Friday, May 29, 2009

Monkey see, monkey do

Since we moved here, I've been trying to get a good photo of a monkey. Angaur is known as "monkey island" of Palau due it being the only island with monkeys (& they are trying to keep it that way since monkeys are so destructive to the local agriculture). Unfortunately, the monkeys here are quite skittish and tend to get away before I have a chance to even focus my camera on them.

Often, when I review my pictures, this is what I end up with -- I can't find any hint of a monkey in here, can you?

Or I get these great hind-end shots! (that's our house rain gutter in the upper right)

These are the better ones I've gotten, but I am still not completely happy as you can't see the monkey's face really in any of them ... they are incredibly entertaining though! We often startle them when we are running and all of a sudden, there will be 30-40 of them jumping crazily from the tree they are in (trying to escape us I guess), it is quite a show as they leap incredible distances and grap onto branches/vines of neighboring trees. Jason's only seen one miss their branch twice!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Palauan Wedding

We had the opportunity two weekends ago to go to our first Palauan wedding! We were pretty excited -- we've been to 8 funerals in the past 8 months, so this was a treat! Also, since Palauan's rarely go through the process of making a formal marriage commitment to one another, this was a really big deal for this couple to be doing (after a 14 year relationship and two children).

Here we are, ready to go ... I'm wearing make-up for the first time on Angaur and feel a bit garrish. We even went to the extra special step of dousing our clothes in some water to get the wrinkles out!

This is the Catholic church on Angaur - such a cute building!

Some of the beautiful flowers around...

The happy(?) couple and their two boys. I LOVE the matching outfits! So cute! Most adult Palauans don't smile for pictures as they are self conscious about the damage their Betel Nut chewing has made to their teeth.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Gererosity 101

Since we arrived here we've been unbelievable blessed to receive many boxes and care packages of all kinds. The mail lady has commented "every week, there is box for you - box, box, box!" While we haven't actually gotten boxes every week, our families have sent us boxes loaded with food on a very regular basis and many friends have sent us "luxury items." Our new friends in Koror even sent us a whole box full of produce (& invited us to stay with them whenever we're in Koror)! We often feel like we don't deserve this kindness and get overwhelmed whenever we receive something.

In addition to all the generosity we've received from our friends and family, we've come to rely on our new family here in Angaur. There are times when we absolutely must rely on the generosity of the Palauans that live here to help us. It can be very humbling ... this man "Papa Sus" we've dubbed, "our angel." He has appeared out of nowhere multiple times and given us rides in his little truck. We've often wondered if he just drives around the island looking for people to help as that is what it has seemed. We are so thankful to him and the many others we have relied on and who we now call our friends.

More than any of the rest though, the contentment and generosity of the Filipino workers on our island has amazed me. They are here on contract and work for $2.00 an hour or less. Most are sending what little money they make home. They have worked in more countries than many people will visit in their lifetime and speak 3 - 4 languages fluently. One of the men has been working overseas for the last 15 - 20 years. He proudly shared with us that his son will graduate from college with a civil engineering degree this next year.

In spite of what most of us would consider very difficult and undesirable circumstances, whenever we see them, they share wide smiles and cheerful waves with us. If they are eating in front of the small shanty they all share together, they wave us over, inviting us to join them. Several weeks ago, they asked if they could come out to our house for a picnic, we of course agreed and were once again overwhelmed at their happy & generous spirits. They had brought more food than we could eat, purchased beverages and chose to share their one day a week off with us. They joke among each other and call us their brother & sister.
I hope that I will never lose the picture of the generosity and happiness that pours out of them, in the midst of living in a situation that most of us could never imagine.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fun with Sarah

We've had several game days with Sarah over out our house ... drinking lots of coffee and having treats. We even did a big scone bake-off in our outdoor oven. YUM!

This is how you work an outdoor oven.

We took Sarah out crabbing one night ... the three of us were quite a good team - blocking the crabs from running into their holes, then batting them into our crab bag without any of our earlier catches escaping. All without getting our fingers pinched!

Sadly, Sarah decided to leave Angaur and discontinue her Peace Corps service last month. We were really, really bummed to see her go. It was so nice having a fellow American (& fellow Californian) here with us to hang out with. This is here farewell the morning she left on the boat.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Still wondering ... "How did this happen???"

This was us, two years ago yesterday ... we still look at each other on almost a daily basis and ask in disbelief, "how did this happen?" We feel so incredibly blessed that God saw fit to bring us together and still can't believe that we get to spend the rest of our lives together!!

To start off our celebration this year, we had cheese omelets & chocolate chip pancakes while enjoying the perfect view from our deck.

Jason had planned a great, surprise date for our afternoon/evening. A trip to the lighthouse ruins to watch the sunset was the beginning.

We had some fun taking a few pictures - Jason's pose is a bit of a mockery ... many, many Palauans are sporting the peace sign or the hang loose sign, in every picture. So we had to have atleast one :)

Right as the sun started getting in a good position for a sunset, a rain cloud came by, blocking it out. We still had some beautiful colors though.

After the sunset, we wandered around for a while. All I knew is that we had "reservations" for 7:30. Since there aren't any restaurants on Angaur, I was really curious where exactly we had reservations. Jason had worked some magic and had hired one of the local ladies to make us a full dinner. It was all set up and ready for us to eat on the big porch at one of the local guest houses that sits right on a beach. We had a delicious meal, it was such a wonderful surprise!