supportive grandparents and a few friends behind. Unfortunately, we had too
many connections (so we were told) to check our luggage through to Port
Moresby, PNG. So we reclaimed it in LA and transferred to the international
terminal at LAX for our flight to Sydney. To our surprise, the ticket agent
told us after a couple minutes “Your visas are not being accepted.” (Oh my!) As
it turned out, because we had so many hours of layovers in Australia, we needed
an Australian visa as well in order to continue on our journey. This would cost
us $50/person. So we said ok, and she began the process, and I was praying
while Noe dealt with that.
weigh one of our carry-ons for her. Which of course was too heavy, so we had to
take some things out, break a zip-tie on a luggage and throw things in there… 3
times… then she was satisfied and walked away. Finally the visas were finished
and we got our boarding passes and tiredly headed toward the security
checkpoint to the right. We stopped by the payphones to pray because we were a
bit frazzled. As we approached the front of the security line, he told us to go
back to the other security checkpoint as he was closing this one. Ookkkk. It
was by now 8pm, and our poor, patient (I think patient?) children hadn’t eaten
since lunch, but they hung in there (barely) with us. They are such troopers!
We cleared security, and followed the signs to the dining section of the
terminal. We reached the end of the terminal and realized we’d gone the wrong
way. No food. Ookkkk. So we turned around and dragged ourselves to the other
end of the terminal where the food really was, and we ordered something and sat
we gave the kids a couple bites and then headed back to our gate. Lo and
behold, boarding was delayed. And delayed. However, the Lord encouraged us at
this point. A couple of gate agents announced that carry-ons should be checked
for size and weight. As we looked at each other with somewhat of an “oh great”
look, Noe saw that the ticket agent who dealt with us and our visas happened to
be over at our gate to help with the boarding process. Noe called her over and
thanked her again for her help. We chatted for a few minutes, and at the end
she told us she’d help us get on board with no problems. (!) Because of this,
we had no questions asked about our carry-ons. ALSO, Noe then informed me that
because we had not been angry or yelled at her (as most people apparently do),
she did not charge us for any of our visas. (!!)
to say. The girls slept all night, after eating a little bit of the food we
brought with us. Noe and I dozed off and on. 15 hours is a long time. But we
re-checked them for our domestic flights in Australia. Flew to Brisbane, then
flew to Cairns that evening (Wednesday the 23rd). CAIRNS! Oh
Cairns…. The international terminal locks up for the night by 10pm. Our plane
was late, so we arrived after 10pm. We claimed our bags (AGAIN), and were able
to stay in the baggage claim area of the domestic terminal until 12:30am. At
12:30am (or after the Guam flight I guess), the domestic terminal shuts down
and everyone must go outside. So we woke up from our floor naps, and went
outside with about 15 other people where we slept on the ground until 3am. As
Noe puts it, “We went camping in the outback!” Ha! (His optimism was great..
and we all did fine. Even when there was a lizard by my head, and later when I
thought an animal was on my head but it was just Naya’s foot…)
By 6:30am we were on our way to Port Moresby. NTM staff took us to their home
and let us rest in a guest house for the day. The girls enjoyed the parrots and
a brief swim in the pool. Mommy enjoyed a short nap. And finally, we took off
for our final flight to Madang, arriving uneventfully after 5pm on Thursday. An
NTM staff member met us, helped us get our luggage, and drove us back to the
salad sandwiches for dinner and some basic groceries for the next day, and a
couple hours later we were in bed. Well… actually we were all in ONE bed… Why?
|The center sits right on the South Pacific Ocean/Bismarck Sea|
everywhere in our house, and Jocie hasn’t been able to sleep in her bed yet
because of fear. She even said “I’m SO excited to do school, but I’m too scared
to sit at the table because of all the ants!” (Her fear is the prayer request,
but it should be noted that the amount of ants is no exaggeration. They are
surrounding me currently, and often crawling on my face, and they’ve been
darting in and out of the keys on the laptop. I could go on and on with
stories, but I don’t want to bore you.)
the time change. On. The. Money. The girls and I were awake at 3, and I had to
convince them to go back to sleep. The sun sets around 6:30 and rises around 6
or 6:30am. So that’s kind of the norm here, to go to bed at a decent hour and
rise with the sun.
toast with PB&J. We were fascinated how within 10 minutes of cooking the
eggs, when I took the skillet to wash it, there were EASILY a couple thousand
ants inside (!!). The girls are learning VERRRRRY quickly that even a small
crumb will draw a huge crowd of ants!
walk around the center, showed us our mailbox, etc. We had lunch with a staff
family (thank you!), took an afternoon nap, unpacked more, then had dinner with
a staff family (thank you!).
|Veggies from the market this morning, washed and drying|
This morning, Saturday, we were taken into Madang town by a
staff family. Naya and Jocie rode in the back with their 4 boys, and received
and extensive education about PNG life as we drove into town. We stopped first
at an open market, overflowing with vegetables and fruits. Noe also bought a
young coconut and we all enjoyed the coconut water. We went to a big store next
with lots of Asian pantry ingredients and the kids had an ice cream cone. Then
they took us to their favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch. Super yum! We
stopped at two more grocery stores, then brought our weary crew back home.
happy to have our internet set up now so we can update you who have so
faithfully supported us and walked with us so far! It’s so exciting to be here
finally, and we’re looking forward to learning the national language starting
around August 5th, once the other families and singles arrive.
dry season, so we’ll probably get rain almost daily.
point, and getting our bearings.
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