This week in PNG….

Well, well! It’s been over a day, nay 5 days since I lasted posted, so I feel I should update y’all! Here are some of the occurrences of the week (these are not chronological…merely in order of remembrance)


1)   Pancake Monday! My friend Alan hosted a pancake breakfast and it was delightful. We had Indonesian Oreo, banana, chocolate chip, and “fun fetti” (i.e., sprinkles) pancakes!

Oh! I also got to help translate for Alan and his haus meri! I know about ten words of Tok Pisin and Alan knows none, so…it was pretty funny. But we held a very small conversation she via me told Alan that he needed to go to the library and get Tok Pisin books (which he did) so he could learn. She was great and I was glad to be able to use the minimal speaking skills I have.


2)   Worship practice! I. AM. SUPER. EXCITED. We practice again tomorrow (Friday) and will lead worship for the Sunday morning English service. I am playing the guitar. It is going to be great. Everyone playing is super talented, and the worship leader is amazing. I will post video if I can. I CAN’T WAIT!!



I live about…well… a ten minute walk from the Meeting House (church building). After carrying my guitar to school on the second day of class and having my arm almost fall off, I fashioned this fancy carrying contraption using my guitar strap. Goal achieved.


3)   Carrcasone. Apparently, this is a famous game I have never heard of or played. It is in the “strategery, land building, get the most points at the end” category of games of which I am not to fond, but this one is delightful. I tend to think it is more the company in which I am playing the game more so than the game itself, but we have fun. We also make up our own rules like, set a timer and when it goes off whoever’s turn it is loses a man and the next player gets to choose which man, but they also lose a man. It was a very volatile game changer. I lost.


4)   Drums this past Sunday night! It went great! I found some towels in the cleaning closet and was able to mute them sufficiently, evidenced by the fact that if anyone talked to me about playing the drums in the service I asked if they were too loud and all of them said no very emphatically.


5)   I finally have a sweater. Not a cardigan, an actual sweater. My friend Donna donated to my “I forgot to to repack my sweatshirt after I weighed my luggage and it was to heavy so I took stuff out of it and now I’m cold!” cause.


6)   I gave my first quiz (zes). All my classes had quizzes….and all classes passed!!!!!! I do believe this is the first time that has happened in my teaching career.


7)   An 11th grader called me out on the use of “y’all” I made the argument that I was from Texas and that “y’all” (you plural) is the same as “yupela” (you plural) in Tok Pisin and that it is necessary and grammatically relevant. His response: “Grammatically relevant, yes. Grammatically correct…” I will now say y’all whenever I am in his presence.


8)   I got to hang out with the 9th/10th grade youth! The youth directors are amazing. They set up the most creative and actually fun youth games I have ever seen.


So yes! Things are going swimmingly here in Ukarumpa! There is a bridge fixing adventure taking place on Saturday that I, sadly, cannot attend because I will be helping out an all day youth band workshop! The youth here have two youth bands and each one will have a band mentor…and I get to be one! I am super excited to help out and learn from these kids. They are super talented and Saturday cannot come soon enough!


That’s it so far. Peace out!



Mexican Food and Softball

It appears I’m posting a lot about food early in my PNG blogging days. I think this is because food is the most different thing from my life I the states (see, I’m already phrasing things like the Aussies!) that I have to deal with. It’s not really anything to “deal with” it just is different. A good different at that. So, because I’m a math major, here’s a Venn diagram of my life in the states and life in PNG:


So as you can see, pretty much the same….but BETTER. I get to play softball and volleyball with people I live/work/church with. I get to do church with people I live with/work with/teach.

The saying, “You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone” ? It has a counterpart – “You never know what ISN’T important until it’s gone and you realize you don’t miss it.” Granted, I’ve lived here for a week and a half so everything seems really novel to me, but seriously? Why do I need a dishwasher? So I can have more time to watch tv? Lame. Especially while I’m single. If I had kids. the dishwasher would probably be pretty essential…until the kids become the dishwashers 🙂

So yes, do I miss things? Yes. I don’t like having to monitor my internet usage. But do I really need to watch that YouTube video of another weird looking kid being able to sing and making Simon Cowell look like a judgmental jerk yet again? Maybe. But at least I’ll consider the monetary worth of it before I click. But seriously, were it not for the internet fee per megabyte, I would have probably posted a video everyday…so maybe it’s a good thing I can’t.

Another thing that is the same/different is Jesus. Obviously, Jesus is the same Jesus here or in the states. But the way I can see Him is different. When I look out the window, or walk to school and see mountains, and cows and landscape, my thoughts turn more frequently to Him than they do driving down Hwy 59. But that comes with change in situation. It will be a very sad day for me when I realize I’m now taking my surroundings out here for granted and am not looking for God in them like I am now because it is so shockingly different. I hope and pray that it will be a VERY long time from now, if at all, that that happens.

Speaking of the view, I saw cows while I was walking around today:

Anywho. Onward we go!

We played softball today! I think my team won. We kind of just played till everyone got tired. I wasn’t terrible either!! I think in my 4 or 5 at bats I only got out once. I also scored a run. But almost got beaned in the head in the process. They overthrew me at 3rd so I was waved home, looked back saw him throw to home and rather than slide like a normal person, I covered the back of my head with my arms and got hit in the hand. I have a pretty sweet bruise, hence the picture of my hand below. There was a moment of panic on everyone’s faces and some relief when they saw it was just my hand, so yeah. That would happen to me. Eh.


Second, I did laundry. Finally. We have a washing machine, but we have to line dry.

The only qualm I have about line drying is the fact that my delicates would be blowing in the wind not unlike white flags of surrender…so yes. We will deal with those later. There isn’t much room on the line, so I hung everything BUT the delicates and a couple of shirts. Then the creativity had to kick in. I would have totally loved to just leave them in the basket… but they’re wet. And no one wants moldy smelling delicates. So, began my search around the flat and the devised a plan…

What ho? Extra hangers? Extra clothes pins? Perfect!

Below are pictures of my plan to dry my delicates without them being seen by the public eye…

Yes. That’s my window. Yes. I digitally added that box. If I don’t want them seen in my yard, why would I want them seen on the internets? Silly. The screen makes the inside look dark and most people that pass by are in cars or on motorbikes so they can’t be see in anyway. Privacy win.

Next! Lunch! Leftovers. From Mexican night!! Be prepared for the awesomeness that is my cooking skill:


Pico! And Guac! From ingredients I bought at the market. Boom. And I made it. Double boom. I’m on a boat. I’m a chef.

I’m done boasting now.

Anyway, we had burritos and they were awesome. But I also knew I wanted the guac to be dip and not just burrito condiment…hmm…we have a problem…

The chips at the store are imported from Australia and other places so they are pretty expensive. I believe I saw a bag of Doritos and they would have cost around $8. So yeah. No.

Instead, I bought these “Navy Crackers.” They are basically UBER-lightly salted thick, crackers made in PNG so they cost about 40cents. They taste kind of like communion. Well, if your communion is the broken cracker version and not the polyurethane-melt-in-your-mouth-wafer version. But I digress.

Those crackers plus guac are very much like chips and dip. It works for me. Cooking win!


Well, I have had a lot of firsts in the past week and a half, but I will get to do a favorite first this Sunday…play drums for worship!!! It is for the evening service, not the main morning one, so we’ll see how that goes.

Have a good weekend everyone!


1st Day of School!

1st Day of School!!!!


6:45am Wake Up

7:15 Go to the market. We need tomatoes for more Pico de Gallo. That’s right. I still eat Mexican food.

7:45 return from market, change into school clothes

7:55 take a picture of myself because I do not have a full length mirror to check my appearance

8:05 Walk to school

8:30 New student meeting (for 7th graders who haven’t been on campus before)

9:00 Work in the staff lounge

9:30 All school meeting

10:05 Prepare for class

11:36 3rd Pd. 7th Grade PreAlgebra – I LOVE THEM!! We learned about order of operations today.

12:06 lunch!

1:06 4th Pd. 10th Grade Geometry – I LOVE THEM TOO!! We got into an existentialist discussion about how a point has location but no size….and a line has infinite length but no thickness… I also made a note to steal a globe for us as we continue these discussions.

1:36 5th Pd. 8th & 9th Algebra I – I LOVE THEM TOO TOO!! There are 8 boys and 1 girl. We talked about how it is ok to hate math and that it is my job to help them understand. I also taught a little. Not too much though.

2:06 Prepare tomorrows full length lessons, make copies and so forth

3:30 Meet about my ESL kid I will be tutoring 8th pd Mondays and Thursdays

4:00pm Go home!

It was a full day or greatness! Obviously, this is not the regular schedule. Our class periods are not 30 minutes each, we just had the extra meetings in the morning and it pushed things back.


I AM SO EXCITED!! I’m not gonna lie, if Jesus wants me to translate I may put up a fight to stay and teach here forever. I love it. I love the atmosphere. The kids seem great. All the teachers work together. It’s fantastic. In public school, you feel pretty isolated, but here, you actually get to be around other adults. Imagine. Talking to people your own age about teaching students casually in passing and not in a formal meeting? What a novel idea.

Today was great and I am excited about tomorrow for the first full lesson of teaching. I will miss my ESL Kids from Texas, but hopefully, I was have just as many funny quotes with these kids as I did with them.

Switching gears…

I have drumming opportunities!! I am getting to play this Sunday night, two Sunday mornings from now, and a Sunday morning in August. I’m hoping since drummers here are few and far between (I believe I’m one of two, the other being a high school boy who would rather play guitar, so I’m told) that I will be able to be a regular Sunday drummer no matter who is in charge. That would be pretty neat.

My shelf is finished! The Mountain Dew cans have been chugged, pieces of wood have been found, and I now have a matching shelf and pencil holder set.

Well, it’s about that time… dinner time…so I must be off. More stories to come!


Indonesian Oreos and Papua New Guinean Cheetos

Step 1: Go to the store and buy Oreos

Step 2: Celebrate the Oreo purchase





Step 3: Find out where the Oreos are from






Step 4: Eat the Oreo.





It was delightful! The cookie part was very different. I’m not sure if it is because of where/how it was made or if it lost it’s original Oreo nature because of how far it was shipped, but the cookie part was not unlike those oreo-knock offs. But the filling – ah, the filling – was exact in its Oreo nature, and everyone knows that’s the best part anyway. You could put Oreo filling in between cardboard and it would still taste good. But I digress.

Now for the PNG Cheetos, which in my opinion, are better than Cheetos, so I will not insult their nature anymore by calling them Cheetos, but by their actual, respectable name – Twisties.

Here is a clip about my first encounter with Twisties:

*disclaimer: The more I ate the Twisties, the more I liked them over time. I never eat Cheetos because they are terrible, but I really like Twisties despite my indifferent reaction on the video.


Alrighty, enough shenanigans. Today was my first church service in PNG. I did go to the English service, however, in my efforts to expedite my Tok Pisin learning, I will probably go to both the Tok Pisin and English services from now on, if it doesn’t burn me out to much the first time I try. J The Tok Pisin service is at 8:30am and the English service is at 10:45am.

The English service is pretty neat. Each week there is a different speaker and “service setter upper” (I don’t know the technical term for it) and with them, comes the different feel of the service. So, one week might be mainly hymns, the next contemporary, and the next liturgical. I have been exposed to all types of services (even liturgical) so I am not expecting to be caught off guard, I just think it will be interesting to see what happens week to week.

Today’s service was AWESOME. The speaker gave one of the top 5 sermons I have ever heard.

1) Because it relates to how I view God and 2) It was very “academic” in nature, which I really like.

So, if you would like to peruse 2 Kings 5:2–27 with an Ezekiel 34:17-22 appetizer, DO IT!

The main theme was God’s grace and the fact that you can’t buy it, with a sub-theme of not trampling others chance to get to know God (that’s where Ezekiel comes in).

The rest of the service was great too! Some of the youth led worship, a young man played guitar and sang, two girls helped sing, and another played the piano. I did want to run up and play the drums for them, but I restrained myself. There were announcements regarding who had returned, who is leaving, and who is new to Ukarumpa. All in all, a pretty Western, contemporary feel to it. I will let you know next week how the Tok Pisin one goes. 🙂

Ok guys, I’ll update you more as cool things happen! Don’t expect these daily things…school starts Wednesday!

PNG Top 4

Hello everyone! I’ve been working on a video today, so this blog is going to be very brief!

Video link:

Leah’s Top 5 Things That Are Pretty Neat in PNG

1)   The view!!!

2)   The temperature! (60’s – 70’s)

3)   Walking everywhere! I love it!!!

4)   The trash. There are three kinds. Burnable, Compostable, and Neither. “Neither” gets picked up I believe once a week. The other two are pretty self explanatory.

5)   The outlets. That’s right, the outlets.

I like them because they are eco-friendly and smart.

You know how when you leave something plugged in, even if it is off, still generates a little bit of usage and you get charged for it? Oh ho! Not so, my friend! Here, you leave it plugged in and there is a little switch you flip on or off. It’s brilliant. So, in the pic below, the left thing is plugged in, but it’s totally off. The right switch is on, but nothing is plugged in because I wanted you to see how the holes are different. 🙂


That’s it for now. I have had a couple of brief meetings for school and will be setting up my room Monday and Tuesday after our faculty meeting, then Wednesday, classes start! Ah!!!

I am super excited and have already gotten to hang out and dine with a lot of great people, so stay tuned for more updates!!