Saturday, August 17, 2013

A long journey home

After three days at home in Ukarumpa, I finally found time to write a blog post.  We have been very busy since we made it back on Wednesday – cleaning our house, unpacking, and catching up with friends.  Because there is so much to cover in this post, let’s get started!

Our luggage, all packed and ready to go.  We were supposed to leave Oregon August 7th, but our flight out of Portland was so delayed that it messed up the rest of our itinerary.  We had to reschedule again for the 8th.  That was a bit disappointing, but the trip got better after that.  All of our luggage made it all the way to Ukarumpa without any problems, and we didn’t have to pay any excess baggage fees, which is always something that I stress out about.  We were very thankful for that!

Lots and lots of time in airports.  Because of our rescheduled flights, we had over 6 hours to kill at the San Fransisco airport.  Thankfully little boys are pretty entertained by watching airplanes.  Caleb crawled all over the airport and got filthy, but I decided that he and his clothes were washable, and it was better to let him get his energy out before we got on the airplane!

From San Francisco we flew on Air New Zealand to Auckland, a 12-hour flight.  Thankfully the boys each slept for  a significant portion of that flight.  We were able to get a bassinet for Caleb, plus and extra empty seat so that Greg could stretch out over two seats and sleep.  Mom and Dad didn’t sleep as much of course…

Great idea: pre-ordering a child’s meal for Greg.  They serve kid-friendly fare, and it comes out early before the rest of the meals, so we could help Greg eat before our food arrived.

In Auckland, we got a taste of New Zealand humor.  Notice the status of our flight to Cairns:

We got to spend four nights in Cairns, Australia to relax and get over our jet lag.  It was a much-needed break.  The first night, we were all asleep by 6:30pm.  Of course, that meant that the boys were wide awake at 4am.  In an attempt to keep Greg quiet for the sake of our neighbors, he got some quality time with his LeapPad.


Tree Tops Lodge, the missionary guest house where we stayed, has  a nice shady playground, which was great for the boys.  Our first day in Cairns was just spent relaxing.

The second day, we did a little shopping for items that we needed for our house in Papua New Guinea.  On our third and final day, we went down to the Esplanade, a nice waterfront area with swimming, shopping and great playgrounds.

At the beach, you see warning signs like this.  Apparently the beach is not for swimming, unless you want to take your chances with crocodiles.

But the nice folks in Cairns have developed The Lagoon – a beautiful salt water fake beach right next to the real one.  The boys loved spashing in the water until we were thoroughly baked in the sun.  

We managed to convince Greg out of the water with the promise of ice cream.  We stopped at a gelato shop for one last taste of quality stuff before heading to PNG, where the ice cream selection is decidedly lacking.

Caleb getting some final rest on the last flight up to Ukarumpa.

It felt so good to look out the window and see the familiar PNG landscape unfold beneath us.

Back at our house, the boys have been having a wonderful time exploring and (for Greg) getting reacquainted with old toys and with our dog.  They especially enjoying banging out “tunes” on the piano, while Greg sings at the top of his lungs.

We were blessed to come home one evening to a huge pile of garden produce that was left for us by the Papua New Guinean family who lives over the back fence.  We are thankful for great neighbors.

And on Friday Greg had his first day of Pukpuks.  (The Tok Pisin word for crocodile… it’s the name of the three-year-old preschool class.)

Well, that’s all I have for you.  I’ve been writing as I bake a loaf of bread, but that is almost done.  I still have tons of unpacking to do, and friends to meet for coffee this morning.

Ta for now!

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