Monday, September 14, 2009

100 things

Above are some photos of an underwater excursion on the reef by my house. The top has a pair of butterfly fish, middle has Christmas tree tubeworms on what looks like a species of Porites coral, and the bottom looks like an anemone of some kind or a soft coral, havent had a chance to look it up.

In honor of it being almost 1 year since I was nominated for Peace Corps Service (it was in November that I was officially invited to serve in Fiji), I decided to write up a list of 100 things I’ve learned/observed/had happen to me so far during my service in Fiji. The idea for a list of this nature and size came from a fellow FRE-7’s blog (Matt and Kelly) who wonderfully gave me permission to gank their idea.

1) Just because it’s the dry season doesn’t mean it doesn’t rain – it does, often.

2) Cold showers are always cold showers and I will always scream out when I have to put my head under the water.

3) Frogs stop dead when you shine a light on them at night.

4) Ants like to eat everything in my kitchen not in a Ziploc bag – and even the stuff in a Ziploc bag if they can manage to find the 1 pinprick hole in it.

5) Fijian children have more snot than any child I’ve ever seen. And they don’t mind it – it can hang out on their upper lip for a full 24 hours for all anyone notices it.

6) Sasas (broom-like things) work amazingly well at getting the sand off your mats.

7) No one in America truly appreciates a washing machine like they should. I do now.

8) Whenever I put on bugspray, I feel like I am back at summer camp because of the smell.

9) It’s shockingly chilly somewhat regularly: like 2 pairs of pj pants and a beany hat chilly.

10) The stars at night shine and sparkle like diamonds.

11) When you plant seeds, they REALLY DO grow into food! It’s exciting to watch your food grow from scratch.

12) I enjoy hearing the ocean without a sound machine in my bedroom at night.

13) Flush-indoor toilets are a blessing and I thank G-d for mine at midnight when I have to go.

14) It’s possible to read a whole book in one day … on a regular basis.

15) It’s like pulling teeth trying to refuse a plastic bag in Fiji.

16) Fijians think my pimples are mosquito bites, so they don’t mind pointing at them.

17) Life is pretty good in flip flops.

18) It’s hard to learn another language.

19) I miss a lot of things, but am living fine without them.

20) I can see 3 other islands from my house.

21) Bread only has 5 ingredients and isn’t as hard to make as I thought - but I still can’t do it b/c the dough keeps sticking to my hands.

22) Fijians have lots of different dialects.

23) Most people who just meet me think I’m a teacher. It’s a little annoying.

24) I’ll drink black tea with lots of sugar in it.

25) You must wash dishes immediately to fend off ant invasions.

26) 1 small drop of anything sweet on the counter means ants in 5 minutes.

27) A cat in your lap makes you feel loved (like now).

28) A cat snuggling with you at night makes you feel less alone.

29) When sand hits tin under the force of wind, it sounds like nails on a chalkboard.

30) No drug has a more uplifting effect than mail from friends or family.

31) When I was little and dreamed of a princess bed, all I really needed was a mosquito net.

32) Cane knives must be sharpened regularly with a giant file.

33) Breakfast crackers taste good with peanut butter and jelly on them.

34) Breakfast crackers taste good broken up in your sugary black tea.

35) I can eat 5 kg of breakfast crackers in just about 2 months.

36) There is no sustainable substitute for the banana if you live in the US, but it is sustainable if you grow them in your backyard (New York magazine) – how convenient!

37) Reading a book where the main character goes out for sushi is painful.

38) I like dalo best when it’s cooked in the lovo (underground oven).

39) I like breadfruit better than cassava.

40) I like mashed pumpkin cooked, and then covered in lolo (coconut milk) and sugar.

41) A house can have tin walls, grass roof, wood windows, and coral floors and be perfect.

42) Things I keep under my pillow at night: flashlight, LED light, book, glasses.

43) Things I’ve lost since arriving: headlamp, couple of pens

44) Things I’ve broken: watch, water bottle, laptop

45) Things I’ve used my leatherman for: making coconut bilo (cup), making sasa, carving name in cane knife and sasa, opening tuna, making homemade cat toy

46) Papaya tastes the best when it grows low on a small tree and you can pluck it right off with your hands and don’t have to figure out how to wrangle it off with a stick.

47) Cats don’t get milk mustaches, they get milk goaties. Dogs get milk lipstick.

48) Cooking bread in an oven made of a metal barrel covered in cement is hard to perfect but tastes good.

49) I think I want to celebrate the Jewish Holidays a day late for the next 2 years so I know I am celebrating with my family in American at the same time.

50) Bats sound super creepy at night.

51) I will never like the taste of yaqona- I’ve tried, but it’s grainy, dirt-like, and numbs my tongue.

52) When I DO end up drinking yaqona, almonds, mints and Tang make alright chasers.

53) Drinking the water from a green coconut is ok, brown coconut – not ok.

54) Wild yams are purple.

55) If you have coconuts, why not boil all foods in its milk?

56) Fish eyes are delicious – via word of mouth, I will still never try them.

57) Motor oil is a perfectly acceptable way to mark the boundaries of a volleyball court.

58) 1 large Fijian foot is the equivalent of the most expensive hiking boot on the market.

59) I like the concept of sulus – wearing simple wrap for bottoms daily with no worries, but I can’t ever seem to get mine to stay on, no matter how far I tuck them into my underwear!

60) Ice cream tastes delicious when made with passion fruit.

61) Ice cream tastes delicious served over Jell-o!

62) If someone looks like they are waving you to go away, it really means to come here.

63) If someone sounds like they are grunting “uh uh (no)” they mean yes.

64) CHOW noodles with Kraft parmesan cheese is a daily staple.

65) Kraft parmesan cheese doesn’t have to be refrigerated after opening. Thank G-d!

66) Sitting on the floor all the time leads to lower back pain.

67) A steel bar with hangers caddy corner to logs is a perfectly wonderful closet.

68) “Cea” is Fijian text slang for “there” or “thea” because c= th sound.

69) I read my first Jane Austin book in Fiji – Sense and Sensibility.

70) Every once in a while I wonder about cyclones.

71) I need to become an expert in drainage, fish houses, coral farming, reef monitoring, seawalls, cooperatives, renovation, waste management, and fund raising.

72) A compost toilet apparently doesn’t smell contrary to popular belief.

73) Pigs make the most horrible, tear-inducing sounds when they are being tied up. I hope I never have to be around when one is slaughtered.

74) Lying is perfectly acceptable if they think it’s what you want to hear and will therefore make you happy.

75) The back of my front door has items mailed to me from USA: advertisement with sushi art, hand drawn picture of sun with shades (courtesy of Maxwell), photos, post cards, and magazine article about my famous and admired Grandpa.

76) I try to do laundry 2/week so my hand wash loads are very small, buts been very rainy and cloudy lately so I am way behind.

77) I can cook if I just do it, but I still get discouraged when there are too many ingredients.

78) Most of the ingredients I would need to follow recipes from the Peace Corps cookbook would NEVER been found on my island and would cost a fortune in Suva.

79) It’s nice that when I first got here, my stomach wasn’t the only unpredictable one in Fiji.

80) I’m going to run out of DVDs to watch – I didn’t bring enough.

81) Jodi Picoult writes really great books, but they all seem to involve going to court.

82) I am slowly getting used to the sound of hermit crabs crawling around the house at night amongst my coral floor.

83) My neighbor asked me to do her homework for her – 2 pages on poverty. Ironic as she lives in poverty and I grew up a Jewish princess, there is no way I know more about poverty than she does.

84) It seems normal for kids to get other adults to do their homework for them here – Inoke tells me it’s because they don’t have proper resources at school. Maybe I’ll raise funds for encyclopedia sets or computers with internet.

85) The previous Peace Corps Volunteer for this village made me tye-dyed curtains. Groovy.

86) Read = wilivola, book = ivola, write = volavola, envelope = wagavola (boat book?)

87) It’s illegal to catch turtles here to eat them, but if they get stuck in your net by accident it’s ok – I sat at a table where people ate turtle.

88) I set up my smoke alarm first thing when I moved in because I know it’s important to my dad and I’m paranoid because half my house is made of grass.

89) My house doesn’t fit into one of the 3 little pigs: not sticks, not straw, and not brick. What happens to the tin house when the wolf blows? Might be good to know in cyclone season.

90) Fijians all seem to be quite friendly but I still hate when they laugh and I don’t know why!

91) Moli means orange AND lime – it’s an unfortunate set of foods to mix up.

92) Wonder how long it will take for my laptop to break.

93) I’ve tried 3 times to grow tomatoes but I don’t seem to have luck with them yet.

94) I used to be scared to leave my mosquito net at night, so I wouldn’t go to the bathroom even if I had to. But I’m braver now!

95) The word for going to “pee” is “mee” – I’m not sure if “poo” is “moo” but I think not.

96) Powdered milk smells bad, but tastes OK in Weet-Bix cereal (with lots of sugar!).

97) Parrot fish probably taste delicious but whenever I eat one I can’t enjoy it because of the guilt.

98) Despite living in Fiji for almost 4 months now, I’m still not very tan.

99) The plants in my garden go through major growth spurts after heavy rains.

100) You can’t climb a papaya tree – it gives under your weight. Trust me.


Heather said...

Hi, Juliana. Erin told me she had contacted you and I started reading your blog. You're very brave and adventuresome! I noticed you were looking for a flavorful recipe for black beans. I make Cuban black bean soup on a regular basis, and I think it tastes pretty good. The first trick is to first make the black beans. Then, depending on how watery the soup is, dump out only part of the water it was cooked in, and add chicken stock or chicken stock cubes (although that has a lot of salt). Honestly, the chicken stock makes a big difference, adding flavor. I don't know what you have in the way of ingredients where you are, but you can add a couple of cloves of garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander. Cook all together for a couple of hours to marry all the flavors. Make some rice and eat them together. I think it tastes great, one of my favorite meals. Hope you can try it and let me know how it is.
I'm sorry to hear your kitten has epilepsy. I had a basset hound growing up that had epilepsy. But it may not be the same in cats as in dogs. My Cleo had to be on epilepsy meds, but unfortunately she ended up dying when she was 5 years old. Her body was unable to regulate itself with the medicines. I'm enjoying reading your blogs. I hope we can stay in touch, if you want. We're visiting Erin this weekend and babysitting her two dogs while Clay is in New York and she is photographing a wedding near Augusta Georgia. Take care, Juliana.

Jen said...

Hey Jules,

Did you know that people in England yet ice cream mixed with jello for their birthdays instead of ice cream and cake? Your list made me remember my English friend who made that for me once. Hope all is well and I'll write you on paper soon!


daniel efren estrada said...

hai,im' daniel i have a fish like mollies, zordtail,and etc.pls.give me advice.