Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jarvis & Marilyn are coming!

Jason's parents should be arriving this evening! Woo-hoo! Our first visitors from the U.S. They are staying two weeks and we are very excited!!!

We've been saving some of the touristy things to do while they're here (like the famous 'Jellyfish Lake' & Rock Islands tour), so we're looking forward to doing some of those this week. Then they are going to brave the rough sea and head out with us to Angaur for a week to see just how we've been living these past 9 1/2 months.

It's going to be a blast!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fun Fishes

Since I do not have an underwater camera ... my "under-the-sea" pictures are sort of cheated. Several of the resorts in Koror have shallow pools that they stock with some of the local fish so tourists can gawk at them without even getting wet. Here's a few I took last time we were in Koror.

OK - so these aren't fish ... but some very cool giant clams ...

And, a turtle :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Doing Actual Work - part 2

I'll just start off by saying that Jason gets to do the bulk of the really fun jobs!

Like ... sweeping all the pine needles off the roof

... treating the house with pesticides ...

To treat the inside, we get to move all the furniture and food outside onto our deck! Luckily, most the furtiture is pretty light weight!

And, probably Jason's funnest job ... cleaning out the chamber from our composting toilet! Lucky guy!

When we arrived at the house, this is what the one plumbing connector to the water tank looked like. Rendering the shower and indoor sink completely useless. We quickly worked on it & you can see the fixed one below. It was one of our first projects (where as usual, we had no idea what we were doing really) and we were very proud of our work!

My zipper repair project. Most of the zipper pulls for the canvas "walls" at the house are corroded and falling off. When they do, the zipper inevitably pulls completely apart leaving the canvases flapping in the wind and letting rain into the house. Sewing them up was quite tedious! I think I did 6 or so full zippers, then before any more of them could rip open, I stitched fishing line around the bottoms of the remaining 25 or so zippers! Fun stuff!

New ridgecaps had to be put on the house ... you can see how bad these ones were. And we wondered how/why we had some leaks!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Where does the time go?

Officially, our contract here in Angaur ends four weeks from yesterday.

We keep looking at each other, wondering how it has gone so fast??!? We have really loved living here and come to love the people here so much. We are so full-up on God's blessings (to steal a phrase from our friend, Antoinette). We are really looking forward to being home and enjoying being with family & friends ... and of course, enjoying some of those modern conveniences you have over there like electricity & running (hot!) water ... but it is going to be very difficult to leave this incredible place.

We don't know yet where God is leading us after Palau. There's a bend in the road that we don't get to see around, yet. We're excited to learn what He has in-store for us though! We've applied on every continent (except Antartica ... and we may try there too!) and had a few interesting interviews, so we'll see.

Meanwhile, we are trying to just soak up everything about this place so that we can remember it well!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Once in a blue moon...

We had another gorgeous full moon this past week and I could not resist taking a few pictures of it from our house. The sky was literally this blue - it was amazing!

This is from inside the house - you can see our bed frame in the photo.

The backdrop for us as we watched a DVD. I don't know if it gets any prettier.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Palau's #1 Dessert?

The elementary school students had their promotion day a few weeks ago with a potluck afterwards for those who had attended. While I was loading up my plate (& secretly wondering if any Palauans would actually eat any of the food I brought) ... one of the local ladies added this to my plate saying "try this!" This has happened to me at nearly every community potluck. Often I end up with things on my plate that I already have tried and wouldn't really care to be eating again. This though was a first for me.

We were later told by one of our friends that it is "Palau's Number One Dessert!" And, we found out what exactly it was ... even after tasting it, I had no idea! It is made from the tapioca root and sounded really intensive to make. The root has to be bbq'ed several times, then ground up and cooked again in coconut milk. It didn't taste too bad. Just different. Sort of flavored like licorice? I'm not really sure how to describe it well ... just thought I'd share one of the many interesting things we get to eat here :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Doing Actual Work - part 1

I thought that since we are nearing the end of our time here, I should show at least a few photos of some of the "work" we've done while we've been here...

One of our first projects was scraping over 700 wasp nests off the underside of our house. It wasn't an easy or fun job, but at least we could see pretty immediate results. And, the view from under the house is still pretty nice :)

"We" (Jason) cleaned out our water tank as the water was not too great tasting ... all that black gunge on the bottom is from the pine trees that surround the house, ending up in the rain gutter which leads to our water supply. Even though there is a screen on the tank, plenty still gets through.

Many of the hinges on the bathroom door & windows have needed to be replaced. Sea spray does a number on anything metal.

We quickly realized that the bathroom roof needed to be replaced ... I don't think you're supposed to be able to see sunlight through the roof!

The pretty new roof!

This plastic sheeting in the bedroom area of the house had just been shredded from the constant, strong winds the house gets on that side. We even had a few evenings where we got a "free" shower in the middle of the night from the rain blowing in!

No more wind or rain is getting through this!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Watching Dolphins

Frequently, we will be sitting on our deck enjoying our breakfast when we will look out and notice something very shiny moving in the water. We'll usually jump up and try to get a closer look and sure enough, it is a pod of dolphins making their way around the island. Sometimes they do wonderful spinning jumps and other times, just casually swim along with just their fins showing. Although these aren't great shots, I thought they'd give you an idea ...

These two shots don't have any dolphins in them, but I just couldn't resist taking a picture of the beautiful water. Even after living here and getting to see this everyday for the past nine months, I still am in awe of just how gorgeous this place is that we get to call home.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Touring Babeldaob

In April, when we were in Koror, our incredible friends, Ty & Kelly, not only hosted us, but took us on a great tour of Babeldaob - Palua's largest island which is connected to Koror via bridge. Babeldaob is the 2nd largest island in all of Micronesia (Guam is the largest). It was really fun to see some of the sights ... even just to see a few hills was really nice!

This is one of the resorts in Koror that we stopped at before we left.

The view just before we leave Koror and head to Babeldaob.

This is another traditional Bai, located in Aimelik state. You can see how it is sitting on piles of different sized rocks, a pretty crazy kind construction. Both the inside & outside has many traditional symbols, stories & legends painted on it.

This is Malsol's tomb ... the legend is quite interesting ... basically the village women stoned him to death and the stones that you see here are supposedly the actual stones used and can be traced back to the individual women who threw them.

Road to the beautiful North Beach Cottages Resort at the very northern tip of Babeldaob.

I'm trying to look relaxed & comfortable in one of the hammocks that lined this beautiful beach, but it was soaking from an earlier rain ... so not the most relaxing :)

These are Palau's stone monoliths.  You can see the black stones in the cleared area here, but apparently the cover quite a large area in this region.  No real ideas on how they came to be here, but the local legend is that the gods wanted to build a giant Bai, but didn't want anyone to know, so were building it during the night.  When a rooster crowed, they didn't know what it was, got scared and ran away.  Later, when they realized that the sound had only been a rooster, they were too embarrassed to return.  And so Palau was left with these stones.

Me, standing next to a monolith ... and Jason standing next to the same one! (well, perhaps not really, but we thought we'd try a bit of fun)

This is an ancient casket...

One of my favorite photos of the day ...

Does this building look vaguely familar? Sort off scarily out of place in this environment.

Some of the gorgeous scenary on our way back to Angaur. I never get tired of this.