Sunday, August 29, 2010

I am a Gooey Sentimental Fool ...

I don’t often write mushy or gooey blogs – I find them less entertaining to read and they really aren’t that fun for me to write either. I save that kind of stuff for my journal and even then it’s not really my thing. It comes off sounding fake of foofy. You know what I mean … foofy. But I’m about to drop a gooey bomb on you.

In Peace Corps you have plenty of time to be pensive. More time than you would ever need or want in a lifetime. But I’ve lately been contemplating my current and past situations and have made a decision. While I have enjoyed my time here in Fiji and in Peace Corps, I sometimes feel like I could have a more improved attitude. The rollercoaster of emotions that accompanies my day are made of such severe highs that one can only accept that the corresponding lows are also severe. I don’t like that. I want an attitude adjustment, so I’ve ordered one online.

I’ve realized that I’ve lived in some pretty great places, yet it isn’t until after I’ve left those places that I truly appreciate them. I was in Chapel Hill for 4 years and spent almost 2 of those years abroad trying to not be there. I resented being in Chapel Hill because UNC was not my top choice school – so even though I enjoyed Chapel Hill and found it a pleasant place to live – in the back of my mind I had always thought that I’d be having so much more fun at Dartmouth. Then I was in Charleston and because I had moved there from Hawaii was resentful of the fact that I was no longer in paradise. But anyone who has been to Charleston knows how charming it is! I realized this in my final year and a half studying there, but again – also had a hard time realizing how lucky I was to live there because I felt held hostage by my studies that would never end.

Now I find myself in Fiji and half the time I am counting down the months until I get to leave. Although I realize now it is not that I am counting down until I leave, but more until I get to see my family and friends again. Until I get to eat some of my favorite foods again. Just to be clear: I love living here and that other half of the time that I am NOT counting down the time until I return home, I am silently freaking out about leaving – because how could I leave. It’s a scary notion to imagine not falling asleep to the sound of the real ocean – not the one made by my iPod docking station. I do appreciate how lucky I am – believe me.

But, there are plenty of times I am frustrated because I don’t feel like I am making the difference I intended to by joining the Peace Corps. I don’t like how this or that project is or is not moving forward. And sometimes I am just a little rude to the kids when they won’t give me a minute alone. I’ve just decided I want to live in the moment more. I will walk on the beach at least once a day. I will stare at the islands in the distance and realize that I will probably never again have a view like this out my window. And those cultural differences that sometimes make me want to pull my hair out, I will laugh at more … not out loud of course … that could be rude.

Now … a few more list items:
- My toilet needs its own mosquito net for those 130 am trips to the bathroom.
- Cats drool!
- My community hall project started last week! We painted 60 sheets of tin with red roofing paint … I painted 10 of those and then the men finished the roof in 4 days!
- I have 3 frisbees here and no one in the village likes to play … or knows how to throw a Frisbee at all.
- I got my first mango last week and it isn’t even the season yet. I ate it yesterday and it was AMAZING! I need more.
- I’ve grown very attached to Lily – my puppy. I didn’t want her at first because it is hard to care for a dog here, but she is adorable and I love her now.
- I’m reading Wuthering Heights for the first time.
- I accidentally peed on the floor when I jumped off the toilet last week because I thought there was a spider on my back … that is something I look forward to never doing again in America.
- My new favorite joke: What is brown and sticky? Email me if you know the answer. No cheating!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another List Mada

As I’ve been walking around lately, I’ve been making more lists in my head. So, I guess it is time to write them down – I give you, list number blah-dee-blah. I can’t remember.
1) Today as I was walking home with my best friend Radini (the preacher’s wife – a very unlikely pairing), we stopped and I waited by the side of a dirt road while she waded thru the sea to collect seaweed for her dinner. I was just thinking how sad it’s going to be in 1 year when that will seem unusual behavior, as opposed to completely normal.
2) Radini is Fijian for “the preacher’s wife” – I don’t know her real name!
3) The seaweed she made is called lulua and is mixed with shaved coconut that has been fermenting in a plastic bag under rocks in the intertidal zone by the sea. Yeah, it tastes weird.
4) I remember when showers used to be refreshed – I dread them now.
5) I got cold today – it was maybe 70F.
6) The children in my village LOVE my stepmother.
7) My little brother Charlie made friends in my village in 1 day much easier than I have, and I’ve been here a year.
8) Seasnakes can come up on land – who knew?!
9) I think I’m growing a mullet and I don’t know how to stop it!
10) A daily part of my social ritual is to sit on Radini’s porch and eat an “ice block” – a Fijian style Popsicle frozen in a cup made from sugar, water, milk, and “flavor.”
11) In Fijian you don’t “eat an ice block” – you “drink an ice block.” You also “drink” ice cream.
12) One more year really doesn’t seem so bad … right now.
13) Every so often, when I’m doing what’s normal for me now, I think how weird normal in America is going to be next year.
14) Simba is being snuggly again.
15) I have started to bop children on the head as a sign of affection – this could cause problems back home.
16) The mosquitoes REALLY like me right now.
17) Crazy Bandz seem WAY cooler to me … a 27 year old … than they should be.
18) I am reading book number 88 right now. The reading rate has slowed with the influx of movies and tv shows circulating among the volunteers right now.
19) I make sushi with materials I buy from Suva. It’s just cucumber and carrot. But the sushi got infinitely more exciting recently with the purchase of a teeny tiny bowl for my soy sauce. It feels just like I’m in a restaurant. Minus the good sushi.
20) It was awesome seeing my dad, stepmom, and Charlie. Unfortunately now I have no American or family visits to look forward to. Just a New Years trip to the Garden Isle, potential New Zealand trip in February … wait – that doesn’t sound too bad after all.
21) Things people have come to kerekere from me this week: sugar, matches, matches again, chilies, magazines, and something else I can’t remember because I lied about not having it.
22) I miss asparagus.
23) I never bought flour before moving to Fiji.
24) I miss mango season. Only 4 more months to go.
25) It makes me nervous to live in America again.
26) I hate the bank here – long story, but basically I went to get everything I needed to open an account for the village. They said here – these forms you need to fill out and bring photo ids for all signatories on account. I did. Now there are more forms that I should have gotten the first time AND I need birth certificates for everyone, which I was told were only needed if they didn’t have photo ID. AHHHHH!!! Shoot myself in the head.
27) I know I’m about 6 years late for this, but Million Dollar Baby is a great movie!!