Monthly Archives: May 2015

{Pregnancy} Walking by Faith

I have always been one who has tried to walk by faith, but I have been shown anew what that really means in the past few months. Pregnancy in general is a huge faith walk… I can control some things, like what I eat and how I take care of my body, but so many other things are completely beyond my control. It puts me in awe to think about how little I am actually doing in the making of this baby. Literally as I sit here typing, God is knitting this baby together in my womb. It’s mind-boggling. And for control freaks like me, it can be a bit scary. This pregnancy has been yet another lesson in surrender.

From the moment this pregnancy began, Trent and I have acknowledged that this life is in God’s hands. This little one has been covered in prayer since the get-go. Even still, we have had our share of challenges and scares. When we went in for our 6 week check-up (you can do that in China), the doctors who were doing the ultrasound said that everything was “hěn hǎo,” or “very good.” So when we left the hospital for lunch, we were feeling great! Baby had a strong heartbeat and everything looked like it was progressing as it should. But two hours later when we came back for the results of the blood work, it seemed like a different story. The blood test gives readings for the three basic pregnancy hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and HcG (which is the hormone that tells you you’re pregnant). My levels were:
Estrogen: 452.51
Progesterone: 25.67
HcG- 170,462

Now when we got the numbers back, Catherine pointed out that my HcG was SUPER high. She said that hers around week 5 was only like 4,000. It doubles every 2-3 days early in pregnancy, but mine was extremely high. The doctors didn’t even mention this number… however, through many phone translations, it was communicated that my progesterone was “too low.” I would have to come back in a week for another blood test, and they gave me some synthetic progesterone pills that they wanted me to take 3 times a day every day until I came back.

When I left, I felt conflicted. I really didn’t want to take medicine, especially before I had done my own research, yet I didn’t want to make a “wrong” decision that could adversely affect me or the baby. It was a lot of pressure. The entire cab ride home (at least 35 minutes), I looked up all sorts of charts on the internet, and asked a million questions of Bing (Google doesn’t work well here). What progesterone and HcG levels are normal? Are the pills safe? What happens if I don’t take the pills? How low is too low? Do the pills even work? What are the side effects? The questions kept coming. Towards the end, I think I had TOO much information. The charts I found told me that for week 6, my progesterone levels were well within the mean range as you can see below.


Blogs and forums of moms who had miscarried had far lower progesterone levels than mine. But still, doubts lingered, worry crept in. Am I really doing what’s best for my baby? Will the pills help me keep this pregnancy? Anyways, I didn’t know what to do. I wrote to my ObGyn at home and asked his opinion. He wrote back that I shouldn’t worry, that those levels seemed normal for this stage of pregnancy. And then I learned that most people who have been pregnant in China (foreigners and locals alike) had also been told the same thing and had been advised to take the pills, but they make them very sick. After conferring with Catherine and my sister-in-law a LOT, I decided not to take the pills. I would go back in a week and see if the levels had gone up. Either way, I decided simply to pray and leave it in God’s hands. That, of course, is much easier said than done. I had to make the deliberate choice every day that week to choose faith over fear, sometimes even from minute-to-minute I had to remind myself to trust instead of worry. I really wanted this baby!

A week later, I went back for a second blood test. Although my estrogen and HcG had doubled (at least), my progesterone was still at 25… in fact, it had dropped a few decimal points to 25.34 (.33 lower than last time). My HcG was off the charts (literally- it just read >300,000), and my estrogen had nearly doubled to 813. Everything else looked fine. The doctors asked (through broken English and phone translators) if I had been taking the pills. I told them that I had not. They scolded me and then told me to take them this week and then come back in for another blood test the following week.

When we left that day, I felt defeated. I had hoped that prayer would make my levels go up. What do I do? The levels still seemed normal based on the charts, even for week 7. Do I even go back next week? These appointments are eating up our Saturdays. Maybe I should just wait it out… Should I get a natural progesterone cream? What are some natural ways to boost progesterone? I asked Catherine again, and she said that her progesterone had also dropped the second week- but hers was a much more drastic drop than mine- hers went from 30 down to 18. But her pregnancy was fine.

I went home and messaged my ObGyn a second time. This time his response wasn’t very helpful. He basically said that in the USA, they don’t even track progesterone levels during early stages of pregnancy. They only do a blood test initially to confirm the pregnancy. He wasn’t sure how to advise me, but he did say not to take any synthetic progesterone supplements, as they have been associated with birth defects. I felt no closer to a decision than I had before. But again, I decided to just leave it in God’s hands. God knows my body and what it needs far better than the doctors did. If this pregnancy was meant for completion, then God would be faithful to make it happen. If something was wrong and I lost the baby, then He would be with me through it all.

In the end, I decided just to wait until 10 weeks to go back in for an ultrasound. If they wanted to do blood work again, I would just tell them that there’s nothing the blood work could tell us that an ultrasound couldn’t. If something was wrong with me or the baby, an ultrasound would detect that. But I didn’t want any more numbers making me stress!

Now we are in our second trimester. The baby seems healthy and everything appears to be fine. But I will tell you now that the beginning of this pregnancy was not exactly easy. These decisions are hard. Maybe the decision I made isn’t right for everyone, but I do think it was the right decision for me. I’m thankful that God has sustained this baby and this pregnancy this far and I trust that he will continue to hold this precious little life in his hands for the rest of it.

Some things I later learned: EVERYONE in China is told that they have low progesterone. I hypothesize that it is because of the “one child policy.” Because couples can only have one child, there is a lot of pressure put on the doctors and nurses here. Chinese families don’t want anything to go wrong so I think they prescribe the extra progesterone early on in pregnancy to increase viability, although studies haven’t even proven that taking the supplements helps. It also doesn’t hurt the hospital to keep making people come back for blood work again and again… its’ almost three times as expensive as an ultrasound (that being said, it still only costs about $45 bucks a pop). I’ve talked to several other expat moms here in Qingdao that were told that they had low progesterone and who had opted not to take the pills, and they all have happy, healthy babies.

fearfully and wonderfully made

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Posted by on May 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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“Bumpdates” weeks 4-8

Our pregnancy story header

We are so excited to be pregnant and yet are so far away from most of our friends and family. We wanted to find a way to be able to share our pregnancy with those of you who WANT to know about what’s going on. So, I got this idea of “Bumpdates” from my friend Catherine’s blog. She did them weekly and, even though I saw her nearly that often, I still enjoyed reading them and it made me feel closer to her to do so. It is also a great way for me to remember the details of my pregnancy. So, I realize that these “Bump” posts may not be for everyone- if it’s not your cup of tea, don’t worry, I won’t be offended. But for those of you who really want to know about our pregnancy, hopefully they will be fun updates to read! Here goes the first one!

Weeks 4-8

Week 4:
We just found out we are pregnant and are mostly still in shock! We are so excited but we feel like we know nothing about pregnancy (even though I’ve had countless pregnant friends). Somehow when it happens to you, even if you’ve been trying and praying for it, it still comes as a surprise! Our baby this week is only the size of a poppyseed and really is nothing more than a cluster of cells that God has ordained for a masterpiece. The only pregnancy symptoms I felt this week were tender breasts and weird circulation in my middle left toe… it kept going numb. It was very strange.
This week we told our immediate family… I know many people keep their lips sealed until they are past the most critical development period and some even into their second trimester, but we were far too excited to keep it a secret! We told our parents together- Trent’s parents were on Skype and I had mine on WeChat. I’m sure they knew something was up, but it was so cool for us to be able to tell both sets at the same time. I e-mailed my grandparents and got to tell my sisters at Christie’s birthday dinner. My brother Derek needed a separate video chat session so that we could let him know that he was going to be upgraded to “Uncle Sessibo.” We also got to Skype with Trent’s sister Katey and her husband Nathan. It was a whirlwind to find out on Friday night and then tell our families on Saturday and Sunday. I’m not sure it had even sank in for us yet, but it sure was fun to spread the news!
We also told our church family here in China. They really are the closest thing we have to family and again, we were SO excited, I don’t think we could have kept it a secret if we had tried. We also decided that the more people we could have praying for little Trangie, the better. We wanted this pregnancy to be covered in prayer, even from the get-go.
Here’s basically my starting point- week 4:

week 4 side by side

Week 5:
This week we began taking weekly photos of the “bump,” which presently is non-existent, but we are excited to watch it grow! My friend Catherine also offered up the suggestion to take a photo each week of the fruit/vegetable/seed that our baby is the size of. This week it is a sesame seed, so we had our first photo shoot. Thankfully, she is a GIFTED photographer and takes lovely photos. She opted to take some for us after church on Sunday. Here are some of the photos below.

my little sesame seed 4

sesame seed side view

Trent and I week 4 heart belly

This week was particularly stressful at school. Trent and I are in charge of our school’s talent show, so we have been doing a million things, on top of the million things that are already required of us. This week we also had our third Key Assignment, which is a cumulative presentation for the parents/admin/other students to come watch and evaluate. It is always a very stressful time of the year… then throw in report cards, etc. and you’ve got a perfect storm brewing. But, amidst all of the madness, I really felt God’s grace and it was particularly evident this week. Ironically (or not), the number 5 in Hebrew symbolizes grace, so how appropriate that in my fifth week of pregnancy, grace abounded!

Symptoms: This week my boobs were very sore and I was much more constipated than usual. I also had more shortness of breath while walking or climbing stairs.

Here is me at week 5. Sorry about the poor picture quality, we took these ones late in the afternoon, so the lighting wasn’t so good.

week 5 side by side

Week 6:
This week was exciting for us, it was the first time we went to the doctor! I know that most people in the states don’t have their first appointment until week 10 or so, but here in China, if you want to go, you just go. We decided to go for an ultrasound just to make sure we could hear baby’s heartbeat. Now, going to the doctor here is enough for a whole separate blog post, so I won’t write too much about that now. We went that Saturday with an entire cheering squad- Justin and Catherine and baby Eli were all there, as well as Catherine’s mom Charmaine. Maybe that many people would bother some people, but we were so happy to have people who have been through this before to accompany us! Honestly we were nervous when we left. We had had several people close to us miscarry lately and therefore were anxious to know if this pregnancy would be viable or not. Usually if a heartbeat can be detected, it is the first hurdle to get past.

At the doctor we had a blood test and an ultrasound. We even got to hear baby Trangie’s heartbeat for a few short seconds. It made it all seem much more real! We got our printout of our tiny baby (you can barely even see anything on the picture) and we were thrilled!

6 week ultrasound

This week baby is the size of an apple seed. Catherine took some more photos of us after church and we had a lot of fun with them. Trent is such a goofball- I love this guy and he is going to make an incredible father! At night before we go to bed, he always says goodnight to baby Trangie, and he likes to look through the “peephole” (my belly button) to see if he can see the baby. It makes me giggle everytime because his beard tickles my belly!

apple seed front view

apple seed side view

our little apple seed up close

Will you have my baby week 5

Trent carried away week 5

The only pregnancy symptoms I had this week were sore breasts (still!) and now I have to pee all the time! Here are our week 6 photos.

week 6 side by side

Week 7:
Baby is growing fast! This week he/she is the size of a blueberry, my favorite fruit! My uterus has now doubled in size since the beginning of my pregnancy (it is still tiny though). This week baby is developing arms and legs and its eyelids are beginning to grow.

week 7 side view

Week 7 front view

blueberry up close

We told our Instructional Assistants and our class at school today that we are pregnant. We thought it would be wise to tell the kids so I don’t get spear-hugged at a hundred miles an hour or something (which can happen). They were all very excited and have been very good about being “gentle” with me and the baby. They have been debating amongst themselves whether it is a girl or a boy- and also giving me a plethora of name suggestions. They also ask all sorts of questions and sometimes ask to talk to the baby. Evie one day cupped her hands to my belly and said to baby, “ARE YOU OKAY IN THERE?” Hilarious.

Symptoms this week: Unfortunately, my face has broken out like I am back in high school, my boobs are still sore and my nipples are always on point (which is not as flattering as it may sound). I have been SO hungry this week- I feel like my husband… “You never feed me,” “I am STARVING (dramatically).” I guess now I know how he feels. 😉

Here are our week 7 photos!

week 7 side by side

Week 8:
This week baby Trangie is the size of a kidney bean! Baby might still be little, but he/she sure is growing! This week baby’s little fingers and toes are developing- I can’t wait to kiss all over them! There is also a lot of development going on in baby’s brain- neurons are connecting and forming nerve endings.

kidney bean close up

kidney bean front view

kidney bean looking down

We doubled up on photos this week. We took some with Catherine, and since the cherry blossoms were out, and since an unopened blossom is about the size of a kidney bean, we decided to include both.

week 6  front view

week 6 bean slash bud

I know with most first pregnancies, you don’t start to show until week 12 at least, but I think I’m already starting to notice a little bump protruding from my belly. It could be the way my uterus is positioned or who knows… maybe we have a few Trangie’s in there. It’s not big enough for others to notice yet, but I can see a small change and it is pretty exciting!

week 8 side by side

This week was a lot of fun because it was our High School Prom. Trent and I got to go to prom again and it was a lot of fun- we laughed a lot! You can read about what prom is like in China by reading that post at

We are excited to be 2 months pregnant!

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Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


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(My first) Mother’s Day

mother's day cover photo

This year, May 10th marked an important “first” for me, my first Mother’s Day! I hadn’t thought much about it since I’m not yet a mother, but the second I woke up on Sunday (bloody early since I always have to pee), Trent rolled over and told me, “Happy Mother’s Day!” He kissed me and baby “Trangie” and then let me roll over and fall back asleep. When I finally got up, I got a text from my bestie Catherine, also wishing me a happy first Mother’s Day. 

Trent and I had already decided that we would be missing church that morning because we had been invited, along with many other co-workers, to go on a hike up the hill by our school. We have really been trying to be intentional about relationships as we enter into the last few weeks we have here. We’re also trying to cross things off of our Qingdao “bucket list,” so this seemed like a great opportunity!

It was a crystal-clear day, the kind that are extremely rare in Qingdao (well, probably in China in general). I packed us lunches and sliced up some bread I had baked a week before (when we were on holiday) to share with the group. Then we set out to meet them at the front gate of QISS. When we’d all arrived, the group of 20 or so of us set out up the back side of the hill by our school.


It was a pretty easy hike- there were lots of stairs, but nothing too steep for a pregnant lady or small children. Trent and I were hiking with almost half of our Pre-K/Kindergarteners that morning. We made it to the top in about 30-45 minutes.

hiking up the stairs

the kids and I

The view from there was incredible, due to the lack of pollution and the clear day! We could see all the way to the ocean on multiple sides! We could pick out other landmarks too, like the iconic lotus flower of the Horticulture Convention or the Chateau Huadong Winery that we enjoyed so much.


scenery with little ocean



view to the ocean

lotus flower


We took a bunch of photos, including a grouop shot of all of us, and then had lunch together at the top. We shared the apricot cranberry bread and the chocolate chip banana bread that we had brought, and chowed down on some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, nectarines, and bananas.

Mother's Day group shot

lunch spot with scenry


After lunch, all the moms got together to take a few photos. These ladies are all moms I love and admire, so I was happy to be included!

mom pic

Then we hiked back down the other side (which Trent and I had explored before). We hit several pagodas along the way, and enjoyed the views from each. The kids all thought it would be cool to have walking sticks, so most of them had picked one up along the way. We stopped by the big Buddha statue with the cherry blossom flute on the way back down.


view from pagodas

statue closer

statue from a distance

pagoda from the bottom

When we reached the bottom, we decided to visit a lovely coffee shop that some have dubbed “The Secret Garden Café.” Its real name is “Arles Country Garden,” but it is completely reminiscent of The Secret Garden. It is a beautiful little oasis in the middle of… well, China. We walked around looking at the flowers and plants and some of the other little knick-knacks that they had for sale. Then Trent and I shared a slice of apple pie and enjoyed chatting with our friends. The pie made me think of Julia’s mom, who passed away earlier this year; she used to make all of the baked goods for this café.





knick knacks

me coffee shop

Then we left and headed back to school. Trent and I had some work to do still, and Clint and Dina were also heading out. We walked together and stopped at the flower shops along the street while the two of them popped into the stores looking for some pots. We stayed outside and admired the gorgeous flowers. Trent told me that if there were any that I wanted, that I should pick them out for Mother’s Day, but since we’re trying to get rid of stuff before we leave, I decided to just admire them there.

flower shops2

flower shops3

flower shops4

When I got back to school, I was reminded that the Cherie Hearts staff (the Kindergarten who we share a building with) had also given me a rose and some baked cookies for my first Mother’s Day.

mother's day flower

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing, watching a sermon from our home church (Revolution!), and then meeting up with a student and his mom for a really nice dinner (a blog post to follow… someday).

I received many more texts and messages throughout the day, and really felt appreciated. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a mother and am thankful to all the women I’ve watched be amazing moms. I’ve learned so much from you! Thank you to ALL the mothers out there- your job is not easy!

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Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Uncategorized


Two lines!

Trent and I have been spending every Friday evening over at our friends Justin and Catherine’s apartment. We eat dinner together and just chill out, relaxing and unwinding after a long week at school. It is always a highlight of our week. We have been really intentional about this time that we spend together every week. We both know that our time left together is short and that it will inevitably fly by much faster than we imagine it might.

Anyways, this night found us at the end of yet another busy week (when are we NOT busy?!?). As we were getting ready for dinner and playing with baby Elijah, Cat asked me, as she had for the past few weeks if I thought I might be pregnant. The funny thing was that the month before, I had been CERTAIN that I was… and I wasn’t. And that month, I was pretty sure I wasn’t. Anyways, it just so happened that when she asked me this time, I was two days late for my period. We’re pretty comfortable talking about these things. Immediately her face lit up- “Did you take a pregnancy test?” she asked. I told her that I actually had taken one at home before we had headed over, but that I didn’t think it had worked. Now I know that pregnancy tests shouldn’t really be that hard… BUT… when you’re in China and you can’t buy a pregnancy test with directions that aren’t in Chinese, you start to wonder if you did it right. Anyways, the test hadn’t done anything at all by the time we left, so I thought either IT was a dud, or I was the dud for doing it wrong.

Anyways, after telling her that, she offered without hesitation that I could take one of hers, if, of course, it wouldn’t be weird to take it at her house. I assured her that it wouldn’t, and that I was super anxious to know.

We headed to the bathroom and she pulled out one of the cheap pregnancy test sticks and set it on the counter. Then she laid out for me the pregnancy test “basics” (none of which I knew)- that the results are always clearer if it is taken in the morning, and that you shouldn’t take it after drinking a lot of water (it dilates your urine). Knowing that I had drank lots of water, I decided to postpone the test until after dinner.

We ate take-out for dinner, that night it was Korean food. Kimbap for me. We talked, laughed and watched some TV together. As the night was winding down and we were getting ready to leave, Cat asked me if I wanted to take the test before we left. I had secretly not stopped thinking about it or hoping for positive results, so of course I said yes. I went in there and, as classily as I can say it, “peed on a stick.” The five minutes we waited before checking it felt like the longest five minutes of my life! All of my hopes, fears, and dreams were wrapped up in two little lines!

Finally the time came. Trent and I both got up and walked to the bathroom, Trent leading the way. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I really had tried not to get my hopes up since I was only a few days late and because it was late at night. As we walked in, Trent saw the test first, but had no idea how to interpret it. I was shocked to see two lines… so shocked, in fact, that I must have muttered it out loud… “Two lines?” It was loud enough to be heard however, and two more sets of footsteps came bounding towards the bathroom. After Trent, Cat and Justin had also inspected it, we were all certain of one thing: I was pregnant!!! I was so shocked I don’t even really remember all that happened next. I remember looking at Trent and him hugging and kissing me saying, “We’re gonna have a baby!” And then I remember Catherine literally jumping up and down and crying with tears of joy. We embraced for a long time. She later apologized for being so “emotional,” but to me, it made the moment even more special to be able to share it with such good friends. Especially since we got to experience most of Cat’s pregnancy with her, it was really cool that she was there to find out with me. In her words, “You’re going to have a little Elijah growing inside of you.” After a lot more hugs and excitement, we waved farewell. Even as we left, the high sure didn’t, and hasn’t even until now.

When we got home, I looked again at the pregnancy test that I had been so sure was a “dud” and it too had two clear lines. I guess I didn’t mess up a pregnancy test after all! We couldn’t have been happier.

We are pregnant!!! I’ve never ever been so excited to see two lines!

two lines- A

Two lines- T

with the Essers


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Petronas Towers

After visiting Batu Caves, we were hot and hungry! We took a teksi back into town and went to visit the Petronas Towers, the famous buildings that make up the iconic skyline of Kuala Lumpur. At one point these were the tallest towers in the world, but since 2004, they are now only the tallest twin towers in the world. They each contain 88 floors. The KLCC mall is located at the base of these towers.


Trent and I decided only to take photos of the towers from the outside. There were packages to go up into the towers, but they were more expensive than we wanted to pay for. They sell two packages: one will take you up to the skybridge or the second will take you to the skybridge and also all the way up to level 86.

T snapping a pic

Trent and I in front of the towers

We decided to wander about in the mall for a little while, to get out of the sun and to find some food. We really wanted Starbucks and kept seeing people carrying it around, but had no luck finding it on our own. In the center of the mall we encountered many decorations celebrating Chinese New Year. We snapped a photo here as well.

Chinese new year celebrations

We finally made our way up to the food court, and after surveying the much-more-appetizing-than-malls-in- China options, we opted for Mexican food (no surprise there). Trent and I split a quesadilla, chips and a soda, knowing that we would be eating with Araceli and Jorge later that evening.

Mexican food

Then we wandered out the backside of the mall, finding a lovely fountain and beautiful view. Had we known better, we would have wandered around the park as well, but we didn’t know it was there. We also saw the towers from the back side.

out back

towers from the backside

Then we headed back to the Arismendi base to shower and get ready for an evening out!


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Batu Caves

After a few days of catching up with friends and relaxing in Kuala Lumpur, we decided it was time for some sight-seeing on our own. It was a hot, sunny day as we ventured out to Batu Caves, about 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur. The caves were formed out of limestone hills and since then have been made into one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. The large golden statue that stands 140 feet tall outside of the caves is a representation of the lord Murugan.

When we arrived, this golden statue was the first thing we saw. It was impressive not only because of its stature, but because of its intricacy in design. After snapping a selfie with him, we set out for the caves.

Trent and Amg

Outside of the caves people were milling about, some were buying offerings to offer in the temples, others were shopping. We noticed that many people had their heads painted. I’m not sure what the significance of this paint was. I heard several theories; one is that, like in Myanmar, they use it to keep them cool in the heat. Another is that it is a religious tradition. I don’t know if either of these is correct, but they both seemed logical enough to me.

painted heads

Outside there were many Hindu representations- colorfully decorating the outside buildings. Some were even covered with gold.

decor outside

ornate decor

ornate decor2

shadow hindi

When we passed through the ornately decorated entrance, I was asked to put on a sarong since I was wearing shorts. Most of the women we encountered inside the caves were also wearing one. We paid 10 ringgit for the rental and would receive 5 back upon its return.

the entrance

me in front of the temple

Then we embarked on our steep climb up 272 stairs to reach the entrance to the caves. Along the way we saw a monkey, then another, then all of a sudden there were monkeys everywhere! This, to me, was not frightening so much as entertaining. I LOVE monkeys. I think they are so funny (and cute)! These particular ones were aggressive if you had food, but since we just had our water bottles carefully tucked away in our backpack, we seemed okay. Some people were feeding the monkeys, many were simply content just to sit back and eat some discarded or stolen food item, and others were carrying around small baby monkeys wrapped around their stomachs. We must have spent 20 minutes on the stairs, simply watching and enjoying the monkeys. We watched as one clever monkey sank his teeth into a water bottle and let the water drain out while he lapped up the puddle.

Batu Caves

me and monkeys

Trent and the monkey



monkey slurping up water

monkey with baby

monkey with coconut

T and the mad monkey

Trent and the monkey

When we’d had enough of the monkeys, we continued on into the actual caves. Inside there were more Hindu scenes on display. It was much cooler inside than outside, and we were thankful for the reprieve from the hot sun. We wandered through the caves, taking our time to look at each display and be amazed at the size and stature of the caves themselves! Inside there were more steps as we went up one more level to yet another temple and some more displays. Here there were chickens running around.

art inside

cave opening


After we had finished milling about, we headed back outside. But I wasn’t finished watching the monkeys! We wandered over to the Dark Caves and sat on the stairs watching these silly monkeys frolic about. When we’d finally had our fill, we walked back down the stairs, turned in the sarong, and headed out.

me and the monkey2

me with the monkeys

momma and baby



We lingered about outside the caves for a while, looking in and out of souvenir shops, and watching people feed and chase the pigeons away. We wandered down towards the subway and saw some more statues and decorations, as well as some natural beauty. By then we were hot and hungry so we decided to head back into KL to visit the Petronas Towers!
Read about this in my next post!

big statue and Trent

boy chasing the pigeons

outside waterfalls


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Will you go to prom with me?

Trent and I have been privileged to do something that a lot of couples who marry later in life never get the chance to do: go to prom together… twice. Last year we were chosen (nominated) by some of the girls on our basketball team to be chaperones. So, without any of the awkward asking or worrying about whether I would say yes or not, Trent and I got dressed up and I got to be his prom date- 3 years after we were married. Now prom at an International school in China is literally worlds different than prom in the States is. Let’s recap:

Year 1

trent and I at prom

The night began much the same as it would have back home, with dinner, only instead of going out to a favorite restaurant with all your friends, our school booked out a room at the Hyatt Hotel, right on the ocean. We ate a buffet style dinner, lots of seafood but good desserts and side dishes. After dinner, things got interesting… the games began. In the states, we just dance; here, there is no dancing, just games. The evening began with some good old arm wrestling followed by a game of “soda pong,” essentially “beer pong” but with soda. For us Westerners, it seemed very strange to be playing this game at a school sanctioned event. Beer (oops, I mean soda) pong was followed by the strangest, possibly most awkward game I’ve ever witnessed: Pocky. There are chocolate covered sticks (for lack of better language) that are called Pocky. The game involved two people with one task. The participants had to draw a piece of paper with a length written on it- some were 10 cm, others were 1. Then it was one person’s job to hold the Pocky stick in their mouth while the other participant tried to bite it down to the length written on the paper. Basically it causes both people to get uncomfortably close and some were near making out! It was crazier than anything I’ve ever seen at a high school event before!

arm wrestling


For a while, music played and people just mingled. Julia and I got our dance on for a few short minutes, indulging in a short bout of salsa dancing together. I love this kid!

me and julia dancing

The games were followed by long speeches to the seniors, most of which were not in English. I didn’t understand anything that was going on, but the seniors did and I’m sure that the speeches were meaningful to them.
After that, we took a few photos in our masquerade masks and called it a night!

whole group

Year 2:
This night also began at the Hyatt for dinner. It was a similar setup as last year except that this year we had a room with a view. When we arrived, it was still light enough for us to see the ocean and even our apartments from where we sat. I also have to mention here that Chinese hotels are, well… very Chinese. In this case, that meant that the lights were all this strange, tacky orange color. So all of my photos of the night are cast in an orange shadow.

prom this year

trent and I prom year 2

We began with dinner- the highlight of which was the tomato basil soup! So good! One of the best desserts there was a banana bread pudding with a delicious sauce drizzled over the top.

After dinner, we began with games. Trent and I had volunteered to take on Kelly and Antonio in a contest of the “Nearly-weds” (a spin-off on the game show, the “Newlyweds”). It was team Trangie vs. Pinjia. We were simply the ones demonstrating the game so that the kids would know how to play it. I was actually a little bit nervous! But as we started playing, Trent and I blew our competition out of the water. The questions were funny and we nailed them. One of my questions about Trent was “What animal is your partner most like?” I didn’t even need to think, and in fact started writing before the question was even fully read. I wonder which of you can guess the answer… 😉 He also had to liken me to an animal: a peacock, a fox, a cat or something else. Which do you think I was? Anyways, we won every round. Then it was the kids’ turn. The teachers had already paired the kids up and ironically, most of the “couples” were not couples, but best friends. One group was even brother/sister. I think this made it even funnier- it changed the dynamics up. I have to say that the “couple” I was most rooting for was Matthew Chick and Tony Song. These friends have hilarious “chemistry.” When Matt was guessing, they went 4 for 4, but when the partners changed places and Tony was guessing, he missed all of them. Watching people react to the answers that their partners had given was hilarious! I think I could have guessed some of these kids better than their partners did! Anyways, the game ended after a lot of fun and laughter.

game questions

nearlywed game2

nearlyweds game

watching the game

This game was followed by the limbo! I must say that I did not participate in this game, although back in my prime, I always won the limbo. I even remember doing it at one of my birthday parties when I was young. Some of the other teachers participated, Trent included. It was also very funny to watch. Some of the kids looked like Gumby, the way they could bend!


Trent doing the limbo

The last game of the night was a lip syncing contest. Trent and I had been asked by Julia and Michael to participate in this event on Friday afternoon after school… prom was on Saturday night. Needless to say, we didn’t have much time to prepare, but we decided to go with a classic 90’s band: The Spice Girls. Yep, “Wannabe.” It doesn’t get much more classic (or classy) than that! In addition to being asked super late, we were also notified that we were going to have to go first. Yikes! Oh, well, it’s a good thing we are so good at making fools of ourselves! Trent and I got up there and rocked it out. It really was a lot of fun. We were followed by other great acts, among which Matthew sang Justin Beiber, which if you knew him, is so very appropriate. The pretty boy singing the pretty boy’s song. And then Brian and Ace sang the duet from “Frozen.” Theirs was complete with choreography and everything! It was hilarious!

lip syncing

lip syncing2

lip syncing3

finish each others sandwiches

After this, they showed a video that the underclassmen made to wish the seniors farewell and gave out awards that we had all voted on: biggest flirt, best hair, Miss Congeniality, etc.

Then the night was over- Lex took photos on the red carpet and all the teachers headed down to the hotel lounge for a few drinks and snacks before heading home. All in all, it was a memorable night!

bball girls

on the red carpet

prom king




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