The Haps: Fagerlies Visit America

We’ve been in paradise America for about a week and a half now.  Say what you will about the state of our country…but easy shopping, anonymity, amazing food, wide roads, general cleanliness, lack of people pinching my kiddo’s cute cheeks (all the while still noticing how cute he is), church in English, and, let’s be real, Target, make this place pretty awesome!!

But, I’m sure you don’t want to just read about my adventures staring at the cheese section of Walmart; you want to hear about Nathan’s health.  So, here’s the lowdown:

Nathan visited with his G.I. doctor the day after we arrived who ordered a ct scan and some blood work.  Surprisingly, considering all of his symptoms, the tests came back relatively normal, other than showing two spots of inflammation in his small intestines.  But, he continues to have issues that don’t match with the test results.  So, the doctor has ordered a few more tests that will be completed this week.  Hopefully it sheds some light on what’s going on.  We have one more week here in Phoenix until we head to Idaho for Nathan’s training there.

Can I tell you what a blessing it is to be in America right now?  All of this health stuff is so much easier here.  There is comfort in knowing that we can just drive to the E.R. if we need to; no medevac, no third-world medicine…qualified medical professionals at our fingertips!

P.S.-one of the highlights (can I call it that?) of Elias’ culture shock…watching his expression and listening to his questions as he experienced a drive-through for the first time.  “Grandpa doesn’t even have to get out of the car to get the food???”

Whirlwind

This week has been a whirlwind…of pain.  Dun, dun, dun.

Ok, I just wanted to say “whirlwind of pain” but seriously, this week has been, um, out of the ordinary.  Nathan is having a flare up of Crohn’s, giving him more pain than usual.  So, after consulting with the medical personnel here, he is taking some medication that he is not allowed to fly on.  The medical personnel have also advised him to get checked out by specialists while we are in the U.S. and since he is not flying anyway, our countdown chain had gotten a little trim, cutting 13 days off our leave time!  Whew!  So, suddenly we are leaving for the U.S. on Tuesday!

Countdown Chain

I don’t want to make light of what is going on with Nathan’s health, BUT this is nothing like the emergency situation we found ourselves in 7 years ago when we were in language school.  So, all and all, this kinda feels like a Crohn’s walk in the park.  His pain is not too severe and he can function almost normally.

Hopefully, the Doctors in the U.S. can give us a clearer picture of what is going on and we can determine if he needs surgery before this becomes an emergency.  After his last surgery in 2009, we were told there’s a 50/50 chance he would need surgery again within 10 years.

We would appreciate your prayers as we travel halfway around the world with a 2 1/2 year old and then as we consult with Doctors in the U.S.  Thanks y’all!

American Soil

Countdown Chain

According to Elias’ countdown chain, it is 16 sleeps until we get on a big get and go see his cousins (he has a little bit of tunnel vision when it comes to our trip to America.  Most exciting things about our trip according to Elias: 1. riding on a big jet 2. seeing his cousins; although he might change his mind about the big jet after the first 7 hour stretch on one plane).

It has been two years since we last set foot on U.S. soil and so I am excited about the normal stuff…family, food, friends.  But I’ve been thinking about a few other things I’m looking forward to as well:

  1. The moment in customs when the agent stamps my passport and says, “welcome home.”
  2. Being anonymous.  Everywhere we go here, we stand out.  I cannot leave the base without someone saying “Hello, Mister!” to me and I often hear the word “boule” being muttered.  People ask to take our picture all the time and seem completely astonished and almost offended that I won’t let them take a picture of my two-year-old (“But he’s so handsome!”).  So…I will welcome blending into the crowd.
  3. Shopping for leisure.  This is just not something I do here.  With my non-anonymity (is that even a word?) and everyone pinching Elias’ cheeks, shopping is not relaxing.  I never go out to a store just to wander around to see what there is.
  4. Wide aisles in the grocery store.  The concept of making an aisle wide enough for a cart to go through, let alone two, as yet to hit the stores of Nabire.  I am always navigating my cart around boxes and employees.  Thankfully their annoyance that I’m asking them to move so I can shop is usually tempered when they see my cute kid (whose cheeks they want to pinch).
  5. Cold weather.  I might regret saying this the second we step off the airplane and the first gust of cold air hits me, but right now it sounds pretty dreamy to sit in front of a fire with snow sitting on the ground outside.  Also, Elias needs to build a snowman :)
  6. Traffic patterns that make some kind of logical sense.  Indonesia gives me road rage.
  7. Going on a dinner/movie date with Nathan.  I realize that seeing a movie in the theater is not the most important thing in life…but we haven’t done that in almost 3 years so I’m looking forward to it.
  8. Seeing Elias’ reaction to all things American.  He was 10 months old when we left the States and so he has no memory of it.  I’m sure he is going to have some culture shock.
  9. Karson.  Karson falls in the family category but still earns a place on this list because he is our brand-new nephew and I can’t wait to squeeze him!
  10. Buying new clothes.  I’m in a I’m-tired-of-wearing-the-same-clothes-all-the-time-year-round funk and I’m ready to get some new ones.  And bonus: new clothes aren’t all stretched out and holey!

America, my home-country that I love but don’t really fit into anymore, I’m excited to see you again!

Fun fact: two years is the longest we have ever spent away from U.S. soil!  We’re not breaking any records here, by a long stretch, but it seems like some kind of milestone for us.

“New” Lenses

Did you know that it was 7 years ago, January 2009, when we first stepped foot into this country that I now call home?  Seven years ago, all was new, strange, uncomfortable and unfamiliar.  Every experience was a learning experience.  Yes, every trip to the grocery store, every phone call in a foreign tongue, every pump of gas, every step outside my front door was new.

Truthfully, I am SO GLAD do be done with that part of this moving-overseas experience.  It was hard and stressful.  There were lots of tears.  But, man, it was good for me.

Now, here we are, seven years later on the other side of it.  And some of that newness, seeing things with fresh eyes, has worn away.  All that new, strange and uncomfortable and become my new normal.  Today at the grocery store, and put on my “new” lenses and examined the shelves to see what would have seemed strange to me 7 years ago.  Here’s a few of the things that I found:

Big Roll

I’m quite certain I spied some of these seaweed rolls the last time I was at Costco…like two years ago.  And they were advertised with all kinds of health benefits.  But here, they are in the snack aisle along side cookies, wafers and candy.

NKOTB

I can’t even believe this is for sale!!  How long has this been sitting on the shelf?  It looks every bit as old as it probably is…a remnant from the 90’s.  But, this is Indonesia, so it is still full price.  I’m guessing it will still be there in another 20 years.  (Unless one of you want it…I would happily go snatch it up for you!)

Grass Jelly

I am not very brave when it comes to trying new and strange-to-me foods, so I have not ever tried this grass jelly drink, but it is something I remember taking a picture of in 2009 when all was still new.  Apparently, it is quite popular here because every single store carries it.

Epic Quest for Potatoes

For New Year’s Eve this year, we had a progressive dinner on base and I was in charge of appetizers.  Last year, I spent all day making appetizers and they were sure delicious, but I just didn’t want to spend that much time cooking this year.  So, instead, I settled on bread and potato soup, with one little hiccup: I had no potatoes.  And getting potatoes requires a trip to the pasar (the open market).

Here’s the thing: I love the idea of an open market.  I like the idea of wandering from stall to stall and checking out what everyone is selling.  I want to buy things like fresh honey and homemade soap and then maybe the potatoes I came for.  But in reality, the market in Papua is nothing like the little farmer’s markets you find in small-town America.  The pasar is crowded, hot, muddy, stinky and everyone wants to touch my kid.  And so I end up not only carrying pounds and pounds of vegetables, but also my 30 lb child who continual tells me that he wants to go home and screams every time someone touches him.

Pasar

But, potato soup needed to be made, so to the pasar we went, along with two of my friends.  Upon arriving, we discovered that the market was extra crowded, being the day before a holiday.  From the safety of the car, Elias seemed excited about the prospect of the market (“Look at the toys, mama!  Can we buy those?”), so I was hopeful that it wouldn’t be as horrible as I expected.  But once a parking spot was secure and we stepped out of the car, Elias immediately clung to my leg and said “This place is stinky.  I want to go home.”  Sigh.  Potatoes.  We need potatoes.

About five steps into the market, there are now flies swarming around us and the 4-hour old meat that’s been sitting in the sun; three ladies have touched Elias, so I pick him up and he squeezes my neck too tight and grumbles about “those ladies” and says “I don’t like this place mama.”

Need potatoes!

Pasar

Ok, so we find some red tomatoes that I also need and I quickly buy those from a nice Papuan lady thankfully does not try to touch Elias, but she does talk to him.  He proceeds to pretend to hit her (“Sorry! He’s scared.”)  We move on and I find potatoes!  Score!  The market is busy though, so it takes the seller awhile to weigh out my potatoes.  Elias and I stand in the aisle.  I place my body between him and every passerbyer who wants to touch his cute little checks.  He continues to squeeze my neck harder and says again, “I don’t like this place, Mama.  Can I buy that toy?  It stinks here.  That lady is trying to touch me.”

Pasar

Finally, potatoes.

Now, I’m holding three pounds of potatoes, a pound of tomatoes, some onions and a thirty pound kid.  Sweat is dripping down my back and there is mud squished between my toes.

My friends still have a few items on their list, so we wander a bit farther and I find some bananas.  “We get banas, mommy?”  Yep, we get banas.

Pasar

All items checked off the list, we head back to the car.

“We go home now?  Yay!”

Yay indeed.

The Weary World Rejoices

My favorite Christmas song at the moment is “O Holy Night”, especially the line “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”  At this point in time, just before Christ was born, God had been silent for hundreds of years.  Can you imagine how discouraged the Israelites must have been?  Years of prophecies and miracles were followed by silence.

BUT THEN, suddenly, a new and glorious morn!  One holy night a baby is born and the weary world REJOICES!  The silence was broken…and not just broken but shattered by a Savior!

I hope that you are rejoicing with you Savior this Christmas!

Fagerlie Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas!

 

Missing: Baby Jesus

IMG_3476

We unpacked all of our Christmas decorations just two days after Thanksgiving, only to discover that baby Jesus was missing!  Elias was walking around the house saying, “Jesus, where are you?” And I couldn’t help but think that this could be, without some intentional thought, be exactly how Christmas plays out for each and everyone of us.

With all of the activities and decorations and presents and Hallmark movies, is Baby Jesus missing from our Christmas celebrations?  Even here in Indonesia, where Christmas is less commercialized, our schedules are still filled up with activities, the stores are slowly starting to carry more and more Christmas “stuff”, the pondok Natals (Christmas shacks that are set up all over town) are blaring Celine Dion singing “I’ll be Home For Christmas”; all the while it is so easy to forget what all the hubbub should be all about.

God come to earth?  What an amazing blessing!  God came to earth with the purpose of wiping away every tear, every shame, every sin!  That is the true meaning of Christmas!

While our Little People Baby Jesus may never be found, my prayer for myself and my family is that the real Baby Jesus, God-with-us, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father, would be found in our home this Christmas season.

But God…

We’re adopting again!

I thought I’d tell you the BIG NEWS right out of the gate before I got to all the juicy details.  Because, Yay!  We’re adopting again!

So…for months…years even, we’ve been saying that we were open to adopting again but we just didn’t know how it would happen.  We still had a loan out for Elias’ adoption, we didn’t want to take a huge chunk of time away from Indonesia again, but we still felt like if we were to adopt again, we’d want to do another infant adoption (which pretty much limits us to a domestic adoption and requires us being in the U.S. for that huge chunk of time).  How would all of those things come together??  We didn’t think it possible.  BUT GOD…isn’t that a spectacular statement?  “But God”…wonderful words, because when God is in charge anything can happen!

BUT GOD stepped in and took care of all three of these things within a matter of about a week.  Our loan will be paid off in the Spring, much sooner than we expected (because of some super generous people).  I had a brain wave about how we could both stay in Indonesia AND still do a domestic adoption!  Basically, we will be partnering with two adoption agencies: one for the home study and one for the placement.  The home study agency is able to do our home study in Nabire because they specialize in adoption for expats, but normally only do international adoptions.  Our Idaho agency that did Elias’ adoption has agreed to use this other home study and place us in their infant adoption program!  Yay!

Right now, we are in the very beginning stages of our home study, but hope to have it completed within a few months.

Family of four in 2016?  Only God knows.

Pahme-Giving (Thanksgiving in Daboto)

Do you ever have moments when you step back and think “how did I get here?” This past weekend, as I gazed across the beautiful mountains of Papua from our friend’s porch in Daboto, I was asking myself that very question.

The frustrations of life in Indonesia seem to fade away for a moment whenever we go interior.  I’m reminded of why we are here.  We see people who have come to know Christ after years, decades, centuries in darkness and also those who have not yet seen the Light.  It is always amazing.  Always humbling.  And always eye-opening.  God is doing great things in the mountains, valleys and low-lands of Papua.

Isn’t it awesome how the Gospels spans generations, cultures, and language?  It is still just as relevant and needed today as it was 2,000 years ago.  It is just as needed in the heart of America as it is in the jungles of Papua.  Praise God that he never gives up on us!

For Thanksgiving this year, we decided to take the show on the road and visit some of our missionary friends who do not have other Americans around to celebrate with.  Daboto is only a 30 minute plane ride from Nabire, but it is an entirely different world.

(I took over 250 pictures, but narrowed it down to just 23 for you….so much to cram into one blog post.)

Daddy's Helper

Just after arriving, isn’t he the cutest little helper you ever did see?

Sweet Carolyn

Steve and Carolyn were the kindest and most gracious hosts.  Carolyn even made us little elephant towels!  I’m sure they will open their B&B any day now.

The View

This is the view from their back porch.  How amazing is this?

In Church

On our first day, Thanksgiving Day, we had a feast with the Moi.  We brought in live chickens (well, at least, they were alive when we left Nabire.  Apparently chickens don’t fair well in the heat and at high altitudes.) and lots of rice.  Chicken is a treat for the Moi since they so rarely eat it.

All of the black pots in the photo above are full of rice and noodles that was divided out after we gave thanks to God.

Steve

I love that his boy is holding on to Steve’s toe.

Hi Friend!Moi Mama

HikersHikers

On Friday morning we took a short hike down to a hamlet a little bit below Steve and Carolyn’s house.

The Party House

We stopped to see the new “jump house” that they are constructing.  The floor in this house is specially constructed to have give so that you can bounce on it like a trampoline. This is where they have huge celebrations, where they literally bounce the night away.

Moi boys in red

Two cute boys, plus you can see a little bit of the bouncy floor.

Looking down the Valley

Group

Our whole group!  The Panambunans, an Indonesian family who used to be missionaries in Daboto but have now moved to Nabire where they continue to work in a support role, Steve and Carolyn, us and Esther, the Dutch teacher who lives in Nabire.

Elias and Jakobi

Elias spent the afternoon playing outside with some of the Moi kids.  Even without a common language, I love to watch how these two boys played together.  We later learned  that this boy was around 4 or 5 years old and is named Jakobi.

Elias and JakobiOn the Porch

Moi Dudeson the trailSurrounded

Everyone wants to watch the GoPro.

Surrounded

The greeting in Daboto is “aba aba aba aba” over and over again, until someone gets tired of saying it. (I’m sure there is some cultural “thing” to tell you how many “abas” you need to say, but I didn’t figure it out.)

Anyway, in this picture I am saying my “abas” with this lady while we do the traditional “secret handshake” that many of the mountain tribes do.

Paper Airplanes

Elias and “Uncle Steve” or “Uncle Doug” or “Grandpa” (Elias had many names for Steve) played paper airplanes together.

Thanksgiving with a view

Dinner with a view!  Also, check out the super cute napkin holders that Elias made.  He was so proud.

Thanksgiving Dinner

And finally, we did sit down for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, turkey and all!  Yummy!

Pahme (the closest thing to “thank you” in the Moi language), Steve and Carolyn, for hosting us all!  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving (or should I say Pahme-Giving?) and have much to be thankful for.

Cucumkins

Truth be told, we can buy pumpkins in Indonesia.  Pretty much year-round in fact.  But I was not on top of things enough this year to buy pumpkins for us to decorate.  Mom fail.  But I did have cucumbers, which are practically the same thing…right??

So, I handed Elias a cucumber, or cucumkin, as one of my friends dubbed it, and a marker .  He scribbled his little heart out on that thing.

Decorating Cucumkins

How cute are those little chubby fingers?  Love him.

So Proud

He was so proud of the finished product!  He kept asking to decorate more throughout the rest of the week.

His and Hers

Elias’ cucumkin on the left and mine on the right.  The marker wore off the cucumbers pretty quickly, so we peeled them and at them a few days later.  My baby loves cucumbers, both for decorating and eating!