Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Mini World for Mini People

Hello all,

It's been a while since I was robbed by those darn kids in Marseilles, France, and I still want to squash them under my thumb but not matter, I'll let it pass (for now) and elaborate on my new adventure.

I'm in Japan! But best of all, I'm back in our old house and old stomping grounds from 19 years ago. The house is BEAT. No one's lived here in years and it's run down but what continues to amaze me is how parent paint the colors of our world. The house was just as abandoned when we lived in it 20 years ago (belongs to a doc around here) but even then, I didn't realize how warn down it was. Because like I said, my parents only saw the blessing in it (that we had a place to stay during our furlough from Indonesia) and so that's all I blissfully saw as well. And now that I've been here for a 10 days, immersed in the comfort of being home, it looks mighty fine to me!

Another thing I've noticed is how tiny everything is! Even the house looks smaller- I guess I finally 'growed'. But in all honesty, things are really small here.

Take for instance, this intersection. It's not just an intersection but a major intersection and the minivan is smaller than a standard sedan. There are tons of these tiny cars here.

See? They're as big as the scooter. They're rather cute.

And check out mom's kitchen in its entirety! Poor mom. The counters are low and cramped but it's stocked with nifty functions: ninja-style. Like the little stove above. It has a mini-oven just for fish! :) It's designed to keep the house smelling fishy. I need one! :)

And this washing machine, you can't really tell how small it is (it's just a little bit wider than me) but it can draw water from the bathtub to do the first washing cycle so it conserves water! (We take showers outside the tub first and then soak in super how water so the water's cleaner).

And how can I talk about nifty ideas and not discuss our famous/infamous toilet??? It has a sink on top of the tank, so you can use the fresh, tank-filling water to wash your hands with. Conserving even more water! And since Japanese homes don't have central heating (conserving even more energy but also makes me miss the US), the toilet seats are heated. Sitting on ice-cold ceramic bowls just aren't relaxing. :)

So yes, Japan's a mini world for mini people, it's a mighty mini place as well. And what can I say? Mini's are so cute!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Robbed by Kids in a Playground

Unbelievable. I´ve been in Paris and Marseille, France, for the last two weeks taking in the immense beauty of this place. Logan was here for a conference so I decided to depart Kenya for two weeks and meet up with him and my crazy old Spaniard friend, David Abadia. Do you guys remember him?

Everything had been going in fabulously until last night. I watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle in the night, I´ve looked up in awe at so many cathederals that my neck is stiff, I´ve oo-ed and aww-ed over true french cuisine, I´ve made new friends, swam in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time, and read books under the soothing shade of the park trees. All in all, it´s been a wonderful trip. In fact, it´s still a peak in my days of travel. I´m just lucky to have a new story about being robbed by kids at a playground... or at least that´s what I tell myself.
So, I was in Marseille, sitting at a playground in Longchamp Palace Park just two hours before I hopped on a bullet train back to France. I was taking in the view when two boys about 14 years old approached me (He told me he was 16. Yeah right!). They were just being silly and started talking to me in French. I was bored and I hadn´t met many local folke so I figured this was just all apart of traveling so I just laughed at their antics. I could see a group of their friends in a short distance so I figured they were just bored pre-teens kids looking for a kick- and they sure were! I just didn´t know what kind of kick they were looking for. I let them sit next to me and when one kid motioned to my camera, I though, "why not?" and showed them some of the pictures I had taken. While I was doing that ,another boy came over, and my bag fell off the bench. The 3rd boy picked it up for me and when he set it next to me, I noticed that my wallet(which had my phone in it) and back-up wallet (With extra cash) that I had attached to a plastic bag had been torn away. So I jumbed up and yelled for him to stop. At that same moment the other two boys went running after the 3rd boy. For an insane moment I thought they were chasing him for me when I realised that the second kid was running with my camera. So I grabbed my stuff and jet off after them- Ninja style. I gave them a good chase too. I even jumped a fence and got a little bit cut up :). But they must have done this a gazillion times because they jumped another one that I couldnt jump with all my stuff. So I yelled. and yelled. and well, yelled. That was nice. It didn´t stop them but I felt a little better. I wanted to report it the police and chase down his friends at the park but I had a train to catch that I could miss (especially now that I didn´t have money) so I jetted to my hostel and canceled my cards (With the help of a very compassionate hostel manager). I wanted to burst into tears so badly but I had so little time so saved them for poor Ellise, David´s girlfriend, who met me at her apartment door in Paris.

What a day... I was all stressed cause now I´m heading back to Kenya and I thought I had no money. Fortunately, my banks wiring me cash and my other one is issuing me an emergency visa card that will arrive in Kenya the day I do. Did you know they do that? I wish I knew that yesterday or I wouldn´t have been in such shock.

But the shocker is how much those little pricks got away with and the small decisions I had made along the day that lead to it. Like: putting my phone in my clutch wallet when it had been in my bag the whole day and keeping my backup cash so close to my wallet when it had been at the hostel the rest of the trip (I checked out of the hostel so I couldn´t keep it there anymore.) I can think of a thousand things I should have done differently be ses la vie... no use worrying about it now.... I just wish I still had my pictures :( They even took pictures of me kite surfing in Kenya. Fortunately, I have all my other kenya photos and Logan and my other friends took some in France so it´s all good... Just a little sad...

I want to go home...