Saturday, 13 April 2013

Captain’s Log

Star Date:  Coupla’ weeks ago
Earth:  Palau and Yap
Jo in Palau

A colleague from PIU and I had the opportunity to travel for the school for a week and a half at the end of March.  Jo Romaniello is a licensed marriage and Family Counselor who lives and works in California.  We2 have been blessed with her call to yearly ministry here at PIU.  The other “we” that is blessed is our family as for the past two years “Nonna Jo” has been able to stay with us for her 2-3 month sojourns.

So it was with both professional interest and girlish glee that I looked forward to traveling with my great friend to neighboring islands.  Jo was the impetus and the reason for the trip--I was just able to tag along and the be the “tech geek” for the week.  Jo offered seminars in Guam, Palau and Yap on a narrative approach to connecting with people through stories.  It was very interesting to hear about it and practice in the different venues.  She was also able to offer some much needed sessions on stress and balance for the participants in Palau.  In all, each of the sessions was well-received.

Now, I have to admit--and those of you who know me will agree--I don’t travel well.

First of all, it’s hard to drag me out of my rut at home.  It’s my rut and I like it, otherwise I wouldn’t have carved it in so deep!  Also, my relationship with new foods is like teenage BFFs; love/hate.
But the worst thing is the prospect of not having a decent cup of tea (I drink tea like other people drink coffee).  I have been able to overcome some these difficulties with a carefully planned strategy.

1.  I make my own instant (or camp) oatmeal.
    Take 1 sandwich-sized ziplock bag and add 1/2 cup of oatmeal; 1 TBS dry milk, 1 tsp. brown sugar, 2 TBS pecans, 1 TBS sliced almonds, 2 TBS dried cranberries.  Voila, healthy breakfast/snack/lunch, just add hot water or cold milk.

(Think I’m a genius, yet?) 

2.  I stock up on high protein granola bars and energy bars.
3.  I pack small boxed milks.
4.  I pack an empty travel mug packed with baggies of raw sugar and tea bags.

Clothing is secondary to these other necessities.  All I need is access to hot water!

(Yup, certifiable genius all right... or maybe just certifiable.)

Jo looked on all of these elaborate preparations with interest.  She wasn’t sure what to make of them but she was game to try.

Now, after all that, the question is:  how did we fare?

Pretty well all around.  Palau is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.  I believe it is a place in the world set apart by God to exhibit the wonders of his creation.  We weren’t able to visit the Rock Islands on this trip but did go to a spectacular waterfall and did some simple snorkeling by a hotel at the beach.  We also were blessed by our hosts and their generosity in opening their home.

Lessons learned:  I can survive a cold shower every day in a tropical place that has little AC and hot water is something provided mainly by hotels.  And my iPad doesn't go through withdrawals without WiFi--but I might.

This was a small pool fed by a natural waterfall!
Yap was a totally new experience for me.  An island close to Palau in distance but very far in many other respects.  It’s almost like stepping back in time but it is definitely like putting your “busy” clock in slow motion.  Again, we were blessed with family time with the pastor and his family who were visiting for Easter weekend.  However, I did feel like Po from Kung Fu Panda 2 when we go to where we were staying (at 4:00 in the morning) and I stood at the bottom looking up “at my old enemy... stairs.”  The terrain was pretty rugged and then we found out that along with no hot water, we also weren’t supposed to drink the local water or even brush our teeth with it.  Yikes!  But we enjoyed the people and my iPad was relieved when (ironically) the teaching facility had pretty good WiFi.

Lessons learned:  I’m glad I pack my own oatmeal!  (Jo agreed)
Yap Island

All around I’d saw we had a blessed trip and were able to bring some skills to folks who were receptive and appreciative.  It was worthwhile week and a half.

My family’s adventure while I was gone, though, is a story for another day...