Joy's parents just left yesterday after spending a few weeks with us here in Tarakan. The kids had an absolute blast with them playing countless games of Monopoly, building Legos, reading books, and generally just hanging out together. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of that...guess I was too busy working or playing to take pictures. Oops! But here's one of Britton with a monitor lizard from a few days ago.
Two weeks ago, "Baca" and Grandma Hlavka payed for all of us to go to the pool on the other side of the island. Not only that, but they also bought a HUGE platter of french fries and a bunch of fried rice for all of us. The kids thought they'd won the lottery!
Last weekend, we made ice cream with our old fashioned ice cream churn--a gift from my parents waaaaaayyyy back on our first anniversary (I think. Maybe it was Christmas. I don't remember.) Anyway, we've taken it to Oregon, Alaska, back to Oregon, and now to Indonesia. The neighbors and Baca and Grandma all got to help churn and then eat it!
Tarakan is not known as a tourist destination. In fact, Lonely Planet pretty much says don't bother coming here unless it's on the way to somewhere else. However, we think there's plenty of fun and adventure here...if you're looking for it. One of the things we like to do is go for little "jungle" walks if/when time allows. One day a few weeks ago we found ourselves walking down this little flowing muddy stream, surrounded by very tall grass. The kids are always looking for critters along the way, and we're rarely disappointed.
Speaking of critters, I think I'll show you a few more of the monitor lizard. Some of the coolest critters come right into our yard (or in this case the neighbor's yard.) Steve, our new Program Manager and good friend is in the process of moving into the house just above ours. A few days ago while up there working he came across and caught this little monitor lizard. Knowing that Britton would love to see it, he handed over the "beautiful sheila" or "handsome bloke" (I have no idea what it was) to the smiling animal lover.
After keeping it for a few hours to observe and "study" it, and of course to show his daddy when I got home from work, he released it back into our yard. It stayed for quite a while on our little palm tree, just sitting completely motionless until it was sure it was safe. Notice the fire ant on it's nose. It wasn't biting the lizard, but simply crawling down the tree and in the process, over the lizard. The monitor lizard never even twitched.
And because he/she was sitting motionless, I looked deep into it's eyes, and what do you think I saw? Well, I saw a reflection of the sky, a palm tree, our fence, and me! Yikes!
By the way, one of the pieces of luggage that Joy's parents were bringing over here never showed up. The airlines have now stopped looking for it. It's officially gone. It contained 48lbs of home-schooling books and supplies, which Joy was hoping to start using next week. Obviously that won't be happening. But MAF is working on a plan to get a replacement order and shipment on the way. Please pray that we can find an affordable and efficient method to get the replacement books for the kids schooling in a timely manner. Thanks!