Today we had a celebratory flat white at Lime Lounge to mark our one-month anniversary here. That’s right, they have flat whites here! The coffees here have that telltale long-life aftertaste, but hey, in the islands you work with what you’ve got.
Before we left we were going hundy on all the things we thought we’d miss starting with coffee, cheese and meat. Other than family and friends, which is a separate kettle of fish, we miss heaps of things. I miss my CrossFit box, my bike, 3-ply toilet paper, sidewalks, and pics peanut butter. Nid misses fried chicken, hot crispy chips, meat pies, Splatoon, the Nid-shaped gaming-buttgroove on our couch, and dirty bants with other criminal lawyers.
However, these are the top three things that we miss the most, in order.
Some people can live without it, but for
- how to cook slippery cabbage
- where is the beach?
- how to light a gas oven when the sparker is broke
- Tulagi Dive or Munda Dive?
- do I have dengue fever?
- call mum
Having to ration our mobile data, which is already the slowest in the world, to last as long as possible is trying. Less internet is still something we’re working hard on coming to grips with.
As volunteers, we knew we weren’t going to save anything for retirement here but realising that we spent all our money and both have near on empty wallets is a little unnerving. Also, who gets married and goes on an overseas honeymoon two months before a two-year volunteer assignment?!
In saying that, we’re not dirt poor by any means. We can still have some nice
#3. Owning a Car
Anyone who knows us will know that we know nothing about cars except how to drive one and what colours are acceptable. Owning a car in the Solomon Islands was not on the agenda but after lugging several coconuts, a pineapple, and a bunch of bananas on our backs and feeling our back and armpit sweat patches start to merge, we began to reprioritise.
We have been lucky to have been able to borrow a coworker’s car for a week and WOWZERS has our world expanded. Our social life has increased by at least 800% (because we only had one friend and now we know like eight people)!
We have also been to more events in one week than we usually go to in a month in New Zealand and actually have a pantry with stuff in it. We have been cautioned however that owning a car here puts you in a bubble: you miss getting to know your community, it’s harder to meet the locals, and you are less likely to stumble across rich experiences. This is true. But unfortunately, we really like not sweating more.
Looking at our list, the only one that has really surprised us is the car. Looking forward to revisiting the list at the six-month mark to see if we’ve become any less materialistic. Fingers crossed.