Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Santa Wears Camouflage??

Wednesday morning just as Jason had poured boiling water into our french press and I'd started cooking some eggs on the stove, we hear a truck out on the road and then some yelling from the end of the driveway, we scramble to get ourselves presentable as we continue to hear someone yelling our names. Outside we find Titus and Sigal halfway down our driveway yelling for us to "come on, the plane is coming NOW!" We race back inside to turn off things and put food out of the reach of geckos and rats and then run down excitedly down our driveway to the waiting truck of Palauan friends. I hop in the front with Calista while the 4 guys ride in the back and we speed (as much as the road allows) to the air strip.

Luckily, we did have some idea what was happening ... every year since the end of WWII, the Airforce or Navy does a Christmas "drop day" from a cargo plane to the 4 or 5 outer islands of Palau.

At the air strip, everyone who lives on Angaur is eager to catch the first glimpse of the cargo plane - complete with a Santa in the window. It arrives and buzzes the air strip, then turns and makes a second pass, opening the back of the plane and dropping a large box which completely misses the drop target in the middle of the strip and instead parachutes into the nearby jungle causing grown men to go chasing after it.

Everyone is all smiles - what a unique tradition!

The items from the box will be passed out in a very orderly fashion on Saturday as each household will draw a number that correlates with something from the box. FUN!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Twenty-two hours in Koror

This past Thursday, we headed into Koror by ferry for the first time in nearly 10 weeks to stock up on food and home repair supplies that we hope will last us for the next 3 months. This trip, our new friends, Ty & Kelly were extremely generous to us -picking us up at the harbor, driving us to all of our shopping stops and having us spend the night at their place. I had the verse from II Corinthians "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gifts" playing in my head over and over in my head during our brief time there.

Here's a view of Angaur's blowhole from the ferry:

Sarah was going into town too for some Peace Corps training so we had fun chatting during our 4 hour boat ride.

Our view along the way.

Ty & Kelly have a membership at the Palau Pacific Resort - the absolute nicest resort in Palau - so we headed there for a scrumptious meal on the terrace while the lowering sun painted the sky some beautiful colors. Everything was decorated for Christmas and looked really lovely.

The view from Ty & Kelly's lovely apartment.

A cool Filipino fishing boat also on it's way to Angaur.

Some of the beautiful rock islands on our way back to Angaur.

Awesome rain cloud up above!

We should charge admission!

The house we live in is a bit of an anomaly on this island since it is right on the ocean & way on the other side of the island from the rest of the village. This means that everytime anyone here has visitors from another island or another country, they bring them by for a tour. It's fun to meet new people, but it's never an announced visit, except for the "hello" they holler as they walk up our front steps ready for a tour of the house, and we've often found that the "tour guides" are completely drunk! Not an uncommon occurence in Palau, but it still startles me a bit and I think that I should at least be getting an admission fee out of this.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Riding in the back of trucks

We were given a ride home from church on Sunday by one of our "angels" ... Jason sat in the cab with Papa 'sus while I hopped into the back and took in the scenery as it flashed past (at the speed of 25 mph - the speed limit for all roads in Palau).

I had a moment where I realized that this was something I can't do in the States and took time to think about how much I love it. It's something that I realized I've taken for granted while here (& while I was in Tonga), but something that I want to remember doing.

It is such a great feeling to have a breeze blowing past you as you gaze up at 50 foot banyan trees that form a complete arch over the road and wave to locals sitting in their outdoor kitchen areas ... it is in these moments that I wonder how I can return to regular life?

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Slightly Larger Fish...

Titus & Seagal took Jason fishing last week and they caught this big fish! Awesome! More sashimi for us :)

Sunday Potluck

Last Sunday, our friends at church let us know that they were going to bring a potluck to our house...sure enough, they showed up with huge pots of food (mostly fish & rice, but even some spaghetti and a green papaya & tuna salad). We had a great time with them.

Palauns usually sit on the floor to eat, and even though we had a table, they wouldn't sit at it. Our islands new Peace Corps volunteer, Sarah, is in this picture.

Secu, one of the "old mammas" of the island and a very sweet lady with some incredible stories.

Some of the Filipino workers on our island showed up unexpectedly to join us.


Kastol, one of the lay-pastors at our church, and Jason with Kastol's daughter, Itab.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Fish!

Since we arrived nearly 3 months ago, Jason has been trying to catch a fish from the cliffs by our house. Until Thursday, he was unsuccessful and getting pretty discouraged. His Thanksgiving gift this year was that he caught a fish!!! And had sashimi for his Thanksgiving feast! Yay! Not too worry, we had a traditional feast on Friday - complete with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing & cranberry sauce (thanks Botts' and Mom&Dad!).