Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 3

We are pleasantly surprised by life on Yap these first few days. Here is a log of today's activities to show some of the unexpected things that happen. The photo was taken of us a few days ago on Guam before coming to Yap.

5:00 Rachel wakes up

6:45 Everybody up for breakfast

7:30 Jon to hangar

7:45 Started unloading tools from shipping boxes

8:00 Family shipping container removed from airport ramp

8:30 Installed washing machine

9:00 Filled out insurance and flight paperwork

11:30 Took teammates to lunch

12:30 Went to hardware for propane fittings

1:00 Found a Nissan Vanette (right-side steering wheel) for our family vehicle

1:30 Purchased 10 gallon propane tank at shipyard for kitchen stove

2:00 Drilled hole through exterior wall of cinderblock house for propane tank installation

2:30 Installed kitchen stove

3:00 Drilled hole for de-humidifier drainage to outside

3:15 Established dry room

3:30 Rain begins; hundreds of frogs come onto our lawn

3:45 Take kids to back yard to watch waterfall at jungle's edge

4:00 Repaired bread maker

4:30 Installed fridge

5:15 Prayer meeting with outer islanders in their language

6:00 Learned first words in outer islander at prayer meeting

7:00 Went with teammates to roadside bush to get berries to combat pink eye

7:30 Radioed ship Sea Haven on shortwave concerning large circulation of weather

8:00 Ate first hot meal from our stove on Yap

8:15 Boys to bed

8:30 Blogged

9:30 Went to sleep with heavy rains expected to last for days

Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Day in Yap!

After a loooooong hiatus from blogging I'm hoping to get back into it. I really want to somehow record snippets of this journey of our ministry in Yap. It just seems so surreal to finally be here after so many years of preparing. Now we're here and it's time to get on with the "real" work!

As we prepared to leave last week I had a pit in my stomach - just dreading the immediate future that involved making sure we had all our stuff packed, making sure we did everything we needed to do before we left, traveling 23 hours with three very small children, getting over jetlag, arriving in Yap and unpacking. So here I stand almost at the end of it and I can't quite say, "It wasn't that bad." There were some dreadful moments of spilled coffee on the plane, wide awake kids at 1:30am that stayed awake until dawn, a crying baby at the beach, a drenched and crying two-year-old who fell into a restaurant fish pond, and a crying three-year-old who didn't want to leave his new friend's house. But we survived! And it really wasn't that bad. =) The kids were entertained with new toys and slept well on the plane, we enjoyed beach time in Guam, picked up a cooler-full of foods (namely meat, cheese and chocolate!) that aren't available on Yap to enjoy and ease our transition.

We arrived on one of Continental Airlines' bi-weekly flights to Yap last night at 11:59pm. Ben and Rachel slept for throughout the one-hour flight and Jonah went into what we call "talking crazy" which he often does when he's tired. He's normally very talkative, but he kicks it up a notch and adds an extra big dose of imagination when he's really tired. In the airport he walked into a group of ladies and started telling them all about how we were going to Yap to tell Outer Islanders more about Jesus and then flipped through his superhero book and named each character for them.

Getting off the plane the first thing we noticed was our shipping container sitting off to the side of the runway near the PMA hangar. We knew it was here, but it felt so weird to actually see it. There's our stuff! We packed everything in Illinois over a month ago and now here it is! We really are going to live here!

After going through customs we were greeted by a man and woman in traditional Yapese garb - flower headbands called "nu nus", loin cloth for the man, grass skirt for the woman, and shirtless for both. They draped a flower and palm leaf lei around each of our necks. Our teammates had gotten up in the middle of the night to greet us and helped us get our massive amount of luggage down the hill from the airport to our house. It feels so strange to just walk home from the airport after a long journey. Our house was empty aside from the few beds, fridge and table our teammates left for us. Tomorrow we'll quickly fill up the house with the contents of our container.

After a short night's sleep we were up and out the door by 8am to head to church. In somewhat of an effort to blend in with the culture and also being rushed for time I went to church with wet hair, no makeup, no lotion, in a sundress and crummy flip-flops. We were greeted warmly at church and the kids were especially fawned over as the islanders love babies. Jonah and Rachel were immediately being held in the laps of strangers and Ben would have been too if he hadn't refused so adamantly. I sat on the floor with the women and Jon sat in the chairs with the men. When Rachel started to fuss I got her back from her third lap holder and nursed her right there in the middle of it all. I figured no one would mind since half the ladies were topless anyways, but I still used a nursing cover. I think I got more stares because of that than I would have had I just let it all hang out.

We sang songs in both English and Outer Island language accompanied by a teenage girl on guitar. The islanders have a very nasaly uniform singing tone, but their spoken language doesn't sound particularly nasal. I'll have to try and record it sometime and post it - it really is amazing how uniform in tone and pitch everyone is. After singing and prayer the kids were dismissed to Sunday School and nursery. I went with Ben and Rachel to nursery at our teammate's house which is next door to the church. Jonah went to Sunday School across the street. Jon said the sermon was in Outer Island language with only the topic headings translated into English. Jonah of course had a great time in Sunday School and quickly made new friends. Afterward a little girl told me they had asked Jonah what his favorite song was during Sunday School. I asked him what he'd said and he said, "The Batman Song! Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah BATMAN!" I was relieved to learn later that he had actually said, "Amazing Grace." I also learned later that he had asked one of the islanders if there were any Indians here. She said, "No, do you like Indians?" He said, "Well, I just like Outer Islanders." "Why?" "Because they love Jesus Christ."

After church we came home and Jon and the boys did a little exploring outside around the house. They took a dip in two-foot-deep stream-fed swimming hole in the yard. I'm happy it's there because it will be a fun and cool place for the boys to play, plus it's completely in the shade. But I'm a little worried about Ben who has recently shown great aptitude for falling into ponds. I thought we would be able to run around here by themselves, but it looks like they'll need a lot of supervision when they're outside to make sure they don't get into too much trouble.

We had lunch with our teammates in the traditional thatch-roof hut next to our house called a "koyang". Ben and Rachel took nice long naps and my baby monitor could reach down to the hut so I could keep tabs on them. After naps we just hung around for the rest of the afternoon and Jonah was requesting to go to bed by 6:45.

So tomorrow is the big day we unload our stuff. I'm so excited at the prospect of being in one place for three years and hopefully longer. This is the tenth move in our six years of marriage and every place up to this point has been temporary with the purpose of getting us to the mission field. But now we're here! We are so eager to participate in furthering the Gospel in this place and to make all of this worth it in service to Christ and His purposes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Learning to Walk

Jon has been out of town for work for the last week and a half and he's been missing Benjamin's first steps. These videos were too big to email to him and I couldn't get them to post on Facebook so here they are.

Benjamin tends to get quite upset when things don't go his way. I saw him walk happily from the chair to the couch and I thought I would get a video of it. In my efforts to recreate what I had just seen I picked him up, set him by the chair and left him there. This did not sit well with him - he does not want to be set down and left. He cheered up a little when he got to show off his new walking skills, but then promptly remembered he was still mad and resumed crying.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Taylor Travels Part 4 - Orlando

Last Saturday we left Atlanta and headed to Florida on our way to visit my childhood friend, Nancy. I didn't have anyone to visit at a good halfway point, so I ended up going all the way to Orlando in one day and went the rest of the way to Fort Pierce on Sunday.

Man, it was a gruelling trip. Google maps said it would take 7 and a half hours and it took me 10 and a half. We stopped for a relaxed lunch at McDonald's and I let Jonah run around in the playplace. I fed Benjamin his baby food and some yogurt from the fruit and yogurt parfait. Benjamin has decided that he will not nurse at all when we are travelling. This is annoying on a 5-hour trip, but it's a disaster on a 10.5-hour trip. He nursed at 7:30 that morning and wouldn't nurse again until we arrived in Orlando around 8:30. I tried to feed him multiple times throughout the day. Finally I had to pull over and pump because I was in so much pain. And of course since he isn't nursing during the day he wants to chow down all night long. It's started a terrible pattern of not eating much during the day and waking up two or three times a night to nurse. So frustrating.

Jonah did pretty well considering it was such a long trip. His main forms of entertainment are eating snacks, listening to his tape player, and watching videos on my ipod. By the end of this trip he'd just about eaten his weight in snacks, he had the tape player confiscated because he pulled all the tape out of one of the cassettes, he had the ipod confiscated because he was chewing on the headphone cord after I told him not to, and I had to pull over because he wriggled out of his car seat and I looked back to see him standing up in his seat. But at least he did take a nap - he fell asleep with his hand in the chicken nuggets box. I so wished I could have gotten a picture of that!

So we stayed the night with my uncle Ken (my dad's brother) and aunt Betzi. They just moved to Orlando recently for Betzi's job and this was my first visit to their beautiful new home. Sunday morning we had a nice visit with Ken, Betzi, and my cousin Amanda, and left around noon to get down to Nancy's place in Fort Pierce.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Taylor Travels Part 3 - Atlanta

After a fabulous five days in Charlotte, we continued south to Atlanta. We stayed three days with my uncle Glenn (my mom's brother) and aunt Beth. Highlights for the boys included meeting Glenn's three dogs, playing with an exercise ball, and a train ride through the mall. Highlights for me included seeing Glenn's office (it looks like those sweet office buildings you see in movies), dinner with Jon's cousin, Margaret, and shopping at Trader Joe's. I didn't get as many pictures as I should have when we were there, but here are a few.

Glenn and Beth bought a few toys for Jonah to play with while we were there, but we had to get creative for Ben. You can't go wrong with Tupperware and a wooden spoon. You can also see the ear of the littlest dog, Ronan.

Here we are on the mall train. This was the first time I'd ever seen a little train in the mall that doesn't run on a track. It just goes on a loop through the mall. Jonah LOVED it! Thanks Aunt Beth!
Okay, well maybe this face doesn't show it, but he really did love it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Taylor Travels Part 2 - Charlotte

The first stop on our five-week road trip was Charlotte, NC. We went to visit my childhood friend, Rebecca, who also happens to be Jon's cousin. She has a three-year-old little girl and a one-year-old boy. Our kids made fast friends and we had such a fabulous time together.

Baby Daniel turned one the day we arrived. We got to have cake and celebrate with him.
These second cousins had a great time playing together. Such a sweet little pair.
It was nice to be in a place with carpeted floors for Ben to practice sitting up by himself. We only have hardwood at home and I can never leave him sitting because he'll really hurt himself if he falls over.
We spent a morning at a park and ate a picnic lunch. Ben enjoyed his first time in a playground swing.
Jonah went down the slides about 50 times, like usual. (He escaped to the slide before I could wipe the Oreo crumbs off his face.)
Jonah decided he wanted to play in the sand and marched up to a dad holding some sand toys and asked if he could use them!
Rebecca has a great camera and she did a little photo shoot at the park.