Monday, 27 February 2012

Our Day Out In The Boat

Hsi Excellency, the New Zealand High Commissioner (Mike) asked us out for a family day on their boat. It was a lovely day to go boating, clear skies and a gentle breeze. We were accompanied by his 1st & 2nd secretaries and a gentleman from the Solomans. A lovely group of people who were very happy to have the kids on board too. The driver was an i-kiribati man who was also lovely with the kids. Our destination was large Bikiman island, only visible at low tide. A sandbar really in the lagoon with crystl clear water all around and small bits of coral that host enough fish and sea life to excite me, the amateur snorkellist!!

We took a nice picnic lunch and all pooled our treats to make one lovely big picnic.

We left from Biriki wharf at 10am. This photo shows the 'ferries' that run across the lagoon to North Tarawa. They are hopelessly overloaded ad extremely busy at $5 for one way.

all the ferries were in as it was high tide. They would depart again around 3pm with the incoming tide!! The travel about 5 knots/hour and take forver to get anywhere, they do load them to overflowing and you can usually just see the gunwales in the water!!

Sam ready for his day out.

Kura, Jack & I at the back of the boat!!

Arrived at our destination, the beautifully pristine Large Bikiman

Sam having a ball running around the sandy atoll, digging, swimming and both boys loved chasing the 'speedy crabs'!!!

not a great underwater photo, but a few bright fish!! The seahorses were beautiful and the puffer fish was huge!! I really enjoyed snorkling about.

We arrived home late, sunburnt and exhausted, but what a lovely day. Hope we impressed enough to get another invite some day........

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Is it Thursday ALREADY?????

Wow, so I haven't had internet for days. Turns out JJ forgot to pay the bill. You have to go to the internet shop and pay cash each month. I am getting used to carrying cash again, the only way things are done here, no efpos or cc here!!

JJ arrived home 2 days late due to the cancellation of his flight, quite normal for air pacific!! He spent his time languishing in a nice hotel in Nadi, Fiji!!

His home coming was exciting as the flight meant a Dip bag and JJ's suitcase was off course full of goodies that we had requested and too his credit JJ had gor nearly everything on the list!! Two dip bags arrived on his flight so another load of goodies arrived, pressies for Jack, letters for me, dvds for the boys, books for me and magazines for me, how exciting!!!!

One of the letters was from Qantas for Jack, seems at 5 years of age he has obtained 'Silver' frequent fligher status!!! I haven't got it but Jack has!!! I am most amused.

Thank you Livvy for my letters and bits and bobs, I am most spoilt. Thank you too to mum and Tracie for my parcels of reading material, most appreciated as no where on the island could I go and buy an paper or magazine. Reading material is most exciting, I also got the 3 novels I had ordered from Book Depository.

I am so excited that both Mum and Jill are coming to visit. I can't wait to have them here and show them Kiribati & our compound and home!! Jack is so excited to have his 'Guy' sharing his room. If the GG decides to go on to Tuvalu in her smaller jet then we shall recieve a meat order, great for visitors as they'll get more than chicken or mince!!! I am so excited to think we might get meat from a decent butcher I swear I am happy to spend $1000!!!!!! As it is cryovaced it'll last for ages.

The GG arrives on the 28th March for one night and two days, that should be exciting, we are having the RAAF Group Captain stay in our little guest room. Thanks to Livvy I shall have him write in my guest book!! Shame the GG isn't staying or visiting our little compound but I  hope to meet her at the State dinner, a very exciting interlude in our little lives!!

Well as I am typing more mistakes than not I shall sign off, enjoy a cup of Daintree (low Caffine tea) and go to bed, bliss


Good night all

Photos of the house, as requested by Sonia!!

Jack's bedroom, has 2 single beds and loads of space in the middle for playing!!

The master bedroom, to the right is a walk in robe through to the ensuite. It is light and airy with three windows from floor to ceiling louvers!

Behind me is the hall leading down to all the bedrooms, bathroom, toilet and laundry. Jack is sitting at the rarely used kitchen table. To the left is the study and the lounge and the kitchen is behind him.

the kitchen!! The door next to the stove is a walk in oantry, with the addition of some shelves it is awesome!! Never enough cupboard space though, I am missing a tupperaware cupboards!!! lol!! Behind is the diningroom which looks out over the water of the lagoon.

the diningroom, we sit here because it gives us a nice view of the water and it opens on to the loungeroom. It is nice to have so much room after Darwin!!

Looking at the loungeroom through to the diningroom. It is a nice large space and now I have rearranged it all, removed some unnecessary furniture it is a lovely space.

Sam's very 1st room, and it is lovey with loads of prints on the walls and a chair for feeding, which he has weaned himself from :0(, loads of space for clothes as all rooms have built in robes and space to put toys and then some to play!! At least having his own oom means he is sleeping through - noice!

The verandah runs all the way around the house and is like a giant playpen. It is great, the cubbyhouse, kitchen and bikes and tikes live out here making it a great safe playground for the boys!! We are waiting on new curtains as these are pretty tatty and a new sideboard, coffee tables and a tv unit, then all will be complete and the house very functional and friendly. I am very happy to be here :0)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

who calls Sunday lazy?????

So JJ is home tomorrow and things are buzzing here. I think Darren decided to at least get the gerney out and do the outside of the house and windows for me today before JJ gets in. I would have prefered JJ's help with child minding!!!! So after brekky and wizzing up a quick chocolate cake (to ice later) for the birthday boy to be 5 tomorrow, I am outside cleaning. OMG did it need cleaning, I knew it was dirty, but not THAT dirty!!!! Did the guest room first and managed to flood it with bubbles (too much soap!), felt like the old days at SES mopping up (were are the orange overalls when you need them!!) Got the hang of it upstairs and not so much soap and hardly any water inside. The result is amazing, we can see out now, it looks like new and I swear the house is brighter as all the collective mould, salt and dirt came off windows and screens!!! I then spent an hour wiping down louvers (thank god for ENJO!!)

So feeling happier about the house now that is done, the guest room is filling up!! Exciting news, Mum's friend Jill is seriously thinking of acompanying her here, Jack is so excited to be sharing his room with his 'guy'!! I did point out though that Guy would not be going to bed with him at 730 pm!!

So here we are nearly 4pm, a wine in hand, windows done, gurneying done, cake iced, white bread made for fairy bread (rolls made tomorrow morning for hot dogs), thinking what to make for dinner and looking forward to a shower and bed.

Off to pick JJ up by 10 so we can stop for a coffee, banana smoothie and ice-cream. Then watch the plane land (with camera in tow for some lovely island life photo taking on the way!!) & back home for Jack's party lunch with fairy bread and hotdogs and cake, that is all he wants! Oh with calamari and breadfriut chips for dinner. Breadfruit is a fruit that grows here about the size of a pumpkin and deep fries into lovely chips (nicer than potato!)

The dip bag didn't arrive again so hopefully it will tomorrow as I know there to be a few parcels for the birthday boy, however I think daddy's suitcase will create sufficient excitement for us all!!

And who said I'd have time to lounge about, read, be a lady of leisure, poor Jack hasn't even started school cause I can't find the time, phew. Will really have to get myself together......enjoy your sunday

Jodes xoxox

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Good god it is the weekend already????

Well we have survived our week with JJ being away. I must say that as with other weeks this one has flown. Here we are again at a weekend, where di the week go? Nothing achieved in particular again!!

Sam is asleep after a morning out showing a new lady around the island and Jack busy in his room (how he loves having his own space!) We have gathered groceries and wine along the way this morning so directly I will get into the kitchen and prepare dinner. Then I think I shall take a wine out to the verandah where the tide is in and the sound of the waves are hypnotic (might put me to sleep!). The sun is out so the blues of the water are a constant marvel to behold and one I shall never get sick of looking at.

Domestically I made my 1st raisin loaf yesterday which turned out very nicely and the boys gobbled it up as french toast this morning!! I found caster sugar today so my cooking won't be as course as I have been using just white sugar, no difference in taste just texture!!

JJ gets home on Monday after a sucessful apperance in court and an even more sucessful shopping trip!! That suitcase on Monday is going to be like christmas morning!!!! Thank goodness I bought over most of Jack's birthday pressies as yet again the dip bag and mail bags were all off loaded from Thursday's flight.

This photo shows Sam playing with a hermit crab, he loves them and Meei breaks of the big nipper so he doesn't gt bitten, too Jack's extreme horrer!!

The tennis court, well thw view from it, not very clear but the water is actually a dazzling blue. Quite distracting when playing tennis!!!!

Feeling a bit flat today after looking in the mirror and seeing a solid regrowth of the purist grey!! Time to try a 'colour in a bottle', not an exciting prospect after so many years of the professionals doing it!! JJ bought me a few hair bands as the trade winds make my hair stick straight up!!
Skin all blotchy and I look like I am re-visiting my teenage years, what the....???? And I am fat and nearly 40 and I can't seem to get any time toget in the gym, maybe when JJ gets home or I just start asking Meei, Oh dear going a little mad, methinks.

On that note I'd better go and prepare dinner or I'll never get to that glass of wine on the verandah, lol........enjoy your weekends :0)

Monday, 13 February 2012

On Our Own....

So JJ has left for Perth this morning, overnight in Brisbane and business class all the way!! Gotta love defence!! The plan is he will get back next Monday morning so will get to spend half of Jack's birthday with him!! Only the promise of presents mollified Jack enough into letting JJ go, he was quite distraught (as is the norm when JJ goes away!)

I am feeling quire happy at being left alone here, the compound is secure and Darren is across the way. Meei and James are about every day too. Tomorrow another new family are coming to visit, it is Rebecca's birthday on Wednesday and they are coming to use our oven to make a cake as their cooker is somewhat dubious with rats making their home in it and a few places it is rusted through!! So we will have a little party tea while her cake is cooking!!

Went grocery shopping on Saturday and couldn't find tinned tomatoes anywhere, the island is out!! An absolute staple has really re-enforced when you see it buy it - lots of!!!! Not having a car makes it difficult to get out and shop, my Independence has certainly taken a hit, but we are here to save and we are all making sacrifices. Once Sam is older I shall venture out and catch a bus! No mean feat here, they are vans, stuffed full of people, licenced to carry 10 people they are often crammed full of at least 27 people hanging out every where and as the drivers are maniacs many people are sick!!! Not something I want to contemplate with Sam the Houdini!!!
 One of the main types of injury here is people being hit by cars, it certainly is Rafferty's rules!!! There is one main road that runs the entire length of the island that is mostly sealed, the rest are sand tracks branching off into villages and houses, it is a rabbit warren to be sure!! Peak hour is surprisingly busy as there is only the one road!!!

Another industrious weekend, we changed the lounge room and it is much more sociable and easier to see the tv!! Have i mentioned that there is no tv!! As I see friends cmments of FB about soapies coming back I giggle, we don't look like seeing cable tv back in the foreseeable future!! And am I missing it, no way!! Nights are plesantly spent with a dvd of choice or a good book and a cuppa or even better reading in bed. (something I haven't done since Sam was born as he shared our room!)
I was thinking of giving myself a pedicure tonight but forgot to bring any nail polish remover and can't get it here so will have to wait for JJ to return with it!! Not even acetone in the shed, my nails are looking decidedly sad!!!

Well a little bit of rain over night and over the weekend, enough to water my plants. The pool filter died and thank goodness Darren was able to fix it, the pool is looking decidedly green and we are still waiting on the algeacidepromise lst ship but will hopefully arrive next ship (6 weeks away!) Also with it should be my slow cooker (to make the tough rump edible!) & hopefully the new curtains, we have been waiting 18 months for, oh and our new coffee and occasional tables....things take a while to get here!!

Well Sam is in bed and I am going to hit the gym for a 1/2 hour sess on the treadmill...catch you later :0)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The guest room is revealed.........

So another busy week has nearly ended!! Not sure where the time goes! Sam decided not to sleep this mornig so Jack and I were unable to do any school work. But when Sam does sleep we are fitting it in. Jack is quite enjoying it and I am enjoying rhe one-on-one time with my eldest son.

Defence have decided JJ really must be in Perth next week, so good for my shopping list, JJ's parents and that's about it. I just hope he is home on the 20th for Jack's birthday or it'll be a very sad day indeed!

A busy day with Meei today, I started my 'Gilbertese' language lesson, holey moley I am hopeless!!! and we dressed the guest suite, so drum roll please.......


                                                                 After who is our first visitor????? Meei & I think we will use it when we have had enough of our families as it has its own tv (no reception, just dvds!!), a fridge with tea/coffee & drinks. JJ suggested we charge for the drinks, that is when Meei and I chucked him out of the room!!! Oh did I tell you about my 'nong' of a husband.....after asking 3 seperate times to not slam the coconuts between my two precious wooden chopping boards (can't get wooden on the island!) guess who broke my 'meat' board in half, yep JJ!!!! So he got a lesson from Meei on how to open and de-meat the coconut with a knife (yes a blunt one too!!)

So back to the guest room! It has been fully repainted (thank you JJ!!), cleaned to within an inch of its life (thank you Meei!). You might ask what I have done!! I did attempt to do the painting but it ment JJ watching the boys and preparing meals, I lucked out and he painted!! But I had the fore-site to bring nice linen and mastermind the whole reno!!!!

On Saturday there is a craftsman sale at the high commission so I shall go and hopefully buy a nice mat and baskets to jazz up the room even more!

Today we got in a quick hit of tennis and yesterday I got to get into the little gym finally and had a good walk on the treadmill for 1/2 hour, a short time on the cross trainer and rowing machine too. Methinks I will need HOURS in the gym to negate all these carbs and wine I am consuming. However with my music I did manage to work of the anger I felt towards JJ for breaking my chopping board!! (and yes he will replace it while in Oz!) At least I am getting some exercise in!

Mail bag arrived today and a leter from my dearest Liv, bills, bills and more bills (they finally tracked us down from Darwin!!, thanks Dad!) and a parcel from Mum with lollies for the boys!!! Jack was in heaven as Sam was alseep and Jack got to them 1st, lol!! Magazines for me, bliss.

Well I am off to bed with a women's day - noice....................

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

One month Anniversary

Can you believe it!! We have been here forone month already, not sure where the time has gone!! So much for having all this spare time up my sleeve, I haven't found any!!!!

I am off to 'Zumba' tonight, not sure how I'll go but I definately need to get boys are doing my head in today!! (not to mention my girth is growing at an alarming rate!) We have played tennis a few days in a row but we try to play when Sam is asleep and he didn't oblige us today!

Yesterday it was high tide and blue skies while playing tennis. The court is less than 5 meters from the hight tide mark. Looking through the pandanus trees to the beautiful torquoise blue of the water and then the darker navy blue of the sea further out was amazing, the colours are so vivid and made quite a distraction to hitting a tennis ball! Lucky my back is to it or JJ would win every point!!

Well the 6 weekly boat has been and gone, the fresh produce has beed put out and snapped up. I am savouring tomatoes and cheese grilled on freshly made grain bread. Once the last avocado is ripe I'll add it to the mix!! I made some natural yoghurt and made Tzatiki with a fresh cucumber, yummo. I shall do some hummus next as I bought a load of tahini from Oz!

Well I better go and prepare the dinner for the boys and put on my 'Zumba' clothes. Hope you are all well, Jodes xx

Back from Zumba and how much is the other end of the island at the Ambo club, set right on the lagoon. The girls set up a projector onto the large screen and you watch the dvd. It is a bit difficult because you are right next to the lagoon, like my tennis the colours of the water kept catching my eye and because i am so un-co I needed all my concentration to get my feet moving right!! The sunset was well worth the hours slog!! Think I'll become a regular!!! Oh yeah it was nice to get out of the house for a while, all on my own!!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Lazy Sunday

Had a bit of a lie in today, not long cause Sam was singing & laughing his head off!! Got up to make a cuppa and my beloved Magimix kettle is dead as a doornail!! Most unimpressed. Completely threw me out of kilter and had to go rumaging downstairs in the store for another. Had avocado on toast - yummo!! And headed down for a hit of tennis, even though it is still blowing. (I got feed up with the wind yesterday and closed the house up. It is not particularly hot just blocks out the wind.)

Had a good hit and giggle as JJ calls it, nothing too competitive or fancy but gets the heart rate up! JJ then jumped in the pool to give its very green bottom a scrub with the broom. The wind and rain has turned it green. Glad it wasn't me slipping around the algae bottom!

JJ & Darren removed yet more furniture from the house and Darren removed some electrical cords that were just pocking out, for goodness knows what!! I have moved the cords around as the phone was plugged in at Sam height and came to discover that Sam turns the phone off & methinks it has been off more than on!! Problem solved now though!!

Trying bread rolls today to make hamburgers, even got a little iceberg lettuce, how exciting to have a little salad!! I think we'll get a good dose of veges every 6 weeks when the boat comes in, well at least tomatoes, potatoes, avocados, celery and carrots. Gotta be quick to get them but worth haunting the supermarket when the boat comes in!!

Did I mention that Sam and I walked up to the 'Captains Bar' on Friday. JJ & Jack had gone with Darren and after preparing pizza and a few wines I thought why not. It was a lovely walk and everyone waved, tooted and called 'mauri' (Hello!), so i convinced JJ to walk home again, it was nice to be out for a walk.

Trivia, the Gilbertese word for dogs is "come 'ere", this was because when the imitangs (white people) came with dogs they always yelled "come 'ere" so the i-Kiribati thought that was the English word for dogs!!!!! Too funny!

I am slowly starting to pick up some words, a friend gave me the old Peace Corp language work book, it looks confusing but i will ask Meei to help me.

The guest room is complete!! JJ has finished painting and it looks lovely and fresh. The furniture has had a good clean and been arranged. I am just waiting getting a moment to go down and find a bed skirt, curtains and then I will dress the room and take a photo. When it is done I'll put up the before and afters, I am very pleased with how it is shaping up.

Right I am off to take my dough out of the bread maker and turn it into rolls!! Then a shower and prepare our feast, enjoy your week...

Friday, 3 February 2012

Oh the excitment....

A busy day yesterday, payday!!!! Moels here we come and what a good day to shop!! Fresh tomatoes, capsicum, carrots, celery, grapes, potatoes and avacados. How very exciting!!!

Yummy dinner full of fresh veges! Tonight pizzas with loads of capsicum, olives and tomatoes.

Been getting a few good recipes off Last night Spanish chicken with rice and I was able to add the capsicum and onions!! It was really good. As I had defrosted 2kg chicken bits (how it comes) I also made chicken tagine with dates, carrots and honey, into the freezer for next week, served with cous cous it smelt pretty good.

JJ has finished painting our guest room, just the ensuite to go, it looks fab!!! I am so excited to get the room dressed so guests can stay.

Looks like JJ won't be going to Perth for court. They have left booking flights to late and he can't get off as the two flights between now and court are full!! Oh well my list will have to wait till next time .....

Had a lovely morning at Andy's house, the boys played with Andy's dogs and had a delish morning tea of cupcakes!! (My girth is expanding I swear!!)

Meei, our house keper bought me frangipani pieces so we dug 10 holes and James filled them with compost!! Jack and I are on watering duties until they establish, we love frangipanis and there is not one in our compound!!!

Well best go and prepare my pizza dough and have another go at getting a decent round base, I am struggling with it a bit, gotta lern to work the dough properly i guess!!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Busy Dayz...

Oops..this week has flown. Nothing in particular is happening. JJ has started painting the guest suite!! It was my project but he has decided to take it on, citing my need to cook an look after children, I suggested he do it but no way!!!!

So JJ has been told he is required in court in Perth on the 13th Feb! So as only twoflights go in and out of Tarawa a week he has to leave next Thursday and for one day in court will be away probably 7-10 days! Hopefully he will go via Sydney and see his parents and I can get a heap of bits sent for him to pick up. I am starting to discover little things I have forgotten!!!!

Spent the last few nights googling recipes for mince and chicken bits, then finding something with fairly basic ingredients (that I can find here!) to cook. Doing Beef Biriysani tonight and it smells heaven (even though I left out cumin as mine had gone mouldy!)

James has been busy preparing the soil in the vege garden, island time! With the rain we have some pumpkins and bananas coming up! So exciting, I am madly watering away!!

Chris left a 2 kg piece of bone ham at $130 we thoroughly enjoyed it!!!!!

The largest supermarket on the island & in Betio village. Behind me is one-stop a small supermarket run by an expat!!

Mail in today, a calender from Livvy, thank you dear friend, it is beautiful and on the wall for all to see. Wow wouldn't I love to choose my next destination from it but non are near the sea :0(

Right am off for a shower and to eat my dinner, hope it is as yummy as it smells......