Okay, since we’re two days away from leaving…
We’re going to JAMAICA!! Whoop whoop! We leave on Sunday and will be landing in Montego Bay on Monday after an overnighter in Miami because Air Jamaica no longer flies in and out of Haiti. Something about unrest and security?!?!
We don’t normally just hop on a plane and jet set around the islands because we are missionaries. Translation = we don’t have much cash. This is a big gift from friends that really want us to be present at a wedding. Chris lived in Jamaica for 6 months when he was in YWAM and knows how to get around so he’ll be putting his skills to the test and I will be the ever supportive wife and aide with tours and organization where possible with the aim of giving Katy and Matt a really memorable week. Yay for them! We’re really excited.
We’re staying in Treasure Beach which is apparently a little town. Getting out to see the area is on the top of the list and I’ve heard rumours that I may even be able to get in on a cooking class with the resort chef to learn how to jerk it up Jamaican style. I’m really excited about that because I LOVE to cook and am so interested in learning how to cook Caribbean style, while I actually live in the Caribbean. Go figure.
Aside from that these are the highlights here…
We now have bars on ALL of our windows. Ner Ner, our welder, put the new one up in the kitchen, bathroom and office area yesterday. Normally I wouldn’t be excited about putting bars up on windows, but those are the only three that didn’t get them when the rest were done and it means having to close and lock the shutters every night or when we leave for any period of time because someone could very easily just climb right in and rob us blind. Now we can leave the windows open and take advantage of the great ocean breeze that likes to blow through. AND, for the first time ever I think Chris and I agreed on something house related within two minutes and didn’t have a long drawn out conversation about all of our options. When we come back all of the window bars are getting a new coat of paint because they need it and we will paint them black. This was discussed through the window last night as Chris was leaving for Rotary. The rust colored rust paint is hard to clean because it’s kind of rough and the rust is starting to come through. A nice coat of oil based black paint will stop the rust, make them easier to clean and will just look pretty. Everyone’s happy.
I need to clean the house today. I have this thing with cleaning before we leave for any period of time mostly because coming home usually means we’ll be tired, and coming home to a clean house means that we can just relax and get back to normal things rather than feeling like things are chaotic and messy. It’s just one of my quirks! Chris mocks me and how many times I feel the need to sweep and mop the floors in any given week. Just for the record the last time I swept and mopped was on Monday I think and I’ve been looking at a trail of muddy dog prints that do a loop through almost every room in the house since Tuesday. Our new open office window also meant that the tiles got watered along with the grass yesterday…
I’ve been thinking about the whole idea of home over the last little while. Well, mostly since we came back from Christmas. When I first moved here in 2005 (wow that feels weird to say) there were four people living in a house, but it didn’t really feel like a home. It was just sort of this place where we all had a bed and ate and worked. When Chris and I came back from our honeymoon one of our main goals was to work at making the mission a place where we could make a home for ourselves and to make it a good place for volunteers to live with us. I’ve realized that some of the things you do to get there are bigger, like making sure it’s safe. That’s definitely a priority. I’ve also realized that most of what makes a place feel like home is the small things. It’s being able to put things where you want them. It’s having some level of comfort so you can let out a deep breath at the end of the day and recharge your batteries. It’s being able to do the things you love.
We’re missionaries to the third world. We don’t believe in living extravagantly while everyone around us is barely scraping by. I do know though that there are small things for us that have made a big difference, none of which need to cost much. Chris and I love gardening and by using our energy and being willing to learn about gardening in the tropics we’re slowly doing things to make the mission more inviting, which also means we get to enjoy it and the beauty that comes from having living things around you in a place where nothing seems to thrive. It also gives us something to do together, something where we can see our work pay off because it can get discouraging to work in a place where very few people say thank you – not that that’s the reason we do what we do.
When Chris’ parents came to visit Mum told me that the mission felt like a home now, not just this place we live in. She said she also noticed how much more relaxed Chris was and saw the connection. I’ve seen it too, for both of us. The more we do, the more relaxed we are. Someone should do a study on that :) Anyway, it felt good to know that there was a different feel around here, not just for us, but that it was noticeable to people from the outside. That’s what we want, a place where people can just breathe a bit in the midst of the chaos. I know that it will always be a work in progress, but we love that. We’ll keep making lists and dreaming and making plans and doing.
Jabez has just done a reminder lap behind me. I think she’s hungry. Earlier she came to harass us and we told her to go away, and then she barked at us! She’s getting lippy. Chris told her to go outside and she stood by the closed beach doors and barked again. She has this thing about going out the opposite door from the one you point to. Chris finally yelled, “Outside! Go out the other door!” She barked and did this jump/prance thing then went running out of the house. So bizarre! She’s actually really, really funny and seems to be getting sillier every day. I think having us go away on her quite frequently in the past year has made her a bit nutty. And needy. This picture of her was taken last fall when we started work on the depot addition. She has this thing with lying on the sand piles in the yard because they’re cooler than the ground. The sand used in building is crushed limestone, so very light and Jabez apparently didn’t realize that she’d given away her rooting in the pile with a nice white face :) Seriously, how can you not love that face? Impossible!