Saturday, September 3, 2011

For Grandma Barbara, I'm sorry it's late, but We love you and miss you!

 This is the letter that I wrote for my Grandmother's funeral.  My Step Dad, Timothy read it in our absence.  We love and miss you Gma!

Good morning all.  First we would like to send our apologies for not being present today, but know that at this moment we are sending our love from Hong Kong. 

Being the oldest grandson, I wanted to take time to write out some memories and stories of Grandma Barbara.  As her condition started to get worse, I began to reflect on the past 26 years and how she has impacted my life. 

Some of the earliest memories of Grandma were of two things: manners and gifts.  First manners.  I distinctly remember grandma making sure to teach me each time I was to go into a building that I needed to hold the door open for the people behind me, especially if they were a female.  I remember her reminding me how to chew, how to eat, and of course, how to hug…always cheek to cheek. 

Now when I came to gifts, grandma was always the best at getting the stuff that a little boy would love.  This was of course a long time ago, but I am almost positive that Grandma was the one who gave me my very first nerf gun.  She would also have little things for us each time she saw us including a book called “the dangerous book for boys”.  Grandma was a gift giver and of course as a little child, and even an adult, I loved it.

One of the favorite events that happened when I was a boy, all the way up to around middle school was a weekend night at grandma’s house.  I would like to walk through this event step by step.  Grandma would come and pick me up from home in her Subaru wagon.  Brown, white, blue, she loved the Subaru.  After all of our stuff was loaded up we would drive, very fast, to dinner.  I remember multiple times being in the passengers seat, and seeing grandma become anxious when she passed a police officer, hoping they wouldn’t pull her over.   The menu for dinner was typically McDonalds, or some form of fast food.  I vividly remember when I was around ten and I ordered the Mutumbo triple cheese burger and fries from McDonalds and grandma and the cashier looking at this ten year old boy in awe.  What can I say, I was a chubby kid back then! 
After dinner we would go to a movie, or rent a movie.  If we went out, it was typically the most recent Disney release, or something similar.  If we rented a movie, it was typically my choice what we got.  I remember having two favorites… Earnest movies, such as Earnest goes to Jail, or Earnest Scared Stupid, or Look Whos Talking  a movie starring John Travolta and Kerstin Alley centering around the birth of a baby who can talk and add commentary to the situation that it was in.  As I look back on that movie now, I think, what was grandma thinking!  But she did have a love for educating her family members in all areas.

I also remember how proud Grandma was of us.  She was always at band concerts, plays, basketball games, tennis matches, youth Sundays, speeches, graduations, or any other major event that happened in our lives.   Always positive, always encouraging, always excited to see us succeed.

Along that same thought, I think Grandma was on a covert plan to bring more culture into her grandson’s lives.  Grandma was always taking us to different plays and musicals downtown, or to the country dinner play house, she loved taking us to theater events.

We all know that Grandma Barbara wasn’t much of a cook, but I have to share the epitome of stories for a meal.  We were over at Grandma’s for Christmas morning just 4 years ago.  Grandma comes out with wonderful fruits and jellys and for the main course breakfast burritos!  I was very impressed because they were neatly wrapped in foil, not from a restaurant!  As I unwrapped the burrito, I was still really confused, had Grandma learned how to cook while I was in Texas?  Then I bit into the burrito, and the memories started to flow.  This was not a home-made burrito, this was the same burrito that I would get around midnight at Baylor from McDonalds!!  Of course being the polite one, I leaned over to Timothy and whispered very discreetly, “these aren’t homemade, they are from McDonalds.”  On the other side of the table though, my brother called grandma out. “Where are these from? He asked…”are these from burger king”.  Grandma then came clean that she had purchased breakfast burritos and then re-wrapped them for us.  She was so thoughtful and caring, and always was able to laugh at what was going on around  her. 

I would like to take a moment from this letter to break to promote in honor of grandma, total toddy.  Honestly I have no idea what it was supposed to do, but I do know that Grandma swore by it.  Whether we were not feeling good, had a lack of energy, or we were just board, the answer would be total toddy.  That beautiful brown sludge that went down so badly was the remedy to all ailments! 

The reality is, is that Barbara Dalberg was a wonderful woman, and an even better grandma.  She was always worried about others before herself.  Always asking about girlfriends, relationships, and my feelings about stuff that was happening in my life.  I knew that I could always give her a call to talk, and she would be ready to listen.   I remember when I introduced Stacia to Grandma for the first time.  Stacia excused herself to use the ladies room and, along with Uncle D and Aunt Cheri, grandma offered her approval of how great Stacia was, and each time after when I would talk to her, she would continue to be so excited that we had found each other  Grandma approved, so I figured it would be okay.

Grandma I am going to miss the long conversations at your house about life, the stories about past clients, the breakfasts at black eyed pea and the dinners at poppies.  I will miss calling you with a celebration of the day, or asking for advice about a new issue at my job.  I will miss squeezing into your Subaru, getting magazine subscriptions from you, watching your super old tv, exploring your creepy basement, field trips to IMAX, the Denver Mint, and both musems and enjoying the days with you at the cabin.  I will miss your encouraging words, your thoughtful cards, your world religions calendar each Christmas and the ability to know that no matter what was happening you would be there with a hug and a smile.  

In closing I wanted to share a quote that grandma would send me often from mahatmas Gandhi  which said “be the change you want to see in the world”.  I know that my grandmother embraced that quote until the day that she left us.  Stacia and my prayers are with all of you, and we look forward to re-connecting with you next summer. 

Let's dust off this blog and let the people know what's going on!

Good morning, all!  Let me apologize for not being more of a blogger!  I have been absent for a while, taking a slight break trying to reassemble my jumbled brain.  Now I am coming to you rejumbled and excited to be a couple of things: a resident of Hong Kong, China, the proud holder of a Hong Kong ID card, and the biggest fan of BBQ Steamed Pork Buns!  Anyway, we were looking at one of our cameras, and it seems that the lost archives of the past month and a half have been found! So come with me on a journey as we revisit how we got to this point!
 Here is the last sunset we viewed from the little White house at PEPC.  It was always my favorite in late June and July because the field was lush and green and the thunder storms were always amazing to watch from the deck!
 Goodbye White House!
 On the plane to Hong Kong from San Francisco.  We had found out prior to our departure that our new friend Lauren Waymire would be on the same flight!  Low and behold God is good and she was one seat behind us! We were able to trade with the person next to us and have Lauren join our little band of hooligans! 
 WE MADE IT! Kinda.  Step one.  Find all 8 bags.  IF they don't make it, what do we need to go buy?  Thankfully, all bags were accounted for and we could check that step off our list!
 Here is my beautiful bride after our 14 hour plane ride, looking as beautiful as ever!
 I on the other hand, needed to stretch out.  In a grip of thankfulness, I laid myself at the mercy of the Lord on our altar of luggage, and prayed for energy as we tried to cart all of our stuff out of the airport!
 Not only were we new to Hong Kong.  But 11 other families as well!  We packed out the bus!
 Welcome home, 703, so close to the beginning of our new lives!
 Except the key hasn't arrived yet, so we sit in the hallway!
 As you can see from this picture we did make it into our apartment and this is our first morning after our travels. 
 Our kitchen, complete with cook top (on the right hand side) and our oven/microwave/steamer (in the middle)
 Our bathroom, great size, warm seat (my wife is currently frowning at the thought that I would include this detail...)
 Our bedroom after the first night pre-Ikea trip.  Let's call it cozy, but we love it.

 On the bus to IKEA, the bank, and other wonders of our new home!
 Mall number 1.  Known as New Town Plaza.  Did you know, it is possible to travel hundreds of miles in Hong Kong, going shopping, groceries, sporting goods, clothes, etc. and never go outside!?  Nuts.
 Yum Yum Dim Sum! 
 Steamed buns, tea, and greens, really good!
 Some of our new colleges and friends.  From right to left, Wanda, Daniel, Sophia, and Rachel
 Welcome to the MTR.  Our primary form of transportation.  Or is it more like Cattle shoots?
 I WANT TO BE PART OF THE LEGEND! if only i knew Chinese and could read how :(
 This is our school and our home.  Who knew that we could live closer to our jobs than the white house!  We are on the 7th floor, my room is on the 4th, Stacia's is on the 3rd.
 The Shek Mun MTR station.  If you find yourselves in Hong Kong and can make it to this station, you are almost to our place!
 My wife, excited about her first kitchen purchase from the Japanese Home Store!
 Our first dinner at home with a little tv on the computer.  Since then we have gotten cable tv, an hdmi cable to plug our computer into our tv, and we have rearranged the living room as well!

Our mighty score of $3 dvd's.  Love it!
Here is our new view of the sun rise.  Thank you for welcoming us home Lord.  We love you!