Monday, May 30, 2011

You know

You know you are a missionary in the tropics when:

1. Your 9 month old has a farmer's tan.

2. You have mango stains on all your clothes and mango pulp in your teeth...constantly.

3. You cohabitate with ants...and are fine with it as long as they don't bite.

4.You sift your flour, not because you want fluffy bread, but because you want to make sure you get all the bugs and their larvae out before you bake.

5. When the temperature drops to 79 and you are cold.

6. When your laundry schedule depends on the weather.

7. When BO no longer bothers you.

8. You plan your meals around what will require the least amount of time for the oven to be on.

9. Your morning routine now includes sunscreen and bug spray, and this is routine is repeated 17,000 times a day.

10. When you choose a church based on how breezy it is.

The End.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Two Letters

Dear Water Babies 70+ SPF Sunblock,
You are no match for the Papua New Guinea sun. Even though, you said "waterproof" on your bottle, I still reapplied half way through our beach trip. My white babies have a sunburn, but I guess you did protect my little tan baby- that or genetics protected her- not quite sure. It is probably not your fault. But it would help me in the future if you could come up with an "equator proof" sunblock.

One mom filled with guilt as she looks at her daughter's face.
(7 pm last night)

Dear Aloette Nutri Hydrating Mist,
My babies look so much better this morning, and are not in any pain from their over exposure to the sun yesterday. I am so relieved that I don't have to feel like the worst mother on the planet...the solar system...the universe when I look at their faces today. I am also appreciative for all the bug bites and heat rashes you have soothed since we've been here, I am pretty sure I should have shipped more than 5 bottles. I see us going through those faster than a tween girl goes through Justin Bieber ring tones.

One relieved mom.
(8 am this morning)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thank you for forgiving me, blogger.

In a previous post a told you all about how food was really expensive here. That is because pretty much everything has to be shipped in. But there are some things that are grown here that are not expensive- heck there are even some things that are free! Like these bananas. They grow on NTM's property here, along with coconuts, papaya, and mangoes. (did you know that when you make "mango" plural you have to add an "e"? I didn't! Thank you red, squiggly line) The coconut tree is too tall to get them anytime we want, so we usually just buy those, and the papaya is not our favorite. It has the texture of a melon with a distinct doodie aftertaste. I'll pass on that. But the bananas are delicious!

Did you know that a banana tree only only grows one bunch of bananas, so you just cut the whole thing down when the bunch is ripe? Here is my handsome husband chopping down the tree with his "bush knife" (machete) and the aid of our neighbor's son.

That is a heavy bunch of bananas! But they are no match for JMG! Look at those beefy arms! Perfect for harvesting large quantities of tropical fruit!

Here he is again using those huge muscles to shave some fresh coconut...

There are also some things that are not free, but are cheap because they grow here. Sweet potatoes are one of the main staples here and they grow to be the size of your head. I have seriously never seen sweet potatoes so big! Our language helper went with us to the market yesterday and told us that in PNG they were lucky because they always have "kau kau" here (sweet potatoes), but in Africa they are usually struggling for food. What a great perspective- quite convicting for Americans of any economic status. Anyway... Speaking of produce the size of your head. This pineapple is actually bigger than JMG's noggin...

It was expensive for PNG standards, but cheap for American standards (about $2 USD). It was so big we had to share it with our neighbors, there was no way we could eat that whole thing without having to spend an extraordinary amount of time in the bathroom.

There was some other stuff in the market that was cheap, but we decided to pass on...

Yeah, those are caterpillars. Complete with cocoon. Only like 1 US cent a piece- we are not that desperate yet.

Also these, called "flying foxes"...

They are bats. Again, the size of your head. Scary!! I will not be eating those unless it is unknowingly!

So there you have it. Proof that we won't starve! (at least not while we are in the city, anyway. When we get into the tribe and have to start paying $1.39 per kilo for our food to be flown in- we may be rethinking those bats!!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Well, I had a pretty sweet post prepared tonight all about food and what not, but stupid blogger is not letting me load pics (again!! maybe it is still mad from the last time I called it stupid?...maybe I should stop putting that out there for everyone to read?...honestly, it is probably the fact that I am in Papua New Guinea and we don't have that great of an internet connection...I am sorry blogger, it is not your fault, please forgive me) so I will just do a quick post about sending us packages, since that seems to be the most asked question lately.

Do we want packages sent to us? That is like asking a 5 year old if he wants Santa Claus to visit. We would certainly love and appreciate any mail that we receive from America, and since people keep asking me what exactly they should send, I thought I would post a list here. Consider this my list to Santa, and no I will not be sitting in your lap. Your welcome.

Here is our list of needs- (meaning we need them, but cannot get them in the country)

Bug spray
(we can get some, but not many)
Hair things for the girls (ponytail holders, clips, etc...dear southern friends, please do not send bows bigger than their heads, they would just wilt and mold here)
Decaf coffee
Toys for the girls
(not a lot of toys here)
Duct tape
Coloring/activity books for the girls

Here is a list of wants/fun things if anyone is interested in that-

Haribo gummy bears
peanut butter m&ms
hershey's bars with almonds
(it would be nice for at least the inside of my mouth to be cold)
brownie mix
cookie mix
jello and pudding mixes
anything else that you think would be fun

There are a few non food items that might be fun to get every once in a while like-

Christian music CDs. (we don't want to come back and be those people in church who only know, "Lord I Lift Your Name on High)
DVDs (for the love of Pete somebody send me the last Harry Potter and Twilight movies when they come out, and for the love of Pete nobody judge me for watching Harry Potter or Twilight)
Board Games (we know these are expensive, so all you yard sellers out there, keep your eye out for used ones- we will not be picky)
Thank you cards or neutral cards (you can't them here, and it is nice to be able to write notes to other missionaries)

Alrighty, well that is all I can think of right now. I am sure that in about six months I will have a lot more stuff that I am missing, craving, and crying for and I will have no shame in posting again!

If you would like our address, just comment here or on facebook and I will send it to you. I was told that it is never wise to put your address on the internet, even if you live in Papua New Guinea.

There are two ways to ship. One is by boat. It takes 6 months. The Post Office will tell you it takes 1 month. To quote another missionary here, "Their computer lies." This is totally fine if you are not sending perishable food items. The other way is by air and it takes 2 weeks to 1 month (again they will tell you like 8 to 10 days or something, but that also is a lie), but that way is really expensive. So, there you have it. All you ever wanted to know about packages. I have to tell you too, though, that even just getting a letter or card would really be nice for us- especially when we get to the tribe and have no internet!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

House work

Since we've been here, I have been trying to learn a new routine for what are generally my typical daily duties. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. Nothing has been too drastically different yet, but it seems that every task just takes a little longer to accomplish.

This past week, though I was faced with two challenges that I thought you might find interesting. The first was my "vitamin enriched" bag of rice. It looks nice enough and that was so kind of them to enrich my rice with vitamins..

But wait...What's that I see there? Is THIS their idea of "enrichment"? Um, no thanks. I will just take plain ol' starchy, loaded with carbs, and not really very nutritional rice.

Yes, these are alive. As you can see, they are crawling around inside the bag...

I wasn't totally sure what to do about them, until thankfully they just exited the bag themselves. Phew! I definitely wasn't going to throw the bag out because honestly, every bag probably had similar little creatures inside it. Also, the bag cost me $5, so bugs or not we are eating it! (Food is really expensive here)

My next challenge of the week came yesterday when it rained pretty much all day. The morning started all nice and sunny, so of course I washed my clothes and hung them out to dry. Then the rains came. And they DID. NOT. STOP. So, I decided to pay the $5 to use the dryer for an hour (Electricity is really expensive here too). Well, when I went to turn the dryer on, I discovered that it was broken. So, I drag my wet laundry out to the porch and hang it up under there, where it is still hanging this morning. I imagine it will be dry sometime next month, but I am not, I repeat, NOT getting it back down and hanging back out in the sun. It can stay wet until Jesus comes back if it wants. (which turns out, according to this guy is going to be Saturday, so that really isn't that long, I guess)

***please note that the views of Harold Camping and his website do not reflect the views of the TribalWife and her website. Although, it would be nice if her laundry would be dry by Saturday even if Jesus does not return. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tok Pisin

We are about to start our official national language study. As most of you have heard us say 17,000,000 times- we have to first learn the national language here (Melanesian Pidgin) before we can go into a tribe and learn that language. You see if you go into a place that has no written form of their language then you cannot just pick up a book or a copy of Rosetta Stone in that language to study it. You have to learn it through some person in that tribe who also knows the national language (again, Melanesian Pidgin). So, we have to know Pidgin well if we want to know the tribal language well (or at least have a better chance at knowing it well).

We also want to know the national language because...well...we live here. You know how Americans complain about people coming to the US and not learning English? Yeah, we don't want to be those people. We want be able to function here, and make friends here, and understand what the preacher says when we go to church here, and on and on. I am pretty excited that I have two ladies that have shown real interest in helping me learn. Let's hope that interest doesn't quickly fade as I begin to show them my "dummy" side. In fact, why don't you all just go ahead and pray for these ladies. They need patience. Lots and lots of patience.

But, I am optimistic because most people say that Pidgin is relatively easy to learn. (after all, English is its base) It takes most people around six months whereas Spanish is two years...Chinese three years...

Just look at this sign that is outside our gate. Can you guess what it says??? 10 cool points to anyone who can translate this sign. (Tok Pisin speakers, you don't count!)

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Here are the pics from this morning's post (actually, last night for most of you reading this). It is just easier to put them in a new post, so here you go.

Climbing trees...

Hanging laundry out to dry... (FYI: today I had to hang the laundry, quickly pull it off the line while it rained and then hang it back out again. JMG hung it out the second time, so I wouldn't lose my mind)

Playing with weird animals. The local people say they are "sweet" and they are not talking about their personalities...

Eating weird fruit. Weird, but delicious...

So, there's the proof people. Don't ever doubt me again, or I'll...I'll...well, I'll just show you more pictures. So take that. Yeah.

Friday, May 13, 2011

New life

We are truly enjoying our new life here. I have to admit, though, that everyone on base has been spoiling us. They have been feeding us for the last 3 days, so I haven't had to do any cooking or dishes. The real world starts today, though, so if I am hysterically crying in the next post, you will know why. We have been doing a little "work" like going to the market and getting our driver's licenses. FYI, all you need to get your driver's license in PNG is an American license even though they drive on the opposite side of the road here. We actually have the paperwork for our licenses, but not the actual license. When we went to take our pictures they told us they were out of film our friend and orientation consultant asked when they would be getting film and they answered, "We don't know." Nice. Anyway, here are some of the fun new things we have been doing...

Climbing trees

(Pretend you see a picture of my kids climbing trees)

Hanging laundry out to dry with a spectacular view

(pretend you can see me hanging out my laundry over looking the South Pacific)

Playing with weird animals

(pretend you see a cute, fuzzy, orange, marsupial here. If your imagination isn't that good, then you can google "cuscus")

And eating weird, but delicious fruit

(pretend there is a pic of tropical fruit here)

Ok, so wasn't that the most exciting post ever??? Sorry people. Blame blogger. Not me. In our new life we also get all new kinds of compliments. Our neighbor's kid said that we smell like America. Her mom very quickly told me that was a compliment. "It means your stuff smells new and not moldy", she told me. Nice! I doubt we will hear that for long, though. We have some friends and fellow classmates coming here soon, and I imagine by the time they arrive, we will be sniffing them to evoke a little memory of home. I guess that will be a sign that we have truly settled in and are becoming local! Ha ha! Anyway, hopefully soon, I can show you some pictures, so you will know that we are really here and aren't just hiding out in someone's basement or something. I promise we are here! We have the sweat stains to prove it!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

We are here

I am sort of on sensory overload here. I have been complaining for the last few months that I have nothing to blog about, and now everything that passes into my eyesight is a potential post. Currently my kids are taking a nap and my husband is driving a truck on the opposite side of the road for the first time ever. This will probably turn into a post. We'll see.

Anyway, now I have TOO much to write about so I would just like to share with you 2 things that stand out in my mind right now. This sign in the airport. At first glance this advertisement for the bank shows things that might appeal to any American who needed a savings account (or more appropriately for our culture, a loan). A car, a boat, school tutition... and then there is the last picture on the bottom right.

That's right. A bride price. Welcome to Papua New Guinea. Now, what do you think they do if someone were to default on that loan? What do they repossess??? HMMMM????

And this is the view that we woke up to this morning! It is so beautiful here! But before you think we are living in a tropical paradise and get mad and stop supporting us, please note that it is very very hot here...with no air conditioning...and I am already in a full scale war with ants in my kitchen. My new rule is that no one eats anything inside my house.

But all that aside, we are truly amazed to be here. Anyone who has known us for any length of time at all has heard us talk about our dream of becoming missionaries with NTM. In fact, I am sure that there are many people who got very annoyed at hearing us talk about it over the last 6 years. We stand completely in awe that this 6 year dream is now a reality, and are so thankful to our gracious and loving Heavenly Father who has finally allowed this to happen. We are literally overwhelmed with the goodness of God right now. In the words of David Crowder, our hearts are turning violently inside of our chests.

Thank you Jesus for giving us this desire of our hearts, and thank you Lord for putting it there in the first place.

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy! Psalm 126:3

Sunday, May 8, 2011


It is 8 pm here and I can barely keep my eyes open. I would go to bed (since we have gone to bed no later than 8:30 each night we've been here) but I have clothes in the hotel dryer and have to wait until they are done, so I can go get them out. So, I am writing this blog post to try to keep me awake while I wait. The rest of my family went to bed at 7:30- even JMG. If this post makes no sense, then please understand that my diminished capacity is temporary and when I get some sleep, I should be back to my normal self. (I know what you are thinking. "Diminished capacity is normal for her." I walked right into that one)

Anyway, I will just show you some pics of our time here and keep my comments to a minimum, so as not to make myself look like a big idiot (ok, bigger idiot. I walked into that one too)

Here are the girls at "Muddies Playground". Cairns has a beautiful playground and splash park for kids that is completely free.

Not far from that is the "Lagoon" it is a man made pool and beach area which is also completely free.

The beach in downtown Cairns is really muddy (hence the name "Muddies Playground).

It wasn't always this way. Something about dredging it for boats in WWII. I read one of those informative signs by the beach but I didn't memorize it. There are nice beaches close by, but I was told that they are not really safe right now because it is still "stingers" season. So, here we are at this nice place the city built. The pictures will not show you how big it is, but the thing is completely humongous. This is just one small area. I actually like it better than a real beach, especially for the kids. There are no jelly fish, sharks, big waves, and it is shallow. I am going to ask JMG to make one for us in the backyard of our tribal hut.

Anyway, you can see that the girls had lots of fun!

In the morning we will say goodbye to air conditioning and television for the last time and we are off to our new home in Papua New Guinea! We are all pretty excited!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The flight

I wish I could tell you that I was all wrong for dreading that flight. That it was a wonderful magical journey...but unfortunately I was right and it was horrible. I got motion sickness for the first time ever. It literally made me feel like death, and even when we got off the plane I still felt like I was bumping and swaying in the air. We missed our flight into Cairns because our plane got in late, but to me that was a blessing! I had several hours to recover, so I felt much better by the time we took off again. I mean, even the bus ride from one terminal to the other in Sydney made me very sick, so I know another plane ride right away would have probably killed me. Anyway, the kids were really good for the most part so that was a blessing. But we are here in Cairns, Australia and do not have to board another plane until Sunday! Woo- hoo! We have lots of fun things planned for our two days here, so I will try to update as often as I can. For now here are some pictures of our trip..

Mae loved riding on the airplanes!

This is in LA. It was like 1 am our time and we were about to board the plane. (notice the drool on JMG's shirt)

Lucy the big helper. She had to push the stroller since we had two carts full of luggage.

We very quickly told everyone that we were moving to PNG. We did not want people to think we were ridiculous with the amount of luggage we had, and perpetuate any ugly American stereotypes. Your welcome. (this was only 1 of two carts that were this full)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dreaming of Mexico

Did I ever tell you that when we first joined New Tribes, we had full intentions of going to Mexico. Yeah, Mexico, with its amazing food, language, that I have already learned and its close close close proximity to the US. I have secretly always wanted to be Mexican. I thought living their would be closest I would ever come to that. Oh, Mexico!!

Dear Mexico, I could drive my van to you. I love you.

We leave tomorrow at 4pm, and start the longest airplane trip in the history of air planes. Seriously , if the Wright Brothers had known that one day a family of 5 would have to be on one of their little inventions for over 1,000,000 hours, they would have just quit working on aviation and would have invented the ipod or something. I hate flying. Seriously, hate it. I used to like flying. That was before I flew to China. One of those trips was 14 hours. Just like our longest stretch tomorrow will be. I thought I would never get off that plane. And I distinctly remember thinking that I would NEVER be on a flight that long again. In fact, when we first entered the training center at New Tribes, I said that I was in no circumstance ever going to Papua New Guinea, and the number one reason was that I would have to be on a friggin plane for a friggin million hours again. AHHHHHHHH! I'm losing it.

History or National Geographic or one of those channels recently did a TV show about cannibalism in PNG. People are constantly asking me about that, and to them I usually respond, "Forget the cannibals! I have to be on a plane for 14 hours with a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and an 8 month old. (And that is just the longest stretch. We will be on 2 planes before that one, and 3 after that. Yeah, count it up... that is SIX total). I would gladly give some cannibals my pointer finger to place in a hot dog bun and personally provide the ketchup, mustard and relish for them, if it meant that I did not have to get on that long flight tomorrow. I am seriously going to die. Also, I am never coming back for furlough. Everyone keeps saying, "see you in 4 years!" Ha ha! Yeah right! I am not getting back on a plane for that long ever again, so everybody better save your money if you want to see this face ever again.

Can you tell what I need prayer for? I am not nervous or worried about PNG at all. Not for me, my husband or kids. I am not nervous about getting malaria or parasites or having to build our own houses or the fact that people might be naked or that I might have to eat bugs. I would gladly eat a plate of every insect native to Papua New Guinea than get on the plane tomorrow. So, yeah, pray for my sanity. Pray that I will somehow become a normal person overnight and just focus on our destination. I am super excited about where we will end up. I just have to keep my eye on the prize! And remember that Mexico is a very dangerous place right now. Oh, Mexico!!!!! So close, yet so far away!