Saturday, December 27, 2008

Eat Your Words

Here are a few things we said would NEVER happen and now we're eating our words.
1. I now put sugar in my coffee. I was set against this. PNG is rubbing off on me....they love hot, sweet drinks....and so do I. I'm eating my words.
2. Andrew drinks caffeinated coffee. He used to adamently be against any form of caffeine and now he "kinda likes the 'pick-me-up". He's eating his words. (and I remind him daily, but drinking coffee together is wonderful)
3. Andrew said he thought Lost was silly. Why would anyone watch it?! Now we can't wait to rent the next DVD. Yup, he's eating his words.
4. I said that Bill would wear pull-ups the rest of his life for bedtime. He has now gone 3 weeks with staying dry and is wearing big boy gitchies for night. I'm eating my words....and I'm happy to do it.
5. I said that I'd never miss a Winkler parade or a Christmas with snow. Unfortunately I'm eating my words. I mean, those motor homes ROCK every year.
If you've ever 'eaten your words' you should make a post about it. Let's hear it! I eat my words so much I'm putting on a few pounds.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A PNG Christmas

The holiday season always gives me a hankering for crocodile meat. We had some delicious crocodile stirfry the other night. It tastes like......chicken.

Mama Opa's son found us this Christmas bush - I mean tree. We actually have Christmas lights that have 7 different settings. My favorite is the 'romantic setting'.....the lights gradually fade on and off. It's pretty sweet. Bill's fave is the 'vegas setting'.

Our tree is definitely unique this year - as will be our Christmas. It will be my first Christmas away from family and away from snow. It's like having a clean slate. What will be our new tradition? Not sure yet.....I've got one more day to think about it.

Here She Comes

She made it after a 2 day delay. Welcome Arlene! She is our first visitor.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Divine Appointment

One thing I had written down that I wanted during village living was to have divine app0intments with people. It was pretty crazy how the plug got pulled on the other village and we ended up where we did. So right from the beginning it felt like God was planning something....he wanted us in Sarang for a specific reason. Looking back, being in Sarang was one big divine appointment for us!

Our connection with our wasfamili was something orchestrated by the Lord. They were spirit filled Christians who really lived a life led by the Spirit. They had so many amazing stories of people being healed and delivered. We had some great times of prayer with them. My spirit really came alive while I was with them. The Lord used them in my life greatly and I felt renewed and encouraged when we left. I know that we will have a long lasting friendship with them. I'm waiting to see what the Lord will do....I know it's going to be big!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sarang Pikinini

POC is officially over and we are back in Ukarumpa. Living in Sarang village for 5 weeks was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I hardly even know where to start. Please check out my picasa album to see our village living pics.

For now I'll post an email I sent to my family and friends when we got home. Here you go!!

I had 2 wonderful sisters who almost always did my dishes for me. That was a big relief and a big help for me. The river where we bathed and did laundry and dishes was about a 10 minute walk away (longer for the men because their bathing place was further upstream). It was hard for me to lug all the stuff back and forth. They could carry everything no problem, often balancing a hug bucket of dishes on their head. One thing I had to get used to was bringing dishes or laundry with me when I went to bathe. We never bring dishes with us when we shower. :) I did Laundry about every other day. This was probably my least favorite chore to do. It took a long time! I liked it when the boys went shirtless or even naked - less laundry!!

One thing that surprised me was how often the village people bathed. It was often the topic of discussion. "Have you bathed?" or "are you going to bathe?" or "you should go bathe!". They were totally into it. At first I thought they just were wanting us to bathe all the time because we were white, but it was that way with everyone. After W & J went to sleep at night Drew and I (or I'd go with my sisters) would sometimes go shower at a tap by the beach. It was quite a long walk (15 minutes), but I'll never forget being on the beach at night...looking at the ocean with a sky full of stars. And besides I felt more comfortable bathing at night when it was dark. It was definitely something to get used to bathing in public! I got better at it and felt comfortable doing it by the end.

One of our biggest struggles in the village was how the kids interacted with w & J. We were often frusterated and annoyed....the kids were pretty aggressive...slapping and pinching the boys (this was affection) and constantly calling out there names over and over and over. W & J were overwhelmed a lot of the time and would often cry and try and run away. But there were other times where all of a sudden the boys would just go a few houses over and start playing with the other kids...just having a blast. It was hit or miss with them. Looking back I wish I would've stepped in more and told all the kids to just take it easy, leave them alone completely and let w & j come and play when they were ready. I have to remember that there were many great moments as well. The times that the boys did play with all the kids was really awesome and they did have fun and talk about it fondly.

Another battle was sores. We had some sandflies and mosquitoes. The boys would scratch their sores and then overnight they would turn into these painful, infected sores - all pussy. I think they were actually considered tropical ulcers. Literally their legs are covered in sores. I had quite a few too for a few days. Not fun! Hopefully being in this cooler, drier climate will help us heal up.

We were amazed at how much of our time was just spent 'living'. Andrew was the water boy. He went to fill up our jugs at that tap on the beach. It was a long way to walk and the jugs were very heavy to carry back, so often he'd just take a dug out canoe to the tap. William would often go with him. We used a lot of firewood because of the drum oven we took along. Andrew went out several times to cut firewood. What he wouldn't have done for a chainsaw!! He had to hack at a fallen log with a dull axe....and then the wood had to be carried back! Even bathing, laundry, dishes took a lot of extra wasn't just right was a little hike everytime. Life just takes time. Typically they eat twice a day. In the morning and then again at night. Cooking in the heat of the day is just way too hot (but we did it anyway). Running water is a wonderful thing! I'm very thankful for it.

Andrew got to be part of a few community meetings (I sat in too sometimes)and was even asked for his opinion and asked to give advice. Our waspapa seemed to really respect Andrew for his business mind. There are several land disputes going on right now (very common problem in png). The village men decided they needed to go find their land marks on top of the mountain. There was another village ontop of the mountain that thinks Sarang has gardens on their land and have actually gone in and ruined someone's garden to make a statement. So Andrew decided to go on this hike along with approx 80 men to find the land markers (3 of them). It was about a 7 hour hike all together (with a lot of stops to talk). At the top of the mountain the other village made an appearance along with some bows and arrows, spears, and even a gun. The Sarang group decided to turn around and find the second marker, but soon realized that the 'enemy' had blocked off the road. So they decided to bushwack....the younger men went first with their bushknives - wacking away making a path. Overall the day wasn't a success. They didn't find the land marks and Andrew got a bit of a scare! It just seemed like another day for waspapa and all the others. Land disputes are a part of life here.

As I mentioned in my last email we used our money to help our family buy cement for their trade store. So we had no money left and were running out of sugar and oil. One day while I was doing laundry and was praying about this and I suddenly thought, 'Hey! I should bake something and sell it on the side of the road.' I had seen lots of ladies do this. So the next day I baked a few dozen biscuits and sold them for .40 toa. I made enough to buy sugar, soap, and oil! Towards the end we ran out of money again. We had little food left. Andrew and I were praying that the Lord would provide for us somehow. We had no way of getting money. The day after I prayed this prayer one of the mamas in the village asked me to go with her to her garden. It was about a 45 min walk. Not too mountainous so it wasn't hard. While we were at the garden she started filling up a bilum of food for me. Then she gave me a rope of buai and said to me that this was MY buai and I needed to go sell it to a buai buyer. I smiled at her and told her she was my answer to prayer! That afternoon I took my rope of buai to the buyer and got 8 Kena...enough for the rest of our time there. Oh and by the way...I saw 2 snakes on my trip to the of them was extremely poisonous!

I'm proud to tell you that William speaks and understands tok pisin better than any other kid at POC. Seriously, I think he's better then the rest. This afternoon him and Jesse were speaking to each other in tok pisin...even Jesse is mixing english and tok pisin together. They were pretending to go to their gardens and William said something like this: "mi go long gaden bilong mi. mi go kisim kaikai bilong yu. mi kisim korn na kaukau na onions. mi go long dispela rot. yu laik sampela kaikai long gaden bilong mi?" And it's so cute because Jesse responds to him in his tok pisin. It's great! I hope they won't lose what they've learned. I'll have to be sure to speak it to them and get my hausmeri's to keep talking to them too.

One thing that gave me some purpose during village living was baking. I taught my sister how to make cookies and demonstrated to some other women how to make bread and banana cake. Our waspapa LOVED bread and would say, 'oh baby bilong mi, yu kilim mi long bret'. Once he bought me flour so that I would make him bread. I baked him 2 loaves of bread, cinnamon buns, and a tray of buns that day. He was a happy man. Wasmama would tease me that she wasn't leva bilong (sweetheart)Papa anymore, but I was! We taught them the saying, ' a way to a man's heart is through his stomach.'

We slept really well for the most part. The boys seemed to wake up in the night more often. We were so tired by the end of the day that we'd just cash out in a matter of minutes. I loved hearing the sound of the waves as I fell asleep. The roosters started crowing around 3:30 am, but we got used to that. Our family's pig was also noisy sometimes....the pig's name was naughty girl which we just got a kick out of.

Spiritual warfare is a big reality for Christians here. Papa has been spiritually attacked a few times to the point of death. People who don't appreciate his faith will put curses on him. There are witch doctors around who work their 'magic' and put curses on people. While we were there there was a group from another village who came down and tried to kill someone using witchcraft and curses. (we didn't see it, we just heard about it a few nights after it happened). There was one night I went to story with one of the mama's in the village. It was just her and me sitting in the dark. She started telling me about her brother who had died when he was 22 years old. The night he died he came to visit her in her room and he was glowing white and had white skin just like me. He visited with her for several hours and wanted to give her a huge bag of money. She didn't take the money...didn't want it. She told me that others from her family (that have died) come and visit her in her house and they glow too and have white skin just like me. They always try and give her money. Then she went on to talk about the tourists that come to their area. She said some of them are her relatives that have come back as whiteskins. She had seen her brother one time who had come back as a white tourist. Let me tell you my hair was standing on end and I had such a heavy feeling. The whole time she was talking it really felt like she thought I knew all of this or had some special knowledge because I'm white. This is a typical 'cargo cult' belief and is common in PNG. I felt like I had to get out of there! I told her I needed to go back to my house and drink some water. She walked me back to the house, then left. I went to sit down with Andrew and Papa and told them everything that Mama Kristine and just told me. I was shaky and scared out of my mind. Papa told me that I cannot be scared. I can't let the enemy laugh at me because I'm afraid. I can't let him win! I have Jesus living in me and he's more powerful then any 'die spirit'. There is a lot of crazy, evil stuff in this world, but we are more than conquerors! I felt kinda silly for being afraid. I have Jesus!

I am incredibly thankful for this experience. One of the things it did for us was it gave us a better understanding of the life of a translator. I have a better appreciation for the work they do and what they all go through to bring God's word to a people group. Another great thing that happened is that we are now pretty fluent in Tok Pisin. It is so crucial to speak in Tok Pisin in order to relate with the nationals and now we can!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mysterious Ways

Most of you have probably heard that I have not been feeling well the last few days. I had a lot of stomach aches and then two days ago I started having some sharp pain on my right side. Yesterday the pain was a lot less and only hurt when I pressed down on my right side. We went to see a doctor in Madang. She was concerned it might be my appendix. She highly recommended that I wait to go to village living until I met with the surgeon. Thankfully today I got an appointment with the surgeon. Today the pain was virtually gone and he said I very well could have been my appendix and gave me some very very strong antibiotics to take. He thought it would be fine for us to go to village living as long as we weren't in a very remote area and could easily contact help. So we are so relieved!
Meanwhile the rest of the POC students were being dropped off at their village allocations. It turns out that out of the 11 allocations ours was the only one that wouldn't have worked out today. Our wasfemeli hadn't vacated the house that we were to live in and they didn't even have the hole dug for our 'liklik haus' (outhouse). This is a bit of a red flag for our village allocator. If we had gone today we would have had to have come straight back to POC. When we got back from my appointment we found this all out. The Lord definitely had this all planned out and knew that today would've been a big disappointment and very stressful if it would have gone according to our plan. Another thing we found out is that the police were in this village less than 2 weeks ago on a drug raid. A riot broke out and the police ended up burning down their market.
Ray (the POC director) left shortly after 4:00 this afternoon to try and find us a new allocation. He came back with some very great news. He found a family that was willing to take us in. They were a wasfemeli for someone about 1 1/2 years ago. Ideally they try not use a village that frequently for village living allocations, but they were desperate to find us a place. This family just happened to have a vacated house and liklik haus for us (which is a miracle in itself!). This village is even closer to the beach than our last village allocation. Ray said he saw a bunch of fishing boats out on the water and our wasmama and waspapa were in the middle of drying cocoa. Hopefully they will put us to work! Our house is an older house, but it has a metal roof - ideal for collected drinking water. We are the closest village out of everyone's to POC and Madang, which is a good thing if my pain should flare up again. The family is a wonderful family - they attend a four square church, which is a charismatic type church. We are very excited and it just feels right! The Lord is so good and he does not give us more than we can handle - it's true! I feel like he's really keeping me in the shelter of his wings. He knows I am weak right now and he's protecting me from added stress. He's a such good father. Yesterday and this morning I spent some time reading Psalm 121. This scripture has come to life for me today.
Tomorrow at 1:00pm we will be heading out to our new village, Sarang.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mirap, Drum Ovens, and BEYOND

It is difficult to convey to you what we've all done and been through in the last 2 months at POC. We've learned a lot about the culture, learned to speak Tok Pisin, completed a lot of assignments, conquered a 3 day hike in the jungle and made a lot of great new friends. It hasn't been easy - in fact this has been some of the most challenging times we've been through. We have little privacy and communal living can be stressful at times. God is definitely our strength. Little Jester has been finding life at POC very difficult. He is quite moody and clings to me a lot. It's been getting better now, but it has been a strain on our family. Please pray for him! William on the other hand has loved his experience at POC thus far. He's enthusiastic as always.

This week we'll be leaving for our village of 'Mirap'. Our little family will be living there for 5 weeks trying to learn all we can about Papua New Guinean culture and improve on our Tok Pisin. We'll have our own village house and our own 'liklik haus' (outhouse). We'll have no electricity, wash our clothes by hand, and be cooking over the fire. Our village is a hop, skip, and a jump away from the ocean. Andrew is hoping to get in some fishing! We feel excited and nervous, but up for the challenge. We 'waitskins' have so much and we're used to a pretty cushy life compared to most Papua New Guineans. It will be quite an experience to say the least.

We will be putting out a new newsletter shortly before Christmas. We will be back in Ukarumpa December 3rd. Thank you for praying for us through this difficult time!

Here are some prayer requests as we head off to 'village living':
*Quick adjustment for the boys (especially Jesse)
*Marital Unity
*Divine appointments with fellow villagers
*that we'd be a blessing, not a burden
*meaning relationships with the villagers
*that our Tok Pisin would improve
*good Health!!!!

Stay tuned! I'll update again after village living (5 weeks).

We were able to celebrate PNG's Independence Day with the local people. It was so great to see the traditional dress and dance.

This is Andrew with our 'waspapa'. He taught Andrew how to weave mats out of coconut branches. While we've been at POC we've been 'adopted' into a local family that we call our wasfemeli (was means to watch). We've shared meals together, gone to the market with them to sell fruit, and even had an overnight at their house.

There is an endless number of bugs around here. We saw this baby praying mantis on this bright flower. Other bugs we've seen: Millapedes, stick bugs, bugs that look just like leaves, and many amazing butterflies. We've even seen the biggest moth in the world (I'm not kidding).

This is a drum oven that Andrew made for us to take with us to the village. With this great little oven I will attempt to bake bread and cookies.

This is W & J with our 'wasfemeli'. This is taken at their house the time we spent the night with them. The little boy beside William made the kids little balls out of coconut leaves. He even made William a little wrist watch! Who needs toys?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

so long Ukarumpa....for now.

This could be my last posting in a while. We're heading off to 'jungle camp' tomorrow morning. Internet access is slow in Madang, so posting may not be an option. We'll have to see.

I have mixed feelings about leaving for Madang. It's amazing how quickly you put down roots...especially when you have a family. Although the roots we have here are still shallow they're roots nonetheless.

My greatest fears of jungle camp:
1. living in close quarters with 50 adults and 30 children.
2. the weekly attempt at swimming 1 mile in the ocean.
3. having a break down in front of strangers.

My greatest anticipation:
1. learning tok pidgin fluently
2. living in a village for 5 weeks all on our own
3. a 3 day hike without the boys
4. chillaxin on the beach

But I do know that the Lord promises to be with me wherever I am. He will sustain our family. Daily I think of the promises he spoke to us through our church family...many encouraging words and prophecies. He will see us through it. We're trying to see it as a big adventure...another unique experience. Drew and I have been many places around the world and been through many tough trips with the boys so we're happy to have that experience under our belts. So here's to a good attitude and a positive 'jungle camp' experience. God be with us.

This picture was taken at our church picnic. Our last time with our church family before leaving for png was filled with much love and many prayers.

Friday, August 22, 2008

this one bites. be careful.

Do you REALLY know me?

Thanks Crystal, for giving other the opportunity to get to know me better. I tag Tiffany (if she's not in labour), Karla P., and my new friend Anita.

1. The name you would've chosen for yourself had you had any say whatsoever: Anna

2. Favourite Jelly Belly flavour: Pina Colada

3. If you could trade your citizenship with any other country, what would it be? Scotish. They've got the best accent ever.

4. Have you ever been skinny-dipping? Half heartedly

5. Favourite cocktail: Paralyzer at m&m's

6. Last place on earth you'd ever want to be: south pole

7. Most recent kiss - when and from whom? from Drew.....too long ago.

8. Three earthly friends you can't live without: Drew, Crystal, Tiffy, Heather, AJ (I've got a lot of friends, all right?)

9. A meal memory that surpassed all others: Gourmet burgers and handcut french fries....oh and homemade cream cheese ice cream at Chris & Crystal' was more the people than the food though (that means they're REALLY great people cuz the food was stellar)

10. How many times in your life have you moved? 5ish times

11. We can't all have our own Italian Stallion. But what kind of 'Stallion' would you have? Dutch Stallion....if he ain't dutch he ain't much. End of story.

12. Quick! Right this second, if you could be translated anywhere, where would you go? 3rd St South in Winkler, Manitoba

13. A toy from your childhood that you would still play with: Barbies with Eleroo posing as Ken.

14. How many boyfriends/girlfriends have you had? 5...and that's 4 too many.

15. Flip-flops, knee-high boots, or Reebok Pumps? flip flops

16. Ever waxed anything before? Yes

17. Favourite dance move? my old church dance which needs to be revived

18. Best sunrise you've ever witnessed: back in the day - working on the farm.

19. The one food that you make that nobody else can come close to (in your opinion, of course): marinated cheese....although Crystal comes pretty darn close.

20. Chrissy, Janet or Terry? Chrissy

21. The band or song you secretly love but would never tell until now: Black Eyed Peas

22. Article of clothing you wouldn't be caught dead in: spandex suit

23. Sprawling one-story or multi-storied mansion? multi-storied mansion.

24. Do you dance in front of the mirror? No, I'm too shy.

25. Weirdest food you've ever loved: beef crackers from PNG

26. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very strange, how strange do you REALLY think you are? 6

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Uses for a Bilum

This is a compilation a friend sent me of all the different ways bilums are used. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!

I've seen them used as upper body coverings for women who want to be more modest in singsings.

I almost forgot the single mose important use ever of a bilum in PNG. In 1997 the Finongan people used one as a means of delivering a note to us requesting a translator come and translate the Bible into their language.

They were used to catch fish in a stream near Areinduk village.

They are used to express friendship and relationship when given as gifts.

They have been used a sermon illustration explaining how we are like tree bark that is striped off its place of origin, washed and shredded and twisted into string then woven into something useful; a bilum.

PNG kids use them as their school bags.

I have seen them used to hold baby pigs to keep them from running off. The pigs even sleep in them.
I've seen many people wear them on their head, draped over, or even head inside to shield from sun or rain.

Carrying empty bottles to the river, then full bottles from the river. Carrying dirty dishes to the river, then carrying the clean dishes back. Carrying laundry. Jeepers, you could carry almost anything in a bilum!

The Baining women have used them before for clothing and older women still wear them - one draped over each side to dance at the periphery of a firedance.

They also use them for catching freshwater shrimp and crabs by hooking them between their feet at the mouth of the bilum.

"Babies" can be up to 4 years old and still carried in a bilum.

I was given a piece of bilum thread by one group to indicate that there was work yet to be done.

They are given as gifts, sometimes swapped to show friendship.

When I tell people at home that they are used to carry babies, they think that is really weird (carrying a baby in a bag???) until I explain that it is like a hammock and quite comfortable for them.
When I tell people in the village that we have no bilums in my home country, they wonder how we can live life.
Believe it or not, I saw a woman in the village carry her TWIN sleeping4-year olds in one bilum, on her head. I've also seen women carry dozens of coconuts in one bilum.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

down by the river

Definitely a Sunday afternoon thing to do. Our wonderful Canadian friends joined us. I think Bill might have his first crush. You've got great taste, Bill.

check out our web album! it's been updated.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Goin' Bananas

For Jester's next trick he is going to attempt to eat his weight in bananas.

Bill's already been there, done that.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our Super Store

Produce Department

Hand Bag (aka Bilums)/Jewellery/Art Department
Store Hours: Mon, Wednesday, and Friday 6am-8am

Saturday, July 26, 2008

our walkabout

We went to see 'ukarumpa village' yesterday. It's on the other side of the river. This 'pikinini man' (little boy) stole the show. It's unusual to see them in their traditional dress. That is his great-grandma beside him on the left. Four generations living together in one house!

To see more pictures from Ukarumpa Village visit our picasa site:

Friday, July 25, 2008

William em e go long school astay.

(William went to school yesterday)

That's the phrase I learned today from Opa. I wrote it down as I heard it, so my spelling won't be accurate. At least I'm trying!

Billy boy went to preschool yesterday for the first time ever. I suddenly realized, "this is a pretty big deal!" and got out the camera. This is him with his 'bilum' and security blanket ready for his big morning. With all the new places and people these days I kinda wish I had a blankie.

This is the beautiful school yard.

Monday, July 21, 2008


This is Mama Opa's daughter Stephie. She has the biggest smile and cutest dimples.....such a sweet spirited girl. She came to visit the other day while Opa was working here (along with her brother Bill). The boys had fun having horsie rides.

To fill you all in....Andrew has started work. He is currently organizing the workshop and putting the finishing touches on his new office that he will share with 2 other guys. His supervisor arrived on Friday (he hadn't been here until now), so now it feels like his real job can begin. He's definitely ready to start!

We will be leaving on August 26th for Madang where we will be taking a 3 month course (mandatory). We will be learning Tok Pidgin, learning about the culture, and then living in a village (all alone!) for 5 weeks. I look forward to taking Tok Pidgin so I can communicate better with Opa and my other hausmeri, Nato. They are both determined that I learn! And I'm determined too.

My latest culinary adventures....I successfully made yogurt. My other attempts have failed. I added some strawberries and let me tell you... I was in heaven! I didn't share with anyone...not even with W. That's the food I'm missing the most since we've been here. Andrew misses chips...a lot. The other day he wanted to go home just so he could eat chips.

Today is Andrew's birthday. He is now 31 years old. He always thought once he was 30 he would have his life together and know what he's doing. My question is, when do you ever feel grown up? Here we are - living a world away, raising our two children (trying our best anyways!) and I still feel like I'm a kid myself! Well, maybe Andrew and I will 'have it figured out' by the time we're 40. Life is an adventure. That's for sure.

our web album has been updated!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mama Opa

I met Opa today. She's an old friend and 'hausmeri' of our dear friends who lived in Ukarumpa many years ago. I thank Bikpela God that I found her. She is officially named our 'PNG Grandma'.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

almost an old fashioned good time.

We read lots of books.....(so many that Drew almost lost his voice)

We play with blocks.......

We also make our own bread and yogurt and go everywhere on foot since we have no car.


We watch Bambi on DVD on a laptop computer. Well, Bambi is pretty old fashioned.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


We live in 'R4' now. It's quite different from living on Chestnut Bay and even more different than living at the M&M Hotel. There are many things that we like about it....the view for one is fantastic. We also love the dark hardwood floors. I love my kitchen. It's very spacious. The only thing it's lacking is a dishwasher. I'm the new dishwasher. (I know...I'm very spoiled.) The main difference is that we're not surrounded by our loved ones. sniff.
As you can see from the photo Bill & Jester love Ukarumpa livin'. Mud, rocks, bugs.....hissing bugs...they're in their element.
I appreciate that a treat is really a treat around here. A coke is a treat (not so at home), popcorn is a treat (not so at home), pretzels are a treat (not so at home). I like that. I've also discovered the 8th wonder of the world - the pineapples. Juicy, sweet...I've never ever had something that's tasted so wonderful. I'm not exaggerating.
As I said the view from our front window is so beautiful. We can see the horse stables which we've visited a few times now.

Life here is very laid back and very simple. It's a nice change from the ordinary....if only my heartache would subside...
I've finally updated my picasa album...check out some more photos of our new life!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

ukarumpa livin'

i'm not even sure where to begin..... we have enjoyed the first few days in ukarumpa. my initial feelings are that our family fits in here and that we will love living here. i really love our house. it is beautiful inside and has a beautiful view of the hills. things are way more 'normal' than i thought it would be as far as food goes. it's true that there is little for convience food, but i can make pretty much anything i could make at home.

this morning i went to the market for the first time. the market is mon, wed, and fri from 6am-8am. i bought some yummy fresh veggies and fruit. we were surprised to find out that they have strawberries year round here. they aren't nearly as good as vanhepp strawberries. if vanhepp strawberries are a 10, png strawberries are about a 6 or 7. i bought 4 litres today for $3.50 canadian. a bit cheaper than in manitoba! i was very ambitous and made some strawberry jam this morning (agatha suderman style). can't wait to have it on my toast in the morning! The market is a neat place - many locals walk for up to 2 hours to set up shop....i wish i could buy from everyone!

ukarumpa runs on a cashless system (except the market). at the store you just shop for your groceries, the lady scans everything and you sign a paper with your account number. you pay at the end of the month. it's kinda nice! the store is about a 10 minute walk from our place...downhill....and of course it takes longer coming home. the nice thing is that the store delivers your groceries for you. it'd be too hard to walk with all your stuff.

the boys are doing great. they are sleeping much better. they are up around 6 - 6:30, but they are also going to bed earlier. it feels normal...not too early. the boys have made friends with the kids beside us. they play together constantly. Julia is 5, emily is 4 (and will be 5 in november just like madi!) and john is almost 2, but he's tiny for his age. jesse is being a bit of a bully with john but i've been very strict with him and discipline him immediately. poor john. Jeanine is the name of our neighbor lady and we have a bit of an boys are allowed on their side (and in their house) and vice versa...we just send the kids away when it's time for them to leave....or just correct each other's children if they're doing something wrong. it makes life easier for both of us. this morning she took all the kids on a walk so i had 30 minutes alone. later her kids came over to play inside so she had some free time. Jeanine is very laid back and will be a great friend.

we have a little playground close to our place and we can also see the horse stables from our front windows. it's very picturesque. we went to visit the horses yesterday before supper. the boys loved it. if we want we can join a 'horse club' and help take care of the horses. i kinda think we'll just watch from our window for now.

i miss my dishwasher already. i definitely spend a lot of time washing dishes. life in general takes a bit more time. washing produce properly takes time...doing laundry takes more time....but I don't mind so much. I'm definitely going to look into hiring a 'house meri'. Jeanine has a girl come in once a week for a morning and pays her 9 Kina (about $3) to clean the house and help with anything she wants her to. I think this would be a great's really inexpensive and will help with my increased work load.

andrew is not sure when he'll be starting work yet. we'll take one day at a time. we're still settling in so it's nice to have him home for that. tomorrow we go to the clinic to get our malaria orientation and also to make sure that we're taking the right stuff.

we've already found some really nice accomodations for anyone wanting to come and visit us. they have some nice apartments for short termers. let us know and we'll hook you up asap!

some of my favorite things so far....fresh squeezed lemonade (this is the drink of choice here), seeing the boys have a great time, seeing andrew begin to live his dream, the smell of the air, the sound of the birds in the morning.....

that's all i can pick my brain for right now. keep in touch! love, Lisa

Saturday, July 05, 2008

we're baaaad - we're REEEAL bad.

a little background....this beautiful picture was my Omie's and ever since she died me and my bro have been fighting over it. Petty theft has been involved. There would be an empty nail left were it was hanging in my home after Chris came to visit...and yes, I stole it back a few times. And now me and Drew have pulled off the biggest heist ever. If you want it, come and get it! mwa haha hahaha!!!

We've decided to start up a picasa web album so you can share in our adventures. Please check it out! I've been posting albums on facebook, but I think this is better!

Friday, July 04, 2008

green island

We visited Green Island today....a 'must do' in Cairns. The Great Barrier Reef is right off of Green Island (one of the 7 wonders of the world). We only got to see a small part of it by taking a ride on a glass bottom was pretty incredible. Bill was disappointed that he forgot his fishing rod. A glass bottom boat is even better than a fish finder. Yes, he has his father's blood flowing through those veins of his. We spent a lot of time on the beach while on the island....just chillaxin'.

The good Lord's creation is pretty incredible. I'm so thankful for this experience!

Bill is really taking on the Australian culture....he's using terms such as 'rubbish' (instead of garage) and seems to have a slight aussie accent. He's also got a very precise countdown going of how many more sleeps until PNG. 3 more, Bill!

sorry no images to look at....uploading them is not working right now!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

we visited the Cairns Tropical Zoo

Koala's are my new favorite animal. You wouldn't believe how soft they are. They're so cuddly and sleepy and cute. I didn't want to give it back. I figured Jester kinda resembles a koala...he's soft and cuddly and sleepy and cute too. He'll do.

Monday, June 30, 2008

the lagoon

We visited a place called 'the lagoon' today. We stumbled upon it while exploring downtown Cairns. It was right on the beach - it was this large shallow pool with water fountains. Bill & Jester were in their element.....and it was free! We'll definitely go back there before we leave for PNG. We are definitely feeling pretty jet lagged still. The boys were awake from 1am-3:30am last night. We finally got them back to sleep, but we were all awake at 6am. We decided to do an outing today and try and be as normal as possible even if it meant a very tired (and cranky) Bill and Jester. The lagoon helped with that. Tomorrow's big plan: the zoo (if we can figured out the bus system).

A few quotes from Bill:
the wheels on his suitcase had flashing lights on it when he pulled it and one stopped working....he said, "That wheel is a wittle bit wazy."

when we arrived at the lodge in Cairns he asked, "Is this Papua New Guinea?"

he frequently asks, "are Nana & Papa going to be there?" and "Is Madi going to be there?" and "Is Grandma going to be there?"

Today when he was feeling tired he asked, "can we go home to Nana's?"

we made it...

Instead of recapping our journey again I decided to post the email I sent out to our family after we arrived in Cairns:

Hey Everyone!

We arrived safely at the Tree Tops Lodge around 3:30 Monday afternoon (which would be 12:30am Monday your time). Yes, we are extremely exhausted and so happy to be here. Cairns is beautiful…very tropical and humid! Our trip went incredibly smooth. The boys did SO good. We only had one or two moments where things got a little tense with them. Andrew and I also did well. We were pretty relaxed throughout the entire trip.

The theme of our journey here was God's favor and grace. It started in Winnipeg when we checked in our over-weight bags. The lady who checked in the bags just said, "I'll look the other way on this one!" All but one bag was over-weight and we didn't have to pay anything! Our flight from Vancouver to Sydney was about 15 hours long. One flight attendant made a comment to us that she's never seen a family sleep so well on this flight. William & Jesse probably slept about 9 hours….Drew and I pretended to sleep…we maybe got in 2 or 3 hours each.

Arriving in Sydney was very exciting. I was glad to have the long flight over with. When we arrived we had to go through customs. We arrived just moments before a large stampede of people came. We were so thankful for that because we only had one hour to catch our flight. Then came some discouragement…..We collected our 7 over-weight bags (along with 2 children, 2 strollers, and 5 carry-on bags) and had to get on a bus (that was a performance in itself!) to take us to another terminal. The bus driver never announced the stop and nothing was labeled clearly so we got off when everyone else did. After unloading everything (and paying $20 for the ride) we discovered we got off at the wrong place. I had to fight back some tears at this point. We caught the next bus and did it all over again. I'm glad the bus driver didn't charge us! When we finally got to the right place we were running quite late and there was a long line up. When we checked in our bags they told us our flight had been delayed so we would have time to catch it. The man who checked our bags never charged us for having an extra bag (Jesse could have one bag on our air Canada flight, but not with this flight) and then handed us our tickets and said, "enjoy the service in first class! The flight is full and since you were running late you've been bumped up." Drew and I just looked at each other with big smiles (answered prayer!!) – that definitely made up for that crazy bus ride. We didn't even request 1st class! We were even in the 1st row of 1st class! It was incredible! The boys had so much room to play and we had such nice service and all those little extras. Oh, and I almost forgot….since the flight was delayed by and hour they gave everyone on the flight a $15 food voucher. Our little family got $60 to buy ourselves lunch! An added blessing. One last thing….since we were late catching our flight our bags never made it on our flight and arrived in Cairns 2 hours after we did. We were very excited about this because it was much easier in the long run. Lugging around our many bags and kids was almost impossible! Our bags were delivered to our door 2 hours later! We didn't have to lift a finger.

Thanks everyone for praying. It wouldn't have gone as smooth as it did without your prayers (especially those who prayed for 1st class…tee hee).

We are relieved to have that long journey over with, but at the same time God used it to show us how much he cares for us and loves us! The boys had a good 3 hour nap after we arrived. I felt like we were torturing them when we woke them up to eat supper. William was eating his grilled cheese sandwich laying down on the couch half asleep. Our plan is to give them a shower and then put them back to bed. Hopefully they won't be up at 2am!

Love you all, Lisa and Drew, W & J too.

And a little sleep update.....the boys came into our room at 1am...ready to go for the day! yikes.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Today is the day that we've been hoping for, planning for, and dreaming about for 2 years. We said many difficult good bye last night and there will be more today. Sleep didn't come easily last night as my mind went through all the faces that I will miss so dearly.

Here are some pictures from our last family shin dig. We treasure these times!

We had a joint birthday party with Auntie Arlene, Nana, and Jesse.
The grease monkey.......the thirsty grease monkey. Jess decided to fix the tractor while we weren't looking. It's his party and he can be greasy if he wants to.

Jess had a very bee-utiful cake. He LOVED it.

Madi & William are the bestest of friends (just look at the adoration in his face). We attempted to say good bye to Madi yesterday, but it was just too sad and we couldn't do it. We will try again today.

Thanks to all our family and friends who took the time to say good bye to us! We will miss you all. Keep us in your prayers as we travel today and tomorrow!