It was getting darker outside and I was starting to worry—I was supposed to be home by 6:00 for supper. We were finally ready to leave when my friend Yakobus decided to jump into the lake, and all hopes of being home on time vanished like the dryness of my clothes as the water splashed up at me.
Time is different here in Papua. It’s not about being everywhere on time; it’s about having a great time while you’re there. Many times I get frustrated because people don’t arrive on time, or they don’t seem to really care about the clock, but these fluid properties of time are just part of culture here. I’ve learned, through many different situations, that sometimes it’s best to just go with the flow. Even if it may not be apparent, sometimes less structure is better than too much. So many opportunities have opened up for me in Papua because I took the time to just wait and see how things played out.
So, of course I jumped right in after Yakobus, doing my best to forget that I’d be late getting home, and knowing that the time would be well spent. A couple backflips later, we piled into the truck and headed back to town. Unconstrained by time, my friend helped me accomplish more than what I’d set out to do at the lake: he also helped me learn to just relax and enjoy life and stop being so caught up in the firm, structured schedules that I’m so used to following.
Fortunately, we had company and everyone was eating when I walked in. So my reprimand was downsized to a few hard stares from my parents.