It’s finally time. Flights to get to PNG are looming, we hope to board the plane on Friday and so now we’re fitting in all the last minute activities and goodbyes. We’re really excited that it’s almost time to be going, and we’re even looking forward to parts of the marathon journey.
We’re looking forward to the moment we sit in our seats on the first plane, the first movie we get to watch on the in-flight entertainment, the in-flight meals even, and the wall of heat that hits us in Singapore and then Port Moresby. We’re starting to really look forward to the experience, but then again 32 hours of travelling with 3 small children has many chances to go disasterously!
We sucessfully moved our famliy down from North Cotes to spend 3 days in Bracknell (my home town) before leaving. The journey involved fun little challenges like needing to exchange our rental car for a 2nd one when the middle seat belt turned out to be broken, 3 separate bouts of travel sickness and our last Burger King… I ate too much.
These few days in Bracknell see us making a few last minute visits: Gerdine is (again) seeing the dentist (it seems that stress causes her to have toothpain, but the x-rays look good), some last minute replacing of clothing that we’re belatedly realising are actually in terrible condition, and of course covid testing.
PNG requries a -ve PCR test to enter the country. So we’ve got one booked and in the back of our minds we’re still coming up with a plan on what to do if the test turns out to be +ve, or the results are delayed coming back from the lab or what not (having just found out that the results are guaranteed 24 hours after the lab receives the test, not when it’s taken as we thought). It’s not very reassuring to know that a +ve covid test means rebooking a very complex and expensive trip at the very last moment, but that’s the new reality.
On the whole though we feel very calm. We managed to book seats with bassinets for the babies, which we were really hoping for. We’re also not stressed by the idea of taking babies on the flight. This is now our 5th flight to or from PNG as a family and it’s business as usual. We’re not even sweating the fact that things may not go to plan. We’ve just accepted that when you travel as much as we do you’re bound to have a terrible journey at some point; it can’t always go super smoothly and for some reason that helps us to not sweat the fact that we might at the last minute need to rebook the trip because of Covid.
In the meantime we’re still in the here and now. The hand luggage needs packing and careful weighing, there’s a blog to write and Oscar is looking forward to seeing his friend this afternoon. We’re waiting to arrive in PNG before we work on moving ourselves there mentally, but we are really excited that we’ll get the opportunity to see our coworkers the day after we arrive as both Hansen and Stous families will be out in Goroka. It’s been years since we’ve seen the Stouses. Crazy! We’re really looking forward to seeing them.
This next term promises to be hard graft in language learning, but as our coworkers write the linguistic papers furthering the development of the Kovol (or is it qobol?) alphabet, the light at the end of the langauge learning tunnel is dawning and we can see teaching literacy and teaching God’s word on the horizon. There’s still a lot of work to get there, but we’re heading back knowing that we may just get there in this next term in PNG. Bring on the airplane(s).