Saturday, December 26, 2009

a smok'n good time

Firstly, to all our readers: We hope your Christmas was a blessed one and we wish you God’s blessings for the New Year!

We have been having a wonderful time and we are so thankful for the opportunity to take this holiday. Last week we spent a few days in Mission Beach, and as always....a story was generated that we thought we would share with you all.

One evening Ashlyn caught sight of a lady smoking in a cabin just up from ours. She was very distressed and wanted us to lock the door when she went to bed. She couldn’t get to sleep and kept on crying about the lady smoking. She was scared of her. Anyway, Andrew ended up having a deep and meaningful conversation with her and it came out that she thought that only “bad” people smoke. Somehow in her little mind she equated smoking with the raskols (criminals) in Lae, and therefore was terrified, ensuring that we locked the door to keep the bad lady out. When we thought/spoke about it further, we realised that it is only Papua New Guinean people that she has ever seen smoking, and when she has questioned us about it, we have told her that smoking is bad (and thus in her logic, only “bad” (criminal) people smoke). Also, she has never seen any of our “white” friends smoke. She also picks up on the fact that in Lae we are more wary of our surroundings and of what people are doing, that we lock car doors while we are driving, watch our bags more, etc,etc. She picks up that here in Australia we are more relaxed about these things. So putting all of the above together she somehow became terrified of this smoking lady. We managed to reassure her, and eventually she went to sleep, but in the morning it was the first thing she talked about as she woke up. Thankfully the lady left that morning!

Here are some pics of the holiday we are enjoying:

Swimming in Matt and Claire's pool

...and again!

Ashlyn admiring Aleisha's birthday cake (we were there for her 3rd birthday party)

Shakira, Shiana and Ashlyn with a sick bird (which died soon after)

Kirilee and Shiana having fun with some new found friends in the Church group!

The lovely pool at our Caravan park in Mission Beach (where we spent 3 nights this past week)

We enjoyed a few walk trails

...and again. Even Ashlyn does pretty well hiking a little. Thankfully we are used to heat and humidity!

every now and then Ashlyn needed a little extra help up the hill

A children's trail....following the cassowary footprints... find the treasure (fake Cassowary eggs)

Back at Matt and Claire's house for Christmas

Ashlyn just loves the water and swims away

Shiana taking a big breath as she comes up for air!

Enjoying a great Christmas dinner with good company.

Ashlyn with Shakira and Aleisha (they are now best friends!)

Cheeky, or what!

And there is always room for dessert, especially this delicious trifle that Claire made!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In Cairns!!

First day in Australia and up at 6am to walk for an hour!! That’s right...this lady who is definitely not a morning person, and who usually would take any opportunity to sleep in, actually was up at 6am and out for a walk, on holidays! We are in Cairns for a few weeks of R and R, and are so thankful for this opportunity. And if there is one thing that I especially miss while living in Lae, it is the freedom to walk and go out and about freely. So it feels so good to have that freedom for a few weeks.

Yesterday, we left Lae....our plane was delayed by an hour and a half which was stressful for us as we had a connecting flight to catch in Port Moresby for Cairns. So we rushed and stood in long lines stressing about missing the flight, only to find that it too was delayed by a bit over an hour. Phew! Thankfully we could arrive safely in Cairns and we were in Treetops Lodge at 9:30pm relieved and happy to be here.

It’s always fun watching the girl’s faces as we come back into Australia. Their eyes are just expressing, “Wow”, as they look at the nice roads and cars and buildings. As I walked this morning I so enjoyed seeing houses not hidden behind razor wired fences. The other thing I loved about walking and going out and about today was just the fact that no one was interested in the slightest thing we did. It is such a cultural difference between here and PNG. In PNG your business is everyone else’s business, and there’s never much privacy. That’s just the way they are, and there is positives to this way of living! However, when you come from the “private” western culture, sometimes it is hard to deal with this. Coming back into Australia always gives us a chance to just do things with no one watching!

I still have some pictures to share of our last week or so in PNG, which (as it is in many parts of the world) was filled with school/Christmas activities:

Cuddles for baby Caleb

...and more cuddles

Sinta Klaas (how do you spell that anyway??)

Waiting for Carols by Candlelight to begin at the girl's school

Shiana singing "Silent Night" with her class

...and again

Class party - held at the house of one of the students in Shiana's class

...Shiana's class at the class party

...receiving awards

...and Kirilee too!

That's all for today!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

why do i even need a title anyway?

How do you tell when your 4 year old has spent most of her life living in the tropics, away from the Western World? When you take her into a second-hand store, and she sees a pair of long trousers and excitedly says… “Look, Mum, a jumper (or sweater for the Canadians) for legs!” I so had to laugh out loud at that one. So then we went and found her a jumper that would fit her legs and she spent all afternoon in a pair of long pants…never mind that it was very hot and humid! Well, I guess she does not see long trousers that often, especially not girl ones and she never wears them herself. I think she knows what jeans are, as Kirilee often wears jeans, but these ones were not jeans…and I guess she had to think of something to call them!

While I am sharing that story I may as well share a few more: The other day we had to get our PNG licenses renewed (drivers), so we set aside a morning to tackle that. We headed to the office, and did pretty well first of all, with only a short wait to get the form, fill it out and then pay….but then the wait started. You have to wait to get your photo taken… but no one was going in to get that done and the office was just getting more and more packed….lots of sweaty bodies in a small room…mmmm…

Well, eventually we were told that the photo-taking man had gone home sick, and that some other man was trying to figure it out, so that we could still be processed. Andrew figured that this meant it would be ages still so he went across the road to pay our garbage collection bill….except when he got there he was told that the machine which printed the garbage stickers (every three months you need to buy a sticker to put on your bin, so that it will be collected. Andrew had tried a few weeks back but was unable to get a new sticker, and was told to come back which is what he was doing) was still broken! So I guess we are getting free garbage collection at the moment…

And, then, he walked back into the office where I was and we were called up immediately. Us and two others (actually we were all the ones who had paid last, but we weren’t complaining ) went in, had our photo taken and our cards printed on the spot. So after all that it went quickly. We were thankful for that. Only thing is that according to our new license I was born in Albani (supposed to be Albany) while Andrew was born in Australia, Andrew’s license number changed by one number accidentally, and Andrew’s class of license was different on this one than on the last one. But who cares? If they don’t, we don’t. Important thing is that we’re official again now, and we have something to show when we get stopped for a license check!