Just the Mundane


Many of y’all have asked us to post more pictures, but now that we’ve been here a couple months, all the things that were so exotic and fun at first have now become commonplace. So, since I’m no longer a good judge of what an appealing picture would be, I thought I’d post pictures of the everyday sights around here – things that are now common and mundane for us, but were probably exciting when we first arrived.

Here are a couple of pics from around our neighborhood.

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Free-roaming chickens are always crossing the road. Why? The world may never know.

The local language doesn’t distinguish between “mountain” and “volcano” because all the mountains here are volcanoes. There’s usually a lot of humidity/fog (maybe there will be less during dry season?) so I still don’t have a good handle on what the scenery is, but we get a good glimpse from time to time.

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This has certainly begun to feel like home by now. However, we’re only in this location for language study until later this year, when we’ll move on to our target region.

Here are few pics from the downtown area in our city.
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Oh yes! I almost didn’t even think about it! Yes, in the above pic, Jim is indeed wearing a shoulder bag. It’s what the manly men do here.

This is some of the fish at the supermarket. It’s probably best that I don’t have a picture of the outdoor meat market.

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One of the banana shops. Lots of variety to choose from. 
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Another thing that is common here is having the electricity go out for a few hours at a time. It’s not a big deal; it just means we get to have more candle-lit dinners.

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One thing that’s a little more annoying, however, is running out of tap-water. It’s only happened twice in our first two months here, but I hear it happens often in dry season. Jim thought I was ridiculous for using some of the drinking water to bathe. I thought he was ridiculous for not doing the same. We make a good team. Balance each other out. =)

And this is what bath-time looks like around here. Probably this kid’s favorite activity of the day. Of course, non-potable water makes keeping him from drinking the bathwater a whole new adventure. He must think my reaction to his immunity-building antics is hilarious because he seems bent on finding new ways to ingest everything yucky. He may be a little roly poly now, but he will one day have a stomach of steel, that’s for sure (but for now, I will continue pumping him full of probiotics). Praise the Lord that Noah has stayed healthy so far! (wish I could say as much for the rest of us, but we are certainly grateful that it hasn’t been worse than it has)

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And I’ll leave you with a couple more pics of the scenery outside our city.

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These are some rice paddies with volcanoes in the background, a scene that I imagine characterizes this area pretty well.

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Our First Tropical Christmas

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Our Christmas had a very different feel to it this year, but it was a sweet time reflecting on our Savior’s birth and starting some new family traditions.

Plenty of days in the weeks leading up to Christmas, it just didn’t feel like Christmas season. There aren’t festive lights and music everywhere here. But if I would light a Christmas candle, put on some Christmas music and start baking, that would do the trick. Of course, baking here has been an adventure each and every time. I could write a whole IMG_0636series of blog posts about that (don’t worry, I won’t). Here is one of the “pumpkin” pies I baked. So far I can read very few of the ingredients on labels and signs, so I have to make do with whatever mystery items make it home with me from the market or grocery store.

Then there’s our oven. At one point Jim asked me if the pumpkin pies were finished baking, and he laughed when I simply and honestly replied, “Well, they’ve only been baking for twice as long as they’re supposed to, so they’re probably not done yet.”

 

I love, love, LOVE Christmas trees…Like a little kid… I didn’t know that we’d be able to find a Christmas tree here, so I was ecstatic when we brought this home and set it up. We’ve always enjoyed having real trees in the past (and this one sheds like a real one), but this is most certainly my favorite tree that we’ve ever had, and I’m sure this tree will see many fond Jobe-family memories made over the years.

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Hudson had just put the star on top.

 

Christmas morning we had some sweet family time. This is the gift Jim gave me. I might have cried…

Family picsOkay, I totally cried. We are so blessed to have such a large, wonderful, loving, extended family and we loved being able to Skype in on Christmas.

Here, people usually visit various friends and neighbors on big holidays. In the afternoon we took some esteemed “American cookies” to some neighbors, and we had some kids over to play. Hudson pulled out his new playdough and sidewalk chalk.

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One thing that I am ever grateful for is being away from all the commercial busyness of Christmas season.

Simplifying.

Focusing.

Focusing on the greatest Joy that this world has ever seen. O come, let us continue to adore Him, born the King of angels.

It was a very special Christmas season, and I look forward to many more tropical Christmases!

3 Signs That You Might Not Live in TX Anymore

1. You appreciate the free-roaming geckos in your home because they help keep the bugs out. I even saw a big juicy bug earlier today, and instead of killing it, genuinely thought, “Nah, I’ll leave it for the geckos so they’ll stay around.”

Yep, things have changed.

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2. You learn that company’s coming, so the first two things you do are sweep your porch and put water on to boil. Porches are kept squeaky-clean here. People don’t even wear their shoes on their front porch. What am I sweeping off of my porch you may ask? Of the millions of strange bugs that were swarming last night, a few thousand decided to kill over right outside my door. Our first night here, we somehow left a light on in the room where all our opened luggage was. The next morning, tens of thousands of dead bugs were all over and in EVERYTHING. The good news is, the swarms haven’t been the norm (and we also learned which light switches are for what), it’s just happened two or three nights since we arrived. Reference number one.

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This is not our house, just a random one. It probably has a squeaky-clean porch.

3. 10 people climb into a 5-seat vehicle and it still feels nice and roomy. I haven’t taken a picture inside one of the buses here, but we sometimes fit 20 people in a “bus” the size of a minivan. So it’s quite a treat when our coworkers give us a ride in their vehicle. Here, we accompanied them to a church service in a town up the nearest volcano.

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It’s been fun to have these thoughts and then afterward realize how my thinking has changed in little ways in the short time we’ve been here. Of course, for each one we mention, there are dozens more. Some are lighthearted and some quite sober, and most will probably happen without us even realizing it. And thus begins the long process of becoming.

Noah, of course, has begun to acclimate to the local culture faster than the rest of us, in behavior as well as appearance! Below, this was his own idea to whittle a stick on the side of the road.

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Okay, kidding. This is a neighbor boy. But he’s got mad skills. 😉

The First Week

It has been four days since we moved our little family to an island in Asia Pacific. We’ll be in this particular location for the next 8-12 months (until we move to a different island for the long-term) so we’ve been eager to show you our new home!

Our friends here picked us up from the airport and are helping us get settled – a huge help!

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This is what  typical traffic around here looks like.

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So of course we’ve all had to pick up some helmets

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Hudson is hilarious! He keeps telling people “Hi, I speak English. Do you?” And then disregarding the lack of response, he goes off in his usual fashion talking about any and every thing while people just smile and giggle. Of course, there’s nothing like a big pile of dirt to break down a little language barrier.
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Hudson also enjoys walking around the neighborhood naming all the chickens and roosters we come across in the street. His favorite one is “shaky-head.”

We’re loving the tropics and all the yummy fruit! I never knew bananas could taste so good! Seriously blew my mind!! Of course, there are a few volcanoes right around us, and we hear that lends to great soil for great produce! We’ll take it! The below pic is just around the corner in our neighborhood.
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Noah chowing down on some dragon fruit. This fair-skinned baby is quite the attraction here. We’ve found ourselves periodically pronouncing his name like the locals do: NoAAHHH. =)

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Some of the countryside

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We came just as monsoon season is beginning. It’s been raining for a few hours every evening, but we hear it’s supposed to rain more during the day as the season comes into full swing. Check out our beautiful backyard! 

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I wish we could show you the smells and sounds as well, but pictures will have to do. We’re enjoying meeting our neighbors and we’re having too much fun with all the newness to notice how tired we are, but suffice it to say we’ve been going to bed around 8pm each night!

 

Family Highlights

 

We recently enjoyed spending some time out in Clyde with my (Rachel’s) family. Here are some of the highlights that we’ve had with this special crew over the last few months.

Dinosaur Valley State Park

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Hunting dove right out the back door.

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When we’re all together, few (if any) days go by that we don’t pull out some board games. Usually we they will play well into the early morning hours.

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Hudson cannot get enough of his sweet cousins (and Nana’s never-ending supply of ice-cream)!

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And here’s proof that every now and then this Grandpa will change out of his wranglers and boots.

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Here, Hudson had lined up the chairs for Nana, myself, and the stuffed animals to watch him race.

“No tires, just gas!”

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And sometimes Nana pulls the race car.
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I’m glad you can’t pick your family, because I couldn’t have pick better if I had tried.