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those twins again: the little one, Mboy7

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Brasov, Romania


“Before we left I saw a movie about war in China and so I didn’t want to go to China. But when we got there I liked it.  I loved going for bike rides, especially the really long one on the tandem with Mama. I liked the food, especially spicy noodle soup. And the people were very friendly. But I didn’t like it that they wanted to take our picture all the time. Though it WAS funny. I also liked England for the English Heritage sites and Mongolia for the ranch.”

What parent would show their six-year-old child a movie about war in China? Not this one! Well, not the usual images associated with “war movie” anyway…what Mboy6 saw was an old black-n-white documentary about Gladys Aylward. Yes, it did end with her rescuing children, crossing the mountains on foot with them, because soldiers were coming, but the *war* aspect was largely missing from the screen. It was not, however, missing from our little imaginer’s mind. For the four months before we arrived in China, Mboy6’s conversations centred on “could world war three start today and where would we go and how would we get food and what if I get separated from you and will you know if there’s war and could there be war in Thailand and could there be war in Laos and could there be war in Cambodia and what about Viet Nam and is it still safe in China and and and????”
ERgirl2, on the other hand, had it in her head that when we got to China it was going to be cold and so the moment we crossed the border she asked, “Are we in China? Is it cold?” Less concerning than whether we were about to enter a war zone or not!!

Most probably visiting war sites in Cambodia, taking a hike through land not completely cleared of UXOs, requiring us to stay on a narrow specially marked track and seeing the effects of UXOs every day, did little to reduce his anxiety.

But after China, the war talk stopped. And Mboy6/7 got on with enjoying the trip.


every time Mboy opened his mouth, the fish did too!!!!
~for five full minutes~

caught by surprise

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Brasov, Romania

We were starting to think Jack Frost was listening to our plans and deliberately foiling us. We went to Mongolia in search of snow – it started one hour *after* we left. We had already been to south China, where we had been told we’d be sure to encounter it, but all we had found was condensation on our tiled floors. We saw plenty right across Russia – but we were stuck on a train that would stop for no more than twenty minutes at a time and only a couple of times a day.
We gave up on the snow idea, suffered through English rain and headed to Greece in search of sun, resigning ourselves to the fact that we had carried a bag of thermals and another of woollens right around the world….to be worn only a handful of times. Then our friends in Romania assured us it always snows in November, so we decided to spend a month here, finally making good use of the long johns.
Hmmmm. It’s halfway through December and the snow has fallen no closer than the weather forecasts, which the kids check religiously every day. Of course, we are informed it will snow ALL NEXT WEEK….we leave on Monday. See what we mean about Jack Frost ganging up on us?
But today we woke to a light dusting. Snow at last!
It might not be make-snowman-quantities, it may not even be enough for snowballs, but you should have felt the excitement when the children looked out the window this morning. Big kids helped little kids wriggle out of their sleeping bag liners and held them up at the windows to see. The air was electric. Buzzing.

yes, it’s still dark at 8am

Mind you, perhaps there was still residue excitement from yesterday hanging around.
We’d decided that in the absence of snow, we really should at least go ice skating.
Kboy12, a pro (having skated once before), glided out into the middle of the rink.
Lboy9, a novice (having never been before), saw how easy it was and followed his brother. Only he ended up straight on his bot, and with a split lip. Not one to be easily deterred, he got back up, periodically wiped the blood away, staggered around looking like a puppet and then found himself gliding smoothly.
The smaller-than-him siblings did not fare quite so well initially. None of them had realised it would be hard! ERgirl3, the most excited of the lot, had no idea her feet would slide out from underneath her, leaving her feeling very very very insecure. But with love and a strong embrace from people-bigger-than-her, she was soon happily sliding around.
Tgirl5 and Mboy7, clawing the barrier, slowly slipped their way around the outside of the rink, frequently finding their feet well in front of their bodies and then up in the air! Within half an hour both were disillusioned, and the male was particularly melancholic. After a short sit *off* the ice, they rose to the challenge issued: Let’s try going slowly and holding on and see if we can get the whole way around the rink without falling over.
They did it once.
They did it twice.
Tgirl5 started letting go, and after an hour was staggering in the middle on her own.
”If T can do it, I’d better try,” Mboy7 declared aloud to himself.
And he joined her.
Their victory wobble was full of falls, and they really needed another session to become comfortable, but they came off the ice delighted. Judging by the homeward conversation, their success grew in their minds with every step!
The big kids alternated between flying around the rink and helping the little ones. The one, who fell the most often and certainly most spectacularly, donned his falls as a badge of honour, insisting – quite correctly – that it was because he was taking the biggest risks. (He’d be the one, who got so hot he had to take his jacket off!)

Lboy managed to pull Mama off a horse in Mongolia,
and expert-skater Dadda to the ground in Romania!!


SO CAN I!!!!!

PS. We’ve decided to take a week-long trip to the mountains this winter!
       When there’s snow. Powdery snow.
       Our long johns will be ready-and-wating.

three days ago the third…and four days ago too

Thursday, December 10th, 2009
Brasov, Romania Throughout much of Western and Central Europe the sixth day in December is set aside for celebrating St Nicholas’ feast day. Known for being kind to children and as a generous gift-giver, the saint has been remembered now ... [Continue reading this entry]

what a welcome! (three days ago again)

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
Brasov, Romania Slideshow Sunday the Second…..we were invited to share our slideshow at a small local church. It was exactly fourteen months and one day since we had been to a “real” church service. Opening the door at the top of the ... [Continue reading this entry]

three days ago (magical moments)

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
Brasov, Romania Some days you wake up and you have no idea that the day is going to be filled with surprises and magical moments. Saturday was one of them. Because we were invited to a local church on Sunday, the ... [Continue reading this entry]


Monday, December 7th, 2009
Brasov, Romania


“Are they twins?” we are often asked both at home and abroad, to the delight of the younger brother  and consternation of the elder one! No, they are not, but they stick together ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jgirl15, the first baby (or The Eldest)

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Brasov, Romania written by Jgirl15 


I really hope no one asks me what the one thing I enjoyed most about our trip is, because its an almost unanswerable question! There’s no ONE thing. ... [Continue reading this entry]


Saturday, December 5th, 2009
Brasov, Romania ….because she’s so cute…..


(of course, she’s also loud when not getting her own way….but she can walk about nine kilometres and she spontaneously straightens up everyone’s shoes every day and she dresses ... [Continue reading this entry]

Kgirl10, the quiet creating one

Friday, December 4th, 2009
Brasov, Romania


Even before she could talk properly, Kgirl10 was trying to work out what our food was made of. Her kitchen-interest has only grown over the years, and she is the one we ... [Continue reading this entry]

Tgirl4….turned 5

Friday, December 4th, 2009
Brasov, Romania


What did you think of the trip Tgirl5?
It was fun. I like walking around towns and riding horses in Mongolia. Chinese food was nice, especially noodle soup. The tuktuk was very squished. ... [Continue reading this entry]