Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Friday, January 20, 2012

Watch Out Grandpa!

Tomorrow we are going fishing. We don't fish. Don't worry. It is at a fish farm where I believe the kids stand in a concrete stream and use a net to scoop them up. Brian told Ben that he'd have to tell grandpa Zufelt about our adventures since he's a big fishermen. Ben suggested that since we will be prawn fishing next weekend with the boy scouts we will have plenty and maybe we should mail one to grandpa. Watch your mail grandpa. By the time you get our present after a few weeks in transit it's gonna be something to remember!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tired Today

Fieldtrip to Chinatown with Ben and tag along Jacob. Picked up Maddie from school. Walked home in a wildly heavy downpour without an umbrella. Put a movie on for Jacob hoping he'd fall asleep on the couch upstairs and take a much needed nap. I think he did...but I wouldn't know because I fell asleep downstairs on the other couch. Woke up to a crash and cry from upstairs - too tired to get up and check. I think he fell off the couch but the crying was short and we both went out again. Quality parenting here these days.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bed Bugs Eradicated...We Think

According to the reliable internet searches I did, a bed bug bite can show up as late as 9 days after the bite occurred. I had a bite appear 10 days after our extermination attempts. It had me pretty nervous that we hadn’t nipped this problem in the butt quite yet and that the next few days I’d be waking with more and more itchy miserable bites. And the worst part of that scenario? Knowing I was still sleeping with weird creepy bugs IN MY BED!

Luckily now we are on day 18 post treatment and I have no signs of more bites and I haven’t seen any on Maddie. Of course every time I feel something I mentally turn it into a phantom bed bug bite and the mind games begin again until I can confirm there is no raised bump on my body. My overall conclusion from the entire experience? Bed bugs suck. Bad news is I have zero confidence level we won’t get them again someday. It’s either that or lice. Pick your poison, eh?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas in Cambodia

Though I always want to do good and help people, I'm skeptical by nature. Used to massive government waste in the US I raise an eyebrow when I'm asked to donate to a charitable cause, particularly one far away. I recall my junior high school raising money to buy land in the rainforest to save the world. As nice as it sounded, I couldn't make myself go out and sell magazines to raise funds because I really felt like it was a scam. Who from Bonneville Junior High School was going to hop on a plane and go verify we actually bought land and didn't just give all that money away to a scam artist? No one.

The kids school here has a very close and involved relationship with Caring for Cambodia. I liked what I saw and felt that donating items instead of funds made lots more sense to me. There is lots less chance of a scam when you are giving bars of soap and toothbrushes instead of $10 bills. Then I found out that the way they get the supplies to the people there is to ask people traveling to the area to bring along extra luggage. I loved the idea so when I put two and two together and realized we were booking our last minute Christmas holiday trip to Siem Reap Cambodia I was excited to see just what Caring for Cambodia was all about.

I contacted them and got the details, then paid the airline for two extra bags on our departing flights so we could haul 30 kg (60 lbs) of hygiene kits to the Cambodian people, all donated by the families at Singapore American School and other local community groups. This being our first true exposure to a country with poverty I took the opportunity to get the kids involved and we set up a time to serve the children at one of several of the Caring for Cambodia Schools.
Bright and early at 5:30 am a tuk tuk driver showed up at our hotel to take us out to serve the children breakfast. They arrive as early as 6:00 am to eat the free breakfast provided by the school.
Maddie with one of the cooks at CFC School. The children wash their own dish and spoon after eating so the next child can eat because they have only about 60 bowls and spoons and 500 kids though we didn't see that many come this morning so I think that number might be a total for all the kids in all the schools.

Jacob playing peek-a-boo with the cooks, a game that seems to cross all language barriers. This is the entire kitchen with two huge pots of rice porridge for breakfast, a gas burner to cook with and a shelf to put the full bowls on for serving.

Maddie serving the children. When the school first opened they found that the children got restless and couldn't concentrate well in school. The learned that most children didn't get breakfast before they came to school. To help the children be ready to learn, they began providing breakfast and the children did better in school.

Two rows of five or six long picnic benches for the children to eat breakfast and lunch.

Jacob loved serving breakfast. He was so wildly excited to get the next bowl and deliver it that he had to have an adult help slow him down and steady the bowl so it didn't end up all over the floor.

The entire time we were there the monks were chanting next door. The man in charge of the school that greeted us explained that they were doing a ceremony while they cremated the bodies of people who had died.

There were constant drum beats and chanting over loud speakers and traditional worship music. It set quite the authentic mood and made me feel very much immersed in Cambodian culture as I looked at the children, the school, the temple and listened to the music.

The kids were so cute. They were excited to have their pictures taken, but so shy around my older kids.

Finally some of them warmed up enough to stand near Ben though they were obviously daring each other to do it first and playfully pushing their friends close to him.

Jake, of course, had no trouble with the kids. He knows just how to play with everyone and made loads of friends easily. The kids loved his light skin, blonde hair and thought it was so funny to see glasses on such a little baby boy.

These boys were smiling and friendly from the time they arrived at breakfast. Since they are not wearing uniforms we know they weren't students attending class, but breakfast is free to any children that come. Notice how one boy has two jackets but no shirt. He didn't seem to care. He was happy to have a full belly and a swingset to share with his buddies.

This guy couldn't have been much older than Jacob, my three year old, and he was a tiny little guy. I thought he was so sweet. He had uniform shorts and short sleeved shirt with mittens that had holes in them. It is winter in Cambodia and the people feel cold, though we wore shorts, t-shirt and flip flops the entire trip. We would often see people with scarves, gloves or jackets, sometimes even coats I wouldn't have considered wearing until it had dropped at least 20 more degrees. I suppose when you aren't used to snow, their winter could feel a bit nippy.

These guys were our tuk tuk drivers. They picked us up at 5:30 and waited for us to finish before returning us to our hotel. A tuk tuk is just what you see there and they pull it with a motorcycle. It's a pretty fun way to travel and the kids loved it! The sweet guy on the left hung around our hotel the entire five days we were there hoping to be hired for any of our trips downtown or out for dinner, etc. He was really a nice guy.

After breakfast we were ready to go, but were asked to stay so as not to disrupt the morning flag ceremony. The older children lead the younger children. The manager explained simply that they teach of the history of Cambodia and the horrible death and destruction in the last 30-40 years so that the children know the history and can make sure it is never repeated. Most of the adult population lost family members that were murdered during that time.

An average home just outside the school gates. Most the children probably come from homes like this.

More average homes in the school neighborhood.

Man fishing and repairing his net to catch food for lunch or dinner that day. The fish were so small it would have taken a long time to catch enough to feed a whole family.

In October we were asked to donate supplies for hygeine kits. We sent in toothbrushes, toothpaste, washclothes and bars of soap. A week or so later I noticed as I passed the soap box in Maddie's school lobby that it smelled so strong!  I peeked into the big box and noticed the children had unwrapped all the soap. I thought it was a bit odd to spend the time to do that.

Ben's class actually did the assembly of the kits for families and he reported that his class had done the exact same thing. They unwrapped everything! When I asked why, he explained that the people just threw the wrapping on the ground and it made a big mess in their cities. My first thought was totally American, "Why would you do something so irresponsible? What a mess!"

Once in their country, I began to understand. It's so simple to think they should just throw it away. But where? There is no garbage man to haul stuff away. We feel inconvenienced and over run when the garbage man misses because of Christmas Day. Imagine if they never came at all. There is simply no where to put the trash in Cambodia. I saw a woman walk to the shallow, nearly stagnant stream behind her home and literally dump a big bucket of trash right in the water. I couldn't believe my eyes, but in her defense, the water would take it away eventually. What other good option did she see?

Next time I want to complain about laundry, I will try to remember this guy. Two buckets and a string. That's all he had.
Finally, since we knew we were going to be in Siem Reap, Cambodia on Christmas Day this year, which fell on a Sunday, I searched for a Christain church to attend for worship services. We ended up finding one or our own denomination, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We were invited to their congregation Christmas Party on Thursday afternoon. Of course we couldn't understand the language. They had a short speech/lesson then the youth group acted out the nativity story. My friend Gretel put it best, "At least we knew the plot of the story so we could follow along."

Our friends left on Saturday, Christmas Eve but apparently bought the last tickets out that day. We stayed on through Sunday evening. We forgot to ask when services began so after no success calling the empty building on Saturday decided to just show up at 9am. If it was later, we'd come back. We were greeted at the door and quickly realized the service had started at 8am. The only seats left in the building were the very front and center five seats so we attempted to sneak in an hour late. Again, we couldn't understand the language, so maybe it wasn't all bad that we didn't have a long service. We listened about seven minutes, sang a traditional Christmas song to close the meeting and then the fun began.

They had purchased a Christmas present for all the children. Each child was given a Coke and one small piece of candy. It was a fantastic treat for all the kids there and they were all smiles to have been given something so delicious. I felt bad allowing my children to get anything at all but they were so eager to make sure our kids were included that I couldn't turn them down such genuine kindness.
This is nearly the entire LDS ward primary with our kids included. Such a happy bunch on Christmas morning. Their open arms made it a Christmas to remember.
Who would have ever thought a little girl from Utah would spend Christmas in Siem Reap Cambodia? Not me but here I am living my dream of travel and sharing the world with my children. I hope they remember what they saw in this gorgeous, lush green country and felt in their hearts the difference they can make when they give and serve people who have less than they do. It was a fantastic trip.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Idaho Potato

Just wanted my sister in law to see that her potatoes are worth lots more than regular potatoes even in Singapore.

Angie's Purse Problem and the Doctor Report

A purse is where a woman is supposed to keep her arsenal of gear to handle any and every emergency of life.


It should hold things like:

·         mobile phone

·         keys

·         wallet

·         makeup

·         umbrella

·         gum (or if you live in Singapore where gum is illegal – mints)

·         cash

·         extra emergency cash

·         change

·         credit cards

·         sunglasses

·         hair brush

·         compact mirror

·         tampon

·         lotion

·         lip gloss

·         tissues

·         hand wipes

·         pencil

·         a few pens

·         notepad

·         lots of old receipts and trash


If you have kids, add to that:

·         goldfish

·         diapers

·         more handwipes

·         antibiotic cream/spray

·         Nintendo DS or comparable item for entertainment value at the doctor office

·         goldfish

·         Bandaids

·         Hard candy

·         Hand sanitizer

·         Hair ties

·         goldfish

·         Tide to go

·         Little toys


If I were properly stocked, I bet I could do about as well as MacGyver in most situations. Alas, I’ve never been able to force myself to carry a purse longer than a week. It’s just a nuisance to me. I have been carrying a camera case for about a year now. It fits (barely) my drivers license, cash and cards plus my phone. That’s about it. Anytime I try to put my keys in it I can’t zip it shut.


Today I had my regular doctor appointment to check on the baby. Report is basically the same as last the last one two weeks ago. Back in two more weeks for another baby scan. Anyway, when I was checking out they prepared a packet for me in addition to all the regular check out stuff they do. As I left she handed it to me and said, “Just keep this envelope in your bag all the time.”


“Huh?” I queried.


“Just keep it in your handbag.”


Fairly sure I was still displaying a totally blank stare.


“In case something goes wrong and you have medical problems you will have all our emergency contact numbers to call, the direct line to the ambulance* to Mount Elizabeth Hospital and if emergency responders need it then your entire medical history for the pregnancy is all included here.” (*You have to call a specific number for an ambulance to the hospital you want to go to, you don’t just call the 911 equivalent to take you to the closest hospital where you are at the time because they may not take your insurance or you may have to have cash on hand to pay.)


“Oh. You mean like a purse. Oh. Okay. But seriously? I’m supposed to keep this with me all the time, everywhere I got until I deliver?”


The answer came back in the affirmative and I just had to laugh inside. A purse. I guess I can shove it in the make shift diaper bag I’ve been using lately. Maybe I’ll relent and get a purse. Then again, in eight weeks I’ll have a diaper bag super glued to my body for another two years. What’s the point in converting now? I’ll enjoy these last eight weeks of my purse-free life.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Maddie is Pregnant

Maddie is only five and I just got the news she's pregnant. Dr. Ben just took an xray with the metronome (for the piano) and it says she's going to have 216 babies! They will all look just like Ben's Precious Moments doll Potsy as you can see on the tv monitor and they will all be dressed in blue pajamas with white stars on them. I was anxious about having just one in a few weeks. I'm such a wimp!

Then I hear the c-section surgery begin by our neighbor, Dr. Allen. He is using a neon orange chainsaw and his assistants have other useful tools. I'm hoping my doctor has a smaller knife ready for me in March. Of course they all switched jobs when I tried taking a picture but I love the way Maddie is laid out on the top of the fouton couch and how Eun Seo is unscrewing her belly button. Imagination play days are so much more fun than video game and cable tv days at our house!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Small Moment of Celebration

Not knowing quite what to do with myself after dropping my three kids off at two different schools I decided on a whim to follow Kristi Pitman's lead from last week. I hit McDonalds for breakfast! I wished Brian could have been with me to celebrate together. That would have made the morning absolutely perfect.

Wasn't bad just as it was though. Three smiling happy kids. All ready for school and learning and friends again. Late start today made for plenty of time for morning chores without tears and no frantic morning rush. Good bedtime last night meant no tired kids today. Brian even got up early and took the car to fill the gas tank at the station and was back as I got out of the shower. He is too fantastic for words, especially considering how physically exhausted I am after the great four days of house guests, late nights, hiking and biking. Today I'll just try to forget that the clock resets the first week of March and we have a new baby with diapers and middle of the night feedings on the horizon. Today I'm free for a solid two hours and going to make the most of it!