Friday, July 26, 2013

It's a different world out here! Or is it?

I know I’m long over due for a post, but we’ve been busy flying!   Jake and I finally made it to the States.  We had a wonderful week in sunny California with my parents (we even got to spend an afternoon with our friends Sue and Ginger that we met in Palau) and we’re now enjoying the solitude of rural Oklahoma with Andy’s family.   

Being here is kind of surreal because in reality, it isn’t that much different from being on the boat and in some ways, its even more isolated.  The nearest grocery store is a 20-minute drive away…if I had to walk like we do in Palau, I don’t believe I would worried about these extra pounds I’ve packed on!  The new cell phone I bought doesn’t get service out here…in Palau we even get service in the Rock Islands!  There isn’t a ton of outside stimulation so for entertainment, you have to either turn inward, or get back to nature.  Jake now knows the difference between a steer, bull, heifer and a plain old cow.  There seems to be a hostile takeover going on by the grasshoppers, so we spent one afternoon counting them in the driveway (well over 60 by the way) and trying to identify all the different kinds and putting a name to them.  We even saw a pair mating.  It’s a very peaceful place and while on the surface it seems to be a lifestyle in direct opposition of our own, it actually didn’t take that much getting used to.  Instead of dinghies there are four wheelers and tractors!

Unfortunately, my time here is coming to an end.  I finally received a start date for my job in Virginia and I’ll be flying out sometime next week, leaving Jake to enjoy the rest of his summer with his cousins, aunt and uncle and grandparents.  I would love to show you some pictures of all of the little people together but I left two key items back on the boat…1) my camera charger and 2) the card reader I use to upload to my computer.  So…those will have to wait. 

This will be the first time I’ve left Jake for more than two weeks.  I’ve no doubt he’ll benefit from the experience (I’ve already seen that happen in some of the ways the he’s resolving his conflicts), but I have to say, this mommy is going to need a few extra prayers.  I’m lucky that I’ll be distracted by a job as well as some old friends.  Now I guess I’ll get a taste of what Andy went through all those years on deployment (and vice versa…I’m sure he’ll be hearing a lot more “daddy, daddy, daddy” than usual ;) ).

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Close Encounters with the Dolphins

I realize we’ve had a lot of posts lately about Jake, but everything seems to have revolved around him lately - I guess that's a good thing.  Just when you think he’s done it all…  Jake was invited by his friend Charlie and his family to go swim with the dolphins last week.  The dolphins we’re talking about were rescued from Japan (where they were to be slaughtered) and are kept in a fairly large, enclosed part of the lagoon/bay here.  They have trainers and are used as a form of tourism to help heighten awareness of the ocean environment.  They offer a series of encounters with the dolphins to involve both petting and swimming with them.  It’s a win-win for both the dolphins and Palauans.

I wasn’t sure Jake could be impressed by anything these days but he came back with the biggest smile on his face I have seen in a while.  They not only swam with the dolphins but they were able to hold on to their fin and take a ride as well!  AND I WASN’T THERE TO SEE IT!  Jake assures me that he will take me back to get my turn.  We were really grateful to our friends Chuck and Ivy for providing this opportunity for him.  His last day for a while with Charlie and Carla was well spent!  

Jake, Chuck, Charlie, Carla and Ivy

Jake and Chuck up close with the dolphins.

Really?  It will be hard to top this one with the little guy.

My time with the dolphins is going to have to wait a while…Jake wants to spend the rest of the summer with his grandparents and cousins in Oklahoma.  He spends so much time with us, I think this will be a great experience for him (and his grandparents!).  So, in order to fund that little adventure (among other things), I have decided to try to find a short term contract in the States.   It’s looking good for me, so we’re flying out next week and heading home!  Andy will pick Jake up in September while I stay on and finish my contract.  I’m excited, nervous, and a bit depressed all at the same time.  We just spent 5 months apart from Andy last year and now I’ve signed up to do it again.  Only this time, I’ll be apart from Jake as well…something that has never happened for more than two weeks at a time.  So, wish me luck, say a prayer and cross your fingers…