Two weeks ago, I flew back to my homeland, Papua New Guinea for the weekend. It wasn’t a spontaneous decision and neither did I have money for the flight. But my brother needed to use me as a mule to bring basketball uniforms he had made for his basketball team, and they were set to play that weekend. I had done the exact same thing the year before but instead of transporting basketball uniforms, I chaperoned my nephew and niece back to Port Moresby to start school.
So I filed a leave and headed off to the airport with 2.5 heavy suitcases full of basketball jerseys and only an hour of sleep.
The flight to Port Moresby from Manila is just a little over 5 hours. I flew on Air Niugini and with the convenience of their online check-in, I was able to pick a seat closer to the front of the plane and next to the window seat. It had been years since I last flew Air Niugini and was pleased with the LCD upgrade with each seat, albeit my screen being upside down with no way of correcting it. We flew through the night and I was able to catch up on sleep.
We landed just after 5AM with the PNG sunrise greeting me. The warm weather and the smell of being back home brought back so many nostalgic memories. Growing up in PNG, we had spent so many years flying in and out of this airport to spend holidays back in the Philippines, or to boarding school in Australia. During the days when the sliding doors at Jacksons Airport weren’t automated but were pulled open by two security guards and the only conveyor belt they had would make this horrific rattling sound as though it was about to explode. I remember flying back home from a holiday in Australia, mum had bought us a Nintendo with plastic guns and the customs officers opened up our luggage and it took us almost an hour trying to convince them that they were toy guns and not real guns.
Of course, that was back in the day and a lot has changed now. I was surprised to know that Digicel-Vodafone was giving away free sim cards that you had to register at the airport and all you had to do was pay for credit. Times have indeed changed.
I was able to drive around during my short stay, and was also able to caught up with some friends. But as usual, there just wasn’t enough time, and everything was scheduled. There again, I longed to be back for good.
Fast-forward to the present day. Days are now repetitive, but not because of it has to be because of my job, but because I chose to have this repetitiveness. Work, gym, swim, sleep, repeat. For two weeks after I got back from PNG, the little suitcase I brought over was still filled with some of the things I took to and from and as though I’m ready to jump on another flight, it remains at the side of my bed.
I didn’t spend a lot of my time outside while I was in PNG, but there are times when I’m just sitting at my desk trying to focus on work, I can feel the heat of the PNG weather on my skin.
So this post took a turn and what was meant to be a record of my trip that was only supposed to take me a day to create, it has now spanned over a week. I remember thinking about the things I should’ve done while sitting on the plane, making my way back to Manila. How I ended the year vowing to start vlogging and recording events and then a trip like this happened, and I didn’t even bother with it. So much has happened in such little time that I had forgotten things. Maybe it’s a sign of aging?
Until my next trip back to the motherland.