15 April 2014


Sorry for the two-week hiatus. While I have begun writing five small blog posts with practically no point to them, I found it difficult to create meaningful prose. Nothing really happened in the last two weeks – at least nothing major. For fun (and to give you something to read), here are the highlights that suddenly turned into one massive post:

Paul Flew
Paul last week did a single-day, round-trip flight to an airport approximately 15 minutes’ flying time away. It was the one day in about a month that the rain fell upon the earth like it would fall upon a rain forest – gentle, warm, constant. All day. The rain came from Ita.

A Cyclone, an Earthquake and a Tsunami Warning
Cyclone Ita rolled through last week (that’s hurricane to the American folks). While Ita made her way from east of PNG toward Australia’s Northern Queensland coast, we in Port Moresby, far from the eye, felt the mild effects of Ita’s edge and received more rain in 36 hours than I have seen in two months. Ita made her presence known last Wednesday evening when she crept across the sky and serenely embraced Port Moresby in a grey cloak obstructing the heavens. We didn’t see the sun for three days. Being from Ohio, we should be used to lack of sun but I truly missed the natural light.

The rainy season – at least for the last two months – has not been very rainy at all, but Ita certainly made up for the dryness. We finally observed the muddy, flooding conditions that are typically much more frequent in the early part of the year. Good thing I have some great rain boots!

A tree collapsed outside our gate, meaning no one went in or out for a few hours. Luckily, the tree was cleared by the time Paul returned that afternoon.

PNG also experienced an earthquake, as is pretty standard since we are in the Ring of Fire, but we felt nothing. The cyclone, the earthquake and subsequent tsunami warning all hit the area within a few days but none caused us any trouble.

What is left of the fallen tree

The muddy, dreary, outside world

We Helped Joe Move & We’re Getting an Upgraded Road
While the rain was casually dumping upon us, Paul got word that our friend, Joe, needed a lift. Joe needed to pick up the keys to his shiny new apartment at Savannah Heights (one of the places featured in our apartment search posts). Joe failed to mention that his new keys were in his new apartment all the way across town and that he would also be transporting everything he owned at the same time.

We pulled up to our hotel compound where Joe had been staying and were suddenly surprised to see three men and a slew of luggage approaching our car. I was originally told that we were going to drop Joe at the airport and I thought maybe we were also carting along two additional pilots. Fine, I thought. I can be a taxi service. No problem.

After asking a few random questions, we not so quickly figured out that the men were not coming along, and that Joe was moving out of the hotel and into his new apartment. Once things made sense, we packed the car practically to the brim and, with Paul still in uniform, drove into town. And then we laughed about the situation. We, of course, didn’t mind helping a friend. We just laughed at the hilarity of doing all this unexpectedly on one of the rainiest days possible.

The road outside of our compound has been under construction so long that I cannot remember when exactly the road was just a dirt road with giant craters. I am pretty sure it was under construction last October. The normally two-lane road has been altered to sometimes fit three, maybe four cars across and, more often than not, half of the road is closed. Driving patterns have been altered every day and the “lane” closures sometimes change within a few hours.

I felt pretty badly for Paul and Joe as I drove across what I called the exploded mine field suddenly wishing that we had purchased a vehicle capable of driving on the moon and withstanding the torture our crossover was experiencing. Holes were everywhere – and not just small holes. Hundreds of gravel potholes filled with muddy rain water, all lined up with no hope of finding a smooth path.

Wanting to get the drive over as quickly as possible, I craved for an opportunity to go faster, especially since the monster Land Cruisers with their hummer-like exteriors and snorkels were doing their darndest to squeeze past me at any opportunity. I could only go slower and cringe as we dipped and leveled, dipped and leveled. I should have made people seasick. All the while, the traffic opposite were flying past us on newly-paved asphalt, two by two.

Once we were out of the trenches I resumed my normal speed, cautious of the puddles that awaited. We avoided the highway (thank goodness we did not need to go to the CBD where it often floods) but we did catch traffic and flooding in town.

At one point, I noted that we would be driving on a sidewalk because, well, everyone else was. From the outside lane, I merged inward and then crawled up onto the elevated center walk to avoid muddy flood water that was knee deep. If everyone was avoiding said flood water, how, you wonder, would I guess the water was anywhere near knee-deep? Oh, it’s because we live in Papua New Guinea and the local people decided to not walk on the sidewalk outside the flood zone – they instead decided to wade in the water.

I am now a licensed sidewalk driver

Does anyone else see the sidewalk right next to them?

We arrived at the new compound, unloaded the car and carted everything up the stairs to Joe’s fabulous new apartment. I took it all in, dreaming of the day that we will get to move and have space. Placing Joe’s bags on the floor was the extent of our unpacking service, but we did offer to take him across the street to the shopping mall so that he could obtain necessary supplies.

I Did Some Reading
Thanks to the internet, I have been able to borrow online books from Amazon, the U.S. library system and buy books from bn.com. When I first searched for books I wanted to read, I found my name at the end of many, many waiting lists behind 60 people (no joke). Frustrated, I waited my turn and found less popular books to read in the meantime. Then, of course, I hit the jackpot.

I began reading my first awesome book and, bang, my reservation for a second was available. Before I finished the first, my third became available and I wanted to read that one more than the second one, so I passed on the second one and selected the third. I had another book in my queue that I didn’t even open before it disappeared but it was design storage related and not captivating (plus there was no waiting list), so I let that one go as well.

My library was quickly getting out of control, so I started putting the book titles and their due dates into my Google calendar. The deadlines helped me keep pace and kick my reading into gear if I notice the end approaching quicker than I would like. Everything was working out great until my husband saw This is Where I Leave You in bright green on my calendar. “Uh……Do you need to tell me something?” He actually sounded hurt.

I Bought Cookies
At the end of last year, I decided to change my lifestyle habits. I began working out more, doing more high-intensity workouts and weight training, and eating healthier. I limited my processed food purchases and started trying more vegetables. Who knew I liked vegetables?! I found healthier recipes and started drinking superfood shakes.

When shopping, I have been loading up on lots of fruit and vegetables, incorporating more vegetables into my daily cooking and avoiding sugars, including a woman’s favorite, chocolate. I know that I can want something sweet but, if I don’t have anything sweet in my house, I can’t eat it. So I just don’t buy it.

Occasionally, I pick up a few mini chocolates for the times when I have a craving but don’t want the calories, fat, sugar content or carbs associated with a typical sweet treat. I don’t buy doughnuts, pastries or cakes. When I bake something supposedly sweet, I use whole wheat flour and reduce the sugar, sometimes eliminating it altogether. Processed sugar is out; I use honey, natural syrup, dark brown sugar or, on some occasions, raw sugar when necessary.

This week, I caved and bought cookies. They weren’t bakery cookies, either. They were totally processed and I knew what I was doing. Sometimes a person just needs a sweet.

Have we talked about Paul’s addiction to sweets? I’m pretty sure we have. Just in case you haven’t been following that long or your memory needs a jog, Paul likes sweets. He will tell anyone that he’s not a cake guy; he won’t order dessert at a restaurant. But if there is anything sugary in front of him, he will pounce like it is his job to eat everything in sight. He will eat cake, cupcakes and brownies but cookies are his all-time weakness. He likes gelato, too.

When I was at the store, I bought two bags of cookies – one chocolate chip and one chocolate chip fudge. I had never before tried the cookies. I was half-hoping they were crap so that I wouldn’t want to eat them all. Turns out, they were fantastic. Those cookies are like super-good Chips Ahoy cookies. I went to have one, maybe two half-dollar sized cookies and I instead ate four. And then I put them away so that didn’t happen again.

Paul also had some cookies. And by some, I’m pretty sure he had half a dozen. I joked with him about cutting him off. Later that evening, before making dinner, I heard a crumple, so I launched out of my chair in the bedroom, opened the previously-closed door to the living room and looked in the direction of the cookie cupboard. Paul was nowhere to be seen, which was odd because it’s not like he can really go anywhere.

After a few seconds, he poked his head up like a groundhog on his hind legs and positioned his wide eyes in my direction, looking just like the kid who got caught with his hands in the cookie jar. I laughed and told him he was cut off and we proceeded to battle in the kitchen. Paul thought I hid the cookies; I placed them back in their original location but I didn’t tell him that. He searched nearly every cupboard; I jumped on him; he pushed me away. We fought for a bit; we laughed a lot. His determination was ludicrous.

My technique worked, though. He spent so much time and energy looking for the cookies that were not hidden that he lost his craving. He had more cookies after dinner but I didn’t stop him. I didn’t stop making fun of him either.

Today Paul was racing around. He ran into the bedroom where I was working, ran past me, swiped my ponytail a few times, poked my face, beat my shoulders back and forth, poked me in the face some more, gave me wet willies in both ears and then jumped onto the bed – all within 45 seconds. I looked at him like what the heck?! “I think I’ve had too much sugar.”

It’s day two and the cookies are all gone. That bag didn’t last 24 hours.

And, Finally, Easter = Inebriation
I bought a local paper today. I was hoping to find blogging inspiration in the headlines, something I have said I would feature and then never remember to do. On our drive back home after a failed outing, I began flipping the pages and reading some of the articles.

“National Capital District Police Acting metropolitan commander Supt Perou N’Dranou has issued a stern warning to the public not to cause a nuisance during the Easter period.

“’I warn first time offenders not to think of getting into any sorts of trouble with the law such as drinking or any other illegal activities for that matter as they would be dealt with severely,’ N’Dranou said.”

According to the article, operation Jesu Maino is in full effect as of last Friday, and all station commanders, dog units, mobile squad units and pretty much anyone else working for the PD is on full alert and “out in full force.” Roadblocks will be set up around the city and police will be on the streets, so we have decided to barricade ourselves on the compound and not leave until Monday. Happy Easter.

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