Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Eve

I know I'm gong backwards in time, but I want to tell you about the good time I had on Christmas Eve.

I went to a party for single women at a single lady's house. I loved her Christmas tree, it made me feel happy and Christmassy. Here's a picture of it:

Anyway, everyone had to bring something you didn't want anymore as a present for a gift exchange. We did it like a game, everyone took a number and going in number order, we got to choose a present and open it, or instead of opening a present, you could 'steal' a present from someone else, that they had already opened.

I had number 8, and the present I opened was two decks of playing cards and I was quite happy with that and hoped that no-one would steal it, but at the very end, it ended up getting taken, so I opened the last present that was still wrapped, and it was another good thing – a miniature Christmas tree with small lights (battery operated). I was really chuffed with it and was happy that I got it. It is really lightweight too. Several people suggested that it would be a good Christmas tree to take to the village (if I'm ever in the village at Christmas time). It's also just great for me to have in Ukarumpa, as I didn't have a Christmas tree and wasn't bothered about obtaining one, but now that I have it, I like how it makes the house more Christmassy. Here's a photo of it:

There you go, that was my happiness from Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

I started the day by making myself a special breakfast and then I went to a 9am service. After that I went on to Yahoo Messenger, put the webcam on, connected to Mum and Dad and opened my presents with them watching me, which was nice. Much better than opening them on my own.

I had invited a few people over for Christmas lunch at 1pm and I had been busy over the past few days doing some baking. In the picture below you can see my "good food pyramid", although you can't really see what's in the containers. From top to bottom: shortbread (top two), fruit loaf, cheese muffins and fruit biscuits.

We had a good main course consisting of borscht, chicken, ham, meatballs, rice, potato bake, cheese muffins, bread rolls and salad items. We had Christmas napkins and crackers that were kindly given to me by a friend here who didn't end up needing them, so we all got the daggy paper hats on! Here's a photo of us:

We had nice desserts too. Here's a mango and passionfruit mousse that I made (from my church's recent dessert book!) and mince pies and Christmas cookies that other people brought.

Here is some of the food from my "good food pyramid". From left to right: fruit biscuits, fruit loaf and shortbread. I forgot that you're supposed to use plain flour with shortbread and I used self-raising flour, so it wasn't quite the same as normal shortbread.

My guests helped clean up, which was great. They all left before 4pm and I had the rest of the day at home by myself. I looked through my presents again, and in the evening, I saw all my relatives on the webcam on Yahoo Messenger and chatted to them too (that is, 'typing chat', not a voice call, the sound is usually not very good for that). Even Jyra (my dog) made an appearance on the webcam!

Well that was my Christmas this year. I hope you had a great Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Not doing it too tough!

Last night I was out at a friend's birthday party. I got nicely dressed up for it as you will see in the photo below.

We were blessed with so much yummy food there, sweet and savoury. We certainly can eat just as well as we do at home! Being a missionary doesn't mean that you miss out on good food too, especially when you are in a big expat community. Look at these yummy foods in the picture below.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas mail!!!

Well, it was very exciting this morning when I checked my mail box at the Post Office. There was 12 pieces of mail for me! Nine of them were Christmas cards and one of them was a nice 2010 calendar. One of the people who sent me a card, also send me some Christmas stickers, gift tags and two decorations, so that was special.

Getting the cards and the notes that people wrote was very encouraging, especially since I was feeling a bit down yesterday. It is really encouraging to be reminded that I have a lot of friends in Australia who care for me and pray for me and are proud of me too. Sometimes I need that kind of encouragement – not just at Christmas time either, throughout the year too it is good to receive notes of encouragement.

Here is my little collection of Christmas cards received so far:

My new decorations making my house a bit more Christmassy:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Decorating for Christmas

A few weeks ago, I went to a friend's house with a few other people and helped her decorate her Christmas tree. It is a different Christmas tree – it is made up of bamboo!! Here's a photo of the tree after we decorated it.

I have very minimal Christmas decorations at my house because I don't want to acquire too much "stuff", so I cut up some of last year's Christmas cards and blu-tacked them on the walls in nice arrangements. It is very basic, but at least it gives the house some Christmas atmosphere. Here are some photos.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Craft fair

Today the annual craft fair was on at Ukarumpa. Think of the local craft markets in Australia - it was a bit like them, with craft items and people selling food. It was all indoors in a building called the Teen Centre, which has two storeys.

Upstairs there was all the food stalls. People were selling Korean noodles, steak sandwiches, pretzels, sausages and cheesecakes. I spent about 2 hours at the craft fair, near the beginning I had a plate of Korean noodles, which were very nice, and not long before I left, I had a slice of an amazing chocolate caramel cheesecake. It was so yummy!!

Downstairs there was lots of stall with people selling their craft items. Both expats and Papua New Guineans were selling things. Some of the things for sale were: bilums (string bags), jewellery, coloured candles, hand carved wooden items, cards, fudge and pottery. I wandered around all the stalls about 10 times!! I bought some jewellery, cards and a bamboo flute.

Here are some pictures...

The bamboo flute, which is my new toy, I am having lots of fun playing with it. Yes, I can get it to make a noise!

A necklace with pointy shells. I really love this!

Some PNG style Christmas pictures...

The three wise men on their way to see Jesus:

The angels announcing Jesus' birth to the shepherds:

The three wise men and their dog on their way to see Jesus. I thought it was really funny that they put a dog in there!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Socialising and working

My social life has been quite full the past eight days, from Monday to Monday (yesterday). One of my meals on each of those eight days, I ate with company. I had an American Thanksgiving lunch on Saturday with a group of friends and then leftovers with a smaller group for lunch on Sunday.

Work-wise, I've been doing a few different things: reading books about linguistics and about culture, checking linguistic papers before they go on the Internet, spending time with Rebekah and writing reports on the Teop language in Bougainville. One of those reports is about my visit there and what I observed, and the other report is a 'People Profile', which is just information about aspects of their lives and culture. You can see People Profiles for other language groups online at: