There have been many times in the past two months that I have felt immense guilt because I left my life in Nova Scotia. The voices in my head have said many mean things.
I have come to realize that because I am embracing the lifestyle here, does not mean I miss my sons and daughter, my parents, my friends and family less than if I was miserable. There are days I wish I was on Star Trek and could just have Scottie “beam me up”. I would give them a big hug or have us all around the dinner table, carry on with my dad or have my mom say “what can I get you?”. These are the little things and yet the most precious parts of my life & I truly miss them.
Being here, in a simple, quiet world has taught me to SLOW DOWN and relax.
It was a struggle. I was very active. I liked being on the go. I liked staying so busy that sometimes I was too exhausted to think, to worry, to accept, to let go. My face was often in a device, learning, texting, scrolling.
In the past two months, there have been days when my husband would text or call to ask “How is your day? What are you doing?” My answer would simply be “I am practicing relaxing”.
From day one I fell in love with the friendliness of the people.
So willing to say Gude (goo-DAY in Tok Pisin), or Welkam when I am out and about. As I walk through the compound, I get greeted in many ways. This is something I was truly missing, in my world, before we moved.
Here the heads are up, no phones present.
The smiles are flowing freely. The eye contact is unavoidable. It has really touched my heart, in a place that has been missing the gentle easiness of life. Do you ever feel this way?
Every time I leave the compound I see a truck with people sitting in the back. Laughing, hanging on, sitting on the wheel well. It is a main means of transportation for local people. It has brought back so many memories of being a kid, growing up in a small community, walking home from the beach and dad or community member driving by on their way home from work. My dad would just give us the thumb to jump in back. It was a simpler, pre-adult, joy filled time in my life. I tease the drivers here, that I want to do that again someday. They laugh and I can tell they are thinking: “Not on my watch Whiskey”.
When was the last time you sat in the back of a pick up truck? Let the wind blow in your face? Laugh just from the sheer thrill of it? SIGH.
Something else I love about PNG is watching people walk in their bare feet. It is everywhere. The first time I saw it was when people were walking along the road. I thought OUCH. Then in the super market, the young children run around with bare feet. Seeing this brings back amazing memories. Running through the grass with no shoes on, walking across the gravel daring each other not to give into the pain of the stones. I do know that many Papuans are using their bare feet for different reasons than I did as a child. I had shoes, often more than one pair. Here the standard shoe on a Papuan is a very flimsy flip flop. I saw an elderly man at one of the markets and I swear he had never wore shoes his entire life when I looked at his feet. I do not exaggerate.
I remind myself that because I live in this beautiful country and the people are so different, I am not here to judge them based on my Canadian ways.
The change in my independence, from what I am use to in NS, is allowing me to have a better quality of life.
A quiet, introspective, live in the moment, notice my space and surroundings life. I hear the wind blowing in the palm trees (such a heavenly sound). I see the sun rise daily. I hear the workers sweeping the pavement in the early morning hours. I laugh daily and hear laughter. I had some of these things, in another way, in Nova Scotia and yet here it is different.
I feel so much gratitude for this time in my life.
This gift, to BE.
To BE in this space and place.
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