Of Friends and Family…

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the last part of February! Not long ago we were saying” Wow! It’s already the middle of January!” Now January’s been and gone and it’s almost March!
We’ve had 5 sets of visitors since January, My grandparents, Dad’s Cousin Justin, Jon and Veasna Gingerich, along with his mom, and later his dad and brother Ken, and Eli Mast Jr. and his wife! The Gingrich’s didn’t stay with us, but were in the area.
Jon’s and his mom, Eva, arrived on the 19th. Veasna’s family loved having Veasna back and seeing their adorable baby girl for the first time.
Granddads got here on the 22nd. They really enjoyed going out to different villages and tasting new foods. Dad’s cousin, Justin got here Feb.5. That Sat. most of the family went out to the silk farm and the baray. Freda was adventurous and tasted a silk worm! The next day was Sunday and we ate lunch out at the pavilion with the Khmer people after church.
Some of the boys went out way back in the sticks for the night so they could get a head start on drilling a well and make it back before nightfall. They came back that evening with a blue crested iguana! We kept it for a couple days then let it go again.

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Isn’t it beautiful?

The time that our visitors was here went WAY too fast. Before we knew it, it was the 12th and grandads last day here. I think they were both ready to get back to the cold weather! Eli Mast Jr.’s came the night after Granddad’s left. Jon’s and Larry’s left on the 14th. Justin and Eli’s left Fri. the 15th.


Dad studied for his message on Friday so that we could do something as a family on Saturday. After sitting around half of the morning not knowing what to do we decided just to go putt putting. We literally ran around the house getting it cleaned up for company that evening. We had Chhom’s brother Chhun and his wife Sokna, Chhom’s parents, and one of Chhom’s nephews over for supper.
The nest week was pretty much just getting back to the normal grind of things.
At home we usually made donuts when it snowed, but here we usually do it when it gets ‘cold’. It didn’t really get cold this year, but we made them anyway.
Yesterday morning we had the first rain of the year. It didn’t rain much, but it rained. There’s something about the first rain of the year… it smells amazing, and everything seems fresher and greener. It was a little cooler too. We’ve been having some hot weather the last couple weeks!

And that brings us up to the present. That’s all for this time…

Heather for the Helmuths

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Of Cousins and Christmas…

It has been so much fun since the last blog post! To start, my cousin’s Shane and Tara were supposed to get here in the last week of November. However, on the way here they missed their flight due to short connections and bad weather. It took a while, but they finally got everything figured out and they were going to get the next flight out. Well they were getting their new tickets, and, both of their passports were within 6 months of expiring. Shane could get his renewed, but Tara was under 16, so she had to have her parent’s signature. they finally figured out that her parents could sign some papers and send them over with Tara’s birth certifcate.  They spent a week in  Hong Kong!
They FINALLY got here Tuesday, the 4th of Dec., a week after they were supposed to get here. We were so ready to have them here! We picked them up at the same time some of the ALO board got here.
The next two weeks, us kids spent some time going to the village, Angkor wat, the baray, and in general just enjoying them (ourselves). The board left after a week and 1/2 full of meetings and the like…


On the 16th the church put on their annual Christmas party. This year we had an actual planning committee, so it was a lot more organized than last year. The party was supposed to start at 3:00. By 5:00 a couple people had showed up and we finally started at 6:00. For supper we had Khmer noodles and curry. It was amazing how many random people helped out with serving food and cleanup.
Monday was really sad. Shane and Tara left. It was a real treat to have them here!
We couldn’t mope about them leaving for long though. Chandra, our old school teacher, came for a short little visit.

 


She left early the morning on the 24th. Since everyone had off work some of the Khmer guys thought it would be fun to go out to one of the ALO staff guy’s hometown. It wasn’t supposed to take long to get there. It ended up taking a couple hours. When we finally got there we set mats out in the shade, unpacked the food, and had a delicious lunch of rice, soup, and fried pork. There was “flower” that they had set out to eat with the food. Alaina, before she ate it, looked down at it pitifulingly and said “poor, poor, flower” then she popped in her mouth and went around telling everyone “guess what? I ate a flower!” There was a river close by, so after lunch was done, the guys got out their nets and poles and went fishing while the ladies sat in the shade and chatted. We were all worn out by the time we got home.

 

 
This year was probably the least ‘Christmassy’ Christmas that we’ve had so far. We really missed Lori and Luke! We ate a late breakfast, cleaned up, and then started fixing dinner. Of course the electric had to pick that day to be temperamental. We had mashed potatoes, grilled pork, salad and dinner rolls for dinner. It was delicious. Later in the evening we drank wassail and had a little family gift exchange.
On New Year’s Eve the church got together a service and we all brought a little something to snack on.
That week we started moving to Elton’s old house. It took a while, but it’s finally finished. However there is still plenty of stuff to unpack and find places for stuff. Our new house is a lot closer to the village, so that’s nice. Last week was pretty much just getting unpacked and fixing up stuff around here.

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Our new house…

Heather for the Helmuths.

 

Cards…

Hey y’all,

If anyone has Christmas cards or pictures that they would like to send, my grandparents are coming the last of this month. As long as you get it there by the 18th it should be fine. Their address is 5314 Hummingbird Dr Millersburg OH 44654… we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Heather for the Helmuth’s

The Wedding…

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Today was extremely busy. Of course it had to be today, when we needed our wash to dry fast, to rain. Finally, I decided to just string up a rope from the grating on one of my windows to another. Then I hung up the clothes, and brought a fan in and dried the clothes like that. Most of us used the time packing… around 4:30, James and some of the Khmer guys came to take us to the airport. Guess what? We actually left on time!!!

11:40 pm we just got through security at Guangzhou China. After we got through security, we came up to a place where there was stairs and escalators. The escalators were motion censored, so they were stopped. Forrest saw that they were stopped, disappointed, he started trudging up the stairs. Dad got on the escalators, and when he caught up to Forrest, the beat out look that went across Forrest’s face was priceless! Now we are all sitting in the lounge, the kids are playing in a PlayStation right by us.

Oct. 2, 2018   6:40 AM well, we made it to the states! The time zones really mess you up, we left china at 1 this morning, flew for 14 ½ hours, then we get to the states around 4 the same morning!

After that we flew to Charlotte. Lori picked us up, we went out for lunch and stopped and got groceries on the way back from the airport. We spent the next few days at my uncle’s place then we headed down to South Carolina and stayed with our friends for the weekend.

Monday, we went to my Uncle Arlyn’s house for supper.

The 11th was moms fiftieth birthday! Lori made crepes for breakfast, and with the crepes made a cake with fruit and whipped cream. It was delicious! That afternoon the boys and some of our cousins went on a bachelor camping trip. I think they all enjoyed themselves immensely. I was going to make a birthday supper for mom, but there was a power outage a couple cities wide so we couldn’t get groceries… so those of us that didn’t go camping went out for Mexican food. The next day was dad’s birthday. And the day after that was Cordell’s. We now have four birthdays in October. Three of which all come a day after another.

The next two weeks were jam packed with wedding preparation. The week of the wedding, relatives started arriving. Everybody helped out a lot. Family and friends. Thursday we went to the church and set up tables, decor etc.…

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The day before the wedding was very busy and very fun (for me at least) A lot of the cousins were there. We did all the last minute preparations, then headed over to a park for the rehearsal supper. Uncle Roger made his famous chili… then we went back to the church and rehearsed. Over. And over. And over…

Then the day came for the wedding! We ate a hurried breakfast, ran around getting ready, then went to the church and took family pictures. We finally made our way inside… then all the hellos started. It was so good to see people. We had a mini Cambodia reunion. Matt’s, Jazzy, and Jon and Veasna with their adorable baby girl were there.

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Photo Credits: A Thousand Words Photography

After cleaning up, the relatives from both sides, and friends, went to ‘our’ house for a supper of leftovers. We had a FULL house, there was 80+ people in the one house. It was all good though. It was pretty late by the time everyone left.  The next day was full of goodbyes… the only bad thing about family being around, is that everyone leaves so soon.

That weekend we went down to South Carolina. Sunday we older kids went to our old church, and mom and dad went to Cold Springs. That evening we all went to Cold Springs, where dad gave a little devotional and gave a presentation of the work here. We were going to leave right after church, but they had a snack. We went back up to N.C. then. Lori and Cordell got back from their honeymoon that night.  Cordell was sick with a fever and a stomach bug.

Monday morning we went fishing with our ‘brother” Jonathon and his wife Tina. Lori and Cordell waited till around lunchtime to come. Cordell was feeling a little better by then. Ryan had very good luck! Most of his were 5 lbs’ers. Jonathon caught an 8.15 pounder! I, as usual, didn’t catch one until the end of the day, and even then it was a cute sized one (it sounds better to say cute sized than small). Lori came home from fishing not feeling well. That evening, Rogers came over for a  delicious supper of fried fish, bannock, and sweet potato souffle. After supper, Lori and Cordell opened and recorded their gifts. Then we just sat around and talked for a while.

Lori was sick all the next day.  We hoped and prayed we wouldn’t get sick on the flight over. We basically just packed  all day long. Took our showers, went to Rogers for a hurried supper, rushed back to the house, loaded everything up, and said tearful goodbyes and headed to the airport. This is the first time that we left Lori that she’s not alone anymore.

Flying back was pretty uneventful, Alaina did get a slight fever, and threw up once. But other than that, it was all good. When we stepped out of the plane, the wave of familiar smells, and the humidity was shocking. And now we’re back to normal traffic (it’s worse than it was when we left though), school, well drilling, and pretty much just everyday life.

Heather for the Helmuths

 

The Past while…

Ok, I admit, I was very mistaken, I thought that with the boys and everyone gone, this summer was going to inch it’s way past. But here we are, halfway through July already! And I’ve really enjoyed the last few weeks.

Well, I think life has finally found a new normal. This normal isn’t going to last long though! In a little over a month we are going to be Our whole family is going to be together again! But even that’s not going to be normal, with Lori getting married, there’s going to be an addition soon.

I had a very enjoyable day the other day. Some could think it was boring, but I didn’t. Alaina and I went out to the village in the morning. I was going to go and give
the land surrounding the pavilion a long needed mowing, and the bathrooms a
thorough cleaning, and Alaina jumped at the chance to go out and play with her
friends. I dived into the yard work (not literally) for close to half an hour when I decided to sit down for a couple minutes. As I sat there listening to Dad and Frank talk I noticed that the sky was getting slightly dark. I asked Frank if he thought it would rain, and he said that the wind didn’t feel like it would. So I waited for a couple more minutes before I started again. A couple minutes later, lo and behold, it started sprinkling. I stopped, it stopped. I started, it started. I stopped, it stopped. Finally the rain was tired of playing games. It poured! Frank said in the old Khmer culture, if it rains when you’re doing something good, you’re getting a blessing, maybe it’s patience? We went for lunch, came back, and sat at Frank’s place and talked for close to an hour before it finally let up. I, determined to get done, sloshed the mower through the water. I felt accomplished after I was done. Some of the staff guys were in the middle of a volleyball game when I was done, so I sat down and watched them. It truly is the little things that makes life wonderful! Even something simple like sitting down and not sweating, while you’re mind wander between the game and various little bunny trails.

The kids are still keeping us laughing! The other day mom needed a spoon. Alaina asked mom “a Christian spoon or Khmer one?” Apparently, anything western is “Christian” and anything else is “Khmer”!

Since my last blog post our baby parakeet flew away, the children were heartbroken. A couple weeks later, Sen gave Forrest two baby mynahs. Forrest was overjoyed! The day after we got them, we were getting ready to head to bed. Mom heard the birds being extra loud, she thought Alaina was probably trying to hold them. She went to check on them. Just as she came into the living room, a cat ran out… with a bird in its mouth! After we gave it a good chase, we figured that would be the last of the cat. However the next evening Forrest was in the living room, and once again, the cat invited himself inside for a meal. Forrest was not feeling quite as hospitable as the cat had hoped. He scared it out, then went outside with his slingshot and returned minutes later, an exuberant expression on his face. He shot it and scared it away.

On Sunday, we left the house here around 6:15 – 6:30. We were supposed to meet the Bakong and Kampong Phlok people at 7:00 at the pavilion in Bakong to go out to Bong Malea for church. Alaina and I rode Khmer style. 23 people in the 12 passenger van! Being crowded just made it jollier.

There was approximately 60 people crowding under Chhum‘s parents house. We had a very close gathering! Literally! After the service we had a potluck of sorts. Everybody brought something, then they all shared. The hit of that meal was definitely moms French bread. In fact I think that’s all some of them ate. I saw people walk past with 5+ slices in a bowl with sweetened condensed milk on top.

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Dad was aroused early on the 30th by a call. It was Frank. He was cutting palm leaves for his fence. Frank saw a hole in the ground that looked like a snake hole. Frank, curious to know if anything was in there, stuck a stick down the hole. In return he heard a loud hissing. He then figured it was a Cobra. He got Chhom’s nephew, Tain, to come help him. They finally caught it, getting spit on a couple of times in the process. It was a spectacled Cobra. We needed to go clean the pavilion and bathrooms for church on Sunday anyway, so went out and watched Frank and Dallas play with it for a while. It was tired from the chase the guys gave it, so it wasn’t very active. Which was kind of disappointing. They measured it, it was 47¼”. After we left, they killed it and made it into a soup. I thought the kids were more photogenic than the cobra… sorry!

Heather for the Helmuth’s

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Comings and Goings

Wow, these last three weeks have been really busy! We got done with school the week before my cousin Cassandra came. Cassandra was supposed to get here on Thursday, but due to bad weather, did not arrive until Saturday. We filled the week after she came with going to the market, getting drinks by a roadside stand, and going out to the village.

The day after she came we were headed out to the fishing village for church and on the way, we got a flat tire. While we waited, Cassandra asked if a flat tire was a common occurrence. We said it wasn’t. The next day, we girls decided to go and play volleyball with the guys at the village, and Mom wanted go see Srey Mum’s baby. Soon after we started, we heard a funny noise…every time Mom sped up we would hear it.Finally it got bad enough and we started smelling something hot, so Mom pulled over. I got out and looked at the tires on the passenger side. I didn’t see anything the matter with it. But when I went to the other side of the van, something was very wrong. The tire was shredded! So much for a flat tire not being a common occurrence!  Mom’s phone didn’t have any data, and Kayla’s phone had data but was almost dead. We called dad, and he told Ryan to come help us.  Ryan got to where we were in about half an hour. And in another half an hour he had the spare on. It was late enough that we decided to ditch the playing volleyball.

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The flat tire…

Jody  arrived on Thursday, May 24th. The children were all thrilled to get stuff from Luke. That next week was a lot of fun, also kind of sad because it was Kayla’s last week here. On Saturday the boys had off so they decided that they were going to take Jody Cassandra and Kayla on a short bike trip. However that plan fell through when it started raining, hard, so we ended up going to the silk farm and putt putting. We got rained on there too.

Sunday evening after everybody left my sister Lori and her boyfriend Cordell video called us to tell us some exciting news… they’re engaged!!! We’re very happy for them. 1527483944781_8691956859_8c3894ae_v1.jpgOn Monday, we girls went gallivanting around the market looking for souvenirs. Then that afternoon we went to a coffee shop with Kayla one last time before she would leave. Kayla’s sister and her family were in Siem reap for a couple of days that week so Kayla got to see her sister before she left. On Tuesday it did finally work out for the boys to take them on their bike trip. They all thought it was fun.

The next day Jody went to the village, Cassandra went shopping, and me, Kayla, Mom and the kids went swimming with Kayla’s sister and her children. Then later that evening on the spur of the moment we went up to the mountain to watch the sunset.IMG_4682

The next day we made three trips to the airport, it was both Cassandra’s and Kayla’s last day here, and Rod and Janelle Musser came late that night. That day seemed like a couple days all squished into one (emotions included). Cassandra left a little bit before lunch. Then after she left I tried to get as much of Kayla as I could. Five o’clock came much too quickly. We were all sad to see her go. The next day dad and mom took Rods out to the fishing village.

On Saturday we went to the reservoir, ate lunch, and played games, it was a lot of fun.

Monday Dad & Mom took Rod & Janelle to Angkor Wat. Tuesday rolled around and it was time for more goodbyes. Rod and Janelle left after breakfast. Jody went to the village to bid adieus to all the Khmer people. It was weird yet normal having her here, it felt normal because she lived with us for a year and a half, but it was also weird because we had all changed in some way.

The evening after they left Ryan, Austin, and Chum went to Phnom Penh because Austin needed to get a physical examination done before he can go to Beaver Lake camp this summer, and they also needed to look for a truck. The next morning Mom and Dad followed them. Dad got his license renewed, and Mom got fabric samples for Lori. They did not find a truck the first day, so they stayed the night and looked some more the next morning. Meanwhile at home I kept busy taking care of the children and doing laundry. There were parts that weren’t so fun but there were also a couple of times that were pretty funny. The one happened today when Forrest and Alaina were playing outside. I heard Alaina crying so I went out to check out on her. Forrest and Alaina were both sitting on the grass, Alaina with her head bowed down, blood streaming out of her nose, Forrest leaning over apologizing over and over again. I asked Forrest what happened, he looked up and told me that they were playing, and he was gonna throw a piece of grass at her but he didn’t realize how close her face was. He punched her and gave her a bloody nose. We are all relieved to have Mom and Dad back. Well I think that about sums this month up.            Heather for the helmuths

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Looks relaxing doesn’t it?

An Answered prayer…

We’ve often heard it said that you should have a childlike faith….recently there was an incident that really showed what can happen when you have faith of a child. Maly, one of our friends that helps mom out with the cleaning and cooking three times a week, has two cute daughters. She lost her husband 5 years ago in a moto accident. Her youngest daughter Nita, has been wanting a bike to go to school with for quite some time. However, her mom always told her she didn’t have enough money to buy one. So Nita decided that since her mom didn’t have the money for one, she would start praying for one. When she went to church, she would ask her Sunday school teacher to pray for her to be able to get a bike. And then a couple of weeks ago someone gave $100  to ALAM and specified that the money should be given to Maly. Needless to say, Maly was astonished when she got the money, and with that money Nita got the bike she had always wanted.

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Nita and her bike…

We recently got an adorable little moustached parakeet and the cutest little parrot from some people in one of the villages.

 

James and Ruth Mullet arrived on the 28th. They came to replace Elton’s for about a month after Elton’s leave. We always enjoy extra people around.

This last week has been a lot of fun. Mose Clemmer and Wendell Bauman, two of the guys that were in Canada last summer with my brothers, decided to globetrot Asia. And since they were in our area, they decided to come visit the boys. They got here Monday evening. We had supper, and then the kids watched the sky to see if they could find the airplane that was to bring my aunt and uncle. Dad pointed it out to them, then after a while they headed for the airport to pick them up. Tuesday they all headed out to the fishing village. They decided to go rat hunting and I think the guys thoroughly enjoyed that. The next day the Ryan and Austin took the guys drilling with them, and Mom and Dad took Wade and Rosy to Angkor Wat. After they were done there they went to the Landmine Museum. Thursday Dad and Mom took Wade’s and James’ to Brealingeang (a village way out in the country). From what I gathered, they all enjoyed that. The following day was Wade’s last day here. Dad took Wade to watch the guys drill, then after lunch Dad and Mom took Wade’s to the Silk Farm. We were all sad to say goodbye late that afternoon. We had our traditional Friday meal of Grilled chicken and cornbread with gravy. Saturday morning all the guys decided to go the reservoir. When they came back, we pulled out some stuff for sandwiches. After lunch, Mose and Wendell hurried off to airport and catch their plane to India. Sorry for the lack of pictures…

We are all looking forward to having two of our cousins with us these next few weeks. I will try to get lots of pictures of that for y’all.  Until next time, Heather