Thursday, August 18, 2011

Christmas in August!

This is my bed. (These are all before-The-Bag photos)

 Jess and I just celebrated Christmas yesterday evening. Christmas and birthday and summer holiday all wrapped into one, in fact. What happened?

The Bag arrived, and with it, the miracle of clean underwear.

When I arrived in PNG on Sunday and found that my checked bag was lost somewhere in the 8,000+ miles between PNG and Minnesota, I wasn’t terribly concerned. After all, I could just borrow some stuff from my roommate, Jess, until it arrived. When I drove onto the center, Jess greeted me with a big hug and a smiling “do you have your bag?”

“No,” I shrugged, “somehow it got lost.”

She looked at me and started laughing. “Mine too.”

Our desk. At least we have computers...
So, there we were, ready to jump into this grand adventure of orienting to a new culture… with only the clothes on our backs and our computers in our hands.

Items that wouldn’t be an issue in the US suddenly become very important. Such as a flashlight (since the power can go out at any time)… which happens to be in The Bag. Or a water bottle to help prevent dehydration, or water shoes, since any cuts from coral will get infected very easily, or elastic hair bands (you try living in the tropics with long hair!) or sunscreen or bug repellant or… You get the picture. All of this was in The Bag.

The shopping trip on Tuesday into Madang (the nearest town) was able to relieve some discomfort (because of the heat and humidity, clothes aren’t worn multiple days in a row), but it’s one thing to be shopping as a casual tourist, and another to have a long list in one hand, kina in the other, and a watch declaring that you must be back at the truck before two hours have passed.

Here's Jess's bed and our closet. Note the distinct emptiness of said closet
So, when the truck pulled into the dorm’s courtyard today, we bolted out of the dining room, hoping that the rumors of an arriving bag would actually be true (we didn’t know whether it was Jess’ or mine, but at this point, we didn’t care; this is when having been roommates twice before significantly helps matters…). It was true! Hallelujah! Rejoicing abounded, and Jess and I danced around as giddy children as Jim deposited The Bag on our floor.

“Is that all you brought?” one woman asked. All? All!? This 44 lb bag is like an entire department store! It didn’t really matter that within 15 minutes everything was shaken out, folded, and stowed. We had skirts! We had sunscreen! We had underwear!

What else does one need?

(P.S. At the time of this writing, Jess’ bag is still missing, probably in Manila. Can you imagine the tremendous excitement when that one will arrive? How can we possibly contain it?!)