When I arrived in Switzerland, many of my friends asked me how it felt to be back and whether it was a strange feeling. I didn’t quite understand what they meant because I didn’t feel weird or anything. Of course, there were the Corona measures – wearing masks, physical distancing, etc. – that I had to get used to at first. But that took me about one day and then everything felt as it always had in Switzerland. I was back home, and it felt like that.
I live in two worlds now and both of them feel home somehow. Each of them is very different from the other, and when I’m in one of them, I don’t miss the other very much. I just switch and do completely different things, complementary almost. When on the island, I read a lot, practice my Indonesian every day, rarely stay up late, eat rice, fresh fish and vegetables and drink very little alcohol.
In Switzerland, I didn’t read one book in two months, watched a lot of movies and TV, went out to meet people almost every day, ate lots of unsweetened plain yoghurt, pasta and bread and very often had a glass of wine to celebrate meeting my family and friends. And forgot all my Indonesian, aduh!
It doesn’t take me much to change from one world to the other. They both have their wonderful and their difficult sides. But this is the reason I chose this job– to experience a new world, different from the one I was used to. However, I noticed that there is a strong common denominator: nature. The more I experience nature on Pulau Pef, the more I also enjoy it in Switzerland. One of the best parts of my day was the morning walk or jog with my daughter’s dog. I will miss him a lot, too!
Pets. I love cats and dogs and I do miss them on the island. OK, I have my very cute sugar gliders that I feed every evening. Bug they are wild animals and won’t let me caress or hug them. And my little gecko friend – let’s face it, he’s not very cuddly either. I do enjoy the spectacular underwater world of Raja Ampat. But I haven’t met a fish yet that was willing to hug me… So, my furry friends at home remain special and very dear to me. But as much as I would love to have a cat or a dog on the island, they don’t belong here. They are part of my other world.
A year ago, when I came to Raja Ampat to work, people thought I was brave to do this. I didn’t understand it, but I think what they really meant was that for them, it didn’t seem easy to switch from one world to the other. So many unknown things in this new world were expecting me. What I considered interesting must have seemed threatening or scary to others. But new things hardly ever scare me, they intrigue and challenge me.
If it weren’t for the C-crisis, I would be living the dream: enjoying the best part of both my worlds, being able to travel and switch between the two of them often and broaden my horizon. Who wouldn’t want that?
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…