I was lucky enough to be the first linguist to document Rabaul Creole German/Unserdeutsch. In the late 1970s I was teaching German at Miami State High School on the Queensland Gold Coast in Australia. A new student, Yvonne, came to be registered at the school who wanted to take German. As usual, I spoke with her in German to see just how much German she spoke-- foreign language teaching standards varied greatly in Australian schools. I was surprised at how fluent her accent was and how comfortable she was trying to speak German, but how unusual her grammar was. When I asked where she had studied German, she said she had never studied it, but that her family spoke it "at home".
As she was a Black girl and "at home" was Papua New Guinea, this was a big surprise. I was a masters student in German at the University of Queensland with a strong interest in German dialects spoken by European emigrants in places like North America and Australia, but I had never heard of a German settler dialect spoken in Papua New Guinea.
As I got to know Yvonne and her family, I learned that this was a language very similar to Tok Pisin (PNG Pidgin English). They were kind enough to introduce me to other members of their community and to prepare me for a visit to Rabaul for fieldwork. I knew I had a topic for my thesis. I did not know how meeting Yvonne would change my life, as PNG became my home and the focus of my professional and personal lives.