Some videos of the kids at the school where I teach doing a meke - traditional Fijian dance. They do it for the cruise ship visitors that come to Ovalau every few months. Its a great way for them to raise money and do some cultural exchange. Some of the kids I teach and some that live in my village are dancing here. And now below is a blog I wrote a few days ago at my house.
OK, so I’ve done the goo-ey shmoo-ey blog, and I know I said it was only a onetime thing. Maybe we could classify this one as introspective instead. Thoughtful. Pensive. Reflective. All those smart sounding words. Contemplative.
Today was a good day. I know that doesn’t seem like much to write home about (that feels very literal in this case), but it was. You know how all those things that you know you SHOULD do because they will make you happy, but they are the things that are really hard to force yourself to do? Exercising and eating healthy falls into those categories. Doing your homework early so you have the weekend free. Going to the lab so you don’t take 4 years to work on your master’s thesis … hypothetically speaking. Well, in Fiji exercising and eating right certainly make me feel better and more energetic, but there is something simpler than that that makes me happy but is still REALLY hard to do. Two things really, but they are related. 1) Opening my doors, and 2) Leaving the house.
Don’t judge me! I know that sounds so inane to those of you who have to wake up at early hours and go to a job whereas I have nowhere to be … ever. But it is hard. Interacting with people regularly here can be incredibly frustrating. In fact, it seems that lately I have been nothing but frustrated with the people in this country and I feel bad about that. I’ve been finding that the only thing I was enjoying about being here was the scenery. Which, let’s face it, doesn’t suck. But the people are good, too; I was just having some rough times. There was a near-stealing incident. A pooping incident. A teenage girl gossiping incident. Lack of work. Illness. ARGH! BUT – I was also closing myself off more each day because it all seemed to be too much and was just piling on top of me causing me to want to leave the house less and less! I felt like I was at a wall – an “I’m so freaking close to leaving, but yet still so far” kind of wall.
But today was a good day. It was very Fijian. In fact, I got CALLED Fijian today by a girl in my house. My good day started with some catching up (very overdue catching up) in my journal. Then breakfast (oats, milk, sugar) and the sudden urge to clean. It was a sunny day – the mats in my house were gross. One of the downfalls of a roof made of dead leaves is the dust. And one of the downfalls of living in a glorified tent is the creatures I share it with. Frogs mainly – they poop and pee all over the mats. I hate them. So the mats got a scrub down and then went out into the sun. This is something most Fijians do every time the sun is out. I HATE to do it – my mats are big and awkward and under things (like my trunk and my table), but doing it today felt good. It was necessary. Two-thirds of the way through, I got company! A couple of young’uns (10-13 y/o) came over to help me and ask if we could snorkel. I haven’t been snorkeling in ages! At least 2 months! I know I live by the sea, but I have been sick for 2 weeks and it’s been raining nearly nonstop since the end of September and snorkeling here is tide dependent. While cleaning we looked at photo books and Life magazines – hello nonformal education!! I even have the kids reading this Magical Treehouse book series (courtesy of my fabulous stepmother) and they LOVE IT! It feels so good to watch them reading and coming back sometimes more than once a day to trade the books out for the next one. High tide came and I went snorkeling for almost an hour. We checked on the fish houses we built last year; and the kids saw all kinds of sea life, pointing out what they remembered from last time and finding things I missed – like a nudibranch!! There was also a sea snake incident – creepy, but cool. Back at the house after showers, they came over and baked muffins and we watched The Incredibles (I tried to go for the first Star Wars movie, but realized during the credits and 5 minutes into the movie that the plotline was over their head and the language was hard to understand for them – oops).
But the best part of the day was them telling me they loved me. J I don’t even remember when or how it came up in conversation, but it felt good after feeling so frustrated and worrying about the kids still interacting with me. The interacting is sometimes a challenge. Trying to find activities for the kids when they visit. Wanting to interact but not really being able to communicate THAT well. But at the end of the day – it’s rewarding and I am happy. Tada!
On to a short list … some list items may seem counter to the good mood I am in, BUT they are merely observations (and sometimes criticisms):
- There are 5 kinds of feces in my house: frog, lizard, rat, cockroach, and bat (they go on my clothes when they hang outside overnight). Yes, 5 kinds of feces. Jealous?
- The resident rodent that has decided to call my bure home is eating my curtains. And my soap, cheese, mangos, fly swatter, popcorn, and almost anything plastic.
- My fly swatter is being held together by duct tape – that’s how intensely I swat.
- 17 months later, the hermit crabs still amuse me, crawling across my floor.
- I have read 115 books in country, 3 of them on my new Kindle.
- A papaya tree fell on my house this week. The tree banged into my door – it was dead and therefore contained no fruit. Bummer.
- I figured out how to conference call on Skype and its wicked!
- I’m teaching myself guitar, very slowly, and can now play Yankee Doodle fiercely.
- I’ve bought my ticket to New Zealand! I go in February with 3 good friends!
- I start job hunting in February after returning from New Zealand. I’m open to moving anywhere (within reason), so if you see or hear of anything … marine-y … let me know!
- IF you made it this far, you deserve a joke. This one is from a good friend of mine from high school, Joe. It may seem familiar to you as I did a variation of it in a previous blog. **** What’s brown, sticky, AND JEWISH? Email answers.
- Bonus Joke: **** What happens when you throw a blue rock in the Red Sea? (also from Joe!)