Wednesday, December 20, 2006

moving home

Here is my first post in my home country. It feels strange to be back and is a little like an out of body experience which I am still very much getting use to.

Our house is still very empty and echoey as we wait for our goods to return to Oz from PNG, but it seems we are busy getting into the flow of life back here.

It is only 5 days until Christmas, and we are certainly not in the festive spirit at all.

Madison is adjusting slowly and has reverted to less solids, waking up periodically in the night and more out of character emotions. I think he is missing his friends just like we are.

I haven't had a chance to download my last photos from PNG but will do so when I get a chance.

Will blog again later when I have more time to reflect on things.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

reflections on life in PNG

The past few days have been a time for reflection and reminiscing about my time here in PNG and the changes - outside, and within.

Personal growth has been immense and I hope that I have been able to teach others as much as I have learnt myself.

As I drive around at dusk, I see families gathering out the front of their homes after a hard day's work. The children come out to play in the cooler hours of the day. It is a social time now where many stories are shared. There is no hurry to go anywhere, or to do anything. Just a time to relax and reflect.

Apart from friendships made here, I think what I will miss the most is the priority that relationships have over everything else. It is more important to maintain that relationship than get that job done, or to help out where possible instead of rushing off and doing your own thing.

Sometimes I feel that Western Society as a whole is a little fast paced. Too fast to stop and enjoy the small things (which are really the big things) in life. I like that people stop to help you when you are stranded, or to pick up a heavy suitcase when it seems you can't. I like that strangers will smile and make time to kiss your baby and talk to you like a long lost friend. I will miss the focus on people, rather than the job at hand.

Talking doesn't even have to happen. Even just to sit and 'be'.

There are things that Western Society can learn from a Developing Country.

We just need to learn to find the right balance.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

strange sleeping positions

It's high time I posted some recent shots of Madison and his strange sleeping habits. Mind you, most of it is too cute, and some a tad dangerous - but mostly entertaining.

We are starting to use those little seatbelts on his rocker now...

Above: Maddy in his "vintage" OshKosh (thanks to big sis Kell!); rolling over in the rocker; not scared of the dark (or making a mess on the sheets either).

ADRA family day

On Monday, ADRA hosted its annual family day.

It was held at the Lae Botanical Gardens. The weather was hot, hot, hot! But we all had a great time enjoying volleyball, soccer and the yummy food.

It was also a time to say goodbye formally to my work colleagues which was sad. I tried hard not to cry when I said my farewell speech. I will always treasure the time I have spent working for ADRA and the many friends I have made. I will never forget it.

On a lighter note, Madison had a lovely time being passed around to all his special friends. It got so hot, we gave him a little 'waswas' under the tap and then he went "Commando" for the rest of the day! He enjoyed being a discoverer and played with our receptionist Jenny's pet puppy. We had to teach him not to pull the puppy's ears though!

I hope you enjoy the pics of the family day as much as we enjoyed attending.

Above: Bonifas with Madison and the puppy; Linda, Me, Lillie and Sandy; "Nambawan" with Maddy, Jeff, Alu and Lorraine.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


It's finally happened.

Madison has his first two teeth. They made their way through his bottom gums just last Monday and now they tap nicely on a glass when he is drinking.

They came with relatively little fuss, a lot of extra sleeping and just a few grizzles.

He is enjoying the new feel of the teeth as he is often pulling funny little faces as he discovers the foreign objects in his mouth. It is most entertaining to watch.

Maddy has also discovered that he can move - backwards. He gets himself into lots of corners and discovers he can't get out... but we are having to watch his every move now.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

village life

This last weekend, we went to Port Moresby and visited Irupara, a coastal village about two hours from there. We had a wonderful time and had a chance to catch up with old friends Zillar and VJ, who we haven't seen for more than two years as they have been in Australia (we did a swap - they went to Adelaide - Zillar received a masters scholarship at Flinders).

Some of you may not be aware that Steve was born in Rabaul, PNG and so he has many wonderful memories here. VJ is one of his old friends and they spent much of their time during the weekend reminiscing about their childhood. It sounded like they had lots of great times together.

Madison had his first taste of Kulau (water from the young coconut) which he just loved (he drank two glasses), and he enjoyed thoroughly what village life had to offer.

We enjoyed swimming in the salty water which was cool and refreshing. We also had the opportunity to visit parents of another of Steve's old friends.

Now, we are going back to Australia, it will be the first of many goodbyes we will have to say. It was sad to leave our friends, but it is is great to know that the world is becoming a smaller place for us, and we know they aren't far away.

Above pictures: Zillar with Madison, Maddy enjoying a glass of kulau, Kym and Maddy at Irupara Village Church.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

can't hurry shopping

Today I realised that you can't do anything in PNG whilst in a hurry.

I went grocery shopping and was stopped many times by strangers wanting to hold Madison. It's a weird thing. I guess white babies are much more rare in Papua New Guinea and perhaps they don't feel comfortable asking a less approachable person! Perhaps I should smile less :-)

It was quite funny today as two young girls (they were students from the local TAFE) who actually wanted to take him for a while and bring him back later. I think I drew the line with them holding him in the supermarket aisle! But it was funny as they held him for AGES. One of the girls even commented that she wanted a 'white man' so she could have a cute baby.

I was keen to finish the grocery shopping, but there wasn't any hurry...


As part of the 'moving clean out', I have been transferring all my laptop photos to Steve's Mac. It's been a fun process, and has got me all reflective (again). I guess photos have a way of doing that.

I thought I would post some updated pics of our beautiful girls with their little brother, Madison.

Steve is in Australia and is so lucky to be spending some time with the girls. I am jealous as I have barely seen them this year. It's only weeks before Christmas, so at least I get to see them (albeit briefly with Kelly as she is hoping to go to Cambodia for short volunteer stint). But brief is better than nothing.

Look at that sisterly love, won't you?

Friday, October 27, 2006

five months old

On Wednesday, Maddy was five months old.

He is as dreamy as ever. He loves sitting up and watching tellie with Dad (very cute!) and falling asleep in strange positions. His small sleeps of half hour every three hours has finally merged into one longer sleep which means I get more time to finally finish tasks (ie. washing up, cleaning etc.). In fact, the house hasn't been so tidy since he was born :-) Now there's an admission.

Anyway, just some five month old pics for you...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


It's started. The cleaning out and the culling. It's amazing how in four years you can accumulate so much stuff. Well, we have decided it is too much to take back with us and so we're going nuts.

I might be going a tad overboard though. Every book, DVD and kitchen item has now been catalogued. Yes, it was a productive weekend and we now won't be under-insured. I am not sure if my husband thinks it is such a good idea, but anyhow...

On the more serious side, the goodbyes have already started, and Esther (our house girl) even cried last week. She is unsure of her future when we go, and she is wondering if she will get more work. There are so many people dependent on us here for their livelihood. So, it seems we will be missed. It makes us feel sad and guilty. What we do here does seem to make a small difference, and it's all we need to feel more convinced to stay a little longer. It's a tough one. But we must be strong.

Monday, October 16, 2006

maddy progress report

Maddy is now 20 weeks and he is doing well reaching his baby goals.

His news tricks include: holding his arms out when he wants to go up or across to someone, sitting up without wobbling and eating his toes. He is almost turning over in order to reach for things (especially loud crinkly stuff) and gets frustrated if he can't get it.

He delights in eating tissues (or anything he can get his hands on for that matter) and he is even drinking from a glass. When his gums are pressed up against the glass we can see his two bottom teeth just waiting to push their way through. They'll be here any day now.

Not a day goes by that I don't count my blessings that he is an easy baby. Steve is away this week and so I spent a little longer at the office today (nothing to rush home for). I was in a meeting and between conversation I could hear squeals of delight and laughter. Madison was having the time of his life. He just continues to charm everyone over with that great big cheeky grin and funny facial expressions!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

best friends

As I have said before, Madison has made many friends in Papua New Guinea.

As well as impressing all the girls at my office, he is starting to melt hearts at Steve's work too.

Aunties Ravu and Pauline swipe Maddy from my arms when they see him, and they are often AWOL for quite some time.

It seems they have lots of fun just hanging out and taking self-snaps...

Monday, October 09, 2006

first party

On Sunday afternoon, Madison went to his first party.

It was Pratik Saggurthi's 2nd Birthday party and it was a lot of fun. For everyone except Maddy, that is.

He burst into tears each time the music stopped in "pass the parcel" when the other children squealed in delight.

He cried when the grown ups became "mummies" wrapped in toilet paper.

And he didn't really get excited when the candles were being blown out.

In fact, he decided to have a sleep in middle of it all.

Oh, he did seem to (sort of) enjoy the little ride on the yellow pony with Sahil and Pratik on their blue one.

I figure he is probably too young to enjoy parties just yet, but the other kids (and the grown ups) had a wonderful time!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

rainy weekend

This weekend has been a wet one with rain pouring down all night and all day. In fact, it is one of my favourite things about living in Lae. The weather is very tropical and humid, but in wet season, it rains (no, pours) all the time. And in dry season it only rains at night. We get around 4 metres per year (wouldn't it be lovely if all this rain could somehow be transferred to Australia to help end the drought?).

This morning Steve and I slept to rain on our roof after a night of watching way too many movies (three in all). It was nice to vege out, but I know too well that late nights will come back and bite me! I can’t be sure when Maddy will wake up, so it is a gamble staying up late.

Luckily Maddy woke only at 1am (we were still watching movies) and again at 6am. It meant that I dragged him to our bed early in the morning and fed him (how lazy) until he fell back asleep until around 9am which was so nice. When he awoke we spent some time talking to him and watching his little activities.

We are both amazed at how quickly he has changed from being ‘blob-like’ (ie. just watching things) to grabbing and eating everything in sight! We reckon it was only two weeks ago that he learnt to use his hands, and now we can’t do anything with him on our lap for fear of disaster. Plates, cups, knives and forks have all moved 10cm further away from the edge of the table and our bills (very tasty), no longer can sit on the lounge room coffee table for long.

And our hair! Steve suffers from this more than I do (since I have recently had all my hair cut off), but Maddy is pulling out Steve’s hair in bunches. When I bath him at night he usually has some hair entwined around his fingers or toes which is evidence of what he has been up to!

Despite this, we still do attempt to do things with him on our laps. In fact, after we got ourselves up today, and had our cooked brunch (the usual Sunday tradition), Steve had Madison on his lap while checking out some new guitar tabs on the internet. Maddy looked at Steve as if to say, "I am your biggest fan." It's too cute for words!

Friday, October 06, 2006

captured moment

Maddy has developed quite a nice relationship with our ‘haus meri’ Esther.

On the days she works, she rushes into the house to see what Madison is up to. She usually grabs him and talks to him in tok pisin which I think he is starting to understand as it is spoken to him lots!

The other day she was playing with him and he just cuddled up to her and she was just dying for a photo with him. So, I grabbed the camera. Aaaw, isn’t it cute? I will get it printed too so she can have her own copy too. I know she will treasure it for a long time...

Esther says every day how sad she is that we are leaving. It's hard after bonding with her for almost four years.


This week was an exciting one: we had our first hold up at the new office.

Two raskols held one of our drivers at gunpoint in our car park with a hand-made gun and took the keys to one of the ADRA four-wheel drives and took off. As they backed out of our driveway, they threatened our security guard and scratched one of our staff member's cars with the stolen vehicle.

They didn't get too far thankfully as ADRA has installed motor vehicle kill switches in each car (yes, we've had cars stolen before) and they got as far as Kamkumung, which is about five minutes from the office before the engine stopped.

The police did catch them and had their way with them also, which wasn't very nice, and not uncommon. And we had two very shaken up staff members as a result of the hold up.

The vehicle came back in one piece, but what was interesting was the reaction of the ADRA employees as a result of the incident.

One of our staff members went to the police station with our driver to report the incident and took some photos of the raskols after they had been beaten up by the police.

He came back to the office and emailed the photos to the rest of the staff. Some of them were happy about the beatings as these employees felt retribution and 'payback' for their crimes. But there was a response from some others asking for forgiveness of these two men. Suggestions to assist these two raskols included feeding them, giving them bible studies and praying with them.

So guess what? A rehabilitation program has been arranged for the two raskols, food was provided for them, painkillers for their injuries and first aid equipment for their wounds. A few even spoke to one of the raskols (the other couldn't come to the interview room due to his serious wounds from the bashing) and they accepted offers of help. These guys were fed and prayed with by ADRA staff. What a turnaround!

One of our work guys said, "Just looking into the eyes of this young man my heart reached out to this lost soul. We offered a word of prayer in our hearts whilst Tamalu (see pic above of Tamalu with the hand made shotgun) chatted with the prisoners. And we pray that they will finally be lead to the saving Grace of our Lord Jesus."

It gets me thinking about crime in this country. There are many people who I know wouldn't dare come and live here because of the security issues. We see it first hand here regularly and see how people live in fear and won't leave their houses at night. There are continual break-ins, hold ups and even recently, our own lives were in danger and our car damaged extensively as a result of an attempted hold up. To say it was 'too close for comfort' is an understatement.

So, I was so proud to see that our own staff at ADRA, despite being sick of the crime waves and worried for their families' lives, stopping and thinking about what Jesus would do. Was it easy? No. Some of the staff that visited these raskols have been held up and had guns held to their own baby's heads.

How would we respond if it was our child? Our family? Our belongings? In the comfort of our nice homes and safe (well, compared to PNG) country. Would we do what Jesus would have done?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

first swim

On Sunday, we took Madison to the pool where he had his very first outdoor swim.

We covered his fair skin from head to toe with sunscreen, tshirt and hat and he still managed to get a little burnt on his nose and legs. That tropical sun here is pretty strong.

He was a little uncertain about the size of the kiddie pool, as it is much bigger than the bath... but he did enjoy it nonetheless.

After the swim, Steve decided it was time to teach Maddy how to show us his muscles. This game he has been doing for years as I know Kelly and Leah are a little familiar with this one too. It was a lovely day.

Oh, and do you like his little hat and bathing shorts? Thanks Shell, Chris and Alesia for the very practical PNG gift!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

baby boom

Today I have been thinking about my many friends who were all doing the same thing as us 12 months ago, and decided to have a family.

There's Jo and Brett who were like us and weren't sure if they wanted a family, but then the that damn clock starting ticking and us girls changed our mind! They welcomed a little girl Chloe 3 months ago.

Megan and Mark had a little girl Olivia Paige three months ago. The picture above is of Maddy and Olivia playing up. Maddy is such a chubba in comparison!

Nicola and Mike had a boy two and a half months ago and they named him Zebediah, and he is a little miracle IVF baby and just gorgeous.

My lovely cousin Holly and her hubby Angelo had their second baby, a boy name Joseph John only four days after Maddy was born.

Ali and Leighton had a girl, Charlie May just a day before Maddy.

Finally, Darren and Melissa who have been wanting a baby for years and had their little miracle just over a month ago.

The little gifts that we have been given are each a miracle, and I am so happy that we are all experiencing our very own journey with our new children. Enjoy the moments.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

cute things about my maddy

I just can't believe my little boy is already 4 months old. Where did the time go?

He is SO adorable.

Maddy is at the age where he can manage a conversation. We talk to him and he talks back. When I read to him, he likes to finish the sentence with me.

Then he smiles when I copy his fake cough or made-up words.

Or I am his knight in shining armour when he is crying and I pick him up. His tears quickly become giggles, and he kicks his legs in excitement like he does before a feed.

He even nestles his cheek into my cheek when he wants to get extra close. And his little arm goes around my shoulder when he ‘mmms’ himself to sleep. His head rests on my shoulder and I feel his warm baby breath on my neck.

In the morning when he wakes, Maddy makes little moans to remind us he is there, and the moment he sees me, it’s just the cutest. He breaks out in smile and even a giggle when he is lifted from his cradle.

I love that he recognises me and his eyes follow me around a room. I love that he knows that I am there for him always.

So this is the feeling of loving till it hurts...

His kisses are open-mouthed and sloppy, and he likes to chew my chin in gratitude.

It just melts my heart.

We have children to love. And that’s it. Not to create “mini-me’s”; not someone to pass on the family name.

There is no other reason.


Well, I had another birthday yesterday. And despite trying not to think about getting older, birthdays have a way at niggling at you.

Sometimes I wonder where the last 35 years have gone, but when I think more about my life, it has been full and mostly exciting.

I have spent almost four years in Papua New Guinea, three years before that living in the remote Western Desert of Australia, and I have travelled extensively around the eastern states of Australia for work. Travels also include Indonesia, and parts of Europe. I have met many people and experienced wonderful and difficult times. It's hardly been boring.

But now I am in a new phase of life called motherhood, and I do confess to enjoying this new chapter. I have never been more tired, exhausted and busy, but it's been the most rewarding experience ever.

One of the biggest changes in my life as a result of motherhood is the fact that my life is not as important as the little bundle in which I spend most of my day looking after and nurturing. In fact, I realised that since Madison was born, I have barely had time to look in the mirror to fully assess the aging process. (Now, there's a confession). But yesterday, upon closer inspection those lines are making their way deeper into the eye sockets, brow and mouth area. But with surprise I was not disappointed.

I like that my face is showing the character of a person who has experienced life to its fullest. The wrinkles around my eyes show the many afternoons spent in the hot desert sun on outing with the "Karalundi Kids" in the bush. The dark shadows under them is evidence that I have a little one dependent on me for EVERYTHING. The wrinkles in my brow remind me that life is full of worries and troubles for all of us and will continue to haunt our lives. The smile lines are from the many special moments I have had with precious family and friends, and the times my face has been pulled by tissues when life has dealt its horrid blows.

Yes, this face is looking older, but it is like a book that can be read, discovered and ready to tell many an adventure.

And when I get time to look at it again, I will see what new stories it has to tell.

ADRA family moments

When Madison and I returned to Papua New Guinea in August, the guys at my work (the Adventist Development & Relief Agency aka ADRA) put on a welcome party for Madison. It was a lovely gesture and it's needless to say he enjoyed all the attention. The staff at ADRA just love him and every morning he is swiped from my arms when I arrive at the office.

"Bubu" (Nana) Lillie always comments on his outfit for the day and he just loves her. Aunty Kisung sings to him and Aunty Linda plays fun games. The driver or security guard on duty gets him out of his car seat when I lug his things in. In fact, until he is starving hungry or asleep, I actually don't see him until then.

In fact, I am not greeted by "hello" anymore. The first thing is: "And where is Maddy?" He is truly the star of this show! He is getting totally spoiled by them, but I know that he is happy with his ADRA family, and they love spending a little time with him!

As most of you know we return to Australia permanently in December, and so I have been quite reflective of our 3 1/2 years here and of the many friendships made. Its these sorts of things that I know I will miss.

Someone else that Maddy will miss is Agnes. She also looks out for little Maddy when he is in the office. The picture above is one of Maddy, me and Agnes cutting our 'welcome home' cake.

By the way, Agnes has been with ADRA for the past 15 months. She is truly an inspiration and one smart lady who has just been promoted - from Project Accountant to Finance & Property Manager. I know she will do a great job in her new role.

Steve and I are starting to make plans for our departure and I am even reading a self-help book called "Re-entry" which (hopefully) will help me to adjust to life back in "Western" culture. Mind you, going home for 4 months this year was a jolly good start in the re-entry process! Believe it or not, upon returning to your home after living in another culture is almost as hard as adjusting when first arriving in a strange land. Re-entry is also called reverse culture shock. So, there you have it. More on this later!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

can I backdate?

Hmmm, since I started this blog it's been 3 months without a new posting! So much for uploading regular installments. I guess this means I will have to work backwards. But for now a brief update is definitely in order.

I started this blog when I was still in Adelaide, South Australia just after the birth of Madison. My best friend Janine inspired me as she wanted regular updates on Madison when I returned to PNG. Well, the idea was just great, except I am still sending emails and not using the blog. New tricks are hard to teach an old dog.

And just so you know, I thought I was good at this technology thing, but it is obvious that my understanding on how to use this blog is limited as I had to go through the help files to remember how to add entries and post pics. How sad :-) Anyway, I am hoping I will get better at this with time... Oh, back to the update:

I am still so smitten by my little one that even in the middle of the night when he is crying and I am tired, all I have to do is look into his cradle and see this little creation my husband and I have made and I just fall in love with him all over again. So, I am still loving motherhood and all the wonderful (and not so wonderful things) that go with it.

For now, baby Madison has just hit the 4 month mark. He is still quite an easy baby, but has discovered the higher range of his vocal chords - otherwise known as squealing. Not so happy with this stepping stone, and Steve and I have tried to convince him that squealing is only for girls. But to no avail, as he is totally ignoring this bit of advice. So, while he is playing, he is happily high-pitched and trying out other new things with his voice.

The other new thing he is doing is this fake cough. I hear it is all part of the discovery phase and so am happy to humour him... but is is funny when he coughs as it sounds so fake! A bit of a laugh really. When I cough back, he laughs - so he knows it's a joke!

Friday, June 30, 2006


Well, I thought it was high time I started a blog of my own to keep my precious family and friends up-to-date with our life.

Mind you, I now have a very good reason - the birth of our little man Madison, and the fact that we live in Papua New Guinea. Plus the fact that I spend a lot of my life posting photos to everyone individually. What a novel idea that people can log in at any time and know what we have been up to and view new pics!

I hope you enjoy my blog which will feature our life in PNG and news of our lovely children - Kelly, Leah and of course Madison.

Thanks for stopping by!