Language Lessons 1

Language lessons have been going on for 7 weeks now.  Our vocabularies and understanding of grammar continue to increase, but the pace is a bit slower now.

We’re using DuoLingo for our main practice app.  Posters, poster boards, and little labels are to be found all over the house with words for practice.  We are slowly beginning to put in the S word when we know it, and use English for the rest of the sentence.  It makes for some interesting conversations!

We all learn at different paces, but I’m really please with the progress we’ve made in 7 weeks.

Kim:  183 root words + present tense verb conjugations (for all 6 “persons”) + noun declensions for M/Mi and Ki/Vi + general greetings, people/occupations, chores, and food (so basic “touristy” vocabulary too).


Week 6


  • dumpster filled and removed
  • decide if we need another dumpster this winter to finish up back woods
  • 12 more bags to Goodwill
  • 1 bag full of movies to Buy Backs
  • Movies:  watch movies on “Watch and See” list and decide if we want a digital copy
  • begin property and house repair list and prioritize
  • medical bill 2– still working on


  • Complete 2 more language lessons
  • Complete wardrobe planning
  • Complete sorting through personal items, book list — anything not going has been moved out of the room
  • Complete living room sort:  the living room will remain mostly as is until right before we move.  A few things into a shipping pod, the remainder to Goodwill
  • Started kitchen sort: eating area complete, dishes complete.  Still to do:  cups, mugs, water bottles, cooking equipment, utensils, etc


  • downloaded language app for more practice
  • shed cleaned out
  • garden work and help with yard work
  • found home for a chicken tractor


  • Books:  a few more books put into the Goodwill pile
  • DVDs: finished sorting, iTunes list made, and some to Buy Backs
  • Yard work:  grass, garden, rabbit hutch, finished dumpster loading, cleaned up burn area
  • Language: complete Intro on app


  • Language: ongoing lessons using app
  • sorted through her books, movies, photos, papers,
  • Drove load 1 to Goodwill
  • Drove load 2 to Goodwill
  • Drove load 1 to Buy Backs
  • *Her room is pretty nearly completed on the sort through.  Repair list started.

moving light

Our sense of adventure is really being fueled this week with lots of excitement and anticipation of what 2-5 years might bring our way. There is much to research, much to hope for, much to let go of . . .

I’ve been thinking about our earliest days both in Germany, Turkey, and Georgia. All those moves required sending our stuff ahead of us. All of those moves saw us living out of suitcases and backpacks  for extended periods of time. The move between Ohio and Germany was 8 weeks without the majority of our things (weight limit 4000 pounds) and 2 weeks without our  “express shipment” (weight limit 1000 pounds) which mainly consisted of kitchen stuff, books, and more clothing.  The move between Germany and Turkey was a total of 14 weeks without anything that didn’t fit in our suitcases. Our things left Germany, went by boat to New York, then by boat to Turkey. It was a crazy thing that had to do with customs and other weird rules.

I often think back to those days and how carefree things seemed. We weren’t weighed down by an abundance of stuff. We weren’t always cleaning because suitcase living really only requires a broom and a dust cloth. In each place, we bought beds and bedding within a few days of having a home. We used our stainless steel camping plates and mugs for weeks on end — one for each of us. One cast iron pan was enough to cook anything and everything.

One thing we did in each place was to find a toy store in the local towns. Each child picked out 2 new toys. They agonized over the decision because they knew all they had to play with was these 2 new toys, along with their favorite doll/stuff animal, paper and crayons, and the 2 toys that had fit inside their backpacks for the plane ride. Germany saw the addition of Playmobil people into our lives as both kids were enamored of the little people.  See Week 3 post . Turkey brought geometric shapes (Tangrams) and more Playmobil for Michael and a collection of plastic horses and more Playmobil for Hannah.

Our plan is to recreate this simplicity. I’ve made 2 lists:
List 1 is what we’ll take over in our backpacks and duffel bags which should allow us to be very comfortable while waiting for List 2.
List 2 is what we’ll pay to ship (or hopefully have a shipping allowance). I got some rough estimates on-line and we’ll try to stick to between 1000-1500 pounds for this list

List 1 for each person: In duffel bag — camp chair, inflatable sleeping pad (from hiking kit so they roll up tiny), Turkish hand towel (x2), toiletry bag, hammock blanket, and clothes. *watch weight limit and put in books until less than 5 pounds of limit.

List 1 for the household:  In a suitcase– 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 mugs, utensils, napkins, small skillet/wok and pot, small universal fuel camp stove (empty, with 2 new fuel bottles so they can go on the airplane), small Berkey water filter, kettle, coffee grinder, coffee press/filter, cooking utensil set, and spare solar charger. Pack in extra clothes *watching weight limit* to pad all the items.

List 1:  Extra duffel for clothing,  spare toiletry bag,  (can add a few books if it looks like we’re going to be light on this bag.

List 1 for each person: In carry-on:  kindle, laptop/iPad, solar charger, Sawyer mini water filter, Klean Kanteen, Stainless Steel lunch tiffin, yoga mat, Turkish bath towel, sleeping bag (these roll up tiny from our emergency bag/hiking kits), cards/dice for games, and a couple of outfits.

=6 duffel bags plus a carry-on backpack for each person

List 2 includes for each person: bed and bedding, small wooden folding table, solar lantern, and a medium footlocker with personal choices. (weight limit 200 pounds per person)

List 2 for the family includes: futon couch, 2 camp rockers, a cabinet my dad made, a plant stand/coffee table my uncle made, 4 poles, 4 boards, bike for each person, and a garden wagon
Footlocker 1: extra sheets, extra quilts, hammock stand, hammocks x2-4, 4 hanging closet organizer x4 + brackets
Footlocker/chest cooler 2: dry measuring cups, liquid measuring cup, measuring spoons, covered mixing bowls, cast iron dutch oven x2, half-size cookie sheet, silicone muffin tins, silicone backing sheet, large colander, small colander, more kitchen towels, cleaning kit (glass spray bottle x2, glass baking soda sprinkler, metal basket)
Footlocker 3: bike tool kit, spare tires and tubes for each bike x2, and a small household toolkit.

= approximately 1000-1200 pounds

Week 5



Week 5 checklist:

  • Family–-
    • Dumpster filling
    • Insurance calling
    • Picture taking
    • Medical debt 2 is now 40% paid off
  • Kim–
    • media list:  sorted into get on iTunes, watch again to decide, and watch again and donate
    • cookbook: put our favorite recipes into a new folder and donate books that are intact
    • Language :: daily practice of 30 minutes
      • 2 full lessons
      • 68 words to vocabulary
      • Verb conjugations, noun (pronoun, adjective) declensions
  • Michael — begin sorting through personal books and media
    • He finished his first pass through his books.
    • He started and finished the DVDs
    • This week he donated 1 bag of books and a half bag of DVDs
    • Property prep (cont): grass mowing, dumpster filling, built small rabbit hutch
    • Began cutting our neighbor’s grass to earn a little money
    • Added language app to his iPad for more practice
      • level 1 and 2
      • added 24 words to his vocabulary
      • practicing sentences and responses daily
  • Hannah —
    • Continue working on novels.
    • Sort through belongings and books
      • 3 bags to Goodwill pile
      • 1 bag of garbage
      • Bitty Baby and all her gear given to young girl — see picture above
    • added language app to iPhone for easier practice
    • deciding to write or look for 2nd job
  • Kelly —
    • Property prep work (continued): dumpster filling, weeding and planting garden, helping with grass and general yard work.
    • bring home documentaries about primary goal
    • Language: getting audio lessons downloaded for when we’re ready to start listening as a family.

Texas 1987 (post 3)

I think the most profound lesson I learned in Texas is that adventure (and living in a culture radically different than your own) is not scary, is not dangerous, and is not necessarily expensive. It may seem strange to call Texas a radically different culture than southern Indiana, but when all you know is Midwest, English speaking, white people . . . Texas is worlds away.

I came away from our time there with a confidence that I could communicate with anyone.  A few words in a language (not your own) shows respect, a commitment to relationship, and a true interest in those around you.

I also learned that it is important to find people and a place where you can worship regularly.

And food . . . I definitely learned to eat like a local.  Find the places where the locals go and eat there, buy food in the local markets, and get a cookbook so you can try out food on your own.


week 4



Week 4 checklist:

  • Family–-
    • Begin work on medical debt #2
    • Ask: After 4 weeks of thinking about it, is this still what we want?  Answer: Heck, yes!
  • Kim–
    • media list (favorites to iTunes list)
    • closet purge
    • decisions on home repairs finalized
    • research libraries, laundry facilities, typical rental units, airport/bus station/rail station, and bike safety/bike transportation, Red Cross, and Anglican Communion churches.
    • Finalize duffel and shipping allowance lists (Do NOT buy anything yet . . .)
  • Michael — begin sorting through personal books and media
    • For Michael this will be a long process.
    • This week he donated 1 bags of books
    • Property prep (cont): taking apart old chicken shed, cleaning front yard in preparation for mowing season, and stacking things for dumpster arrival in April.
  • Hannah —
    • Continue working on novels.
    • Sort through belongings and books
    • added language app to iPhone for easier practice
  • Kelly —
    • Property prep work (continued): fencing repairs, fencing removal, general cleaning of front yard (1 acre), sorting things for dumpster arrival in April.
    • bring home documentaries about primary goal
  • Language /Climate/Culture—
    • Michael added  12 words to his vocabulary.
    • I added 42 words + more grammar lessons
    • created “Vocab Central” for an on-going vocabulary list
    • sent texts with their vocabulary.
    • continue weather log
    • continue to google “Does X have . . .?”
    • Begin watching local news for primary goal

Texas, 1987 (post 2)

Our home in Texas was in a nice complex that included laundry facilities and a pool.  The pool seemed like such a luxury when I arrived, but by June I was of the opinion it was absolutely necessary.  It made cooling off in the middle of the day a true highlight of our time there.  Everything we had fit into a 300 square foot efficiency apartment.

What we should have learned in this apartment is that white space is everything when you can see everything standing in one spot.  But as pictures of upcoming houses will reveal — I didn’t learn it until much later.  But, as I look back on these pictures I see how little it really takes to feel at home.

Remembering this (white space) helped me when drawing up our shipping allowance list.  We will be looking for a very small home.  And I don’t want it to feel cramped and small, but rather open and spacious.

Our apartment complex was “way out” on the 1604 (near where Sea World is today). There wasn’t much around but scrub at the time.  We took long walks in the scrub, and drove miles to run errands.  At the time it didn’t bother me because I really didn’t have anything else to do while Kelly was at training.

Our next few homes were much closer to Kelly’s work and errand running sites.  Our current home is “way out” and it takes 20 minutes to get to the nearest gas station and grocery store, 40 minutes to get to Target, bookstore, etc.

Each time I have to go to town, I prepare for a long day.  It is better to clump all my errands into one long day.  As the years have gone by, I find that I really don’t like being so far out.  Don’t get me wrong, I love our little place, the quiet, the space, but there are days (many days lately) when I long to hop on my bike and take care of my errands.

This move we hope to be centrally located to public transportation and markets.  Walking, biking, and public transportation (and Uber) will be our primary modes of transportation for a year or more.  We even plan to use our bikes (with a trailer) or a pull-behind garden wagon for running our marketing errands.




week 3

Week 3 checklist:

  • Family–
    • Medical debt #1 paid off
    • Begin work on medical debt #2
    • Roofing company called
    • Get estimates for front window replacement
    • “Duffle bag” packing list started so we know exactly what will fit and how much it will weigh.  This consideration will apply to primary goal and even secondary goal.
    • “Shipping allowance” packing list also started and finalized.  Option 1 is for primary goal.  Option 2 is for secondary goal.
  • Kim– sort through “hobby” and photos
    • make notebook of favorite knit and crochet patterns
      • donate books
    • sort needles and hooks
      • donate duplicates
    • yarn; easy since I only keep one current project going and I don’t store leftovers as yarn.  I use my leftovers to construct woolen dolls (knitted) so I have some doll “parts” in my yarn tote.
    • Use some photos for this blog to chronicle the journey.  Put other photos on our family blog that is not specific to this journey but is more about our day-to-day life here in Indiana.
    • Ask: Who can I ask to store things like our wedding album?  I don’t want to get rid of it, but I don’t want to schlep it around until we are settled.
  • Michael — begin sorting through personal books and media
    • For Michael this will be a long process.
    • This week he donated 4 bags of books
    • Property prep: taking apart old chicken shed, cleaning front yard in preparation for mowing season, and stacking things for dumpster arrival in April.
  • Hannah —
    • Put in applications for second job. Hopefully schedule interviews.
    • Continue working on novels.
    • Sort through belongings and books.
  • Kelly —
    • Lots of thinking about gardening in a different climate
    • Property prep work: fencing repairs, fencing removal, general cleaning of front yard (1 acre), sorting things for dumpster arrival in April.
  • Language —
    • Kelly, Michael and Hannah added 11 words to their vocabulary.
    • I added 60 words + sentence structure + first real grammar lesson
    • I sent daily texts with their vocabulary.
  • Climate —
    • Continue with log of weather
    • One day this week our temperatures and rain chances were exactly the same here in Indiana and in our primary goal.
  • Culture —
    • Read one book on culture of primary goal
    • Lots of asking Google, “Does X have . . . .?”

Texas 1987


Kelly left Evansville in late February 1987 for San Antonio. He joined the United State Air Force as a way to give the two of us a better start in life together than Evansville could offer. I joined him in May.

Texas . . .It was the first time we’d been anywhere (longer than a week) without a family support system. We stretched our wings, explored our city, and learned how to take care of a myriad of normal tasks.

Texas . . .We found our favorite places were run by locals. We found our favorite neighbors spoke a mix of Spanish and English. We experienced life in a community of diversity unlike anything we had previously known.

Texas . . . Kelly walked 2 miles in the September heat from our apartment to see Pope John Paul II.  Our dates consisted of finding out of the way Missions (Catholic churches from the late 1700’s and early 1800s), then hitting up our favorite local eatery, and taking walks in the scrub behind our apartment complex.

These are the biggest impressions that remain from Texas.  Mostly it was about daily life interspersed with adventures and learning more about those who lived around us.  It was a taste of something we couldn’t identify at the time, but followed us to our next base.

In late November 1987, we packed our Mitsubishi hatchback (it was a tiny little car) and headed north through Texas . . .  destination Dayton, Ohio.


Decision, week 1 & 2

The story of our journey will continue each Sunday, since the title of the blog is The Journey to . . . but, each week I hope to post a recap of what we accomplished that moves us closer to taking the step into the next adventure.

Our stay in Indiana has been a long one, and we’ve accumulated the stuff that goes along with an extended stay.  There is much work to be done and we are excited to take little steps each week that will move us closer to our goal.

Week 1 & 2 checklist:

  • Family–
    • Agreed on primary goal
    • Agreed on time table for move
    • Agreed on priorities as we wait
      • medical debt
      • Kelly knee surgery
      • home repairs as needed
      • home on market
      • job search
      • save as much as possible (Ask: Does this get me closer to X?  If not, say no.)
  • Kim–sort through personal books.
    • Compare hard copies to Kindle list (purge duplicates)
    • Make list of books to get on kindle (store hardcopies on different shelf)
    • Make a note to only buy one book per month and only a book I’ve read more than twice
    • Use the library to try new books
    • Decide which 10-15 books are my “non-negotiable” books
  • Michael — begin sorting through personal books
    • For Michael this will be a long process.
    • This week he pulled very old encyclopedias off his shelf and a few other old books.
  • Hannah — Her list is in the comments
  • Language —
    • Kelly, Michael and Hannah added 15 words to their vocabulary.
    • I added 75 words + sentence structure
    • I sent daily texts with their vocabulary.
  • Climate —
    • Each day I check the local forecast for our primary goal
    • Keep a log so I can compare clothing requirements for here and there
  • Culture —
    • Watched 2 videos on the history of our primary goal