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All things domestic in Port Vila

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Life in Vanuatu | 1 comment

All things domestic in Port Vila

I’ve thought about posting a couple of times in the last couple of weeks but everything here (and in my head) feels like such a disorganized mash-up of good and bad, overwhelming and (barely) manageable, frustrating and unexpectedly sweet. And complicated. Everything seems to be more complicated and time consuming than it feels like it should be at the moment. I like to have a point when I write something—a bit of a theme. And we’ve got too many important balls in the air to at the moment to pinpoint one, so I’ve temporarily tossed...

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The Tax Of Novelty

Posted by on Apr 25, 2015 in Life in Vanuatu | 0 comments

The Tax Of Novelty

You guys, we are so tired. So tired. I thought moving to Vanuatu would spawn a whole series of new blog posts. After all, novelty is often fuel for creativity for me, since I usually need to write about things to process them fully. When we moved to Laos five years ago, I posted three times a week without fail. But you know what I neglected to factor into the picture? The two children we’ve acquired since then. That, and buying a house. Oh, and the fact that novelty might be good creative fuel, but the tax of novelty is fatigue. In Laos, the...

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Inside a Category Five Move

Posted by on Apr 17, 2015 in Life in Vanuatu, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Inside a Category Five Move

Want to know what the first full day in our new country was like? Here’s a peek at the nitty-gritty of moving to paradise… Woke up excited that we got to move into our new house, a house we are buying(!!), for the first time. Relished the novelty of knowing we would have a home-base for the entire time we live in Vanuatu. Picked up new car, and then had to drive it home on the other side of the road from what I’m used to, in the rain. After navigating manymanymany potholes and the steep hill on the dirt road leading out to our house, I...

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It’s Complicated: Emergency Reponse Efforts After Cyclone Pam

Posted by on Mar 31, 2015 in Life in Vanuatu | 1 comment

It’s Complicated: Emergency Reponse Efforts After Cyclone Pam

I don’t know quite where to start talking about what is going on with emergency response efforts in Vanuatu right now. I was literally sleeping in the middle of it all because the World Vision office in Vila was damaged in the cyclone, so the entire crew is now working out of the house Mike and I are renting. But even after four days there I know I still only saw part of the puzzle.     And it is a puzzle. The Vanuatu government, aid agencies, Australian military, and others, all trying to figure out how best to help those who are...

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Building and Buying Houses In Vanuatu

Posted by on Mar 28, 2015 in Life in Vanuatu | 7 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 | 2 comments

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 | 2 comments

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 | 14 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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