Sweet Goodbyes

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!!!):

My department family (and ‘tambus’**):(hope somebody else’s pictures turned out a bit clearer…)

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).


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