Questions?

I’m having writer’s block, so I need you all to help me out!

Do you have a question that you’ve just been dying to ask us about our lives here?  Or about MAF?  Or about Indonesia?  Or…whatever!

Here’s your chance!  Ask away and I’ll try to answer!

Licensed to Drive

Lookout Papua!  This girl can drive!

So, we’ve lived in Indonesia for awhile now and up until recently I didn’t drive here.

In Salatiga we only had a motorcycle.  A 400-lb man bike (a Honda Tiger for those of you that care about that sort of thing) that only my hubby knows how to drive, so he drove me around everywhere.  (Which I loved, because on a motorcycle, you have to hold on, and holding on is practically like cuddling!)

Here in Sentani we still have the man bike, but MAF is kind enough to have three cars available for any one’s use!  But in order to drive these cars you have to a) have an Indonesian driver’s license, b) know how to drive a manual car, c) be brave enough to drive the manual car on the scary roads in the scary traffic.

So, up until recently I didn’t drive those either.  And I was stuck at home while Nathan was at work and had to wait for him to come home so we could cuddle run errands with the motorcycle (or the cars since Nathan can drive them)

HOWEVER, a few months ago I got my driver’s license reducing my excuses not to drive to two.

Getting the license is the easiest of the three excuses to remedy.  Seriously, Nathan and I went to the police station, sat for a picture (where they tell you not to smile and so then all I’m thinking about is not smiling and so I really want to smile and then I end up looking like a turtle in my picture…sigh), signed something and had my fingerprint scanned.  And then the little card pops out of the machine.  No test or anything.  Bam-o!  I’m licensed to drive.  Yikes!

With only two reasons left not to drive, I still carried on for a few months not driving.  It’s ridiculous actually.  I’m almost 30.  I can drive perfectly fine in America.  But it’s scary here!  SCARY!

Finally, my friend Karen decided that I needed to drive and she decided to teach me!  Yay Karen!  So, we practiced around the base for a little while (since I first had to learn how to drive a manual car) before venturing out on the scary roads.  But on that same day, she had me out on the scary roads, which really once you get out there aren’t as scary as I had imagined.  And now I’m doing all by myself!  Without my driving instructor!

So, look out Sentani!  I am licensed, manual car capable and over (mostly) the fear of the scary roads and scary traffic!

Yes, I am 29 years old and I can get to the grocery store all by myself!  And I’m darn proud of it!

Salt

Somedays I can almost believe that our life here isn’t really that unusual.  We do regular stuff.  Nathan goes to work everyday.  I do laundry, cook, go grocery shopping. 

But then some little thing will happen that reminds us that we aren’t in Kansas anymore.

(I mean, besides the fact that there are 5 Calls to Prayer everyday, we drive on the left, it’s blazing hot in January, we are surrounded by jungle, there’s not a Target in sight, we speak another language, and there are probably thousands of ants crawling around my kitchen at any given moment)

A few days ago I was doing my regular grocery shopping and I had several things on my list including salt.

So, at the first store, I started checking things off my list.  But no salt.

At the second store a few more, but still no salt!

Salt!  I can’t imagine walking into a grocery store in the US and finding the salt shelf empty.  Even Quik-E-Marts have salt right??

Finally at the third store we found one little basket of salt!  Score!

Apparently there’s been a salt shortage around here!

Three stores to find salt?  Yup, we’re not in Kansas anymore!

Milla Scarlet

Yesterday, Nathan’s sister Rachel gave birth to Milla Scarlet!  We are so excited, but we are wishing that we could be there with them to hold little Milla. 

But we are grateful for awesome technology like Facebook and Skype, because we knew about her arrival only minutes after it happened and we got to meet her on a video Skype chat a few hours later!

Isn’t she the cutest patootie you ever saw?

From Above

Recently, our friend Tripp who we met in language school, ferried an airplane from Kalimantan, where he is stationed, to Papua!  He took some amazing photos along the way.

He took this one when coming into Sentani from the west. 

I told you that it’s gorgeous here!

Click here to see the rest of Tripp’s photos!

Bleeding Heart

Hello my name is Becky and I am a bleeding heart.

[Hi Becky]

When we were at Ifar the other day, this little kitten wormed (well not really, it pretty much glanced at me and I was a goner) it’s way into my heart.

How could I resist that sweet little face??

And here’s the kicker, that eye that’s closed…it’s missing.  He’s missing an eye! 

He needs me!

A poor little kitten with one eye?  Help me Ronda!

There are poor little kittens like this one wandering all over Indonesia. 

If it weren’t for my allergy to cat hair (and a husband who says, “no.”  He’s the yin to my yang.  The balance to my crazy scale.) we’d have a household full of sad little kittens!

Still, I was tempted to leave a little bread trail so he could follow us home and live on the base. 

But I didn’t.  And he’s still up there on the mountain.  Breaking other strangers’ hearts.

Ifar

Back in the day (1944 I think, but don’t quote me on that) General Douglas MacArthur set up camp here on the hills overlooking what is now Sentani (called Hollandia then, but again don’t quote me on that).  He chose a pretty good spot, wouldn’t you say?

Pictured above is Lake Sentani.  A quick google search tells me that they used this lake as a training spot for amphibious aircraft during the war.

See Sentani below?  And the airport?  That’s where we live (well, not literally at the airport, but you know, real close)

Don’t you want to come visit us?  It’s real pretty here!

Plus, we can play dominos.

P.S.-the name of the hill…or maybe it’s the military base is Ifar.  I didn’t just type random letters for the title of this post. :)

The Pasar

The pasar.

There are no words I can use to accurately describe what going to the pasar (outdoor market) feels/smells/sounds like.  Pictures don’t do it justice.  But they’ll have to do for now.


One of the first things I notice walking into the pasar is that it is CROWDED.  There are hundreds of people walking up and down the small aisles.  There are people sitting behind tables selling their goods.  There are people sitting on the floor selling their goods.  There are chickens.  There are cats.  There are dogs.  There are motorcycles. 

Then I notice that it SMELLS.  It’s a mix of smells.  Imagine meat that has been sitting out too long.  Body odor of the many people crowding around.  Fresh fruits and vegetables.  Gas from the motorcycles.  

Then as a bead of sweat drips off of my nose, I realize that it is HOT.  Because it is so crowded and there isn’t much airflow.

Of course, it is also LOUD.  So many people.  Everyone talking.  Everyone trying to attract you to their stall.  People yell, “Halo Nona!” (Hello Miss!) to me.  And people want to touch my white skin.

So, I finally make my purchases (I usually buy chicken, fruits and vegetables) after bargining for a good price.

And head home to sit in the air conditioning!

Papua Fleet

Yesterday Nathan called me to come over to the hangar to take pictures because 12 (of maybe 16) of MAF Papua’sairplanes were sitting in Sentani.  This doesn’t happen very often, but because of various incoming flights and maintenance needs, a whole bunch of them congregated here yesterday.

Seven airplanes in this picture.  Five C206s and two Kodiaks.  One Kodiak can carry two C206s worth of cargo and/or passengers.

Two generations of MAF aircraft: the Cessna 206 and the Quest Kodiak.

One of MAF Papua’s three Kodiaks.  Right now these are all in Sentani, but one day we will follow one out to a different base where Nathan will fly!

Three more airplanes: two C206s and a Caravan.

So, total airplanes:

2 Cessna Grand Caravans (the other Caravan is in the hangar…hard to see in the pictures)
3 Quest Kodiaks (the 3rd also in the hangar)
7 Cessna 206s

Whew!  That’s a whole lot of airplanes.  Which means a whole lot of flying.  Which means a whole lot of stuff and people carried.  Which means a whole lot more time for real work to be done and a whole lot of sick people brought to hospitals and a whole lot of kids brought to schools to receive a good education and a whole lot of food brought to hungry people and a whole lot of, well you get the idea!

And MAF Papua has been accident free for two years!  Which is impressive!  You should see where these guys fly and what they land on!  It’s crazy!

Favorite Things

Once upon a time…in a galaxy far, far away, I was allergic to olive oil.

It was a very sad time for me.

I couldn’t breath when it was being cooked.

And then one day, I grew out of it.

And now, olive oil is one of my favorite things!

I’m no expert.  I don’t know what all the different kinds of olive oil are.  I usually use Extra Virgin (EVOO if you’re a Rachel Ray fan) and I usually use it to cook things that don’t need super high heat (EVOO doesn’t like high heat…it will burn and then taste gross)

And my EVOO gets stored in this little container called a Portion Pro…which is another one of my favorite things!  (you’re getting a twofer today people!)

I bought this at a little kitchen store in Arizona, but it’s also available here.

So, this thing is awesome, because not only does it have little measurements on the larger outside container, the dropper inside has measurements too (up to 1 Tablespoon).  Since I used EVOO frequently, I don’t have to dirty a measuring spoon each time, I can just use the dropper!  And when there are less dishes to do, I’m a happy girl!

I just realized that I’m kinda a kitchen gadget nerd.  Does anyone else get excited about stuff like this?  What is your favorite kitchen gadget?