Saturday, January 22, 2005

For a special someone...


HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAREN!!!!

How does it feel to be 30??!!!

Love you,
Kath ;-)


Parents, don't let your children look at the next few pictures. Kathy brought me home a Valentine's Day chocolate surprise. She was so surprised that she couldn't wait until Valentine's Day to give it too me. I was so surprised that I had to take pictures. That is a baby bottle. Look inside, but don't look too closely. The following pictures are for adult eyes only. (Jeff)
This is not sold at the "IT! Store". This is not a Adult novelty item. This is just plain strange. Crazy in fact. Yes that is a white chocolate breast. Yes they are individually wrapped. Only in Japan.
This is a horrible picture. Parents - don't let your children see this.
This is the first time I feel dirty posting something on the blog. I'm sorry. I just can't help it.
I got hungry. Tasted like plastic. I'm sorry for the graphic nature of this post. I just couldn't help it. Enjoy.

Just a cute story. Maybe I will teach elementary school afterall!

Hey everyone! I wanted to share my Friday's "cutest thing in my whole life" experience. I hope you get a kick out of this. Yesterday at my school I was scheduled to teach all of the grade 1 students - there are four classes. I started my first class - usually a pretty good class and Friday was no exception. I was teaching them the english names for animals. I held up the flash card with a picture of a dog. I asked them to raise their hands to answer. Most of them already knew it. About two thirds of them raised their hands and yelled out "hai!" which means "yes!" (or pick me!!!) I pointed to a little girl in the front and she said, "Dog", paused for a second, continued with, "desu (means "it is")", then turned to her classmates and asked, "ii desu ka?" (means "is it right?"), and the whole class said back to her in unison, "ii desu" (which means, "yes, its right"). Every time I asked one of the students what the picture was, they answered the same way. It was absolutely cute. I guess in the Japanese elementary schools, it is not uncommon for the class to be taught with that kind of interaction. In the more "serious" classes like Japanese or Math, a teacher may ask for an answer, and the students must respond in that way -- by asking her classmates if they are correct. It's never happened in an English class before though, probably because they are usually so hyper and interactive. I loved it. It made my day. (Jeff)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

And Then It Was January...

Truth be told, the Epps are not having a great week. Kathy has not felt herself since returning from Thailand. A bad headcold, ear trouble, and now a nagging sore throat and dry cough. Jeff has also slumped. He's tired and run-down. Thailand was an amazing and somewhat emotional experience, what with the tsunami and all. Perhaps we needed a vacation after our vacation, but that's asking a bit much, I guess.

Japan is good. But sometimes we want a bit of home. We miss family and friends. Today, in Jeff's search for a taste of home, he went to the import store in the mall. He bought gummy bears, but they were from Germany and they tasted funny to him. Then, he bought a version of "Fuzzy Peaches", but again, they just weren't up to par. And the store didn't sell Reese Peanut Butter Cups. The Japanese think peanut butter is foul. And I guess it is, if you really think about it.

After warm and sunny Thailand, Japan feels cold... and not just the temperature. Everyone is polite and friendly, but I guess right now we just want a little more.

So no pics this week, and no exciting news. It can be intimidating to have a blog... you feel like you have to have something super amazing to say all the time. Even when you're living in a foreign country, sometimes life is just ... life.

Love you all,
Kath

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Well, we're back from Thailand - the Land of Smiles. We certainly experienced the smile factor. Here are some pictures from our trip - we took more than 200 hundred pictures. You can find the rest of the pictures on at http://epps.photosite.com. These pictures are my way of summing up our trip. Kathy will probably blog too, and give you another perspective. But we had a great time - even despite the disaster in the south. (Jeff)
A picture I took of Kathy at the ruins in Ayuthaya and later played with abit. I hope you like it.
The last more major trip we took was 5 hours by bus from Bangkok to a city called Trat (right on the eastern border of Thailand and Cambodia). From Trat we took a speedboat for almost 2 hours out to a relatively small island in the Gulf of Thailand, again, very close to the mainland of Cambodia. This is what we saw on our arrival. We had to be in Trat before 7am, so we took an overnight bus from Bangkok that left at 11:30pm and arrived early, at 4am. We got off the bus, and quickly realized that we had no idea where to go. The resort said they would send someone to pick us up at the bus terminal - but the bus terminal was just where the bus stopped in the middle of the street. And before we knew it, there were half a dozen guys (who drove these little pickup trucks and gave people rides in the back) asking us where we wanted to go. It was 4am! I just looked at them, and answered with full honesty, "I don't know!" At that time, in a strange country, not a lot makes sense. All the drivers eventually got the point and left us alone. ALONE...Standing at the side of the road at 4AM! Finally, after about 10 minutes of complete confusion, our ride showed up. What a sight for tired eyes! The picture below is from our speed boat ride, rounding the last bend, at first site of the resort. At this point we knew it would be good. By the way, the water was bathwater temp. No cold spot on the way in. Even I got into the water quickly. Unbelievable.
This is a short "day trip" we took from the Koh Kut resort. Just a little hike up to the waterfall. It was dry season, so there wasn't much water - just enough to make it beautiful.
The beach. Need I say more?
Kathy enjoyed sitting around as much as she possibly could. I'm sure you can imagine why!
In the background you can see our hut. When we arrived, all I I could think about was Gilligan's Island.
Koh Kut was all about relaxing. This was our table. Each guest had a separate table where they always ate. This was ours. Yes, the label says Mr. Jeft!
Kathy on her way into the water. We spent all morning snorkling. There were little fish, and big fish, and bigger fish, and they were all sorts of cool colours. There were all sorts of cool things stuck to the rocks ... and I really had no idea what I was looking at, but it was a lot of fun.