We find it quite amazing how quickly we’ve settled back into things feeling ‘normal’. We’ve been here for just over a week, but we’re feeling fully recovered from our journey and we’re feeling well settled already.
Well, we’re off again soon! The plan was to get settled, get our bearings and then plan our move back into Kovol. We’ve asked and the earliest flight available for us is on April 6th. It’s a bit later than we wanted maybe, but on the other hand it’s really nice to have some time to prepare well and finish off other things.
On arrival in North Cotes, not knowing how long we would be around for, I went on the hunt for something useful to do. My hunt ended up in my writing software for the NTM-UK finance office. Since moving to a cloud based finance system a year and a half ago the finance office has no longer been able to properly create account statements for UK missionairies. Turns out I’ve been able to do something about that and so I got to work creating a web app that queries an API in the background to get the data it needs. I mean I’d love to write in depth about it, but probably shouldn’t because a. it’s financey and b. most people find it super boring!
So now a goal for the few weeks we have here in Lapilo is for me to get that pretty much finished. I definitely don’t want to be continuing tonnes of work on that in the evenings after a full day of Kovol language learning!
I guess having a project that requires full time work helps settle you pretty quickly 🙂 I had a very weird feeling yesteday, after spending the morning coding, I hopped in a car to drive to town to renew my driver’s licence. It was surreal to have my head still spinning with code and thinking through bugs I was seeing, while driving past PNG life – seeing kids on their way home from school, stands selling buai and dodging potholes and trees strewn across the road.
I’m inhabiting two completely different worlds at the same time, and it feels weird.
Thankfully I only spent 50 minutes waiting for my driving licence. Gerdine was surprised to have me come back with it in my hand later; last time it took 3 days and 3 trips! Upon receiving the licence it was shopping time.
Last week we all went to town to test out how being in town as a family feels. It feels difficult! Gerdine becomes a sweaty mess sitting in the back of the car holding onto both babies as they fight and wriggle around (no car seats in PNG!). We got a bit of shopping done (can’t let ourselves get short on tea bags!) and went to eat at our favourite little cafe (the kai bar in Papindos), only to be a little underwhelmed by what we got.
We have noticed that after a year in Europe our standards have risen. Lots of things we fondly remember as ‘really nice’, now seem a bit run-down and dirty.
I’m looking forward to our first break out of Kovol after being in the bush for a few months; I’m sure then we’ll be amazed at how nice everything in town is once again 😀
With only a little shopping getting done with all our kids it was up to me to carefully follow the list Gerdine made (what would I do without her) to buy food for 2-3 months for Kovol.
10-20kg of oats, 5kg of pasta, 10 tins of baked beans….
I felt like I was buying up the whole store. I filled one trolley and then another. Meanwhile curious PNG nationals are looking on as they buy their couple of items. It added to the weirdness factor of the day. Then to turn it all around the checkout treated it as entirely normal, payment happened smoothly and everything was loaded into the car in a single trip with the help of 2 of the checkout staff. Maybe I should have bought some more? No, I know better than that – follow the list.
Next step is getting it all boxed up, weighed and labelled here in Lapilo so we can drop it in Tribal Supply, where it is sent to the hangar on flight day on our behalf. The support system here for bush missionaries is amazing!
Alice and Millie are having their 1 year (a few weeks early) checkups and vaccinations at the clinc this week, Oscar has found a stack of Magic school bus DVDs in the guesthouse nextdoor and Gerdine is on the treadmill of thinking up daily activities for ‘school’ with Oscar (we sent our home school stuff into Kovol already when the Hansens flew back in).
In Kovol news, now that we’ve seen the Stous and Hansen family face to face (only very briefly, both families are now in Kovol again) and are in the same time zone we’re being included in team life again. The latest is that maybe we’re getting a pig. Once again all the people living close to us are feeling immense pressure from the wider community to move house because their pigs keep eating the couple of things we plant in our garden.
We’ve continually been saying “it’s fine”, but that doesn’t seem to be enough. It seems it’s time to try something new, and if we have our own pig (that wrecks our own garden) maybe we’ll be able to stop the “the white people don’t like pigs, their garden is always wrecked, and they don’t even have pigs”.
Let’s give it a go, if it doesn’t work out we can always eat it 🙂