Last weekend we ducked back to Cairns for a sneaky getaway. We didn’t tell many people we were going because we had only decided a week earlier. I was in desperate need of a ‘holiday’ because all of the trips back to Australia since moving here have been to visit family or attend a wedding. Whilst they are great reasons to return and we are glad we could go to the weddings, unfortunately we have come home each time exhausted. It is tiring going from one friend or family member’s house each time we return. So we went to Cairns for our sneaky getaway.
As with every trip back, we have to spend a day or two stocking up on the things we cannot get in PNG to take back. This is sometimes bigger than Ben Hur due to the weight and bag restrictions placed by the airlines. We have learnt which companies offer the best deal and even become members of the airlines to help us out a little (this doesn’t always work). Anyhow, we looked around for a few items: Quinoa, chicken stock, vege stock, milk teeth toothpaste for BG, a water table for BG, toothbrushes… the list of odds and ends goes on. After getting our items (but missing out on a large family sized blow up pool I am so desperate for) and ensuring we were within the weight limits, we set out to relax.
Unfortunately BG didn’t get the memo which made me wonder… ‘When will she get the memo?’ We stayed in an apartment and tried to stick to her daily routine as closely as possible however she just didn’t want to sleep till 7am. She was up at 5am every morning, even 4.30am one morning, partying in her cot (and crying out occasionally) for a minimum of 2 hours. I was so exhausted by the morning that all I wanted to do was sleep and felt so robbed of my chance to live like a normal human being again for 4 days. We could go for walks for goodness sake and BG kept us so tired the whole weekend it was difficult to enjoy those walks.
The morning of our flight home we were having breakfast at a cafe (double shot of coffee please! AND bring another in 10 mins or I may need to commit a murder!) and discussing our plans for the next few years. You see, I haven’t told anyone this but; we were considering leaving Defence and staying in PNG for a few more years. I had split feelings over this… the chilled-out-anything-goes Brooke was saying, ‘Oh goodie! I love it here! I can continue with my work at the hospital and really get things going there. Daryl will be earning a tidy wage AND we will be able to save up to half of it! Oh this is wonderful!’ The security-conscious-my-career-is-going-down-the-drain-and-BG-is-missing-out-on-so-much Brooke was saying, ‘NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I was just getting used to the idea of the big possibility that Defence is sending us to Singleton and I don’t even like Singleton!!!! I was going to go for walks every day, finish my teaching diploma, enrol BG in playgroup and have lovely play dates with other likeminded Mum’s! How could we even consider living here any longer!?!’ What’s that saying? The grass is always greener.
So back to the story… we were drinking our double shot coffees and discussing the wonderful opportunities at our finger tips with staying in PNG when out of nowhere I burst into tears. Call it sleep deprivation or call it being sick of having split feelings where the cruisy Brooke wanted to shut out the opposing Brooke (and was winning) or call it hormones- no wait. It can’t be hormones anymore… nuts! I loved that excuse for showing random acts of emotion! Oh well! Regardless of what it was… I cried.
Daryl looked at me and asked what was wrong. He has always been confused as to why I have love and hatred towards living here. He loves it here but his experience is so different to mine it is understandable.
I told Daryl how I was upset that our holiday hadn’t really been a holiday- 4 days just isn’t enough and throw in a non-compliant baby, it just isn’t a holiday. I also explained that considering I am against having a Pikinini Meri in our house, living here with a child under 18 months (child care in the International School starts at 18 months) is not fun. I cannot just duck out for a coffee or run down to the shops to get another onion because I do not feel safe driving alone with BG in the car. I have to organise a security escort everywhere and they are often late meaning I end up with a cranky baby at the coffee date rather than the happy, well slept child I had tried so hard for. So I just don’t bother most of the time. The only days I generally leave the compound are Thursdays to go to playgroup and Saturdays and/or Sundays with Daryl. It is like living in a jail- a nice one with a 50 metre pool, a bar which is never open, a small soccer field, a squash court, tennis courts and gymnasium- but jails have most of those things these days don’t they? Haha!
Daryl on the other hand goes to work every day, interacts with people outside and doesn’t have to worry about security as much because his uniform makes him an instant superstar to everyone over here. He gets high fived by local kids all the time, people honk their horns and wave at him, other children just stand in front of him and stare and the adults fall all over him with ‘Yes Boss, ok Boss, everyone make way for the CAPT! He’s in the Army you know! He is wearing cams!’ Sometimes I wish I could wear a t-shirt that says, ‘CAPT Batchelor’s wife… look out!’ Unfortunately I am not one to wear my husband’s rank on my sleeve-that would go against the person I am- such a shame as I really think it could help me over here. Lol!
A little side story: I went to a store last year on my own and had someone come up to me and say, ‘Are you CAPT Batchelor’s wife?’ I replied in shock, ‘Um… yes.’ Then we got locked in this uncomfortable stare with me cocking my head to the side wondering how on earth they knew that and what the heck has my husband been doing in a haberdashery store!?! They were just staring in a look that said, ‘Oh yes, I know him. I am special.’
So the end to my story… We live in the same compound over here but our lives and experiences are very different. We have now decided that a holiday is just not going to happen until BG is older and then the next one is older (no I am not pregnant… just predicting the future). It’s also not worth the hassle and therefore the pressure on our marriage staying in PNG so we are back to Australia next year. Singleton is to be confirmed though so watch this space.