We Go ‘Tani

We’re in Sentani again.  Or as Elias would say, “We go ‘Tani.”  Nathan is doing another airplane inspection.

Some fun things about ‘Tani so far:

1. There are Snicker bars, like, everywhere!  Amazeballs.

2. Eating lunch out on the day we arrived, I said to Nathan, “Is that [rat] poop?” referring to some suspicious looking lumps just to the left of him on the booth seat.  “Yes, yes it is.” And then we continued to eat… we’ve acclimated.

3. Today, I was at the mall picking up some doughnuts (a Sentani treat) and I noticed a group of three ladies giggling near the escalator.  Clearly they had never been on one before and they were laughing at themselves while they tried to figure it out.  Two worlds colliding at the base of the escalator.

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(Nathan, Elias and a Kodiak Engine.)

Elias’ Room

You may remember that a few months [ahem, 7 months] back we made bookshelves for Elias’ wall and I said I was working on art for the rest of the wall.  Well…it is finally done and I love it.  I love decorating kid’s rooms because they can be so colorful and playful and FUN!

Elias' wall Bookcase and wall

To the right and left of the whole collage deal are just thin pieces of wood that I painted with dinosaurs.  They each took me maybe 20 minutes to cut, sand and paint.  Honestly the longest part of the process was figuring out how I wanted each dinosaur to look on the board.

In the middle, from the top left moving right is Elias’ silhouette I created in Photoshop; a little dinosaur painting that Elias helped me to paint; one of my favorite pictures of Elias and Nathan when he was an infant; number art that I made using my Silhouette machine; an “E” that I glued onto a canvas that I painted; Idaho (because that’s where Elias was born and where his birth family lives); Elias at 18 months old; an animal ABC print that I made in Photoshop and finally, a little quote art that I also made in Photoshop.  All of the photos and Photoshop art are printed photos that I mod-podged onto canvases.

It’s so fun to have a tiny little piece of my home that I can call “done.”  At least for now…until Elias grows out of a dinosaur room.  But I love it!

Gentle Giants

To add to an already awesome weekend (friends visiting & the waterfall), we thought we’d add to the fun by going to visit our friendly gentle giants, the whale sharks of Cendrawasih Bay.

While Nabire has many perks, whale sharks are probably the biggest (pun intended).  Swimming with whale sharks is like nothing I’ve ever done before (ok, well, I’ve done this exact thing twice before, but you know what I mean)

They are huge.

They are beautiful.

They are gentle (thankfully).

They are an amazing part of God’s creation that sits right outside outside our doorstep (you, know, in the bay…a two-hour boat ride away)

Three Whale Sharks Whale Sharks AS Big as the Boat

The dark thing at the top of the waterline is our boat.  These things are hugenormous (spell check is telling me that this isn’t a word…it’s my blog spell check, back off)

See, I was in the water too

Those are my legs!  Each time I visit the whale sharks I get slightly more brave.  I didn’t even hold on to or climb up anyone this time!  I did however, hold on to the boat most of the time. Baby steps, people.  Baby steps.

Jordan, the Fearless

This child, however, was fearless.  Jordan, you’re awesome! (also, my legs in the background along with Katie and April).

Three girls and a Whale Shark

Timing a picture with all three of us and a whale shark was proving difficult.  But, we did it!

Father Son

This might be the most epic Father-Son photo ever taken.

Gentle Giants

“They will not eat me, they will not eat me.”  My whale shark mantra.

Sharks

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but we had three other shark visitors as well.  We later determined they were white-tipped reef sharks…I think.  Thankfully they stayed far away from us.

I was so brave this time

Not to be deterred by the other sharks, look at me being brave!

Don’t you want to visit us now?  I mean, seriously.  What is this life I’m living?  When Elias gets older, we want to take him out to see our friendly giants too.  He stayed home with Daddy this time around.

Go Chasing Waterfalls

Last Friday was a red-letter day which means the guys didn’t have to work (Nathan flew Saturday instead), so we took the opportunity as a base, plus several visitors to visit a local waterfall.  Local as in, a 1 1/2-hour car ride and then a 20-minute canoe ride or walk away, but you know, local.

Walking through the River

Just the littles and their moms rode in the canoe.  The rest walked through the river.  Actually, I think walking was the easier choice.  I ended up pulling the canoe through the water for about half the walk and dragging a canoe through knee-deep water isn’t easy.  Cardio for the day, check.

Nabire WaterfallWaterfall from above

But it was worth the walk once we arrive at the beautiful waterfall.

Down

Then a group of us decided to hike up a bit farther to see more waterfalls and pools above.  Second round of cardio for the day, check.

Barefoot

Just to prove that I did this whole hike barefoot…

Hiking Down

And Nathan carried Elias the whole way.

Rock Slide Tjeerd Rock Slide Jordan

But at the top, we found a perfect rock slide into a beautiful pool of cool-mountain water.

Family of Three Group Shot

The water up here was pretty chilly actually.  But still a fun time.

Waterfall and Pool Pool Going Up

Hiking down, Elias was Daddy’s backpack.  What a great daddy!

We live in such a gorgeous place, which I find really easy to forget when I’m stressed about the everydayness of everyday.  So, day’s like Friday are refreshing for my soul.

You Might be in Papua if…

Rat Trap

…there’s a glue rat trap just hanging out on your desk, stacked nicely with other books.  (this one is, obviously, not in use but will be soon!)

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…there’s a pig foot in your deep freezer.  Yep.

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….you have 110 outlets right alongside 220 outlets.  To be fair, this is not a Papua wide thing.  It is a super awesome perk of living in an MAF house.  I can plug all of my appliances from the U.S. right into the wall!

Easter Sunday

Our Easter was quiet and peaceful which was just right for us after the mounting culture fatigue we’d been feeling (On a sidenote: we are doing much better in this regard!  Thank you for your prayers!)

We had a quiet morning at home as a family where we read the Easter story together and Elias opened his Easter basket.  And then, we met the Marx Family outside for a yummy breakfast of cinnamon rolls, eggs and breakfast sausage, plus an Easter egg hunt for the kiddos.

Easter breakfast Undiscovered So proud of his basket of eggs Success! Egg Hunter

Elias especially loved the egg hunt.  He’s been asking to do it again every since!  Love my little monkey.

Culture Fatigue

It came out of no where and hit me like a ton of bricks.

I was putting Elias to bed a couple of week ago, watching him slowly breath in and out as I sang “Soft Kitty” for the 32nd time, and suddenly I felt sad for him.  Sad that it is Spring and we’re not going to the zoo; we’re not running out for ice cream; we’re not enjoying spring flowers after a long Winter; and we’re not spending Easter with our family.  Instead, we’re here, in the tropics, doing the same things we did the day before.  There are no shopping trips to Target, or playdates to the park.

Yes, life overseas has a beauty and simplicity of it’s own.  But in that moment, I was sad for my son.  For everything that’s he’s missing…for everything that I’m missing.

One evening rolled into another, and I couldn’t shake this sadness, this fatigue of the life we live.  I dragged myself to the store because it was necessary, but also knowing that I would once again be deflecting hands away from Elias’ sweet face that people can’t seem to stop pinching despite his cries of “NO!”

Sigh, culture fatigue.  It’s one of the side effects of moving an ocean away from all that is familiar.  The shock has worn off now, but fatigue is it’s nasty replacement.

I am grateful though.  I am grateful for the reminder that this place, the planet earth, is not our home.  We were made for a place greater than this. We were made to serve the One who is the greatest of all.  So while my culture fatigue will wax and wane, My God remains ever the same.  He gives me strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.  And so we press on…

A Feast

I don’t really have words for this yet.  It’s been ruminating in my head for over a week, and still, no words….

Just over a week ago, we were invited to go to Turumo where there was a huge feast to celebrate the coming of the missionaries (not us…the missionaries that actually live there.  We were mostly just observers.)

Nearly 30 years ago, this tribe of people started asking for missionaries to come live with them.  30 years!

And it’s finally happened.  A team of three families (who you’ve heard about on this blog before) has built homes, and moved to live in the HOT, sticky, bug-infested jungle.

What better reason than that to party??

This is where I lose my words.  How do I describe this party that is so far from anything that I know to be familiar?  How do I describe to you the chanting, and the smoke, and the mud smeared on faces, and slaughtering of pigs?  I don’t have enough words to convey what all happened.  Nor do I have the cultural understanding to see the significance of it.

What I do have is pictures…so I will leave you with these:

Prepping the pigs On the Runway Lights John Carrying Beck Dragging pigs Carrying April Moving Rocks Prepping the pigs Smoke Moving the Rocks Prepping the pigs