November is a big month for our family, with three of our kids celebrating birthdays. Our baby girl Zoe turned four and we had a party with the other MAF kids and some Indonesian friends. Next was Carter, who turned 12 and instead of a party wanted to go on a pig hunt with one of the Indonesian men who works at the hangar. Pak Nelson took Carter and David into some jungle on our little island of Tarakan, and they said the best part was watching Nelson track the pigs. They didn't get anything but had fun hiking. That evening Nelson went back out hunting and was successful and brought us a pig leg.
And then Luke turned six and wanted a jungle-themed party, which is a wonderfully easy thing to do when you live near the jungle.
The back of our yard looked like a jungle when we piled up branches and banana leaves that David had recently cut.
And no jungle party would be complete without kids popping balloons using a blowgun, the traditional hunting weapon of Borneo.
Luke's Snake Cake
Besides celebrating birthdays, we've been enjoying a time of harvest. While the words "harvest time" used to conjure up for me images of fat pumpkins, acorn squash, and sheaves of wheat, here I have come to connect harvest with fruit. Our friends interior have been sending out lots of rambutan, longsat, pisang, and ketimun, shown below.
But the best part of this year's harvest has been our mangoes. We have four mango trees in our yard that sometimes produce fruit. This year we had a bumper crop, thanks to the hard work of our house helper Orpa. She put plastic bags over all the growing mangoes to protect them from fruit bats that like to fly in at night and feast.
Orpa and her sister leave in a few days to head home to Sulawesi for a month. I am going to miss her so much - and not just because of how much work she does for us. She is a close friend, and a lot of fun to have around.
And while I'm on the food theme, here are a few pictures of Luke with his friend Christopher. Christopher's mom came over one day to teach me to make shrimp wonton soup. Rather than throwing away the shrimp heads, like I would have done, she fried them up into a crispy snack. They were actually quite good - as most fried things are - and as long as I didn't look at their beady eyes staring at me, I could eat them.
The Shrimp Heads Go....
And lastly on the food theme, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our MAF teammates. We even had a turkey and cranberry sauce and all the other fixins. We've decorated for Christmas and we look forward to celebrating Jesus' birth with our Indonesian brothers and sisters.