Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Swimming Weekend

It's been a while, but we have been really busy. This post is from the weekend of March 13th. Mersades and Teddy joined the school's swim team, and after a few weeks of practice they had their first swim meet.
The swim meet was to take place down the mountain, in what we call the low lands, in another Freeport town called Kuala Kenchana. (I think that is how it is spelled, but I am too lazy to check and make sure it is right.) So in order for this to all take place the Quality of Life people have to organize how to get approximately 150 people down the mountain, on helicopters, before the window of opportunity is gone. They can only fly the choppers when the weather and clouds cooperate. It is usually from seven in the morning until noon. And noon is usually a very late time. Most days they fly until around 10. So to get all those people down it had to be an almost perfect day. Fortunately, it was! Chris took Mersades and Teddy, while I stayed up top with Gavin and Gabrielle. I figured three less people to fly down would help the Q of L guys we were headed down the next weekend to leave for Australia. Sometimes you just have to make a sacrifice....... Of course I didn't want to wait for my turn on the chopper!!!!

So here are Mersades and Teddy before the meet started.
Teddy getting ready to go....
Next up Mersades...
Mersades and Teddy with some of their teammates watching other races.
The Papuan kids just loved this little blond hair boy.
I think this was Mersades doing the breast stroke. I sure hope it wasn't the crawl stroke!!!
Teddy lost his goggles when he dove in to the pool.
Chris took this picture from inside their limousine.
This is a picture of Banti. It was the original settlement when Tembagapura was started. This town is about two miles down the mountain from us.
This is just a pretty picture of one of the valleys close to where we live.
So while Chris and the other two were busy in the lowlands, I decided to brave a trip up to Rainbow Ridge (just another town with living quarters up the mountain from us) to take Gavin and Gabrielle swimming. For the three of us to get there, we had to walk up to the shops, hop on a bus, and after 20 to 30 minutes of riding in a dusty and stinky bus (it took this long because of all the other stops in Hidden Valley) we made it up to Rainbow Ridge. We then got off the bus and walked over to the swimming pool. Guess What???? It was CLOSED!!!! They were doing welding on the outside of the building.....not even close to where the pool was located....but it was totally closed down! So we RAN back to the bus! We didn't want to get stuck in RR for another 40 minutes! Thank goodness, we made it...... Yes everyone was staring at us.......
It wasn't a total loss, we did get some awesome pictures of the mountains around us! And, YES that is SNOW on the middle mountain top!
Here is just a zoomed in picture of the mountain.
Here is a picture before we found out the pool was closed.
And of course, Gavin and Gabrielle cooperating at having their picture taken.... (rolling my eyes here!)
So that was our weekend.... Oh wait, I forgot.... to end my weekend, Gabrielle threw up, Sunday, at four in the morning! PERFECT!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Two Months...

Well, we have been living in Indonesia for two months now. It has been a very busy two months getting to know everyone, and how things work around here. Some days are very enjoyable and some can be very frustrating...that is if I let it.... I try not to let it get frustrating. Sometimes I just have to smile and shake my head and remember where I am living. There are days when I feel like I fell down the hole in "Alice in Wonderland". Or I feel like I am dreaming and soon I will wake up from the craziest dream I have ever had. But I know I am not dreaming! So I just take every day, one at a time. It's is hard to write about some of the craziness because it may sound like complaining, and I am not complaining. I am laughing most of the time. And as Chris says, "YOU JUST CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!"
I have met some of the most interesting people from all over the world. And have met many life long friends. I am looking forward to getting to know the ladies a lot better. There are some characters here....and I mean that in a good way ;)
The kids have taken to living here, like fish to water. They all like their new school. Mersades is being challenged. Teddy and Gavin have both come a long way in their reading. And Gabrielle is starting to read. They are all involved in sports. They definitely get their athletic ability from their Mom!!! ;) M and T are swimming. They have a swim meet in the Lowlands Saturday. I think they are looking forward to the swim meet, but mostly, the helicopter ride down. Hopefully the clouds stay away and the choppers run. All the kids are in basketball. Actually Gabrielle's age group has her mom (um yeah, ME) for a coach! They are goooooood! Hmmm, must be the coaching.....just saying....
Chris is really enjoying his job. He is so happy to get back to creating wealth, and not taking it from the tax payers. (I know it was only six months, but that was 5.9 months to long!) He is also working with a lot of very talented men creating one of the best underground mines in the world!
A lot of people are wondering what the town of Tembagapura is like. The only way to explain it is to go watch a movie about a third world country, but put us in the jungle at 6500 feet....... and that is where we live!!! There are also days where I think I may have gotten a job as an extra on a movie set, and I am waiting for the director to say cut, and then I will be back in the "real world". Everyone who can drive, for the most part, drives a white Toyota Land Rover. We all live in houses or apartments that are 20 plus years old. There is a lot of mold...YUCK! And lots of large bugs....YUCK! You may not have fresh milk in the store, but there is an isle of chocolate! The Indonesians love their chocolate.... It's an antioxidant right. So it should be good for you! Right? Hmmm, chocolate on cereal.... not sure that works. Crazy! I can go to our local salon and get a "Cream Bath" for 20 bucks! Anyone who knows me, knows that I love having my hair played with. That's pretty much what they do while they wash and condition my hair..... For two hours! So yeah, life can be really hard here sometimes! :-)
Well, it's almost time to get the kids off to bed so we can start our third month in the jungle. One thing coming up is our trip to Cairns, (That's pronounced "Cans" for those of you in Rio Linda....)Australia, for Orthodontists appointments. Yep, a helicopter ride, a plane ride, a weeks stay in Cairns, all for an adjustment on some teeth. Crazy! I told you some things just don't make sense. But this is how it is.... We will have to leave dad here....not necessarily a bad thing. ;) They (PTFI) make them stay here for the first six months.......Really make them go crazy so they leave for vacation....but the kids and I will go play.
So remember, Crazy is only a state of mind. It's normal for them here!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Reading at YPJ

Three times a month, another mother (Susan) and I volunteer to read and speak English to 3rd grade kids from the YPJ school. YPJ is where approximately 900 national kids attend school in Tembagapaura. The age range is preschool to 12th grade. There are many other expat women who also volunteer at this school.
Today is the day I remembered to take along my camera and take some pictures. This month the kids are learning parts of the body. So Susan and I came up with a book, two songs, and a worksheet, to help the kids learn body parts in English.
Here is a picture of one of the little girls doing the worksheet. Who is that in the picture? .......Hmmm, maybe a superstar? ;) Oh no, that's just me! The kids thought it was pretty funny.
Here the class is doing the first of the two songs. "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" They knew this song.
The second of the two songs, "The Hokey Pokey", the kids had never heard. They LOVED it! We actually had to do that song a couple of times! It was lots of fun for Susan, me, and the kids.
So this is what I do with some of my "spare" time. I never thought I would be as busy over here as I am. There is always something to do. You just have to get out and do it! ............Good thing I got a maid ;)
Happily Volunteering,

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Appreciating Everything...

People here say when your sea container comes with your things from home, it's just like having Christmas. Well in the picture below, we got our first DHL package, from aunt Brandei, and that was just as good as Christmas. We were all so excited! It's funny how a box of Cheerios and a bag of red Twizzlers can make one kid so happy! Being here makes our whole family more appreciative of the little things in a box of Cheerios!
These next two pictures are of our "mall". I use the term loosely, very loosely!!! We definitely are not uncomfortable here, and you can get pretty much what you need to survive, but we do have a few extras also. Here you can see the Hero Department Store, one bank, and to the left of the picture is a "hobby"shop. If you are a sewer, the hobby shop has a decent variety of material for you. The department store I call my little Wal-Mart. If you need a household item, you may get lucky and find it there. Although, they do not carry a hammer and nails....crazy!
On the opposite side of "wal-mart", is the Hero Grocery store. You can't tell by the picture, but there is a coffee shop and bank to the left, and a pharmacy, which doesn't carry prescription meds, to the right. The pharmacy is where you go to get your toothpaste, shampoo's, and soaps. Things like that. The coffee shop does have ice cream! Which is what Mersades is eating in this picture while the boy's are getting their hair cut.
Now between the pharmacy and the hobby shop, is a full service salon. For only Rp. 88.000 ($8.80 USD aprox.) both the boys got their hair cut! If you notice Gavin has lost a lot of hair. He decided it is too warm here to keep his hair longer. Plus for mom, it doesn't attract the 'bugs' as easily. YUCK!
Speaking of bugs, on the way to get hair cuts, I found my first stick bug, or some may call it a tree bug. Very neat! I had to look a few times to make sure it was what I was really seeing.
So here it is, just another day in our life in Tembagapura. Different, but still the same. Sometimes you feel like you are living in the stone age, but then you go to the shops, and you remember you are living in modern time. I am very thankful for all we have, and even all we don't have!
Appreciating everything,

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!!

I just celebrated my 6th, 29th birthday! And what a great birthday it was! We started off my birthday weekend on Saturday the 27th. Chris got the Lupah to cater a wonderful dinner of roast beef, chicken...(of course chicken!)...and all the fixings! We celebrated with many of our new friends and their families. What a house full we had! I think we had 27 altogether. Our house was packed!
Other that Chris planning the party and me not having to cook, the best part of the night was that I got a cake, and I didn't even have to make it!!!! Here is the special lady who made the cake.... Ms. Christy.....Ms. Christy ............Um, sorry for the interruption, but I have to go. Mersades has a science presentation this morning, and its time to leave. To Be continued........

I am back. What a busy morning!

Carrying on....... Ms. Christy is the gal who helped me get everything that we would need over here, on a list, and told me about the ins and the outs of this place..... I think she left a few things out ;) But the cake was awesome, and even better, I did not have to make it, and even better than that, I GOT ONE!!!

This next picture is just a few of the really neat ladies that I have met over here. We do have lots of fun together. The gal on the far right of the picture is Michelle. She and her family moved over here just after Chris got here in December. We have created our own group called "The Blonde leading the Blonde" I don't know how many trips we have made up to the main office together because of wrong information, questions, or simply forgetting that lunch runs from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and nothing is open. But we are having fun learning the ropes, and one day it will be the two of us showing the new ladies around! Scary thought...... The next couple of pictures are of the food that the Lupah catered for us. Chris got off with no clean up, but quite the dent to his wallet! Here are a few of the husbands. I was wondering.... Why only one out of the five have hair? It has to be the job.......It can't be the beauties in the picture above!!! Some of the kids having fun..... And little miss Ruby! She plays with my hair! I think I will adopt her! Cutting the cake....mmmmmm...... It was delicious! Also in this picture is Jeffery (the guy in the blue vest) he was in charge of making sure everything ran smoothly. He is also the guy who makes sure we have a table reserved for us at Sunday Brunch. Here is Teddy Bear with Glaire.... aka Blaire.The Birthday Girl with Mr. Gavin. Anyone notice he is finally getting his front teeth?!! So the next day, my official birthday, after church and brunch at the Lupah, Chris said he would take us up to see where his office is and what it looked like. These pictures are awesome by themselves, but seeing another part of God's creation and all its beauty, in person, is indescribable! For those of you who can come and want to visit us, the doors to the hut are always open. You may never have another chance to view this wonderful landscape!

Here we are waiting for the traffic to get through the tunnel so we can have our turn. I do have a video of us driving through, but because of the slow speed of the Internet, I am not able to post it. You will just have to wait till you see me next! Here we are just before we go through the tunnel. This is where the video would start.... Sorry. Dad with the kids in front of the Grassberg. The clouds are covering half of the mountain. Dad's office. Someone didn't know how to spell his name..... Dad showing the kids his office. Here we are headed back down the mountain. We live at 6500 feet, and we were up about 10,000 feet! You can just start to see Tembagapura at the bottom of the picture. The road you see, is the one up to Hidden Valley. It is a another "town" where families live, who work at the mine. I walked this road this last Monday!!!! Very proud of myself! Almost killed myself doing it, but made it and will do it again. Its about two miles straight up. And for those of you family members who will comment about the road NOT being straight, I mean steepness!!! I know you are out there......

This is a picture of the Protestant Church in Tembag.
This is Tembagapura looking down from the road to Hidden Valley.
So that's it. My creative writing brain is fried.... It may take a few weeks for the next post.... I know it will kill some of you, but you will survive. Thanks once again for all the birthday wishes! It was truly a great one! Love and Miss you all!