It’s all very exciting, coming to Papua New Guinea, but what’s it like to leave? This is the PNG Journey (condensed of course):
Day 1 – you apply for a role in PNG, either you saw it on the internet, might have been headhunted, or even just been posted. It could be a 2+1 Contract, a 2 Contract, a 3 Contract, a 3+1, or even a 3 year not fixed contract.
Day 2 – you’ve now done a heap of research on PNG and what life is like here as an Expat. You’ve read some pretty horrible stories, and then some good ones. You may have even come across some really good blogs and websites – like the one you are reading now.
Day 3 – you’ve slept on it. It’s exciting.
Day 4 – you start telling people that you are thinking about going to PNG. Or you don’t.
Day 5 – The interviews go well
Day 6 – They seem to like you, you get an invite to go have a look/see
Day 7 – You tell people you are off to PNG to look at a role – they think you are mad
Day 8 – You’ve sent everyone emails or Facebook messages with Blog addresses. You tell them about this kiwi with his whole family and show them my blog http://www.kiwiexpat.com (I know – it’s hard to beat right)
Day 9 – You have mixed reactions from people. Some of your friends and family are saying DO IT! Others think you should see a doctor.
Day 10 – You are off to PNG for a look/see, it’s very exciting
Day 11 – It’s hot! You arrive at the airport, and having read the stories about not venturing outside the airport, you hang around beside Digicel and Bemobile (two local mobile carriers) looking for someone with your name on a board. Someone picks you up and you stare wide-eyed out the window, maybe you take photos. It’s either green or brown depending on the time of year. You notice all the people sitting around doing nothing, but you are too shy to ask why that is.
Day 12 – You’ve been giving the tour of work, and of Moresby. It’s growing on you already – or you hate it – or you think you might like it. The people you are going to work with are a great bunch. They take you out to dinner – everyone drinks excessively, you have a great time.
Day 13 – You’ve signed a contract, they have given you an offer that is pretty good, or it’s not. You are not really that sure if it is alright, but you are happy with it and so you sign it.
Day 14 – You’ve pulled your hair out trying to get Visa’s and work permits. The movers are all organised – it’s really happening, it’s only taken 6 months. People still think you are mad, but secretly they would love to live somewhere where you can wear shorts and t-shirts all year around.
Day 15 – You are staying in a Hotel in Moresby whilst you try and get accommodation – Hotel food sucks, you’ve eaten the menu twice.
Day 16 – Your container arrives, you are settled in to your apartment, it has security guards and razor wire, you have figured out that everything is not like it was at home. You are still pretty nervous, and your company has been great in helping you transition.
Day 17 – You have your first holiday, you go home – cause that just seems right. Your friends look at you weird now as you act a bit different. Trying to de-stress from PNG can be hard, but whilst you are out you have to see doctors, dentists etc – but your friends want all your time.
Day 18 – You are back in POM, your Moresby mates all hug you and tell you that they missed you. You get back into a PNG routine – Moresby feels like home now. You stop saying “dollars” or “in (country where I’m from)” in your sentences. You’ve even got some Tok Pisin going…
Day 19 – You have your second holiday, you decide to go overseas – it’s a great holiday.
Day 20 – You pop over to Cairns for a long weekend to do the things you would have done if you went home
Day 21 – Some of your friends are leaving POM – you are sad
Day 22 – You have met some more people, they look a little scared – you take them out and get drunk and have a great time.
Day 23 – You go to a Ball – all dressed up, what a night. You wonder why you don’t do this back home
Day 24 – Work is hard
Day 25 – Someone at work or who you know just got carjacked – you worry
Day 26 – You have to deal with a domestic violence issue at work, it keeps you awake at night
Day 27 – It’s hot…
Day 28 – You host a fancy dress party – everyone turns up in fancy dress, it’s awesome.
Day 29 – Your contract is finishing in 6 months
Day 30 – The movers are coming, if you have a job to go to, then its all good, if you don’t then it’s a bit hard
Day 31 – You leave, all your friends, your workmates. The company is getting you home, but your container is going to be months. It is very hard to leave and you are now in limbo living out of suitcases for months. Leaving is definitely harder than arriving.