Thursday, January 31, 2013

Long Time Gone

Time flies, fast.  Apparently my last blog post was in December.  If you do some really bad math, that's 2 months.  Also, it's been 8 months since I've been in the good ol' U.S.A.  Long time gone.

Let's start with New Years.
New Years here on Pohnpei is like U.S. New Years, but more hard core.  In Salapwuk, the party starts at the church down the hill in Nan Mand and ends 3 miles up an extremely steep hill at my house.  Throw a little bit of drinking cheap rum, some downer sakau, and some cars with some extremely loud horns and you've got a Salapwukian New Years.  It sounds like a great time, but let's throw one more thing into the mix: a hardcore bacterial infection.  Instead of drinking, walking, and disturbing the peace, I found myself covering my head with my pillow at 2am trying to drown out the sound of hundreds of children and cars.  Let's just say the start to 2013 can suck it.

School started on January 7th, well... 8th.  In the face of the Department of Education saying clearly on the radio, "We have school on Monday the 7th, but one school in Kolonia will start on Tuesday because of a meeting", the coconut wireless said differently.  I didn't know who to believe, so just to be sure I went to school on Monday.  Of course, only 1/4 of the students we're there, and none of the teachers were there.  The coconut grapevine won over the CLEAR words of a state-wide communication system.  Note to politicians: if you ever get in a bad situation where the national news is killing your personal image, just come to Micronesia.  Just tell one older Pohnpeian lady differently.  Just one.  The next day, you will have cured AIDS, brought peace to the Congo, and saved a comatose baby from being adopted by a celebrity.  Yea, that's how strong the Pohnpeian word of mouth is here.

On January 4th, I became a host-brother-uncle.  My brother and his wife just had a 6 lb. baby boy named Nahnsapwe, Thunder in Pohnpeian.  He's a good kid: minimal crying and soft hair.  I've gotten to hold him a lot in the past 3 days, and it makes me realize that one day, one day, I'd love to have a kid; but, now is not that time. 

Next order of business.  When you live up on a secluded mountain in an extremely restrictive society against women, let's just say there's slim pickins.  Actually, let's say there's 0 pickins because all the girls are either under 18, married or fat.  My family is putting some pressure on me to start nightcrawling.  If you don't know what nightcrawling is, let me cliffnotes it for you here.  Since dating/courtship is not allowed publicly in Micronesia, during the wee hours of the night boys walk to girls houses (announced or unannounced), creep to the girl's window, and see if they can "talk".  In other words, it's secret lovers with some slight form of breaking and entering.  I still don't think I can do it.  Reasons why: #1. I'm white.  White glows in the dark.  People will see me.  My reputation will get ruined.  #2. Nahnmand is 3 miles away.  Walking around in pitch black without a flashlight down a steep incline doesn't sound fun.  #3. I don't know anyone in Nahnmand personally.  I would kind of be extremely awkward to walk to a girl's window at 3am to say, "Uh... You're pretty.  Can we talk?  Oh ya, what's your name?" 

I've been missing America recently.  I've been starting to analyze more in depth the cultural differences between here and there and how the Micronesian culture has changed me.  For example, I can tell when I've stayed in Salapwuk for too long when I come to Kolonia and get freaked out by cars and people everywhere.  I almost had a heart attack when last night I heard the gas station, a 1.5 hour walk away from my house, had cookies and cream ice-cream.  I've become more introverted to the point of where I notice myself not talking much when I'm hanging out with Americans.  My vocabulary has diminished to an extreme.  I'm not able to say words like "intrinsic", "stature", "ominous", "convey", "punctual", and a "multitude" of others because Pohnpeians will look at me and just stare blankly.  There's been a couple of times that I've spoken with some kids from the States here and I've found myself being really freaked out by a child not speaking Pohnpeian to me.  Who would have thought that at 8 months that I, I, would get homesick.  Not a lot, but just enough to make me appreciate where I come from.

I just concluded a brief experiment of long hair here in Micronesia.  See picture below for results as now I have cut my hair.  Test results: inconclusive.

I miss you all back home, and I've been retarded in not having responded to your emails and facebook messages.  I haven't had the time in town to sufficiently respond.  That's why I'm going to try to get on the internet at least once per week now (Imagine trying that yourself). 

Now for the pictures.  Just a few to keep my image-people reading.