Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hi, we're the Harringtons

After a long hiatus, we're back! August was my last post... such a long time ago. Many things have happened over the course of these past few months. Before I "de-brief" about those things I feel like I should re-introduce myself to you, because I feel like we're those people who haven't seen each other in a while and maybe we've forgotten each other's names. So to slay the awkwardness before diving into life together again, let's get reacquainted before taking our future steps in our shared journeys.

First, and most importantly, we are followers of Jesus. My name is Amber. My husband, Josh, daughter, Kate, and I live in Papua, Indonesia. Indonesia is a group of islands that stretch across a space that's about 3 times the size of Texas. (Oh, I'm also from Texas and measure all things accordingly.) Papua is the farthest province to the east. We share an island with Papua New Guinea (after all these years I still can't spell PNG properly!!). The island is split down the middle- east side is PNG and the west side is Papua, Indonesia. We've been in Indonesia since 2008, where we began our journey after 1 year and 6 days of marriage in the big city of Jakarta. We started language school in Bandung for 9 months, and relocated to Papua in 2009. We aren't sure where "home" is. When we're here home may be America; when we're in America home may be in Papua; when we're on an airplane home may be wherever our destination is. Josh is from Washington state, and I'm from Texas. Kate was made in Indonesia, born in Texas, and was back in Papua at 4 months old. This is the only place (outside of visa trips and vacations) that she has [remembered] calling home. 

Josh serves as a mechanic and helps maintain regulations at a small non-profit organization (Yajasi) that has ties to Wycliffe in America. The primary focus is to provide safe air transportation for Christian workers to and from difficult/impossible to reach interior villages. These Christian workers are involved in a variety of projects at various stages. Some are just getting boots on the ground for the first time and learning the tribal language; some have started translating the Bible; some have learned the language but are involved in developing oral Bible stories that can be communicated and shared with others to ensure that God's Word is being talked about in gardens, on front porches- every where; church planting, discipleship, community development, literacy, education...some have completed the New Testament and are involved in translation of portions of the Old Testaments; and some are wrapping up their time here and are returning to their passport countries. Safely maintaining the airplanes takes many hands and involves much more than "just turning a wrench". 

I am a stay-at-home momma. My days are filled with coloring with broken crayons, having stickers stuck all over me and furniture, filling juice cups, sharing snacks, laundry, cooking from scratch, and serving my family. God is tuning my heart to show me how wonderful it really is that I can spend every day with Kate and how I can strive to make my home a place of peace that anyone can "feel" when they step in. **The height of this peace is at nap time, which if you come over during that time proceed with caution...** 

We enjoy life here. It's always summer here. The beach is an hour away in either direction. Tropical fruit is delicious. Rain on a metal rooftop makes the best sound for great sleeps. Now, there are very difficult and challenging things about life here- separated from family and friends, so we "miss out" on major life events; food is totally different- grocery stores, places to eat, things to eat, cooking; no parks; trash; mosquitoes that carry diseases; diarrhea; friends leaving, friends coming and then leaving again... I have to stop, because if I stop and consider ALL these things at one time, I find myself wondering what in the world am I doing here! Usually a few of these things is always happening- I just thought of two more- airplanes flying over our house ALL day, and unreliable power, which is a very polite way of explaining how I REALLY feel about that. Wow, sorry for the negative turn. 

I'm rambling now. Now that we've been reacquainted, we can pick up where we left off in our journey. I hope to write more often now that life has "slowed down" a bit. 

The Harringtons-that's who we are. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Selamat Jalan

There are few things in life I dread, but the month of May is one of them. The month of May sends my heart into a mix of emotion ranging from relief because the end of the school year is here to deep sadness because good friends are leaving, some for a short time others with no plans to return. The weeks leading up to graduation have me continually saying good-bye and trying to squeeze in just a few more minutes together. The week after graduation there's a large void in my heart. It's me grieving, I know. This happens every year. This year we said "See ya later" to the Ferderers.

I knew I would be friends with them the first time they ever said anything! We were at a teachers meeting for the beginning of the school year and the new teachers were introducing themselves. Ben said," My name is Ben. My wife's name is Michelle. We are the Ferderers, it rhymes with murderers." I never forgot their name, and instantly knew we would be friends. 

Ben and Michelle served as nurses and teachers. Michelle was the first person in the entire world that I emailed a picture of Kate's dirty diaper so she could tell me if it was normal. She has been a constant benchmark of what normal is in parenthood. Our girls loved to play together. Kate still will ask for E when we drive by your old apartment.

There are way too many memories to share here, so I'll share some photos that spark lovely times spent together. These pictures don't capture the companionship that encouraged us to just keep going. They don't capture the tears shared or the hard questions asked that provoked insightful conversations about ourselves, God, and each other. They don't capture all the meals shared together. They are only a glimpse of the journey we share together.

Rockin' the "Dad Plaid" and the babes are wearing neon

We miss you! We're looking forward to meeting up when we're stateside. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Teething Troubles

This post is real life. 

Teething is hard- on everyone! 

Melts downs by the second- both by baby and momma.

Sleep schedules disrupted. 

You do whatever it takes for silence. 

The few moments of silence will be interrupted by the phantom crying or screams that are ringing in your ear, maybe someday in a few years that will eventually disappear. 

**Before reading any further I'd just like to say that if you're past this point you may consider giving advice or judging these actions.  

You may also want to say something like: "Well at least she's not..." Please don't. 

Trust me, I have already done that to myself.

Then I remember and am encouraged by the fact that I did whatever it took for a few minutes of quiet. I bet if you think back you'll remember some of those moments when you did whatever it took for quiet.

  If you're in this stage right now do what you need to do to ensure sanity in your house and life! You have my permission and support to do whatever it takes!**

Kate's bed is big enough for a children's soccer team to fit in it. So I climbed in, just to calm her down. Immediately she pinned me to the bed and passed out.  I was trapped and had no idea how long I would be there before she woke up.
 It was super sweet to have my little one cuddling on me. She rarely snuggles. It reminded me of those sweet moments when she was tiny. 

And then this happened....

That didn't last long...

Then she pulled a fast one on me...

and left me snuggling with Ms. Cow instead of Kate. 

Every day is different. This emotional roller-coaster that she's experiencing is new to me.It's new to her too. So new she doesn't even know or understand the variety of emotions she's feeling- she's learning what all of them are for the first time!

 I need so much prayer for wisdom, patience, grace, and the ability to release myself from this unrealistic standard I have for this type of Momma I want to be or think I should be. I want to be free from how I think I should be/act as a mom. 

I just want to love Kate well. 
I just want to reflect Christ well to her. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Blind Taste Test

Blind taste tests are not something I would normally recommend when living in a foreign country, but when it's in your own house I'd say it might be okay. 

Josh likes coffee. Josh is creative. Josh has combined these two characteristics and has begun roasting his own coffee. The creative process has been adapted- it went from roasting them in the oven to heating them on the stove top in one type of pan to using a different pot to now using a heat gun. The heat gun, the latest and fastest way to roast your coffee, shuts of the power to our house so everything else needs to be turned off for the magic to happen without interruption. To me, the 2 cups a year person, it's a messy process; to the 2 cups a day/ love of my life person it brings a lot of joy to create something he enjoys. 

He received a special bag of Pikes Place Roast from Starbucks as a birthday present in the mail. He wanted to put his coffee against PPR. Challenge accepted. He brewed the coffee the same way, poured them in identical cups (the cup with the black tape on the bottom was his roast), had a blindfold, and I had the video camera. 

The result: He knew right away which cup was which. He still said his roast was pretty good. I'm not sure if he ever said which was "better". There was no clear winner- if you mean spitting out the loser. 

Would your favorite coffee stand a challenge to Josh's Papuan Roast?? Bring it on. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Dentist Visit

Before we moved from America to Indonesia, I started to grind my teeth at night. I hear this is your body's reaction to stress, which we were (and are) experiencing a lot of. My local dentist suggested I wear a night guard to help protect my teeth and jaw from the night time stress relief. I've used that night guard every night for about 7 years or so. Recently the back teeth on both side cracked from the intense grinding that is happening every night. My teeth weren't touching, so I didn't think it was that big of a deal. 

Not too long later I noticed that things felt off on one of my molars. My tongue would get caught on something on top of the tooth. I called the Colombian dentist for help.

The patient reclined in a lawn chair. I told him my story, he examined my mouth, and agreed there was a problem. He said," Okay, before we get started we're going to give you the injections." I started to panic- I don't like needles (seriously, who does LIKE needles? No one. Well no one should.) My heart rate increases and it takes an incredible amount of strength not to run out of the room. The Doc could see I was uneasy and prayed before the procedure began. His Papuan assistant held my hand, patted my arm, and reassured me how good a patient I was. She was very calming, and helped me through the injections. 

The dentist was able to fit me for a new mouth guard, which he ordered from Jakarta. He also repaired the damage done to a filling. The grinding had busted one of my fillings. I'm so grateful for his skill and service to both the expat and Papuan communities. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Easter Week Review

This Easter our organization held a family retreat. Our colleagues from all over Papua gathered together to have times of fun, fellowship, and learning. A church from California sent a group to run nursery through high school activities for kids, and their senior pastor taught from the book of Hebrews. I am so grateful for a great nursery crew who cared for Kate. She left the weekend learning how to use crayons to color and how to nod her head yes. I was thankful for a break from routine, but was really happy to get back to it once the weekend was finished. 

Prior to retreat weekend, a massive amount of food needed to be prepared. An incredible team stepped up to the challenge of feeding 200 people, 8 meals, in 4 days in a place where you can't just run to your local Costco or Sam's Club and purchase items in bulk. Weeks before meat was cooked, sauces were made, items were purchased and stored throughout the community. Kate and I went on a couple of shopping trips to helps purchase some of the materials. 

We also went to the open air market with our house helper to purchase produce for the retreat. This was the first time Kate had been to the pasar, and it was the first time I had been in a while. I enjoyed going with Ibu Engge and now feel more comfortable going to pick up a few items. 

Our shopping cart was a guy pushing a wheelbarrow. He followed us through the market and our kilos of produce was loaded into the cart. 

Honestly, you never know what you may find here. You may find shark in the meat market, ready-to-eat bat, beautiful handmade bags, or feathers of rare species like a Bird of Paradise.

Kate learned how to use crayons after the retreat. She brought home some beautiful artwork. 

She wore a pretty dress with bunnies on it that a neighbor friend gave her for her 1st birthday. The bow lasted for about 20 minutes, much longer than any of us thought was possible! 

The dress I chose for her to wear on Easter arrived a few days later in the mail. So we saved it and she wore it to church on a sunny Sunday. 

The week of Easter I went to a program put on by a local school for Papuan students. Papua School of Hope (SPH) has a holistic approach to education- teaching them spiritually, physically, and intellectually. The students produced a drama of the final week of the life of Christ. They sang beautiful songs and helped us see what the last week was like for Christ. A friend from a Bible study group I attend was directing the program. They did a wonderful job! 

So while the weeks prior to Easter were very busy, I'm so grateful we had a retreat weekend set aside that helped us focus on what is really important- Jesus. The teachings were about the supremacy of Christ in all things. This was a great reminder for me to check my attitude in difficult situations and a new picture of the meaning of the resurrection was painted for me. A new personal appreciation of the meaning behind the resurrection was created. Happy Resurrection Sunday! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Glimpse of Kate

Kate loves to play. She loves to play with her neighborhood friends. She loves to play with friend who will read to her, let her "play" with their Ipods, run with her, pump her on their scooters, and sneak her snacks. 

Kate loves to run around with next to nothing on. I'm also convinced she's got a sixth sense to know when the front door is open and makes a break for it. One morning there was an escape and she was only wearing pants- no shirt, no shoes. She was happy to play in the front. 

Until she saw her friends. She the tried to squeeze her way out of the gate and when she realized that was impossible she stood at the gate and cried. 

So we ran inside, grabbed her shoes and freed her. Then this happened...

This melts my heart. This neighbor LOVES Kate. No matter where he is, when he spots Kate he runs to her to tell her hi, to hug her, or brush her cheek with his hand. He and his brothers will often pump Kate around on their scooters. 

The days here can be really hot. So we've started playing in the water hose. Kate enjoys watering (drowning) our basil plant and two other potted plants. The sun was so intense, she was only out for about 15 minutes right before lunch and came in with pink arms! Note to this momma- put sunscreen on Kate!  

Another day the power had gone out. It was a super hot day and the power had been off for hours. Nap time is next to impossible on these kinds of days, so we brought out Kate's bathtub and filled it up with cold water from the hose. Wearing a swimsuit and water shoes, she passed the day by playing outside on the front porch. After a little while, this same friend came outside on their porch. I said he could come over if it was okay with his momma. 

Scooters, a water hose, bathtubs, and friends- what more could a girl ask for? 
Images by Freepik