Friday, November 9, 2012
Or is it bittersweet? My department hosted my GoPinis* this evening at my bosses house. And boy was there a lot of kai (the garden veggies were prepared by the various families – various potatoes, taro, kaukau, cooked bananas, rice, fried rice, beef stew, broccoli, pawpaw, pineapple, watermelon…I’m stuffed!!!):
Three years ago a first bbq, was a very different experience with no one to talk to except the Milani’s, Michael and Roger.
Tonight, I was given a Madang bilum, a few shirts from the University and a Heritage Centre poster and a few speeches from my department colleagues. Their words will stick with me for a long time. My old neighbor, the wife of one of the newer colleagues, made a special effort to come and give me a Sepik bilum from her place.
It’s been a long journey to get to this evening: challenging, frustrating, hard, lonely but very rewarding. These colleagues and their families started as complete strangers to me, and I to them. I’ve become accepted as a part of the department and am honored by this privilege.
*In Tok Pisin P=F, so that’s ‘Go Finish’ or ‘farewell’
**Tambu literally means not allowed/forbidden and is the term used for ‘in-laws’ (I think because in some of the local cultures you are not allowed to use your in-law’s given name).