Sunday, October 25, 2009
So I KNOW the fish got there by the tides before any of you smart science-y people try to tell me that. ;) But how did it just die, puff up, and end up on my walk!? It was pretty exciting on a Sunday when not much else happens.
SO after I made this video I munched on the "thing" for a bit longer and it turned out to taste not so bad. I got used to it and would eat another!
Douglas and Emma sent Simba a cat toy and I wanted to post this one so they could see how much he is enjoying it. It looks funnier to me to watch the video as you cant see anyone manipulating the fish.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Veitalanoa is Fijian for the telling of stories. How convenient that such a word exists because I have some stories to tell. Unfortunately, for those hoping to hear about cool work I am doing here, none are work related because that is soooooo slow going to the point of flowing backwards. For now, you will just have to enjoy these ....
1) Snorkeling!! The weather here has not been the tropical paradise I imagine – much more rain and cloudiness and chilly! Of course it is winter here I guess. Anyway – because the weather is less than optimal, the few times I get to snorkel I relish (no, not the stuff that goes on hotdogs). One time I got to see a small sea turtle!!! I squealed with delight into my snorkel, which is probably the reason it bolted. I’ve also had the pleasure of visiting with Nemo’s cousins. They send their regards (or lolomas in Fijian - see video above).
2) I had several visitors to my home since I returned from Peace Corp’s early service training. I entertained the preacher and his family over a pot of my home cooked soup. Quite hearty and delicious. My most memorable visitor to date was a woman and her small son. While showing photos to the woman her son was playing outside. All of a sudden “whack!” What just hit me in the head? Pants? AH! The kid is standing in the doorway without pants, penis pointing INSIDE! NOOOO – don’t pee in the house! Phew, he moved. But wait – after walking the mom out, looking to the left and down … POO!! That little boy dropped a load right next to my door. Excellent. Maybe it’s like a welcome basket? Or when people give fruitcakes at Christmas?
3) Tonight was one of my favorite nights since I’ve been in Fiji. The stars were shining brightly – cila sara na kalokalo if you will. Thanks to my Saftah (grandmother aka Buqu in Fiji) I had the ingredients for S’mores! When trying to explain the S’mores to some of the villagers, I realized that most Fijians have never heard of marshmallows let alone S’mores. So I told them we would make them one night, and that night happened to be tonight (10/18/2009). Funnily enough, the kids at the house where we were building a fire were watching some movie in which there was a bonfire and they were making S’mores!! That just made them so much more excited – like it was confirmation that I spoke the truth about these wonderful marshmallow and chocolate sandwiches. They made the S’mores, roasted some more marshmallows and we danced to UB40 under the stars. Seriously – excellent evening. I felt like a true Peace Corps hippie. Excellent. Nice way to celebrate the Dewali holiday.
4) Bad stories: people have been swiping food from me in many ways. Just today someone stole a papaya from my garden and while I was away for training someone swiped some of my eggplants. Perhaps I need a sign. “Na Turaga so raica tiko” aka “G-d is watching” … that should do it. Also when I got mail recently one of my packages had been pillaged to within an inch of its life. All the candy from my stepmom had been taken. See solution below.
********** Important *********** I had some postal issues last week – the first since arriving in Fiji. Several packages had been left somewhere besides the post office over a holiday weekend. 1 of the packages arrived in good condition, 1 was completely gutted by rats and 1 had been slightly invaded by rats but the only casualty was a bag of chex mix, and the final one had been ravaged and pilfered. I asked people at the Peace Corps Office and they said perhaps all packages should now be sent to the Peace Corps office address which can be found to the right. Letters, however, can still be sent to me on Ovalau to the Levuka Post Office. Packages should probably also be sent in either envelopes or flat rate boxes which can’t be opened and resealed without being obvious like a cardboard box. Food items in Ziplocs might be good as well because of rats. I really do appreciate all the effort and time friends and family have been putting into care packages and letters and I hate that the last few I received had been damaged. I am really sorry about that. Thank you so much to all who have been writing!! You have no idea the smile the mail puts on my face!
Monday, October 12, 2009
So as more random things come to mind while living in Fiji, I decided to continue with the 100 things list when these thoughts come. Here are the next 33 entries into the life and times of a PCV in Fiji.
Meanwhile, just so everyone knows, tsunami-wise all things are good here. I've had 2 tsunami warnings (incidentally, my neighbor pronounces it "toosunami" and it drives me nuts! hehe) in the past 2 weeks here. The first all the FRE7 (Fiji Return Entry group 7) volunteers were gathered at high ground already for early service training so we were fine. The second I was in Levuka town watching a netball tournament and had to go up the "100 steps" that are in town near a secondary school and wait for the alert to end. Had a a great view of any potential tsunamis to hit the area.
101) Bait for fishing here are hermit crabs: deshell and deleg the poor guys before hooking them.
102) I’ve eaten more eggplant in my village in 2 months than I think I ever have – my eggplant plants are growing them like crazy!
103) I can only remember not celebrating 2 birthdays with my family: 1 in Hawaii and 1 in the southern hemisphere in Antarctica. The next 2 without them I will be in the southern hemisphere again except this time in roasting temperatures instead of freezing.
104) The kids here stare at me a lot, but I don’t think they like me.
105) I watched Top Gun here for the first time – man those are some crazy tight pants!!
106) I like that when I peel my purple eggplant, I have a purple paring knife.
107) I’m strangely anal about how I hang my wet laundry to dry – all similar items must be grouped together, undies with undies, shirts with shirts, etc.
108) I’m not as anal about the pegs I use to hang the clothes but whenever I pull out 2 to hang something with, I always think “I should use 2 that are the same color” but I am don’t.
109) Went for a swim in the ocean and got scared of a giant silver fish that looked barracuda-like even though I KNEW it wasn’t one, but without my snorkel gear and fins I felt more vulnerable (was just wearing swim goggles).
110) There was a tsunami alert while I was in Nadave for Early Service Training (EST) and it was kind of exciting, but I was worried about my house 5 feet from the sea.
111) After EST I have lots of projects I’d like to see happen in my village: tilapia fish ponds, coral farming, 2nd bread oven for bakery, marine protected area monitoring, one laptop per child laptops in the schools, renovated community hall (with added on kitchen, dispensary, and organized area for kindy), ecotourism backpackers lodge, vasua (giant clam) farming, environmental clubs in schools, kids camps, world map mural project, and of course peace in the middle East (that would count for at least 2 projects).
112) I have 2 small tomatoes and 1 small green bell pepper growing in my garden!!
113) Shelly sent me cat toys for Simba, but there was a little boy in here the other day that seemed to enjoy the toy more than the cat!
114) Something has been making a lot of racket on the roof lately at night and I’m too scared it’s a rat to go out and try and figure out what it is.
115) I had a dinner party at my house and served 7 people! I had to borrow plates, bowls and spoons from my neighbor because I only have service for 3. J I made a huge pot of soup with eggplant, green pepper, tomato, rice, kidney bean, onion soup mix, salt, and love.
116) My new teakettle doesn’t whistle when the water is boiled, it just starts spouting out boiling water all over the place!!
117) Saftah sent me s’mores ingredients and I’ve been explaining to a few people what they are telling them we will have to make them soon and it’s just so nuts to me that nearly every child in America knows what a s’more is and most people here have never seen nor heard of a marshmallow. Aren’t they in for a treat!!
118) When I came home after a week of being away, the whole house was covered in yellow dustiness that is constantly falling from the grass roof. I sneeze a lot here lately.
119) I came back from EST with 9 more books (thanks in large part to Shelly, Saftah, and the Peace Corps library) and I read 2 in 2 days already. 9 books would last most normal people at least a few months but mine will all be read before November.
120) I’ve read 4 Jodi Picoult books since coming here, and surprisingly my least favorite so far has been “Songs of the Humpback Whale” – who would have guessed that? My favorite so far is probably still the first I read: “Keeping Faith.”
121) Melissa finally helped me figure out the best way to wear a sulu: don’t tuck in but roll over. Stays pretty well.
122) For Halloween this year I think I will dress up as a kai valaqi, should be easy.
123) I wonder what 2 years of smelling burning trash will do to my health.
124) At home I like my toilet paper to come off the top of the roll, but here it’s easier off the bottom – perhaps this has something to do with the Coriolis Effect. Scientists? Anyone? Bueller?
125) The card game of SET that I brought with me became very popular with the PCVs in the FRE7 group.
126) There is a ferris wheel in Levuka this week and I plan on riding it!! I mean, it’s no Eye of London, but should be fun! Hope someone tightened all the screws. … Just came back from Levuka and the ferris wheel was spinning at like 100mph!! Thanks, but no …
127) My dad sent me the nicest text message ever today – there will be trouble topping it.
128) I brought nearly 5 bathing suits with me but I’ve worn the same one every time I’ve been swimming since coming to site.
129) When I get some ripe papayas on my tree, I will attempt POPO JAMU! I could mix it with banana and make a papaya-banana jam … that almost seems too much though.
130) When I look through old pictures on my computer I get weirded out when I see myself in jeans!
131) Fijians can make this crazy squeek noise with their mouths and they do it to get people’s attention. So half the time I’m out, I am walking about with my head spinning around to see if someone is squeeking at me.
132) My house is perfect for cats because it is made entirely of scratching posts.
133) There is a tree growing out of one of the wooden poles used to build my house. Better oxygenation inside now!