We have been in Madang 16 weeks now, and so here is a list of 16 ways our life looks different:

  1. I peel my bananas all the way before eating them. To check for worms.
  2. The power goes out sometimes.
  3. I bathe, wash dishes, and drink rain water. When I run out of rain water, I must use city water (which can give you ringworm)… so I really try not to run out.
  4. If I bring our compost out to the compost heap at night, I might step on a frog.
  5. Recyclables are some of the only things we throw away.
  6. When I cut off the stem of a broccoli or cut out the core of a pineapple or cut out the bones of some chicken, instead of tossing them, I give them to Alex, our guard, and he eats them. He also uses the coconut shells as a type of firewood.
  7. I am becoming more comfortable with silence in conversation.
  8. If I want to wash my clothes on a “hot cycle” I pour in water from my kettle.
  9. When I plant something, it grows. Without much work.
  10. If I leave bread on the counter over night, I find a hole in the bag the next day… from a mouse.
  11. I drive with my right hand, shift with my left hand, and must look both ways to make a right turn. If I don’t look both ways, I might hit a pothole. Or a person. Or a person in a pothole.
  12. I can walk 150 yards, jump off a rock, and land in ocean water… next to a kid using a big block of styrofoam as a floatie.
  13. People at the market shake hands with Oliver more than with me.
  14. People ask how it’s stopping rather than how its going.
  15. Our kids haven’t seen apple sauce… or apples in months. But they eat pineapple almost every day.
  16. I freeze my flour when I get home from the store, to kill the bugs.

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