I’m still in Switzerland, enjoying some time off and meeting a lot of friends and family. Which means, I have to answer many questions about my new life in West Papua. «So, what’s it like to live on a remote island?» «What do you do all day?» «What are the people like? Are your guests nice?» «How do you cope with the heat and the humidity?» «What do you miss most?» «Does it feel strange to be back?»
I love to tell them about Pef and Raja4Divers, even though I have to repeat the same things over and over again. I don’t actually feel as though I have been away for six months – many things felt as always from the day I arrived in Switzerland (except for the cold weather, of course – but then again, I never liked that anyway…). Yes, I did enjoy that first sweet water shower! And the dry air, bed and clothes. And fast internet and the fact that I can just pick up the phone and call whoever I want. But these are not the things that strike me the most.
I appreciate the incredible public transportation in Switzerland – you miss a bus and 2 minutes later, the next one arrives. And I don’t risk my life just crossing the street because traffic is very civilized. I can buy everything I need and pay by app on my phone. But I am surprised about the fact that people seem to constantly complain about something – the weather, the other people, the stress, their boss, their kids, the train being delayed, the high prices (ok, I agree – welcome to Zurich!), politicians, the environment, the future, etc. Hello? You have no idea what a good life you have here! Stop worrying about everything and start enjoying what you have!
I guess, I was the same before I left. But living and working in another country changes your perspective. You start appreciating what you have back home. Things you took for granted suddenly become special and valuable. You start to actually feel that living differently can also be ok. Having travelled a lot in my life, I knew that before, but I didn’t really feel it. I looked at different cultures and traditions from a tourist’s point of view. Now I’m living and working with people who have been brought up very differently and I have to deal with their mentality. I can’t always assume they think the same way as I do, and it’s me who needs to adapt, not them. It works out fine most of the times, but sometimes I do need a little help. Luckily, I have other westerners working with me who have been there for a long time and who are able to help me understand when I’m lost. It’s challenging, but very interesting. I’ve always been curious to experience and learn new stuff, so this is the perfect training field for me!
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…