Friday, October 30, 2015

Photo Friday [108]

Good morning.  I write this blog post in the dark... power is out.  I could call the on-call guy, but it's not even six a.m. yet (I'm up with baby), so I'll wait.  Brian spent a lot of time as the on-call guy over the years, so I know what it's like to be dragged from your bed.

Oh... power is back on!  Either the national power came back on, or someone visited the generator shed to re-start the generator.  We've had our share of power woes lately... the current system of backup generators is aging and struggling to keep up.  A new exciting replacement project is in the works, which will incorporate more solar power, but the next phase of that is waiting on some parts coming from Germany... which were sent via FedEx.  FedEx doesn't really exist in this country... so we're hoping they actually make it to us! 

Anyway, back to our week:

Greg shows me some kumu (greens) that his new friend gave him across the backyard fence.  I can't remember the proper name for this variety, but it's commonly known among the expat ladies as "ditch weed," since it is often planted in ditches and thrives on the moisture.  I was making chicken soup that night for dinner, so I threw it in the pot.

 A beautiful friendship has blossomed this week between Greg and this little boy, who is our backyard neighbor.  They have lived across the fence from each other for years, but haven't ever really played, despite my encouragement.  Though they are the same age, they attend different schools.  But one day they started talking over the back fence, and now he has been coming over to play every afternoon, and sometimes they make plans to meet after breakfast at the back fence to talk.

 What do five-year-old boys talk about?  I don't know - they won't tell me.

I realize that it's nearly Halloween in the U.S.  None of that for us here.  Our pumpkins don't ever really get orange, and we don't carve them, just eat them.  By the way, if you associate pumpkin with sweet foods like pies, muffins and bread, then it's a sure sign that you're an American.   Since we came to PNG we've learned to enjoy lots of savory pumpkin dishes.

Brian had to take apart my wireless flash triggers to get them working again.  In this climate it seems that if you leave batteries in anything without using them for a while you're asking for trouble.

 One of Kate's favorite things is to sit on the trampoline and bounce a little.  But she does NOT like to be bounced by her brothers.


While watching the kids playing the backyard I kept picking up these lovely frangipani blossoms from the grass, and I had to bring some inside.  These are some of my favorite flowers, and the smell amazing too.

Until next Friday!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Photo Friday [107]

Last weekend we decided to take an updated family photo for our families back home and for a few supporting churches.  here are some outtakes from the process:

This one is called "why isn't my remote working?!!"  Turns out the batteries were just low, but have you ever tried to take photos of your family running back and forth to the camera to use the timer function?  Not fun.  (But I used this experience as an excuse to tell Brian I wanted a nicer, new radio remote for Christmas.)

We managed to get one decent-ish family pic before Kate decided she was done.  The boys got really into it though, and made us take the long walk home so I could snap more pictures of them on the way.

"Take my picture here!"

I've been trying to convince Greg to wear this shirt to church for several months now, but he always refuses.  I was afraid I was in for a big fight when I showed him the outfit I picked out for pictures, but then he noticed that there was a little tiny Jolly Roger emblem on the pocket. Suddenly the shirt has become the coolest one that he owns!

 "Take our picture by this pole!"

 "Take our picture by the fire hydrant"

Greg walked right in front of me as I was snapping this pic for Caleb, but I thought it ended up kinda cool.

 "Take my picture by the basketball hoop!"

"Take a picture of these flowers I found!"

 "Mom, take our picture by the woodpile!"


 I spied this guy, big as my hand, in our backyard this week.

 Greg took it upon himself to write out a menu for the week.  (The chili and cornbread was only added as a concession to his father, who had requested that for dinner that night.)  I've gotten in trouble all week long when I serve something that isn't on his menu.

 I just had to try it, now that her hair is getting a bit longer.  I realized that I know nothing about taking care of little girl hair.

 Here in Ukarumpa we can have groceries delivered to the house!  Because we often walk to the store, this service is great - especially on days like this when I had about 13kilos of flour and sugar!  Don't want to push that home in the stroller.  We just load our groceries into one of those orange boxes, put a tag on it with our house number, and at some point later in the day it's delivered.  (You might want to carry your frozen goods home with you though...)

And look who is eleven months old!

 My two blondies are becoming quite good friends now.

So thankful for this sweet girl!

Paris and Frankfurt

At last, here are some of the promised pictures from Paris and Frankfurt, when Brian traveled to Germany for international meetings a few weeks ago.

Germany was chosen as a central location for all of the folks who were on the committee, but Brian definitely traveled the farthest.  Even thought he had a pretty direct route (Port Moresby - Singapore - Paris - Frankfurt) he still had more flight hours than it would take us to travel back to Oregon in the U.S.  So he was very jet-lagged.

So... Paris.  Brian had a nine-hour layover there on his trip to Frankfurt.  He took a train into the city to see a few sights.  Nine hours to explore Paris is hardly anything... especially after you subtract half of that time for navigating the airport and taking a train to and from downtown, but he made the best of it.

Flying into Paris early in the morning.

First stop, Notre Dame.

Brian felt that one ought to give a full day to Notre Dame, but the clock was ticking and so he left, feeling like he hadn't done it justice, for a walk down the Seine...

...because one can't visit Paris for the first time without seeing this:

Obligatory selfie with the Eiffel tower.

Again, he just went and saw it, and didn't spend too much time there.  If you want to actually go up into the tower you'd better buy your tickets ahead of time - or be prepared to wait in line for hours.  Talk about a tourist trap!

And that was all he had time for in Paris, but he left feeling that a return trip someday would be worthwhile (preferably with me, right?)

Brian was in Frankfurt for the better part of four days, but most of that time was spent in his hotel at meetings (and missing dinner because he went back to his room and fell asleep, exhausted, in the early evening because it was the middle of the night in PNG).

He did, obviously, find time to go to the supermarket to load up on chocolate for me.  And look at this - he found some tasty German chocolate made from Papua New Guinean cocoa!

On Sunday Brian did manage to get out and see some of the city.  It was the 25th anniversary of German reunification, and so there was a big street fair and other celebrations.

A few pieces of the Berlin wall, painted with murals, were on display.

  The conference organizers had arranged for a river boat tour followed by dinner at a traditional German restaurant.  Brian was very impressed by all the German food he ate.

Just a glimpse of the crowd listening to a concert.

So, all in all I think it was a good trip for him.  The meetings he attended were very helpful for him, and dealt with issues that are a big reality in his job here.  But we're glad to have him back in the same time zone as us once again.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Photo Friday [106]

The family is back together again - Brian got back from his trip to Germany last Friday.

He has gotten a lot of attention from this photo, which I posted on Facebook earlier this week.  I asked him to bring me back some chocolate - and he really brought me some chocolate!!!  Chocolate is an item here that tends to be expensive, to run out of stock quickly, and to be hit-and-miss on quality, since sometimes in shipping to PNG the chocolate gets too hot and ends up melted or with a whitish film.  So to have a big reserve of fresh German chocolate in the pantry is a huge luxury!

Brian had a birthday, and we took him out to lunch in Kainantu with another family.

The Kainantu Lodge has the only swimming pool that I am aware of closer than a two-hour drive from our house.  This weekend it was a little on the green side, but the boys still had a great time splashing in the shallow end.

 A birthday Skype call with  Brian's parents.

 She likes to stand, but can't pull herself up yet, so I helped her get up there.

 Greg was reading a library book that talked about having dreams and working toward them.  Greg decided that he doesn't want to be a race car driver after all - he wants to be a mechanic like Dad.  So he has asked Brian to give him "mechanic lessons" so that he can take steps towards that goal.  One evening the opportunity came up for Greg to help Brian assemble a fuel pump that would be used by some translators in the village.  Greg was thrilled to have some one-on-one time with his dad.

 Making some homemade vanilla extract!

Today was Sports Day at Greg's school. 

 Our family has been assigned to the red team, so we all wore our team colors to cheer Greg on.

 Greg won his heat of the boy's sprint, though he didn't place when they raced all the fastest boys together.

The red team won the spoon relay.

Sack race!

See you back here next week.