Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Post from Kona


Believe it or not, I started writing a post for this blog four distinct times since October, but in all four cases, I ended up deciding to not post—either because the post ended up being incoherent, hopelessly abstract and out of context musings, or because I realized I had no real reason or desire to share it with the world.  Tonight, though, is my last night in Kona, and I feel it’s appropriate to post something.

On a surface level, my life since July has been remarkably uneventful. At the age of 24 and with two college degrees, I found myself in a holding pattern while living with my parents. I worked part time as a “pool monitor” enforcing rules, cleaning, and closing down the pool area at a couple pools in a townhome complex, picked up a couple security guard and tutoring jobs, and volunteer taught one middle school world history class for the YWAM school that my little sister goes to.

In short, I kept myself occupied, but still had time for an occasional afternoon of reading at the beach. Grass will always seem greener on the other side, and even with free time for my own reading pursuits, I frequently found myself desiring work that was either more intellectually stimulating or emotionally satisfying. I even found myself frequently wishing for more work opportunities of any kind. Life comes in seasons, though, and I have doubt that there will be a time and a place where I look back and envy my current self.

When I went off to Brown in 2006 my sister was just a year and a half old. The last months have been my first chance since then to live with her as an ever-present sibling for an extended period of time. It has been entirely worth it. When I consider the prospect of living in Papua New Guinea for two years, separation from her unambiguously emerges as the greatest con. 

I feel ready to go back to PNG. For the past year, my intention to go and teach there has been my ready response to any questions of “what I’m doing next”.  Eleven years ago, I sat in Colorado on the verge of going to PNG for the first time. At that point, too, we had been through a long, slow work-up preparing to actually make the move. Regardless of the many uncertainties involved, I felt incredibly ready to finally make the plunge. This go-around, I’m tempted to view a return to Madang province as less of a “plunge”, but uncertainties still exist. PNG is the “land of the unexpected”, so I had best go in with an attitude of openness, patience, and trust.

Looking forward, I expect to struggle with learning how to teach well. I also see any period of transition as a challenge to create good habits. In terms of my routines and lifestyle, I think I can be relatively flexible, yet also become more set in my ways the longer I remain in a single place. The first weeks and months in a new place carry great importance, then, because I begin to set the patterns and routines that will form the background for much of the rest of my life in that place.

Those of you who pray can pray that I allow God to help me form good habits and routines. You can also pray for safety and sanity as I take my sweet time travelling to Madang (I plan to overnight in Honolulu, spend several days visiting a friend in Australia, and explore Port Moresby for a couple days along the way).

I intend to continue to update this blog. It may turn out that sporadic and infrequent internet access will paradoxically result in more frequent postings. We'll see.