Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Paradise After Dark

In our last blog Finally! Settled in Paradise, I shared about how God had called us out of our comfort zone and moved us to Camiguin Island.  Yes, he rewarded our "Yes" with a house on the beach, a gorgeous view of the ocean, and a nice ocean breeze.  And for that we are so grateful.  But like I said in the last post, life is definitely harder on Camiguin.

A gorgeous view of the ocean from our backyard taken by Olivia.

We arrived at our new house about 2 o'clock in the afternoon to find that it was on the ocean! We were even more grateful to find that it was fairly clean, had a decent bathroom inside and a second Filipino style one outside, nice stained cement floors, screens on the windows, and a refrigerator. The downside was that it only had two bedrooms.  But thankfully both were very large and all 8 of us would fit easily not comfortably since there were only two beds.  But we knew when we became missionaries that things would not be easy or comfortable.

The master bedroom and nursery complete with a napping baby!

The kids' room: one bed, one "couch", and three floor mats.

The "luggage" room in the hallway.

The kids were a little freaked out about having to share a room.  Three fifteen year old boys, a thirteen year old girl, and a twelve year old girl---all in one room!  I was a little concerned about that too, but they have all been exceptionally good about it.  The bedroom is only for sleeping.  We have small area in the hall where all of their things are kept.  And they change in the bathroom.  We quickly discovered that the key to a peaceful bedtime is to have them begin a rosary immediately upon laying down.

Our porch/living room that overlooks the ocean.
After unloading the car that first day, Travis and I ran to the town on the other side of the island 45 minutes away to buy a few things at the main store only to find that there was not much more of a selection than we had in our small town.  We picked up a few necessities---rice, oatmeal, drinking water, and toilet paper.  We also picked up some bug spray to spray around the outdoor living room to keep the mosquitoes away.  Little did we know that that bug spray would be the best purchase ever made!

We returned home just before dark.  Just before the nightmare began. As we ate our supper that night, the other occupants of the house began to come out.  First came the geckos.  Slowly they began to creep out from the ceiling.  I told the boys they would have to catch them and put them out while the girls cleaned the kitchen after supper.  But by the end of the meal, there were FOURTEEN of them over our kitchen table.  There was no way the boys would be able to catch them all.  I took a deep breath and thanked God that they weren't in the bedroom.

The tokay lizard: picture courtesy of Wikipedia!
I was too busy freaking out to get pictures
of the one looking in our window!
Just then we look out the window and see the giant tokay ("TOE KO") lizard staring at us through the window.  We had heard many stories about the tokay and how they will "rip your skin off."  We also knew that the single missionaries who had been living here for two years with several in their house had never been bothered by them.  But we still had that original story stuck in our heads.  But we thanked God that it was outside our window NOT inside our house.

Again, not my photo!  Too busy

As it continued to get dark, more unwanted roommates began to show themselves as we began to turn on the lights in the house.   The first was the GIANT spider that came out in the dining area.  It was the size of Travis's hand.  He and Joshua decide to tag team it.  But just as Travis goes to swat it, Joshua realizes that it has an egg sack.  But it was too late!  As the dead spider falls to the floor, a million tiny babies run out of the busted egg sack.  We all begin stomping and sweeping franticly.

As we all sit down to laugh, yes laugh because there's really nothing else you can do, we see more spiders and geckos emerging from the bamboo walls that they have been hiding in.  The bamboo amakan walls that I loved, I now hated!  I got out the spray and began to spray the base of the walls where the floor and wall meets as I realize that their are cracks between them to the outside, so I spray them from the inside and from the outside.  I thought "We may die from the fumes, but we won't have anything crawling on us tonight!"

As we began to start taking showers, I once again thanked God for the shower head and a flushing toilet.  We had been taking bucket baths and bucket flushing the toilet for almost a week at the convento we stayed at before arriving.

The best part about the bathroom is that the water at the sink turns on when you flush the toilet. You can never forget to wash your hands! :)

We didn't have hot water like in our house in Malaybalay, but we were so hot that the cold shower sounded good.  That is until the cockroaches began to come out in the bathroom and shower!  All of my spraying for spiders had disturbed the cockroaches living in the amakan too!

Travis ran to rescue Emily from a cockroach in the bathroom.  He swatted it with a flip flop and then grabbed a piece of toilet paper to pick up the dead roach.  Emily begins to scream, but is too frightened to talk.  As he tries to figure out what is wrong now, he sees that one of those GIANT spiders had crawled into the roll of toilet paper and is now hanging on to the piece he has just torn off.  THE PIECE IN HIS HAND.

Our sweet baby sleeping naked under his
After that, we all go around the house searching for more spiders and cockroaches.  (We have given up on the geckos whose numbers have now reached about 20.)  We find one of the giant spider's egg sacks in our bedroom.  Travis and Joshua carefully devise a plan on how to get it without releasing the millions of babies into our bedroom where Luke is already asleep under his mosquito net.  They ended up capturing egg sack in an empty plastic coke bottle and then taking it outside before smashing and spraying it with the insect spray.

I sent a quick "Please pray for us that nothing comes out and crawls on us especially the baby while we are sleeping and that we can all actually get some sleep" message to some of our family.  My mom is in shock that I'm casually joking about our adventure so far beings that I cried not to go camping at my dad's camp my entire childhood and teenage years because of the possibility of spiders.  (Even as a married adult, I HATED going to the camp because of the spiders.)  My reply was that God can and does perform miracles of all kinds!  I prayed that He would work a miracle on Emily right at that moment.  She is definitely her mother's daughter!

Just as all the kids finally get settled down on their mats on the floor of their room, Travis turns on the hall light to find another one of those ginormous spiders and a few cockroaches crawling up and down the wall.  As he goes to smash one, the rest scatter.  One runs straight to the kids room  and straight to Emily's bed!  She had positioned her mat in the middle of the room so that anything that crawled out of the walls would get the others first.  Well, this roach maneuvered around Isaac and Joshua and headed straight for her.  (I have promised her that I would not post what she did, but use your imagination!)

The next hour was spent with more spraying, more killing, and a lot more praying!  We finally all settled down again and tried to get some sleep.  I woke the next morning thanking God that everyone slept through the night and that we had no encounters in the dark of the night.

The following night the same adventure began as it got dark, and we began to turn the lights on.  Travis and the boys chased spiders and cockroaches as the girls and I pointed them out.    The third morning I decided to spray the house in the light of the day. I sprayed the amakan walls from top to bottom on the inside and outside of the cottage.  Again, I thought that we may die from the fumes, but we will not be eaten alive by spiders and cockroaches!  (Did you know that cockroaches bite? Just learned that recently.)

Anyway, our nightly nightmare finally ended after a few days.  We still occasionally see a roach or two in the morning dead or dying in the bathroom or shower.  We haven't seen a giant spider in almost a week.  The tokay lizard has only been spotted one other time outside in the rafters.  And the 14 geckos have become our friends as they eat the mosquitos and other flying bugs that get into our house through the holes in the screens.

I saw this on Facebook last week and found it the perfect summary of our life lately.  We have definitely been uncomfortable with the heat and insects, but we have definitely grown by leaps and bounds these last three weeks here!


  1. So happy that God has given all of you the strength to accept AND LAUGH at whatever comes your way! No laughter from me here though!! Love and prayers to the Seilhan family!
    And by the way, did that baby come with the master bedroom???

  2. I hope and pray that God is still keeping you all safe from the roaches and spiders!!