Thursday, January 28, 2010

List Part 3 and Spearing Videos

Video of my friend Uraia spearing a helpless parrotfish - the fish is caught in a coral head, so you can't really see it - but thought it would be fun to watch anyway.

Here is spearfishing video number 2! Uraia is taking the fish out of the coral head and you can see it above water at the end. As a spearfishing update: I went out yesterday and still did not catch anything BUT i managed to hit 3 fish!! Just need to work on my spearing arm's strength - but my aim seems to be improving. For you naysayers - I could tell I hit the fish because there were scales floating in the water around the spot from which the fishy fled.

Also, I think it’s about time for another list, don’t you?

134. I’ve decided one of the hardest things ever is to try to hang a fitted sheet on a line to dry.

135. Even though I KNOW a raising of the eyebrows indicates a yes to most Fijians, I still need to hear them say “Yes.”

136. When spear fishing for the first time, I got tunnel vision for the fish I wanted to catch. I forgot to see what was around me. I made sure to remember the next time.

137. A conversation you must hear (names have been changed to protect the innocent):
K: Tuli, when I sat down just now do I look fat?
Me: Of course not! (and this is true, she is a healthy person)
K: Oh. But I want to be fat.
Me: OH! I meant to say that you DID look fat! VERY VERY FAT.
K: Stop bluffing!
Me: Ok, you’re not fat – but you can have mine if you want.
K: Yeah, we should trade.

138. Cats look funny when they lick themselves.

139. Sweating in your sleep is one of the most unpleasant feelings ever. Don’t believe me? Try it.

140. We are never getting those giant clams I was promised in September.

141. I love snacks.

142. I miss sushi.

143. Sa rauta mada is fast becoming one of my most used Fijian phrases – it means “That’s enough” (as in,” I’ve-had-enough-of-your-smart-mouth-stop-talking”)

144. There are 2 conversations I’m tired of having: a) The “You must marry one Fijian boy – Why won’t you marry one Fijian boy” conversation, and b) The Oiko sa levulevu (“You are fat”) conversation, which is less of a conversation and more of a “They-say-this-while-I-smile-and-nod-but-cry-on-the-inside” one way conversation.

145. I run on the beach for 20 minutes in the mornings (around 7am) when the tide is low. I will get back and literally drip sweat everywhere. I’m not usually a sweater and that really wasn’t a very long run, I mean who am I kidding (especially since 20 minutes is really 17 minutes, but I round up).

146. We got the giant clams I was promised!! They are currently 20ft below sea level and hopefully happy. It was an adventure getting them down there, but I would do it again every day.

147. I don’t remember where I got most of the scratches I seem to find on myself.

148. I’m in love with bu (young coconut). I used to really not like it but I find nothing tastes better after snorkeling. If only I could climb that stupid tree myself.

149. I miss my brothers.

150. I taught a few 20-something year old Fijian guys how to play UNO; and to make it more interesting, they decided to loser had to drink a full glass of water. Oh the torture – I do that on my own regularly. I still didn’t want to lose. Neither did they – so they cheated.

151. I just watched “Julie and Julia” and loved it – I may take cooking classes when I get home.

152. I’ve started wearing my hair in a scarf like a babushka because it keeps the hair off my neck. It’s either that or buzz cut. Opinions?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy New Year!

First, forgive me for not having updated in a while. I swear it’s not that I’m too busy, I’m simply lazy and it’s hot so I don’t want to do anything except lay on my back in the middle of the floor where the cross-breeze between my two doors goes through the house.

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s holiday. I rang in the New Year on a small island south of Ovalau called Caqalai (pronounced, Thangaleye - just to make things interesting) with 15 or so other Americans (mostly Peace Corps Volunteers with a few visitors thrown in to spice things up). The island was 40-45 min away from Levuka (my closest town) on a small fiberglass boat. We spent 3-4 days snorkeling on some of the most beautiful reef I have ever seen and sitting around bonfires every night. Totally granola. I made sure to not shave my armpits just so I’d feel even more like a true Peace Corps Volunteer. A few of us even swam 45 min out to a sandbar that looked much closer than it actually was. Don’t worry, a PFD was brought along for safety. All in all, I’d have to say it was a pretty darn cool way to welcome 2010 - before all of you guys did.

So far, January has been more interesting than I would have though. I had a friend come back with me from Caqalai and we spent a few days “baking”, snorkeling, walking around, and watching Ugly Betty and Glee on my laptop. I collected some more crown of thorns starfish from the reef as well as lots of scrap fabric that was smothering some poor, defenseless coral. Saving the world, one coral head at a time. Our community hall project hit an unfortunate snag when my counterpart for that project’s brother-in-law passed away; he also happened to be our carpenter. So we are still sitting on the budget for a while because I feel guilty trying to push the project forward at this time. The vasua (giant clams) that were supposed to arrive in November, then Dec 23rd, then Dec 24th, and never came are now supposed to arrive this week. Maybe if everyone who reads this crosses their fingers it will actually happen.

In other news, I was invited to go spear fishing. I have logged a total of 4 hours with a spear (two 2hr stints) and have caught nothing. I have one very important rule – I don’t shoot the pretty and colorful fish. Not for any health reasons, simply because it would be too sad. Any of you who have seen Finding Nemo should understand. Not that it matters – I could aim that spear at a blue whale and I’d miss because I’m about as good at spearfishing as men are at getting pregnant. Not counting that woman that became a man, kept her uterus, and then got pregnant. I also made a coconut tree climbing attempt. Another masterful Fijian fail. I have decided that, in summary, though I may be living like and with Fijians, I am still a total Jewish Princess. How did that happen?

And finally – the weather. It is so hot here. I mean, REDICULOUSLY HOT. In response to all those, “it may be hot but I’d rather be there than in whatever cold weather anomaly I am experiencing right now in DC/Charleston/Raleigh/NYC/Jackson Hole/Blounts Creek/Tarboro/Phili/Chicago/etc” – please, hear me out. Imagine Charleston in July/August time – those who have never lived there or visited, think hot and humid. Next, multiply that times 10. Add to that no air conditioning or fridge in which to keep refreshing chilly beverages and ice cream treats of all shapes and sizes. I take a cold water shower, dry off, and am dripping copious amounts of sweat within minutes. It is deeeeesgusting. After I leave Fiji, I’m moving to Iceland. I want to live on a block of ice when my services here are no longer required.

February is going to be a busy month and I have a lot to look forward to. I have a coral identification training through Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas that I am going to attend early in the month. Then mid-Feb I am going to an Alternative Livelihoods training run by the Peace Corps to teach me and one village counterpart that I am bringing about small businesses. Immediately after that Jason is arriving for 10 days!!! Unfortunately there will be no room in his suitcases for any of you because they will be filled with American treats for me: candy (I mean, err, healthy snacks), batteries, sheets, cds, and sushi (not really, but I can dream).

I wanted to upload many videos and things, but the computer I am using today BITES. I’m going to Suva in a couple weeks, so maybe I can do so big image/video uploads then. I successfully got one up.

This is a video of a sea snake - they are quite venemous and a little creepy. I don't usually get freaked out by snakes on land, but snakes at sea can move in all possible directions!! Please observe how slithery he is.