Oscar turned 5! What a big boy he’s become 🙂 What a cliché to say we can’t believe it’s been that long – but there it is 🙂
Thinking back we realised that we’ve been in 5 different places for his 5 birthdays: Goroka PNG, Cairns Aus, Bracknell UK, North Cotes UK and now Kovol PNG. I guess the chance that one year we’re somewhere he’s had a birthday before can only get better 😀
It’s been a long slog this last stint in Kovol. We’ve been going hard at language learning without a break for 4 months now and it’s a month yet till a break. We’re becoming increasingly convinced that 3 months is our sweet spot. Oscar has been catching on to our tiredness and he’s talking about looking forward to a break now too. It’s a little concerning when you notice your little boy getting worn out!
A birthday then is a nice event to plan for and look forward to. We can get Oscar thinking on his perfect birthday. What cake would he like, what kind of party and so on. These last weeks he’s been learning about castles as part of home-school and so his choice of cake was an “m&m castle cake”. We’ve known for months that an m&m cake was on the cards so we stocked up.(No popping out to the shops, we plan 2 months ahead at least!)
Preparation for a present also started a long time ago. We ordered a Lego fire station set from Australia 9 months ago 😀 It’s been sitting hidden in our house for 6 months. It’s actually in a box labelled “presents” which was just fine until we moved Oscar’s bedroom upstairs and the Stous boys (who can read) drew Oscar’s attention to the box 😀 The box remained closed, so Oscar was still surprised 🙂 I guess we need to start thinking about ordering Christmas presents to go in there now 😀
Then the party that Oscar wanted was “exactly like what we did for Lincoln’s birthday” which involved party games at our house followed by pizza.
We took the day off from school and language learning and we had a blast opening presents, building lego and playing some Nintendo. The party games inevitably resulted in tears, but there was also much laughter, and then lots of cake and pizza. Oscar went to bed saying it was “the best birthday ever”, so we were really glad.
We’re really proud of Oscar and how well he does in Kovol. We’re far away from stores, playgrounds and all kinds of things, but Oscar finds the fun things here and is really learning to be flexible and creative. We’re doing things a little more simply, but there’s lots of opportunity for cuddles and laughter nonetheless.
We’re now coasting these last 2 weeks until our break. This week I spent 4 days updating our phonemic analysis of the Kovol language (the linguistics we do to figure out what symbols to use for the Kovol alphabet) and I’m both happy to have had something different to do (rather than transcribing more culture interviews), and glad I no longer have to search through our 6000 Kovol words we have written for specific patterns (like can I find an ⁿd and an l in the middle of a word between the same vowels?). I sent the revised version off to our consultants to see if they’re happy with the responses to their previous comments and if all goes well we’ll step further along the road to having a Kovol alphabet approved.
Next week is our next language test. We’ll be disappointed if we don’t both move up a level, but at the same time we’re too tired to stress about it too much 😀 We’ll see if doing a language test when we’re not feeling fresh is a good or bad thing next 🙂
After that we have 1 more week of Graham and Carol’s time here so I might get together with Graham and see if we can finish off a few projects, such as an office under our house.
Now the birthday is behind us our thinking turns towards a break. Oscar’s very excited to be going to Madang so we can play on the beach. When we came in 5 months ago, we had to spend a night in Madang after we couldn’t get into Goroka because of bad weather. We had such a great time on the beach digging a hole and building a wall that we’ve been looking forward to doing that again 🙂