On the first day of Christmas my Peace Corps Experience gave to me... being sick. Yep, more sickness. A little bacterial infection here, a little sinus infection there. You know, the usual.
It's been a little weird not being with my family in either Salt Lake City or Colorado for Christmas, but my new family has been extremely great in helping me through this first Christmas. We've been swimming in the river, fishing for river shrimp, doing the 6 Waterfall hike, having plenty of Christmas parties, secret Santas, sakau, sakau ni wai (alcohol), making fire, reading Paulo Coelho in Spanish, and more practice with a machete. I've been able to do a lot of these things because I've made the effort to not go to Kolonia on the weekends. It's been a little tough, but it really has been helping me become more involved with my community.
This month also I've been to two funerals. I've had to help prepare and carry the yam to take to the funerals, but my responsibilities have been pretty limited to that. It's truly an experience to see HUGE pigs being killed in front of many people, sakau being pounded in the background, and two-hundred people just sitting down on the ground and on the tops of cars. Not much is said about the deceased, but everyone gathers and chats kind of like it's just another sad gathering. Funerals are an extremely common thing here in Pohnpei. My family usually attends funerals about 3 times a month if not more because we have connections to many families, and it's almost like a full time job preparing for a lot of funerals. It's an interesting cultural experience, extremely interesting.
We had a big community feast on the 8th of this month. About 150 people attended. It. Was. Crazy. So many yams. So many sakau plants. So many people. Women dancing around dieing pigs. People screaming like monkeys. Men carrying huge pigs on hibiscus tree poles. Kids running around. It was a little overwhelming. It was so much that I had to tap out at about 3 pm to take a nap, and then hit it again. Out of control in a sense, but at the same time completely in control. Hard to describe. Sentence fragments. Done.
I've introduced my family to the one thing that makes the world seem right: Dunkin Donuts Coffee. My stepmom (Thanks Catherine!) sent me original Dunkin Donuts and Gingerbread coffee, and my family's taste buds were shocked. We usually drink add-to-water coffee which tastes like 'meh' even when you add sugar to it, so when my family tasted this delicious caffeinated drink from the DD Gods, it was kind of like that picture where God is almost touching Adam's (Wikipedia The Creation of Adam) finger. They were amazed, and I was and still am glad for delicious coffee.
Side note: I'm growing my beard out. Apparently it looks good even though before I've looked like Scraggy from Scoobie Doo. Meh, we'll see how long it can go or how long I can last before I get sick of it.
We're selling ice cream now at our family store. I've got one motto in life: never say no to ice cream. I've been living up to that motto, a lot.
Blah Blah Blah. Here are some pictures that might give you a good visual of my life nowadays. Any questions, you know how to get a hold of me.