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.