16 July 2013


While enjoying the peace that is associated with a long weekend in the woods of Central Massachusetts, I was presented with some interesting news. Curtis, Anna Marie and I were zipping down the Mass Turnpike, headed west to enjoy a picnic in the Berkshires while listening to a live, on-site radio broadcast when I got a call from my long-lost, third-world husband.

“So, here’s the deal,” he said. “They moved the maintenance to September so I won’t be coming home in mid-July like we planned.” Awesome. Paul left Ohio at the beginning of June to begin flying in Papua New Guinea. He was supposed to be back for a month commencing in mid-July so that he could spend more time with his family and so that we could go on a little New England vacation of our own. We planned my move to PNG would occur around the time that Paul would be called back.

Whenever people would ask me about Paul’s return, I would advise that he was supposed to be back in July while the airplane was down for maintenance but always explained that the maintenance did not have to be completed until December so there was always a chance the maintenance could be delayed. Looks like I was right.

“O.K.,” I responded. “What’s the plan?” We discussed a couple options. Either we could meet halfway – somewhere like Hawaii where there are Marriotts, not Bora Bora because that country doesn’t have Marriotts – or I could move.

Paul inquired about time off and was advised that he would remain on call five days weekly, alternating trips with his colleague. “Well, then I guess I need to suck it up and move.” By Monday I had decided that I was moving and that I would move in two weeks.

I weighed the options of staying in the U.S. longer, spending more time with family, participating in the end-of-July beach vacation Paul’s sister and I had been planning and attending my best friend’s baby shower in July against the thought of waiting yet another five weeks to see my husband.

I decided that he cannot guarantee that he will be back in September and that I could spend what time I had left with the people who to me mean the most. So, I continued my road trip with the intent on moving almost immediately upon my return to Ohio.

After a mostly glorious day driving to and along the North Shore, Anna Marie and I were taken by a nasty storm that produced tornadoes in Connecticut. After a brief shopping adventure at the local mall, we began our journey back to Central Mass. and then quickly decided to pull off the highway, find a clear area and wait for the storm to pass.

When we made it back into Worcester where we met Curtis, I handed over his sister, said good-bye and drove into Pennsylvania. I made a goal to drive five hours into an area near Wilkes Barre, PA, on the state’s eastern portion.

In the morning, I awoke early, got out of my hotel an hour ahead of schedule, grabbed my Starbucks coffee and headed out on the road. I drove for a couple hours before finding Highway 78, what I determined to be my route of choice for the day. I found it odd that the signs indicated only 78, not 78 East or West. I was also confused when the ramp turned me to the left when I thought I was supposed to be heading right. I brushed off my thoughts, figuring that the road would take me in the right direction.

Just over an hour later, I happened to check my progress via my little blue dot and was stunned to see myself heading east. “What?! Why I am going that way?.....Allentown? AAAAAAAAHHHH!” Yes, I had chosen the wrong highway and wound up driving more than an hour in the wrong direction. So much for enjoying a glorious morning drive, taking pleasure in my ability to be ahead of schedule.

Once turned around, I was back on the road and on my way to see Paul’s sister, Alexis. We spent the next few days hitting parties in celebration of July 4, the birth date of the United States of America. We saw friends, had some drinks, enjoyed a great dinner at the restaurant where Paul and I held our wedding reception and saw some of the best fireworks in the country.

On the afternoon of July 4, I headed home to spend one last evening with my brother before he left for his final weeks in the U.S. Marine Corps.

The next week I went into crazy, “I’m moving to a third-world country” mode, convinced that I needed to stock up on whatever I possibly could before leaving. I bought a couple nice outfits, since most of that is in boxes in a Singapore warehouse. I bought Target out of sundresses because I convinced myself that was all I was really going to wear. I stocked up on hair and makeup supplies, antiperspirant, toothpaste for Paul, a crazy, backwoods first-aid kit, deet bug spray and anything else I swore I needed. Paul, I am truly sorry for this month’s credit card bill. Truly. Really sorry.

People have asked my feelings about moving to PNG and all I can say at this point is that I have no feelings either way. I think that because I have now flown internationally more times in the last two years than I have flown within the U.S. in the last five years, today is just another day.

I am currently in D.C. waiting to board my flight for L.A. From there, I will fly to Brisbane, Australia, and then on to my new home in Port Moresby. I am sitting here as if this is just another flight. My friends and family know that this is not just another mundane flight but, for now, it is to me.

Life is about to get interesting. 

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