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Building and Buying Houses In Vanuatu

Posted by on Mar 28, 2015 in Life in Vanuatu | 0 comments

Building and Buying Houses In Vanuatu

It’s a strange thing to arrive, for the first time, in a country that is destined to become your home. It all gets even weirder when that country is largely a disaster zone. People and postcards inform me that Vanuatu from the air is usually green. Not at the moment. When I flew in on Wednesday what I saw was mostly brown—a field of bare branches, stripped of leaves. Many of the large trees have been uprooted and toppled, or split in half. Tree limbs lie tangled everywhere. From the window of a plane they look like handfuls of matchsticks...

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Up close and personal: What Cyclone Pam has cost Cynthia and her family

Posted by on Mar 26, 2015 in Life in Vanuatu | 1 comment

Up close and personal: What Cyclone Pam has cost Cynthia and her family

Friends, I’ve arrived in Port Vila. I knew the storm had been brutal, but it’s one thing to hear words like “devastated” and quite another to see it for yourself. I’ll write more soon—perhaps tomorrow—about what it was like flying into Port Vila and seeing the ground beneath the plane littered with twisted trees that had been uprooted and split in half by the wind. From the air, the tropical landscape that should be green is mostly brown. The trees that remained standing have all been stripped of their leaves. Right now, however,...

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A birthday trip to a disaster zone

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Life in Vanuatu | 1 comment

A birthday trip to a disaster zone

For my birthday, my parents used their frequent flier miles to give me a ticket to Vanuatu. I leave early tomorrow morning and I’ll be with Mike by mid-afternoon. It’ll be our first time away together since Dominic was born three and a half years ago, and I’m super excited about our quiet romantic getaway in a tropical paradise. Oh, wait. I’m thinking about the Vanuatu of two weeks ago. OK, so I can’t wait to camp out with Mike in World Vision’s makeshift headquarters, witness the chaos first hand, and help out where I...

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Update on Mike, Cyclone Pam, and Operation “Find Our Staff”

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in Life in Vanuatu | 13 comments

Update on Mike, Cyclone Pam, and Operation “Find Our Staff”

I can’t believe it’s only been four days since I last talked to Mike, four days since the cyclone hit. It seems like weeks. I just had my first extended communication with Mike since the cyclone. And by extended I mean we text-chatted by Skype for eight whole minutes. Mike hasn’t been able to access gmail or facebook since before the cyclone. He’s not sure when he’ll be able to (he pushed yesterday’s update onto facebook remotely). So he hasn’t seen anyone’s messages yet, but I told him how many people are supporting him and...

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Words In The Waiting

Posted by on Mar 14, 2015 in Lisa and Mike dialogues | 5 comments

Words In The Waiting

Last night was horrendous. I’m quite sure it wasn’t as awful for me as it was for Mike and his colleagues as they bunkered down in a small room at the back of the house in Port Vila and wondered whether the walls would withstand the wind, but it was still pretty bad on my end. I was up until 11pm and then again at 3am when a small visitor marched into my bedroom and climbed into bed with me. I spent those wee dark hours analyzing the storm track maps and reading the weather geek chatter on chat boards. I live-streamed tweets tagged with...

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What’s Changing Around Here

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in Travel | 2 comments

What’s Changing Around Here

So much has changed during the last six weeks it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve packed up the house in Laos and bid some wrenching farewells to our dog, Zulu, our staff, and friends in Vientiane. We scrambled through two weeks of medical and dental appointments here in Australia (all of Mike’s one year post-cancer scans came back clear. Hooray!!) so that we could all leave together for Port Vila on Feb 18th. Then we decided at the last minute that Mike should head out first and spend some time in the more remote projects while...

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Are You Excited?

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Life in Laos | 7 comments

Are You Excited?

It used to be that the question that stumped me was, “where’s home for you?” It took three years and a memoir, but I finally made my peace with that word home after we moved to Laos. Now the question that’s leaving me tongue-tied and bewildered is different. It’s, “Are you excited?” I’ve been asked this question at least half a dozen times this week. We’re moving, you see—to Vanuatu, in the South Pacific. We’re going to live on an island, in a town where cruise ships dock. We’re essentially going to live in a...

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This Season Of Leaving

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Life in Laos | 3 comments

This Season Of Leaving

Laos is beautiful this time of year. During these three months it’s easy to forget how oppressive I find the heat during the rest of the year. But it was deliciously cool this morning as I walked through the streets of downtown. The Mekong glowed in the early light. Tuk tuk drivers shrugged and smiled as I declined their offers. I thought—as I’ve thought many times since we made the decision to move—that there are many things I will miss about this country. I know this move is a good decision for us. Mike will be taking on a Country...

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A Quick Look At 2014

Posted by on Dec 29, 2014 in Miscellaneous | 3 comments

A Quick Look At 2014

If I had to pick a phrase that captured this year it might be “sudden change”. We started this year facing a massive change, and now we’re ending it in the midst of another. Last New Years Eve found us on board a plane that had just taken off from Bangkok airport. Mike had been diagnosed with cancer 72 hours earlier and life had changed on a dime. We were heading back to Australia for surgery and treatment. We didn’t know then that Mike’s cancer was already stage two/three, that he would need three rounds of BEP chemo, and that we...

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50 Best Tips on Making Your Long Distance Relationship Work

Posted by on Oct 28, 2014 in Long distance relationships | 0 comments

50 Best Tips on Making Your Long Distance Relationship Work

For a while now, behind the scenes, I’ve been working on an exciting new resource for my side gig… a page where you can find a whole lot of the best information out there on how to make your long distance relationship work, all in one place.   That page goes live today! Follow this link or click on the image at the bottom of this post to check it out.   Friends, can you please help me get the word out by sharing a link to the tips page? My aim in creating this page was to draw together excellent articles and other great resources...

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