Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bush Orientation

Our house for the next 6 weeks

We are now gearing up for Bush Orientation. What's that you say? It is where we go live in an tribe with an established church to make sure we are really up to this task of living in such a remote location before we drop $30,000 to move into said remote location only to find out we just can't hack it. I am pretty excited. I know I joke a lot about this craziness that is missionary life, but that is all it is really. Just jokes. I am seriously having a lot of fun. Plus, could you honestly say that you would read this blog if it was all, "I am a holy missionary who prays for the ants on my wall" instead of making jokes about them before grabbing the bug spray and sending them to hell where they belong? No. you wouldn't. And if you would, I probably would not be your friend. (do ants go to hell??? there is a deep theological question for you to ponder, forget predestination or amillennialism, spend 3 hours debating antsinhadesim and see how far you get)

Making jokes about all the things that could be frustrating if you allowed them to be and sharing them on this blog actually keeps them from being frustrating. It helps to know that you are laughing with me. Or at me. Because when all is said and done, it really doesn't matter if people are laughing with you or at you, as long as you are not a laughing alone.

Ok, back to bush orientation. We are going into a tribe that I have been in before. Remember when I went to clean the missionaries house? Yeah we are going back there. Also, if we spoke at your church and you saw the video that we show where the missionaries are presenting the Gospel for the first time, then you have also seen where we are going. It is going to be awesome.

Right now we are ordering medicines, and making lists of all the food we need to take. I will have to plan for at least 4 weeks, and then we will order more when a flight comes back our way. There are lots of sweet potatoes and pineapple, fish and grub worms to eat there if we run out of food, so you don't have to worry about us starving.

Northerners have deep freezers so they can shop at SAMS, southerners have deep freezers so they can hunt deer, and missionaries have deep freezers so they can survive

While we are there we will learn how to operate and live with the solar power system, how to take care of any medical needs that come up, how to use a short wave radio to communicate (we won't have internet, but we can email through the radio), and hopefully will dramatically improve our Tok Pisin (everyone in this tribe speaks Pidgin along with their tribal language... that's right, the entire tribe is bilingual).

Solar Panels will provide all our power

We have heard that the tribal people have already planned to take us on lots of "adventures"- one of them being taking my husband crocodile hunting at night. Johnny George, I wrote that so you would know and could give Jr. a call and remind him that he has a wife and 3 kids and that if he gets eaten by a crocodile I will be furious. Maybe you can convince him that just because it sounds cool doesn't mean he should do it. You have about a week and a half. That is actually the whole point of this post. To tattle on my husband. The End.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

3 months

Last month, I decided to write about all the things I have learned here in Papua New Guinea. This month, I would like to be completely open and transparent with you about all the things I have not learned...yet. I just didn't want you to think I was feeling superior with my new found knowledge of gecko poo. Anyway, here it goes...

1. I have not learned to tell the difference between a bug crawling down my shirt or a bead of sweat rolling down my shirt.

2. I haven't learned how not to be embarrassed about my underwear hanging out in front of all my neighbors, friends, and co-workers.

3. I have not learned how to get the gecko poo off the top panes of my windows (they are very tall and right next to stairs where I cannot put a ladder)

Those are turds, not dead bugs

4. I have not figured out how the mosquitoes are biting me underneath my clothes.

5. When I am having a bad day, I have not learned to tell if it is from PMS or culture shock.

Does "complete" include relief from bad smells, a language you don't understand, and not having a Wal- Mart?

6. I have not learned to drive on the opposite side of the road. (that is what husbands are for, right?)

7. I still have not learned how to work up the motivation to make donuts, even though I look at the recipe on the internet daily.

A girl can dream, right?

8. I haven't learned to like Australian Snickers. Chocolate needs sugar. There is just no point without it.

9. I haven't learned to "just get used to" bugs and worms being in my food. Many missionaries here, don't sift anymore. But I have seen what lives in there, and I can't keep those images from popping into my sweaty head when I lay it on my pillow at night. Then every morning I wake up, go downstairs and hug my sifter.

If only this were a video and you could see them crawling around in there. You would sift too!

10. I haven't learned how to explain to my little girls why little boys are naked here. (I use the term "little" loosely, as we have seen up to 11 and 12 year olds naked at the beach. That, is pushing it) Thankfully, they haven't asked me, yet. But I need to find an answer for this one soon, because I know it is coming!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ode to a Sifter

To My Dearest Sifter,

You are silver and sleek...

And make my bread light and fluffy...

I shake you and pound you, yet you do your job beautifully, without complaint...

Sometimes, I resent you. That extra step in the long process of cooking every little thing from scratch. But after what I saw cradled in the bottom of your wonderfully woven mesh today, I will NEVER. EVER. NEVER resent you again. You are my best friend. For life.

A very grossed out,
Tribal Wife

P.S. Those are case you couldn't tell from the picture.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Spa Day

I bet that is not a title you thought you would ever read on this blog?? Am I right? Well, guess what. I totally went to a spa! We have been in Goroka for the last 12 days. We came up here because our daughter's passport will expire next February. Why are we renewing it now, you may ask? Well, you see children have to be sighted with both parents present in order for them to get passports, and we can't just go down to the local post office to do that. We have two options. 1) Fly to Port Morsby and go to the U.S. Embassy there or 2) Fly up here to Goroka when the embassy representative was here to sight anyone else at the mission base that needed to be sighted. Number 2 was the cheaper of those options. It took a very literal 2 minutes for us to see the embassy representative and sign the papers for the passport. So why did we stay two weeks? I am really asking myself a lot of questions in this post. I bet that is annoying. I will stop. Well, to answer myself, we had to stay this long because of the flight schedules. The only flights we could get on were 12 days apart, so needless to say, we had a lot of extra time on our hands. As a mom, I was generally doing all the same things I normally do, but at home I am also doing a lot of language study on top of all that. We could only bring one of our books with us because of the size of the plane (and the fact that we pay for every single kilogram we put on that plane), and we don't have relationships with nationals here like we do at home, so it is harder to just go hang out and talk to people. It has also been stressful because I have had to cook with very little ingredients, since we didn't want to have to buy a whole bunch of seasonings and stuff like that since we knew we wouldn't be able to fly it back. And to top it all off there were not many kids here our kids ages, like at home, so they were constantly fighting with each and telling me how bored they were. We only knew one family in this town and they are pretty awesome, but they live on the other base, so we only got to really hang out with them one day out of all 12! People kept asking me if we were having a nice "break". I wanted to tell them that this felt more like an interruption than a break, I mean we had only been in Wewak two and a half months! We were starting to feel really comfortable and home there, and we had to come up here and learn a whole new system... but I just smiled and said "yeah". However, one incredibly awesome day, Kirstin, one of the ladies I met here (and immediately liked because she was southern and her voice reminded me of home, and grits, and boiled peanuts, and big hair, and SEC football, and all that is right with the world) came and asked me if I wanted to go with some of the other ladies for a "spa day". At the other base, some 7th and 8th grade girls had set up a spa in their house to raise some money because they were bored during the summer (um, could you please come tell my girls about this boredom buster??) I know what you are thinking. That it was not all that great because it was 7th and 8th grade girls. But you are WRONG. It was awesome. I could not believe it! They really had everything set up so nicely and I got one of the best pedicures I have ever received in my life. Plus, I got a hand massage, a facial scrub, and a nice Orange Julius on top of that. The best part of the day came when all of us ladies went to pay and our sweet southern friend gave us a little card telling us that all our services were paid for by a couple in their church! There were 6 ladies in all, and we were each completely shocked and blessed by it. I cannot think of any women on the planet more grateful for a little pampering than women who live in the middle of the jungle! We all felt very relaxed and girly, like we were in a different world for just a little while, and I am pretty sure no one talked about diarrhea or fungus one time!!! It definitely relieved my stress and made me feel like this trip was a nice "break". So thank you very much to the Agees and to their friends the Campbells who made this day possible. My toes and my sanity are very appreciative.

**I would just like to clarify that Kirstin does not have big hair...although I might have liked her even more if she did.