Archive for July, 2014

July 30, 2014

Furlough: first two weeks

by mendibpng

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(above) Our kids reconnecting with their Aussie cousins after 4 years apart!

There are times when I feel like I’m drinking through a fire hose over the last few weeks. I keep thinking about updating this blog on what is happening but we haven’t had much time to sit down and reflect on our big transition. I apologize for the delay in writing! Here are some random observations and thoughts:

  • I’ve been trying to find joy in small moments, since transition can be so disorienting. I find myself noticing all kinds of small things, like the flowers (chicory) that you see everywhere in the summer here in the Midwest. Beautiful things make me happy.
  • I drink a lot coffee to help with the mental and physical exhaustion. Even though I’m going to bed earlier each night, I guess I still have a lot of sleep to catch up on!
  • The joy in seeing friends and family we haven’t seen in four years is really hard to put into words. Some friends/family we saw for a few days, others a few hours. But in all these cases, we’ve been able to pick up where we left off–no time for small talk!
  • We’re getting used to the long summer days (in PNG it turns dark at 6 pm!)
  • What a blessing it is to live close to grandparents who happily take the our children on outings. We love being able to call on them anytime we need help. This isn’t something we normally have, so we area really grateful for it.
  • We’re having fun eating things that we can’t get in PNG (or can’t afford there, like cheese and cereal). I should add that I haven’t had to make any bread at all. I am loving the convenience of feeding our family here!
  • We notice a lot of changes since we lived here four years ago. Cell phones, more and more choices in stores, and incredible amounts of things to recycle, for example.
  • Although a lot of the ‘new’ things are fun to experience, the kids especially grieve the separation from their friends and home in PNG. Jacob and Jenny Beth keep asking me when it’s time to go back to our other house, in Ukarumpa, and when will they have play dates again with their little friends. I answer that we’ll be here for all the birthdays and holidays. It’s so hard for them to understand.

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Since there’s so much to report, I thought it might be fun to write things out in numbers:

1 week. The nights I couldn’t sleep before and after all the packing and leaving stress.

8 the number of cousins together in Melbourne, Australia. My sister and her family have welcomed us to their home so often, since their place is an easy stop on the way to PNG. We love the easy way we pick up with them.

3 friends from high school who met together for a weekend with me the week after I arrived in the US. We laughed, talked, shared struggles and ate a lot of really good food!

2 nights with my mom and dad in Florida last week. I love being with them because they are my haven of safety, always loving me unconditionally.

8 the number of beds ready for us in our furlough house as soon as we walked in. It has been a huge relief to move into a home ready for us. Not only is the home set up really well with items needed for living, but one of our supporting churches coordinated filling up the fridge and pantry to the brim with tons of food!

1 hour: how long it takes for us to do a load of laundry from start to finish. Our washer in PNG takes 1.5 hrs and then we hang up the clothes for several hours (or days).

3 gallons: the amount of milk we are consuming each week.

5 the number of time zones I crossed in 2 weeks.

1x driving. I drove for the first time with my daughter to get some things we desperately needed. It was a funny ride because I kept trying to reach the non-existent clutch and kept using the windshield wipers when I really needed the turn signal!

2 nights with PNG friends who stopped by on their road trip this weekend. It was so good to exchange experiences and empathize with each other’s re-entry issues. We have been missing our PNG community so it was great to get a little taste of that again.

2 the number of people I recognized in church our first Sunday back. I could barely keep my eyes open because of jetlag. In PNG we know about 75% of the people we go to church with, whereas here we are rather anonymous.

Infinite: (seemingly) with the things we have been teaching our kids since arriving here. Here’s a glimpse of some of them:
-recycling (we do recycle in PNG but in a different way!)
-walking on the right side of stairs or a walkway
-staying together when in a crowded place
-wearing shoes
-what they are allowed to watch on TV

All this to say, we are really thankful to be here and are looking forward to getting into a routine (at the moment we’re just getting through each day). Our hearts are still full of PNG and the people we love there but we are enjoying the chance to see family and friends who we haven’t seen in 4 years!

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