Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Update from Dad in Saudi Arabia:
I have now spent a full week unpacking.  Out of 240 items, I pretty much opened every box, although I left the stuff in about 70 boxes (mostly office stuff and toys) until we have a plan for where to put them.  The rest are all put away.  Attached is a picture of the packing paper I pulled out of about half of the boxes (I have more packing paper flattened out in a stack behind the table).  The empty boxes are all stacked in a big pile upstairs waiting for the kids to build forts.  Now, what to do with all this paper?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Overwhelmed in America

I had read about this before but didn't think it would ever happen to me. After all, I'm from America, right? My understanding is that when people from nations with less abundance come to America they can be totally overwhelmed by the amount of stuff. It made sense. Especially after two visits with grandparents to Bali, Indonesia and Hanoi, Vietnam, both much less developed countries. We drove along through the country side and saw shop after shop after shop set up in front of little houses. The shops were just a basic table top display about 4 feet by 3 feet. At the back of the table there would be a shelf of some sort holding a few more items for sale. With the grandparents there to entertain my children I was miraculously left to my own thoughts.

As we bobbed along in our air conditioned/heated tourist vans I began to think of how very, very little the people had and I questioned what I saw trying to reason it out in my Western head. Why not just have a bigger shop? More available products to sell surely means more profit, so why the small shops? In time, my eyes began to extend beyond the shop on the edge of the roadway. My eyes moved out - to the modest shacks they called homes and then to the yards with a single rope hanging the clean laundry for the entire family to dry and the cows in their yards so thin I could see their bones. In time it occurred to me. More products to sell means more than simply having a bigger table to put the items on. More stock means more money to purchase that stock and by the looks of things there wasn't a lot of money to be spending on much more than food for dinner tonight and a few other basic necessities.

Two things caught my American eye that day that triggered those realizations on those trips several years ago. At lots of shops I kept seeing glass bottles of about 1-2 liter size. At first I figured it was water. Nearly every shop had some and they were all at varying amounts of full and it was just a little too brown to be water though it was hard to see at first because they were all set against the upright brown wooden shelves. Then I saw a sign in English somewhere that told me it was gas for sale in those bottles. That gas for the motorcycles, in tiny quantities, was the sole form of transport for the more well to do families.

The other item that opened my eyes that day was when we stopped at a rather large shop next door to a touristy boat ride spot. This shop had 3 long rows of shelves and a roof. I saw a local lady buy a single sample packet of shampoo. For years I had thought of the trash in the streets and the waterways I saw in the countries in Asia and how dirty the places felt. (It's hard to fully blame the individuals since there is no trash collection company coming around in trucks to remove the waste.) I always saw the shops that sold the sample packs of shampoo and was annoyed at them. 'Why don't the people just buy a big bottle and put less waste out into the world," was how my American brain thought. This mother came to the shop, where I was choosing between a large bag of cookies or crackers, a luxury she likely wouldn't be able to afford. She was there to buy shampoo for her family. She picked up two packets, conversed with the shop owner, put one back, paid for a single packet and went home. I had a pit in my stomach. I am quite sure that woman would have done so much more with the money I spent on cookies for my children that day. She left with just one packet of shampoo. That woman would be overwhelmed by the choices and speed and busyness of my America.

I find it odd and yet understandable that I was overwhelmed by the choices in the corner grocery store this weekend. Saturday night I had to buy eggs for Sunday breakfast. One item on the list. I went to the grocery store and as I walked into the store I got this panic feeling. The store was so BIG. My chest started to tighten and I wanted to just run back out the front door. I didn't know exactly where the eggs were in the store and I knew there would be so many choices and that scared me to death. It was a very physical reaction of dread. I wandered a little and found the eggs in the back corner but as I walked back toward the front I got a call to grab one more thing. I wasn't panicking anymore but as I walked up and down the aisles I felt like a stranger in a foreign land. I could no longer walk the aisles and navigate the system like it was second nature. It wasn't obvious where I would find anything anymore. It occurred to me that I most certainly looked lost as I wandered. And that's exactly how I felt. Lost.

I just wanted to return to Singapore. Where I knew how to exist now and I was sad to realize that I am moving on to a new place. A place I will be ultimately more lost than I was in America. A new foreign place where nothing makes sense. Everything is different. Strange. Intimidating. Scary. I guess today I'm feeling a lot of dread. I am not sure if I have the emotional energy to start again. What gives me hope is knowing that as I explore my new space in the universe I will grow and learn about Saudi just like I learned about Asia. I will become enamored with the people, the culture, the religion, the beliefs, the landscape.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Ben, Maddie and Jacob have been working on their brag tags for being Unplugged this summer. They are loving it! Here is the picture Ben had to show to prove he went to Cedar Breaks. It’s been a fun program and keeps the kids out of the house and electronics free. They are really motivated to earn the badges too so it keeps them interested.

Good Shooting Form

This cracked me up and I’m so glad I got a picture of it. Ben is just too small for the rifle. His shooting form looks like he’s a cooked spaghetti noodle.


After this one, he tried a pistol and a higher power rifle. I was switching camera cards at the wrong time when he had the shotgun, but boy I missed an awesome video/picture when he tried the BIG gun with some kick. He pulled the trigger, got knocked back just a little tiny bit but nearly ran away from it after he shot it and said it was too big for him. He had us all laughing at his surprised response.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Homeless Travelers

Been back in the States 4 weeks today. Put 2,200+ miles on my rental car since I arrived. Having fun every day with friends and family. Ready for a break from this "vacation" though. We are feeling a bit homesick and yet are homeless. Kids just want a house to call home. Transition isn't our favorite state.