And So It Ends
Well, I am writing this back in Australia .. in my home town .. in the bush .. in my ples.
The mountains are smaller and rounder. The countryside browner. The locals whiter. The roads better .. without potholes. The power stays on. The phones work. Things are just .. developed. My little GPS device says the distance back to the my old house in Lae is 2954km but it seems a hell of a lot further. Another world away.
I snuck back in on Tuesday. Selecting a limited few to tell that I was actually coming back to the country. I had previously said that I would be travelling around PNG after my contract finished at the university .. and this was going to be the case for a long time .. but I also had a ticket back since January.
Travelling up on a PMV bus in August to Goroka and I changed my mind to travel back for Christmas .. the reasoning at the time now eludes me, but once I had made my mind, I started to look forward to coming back .. cafes, pubs, broadsheet newspapers, cinemas .. the little things you miss.
And so I stealthily planned my return. My poor old mother was not one I told and her surprise was evident when I met up with her yesterday. I entered the house and gave her a hug. The look of glee and happiness was a special moment .. and I am glad I did it like I did (it is not the first time I have done this, previously I arrived back in the country a few days before I was supposed to).
Being back I can now reflect on what PNG was. Two full years of my life, obviously. Another country, yes. An experience, of course. An adventure, certainly. A challenge, completed. An opportunity to see if I could cope, passed. A great time, indeed. The chance to meet fantastic people, oh yes. A memory bank full of memories. And plenty of stories to tell my kids (if I ever have any). Papua New Guinea was all of this and a lot more. To use a cliché, words can't really do it justice .. though as all the stack of posts to this blog are testament, I have tried.
So as to what the future holds for me. Well for the next few weeks at least there are family and friends to see and be with and there is the frantic Christmas shopping experience to fulfil (I have been asked why didn't I bring PNG presents back .. and my answer is, those things would mean something to me, but would they really mean something for you - better to choose a present for the person). After these then we will see. I have already been offered a job .. but whether this is what I will want to do I will have to find out.
And as to this blog, well as it is two years of thoughts and observations about PNG it will seem weird to continue it if I am not in PNG anymore so I am going to stop posting to it from now on. If you want to follow my more mundane life you will be able to over on my other blog which I have had for some time .. Nomad Tales. Ketch you there.