Accounting

If you want to be a missionary, you should probably take an accounting class of some sort. I’m working on cleaning up our cash and bank accounts from the last couple months of being in transition, and I have receipts in 5 different currencies (Malawian Kwacha, US Dollars, Euros, British Pounds, and South African Rand), as well as several currency exchanges to reconcile.

I don’t have a degree in accounting, or anything closely related to accounting or math. Let’s just say: we’ll be having frozen pizza for lunch today. After this I won’t be good for much else!

We Got Wheels!

Not so long ago, and not so far away, we had a gold Toyota Fortuner.

It was a great car. It was big and safe, it could hold 7 people, it had traction control so could do muddy roads, and it had a great manual transmission with some serious get-up-and-go. It was, for our family, the perfect African vehicle.

We were sad to sell it, but the Lord had good plans for it. A pastor friend wanted to buy it, and a church in the States that knows both him and our family helped us all out by making sure that the pastor could get the car and that we could sell it before we left Malawi. Win-win, everyone is happy! Just a little sadness at leaving behind such a great car…

Fast-forward a couple months, and look at what we got:

A silver Toyota Fortuner! It’s one year newer than our Malawi version and it’s silver, but otherwise it’s exactly the same car! Same interior, same 7 seats, same traction control, same perfect-for-our-family African vehicle.

And similar to the Malawi side of the story, the Lord had good plans on this side as well. This Fortuner belonged to a family who are emigrating to New Zealand on Sunday, and the Lord not only provided us with a car, but also provided a way for this family to sell their vehicle before they move!

One funny difference between Fortuners in Malawi and Fortuners in South Africa is how the name is pronounced. In Malawi it is pronounced FORTUNE-er. Here in South Africa many people say for-TUNE-er. For the life of me, I can’t help but hear “I went fishin today an caught me for-TUNE-er fish!” 🤣

Winter

We are having a cold spell here in the Southern Hemisphere. I’m from Kansas originally, so I know cold, but the last 10 years in the tropics have really thinned my blood. It’s cold, and I’m looking forward to Tuesday!

We had to do a little shopping to stop the shivering… jeans, socks, sweatshirts, and leopard pajamas.

Yes, leopard pajamas. We have a couple of cool cats now!

America 2018 :: Week 1

We made it to America! It doesn’t matter how you cut it, it’s a very long trip from Lilongwe to LA. But everyone was in good spirits, and we enjoyed one another’s company for the entire 35 hours of travel time! That might be a first!

If you’ve talked with us about travel any time in the last couple years, you’ve probably heard about our short trip to the States in 2016 when we discovered Naomi’s propensity to get air sick. This time we kept a rigid schedule of Dramamine (which is hard to do when crossing time zones!) and supplemented with Zofran a couple times. We made it all the way to LA without incident – whew!

Once in LA, welcome jet lag! It was, um, very exciting. For some of us.

She could hold out for a while, adamantly refuse to sleep for rest time, and then be asleep within 2 minutes of opening a book!

Naomi wasn’t the only one who slept quite a bit the first week: Matt spent a lot of hours in bed this week too. The poor guy came down with a ferocious cold and cough on our second day in the States. He lost his voice on Tuesday evening, and didn’t really get it back until Sunday! If the cold wasn’t enough reason, the lack of a voice forced us to cancel almost everything on the schedule for the first week. Even in the moment we realized that we, Matt especially, were really tired and we needed the extra days of forced rest. So we took it slow and enjoyed the quieter days.

Meanwhile, the girls found the drinking fountains! Grace Community Church has a number of drinking fountains, and since we are in the missionary house right next door, we stop by for a sip almost every day! The girls are not very good at actually getting more in the mouth than down the shirt, but practice makes perfect!

AND, just around the corner from the favorite drinking fountains is the church’s brand new playground! This place is super-busy on Sundays, but deserted for most of the rest of the week, so the girls have it to themselves every day. There is nothing like this in all of Malawi. We try to teach our girls that there are special things we only enjoy in Malawi, and there are special things we only enjoy in America. This playground is high on the list of special things in America!

Also special to America is the dishwasher. The girls have taken it upon themselves to load and empty the dishwasher every day! No complaints from this mama!

Week #1 – a quiet week of rest and discovery.

Local Favorites #3

I’ve never considered myself to be a collector, but I noticed recently that I collect unique earrings! And so, I present: my earring collection!

For Christmas the girls (with the help of a handy elf named “Dad”) made an earring frame for me. It’s a simple frame made of Mulanje cedar that holds a piece of window screen. It is perfect!

My earring collection, both as unique pairs and especially as a whole, leave no doubt where I live. Elephants, baobab trees, crocodiles, and the shape of the African continent are shapes related to Malawi, but the materials are all local and unique as well: teak wood, ebony seeds, crocodile teeth, porcupine quills, bone, and coconut shell are some of my favorites.

The only problem now is picking which pair to wear!

Pink Day!

Today was our last day before Matt comes home, so we girls were very girlie today.

We fell in love with 8 little puppies at our friend Alicia’s house. 💕

It was difficult to pull ourselves away from such cuteness! I appreciated that Alicia enjoyed the puppies – her puppies – as much as Abigail and Naomi did!

Alicia joined us for lunch out, and since it is winter here in Malawi, the girls had hot chocolate – with white and pink marshmallows!

Since the girlie thing was working out so well for us, we had pink pancakes for dinner. A little bit of beetroot goes a long way… healthy and girlie!

The Pancake Princess highly recommends vanilla yogurt and sliced bananas.

Matt comes home tomorrow! We have enjoyed these days of fun girl time, but we will be so glad to have him home!

Gecko Hotel

We run a hotel. A Gecko Hotel, that is. Yep, a…

Matt and I decided long ago, that a hotel was a much better idea than keeping a lizard as a pet. So we have geckos that check in – and out – on a regular basis. For instance, I found a little guy in our shower the other morning, so Abigail came to catch him and Naomi had the Gecko Hotel all ready for him by the time he was caught. We kept him for observation until the afternoon and then let him go in a more favorable environment.

He was a cute little guy, and friendly – for a gecko.

See ya, little guy! Enjoy the great outdoors!

Local Favorites #2

Hot sauce from India, marketed under a Chinese name, eaten with Mexican food by Americans in Malawi. Geography is irrelevant when it comes to good food.

On Being Four

Four is such a fabulous age! Naomi is full of life, bossiness, sweetness, mischief, compassion, frustration, and fierce love. We are loving these sweet days with her!

She is a devoted fan of her sister. Not only are they friends, Naomi considers herself to be defender, artistic consultant, and executive boss of Abigail.

Naomi is on a campaign to beautify the world around her. This week, to Simba’s silent, patient distress, she insisted on flowers between his toes. What a great dog!

And I think, despite some very brunette beginnings, that her hair is actually turning blond!

For the rest, I’ll let her speak for herself: