Thursday, June 21, 2012

He runs, he shoots, he scores!

This week/weekend has been one of pains and small victories.  Last Friday, I went to the local club here in Pohnpei called Flamingo after having drank some sakau with Ben, a Peace Corps bud of mine.  They sell Bud Light in cans for $3, and the partying doesn’t start until 2am.  I pooped out by 1:45, but it was good to see how the young Pohnpeian crowd gets jiggy with it.

Starting on Friday, I had a sore throat which I knew wasn’t going to turn out well.  Sore throat + sakau (google it) + local water +  alcohol + late night = sickness.  Saturday morning my Nohno (mom) and I went around town helping unload fish from a boat, got wood for a coffin, and checked out my house dad’s office.  That’s when I found my guitar, but my Nohno says that she might already have one for me at a relative’s house.  Anyhow, Saturday was then filled with rest.  Sunday was filled with rest.  Then I went to training the past 3 days feeling slightly shitty, and today I finally copped out at went to the PCMO (Peace Corps Medical Office).  I’ve had the runs since June 11th which apparently 5 days longer than usual.  They gave me some medicine for my congestion, and they’re taking a look into the runs situation. Poop seems to be a big topic now with Peace Corps, but enough about poop

I joined an international soccer team that plays right across the street from my house.  They play every Tuesday and Thursday.  Yesterday Peace Corps bud Ben and I played, and I scored my team’s only goal!  On the other hand, I did allow 2 goals out of 7 or so shot attempts when I was goalie, so that evens out, right?

Everyone here is freaking out about their final island placement, but no one can really control where they’re finally placed.  We can have a ‘preference’, but the final decision is made by the Peace Corps staff on where they think our skills match up the best.  No one really wants to go to the Mortlocks, the outer islands in Chuuk, because of the isolation.  I too don’t truly want to be placed on an outer island, but I’m sure that if I am I’ll figure out how to deal with stuff.
More pictures once I get around to it.  As for now, bom mao (goodnight). 

P.S. I’m catching on fast to the language here.  Thanks Mr. Genetics for a good language brain!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My host sister (AnJenette) and her friend.  We rocked out on the pink piano.  She also loves Sponge Bob Square Pants.  She's awesome.  For more pictures now, see my facebook!

And so it begins...

I'll try to keep this blog post shorts seeing as how I could probably bore you for hours with my travel stories.

Our group did our 'staging event' in Honolulu, Hawaii for 2 days and we had a good time.  We went to Waikiki beach, bonded with each other, and got to swim in the Pacific.  The group of PC Volunteers seems like a nice bunch, and it'll be fun to see how/if we all stay together on these diverse and distant islands.

After a horrible 10 hour plane ride from Honolulu to Phonpei (yes, it's called Phonpei.  It has no volcanoes.  That's the Italian one...) we were immediately handed coconuts fresh from the tree to slurp down their delicious milk.  All the coconut milk from the U.S. I've had sucked.  This stuff is off the charts! 

I was pretty scared throughout the first 4 days including staging.  I was worried that "I'm not cut out for this" or "I'm scared".  I figured out that those were just normal reactions to dropping a whole American life to live on an island for 2 years.  Now on Thursday, one week after arriving in Honolulu and 5 days of being here in Phonpei, I feel good.  I don't feel scared.  In short, I feel like a badass who can kick this job's ass.  And so, here I go!

I'm amazed at how Americanized Micronesia is.  They all have Iphones and cellphones.  Wireless internet is available in a lot of places.  They all speak very good English.  It's like as if I've never left home, right?  My family owns a 'sakau bar', and it's more like a bunch of chairs and tables set out in front of our house.  It is a business though.  Sakau is kind of like alcohol, but tastes even worse.  I'm trying it on Friday.  Can't have a hangover for training!

My house is filled with tiny ants, geckos, and spiders.  Good thing I got over my germ-a-phobe phase a long time ago, because this is not the right place to be for cleanliness (except personal hygiene.  Micronesians, including myself, do a cold shower twice per day, partly for the heat mostly for the sweat.)  My host family is very nice.  My Papa is an ex-congressman from another island called Chuuk, and my host Nohno is a nice woman who works at the immigration office.  She treats me well, and definitely keeps me well fed (Even though my appetite has dropped off because of the heat and anxiety).

I'm done for the night.  It's almost 11pm and it's been dark for 4 hours.  It gets dark early here, and the roosters start crowing at 4am.

Mensung Mao (good morning) to all of you back home, and I'll post again fairly soon.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I have arrived.  I can't be on too long so I'm cutting it short saying that I'm healthy and excited to start.  I was quite nervous and still kind of am, but I'm really excited to be here.

As they say in Phonpei, Kasalelia (Hello).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Wow.  That's the first word that comes to mind as I'm sitting here on this couch in my parents place.  I've waited a whole year to do this job/experience/volunteering, and it's finally here.

Feelings that come to mind: excited, nervous, scared of the unknown, and a little numb in the sense that this whole thing hasn't really hit me yet.

This past 2 weeks have been all about saying 'see you later' to the friends and family, running the BolderBoulder, having a birthday (God I'm old...), and a lot of final shopping for the 27 month job ahead of me.

From here it's 2 nights in Honolulu, 1 day trip to Phonpei, Micronesia, and then training.  If I do well enough in training, then I'll be sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer sometime in August.

I can't wait for this adventure to start, and I can't wait to share it with all of you.  These next couple of months are going to be pretty hard on the Ol' Saint Nick.  New culture, new languages, new food (not looking forward to Spam), new Peace Corps and non-Peace Corps friends, and a whole new island mentality.  If you've ever seen the movie Young Frankenstein where Dr. Frankenstein is just about to enter the monster's room and he's giving his speech of "Whatever happens, don't open that door", this is my paragraph for that.  Because in the end, Dr. Frankenstein and the Monster both come out of the room and are just fine. 

I will be tested.  I will probably bitch a little bit about it on my blog.  But I will prevail!

I can't wait to start my actual job of teaching children because I think I'll be pretty good at it.  Also I've kind of been going a little stir-crazy without a job for the past month, so starting this Peace Corps job should put that stir-craziness behind me.

I leave you all with the following Youtube link, and I can't wait to talk to you from Micronesia!