Friday, June 22, 2007

of lasts and sleeplessness

today is my last day. at work. in pom.

we're about to have a little office party and some large drinks to say goodbye to ricebag.

am absolutely 100% flat out. on my life.

hence the brevity.

have been counting down this week of lasts and sleeplessness. interspersed with some serious de ja vous.

bye lovers.

bye bye.

on sunday ricebag gets on a jetplane. out of png.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

let me put something in your head

Hum the following words to Auld Lang Syne:

one year

one year

one year

one year

one year

one year

one year

one year

one year

one year

one year

one year

one year

one year

I have been driving for one year. Today.

Monday, June 18, 2007

sweating it out

Ok. So there is This Guy. Pretty cute. Pretty straight. Pretty smart. Pretty sharp. Pretty self-assured. Pretty smart. Pretty smart. Pretty good-looking (hey - it's early days - all we know is the superficial stuff).

And I think This Guy thinks I am Pretty too.

But every single time I see him it seems like it is after 10pm and always feels like the most humid night ever in the history of the whole entire world and I end up sweating buckets and doing the old feeling-extremely-self-conscious-as-I-constantly-wipe-the-sweaty-rivulets-from-my-forehead. Ick. I mean, I know everyone else is sweating because it is really humid, but that does not make me feel any sexier. Or any less sweatier.

And so how does Ricebag compensate for this?

She drinks more. More alcoholic imbibing takes place. In a hurry. Maybe being sloshed will detract from being sweaty she thinks??

Um, no. Ok, so time for Plan B. So then Ricebag thinks maybe she should be encouraging This Guy to drink more and then maybe (hopefully) he will take advantage of her. Plan B kicked into motion and the result? No result. Except for Hangovers All Around.

Learning my lesson ... slowly. And lesson number 1? Never to go out in Port Moresby again on really humid evenings. Best to avoid sweaty evenings followed by tropical strength hang-overs with little to show except for protestations from This Guy that Ricebag's leaving for Sydney completely sucks.

This Guy should have jumped me.

And that's all I have to say about that.


Dear LastKissBeforeSydneyBoy - FYI this is not about me trying to make you SecondLastKissBeforeSydneyBoy. Although it would be a bonus.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

the dry weave

Having lunch with JayBird today harbourside and overlooking the reclaimed land this side of the bay and just knowing when I am closer to Melbourne than Madang that I am going to miss palm fronds, frangis and women who look me in the eye and say "I Know Who You Are because I Am PNG Too ... now put that flower in my hair please."

Everwhere I have ever lived and ever been and ever seen and ever fallen in love with and ever fallen apart in and ever picked up my stardust in, in every single one of those places I was aware that I was deeply different. In physicality. In all the physical features that make me Melanesian. A Highlander Islander.

And that was ok. It was fine. It was perfect. Just another of my "uniqueness" of what makes ricebag so different so special so chocolate. It was a badge I wore for a war I had never fought. The Right to be Universal. And I wore it with pride. I Can Be Me Anywhere. It's the dry weave, the flack and the flow, the midnight certainty when your bones tell you you are you and all the flesh doesn't matter when your soul is still yours.

But it does matter. It does matter. It matters. I wish it didn't and I never thought it did or it should. But it was when I came "home" that I began to understand, that it does.

It matters when the people around you don't look like you and you don't know what it feels like to experience the converse. The truth is - maybe everybody needs to understand that their phsyical body comes from somewhere, a physical place, where other people are from too. It's that belonging thing.

I wish that wasn't true. I do thrive and grow and love and need to live in all kinds of environments where there are all kinds of people who look different from me and look different from each other ... and often ricebag becomes more and better in all of them. But I never feel RECOGNISED ... I am never recognised, as another-of-all-the-others rather than an other-to-the-others ... not until I come to Papua New Guinea. Until I come home. home. home.

And it has taken a life-time of wandering to understand that I do need that Physical Recognition. I need someone to look at me and see their own skin, their own scars, their own face. And now I understand why.

A persons "identity" isn't purely something which develops in isolation of their heritage just because their geography says it should. Even never having lived in PNG for 25 years, something in my neurons starts firing when I hit the soil of this floss-bitten land and they send messages from my senses to my gut which proclaim the one thing in this whole world that I truly understand to be mine - my identity. My own self-identity is not just a product of the experiences I have craved and bled and embedded ... it almost doesn't even belong to just me, it's part of a greater whole, of a greater human understanding - it is flushed with the reasons and the songs that can only come from a physical land with a physical peopling.

As the product of the age of the Self, 'finding ME' has been the one constant in this enduring journey of a life for ricebag. I now understand that I am not a baby from the same place of where-ever-she-lays-her-head-can-be-her-home. I am a baby from this island. My physical body tells me that every day that I hug my knee or comb my hair or rub my neck or wash my hands or look in the mirror - my body tells me that. And now my heart knows it too.

These last 2 years in PNG have brought me that. Of being able to walk and drive and peak and plough and laugh and breathe and weep and wander in this place where when someone else looks at me ... I Look Like Them. And I love that. I love that I have a place in this world where I am me, and at the same time, I am also them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

his holiness

The very first day I ever spent in India, I spent with the Dalai Lama. He truly is as awe-inspiring as they say - and all from incredible humility.

A colleague of mine attended a Perth business lunch last week at which the Dalai Lama was speaking and the lunch discussion topic was titled: "The Heart of Leadership and Corporate Well-being". All those who attended were fascinated to hear the Dalai Lama speak about imbedding the concepts of warm-heartedness, human values and religious harmony in everything we do. He also spoke about world environment issues and more broadly about ethics in another session later in the day that was titled: "Ethics of the New Millennium". The following is an extract that summarises part of the Dalai Lama's address:

"In essence, we are all the same. We are all human beings. We all have the capacity for compassion and happiness in life. Unfortunately, modernity has made life stressful due to the emphasis on the 'material'. No supermarket sells happiness; no machine can make it; and no 'happy' injection can be given. We have to find happiness from within us. To eliminate poverty, the poor must 'do more' and take action to help their own situation. The rich must invest their wealth in education, resources and equipment for the less fortunate. Together, the two extremes of the economic scale must give and receive compassion. From this, happiness and peace can be found".


Thursday, June 07, 2007

8 things

heya peeps

my lovely pinky u and miss priscilla have both sent on that 'write 8 things' about yourself fwd that's doing the rounds.

in return I must reveal 8 things about myself :

  1. Up until (and maybe a weeeeee bit after) I was "old enough to know better" I thought dogs were boys and girls were cats and when they had a baby girl it was a cat and when they had a boy … you geddit.
  2. I just started to wear a dental plate.
  3. I am little-bit-fast driver.
  4. If I could only take one thing in the whole entire world to a deserted island it would be Babysister (sorry honey!! but that’s coz I can't live without you - not because if I be stranded you should be stranded too).
  5. I used to read SUPER-FAST. But I missed things. Like the meanings that live in the spaces in between the words. So now I read slower and spend far too long staring into the drops which are the spaces in between the words.
  6. Before I was 25 I had a great fear of failing the ultimate task of not being All I Am Meant To Be. Now I don't have that fear. At all.
  7. I love being alone. I love. Hammocks and gin. Books and bed. Salt on my skin.
  8. I am dreaming of motorbikes, butterflies and Crossing Africa next.

pretend you're in italy

Also , looking ahead, do you have any tips on Italy?

Pretend you are not very worldly or intrepid,

that you are easily impressed by little things

and quickly bored by big things

and you’re in Italy.

Miranda July


my good friend, my all-time gal, my bum-chum and weekend hang .. lux o, got engaged. yes you did lux. that's what that diamond ring means and everything. and to celebrate we piled the various trucks full of lux's people and me last weekend and drove up to crystal rapids in sogeri. and there we did the things people do at crystal - bbq cray and burger and swim and paddle and make like shandy at the tip of the beginning of the kokoda track where the roads out of port moresby end and the rest of png begins.

what can i tell you about lux? lux loves me. i love you too lux!! you're my big sister and i am so happy that you are happy and i am so glad when you are glad. thankyou for taking me into your life and throwing the doors wide open. your friendship means so much and our shared history saw me literally survive my first year in port moresby. what can i say gal? i will always be there if you need me. i so am proud to be your friend.

on the freeway out of port moresby

on the road into moutnains out past sogeri hydro just another vista
a creek : sogeri national park
people live along the way
driving the slope into crystal rapids
beautiful canoe boy by the river
the smooth top of crystal rapids before the downhill flush

i really can not wait

Some things have happened in the past 2 weeks that make me feel I can't get to Sydney fast enough (sorry!!) ... I've been let down, I've been pushed around. I am still me but knowing I am leaving soon has made me just about ready to hang my shoes.

I know I am going to miss this place like hell. I just am. It's in my blood now. But I am so ready to go ... for a little while anyway. I suspect the missing in my gut will be worth it.

So Sydney ...

I look forward to seeing you next week.

It will be terrific,

I will bow when I see you,

you will bow when you see me,

we will bump heads and knock each other unconscious

and when we come to we won’t remember anything,

we will mumble pardon me and shuffle off in to brand new lives.

I really can not wait.