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Settling In

This post is a little more unstructured than most, but it’s a hodgepodge of my thoughts during our first couple of weeks settling in.

As I write this I am sitting in a comfy rocking chair in our living room (wow, we have a living room). It’s been a chilly morning- perfect for sweats and socks, but nothing like winter in the midwest. It’s really quiet here, not eerie quiet—I can hear a variety of birds, the occasional vehicle driving by our house, and a few other things— but I can feel that life here is slower, and I like it.

I am so excited to have a blank slate and have the chance to create new habits and routines. This new lifestyle has allowed for more structure in our daily lives, but also more space to slow down and soak in the day. We’ve been able to fit in breakfast and a Bible study together before Sam goes to work and I’ve made time to journal in the evenings before we wind down. It doesn’t always go to plan, but it has been really precious, sitting in our living room together studying about King David, sipping on tea and watching our neighbors walk by. I’m so thankful for this new season.

I’m enjoying the time at home, I’ve spent some time unpacking and envisioning how we want to arrange our space. I’m trying to remind myself that we have so much time to settle in and adjust since it’s our home, this one’s not as temporary. I can put things away wherever I want, even if that’s where they don’t end up later. And I don’t have to keep track of what’s “theirs” and what’s “ours”; we don’t have to give it back or put it a certain way when we leave—it’s our home and our stuff. I get that this may sound possessive or greedy, but I hope you understand the context; our experience with transition has meant that we’ve been very transient and we’ve really had to disconnect from the idea of having “things” and spaces of our own. Staying comes with new mental processing that I’ve not had the blessing of experiencing. It’s been like a treasure hunt discovering all of the things that come with our home.

Settling in includes things you would encounter in the States such as setting up internet and phone numbers, making sure we have transportation, going shopping, setting up our P.O. Box, and unpacking boxes. Being in a different country means it also includes getting adjusted to a 15 hour time change, learning which water is safe for us to drink, which outlets need adaptors or converters, and which appliances will explode if plugged into the wrong one. It also means I am still learning what to wear and how to speak a new language.

P.S. We don't share a toothbrush, Sam's is stored elsewhere
We brush our teeth with filtered water so we don't risk getting sick from things in the water our bodies aren't used to

These are coins of the currency here. These are 1 Kina (Kee-na) coins and are worth around 30cents

Food has been such a fun learning experience. We have so many things available to us, but some things are just a little different, meaning we learn to be more inventive with our food. I’ve loved putting together meals, setting up our kitchen, and cooking with my husband. We make a lot more things from scratch here. I’ve learned that we have access to more things than I realized, but they are just more expensive, so we make things because we can, not because we have to. For example, veggies are abundant and very inexpensive, while processed goods are more pricey. I’ve enjoyed the process of learning our kitchen here despite the learning curve that comes with a new place, different elevation, and different forms of measurement—hello metric system. The kitchen has been such a huge and fun part of adjusting that I hope to make a separate more in depth post about just that.

I love all of the fresh fruits and veggies we can get at the market! We usually soak them in bleach-water when we get home to be sure they are safe for us to eat

This is one of my favorite meals Sam makes; Chicken Coconut Curry with Rice

I used a friend's recipe to make some homemade lemonade

We met our new dog Tony. Dogs are a great way to keep our home safe and protected and we’ve heard that Tony is a great guard dog because he can be intimidating. We were a little nervous at first that he might not like us showing up on his territory, but he came right over when we called him and was so friendly to us, which was a huge relief. The family who sold us our house built a swing set in the yard and a couple times now we have gone out on to swing while Tony chases our shadows—HE LOVES IT. I’m not a huge dog person, but I already like him so much. He is a really great dog.

Sam got some time off before he started back to work, this allowed us to recover from jet lag, get settled into our home and get everything situated before jumping into the work rhythm. I found a job but it’s a bit new so everyone is still figuring out what the role is going to look like. Even though we are waiting for the details to iron out, it feels like a good direction. I don’t really work yet, but I’ve done a few things for my new job that are making me excited for what’s to come. It’s also made me really happy explaining what the job will accomplish to friends on center and having people get excited for the way they feel it adds value to their roles.

One of my favorite parts of the day is when Sam gets home from work

The community here has been amazing. People have reached out and made us feel so welcome. When we arrived we were met with food and necessities for our first few days. They knew it would be hard to get to the store or market right away, so they made sure we had what we needed, as well as a beautiful arrangement of flowers from market. The family who sold us our house also left us a sweet welcome home note. We’ve had people invite us over for dinner, help us get settled, make sure I know where everything is, and people have even dropped by just to make sure we were adjusting okay. We feel so thankful for all of the hospitality of our new community and are loving finally getting to join back into this awesome group of people.

We were welcomed with a stockpile of things from the store so we could ease in to things when we first arrived


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