I was supposed to be back on the island last Saturday already, but I’m still sitting in cold and snowy Switzerland due to new Covid-19 regulations to enter Indonesia. As much as I always like to come home, I would honestly prefer to be on Pulau Pef right now. I could do with some warm weather and joy of life by our Pef team. But I have to be patient and take it day by day, just like all of us currently. For now, I don’t know when I will travel and what the conditions will be like. So I wait…
Without guests, my job mainly consists of office work that I can also do remotely with my laptop. Home office, like probably half the world at the moment. Guest relations would be the other part of my job, but that’s rather difficult without guests to relate to... The internet here is obviously much quicker than on the island, but my inspiration for all the beautiful social media posts and blog texts is beginning to fade. Not easy to promote a tropical dive resort while watching the snow fall outside your window.
But I still consider myself lucky. At least I get to scroll through gorgeous pictures every day and post breathtaking videos. In contrast to my colleagues from booking, Caroline and Doris, who are permanently located in Switzerland. They told me that before the pandemic, they would get up every morning very happy to start up their computer and check enquiries, reservations and bookings that came in overnight. Now, they sometimes hesitate to even switch on their laptops because they know that their inbox will be full of cancellations, requests for rebookings and questions about when the resort will reopen. How frustrating – not only for our guests, but also for Caroline and Doris. They have to keep repeating that, unfortunately, they don’t have any info on when the Indonesian borders will reopen. Luckily, they are both very positive people and handle the situation admiringly. They still love their job, but they will need a lot of patience before their inbox will be full of enquiries for new bookings again.
Maybe my Indonesian colleagues are better at being patient than us. Living in our fast-paced world, we are used to planning our lives and controlling every minute of it. And now we are forced to just wait and be patient. So difficult for us! In Indonesia, many things still happen at a slower pace, especially in West Papua. So waiting is part of everyday life and people have less of a problem with it. Patience is a common virtue. I wish I had it too, I was never a very patient person. But I do think I gained a little more patience since I started working in Raja Ampat. After all, I managed to get used to the slow internet on the island and accept the fact that the tasks my job requires me to do take three times as long as in Switzerland. I learnt to adapt to the island rhythm and not expect everything to happen immediately. I think, I even started walking more slowly, which is amazing, because I was always a very quick walker.
Our guests and friends ask us regularly whether we can still keep going and whether we will survive this crisis. We don’t know for sure, but there is no other option for us, really. We believe in the future of Raja4Divers and that the resort will be bustling with energy and guests some time again soon. But will our patience last long enough? If you had asked me last March, I would never have thought that we would manage for such a long time to keep up the good spirit, the patience and the teamwork. But this is a very western approach, I guess. I never had to be patient for such a long time and was almost always able to decide myself how I wanted to proceed in life. I never planned very much in the long term, but the upcoming months were usually more or less laid out. My Indonesian colleagues may have faced challenging situations before, where they just had to be patient and wait for things to happen. This is why they seem to cope better with the current situation.
We can only learn from this and I intend to do just that. I’m sure a little more patience will come in handy for the coming months…
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…