Like most little boys, Chapman is very proud of how stinky and dirty he can be. He loves to make his sisters yell by sitting right next to them and then having a very stinky fart. (Sorry for using that word, but that truly is the only word that does Chapman’s ability justice.) His stinks are so stinky that Paul dubbed them “Dead, Decaying Dinosaur gas.” While Chapman pretends to be offended by this he is secretly proud of this distinction. In the car the other day he had terrible gas again which caused great amounts of gagging and screaming from the girls. The windows were immediately rolled down and the air conditioner turned on full blast in an attempt to blow out the stink. Chapman turned to the girls and said, “Face it, this (his gas) is my gift from God.” I remember my brother having the same gift when he was little!
On another note, when Chapman jumped into the car yesterday after school he told us he had been playing with 2 girls while he waited for me. He said all one of the girls talks about is her “mates and ex-mates, mates and ex-mates.” I am thinking she is meaning people who are her friends and former friends (like in Australia) but no, Chapman explained to me that mates are people you were going to marry and ex-mates are those that you are no longer going to marry. I asked Chapman what category he was in and he assurred me he was an ex-mate! The lady parked next to me at school had her windows down and heard the whole conversation and she laughed as hard as I did over Chapman confusion about this girl and her relationships. All this and only in the 2nd grade. In Annelise’s 4th grade class all the girls think the boys are annoying and remind them of that fact everyday.
Paul and I have a secret you may not know-we are Aggies and proud of it. I was Class of ’97 and Paul sorta counts since he went to A&M for grad school and was Class of ’98. Before we left for Namibia I called up the alumni center and requested 2 more former students stickers for my car. Fast forward a couple of months, we are settled in Africa and have 2 cars proudly bearing our association to the best school in the US–at least we think so. The American army attache goes to our church and started making fun of my sticker. He thought the likelihood that I would meet a fellow Aggie in a place most people don’t even know is a country was improbable. I assured him that Aggies are everywhere. A few weeks after all this joshing we were at church and had a visitor named June. Well, my friend Christian (the American) is talking to this guy and starts laughing and saying, “No way, No way, Betsy get over here this guy is an Aggie!” Well, June is an Aggie, Fightin Class of 2004 and is in Namibia working with an organization for AIDS awareness. He lived in Cain Hall since his best friend was a baseball player so I guess he knew where the good food was. So, the moral of this story is you never know where you might meet an Aggie. I am going to keep a little book of all the Aggies–make them sign it or something. In the meantime, my car is proudly bearing my former students sticker and I can’t wait to see who I meet next. There is someone here in Windhoek with a Baylor sticker but I have a hard time believing he will find any fellow Bears anytime soon!
Audrey Amalie is our 3rd little one. We say that she is the baby girl while Charlie is the baby boy. She started life a little rough–pneumonia and pulmonary hypertension–but she is a healthy, thriving 5 year old now. She is the member of our family with the most nicknames. The Pink Mosquito–since her arms and legs are so long and skinny and she loves wearing pink. Flipper Feet–for her long, skinny feet. Giggle goose–for the great laugh the Lord gave her that sounds like it is bubbling up within her. Her eyelashes are very long and she will probably never need to wear mascara. She is famous for her kisses. She loads Paul up everyday on his way to work–he needs kisses for every pocket so he can pull them out when he is missing her. This makes getting out of the house a bit slow but it is so cute. No matter how much time you take to get Audrey dressed and looking cute by the time you are out of the house she either is covered in toothpaste or has part of her clothing askew–one sock up, one down; shirt tucked into her underwear, etc.
One more thing. . .
Audrey started kindergarten this month and loves school. She loves to color and play My Little Pet Shop, Barbies or anything that has a hundred little pieces. Anywhere we go Audrey makes friends. In the States, Audrey used to have to wait on Chapman and Annelise during their gymnastic classes and many kids, big and little, would be looking for Audrey to play with. She has the ability to join any group, fit in and have fun! She loves to have her back scratched so we say she is part feline!
Audrey says she is never getting married because men have “mushbeards”–her term for moustaches and beards! She wants children though so hopefully she will change her mind about the husband! Audrey has a very squeaky voice and Paul wonders if it will ever be possible for her to talk instead of screech. She is either 100% joyful or 100% sad/mad! There is no middle ground with Audrey–it is either all sunshine or thunderstorms!
Driving in Namibia is a bit like driving in Houston–no one obeys the speed limits and it is definitely survival of the fittest. I was a bit intimidated about driving in Africa. For starters, they drive on the left-hand side of the road and there is no left-hand turn on red (like thereis for turning right in the States). There are taxis everywhere who drive like maniacs and could care less if they cause wrecks. They drive around honking to let people know they have space and will stop on a dime if someone raises their hand for a ride.
I had never learned to drive a standard and most cars in Namibia are stick shifts so Paul said I had better learn. Since Paul is not the most patient of teachers my dear pastor’s wife, Doris, gave me lessons in Arkansas. She had a lot of experience teaching youngsters to drive and is very patient. When I left the US I was driving ok but once I hit Windhoek I got worse. We were borrowing Paul’s dad’s Land Cruiser which is huge and that probably kept us from being hit many times since we were the biggest thing on the road. I would stall often and at night Paul would take me for driving lessons. The kids would cry and beg to not go since the lesson usually ended up with Paul being frustrated and me being mad.
Our security guard would to clap for me when I would make it out of the gate without stalling or “brushing up” against anything. He doesn’t do that anymore so I guess I have improved. Chapman used to sit in the back of the car and pray that the Lord PLEASE protect us and help mommy drive. Every night they would give Paul a report about how I did driving that day! Now I am shifting with confidence and can even keep my minivan from rolling back on big hills–that was a huge accomplishment for me since there are hills everywhere in Windhoek–think Township in Fayetteville–that kind of hill.
So, if you are brave and come and visit us in the wilds of Africa I will be glad to drive you around and you should, Lord willing, make it back in one piece!
If you know my mom or have ever been to our house growing up you know that the only pets we were allowed to have were a goldfish (we actually had 2–I froze the first one because I put in too many ice cubes to start the oxygen supply) and Rachel had a bird. Dogs were definitely a no-no since they shed and drool. Moving to Africa made owning a dog a necessity but a funny thing happened–I realized I am a dog person. We have 2 dogs, a dashound (“Buddy”) whose job it is to be yippy and nervous and alert us to trouble and a Rhodesian Ridgeback (“Jock”) who is the muscle and teeth! Jock camed to us fully trained and was specifically taught to be a woman’s dog and to protect women. He will only eat from Annelise or I much to Chapman’s disappointment since Jock is technically his dog. We lost Jock the first week we had him. One of our security gates opened without us knowing and Jock trotted out on his merry way. The security guard outside our house was afraid of Jock and decided not to challenge him and let him run off. He also didn’t come and tell us Jock was out until Paul started looking for him an hour later. The Lord is gracious because after much driving around and crying and praying (by me of course) Paul found him on our normal running route. I guess it is a good thing Jock marks his territory everyday.
My expensive dogs (and children for that matter)
This weekend the kids all took turns feeding Jock their lamb bones. Unfortunately neither Paul or I were keeping up with how many bones Jock had. Jock started throwing up Monday morning and wasn’t himself. I took him running but his heart wasn’t in it. Usually he is pulling me in a dead sprint but yesterday he just wanted to walk. He wouldn’t eat all day which is unusual for him. We took him to the the vet and after an x-ray found out that a bone was stuck on his stomach/intestine. They did surgery and removed 2 big bones! He had to stay 2-3 days to recover. Now we are $400 poorer and I hope $400 the wiser. I always said if a dog I had got sick I would just let it die–I am eating my words!
But the dog drama got worse when we returned home from running errands yesterday, Buddy would not walk and was dragging his little behind everywhere. We loaded everyone up and off to the vet again. As we are waiting to see the vet Annelise and Audrey start sobbing and we must have been quite a sight! The vet thinks Buddy was bitten by a spider or something so she gave him pain meds and antibiodics. By the time we got him home he was his perky little self. He was allowed to sleep in Annelise’s bed so she could “watch him” but he better not get used to it because he is back out in his doghouse tonight!
I told Paul tonight that I realize I really like dogs. I like Jock sleeping in the house at night and going running with me. I like it that he barks at any man that comes close to our house. I like it that Chapman and Charlie have a dog to wrestle and play chase and catch with. Now I realize why vets make a good living, because people like me are attached to their dog and will do anything (obviously within reason) to make their dogs better! One thing is for sure, Jock will never taste another bone as long as he is a member of the Koster house!
Chapman started rugby last week so today was his 3rd practice. Rugby is a bit different from American football and Chapman is coached in Afrikaans so some of it is still confusing to him. Today I kept noticing Chapman getting frustrated (if you know Chapman, he is intense and when he gets upset or mad he gets what we refer to as the monobrow–his eyebrows look glued together) but he did a good job keeping his composure until he walked off the field and saw me. Then the tears of frustration–he says all but 3 boys on his team are ball hogs. Even when they are being tackled they hold onto the ball instead of trying to get it to a teammate in an attempt to keep the play alive. I explained that all these boys are young and they are learning the game too so he needs to be patient, etc. My pep talk continued in the car where I talked about being a selfless player and working for the good of the team (you know all the stuff my dad told me once upon a time). Annelise couldn’t resist adding her two cents worth to which Chapman retorted that our conversation was “Guy Talk” and since she wasn’t a guy or wasn’t the mother of a guy he wasn’t interested in her advice. I laughed so hard and was glad that I qualified.
Going to school is definitely providing me with some very blog-worthy material. Yesterday Annelise jumped in the car telling me that they had both a fire and a fight at school. A fire started when a drill burned up while some workmen were busy installing a chalkboard. Fortunately everything in Namibia is made of bricks so fires are not really that dangerous. The fire was quickly put out but Annelise said it smelled terrible for the rest of the day. Annelise has 4 different teachers and it seems the boys in her class were having a rough day on Wednesday as they succeeded in making every teacher upset. One little boy called another boy’s mother a “dog’s butt” (honestly I laughed so hard when Annelise told me. She said the little boy said something really bad about a dog–I think you can imagine the words I was thinking of so when she said “a dog’s b-u-t-t” spelling of course because I don’t let them say that at our house–I laughed and laughed.) Well, that teacher had had enough and marched the offending boy to the front of the class, took off her shoe and “smacked” him (Annelise’s quote) . Annelise was amazed and amused. Coming from America where no school is allowed to spank, this was indeed something new for her to experience. In Namibia, most private schools are allowed to spank and most parents are in full favor of it and actually hopes it happens to their kids. My brother-in-law is a headmaster of another private school in Namibia and says he has parents that beg him to find a reason to spank their kids just to help keep them in line! Can you imagine! In the US some parent would be suing that teacher or headmaster faster than you could blink an eye.