Sunday, July 27, 2008

We bought a house!
  • We bought a house in the old, central area of Winnipeg. It's just off a major street where we can easily catch buses to other parts of town. The boys will be about 2 km from the school they will attend. Right now the house is a duplex where one family lives on the main floor and a single woman lives on the upper floor. They will have to move out in August and we will move in on September 1st.
  • We plan to change it back into a single family dwelling which means that we have to knock out some walls and make some other adjustments. One handy thing for the renovations is that there are 2 kitchens so that while we work on the main kitchen, we can use the second kitchen upstairs. We won't go hungry.
  • There are four rooms upstairs plus a bathroom. The boys will each have their own bedroom - something they have been looking forward to for a while. Arthur and I will share the top front room which was bright and sunny the only day we were allowed to view the house. The other room (the old kitchen) will be a den. We plan to keep the wall of cupboards for supplies. We'll have the old computer in that room.
  • The main level has a living room, dining room and a kitchen.
  • The addition on the back includes a guest room and a bathroom. We are hoping to keep the guest room occupied with friends and family (hint hint).
  • The house is 100 years old but the basement is relatively dry and solid. The ceiling isn't high enough to be usable space for us. Right now, the laundry is down there, with the gas furnace and electrical/plumbing systems. We don't plan on doing much down there.
  • It's on a corner lot as you can see from the photos. We will have to keep the boulevard mowed but other than that, there isn't much yard work to do. We don't really like gardening so we are happy with this arrangement. We were hoping for a garage but the house doesn't have one. We might build one in a few years. We'll likely build a shed soon because already we have 3 bicycles arranged.
  • Our schedule is to live on the main floor while we fix up and paint the upstairs. This shouldn't take too long, but we can't really remember details of how much work is needed. Then, once the floors have been sanded and re-finished, we'll move ourselves upstairs and work on the main level where the bulk of the work and money will go. We plan to re-design the kitchen, take out some walls and add detailing to the ceilings in the dining room and living room. Then we'll paint and get the floors down there re-done.
  • If you'd like our new address, send us an e-mail. We aren't giving it out before we move in because we are sure the current renters don't like us enough to pass on our mail. We are making them move out, so they likely hate us.

NOTE: We don't have much of value in our house so if you don't know us, don't bother trying to find out where we live so you can steal things from us. We still have the same TV we bought when we moved to Canada from Sudan in 1997. It's not big and it's not fancy. Also, our computer is from when Arthur was working on his Masters in Education which is about the same time we got our TV. We don't have a laptop or a printer and we've gotten just about all the pictures one could expect from our two old $150 cameras.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Images of Manitoba

Canola (above) is a very healthy oil producing crop grown over a lot of southern Manitoba.

In this last photo you can see some of our linens scattered on the grass in the sun to air out after being in storage for 6 years.
Arthur's Parents Celebrate

50 Years of Marriage

We arrived just in time to take part in anniversary celebrations for Mom and Dad's 50th which was on July 12. The main party took place 50 years exactly to the day -- as Dad pointed out, it was just a few minutes different from the timing of the original wedding.

The cake included a copy of Mom and Dad's original wedding photo.

It was a cool (13 C), rainy and windy day. The four of us from Laos were cool but the Manitobans took it in stride. More than one person commented that the stormy weather was a good metaphor for marriage and how people need to stick together in both clear and cloudy weather.

Natalie stole the show a number of times. Here she is with her mother.

On the outside of the tent we posted the picture of Mom and Dad that we had made in Laos so that everyone who arrived, knew that they were at the right place.

Thanks to Arthur's brothers for most of these pictures because we were too cold and too busy to take pictures that day.

High-Lights of Manitoba

Erik is looking forward to learning how to drive a car so we picked up a driver's education handbook and he started looking through it right away.

After the anniversary parties, we went away to a resort as a family. It was located in a beautiful part of Manitoba.

People loved the bags we designed from Mom and Dad's old curtains which were hanging in the dining room for over 35 years. The logo says:

Leonard and Marianne

50 Years Together

We met Maryanne for breakfast one day and went to the Salsbury House restaurant on the Provencher bridge over the Red River. It just felt like a Winnipeg thing to do.
Some Highlights from BC

Visiting the Harder Hilton is always a high-light!

On Canada Day, July 1st, we celebrated by taking a boat ride in our new brother-in-law's new pontoon boat.

My mom sewed and designed a jacket for Arthur out of Hmong fabric which turned out really well. The Hmong are an ethnic group from Laos and they are particularly good at quilting, weaving and embroidery.
Conrad designed a quilt which his Grandmother and Aunt Cyndy are making for him. It will be orange, red and yellow.

Enjoying our BC relatives under the cherry tree.
Karla got married in April and so we celebrated one day after supper with her and her husband. (Our new brother-in-law prefers not to be mentioned by name or shown on blogs so we are respecting his wishes. That's his arm by Karla.) We made the wedding "cake" in the afternoon while we were waiting for them to arrive.

Friday, July 04, 2008

One Last Party
with the MCC Laos Family

We had lots of fun on the day before we left when we met with the MCC staff and their families. We rented a restaurant located on the top floor of a building along the Mekong. There we played games, had an award ceremony , told stories and ate from a huge buffet.

SALTer of the Year Award - This year the award went to 3 totally wonderful women! It might have turned awkward if we had more than 3 SALTers but due to their outstanding qualities, they each were able to get the title.

The view from the restaurant which shows Vientiane and the Mekong with Thailand on the other side.

At the Airport

This is part of the group that was on hand to wish us well at the airport. We had good flights and arrived in Vancouver in good shape.

We left Laos on my 45th birthday (Phyllis) around noon and left Taipei around midnight. Shortly after take-off it was June 30th. Then, after we passed the International Dateline, it because June 29th again. Does that mean I'm 46?

Other Lasts in Laos

On our way out, there were many parties and occasions to meet with friends for the last time. Here are some highlights.

Conrad sold his bike and helmet to Hien who we imagine is now riding down the streets of Vientiane with a smile on her face.

The Lao Baci is a string-tying ceremony that represents friendship and connectedness to others in the community. We celebrated quite a few of these ceremonies in the past few weeks.

One Buddhist friend who is part of MCC's peace group brought us a beautiful painting of Buddha who signifies peace for her.On one of the last nights at our house, Conrad went around the house taking pictures to help remind himself of his home for the past 6 years. This is one of the rare shots of the outside of our house at night.