Well hi there blog, my old friend. It’s been a while! What have you been up to? Me? Well I generally work, sleep, get bitten by mosquitoes, get the odd stomach bug, sweat, mark endless student work, think of how lucky I am to live here, think how terribly inconvenient it is to live here, love my life, get annoyed with my life, accidentally cook lizards in my toaster, accidentally boil ants in my kettle, and enjoy the company of my friends (who are not ants or lizards, I don’t think).
I’m currently lucky enough to be live streaming an ABC Jazz concert from Australia via Facebook. These days our internet is pretty reliable and this is definitely one of the huge perks! I desperately miss live music.
Since writing school has started, we’ve taken our high school on a 3 days remote beach camping trip, and school is certainly in the wild swing of things. This year I’m teaching Algebra 1 (year 9), Geometry (year 10), Pre-calculus (year 12), English 10 and Psychology; the same as last semester. I’m really enjoying all my classes but I’m feeling kind of swamped by the huge marking load. All of my subjects feel like they’re drowning me at the moment… Must be better organised…
Beach Trip was incredible as always. I love spending time with my colleagues and students outside of a school environment; it’s such a great way to build deeper relationships. I never would have thought I’d enjoy camping with no running water, no electricity, no toilets, no anything, but I truly do! I’ll miss it so much!
Luke (my brother) came to Papua to visit just before school started! It was awesome to have the opportunity to show him my life! You simply can’t explain life here to people, and even when they actually see it they only get a glimpse of what the daily reality feels like. I’m so glad he got to meet some people and see my current home.
In case you missed the news, this will be my last year here. I intend to move back to Australia in June. By the time I leave I’ll have been here 3 and a half years, which seems like a good chunk of time to spend here. I am so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to serve in such a unique part of the world with such a diverse group of people. I’ve broadened my horizons and learnt more about God’s creation in both people and nature. I have grown as a person and have solidified more of who I am in the world.
Knowing that I’ll be leaving is both a blessing and a curse. It means that I’m trying to take advantage of my last year and the last time I’ll be doing certain things. I’m trying to experience all the things I know I want to, and not miss out on anything I know I’ll regret. It’s also strangely creating a psychological barrier for me at times; I know I’m leaving, so my mind is starting to prepare for that. It means I’m half thinking about life back in Australia already and it’s making me less mentally committed here. I don’t like that aspect of the process and I need to make sure I remain in the moment and live my time here to the full, not in anticipation of where I’ll be next.
Part of that mind shift is that life in Australia is so much easier and I’m looking forward to familiarity and convenience again. I miss my family and friends, I miss the ease and comfort of home. I love the opportunity I’ve been given here, don’t get me wrong, and I don’t want to leave yet, but it’s an odd split in my mind of where I focus my attention and where my heart clings to.
As usual there is a huge turnover of staff at HIS and we have a bunch of newbies this year. It’s always great and awful. You have to say goodbye to people you’ve built relationships with, and also find the energy to build new relationships with people you know will only be in your life temporarily. That’s the good and bad thing about being here, the constant changes in relationships and the way you get to know so many different people.
On a completely different note, our pasar (local markets) were recently demolished in an odd move by the government. They’re constructing new buildings for everyone, but haven’t done so yet, so people are either unable to sell at all, or are fighting over what real estate is available. It’s quite sad really.
Health wise I haven’t been feeling great over the last couple of days, another stomach thing as per usual. It’s unavoidable here from time to time. My right heel is really sore too for some reason, and I can’t walk without some pain. I’ve also been having some back issues, I think my scoliosis is playing up a bit. Isn’t life grand… Nothing too serious, but annoying all the same, especially without access to treatment.
I unfortunately wasn’t able to go interior before school started to help run those native song writing workshops I’d spoken about, as is the nature of Papua. Things often don’t happen in the way or time you plan. Now that school has started I can’t really go to a village for a week, which is quite disappointing. Maybe I’ll get the opportunity some other time; I certainly hope so.
An opportunity I do have though is to go to Hong Kong in November. There is an international teachers’ conference every 2 years (last time it was in Korea if you remember) that our school sends their staff to. I’m really looking forward to some good professional development and time (even if only for a few days) in a new country!
All that is to say that life is going well. My heart and mind are in 2 places as usual, but I know that I’m still in the right place for now.