge chunk! :-) Since we've received our medical clearances, we'll be leaving for Bahrain this coming Tuesday night from Detroit. Thanks in advance for your prayers!

I cannot thank my friends and family enough for the amazing memories I've made since being home in May. You all have been such an incredible blessing and support while I've transitioned from one thing to the next and have had to experience so many of those transitions without my husband. I cannot thank you enough for being there for me. I will miss you all SO much and keep tearing up at the thought of leaving. It's so bittersweet and I wish I could take you all with me. We'll be home this summer so it won't even be a year that we have to be apart. Unfortunately, I won't be home for 5 months next time. Oh well. I know we'll make the most of it! I love you all!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane...Soon!

It looks like Charlotte and I will be joining Chris in Bahrain a lot sooner than expected!! We got word this morning that Charlotte's passport will be delivered tomorrow! We weren't really expecting it for at least another week. Assuming our doctor appointments go well tomorrow, all we'll be waiting on is the go ahead to get plane tickets. I'm not sure on the exact day I'll be leaving yet. Chris and I still need to talk about that and it sort of depends on when we're given the go ahead, but I'm hoping to be reunited with him by the end of next week! I shall keep you all updated as soon as I know. :-)