Well everyone, it’s been three and a half weeks since my return to America. I have been living in Dallas with my grandmother, but I am now in Houston for the next couple of weeks visiting my best friend and trying to get in touch with some churches while I’m here.
Before I launch into my, what I hope will be a new series I call, “Story of the Week,” I want to share a link with you guys:
Stories from PNG: <– Click it!
This is a set of 5 stories featuring Papua New Guinean translators who work on a translation project with my friends, the Woods, and the parents of one of my students. It gives a GREAT look at how translation projects work and the effect they have on the people involved. These people are the reason I’m in PNG, so you should totally take a look.
And now I present: THE STORY OF THE WEEK
I had my first “oh geez, I will not cry right now” moments and I survived. I’ve talked a bit about things being weird – the sky is so far away (Ukarumpa is about a mile up on a mountain, so the clouds are closer), driving on the right-hand side, paved roads, etc… But, there are other things that sneak up on you, hence my “there’s no crying in baseball” moment I had yesterday.
My best friend is in an opera (she’s musically legit, y’all) and they were doing a preview (a “sing through” if you will) at a pub/restaurant/live music…establishment…thing. Whatever. We got there and it was packed. Uber-packed. Ukarumpa family, it was more packed than Kainantu on fortnight. America family, it was more packed than walking to your locker in high school. There were no tables available, so once the cast went on stage, I waited in this lounge area thing where they had left all their stuff. So, as I waited for another of our friends to arrive, I’m just chilling, when suddenly…EMOTIONS. No. No, no, no. Lord, I will not cry here. So through much psychological weight lifting/prayer negotiations, I was able to “suck it up,” as my dad was fond of saying when we were little. But the question still remained… Why? Why here? Why now?
Looking at it 20 hours later, I think – just like the sky is different and driving is different – people are different. Outside my best friend and one of her friends also in the opera, I knew NO ONE. In Ukarumpa, you know everyone. And if you don’t, it means they just arrived and you should introduce yourself. Here, you’re never going to know everyone. There will be times when you don’t know ANYONE. And it’s ok. As we say on the field, “It’s not weird, it’s just different.” And different is deal-with-able. I’ve got my Jesus. I bought a Bible a few days ago (mine’s in Uka). I’m ready to deal.
So, what does this have to do with anything? Nothing. I just wanted to tell you guys the story of how I got my “missionary-culture-shock-but-didn’t-cry-in-public” merit badge. It’s in between my “didn’t-get-car-sick-driving-through-the-bush” badge and my “understood-an-Aussie-saying” badge. I’ll have enough for a jacket soon.
Picture time! I got to hang out with friends from Ukarumpa in Dallas! We were astounded by candy.
Stay tuned for next week’s story! If you ever want to say “hey” or ask any questions, you are ALWAYS welcome to e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org