“Stick with me Babe, I’ll take you to all the best places…”

by mendibpng

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(Above) Jenny Beth on the airplane: she loved having a whole apple all to herself!

We left Papua New Guinea last week to take our twins to a pediatric dentist in Cairns, Australia. Our three oldest children stayed behind with friends.  All four of us faced a fairly big adjustment coming here, since none of us has been out of PNG for quite some time–especially Jacob and Jenny Beth. I found myself looking around nervously at night when walking down to the laundry room by myself (I would never walk anywhere alone in PNG!) and looking at the push button lock on my door–feeling a little unsafe, really, without a deadbolt! I still can’t help myself from turning the water off when I brush my teeth or while taking a shower. On the upside, it’s pure bliss to travel on really smooth roads, when the only ‘bump’ we feel is a speed bump near buildings or in busy areas.
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The first day, we had no breakfast food so Ben took us to a sidewalk cafe’. Jacob and Jenny Beth had French toast with ice cream and bananas AND they were entertained by the cars driving by.

The dentist appointment on Thursday went really well. Jenny Beth had a bit of a hard time coming out of the general anesthesia but Jacob woke up more quickly. Thankfully, the dentist completed all of the work in one go, so we don’t need to go back. I didn’t realize until after the appointment was done how fatigued I felt leading up to it. The ‘not knowing’ must have been part of that. {Huge sigh of relief!}

So. What’s next? What do people do in Cairns when their medical things are done?? Since we have two three (nearly four!) year olds in tow, we have tried to balance going to parks/playgrounds/the beach with shopping. This is our only chance to get birthday and Christmas gifts for our kids as well as stock up on luxuries like herbal teas and spices.
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We’ve been on the lookout for things that are overwhelming about the first world for our littlies so here are some of the things we’ve been teaching them:

  • You must wear shoes when we are out and about. We arrived at the mall yesterday only to realize that Jacob hadn’t worn any shoes at all in the car! Thankfully we ducked into a store and got him some $3 flip flops!
  • The proper way to ride an “alligator” (escalator) is wait until you see the step and then get on it right away. They tend to panic at the sight of it even though they love riding them!
  • Don’t sing loudly when in the grocery store or in a restaurant.
  • Look where you are going if walking in a mall full of people (we hardly ever walk anywhere where there are crowds of people!)
  • Don’t make loud comments about strangers In the first grocery store, whenever we passed someone, Jacob would say “do you think he saw us? Is he a bad guy?”
  • You can’t have everything you want in the store. Even though I warned Jenny Beth about all of the pretty things in the store (and that she couldn’t have it all!) she kept saying “pleeeeease, mama, can I have that? I LOVE it.”
  • Stay close to us (hold hands!) Again, we aren’t usually near large crowds in PNG.
  • Don’t pick things up off the [public] bathroom floor!! Oh my word!! I had forgotten public bathrooms!! We were leaving a pool when Jenny Beth asked to go to the potty…which was fine, but then she was touching everything, even some old band aids someone had left behind. I am sure the other women in the bathroom thought I was a teeny bit crazy!

I know this might sound like a huge list of ‘rules’ but it’s more me quietly telling them in their ears about this strange land we’ve come to. [With the exception of the bathroom one–I was trying hard not to shriek in public.] So far, they haven’t been put off by all the differences!

We have been enjoying some of the ‘perks’ of the first world, including fruit we haven’t had in a while (watermelon, grapes, cantaloupe, etc.) and food that we’ve either eaten out or at home.  When we had Indian food yesterday, I told Ben how fun it was, and he smiled really big and said, “stick with me, Babe, I’ll take you to the best places,” which is something he has said to me ever since we started dating.

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4 Comments to ““Stick with me Babe, I’ll take you to all the best places…””

  1. What a great blog! Brings back the memory of when we were on our first furlough, Mandy. You were 5 years old during that trip, which had us stopping overnight in London on the way home to Syracuse from Ujung Pandang. I did some laundry in a public laundramat and you and your sisters stared endlessly through the glass doors of the washers and dryers. “Mom, you mean the clothes are really washed in there? Dried, too?” It was like you all were in a trance. So glad the dental work went well. Thank the Lord.
    Blessings on you all, Mom and Dad.

    • I remember being so fascinated by the washers and dryers!! I can remember how things were so exciting but also scary. 🙂 Thank you for praying us through this week!!

  2. Hi Mandy… does this mean you haven’t been to the big world outside of PNG since when we flew in together from Cairns in June 2010??

    • hi Kathryn, no, I have left PNG (three times) since our furlough. The first time was for a medevac for Jenny Beth, then the second time was for her to see a cardiologist and the third time was to have skin cancer removed from my forehead. Those were good trips but I didn’t have Ben with me, so I wasn’t as adventurous as I am when we are together. 😀

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