Thursday, March 31, 2011

Addition Update

The construction of our new Addition has moved indoors.  While we were gone, they broke through the Addition, to the inside of our living space.  

Dining Room Wall?  Gone!  So much for Kate's nice paint job.

The taper has been here the last couple of days mudding and taping the drywall. 
This is what my living room looks like.  

Living Room window?  Gone!

Not to be outdone by the inside mess, our yard is looking like a war zone.

I've heard there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 
Just wondering exactly how long that tunnel is.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


The Blue Mosque

I realize I have posted no Turkey report as of yet.  Two reasons; it's a little overwhelming to report on, and I am still so tired.  Can't shake the jet lag quite yet.  So here are a few photos to reassure you that yes, we did go to Turkey.

The Turkish Bath we enjoyed...some more than others!

The Attaturk Memorial in Ankara

Here a scarf, there a scarf, everywhere a scarf, scarf!

Turkish Tea

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

From Our Chinese Daughter

Hello All!
    I am safe and sound on China soil. I arrived at the University this morning and this is my first time to get to sit down and write an update. I tried to access facebook and my blog, but the internet here would not allow me to access either. I hope to have my computer set up and running within the next couple days allowing me to access both. Highlights of my trip thus far...

*Having a personal escort (Susan and Josephine) all the way on to the plane in Chicago. Then sitting in luxurious business class enjoying delicious food and lots of leg room. :) It was such a blessing!
*being in CHINA!!! (I still can't believe it!) 
*Meeting many "friends" along the way of traveling who speak English and have kept me company. Whenever I had a moment of feeling alone, God provided a friend to come be with me. Those friends include a Jewish rabbi, a single lady from China currently living in Indiana, and two young chinese students working at the Hilton Beijing Airport. 
*Seeing mountains in Beijing - I'm still not sure what they were, but they were a beautiful suprise.
* Walking into my own little apartment - it's quirky, it's small, there's only hot water a couple hours in the morning and evening...I love it!
 *Riding the bus on my own, with no Chinese & English speaking friend, at the airport. I felt very independent...and slightly self-conscious. :)
 *Meeting all the other foreign teachers at the University who are friendly, kind and excited to have another teacher here! "Are you the new teacher?...Bethany? Right?!"
 *I'm still also in awe at how different everything is. The landscape, the language, the smells are all so...different.

I'm excited about getting into the classroom. I sat in on a class this afternoon which was fun to see what it will be like. It is mid-terms here (I know, I just got here) and so I believe the plan is for me to begin on Monday. I'll know more details tomorrow.

There are a million jillion things running through my head. I feel exhausted, excited, and nervous all mixed together. The people here are easy to get along with and seem eager to help. I feel supported. Besides the usual feelings of jet lag, I feel fine physically. My brain is shutting down, so maybe I should stop writing. :)

But first off - THANK YOU for all the prayers and support! I have felt very protected and cared for along the way. The words of encouragement some of you gave me was a good reality check when I had some doubtful moments on the plane. Thank you. 

    I'll try my darndest to keep on top of writing.
    Much love!

  p.s. Mailing Address is as follows:
  Bethany Keena
  Sias International University
  168 E. Renmin Lane
  Henan Province 451150
  CHINA (you don't have to use all caps, i just get excited).

Glad To Be Home

4:00am  Ankara Time       Wake up.
4:20am  Ankara Time        Leave for airport
6:30am  Ankara Time        Flight to Munich
11:30am Munich Time       Flight to Chicago
8:05pm  Chicago Time       Learn that our flight, due to leave at 8:30, will not leave until 10:30.
12:30am  Bozeman Time    Arrive in Bozeman
1:30am  Bozeman Time     Go to bed.  (That's 9:00am Ankara Time, Wednesday)

Friday, March 11, 2011


1.  Early Morning Train to Munich. Breakfast pretzels on the train.
2.  Thankful for storage lockers at the train station.
3.   Marienplatz Strolling; street musicians, lots of people, didn't stop in one store.
4.  307 steps up and down St. Peter's bell tower.
5.  Saw students from CJMS; we all kind of freaked that we saw each other in Germany!
6.  Ate brats in the open-air food market.
7.  Toured Munich Residenz Museum.  Those kings had way too much money!
8.  Ate dinner at Burger King in the train station.
9.  Said good bye to Andrew and Emily.
10.  Trained to our hotel; one room, four beds. 

Too tired to upload photos.  Meeting CRU team tomorrow!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day in Garmisch

We had a good day seeing Garmisch.  Mostly from high above it.

We took our first hike of 2011 in Germany!
The two-mile hike was up, up, up.  But our stopping point was at St. Martin's restaurant that serves the "best apfel strudle in Germany". 

 It was pretty darn good, as was the Speckpfannkuchen wit grunem salat (bacon pancake with salad), Schnitzel Wiener aut mit kavtoffel salat (fried pork with potato salad), and the 6 Stuck Nurnberger Rostbratwurste mit karloffelsalat oder Sauerkraut (sausages and sauerkraut).  The view from the restaurant out-door patio was also amazing.
The hike down was much quicker, although the ice covered trail was a bit tricky to navigate.

 We stopped to see Andrew's home in The Abrams.  This facility is a former Nazi hospital built in 1938.  There are beautiful murals still on the walls, depicting German cultural values. 
We walked around down-town Garmisch for a bit, even stopping to shop at H&M.  We were glad to find a table at a coffee shop and ordered coffee and hot chocolate.  David and Grace said it was the best hot chocolate they ever had.  My coffee was right up there, too.

Do you see anyone missing in the photos?  Emily had to stay behind today, because she was not feeling well.  She has actually been experiencing some kind of stomach aches, that don't totally incapacitate her, but make her leery to  commit to too much activity.  She will have time to do all the Garmisching later, since she is staying with Andrew for  a week after we leave.  I'm sure she would like to feel better sooner than later. 

First Leg

We arrived in Germany yesterday.  After leaving Bozeman at 7:00am, we arrived in Munich at 10:00am.  You can do the math, but I'll tell you it was a long day!  Fortunately it was rather uneventful.  We stopped in Chicago for a 6-hour layover and got to hang out with Bethany at O'hare.
Her plans for China are still unconfirmed.  The latest is that she will go at the end of March.  She is beginning to wonder if it will really happen at all.  There was talk of her moving to Bozeman, though.  I like that kind of talk.  She would only need a job and a place to live.  That's all.

Troy also met us at the airport.  At one time, Troy's daughter called he and Jim "BFFs"!  Even after being gone from Chicago for nearly three years, Troy and Jim still keep in touch.   Their communication usually involves dissing each others sports teams, but that's deep, man-style communique, right?
Troy treated us to lunch at the Hilton, "the last good meal you may have for awhile".  It was delish!  Bethany and I had a salmon BLT.  Em ordered a fantastic Fruit Satay, mostly because her stomach has on edge.  Troy, as always, was a wonderful host!  We miss having the Smith's in our lives.

We arrived at the Munich airport, and as our plane touched the ground we realized we did not know for sure where to meet Andrew.  No cell phone service = the need for much better planning.  As we walked, and walked, and walked through the airport we were hoping and praying to round the corner to one familiar face.  And we did!  Andrew, only moments before, had put his roommate on a plane back home.  A family emergency forced Sean stateside.  So emotions were pretty high as we met, and hugged, and told him how REALLY glad we were to see him.  He and another friend, Richard, were there to help us find our way to the hotel.  It was a bit of a test, these guys must not get out much, but we made it to the hotel after three train rides, one taxi-van, and five security clearances. 

Edelweiss Lodge Lobby
We stayed at the hotel for the day, enjoying the on-site pool, hot tub, and saunas.  Dinner at the Market Station was a great Tex-Mex buffet.  I know, that's a long way to travel for Tex-Mex, but today we will sample some local fare. 
This is the view out of our hotel window.
The kids all went and stayed with Andrew at The Abrams, his home away from home, for the night.  It's 9:00am and there is still no sign of them.  We are planning to hike for the day, but we'll see.  I guess it depends on when they decide to get up.  Jet lag is such a drag!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Baby Bulls

You can take the Bulls fans out of Chicago, but you can't take Chicago out of the Bulls fans!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wild Game Dinner

We stopped by our church's Wild Game Dinner last night on our way to David's third basketball game for the day.  We live in a hunting and fishing paradise, and every now and then our church hosts a dinner where all hunters/fishers can bring a dish made with their trophies.

Wild Rabbit. Hee hee!

Trophies of the guests.  It was snowing when the dinner was over, so these will stay in the auditorium for the services this morning.

These guys looked nervous all night.

There were prizes for ID games.

There were raffles for tables full of prizes.
Raffle ticket monies were a fund-raiser for an organization that takes terminally ill children on hunting and fishing trips.  My name was drawn and I chose a beautiful walking stick, made by a man in our church.  I would show it to you, but I sent it home with someone that offered to put a leather hand grip on it.  I'm not so into guns and rods so I've decided hiking is my favorite outdoor MT activity.  Who knew they would have a perfect prize for even me at this Wild Game Dinner?!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Yesterday was David's 14th birthday!  
Despite the fact that he had to go to school plus he's still not feeling 100% since being sick, we still celebrated in proper fashion. 

Birthday + Pizza + Sports = Old Chicago

They were all pretty excited about David's birthday.

Mom and Dad

The card Grace and Emily gave David.

The gifts Grace and Emily gave David!

The "only thing I want for my birthday"!

Fourteen and Fuzzy!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hydrox or Oreos?

Oreo Cookies

Hydrox Cookies

Oh, the great Hydrox/Oreo debate. Well, I doubt anyone seriously debates that one any more, I think we know who won. But when I was a kid my dad insisted on Hydrox cookies. We all clamored for the deliciousness that was Oreo. Of course we often clamored for whatever Dad didn't want...there was also the heated soft serve/hard ice cream debate. Guess which one Dad liked? Yep, hard ice cream. Although, as an adult I've come to recognize the advantage to hard ice cream; it takes longer to eat. And I can really put away some soft-serve, and boy howdy, do I mean put. it. away. Before I know it, it's over and done with, and there sits Dad, chewing on his hard ice cream. 

Ok, back to the cookies at hand. It had been years since I even saw a pack of Hydrox cookies, until about a year ago. Walking through the cookie aisle, they nearly jumped off the shelf at me screaming "Hey, remember me?!" Nostalgia won out and I bought the pack of cookies, mostly to share this lovely tidbit of a childhood debate with my own kiddos. They didn't think it as emotional as I did. If I remember correctly they scarfed down a couple and said "I like Oreos better". 
See, Dad, I told you.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Andrew and his Garmisch buddies, in Italy, I think!

(Warning: I will not get through this post without tears)

Today is Andrew's birthday!  Happy Birthday over there on the other side of the world!  I wish you were here because I would throw you a great big party, just like the ones I used to always throw you.  Oh, wait, you would never let me throw you big birthday parties.  That's okay.  I celebrate big every March 2nd anyway!  I think you have a big-birthday-party animal down deep just waiting to be released.  I've seen glimpses!

Uncle Andrew

And I have a special birthday present for you.  I've learned to drink my coffee black.  I think I am growing up.
Loves real coffee in real mugs!

 You know if you were here we would all shower you with gifts. You are so fun to give gifts to.  You love everything.  
Two of his favorite sisters

So, here I am at the end of the photos, and I was right.  There are tears.  Tears because I love you so intensely.  Tears because I miss you.  But mostly tears because I love the strong man that you are becoming.  I love watching you grow, and struggle, and learn, and love, and challenge, and find your place in this world.
Be still my heart.