Tuesday, January 25, 2011
vincensia became a good friend to me as quickly as any other even though, at first, i couldn't speak her native language. well, actually, i will likely never speak her first language; even her husband can't speak it because they are from different tribes. her second language is tok pisin, which i eventually learned enough of to generally understand her and make her laugh (cool beans). her third language is english, so whenever i wasn't making sense, she would speak in english and help me find the right words.
vincensia is trained as a nurse but chose to stay at 'home' once she had her kids (she has six beautiful kids) as taking the pmv (public motor vehicle, read: big toyota van that seats around 11, depending on how many nationals felt like cramming in) like the time neal rode from town in a pmv marked to seat 15 but had 21 in it and one of the nationals decided to sleep on his shoulder. um, yah.
anyway, the cost of taking the pmv to the hospital and back wasn't really worth her time. what was cool was all the times she was able to diagnose our ills and let us know what meds to go pick up at the pharmacy next time we went in to town. (which is also kind of scary seeing as how you don't need a prescription you just tell them what you want and how many and they give it to you in a little plastic bag. wow). when evan's ear swelled shut and he was in pain, she told us it was otitis media and wrote down the name of the antibiotic he needed. we were thankful.
vincensia introduced me to greased rice, greased corn, kankon leaves, the most amazing smelling perfume, and real shell money.
i introduced her to homemade chocolate chip cookies, kool aid, tacos, pizza and american eagle skirts.
she kicked my butt at uno, the first time she had ever played it. that hurt. then she presented me with the most beautiful necklace ever for my birthday. that helped. we had many meals together, laughing about things white people think and say and do and i tried to learn as much about her culture as possible in the short time we had together, learning to laugh about the silly things nationals think and say and do, too.
she promised to write letters so i wouldn't forget my tok pisin but that isn't a simple thing to do. i treasure each one from her that i have.
she promised not to cry when i left, so i would leave with only good thoughts
we both broke down at the airport and cried anyway, cause that's what real friends do.
i miss her deeply, down in my core
i know that she misses me, too.
i can't prove it, by texting her, or sending her a message on facebook
but i can feel it
and for now that has to be enough
behain, mi laik go long hoskins gen, na go long haus bilong gebe, na sindaun wantaim olgeta poro bilong mi.
nau? mi driman, tasol.
one day ...