Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jones Family Update

Can you believe we are officially halfway through our journey? I thought we should take a break and let you know how we’re doing aboard MV Explorer:


Abi has made a lot of friends on the ship. She definitely thinks she is second in command to the captain, and on a regular basis she walks up to random people and asks if they want to see her room. She is constantly at play with her “big friends” (college students) in the evenings. Abi always has “things” with her every where she goes now. She packs a big purse around full of things that she has collected around the ship. She is quite protective of it. We go swimming every afternoon that the pool is full, and spend the morning doing school and projects.

Abi is becoming a good traveler – what is frightening is that she has no inhibitions in the port cities. Every taxi driver is her best friend, and she leads the way down streets and through stores. Developmentally, Abi is becoming quite in touch with her feelings. The other day she told me she was “upset, angry, and frustrated”. It gives us such an insight into the things that are important in her day to day life. She is also getting taller and more coordinated. She looks more like a four year old than a three year old I hate to say. She played Peter Pan with a friend today, and I was nostalgic about the idea of a NeverNever Land. My favorite moments are when she gently takes care of Lily when she is crying. She really has a compassionate little heart.


Lily has changed significantly – she hardly looks like a baby now! She sports six teeth, has started feeding herself, has mastered crawling, and says a few words like “mama”, “dada”, “up”, and “uh oh”. Lily definitely enjoys the attention on the ship. Most meals she looks over the seat at all the people in line and waves at everyone while “talking” to them. In country, it varies. In India she was followed by a paparazzi like crowd of local school children, grandmas, daddies, and mommies all eager to pinch her cheeks and thighs and pose in pictures with her. She found it a little overwhelming, but was a good sport overall. Her favorite toys are the TV remote, the laptop, and anything that Abi is working on. Clearly, we need to invest in some things that hold her attention a little better.

Watching her pick up eating has been hilarious. We have been feeding her for 11 months because she absolutely refused to put her hands anywhere near her mouth. She would hold onto food all day long, but unless we were shoving it in her mouth it was just a toy. The look of surprise on her face when she put together the hand to mouth connection was so amusing. She just looked so shocked, and then she was instantly devouring food.

Her newest trick is getting out of bed. A few nights ago I heard giggling on our baby monitor at 10 o’clock at night. I went in the room and both girls were sitting across from each other just belly-laughing. I scolded Abi, assuming she pulled Lily out of bed for entertainment purposes. She later told her dad that Lily had been crawling all over the bed and dresser, pulling things into her bed, and that she crawled off the bed and was playing in the floor. Abi had pulled a chair in front of the bed to keep her in, but Lily was determined to be awake to try out her new crawling skills. We haven’t had a repeat of that night, but she does purposefully scoot off the bed. She throws all her toys on the floor, says “uh oh”, and then scoots off after them. I have a feeling that our parenting world is about to change once again.


I brought 96 Dr. Peppers with me. I thought they would last until Japan if I stuck to 1 a day. They are all gone as of South Africa. The withdrawals were rough, because I am not a huge water fan, and I’m caring for the endless energy duo all day. My solution has been to start training for a triathlon. This is working out really well. I run every day during nap time, and get really thirsty for water. I actually crave it all day long, and now when I drink soda it doesn’t feel that great. Weird how quickly it happened, but now I spend all day waiting for my workout time instead of rationing my DP intake. Someone with a PhD in psychology could probably explain all of this. Basically, I have learned I just need an addiction through this process. So far, running is a reasonable substitute for liquid sugar and caffeine. We’ll see what happens when I get home and Safeway “enables” me by running a 4 for $12 special on DP bricks. I’ve always hated running, but having an “event” to look forward to makes it kind of fun! There is a triathlon in Portland on August 23rd. If we are still there in August, I will be there! If not, I’ll have to find another one to enter wherever we wind up. It will be a good incentive to get familiar with the workout options in whatever place we wind up at.

I have a few students that I am enjoying quite a bit. There is a girl from Stillwater, OK and another one from Snyder, TX. They are both sweet and fun to talk to – I even sacrificed two Dr. Pepper’s when we shared stories and pictures from our Namibia port. We also have a “family” of three girls that we get together with for dinner and conversation. I like getting to know all of the students. There are some really creative and ambitious students on our voyage. I am down the hall from two mothers that are my source of sanity. I won’t lie: being around my children all day, not the easiest thing I have ever done. It has been a complete blessing to have some people to swap stories with. One day, after a few public meltdowns, K & H knocked on my door and said “We’re stealing you!” and took me out for wine and girl time right before bedtime. It was saving grace. Just having some time to talk through the day allowed me to see the humor and appreciate how quickly this sweet time will pass in my life.


Luke is famous on the ship. I get to eavesdrop on students talking about how good he is frequently, which makes me smile. He delivers the announcements every day, and also does the Pre-Port before we arrive in each country. Students turn out en masse to hear him talk about traffic safety and avoiding pick pocketers. He really does have a gift for talking to the students, and the presentations are relevant, humorous, and engaging. He has made a special point to encourage students to give of themselves in port, whether that be time, conversation, song, a special talent, or just a smile. As a result, we frequently have students approaching us to share stories of the meaningful ways they connected with the local culture of a port. I love that!

Luke has been working a lot as he tries to apply for jobs. Applying for a job at a university is challenging enough as is, but waiting for our internet sometimes adds a new layer to the frustration. The unique thing about this voyage is that he is often able to connect with a student from the university or the city he has applied to. Sometimes students are able to share about the “culture” of their university and the community that surrounds it. I don’t think there is another place where you could get that kind of student insight as you apply for positions. Luke is also talking to lots of professionals from different universities that are on this voyage and asking about their careers and lives. The ship has been a good place to reflect on what exactly he wants from his career. The feeling of being “in limbo” seems to be something that has followed us throughout our marriage, so it doesn’t really feel too stressful to be job hunting.

Well, the computer is dying so I’m going to post this now! Look forward to seeing friends and family soon!

1 comment:

Kayla said...

You guys are having an amazing adventure! I sent you an email. Can you post on my blog whether you got it or not?