18 July 2013


When I landed in Papua New Guinea after traveling more than a day on three airplanes, I had few emotions. One emotion was relief. All of my flights were uneventful as I experienced only mild turbulence. Screaming kids were nonexistent; loud passengers were nonexistent; continual service announcements were nonexistent. They were all pretty peaceful flights.

However, after 5.5 hours on one plane, a six-hour layover and roughly 14 hours on another plane, I seriously considered getting a hotel room in Brisbane and just waiting a couple days to get to PNG. Then I thought about the reason I was traveling more than a day to PNG and I decided that that husband of mine waiting on the other side was worth one more three-hour layover and three-hour flight. At least at the end of that flight I knew I would be done.

When we slowed down the runway and prepared to taxi, I looked out the window to the shaded green mountains, burning bush fires and undeveloped lands, I remembered when Paul told me he had a “What the hell am I doing here?” moment and chuckled to myself. I wondered if I would soon have that same reaction. I instead decided to embrace the moment, wondering just how many Americans would be envious of my position. Who in the 314 million person population thinks, “I would like to leave the land of the free and move across the world to an island nation in the Pacific Ocean known as Papua New Guinea, a land of just three cities and a whole lotta tribes?” No one I know but hey, I’m here.

So I embraced the moment knowing that this is another experience I will remember forever.

Some very nice men loaded my bags into the hotel van and took Paul and me to our residence. We were driven the back way so that we did not have to carry my roughly 150 pounds of bags up more than 40 stairs. Instead, we had to carry them down a small gravel path that winded down trail-type stairs and then ducked under branches and beyond bushes until we wound our way to the other side of the building, climbing only six stairs to the door.

I opened my suitcases with the intention of not unpacking, took a shower and then rearranged the bedroom because I’m like that. When I had a moment to relax, I joined Paul in the living room on our tiny red leather loveseat and advised that I might take a nap. Paul advised that he could nap so we both tucked ourselves in for the afternoon.

Seven hours later I awoke to find it very dark outside. Paul opened the door to the bedroom and advised it was 11 p.m. and that he was coming to bed. Not yet ready to move, I decided to push through it and go back to sleep.

And that was my first day in Papua New Guinea

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