This is an older video of a bridge fail near my village. It happened while I was away for my "easter vacation" and was fixed remarkably fast because of a visit from the Prime Minister, I believe.
“Juliana, where’s your blog?” “Jewels, I haven’t seen a blog in a long time.” “JULES YOU SUCK AT BLOGGING!” OK! I get it! I suck at blogging, I’m soooooo sorry. Going to try to do a big of a catch up for you and hope you don’t get bored halfway through … you better not!! I am also trying to upload some videos and photos – mostly videos because I still don’t have a working camera right now – can you believe that?!
So, to be honest, I don’t know where I left off – so let’s pick some of the more fun recent activities.
First – Mid Service Training. Yes, that means what you think it means – I’M HALFWAY THROUGH! 1 year down, 1 year to go. This is one of those things you are both happy and sad about at the same time. There are days where I am (wait for it, sappy moment) thrilled, happy, and so lucky to be here (sappy moment over) and then days where all I want in life is a hot shower, decent clothes (aka no mold, sweat stains, or holes present), and a sushi dinner (paid for by my parents). At mid service training/all volunteer conference I met the newest group of arrivals – not a bad group of fresh meat. Very nice people with brains, personality, and all the nice stuff you look for in people – they are filled with nice stuff. Asa and I got some more company out here in the Lomaiviti group of islands which is nice. I ate plenty of good food and played with my friends. It was nice.
Second – work exchange. Work exchange is Peace Corps lingo for a chance to travel around without taking vacation days. Here is the catch – you have to do work while you travel. I went up to a friend’s village on the northern island of Vanua Levu – let me tell you something about travel in this country … it sucks! Ok, it’s not that bad – but it’s a hassle for sure. I woke up at 3am Monday morning to leave my village and I arrived in Scott’s at 7pm Tuesday night – that’s longer than it took me to get from NC to Fiji. I also missed my ferry Monday morning – leaving me stranded by a dirt road in the middle of nowhere for 2 hours. Never in my life have I missed my busted up old Hyundai more than that moment. After finally getting off my island I take a 13 hour ferry to Scotts. Then a collective 6 hours on a bus. OILEI! (oilei = the Fijian version of OY VEY!) The work exchange went well though – I taught some men about what coral is, why reefs are important, what makes Fiji special, some specific risks to the reef, and different animals that live on the reef and what they do to help the system. FINALLY doing what I wanted to do here – making it worth the 2 day, $400 dollar trip there.
Third – swearing in. The new volunteers swore in to be OFFICIAL volunteers, not just trainees – what I did a year ago. I happily stayed in Suva for this and presented a poster on work I’ve done with kids. Being in Suva also gave me the chance to catch Eclipse in theaters. Go on all you haters … think of what a loser I am. Enjoying yourself? Good – now remind yourself I am in Fiji and you are in a cubicle … still enjoying yourself? Good. J J/k. Sometimes I wish I was in a cubicle.
OH! I owe a HUGE Vinaka vakalevu to everyone who donated moneys to my community hall project. It has finally been fully funded, and the money was officially deposited into my account here in Fiji. I am working on opening a bank account for my village to put the money into. I’ve met with the carpenter and the project leader – we hope to bring up the projects development at the next village meeting and then WOOSH – move things along at what I hope is faster than a snail’s pace.
Meanwhile, my parents are here! My dad, stepmom, and lil’ brother Charlie arrived this morning. They are now passed out. I have free wifi in my room and have been in front of my computer for the last 4 hours since they’ve been asleep. I’m in heaven – I have my laptop in bed with me, a cold coke next to me, some oreos, and a fan! What could be better? Don’t answer that – this feels nice. The family saw Levuka today and a nice waterfall on the other side of the island with the help of another PCV. Tomorrow we go to my village so Charlie can start snorkeling, and then we head to the fancy Fijian life at a small island resort … dad rented me a tent. Joke – real beds!
So, I am trying to upload videos and photos for you, but this is Fiji – it may not work. I’m sorry. PS: I have 1 more year here, but the mail has reaaaaally slowed down people … come on – help me make it through this second year.