31 March 2014


I awoke this morning excited about the day. Paul was in Sydney on a three-day trip that I declined to join for many reasons, one being that I am pretty sure we have seen each other every single day since February 2. Nothing against my husband - I do love being with him when he's not annoying me or elbowing me in the eyeball (it may have happened this evening) - but even people who like each other need space.

While I am confident that I would have loved spending four days in Sydney (I would have had to fly out a day ahead of Paul), attending Hillsong services and eating first-world food, the decision of whether or not to go on the last-minute trip was too much pressure. I had things I needed to accomplish over the weekend, including finishing a book that my internet library would be revoking on Monday and I really wanted to finish that book.

Saturday morning I drove Paul to the airport for his 7:30 show and drove to the Airways. I had decided to start the day with coffee and a breakfast that someone else would prepare. I enjoyed most of my undercooked omelet with all the fixings and sank into my chair shaded from the ever-more-boiling sun's rays in the open-air restaurant overlooking the runway while reading my electronic TIME magazine.

It was a beautiful day, the temperature creeping toward  90 before 9 and a faint breeze hitting me like someone gently blowing air through pursed lips. The birds were almost as loud as the planes on the runway below.

I kept myself busy throughout the day but remained on the compound. I spent the afternoon at the pool following an internet pilates video and relaxed the rest of the evening. Though I had a plan to be asleep at 7:30, an evening call from my favorite Megan that kept me awake much later.

Sunday started out with an ambition: stay in bed for as long as possible. I have heard the term "lazy Sunday" but rarely do anything to align with the term. Of course, every other day in my life could quite possibly be construed as lazy.

Reading in bed worked out well; eating in bed did not. I watched two television shows all day and read portions of two books. Sunday was a boring day. I got bored. I suddenly wished Paul was back because even his annoyances would be something to keep me occupied.

This morning I awoke with vigor. I was excited. The sun was again shining (O.K. it shines practically every day). Paul was on his way home. I was ready for a morning coffee. It had been months since I had visited Duffy, so I decided to make a little trip to the edge of town.

After another impromptu phone conversation from an American friend that moved back my intended time frame, I headed out in a now-uncommon state: I was dressed in cropped jeans, real loafer-type shoes, I had done my hair and I had a bit of makeup on my face. I don't look this good when I go to the grocery store but my energy this morning made me want to put forth effort. And I had the time while chatting.

I practically skipped out of the house, sunglasses on my face, hopping down the 42 stone stairs that led to the parking area. I hopped into the drivers seat, rolled down the windows and picked a CD: Carrie Underwood's Blown Away. I drove down the hill excited to have the sun and wind on my face since I had only once the week before left the compound.

I felt a sense of freedom as I waited for the guard to open the gate. I smiled and yelled thank you while waving and embraced the day and the city before me. I drove about 200 yards before my pride and my exhilaration melted into heartbreak as I was once again reminded of the conditions for the people around me.

With the dirt steaming and the stones hopping up from the ground, I rolled up the windows as I got closer to the market population. My loud singing faded as I looked out my windows and saw people in torn, dirty clothes, some without shoes; one older woman carried a naked baby likely just under a year old upon her shoulders. It is quite common to see naked children on the streets.

I continued on my drive, more aware of myself than I was 10 minutes prior.

Duffy is one of the two pre-approved locations to which I may travel alone (by pre-approved I mean Paul-approved). With a tiny, often crowded coffee shop downstairs and a clothing boutique upstairs, it's one of the few places in Port Moresby with real character. Kind, over-protective security guards line the entrances and guard the vehicles while patrons enjoy their time inside.

Once inside the high walls, Port Moresby disappears and Paul and I talk about how we could be anywhere in the world. A grand patio features cloth tented areas covering comfy outdoor sofas and standard small tables and modern chairs. Not wanting to take one of the few tables for four as a single woman reading at a time that encroached upon the lunch hour and not wanting to sit at one of the tall counters by one of the two windows where ants like to live and hunt for leftover food scraps, I thought about sitting outside, though the temperature was a bit hotter than I would have liked. I did see a couple fans so I decided that was what I would do.

When I walked into the coffeehouse, I did not recognize the place. Two weeks ago Duffy completed a renovation that absolutely transformed the space into an incredibly eaterie three times the size of the original. Everything had changed. A creperie area was constructed at the front, the display cases had been extended and a new gelato case was the first to greet entrants.

A new coffee machine and new features like fresh juices accompanied the delicious-looking sandwiches and pastries.

The floors are now a concrete-looking tile that are reflected in grey-toned exposed brick walls and columns. Two seating areas on either side of the concrete floor are identified with dark wood flooring. Collapsible walls segregate each section and two rooms in the back are secluded with leather-looking sofas and chairs.

In addition to the standard coffeehouse tables, lower sitting reading chairs sit opposite small tables that would be used as decorative tables in a child's room but provide an acceptable small space for a cup of coffee and a pastry. Black and white art with sparse pops of select color mirror the dark, white and grey tones, allowing the products to create the color of the space and the windows now look out upon an herb garden.

I loved to visit Duffy before but I. Am. In. Love. with the place now! I want to be there every day, and not just for the cucumber-celery-spinach smoothie that I chose in lieu of my coffee this morning (my mom just said whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!)

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