Monthly Archives: October 2013

I got to see World Cup 2014!

Weeeeeell, it was one of the last World Cup qualifiers for the African nations, but I’m gonna count it!! Sorry Randy Troyer, beat you to Rio without ever stepping foot in Brazil. Booya!!

Ok, all those crazy statements above are a little foolish, but I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to get to my first soccer match on NAfrican soil.  Like so many things that happen here, it is hard to describe in words the experience. I have seen Barca and Madrid play in Camp Nou in Barcelona, I have seen UK Cats play in Rupp Arena, I have seen Ohio State play in the Horseshoe… I have even seen Lexington Legends play AAA ball (that game was a big one haha).  I can promise you that none of these experiences are quite the same as a professional soccer match in NAfrica.

Here is a dose of the reality here. They typically sell only a few thousand tickets to any of the major league games here because of all the fighting and chaos. But for the national team they sold 30,000 tickets; The national stadium holds 60,000.  So at the beginning of the game the stadium was obviously only filled about half capacity.  But somehow, by the time the second half started, the stadium was no less than 90% full.  My buddy I went with said, “this is the reality here.”  They evidently only sell half the tickets because they know about 20,000 will get in illegally somehow.  I don’t understand how it works. I didn’t ask very many questions. I’m not even 100% positive we got in on totally legitimate tickets.  The whole ordeal was a total twilight zone experience.  I have been around the block a few times, but I have never seen a professional sporting event run with so much informality and police swindling.

And the other craziest thing is that the entire game about a half dozen people with laser lights were shining their lasers on the players during the match.  I couldn’t believe how unprofessional that was.  When the announcer on the loud speaker pleaded for the lasers not to be shinned on the athletes eyes, everybody in the crowd just whistled (our equivalent of boo’s).

Oh yeah, there was a couple fire torches lit by fans in the stands and a drunk man that ran out on the field that was soon tackled by police.  I guess futbol as usual on this continent.  It made me feel sad for the state of soccer on this continent, but it certainly made for a bucket list experience!

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Good way to start the week…

Sorry for all those who live in the north western hemisphere who have already begun to see winter hit, but here, where we are, fall does not seem to want to go away and it feels great.  The weather has been almost too good to be true.

This morning me and a couple guys went to the spot on the Mediterranean that we frequent to pray and spend uninterrupted time with our Creator.  Here is the view we were greeted with:

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For sure this is not a bad way to get a new week started 🙂

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FIRST campfire, LAST night.

With bittersweet memories we had to say goodbye to the infamous (that is “more than famous” according to Dusty Bottoms on The Three Amigos) Gigi and Papa.  We all use these words a lot, but it doesn’t mean it becomes less true… these last three weeks went by really fast… too fast. But we had the most amazing time with Ella and Max’s moms-side-of-the-family grandparents and we can’t wait to get them back.

Since they had been here already last January it was really fun seeing them become “use to” many of the things here. The Boss Man got behind the wheel of the Opel hotrod and drove here like he was a teenager on the drag strip.  He laid down with the famed “tayyeb” or “cook” at the bathhouse as if he had assumed that position since birth.  In addition to these now “customs” of his he also went to the carpenter all by himself and communicated with smoke signals, hand gestures and enough Arabic to get a piece of block we needed for our fridge to sit up straight.  Unbelievable.  Oh, and he also went to the sound store and hardware store and ran the table with those guys. Papa, you rock dude.  I think he is making plans to buy a house and an open lot here and retire while working at Joe’s Car Shop NArica.  That will be awesome 🙂

Gigi threw together quite possibly the two greatest birthdays to have ever been celebrated without even needing a piñata.  I know, I know, most of you just said to yourself that you can’t call it a birthday party without a piñata. I agree. Buuuuuuut, Gigi did it. She is amazing.  And Jenny and I were able to have an extra hand putting Monster Max to bed, which next to his nephew Jack Welch, is probably one of the hardest guys to put down this side of the Mississippi.

Jenny will send her own ode to her parents and can fill in on the many other things her parents did. But from your only and favorite son-in-law, I want to say thank you Gigi and Papa so much for all your love and help!

On the LAST night they were here we made our FIRST bonfire ever in NAfrica.  I just made a fire pit two weeks ago, and we put it to use on their last night with good ol fashion dogs (you guessed it, no pork) and ‘smores (in one of the last pics below you can see Ella holding a stick with what looks like a teenage pimple on the end, but it is actually a tiny marshmallow… a little pathetic) . What fun. Tons of memories. Tons of flashbacks to 310 Bellevue Ave. For a night we felt we were back at our old home again.  Here are some picks of the bonfire.  Gigi and Papa, it goes without saying how much we love you! 🙂

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Back to the Bathhouse (guest writer Boss Man)

  Well after much anticipation , I took the challenge and returned for my second visit to the bath house that I frequented last January 2013. I was pleasantly surprised that my “cook” aka personal scrubber remembered me from my previous visit of 10 months ago. Not sure if that is a good thing, but I did feel that North African welcome of ‘abba babba mcloog amen’ , that was  my interpretation of ” hey nice seeing you again cringo” in my limited arabic!  His familiar missing left eye was still gone and his dental work was not finished yet but I’d remember that grin anywhere. I noticed that he must have got a promotion to supervisor because he was fully clothed and giving the orders to his subordinates , not sure I liked that, because I felt a bond with him from my previous encounters of removing most of my top layer of skin. Kinda like being blood brothers from a different mother or you rub my back I’ll rub yours! Anyway this new “cook ” I had today was all business. No small talk, just barking orders like roll over, sit, stand, felt like I was in obedience training only problem was I don’t understand arabic, so this must of frustrated him and he took it out on my top layer! “OUCH” Even though most of this ordeal sounds painful, it amazes me how clean I feel when I leave. It’s refreshing and weird at the same time, if that makes any sense? Well, a trip here to the Browns house definitely  requires one to experience the culture and see what the workers here have to endure. After almost three weeks of being here I miss home, but I can honestly say that this place isn’t so bad, and the people that I have met aren’t any different from us, yeah they talk funny and drive crazy, but they are friendly and loving . Thats okay with me!  Sorry there wasn’t a sequel video for this trip,but I didn’t feel we could due it justice .  ” eye shick” thats arabic for thanks I think?  

 Ella and Max’s Papa

(AKA Boss Man) 

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MaxFIT Gym Renovations!!

Check out some of the additions and changes we have made to The Family Place gym (i.e. MaxFIT Gym).  We’ve added some cool wall art, posters, a few more machines and generally tried to  increase the mojo.  How do you think we did?

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Thank you dad for your wonderful paint job with the green accent walls. Thank you Micah for helping with the silhouette pics.  Thank you all for the thoughts and giving so that we can continue to improve…

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This zoo is not normal!

There are many things in this country that you truly can’t do justice to explain with words or to show using pics.  Topping the list would probably be the zoo.  Simply put it is not a normal experience.  We could go into all the details possible about what makes the zoo here awesome and it would still not prepare you for the reality.

Here are a few examples: 1) if you pay the equivalent of a $1 or 2  you can actually feed the lions their raw meat.  We have ourselves not experienced this yet but have heard.  Evidently you can get close enough when feeding them that an arm could get ripped off.  That, folks, is not normal for a zoo. 2) One of the very first exhibits is a monkey exhibit where anyone is evidently allowed to feed the monkeys. You will see Boss Man feeding them with the monkeys sticking their hands out to catch.  If you try to prevent someone from throwing food at the monkeys the monkeys themselves will literally start screaming at the preventer and become irate.  Again, not one bite of normal (pun intended).  3) You will see a video of this one.  The lion cages are so close to the audience that you can actually make them angry so they begin to growl in your face.  Normal? I think not!

After leaving the lion exhibit and experiencing his chest vibrate from the lions roar, Joe “the Boss Man” Turner said, “That was worth the .50 cents of admission right there.”  (Oh yeah, we forgot to mention, this zoo cost the equivalent of .50 US cents. Can you say NOT NORMAL??)

Some leave feeling a high level of stress. Other’s leave on an adrenaline high. Everyone leaves satisfied!

Jojo Turner, we are excited to go with you in January 🙂

Here is the video with the roaring lion!


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Big Blue Madness… bitter sweet for me!

Before I post the details and pics of today’s amazing zoo visit, I must first take a moment to complain weep reminisce embrace the fact that BBN is about to experience (another) season of a lifetime and I am not able to be in Lexington to enjoy it.  However, that will not stop me from keeping up with our CATS and getting excited with my friends here who don’t give a darn.  I wish I could have been at Big Blue Madness last night. Evidently it was epic.  So many things to get excited about.

Although the CATS have never caused me to compromise my language learning, they have come close. This season, they may be to blame for a few speed bumps in my Arabic.  That’s okay, right? 🙂

Here’s to having experienced BBM from afar! 


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Just another regular MaxFIT training session…

Slowly by slowly we are training men here in NAfrica to fall in love with the cross fit style fitness methods. We are having tons of fun. September was our best month ever, and October is falling suit. Thanks for your support friends.

If you want, follow our gym on Facebook. Write: MaxFit Gym Bardo

Peace out. Gotta get ready to go train 🙂

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Mom and Dad!

Here are a few pics from the past few days!
We have a grand day trip planned for Saturday so stay tuned!!!!








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Jessamine County

I spent the better portion of my adult life in Kentucky.
Jessamine County to be exact.

Then it should be of no surprise to us all when you see this photo.
That’s right, Max and I walked Ella to her “car pool stop” down the street.
Nothing seemed strange to me until I noticed the smiles and stares.
We live right beside a very busy metro stop so there were many passerbyers this morning.
And I thought nothing of it when we stepped out of our house with Max only in a shirt and shoes…no pants. Poor Kentucky boy. Don’t worry…He had on his saggy morning diaper, of course. Not to mention he fell asleep on the way home from Fatburger last night so he was still wearing the ketchup stained shirt from the night before.
Oh well! It made me smile and think of all you moms back in Jessamine County pulling up to the carpool lane in your pj pants and stanky breathe. I know who you are!

Moms around the world unite! Who cares if we have ketchup stains, morning breath and saggy diapers! It just makes life a little more interesting.



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