I’ve avoided writing an update because I feel like every thing I write might be inaccurate within hours. Things are a roller coaster, and I’ve always been prone to motion sickness.
After several weeks of applying for permissions, I got the go ahead to embark on the journey home to PNG. The application process was a roller coaster as one day we’d get the official stamp of approval to enter a country and then the next day the rules would change entirely.
There were seven of us that met on the West coast, and we prepared to transit through two countries. The most stressful experiences along the way were check-in and disembarkation. Check-ins easily took an hour at the desk, and we never knew if we would be issued a boarding pass and allowed on the flight. We were always traveling internationally, and thus airlines were evaluating all our permissions each time. They are also dealing with the changing rules. Disembarkation was just as stressful as we always first encountered health officials, followed by law enforcement escorts to the next step.
But the actual time in the air was the BEST ever! (Did I mention I’ve been on a roller coaster?) The 13 hours over the Pacific included three seats all to myself (!!!), as many pillows and blankets as I wanted, no lines for the bathroom, and only one wake-up for turbulence. With flights so sparsely populated, in-air time was comfortable. I have never said that about flights previously, and it was a good antidote to check-ins and disembarkations.
I breathed a final sigh of relief when our aviation plane took off from the capital city, well except for the pilot’s warning that things were probably going to be bumpy in the little nine-seater. I was in my home within a couple hours. I am on day ten of quarantine, which generally suits this homebody just fine. I probably am lacking a bit in vitamin D, and I do wish I could be doing work in my office instead of my couch.
We were hopeful that our successful return (our group affectionately had been nicknamed the “guinea pigs”) meant that we’d get other teacher and families here to start the school year. I was gearing up to send out course selection forms. We had figured out a calendar, and I was looking forward to teaching A&P and precalculus, which are maybe my two favorite classes to teach. Though teachers were going to be stretched thin, we had a plan that I think had teachers and administrators in places of best-fit.
But, the second group was working through their paperwork when their flights were cancelled just three days before they were to leave. There were actual several factors, and the routes that were available for international travel aren’t now. The directors had to make the difficult call that we would not start in-person classes until January. As they try to get flights when they are available, families will have to homeschool for the first semester. I’ve now switched to supporting the homeschool department in whatever capacity is most beneficial.
So, life has been a roller coaster with ups and downs and perhaps some whiplash. This week my pastor spoke about the roller coaster that all of us have been on recently. Paul knew about ups and downs and yet in Philippians 4 he declares that the peace of God is not out of reach: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”