November 24, 2012

Getting Settled

The process of "getting settled" is slowly but surely happening for us.  Rubbermaid bins can still be found scattered about our house, still half full of stuff waiting for a permanent home - 3 of them making a good spot in our living room for our 16" tall Xmas-tree-in-a-bucket to temporarily sit upon (out of reach of Charlotte).

So to match our current "lifestyle" of choice, why not some slightly scattered, somewhat disorganized blog posts. After all, it is a bit hard to introspectively run about the island, camera in hand, until you can remember which rubbermaid bin has a clean t-shirt, and the leak in the back room is fixed, Et Cetera.
Above is a picture of our crates from Canada when I first started cracking them open in the hangar. Notice the hockey stick I thought brought 1/2 way around the world...Looks like more hockey might happen this year in Borneo than in the NHL. And oh yes, that's my toolbox waiting for some wheels & tools to get back in business!
I snapped a quick picture of our Quest Kodiak a few weeks back with the engine cowls off as we were doing a scheduled inspection (notice Mr.Toolbox in the back ground wheels on & loving being back working). Our program here is expecting a 2nd Kodiak soon, in fact, it should already be here. It will get put to work as soon as it arrives!
Here is a view of the MAF hangar from the airport side, to the right is the MAF offices. If you happen to notice how low the tail is on the Cessna 206 in the hangar, it was because the nose gear assembly needed a little love. On the far right, just outside of the picture on a little hill is a concrete Japanese machine gun bunker from WW2. That is material for another blog post, when I find a bit of time to introspectively run about the island, camera in hand :)
BC, Java, or Borneo. Dressing up like a pretty princess is universal for Helena.
One morning before breakfast sitting on the front porch!
Above, take note of Charlotte's red little nose. While at a friends house a few days before, she fell in a little rain water gutter, scraped herself up a bit, and barely cried. For almost a week, I must admit I gave her the nickname "Borris", after the late, great, (often not sober) leader of post communism Russia.
Quite the resemblance, eh?

November 10, 2012

Culture Shock at the Dock

This last week brought the arrival of our shipping container. A couple days ago, it arrived at the port here in Tarakan. The question for us became: How does one get his/her stuff out of a shipping container and to his house? Or, should I start with: Where is the Port? Basically, I didn't know where to start, or even how to know if our container had arrived. But thankfully here in Tarakan we have lots of fellow MAF'ers who have been there - done that. Brian Underhill kindly took the proverbial bull by the horns and found out my container had newly arrived, and so we headed off to check things out at the port!

So here comes the culture shock part. I felt like I was suddenly in a Tin-Tin comic book, or at least scene from a movie. Old trucks loaded up blowing black smoke into the air, rough looking dudes hanging off the side, an old crane working away - that I can't say I felt safe walking near. I guess it isn't that much different to the Indonesia I see everyday, but just the combination of it all in a new setting made it a memorable experience.

Thankfully Brian brought his camera to document a bit of it!

The above photo is us cracking the container open and waiting for the first truck. The guy in the light blue shirt is Pak Nelson, a MAF employee who thankfully came to help out us out (make sure we don't get into trouble).
 Above is a woman selling something...I'm not sure if it is something to drink, or to put in your truck.
It is amazing a truck as old as this Mercedes is still mostly in one piece, considering it's a hot / humid environment, right next to the ocean. A whole lot of bondo and a little paint goes a long way!
 That's our stuff being loaded on the left. 
 Somehow I don't think things at the Vancouver Port Authourity work quite like this.
Flip flops or boots, shirt or no shirt,  no problem. I love this photo! It kind of captures the 'feel' of the situation, whereas sometimes pic's don't do a situation justice. For most westerners, after awhile being stared at kind of becomes normal here, but when they are all tough looking dudes, it takes a bit of getting used to!
As 'exciting' as getting our container was, I'm pretty happy to have it in the past, and our barang-barang presently in our house. Thanks for all the help Brian!

November 1, 2012


The prospect of air travel with four little kids isn't something that personally excites me. That said, our kids did pretty good (once again) getting on and off airplanes for the day, and for that I'm thankful! Amy and I kind of mentally prepared ourselves because Charlotte currently falls in that age bracket of kids that is certainly the toughest age to travel...according to me. You can purchase my parenting advice book "How I Think You Should Raise Your Kids" in most major bookstores. The age I'm talking about is just under a year, and up to approx. 2 1/2 yrs. This is the "red zone", as they want to crawl, walk, or run, have extremely short attentions spans, and don't have any concept of where they're going. "Just hold still for 15 more minutes and we're there..." doesn't mean anything to them. But, by the grace of God, we were blessed with a sleepy Charlotte for the majority of the trip! That made things a whole lot easier.
 Helena playing on the Leap Pad in a quieter part of Jakarta International Airport. Having tricks in your bag (by tricks I mean video games) is a real asset when it comes to giving the kids something to do. So, here they're all glued to screens...I know, I didn't recommend this in my book, but better to do as I say, not as I do.

Boy, when I was a kid, if I was bored, my Mom would give me an old stick, and air conditioning was being allowed to roll down the station-wagon window 4 inches (probably only 4 inches so i couldn't throw my old stick at on-coming traffic).
 Simon with Amy's cell phone....
 Luke with the iPod...(and Dad with his camera)
 But not Charlotte! This was the time for her to run and stretch those legs, before boarding the 2nd flight of 3.

In Tarakan we were greeted by most of the MAF Tarakan team, and instantly felt at home. We're thankful for all the efforts people made here to help us feel at home in our first week!

Next time I promise some pic's of Tarakan.