Saturday, September 21, 2013

Picture Update.


A sidewalk on Param Island.  Probably the most difficult one I've ever had the privilege of walking on. 

I let a little deaf/mute girl play with my camera for a while.  We had a good time.

Some people might even call this paradise.

Apparently Micronesian women wear head scarves just like Muslim women.

Our new Peace Corps Volunteers!

Oreo Pig.

Double-stuffed Oreo pigs.

The patrol boat that I graced to go fishing with the President of the FSM.

The.  Best.  Sashimi.  Ever.  It was literally swimming in the sea 3 hours before this picture was taken.

My kids.

Recently taught the kids how to play thumb war.  They were a little confused at the start.

Coteacher Dennis looking philosophical. 

Coteacher Joe teaching the difference between B/P, D/T, and G/K.  I taught the first 3 classes this lesson because he was learning the differences himself, but he taught the 4th class like a boss.  It was one of those times when I couldn't stop smiling.  I had taught a teacher something, and then immediately that teacher taught students the same thing perfectly.

Peace Corps staff loves when I come stop by unexpectedly.

200 pounds of yam: $50. 2 gallons of gasoline: $10.50.
7 people packed trying to ride a 6cylinder truck up a hill with no traction: priceless.  

It's Kamwadipw (party) season!  Almost makes me want to watch Wedding Crashers again.

I told him to stop working until he was sure he was covered by his employers workers' insurance.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Life in the Fast Lane on the Slowest Lifestyle Island

I've been slacking off on the whole blog thing for a while. I could lie and say that I've been busy with school and things, but honestly, when people say things like "Oh I've been busy" it just means they haven't cared enough to do that thing. So let's skip the lying and jump right into the action. Light man, are you lit? Cameraman, are you clothed? Director, are you done checking your Facebook? Then let's kick this pig!

Some weeks ago the other volunteers and I found ourselves in the President of the FSM's office being thanked for our volunteer service. The President gave a nice speech about how his life and his countrymen have been positively affected from many years of Peace Corps Volunteers, Japanese Volunteers, Jesuits, World Teach Volunteers, and other groups. At the end of his speech, he proceeded to shoot himself in the foot (maybe); he said, perhaps just as a gesture of gratitude, that he would do anything to express his appreciation by anything such as organizing a fishing trip for us and himself. I waited impatiently until the end of his speech to talk to him to hold him to his word. I wanted to go fishing, bad. I had yet to go deep sea fishing, and what a better opportunity than to go the first time with a President. Right as I thought I was going to be the first one to test the President's waters on if he was sincere about his offer, two other volunteers from other organizations beat me to it. Good. So we signed up for a fishing trip, and within 10 days I was waking up at 4am to meet the President on a police patrol boat to go trolling for tuna. Now this boat was a monster. A true quarter horse of the seas. It was cruising flawlessly over huge waves at 40mph heading to Pakin Island about 18 miles from Pohnpei. The boat cabin was insane with air conditioning and a ridiculous GPS system that I’m sure the NSA was snooping on. We proceeded to have not much luck at all. The next 4 hours was as close to pure boredom as possible. I can't imagine being a sailor or a pirate if that's what it's like. Yo ho yo ho; screw that. I did however catch the most awesome yellow fin tuna possible. After multiple head droopings and slobber attacks after catching the tuna, we headed back to Pohnpei and sliced up the two tuna that we caught as a group. I can't put into words how amazing that sashimi was. Literally caught three hours ago, it was the tenderest succulent meal I've probably ever had (on par with buffalo steaks). If there were some hash tags for my fish deep sea fishing trip... #Doubledrool #Theonepercentproblems #Wheresthebeer?

School just started two weeks ago. Sorry, I just laughed myself there a little bit. Let me correct that statement. School just started one week ago. For our first week of school I was hoping to establish myself with the students, build up some good working relationships with my co teachers and staff, and do my job of co teaching and co planning. We started on Monday, August 26th. The first thing I noticed was how well my kids (yes, they're my kids now) could speak English already. It was clear as night and day the difference between Salapwuk English and Nett Elementary English. I would say that 30% of my students already speak English fluently with American accents. It blew my mind how I could say something funny like a joke or a play on words and they would understand me. It was incredible, but short-lived. School ended at 11:55am, a half day. I thought to myself, "Great. It's an easy day to ease the kids into the school life again. We'll hit it hard tomorrow." I should have known better. The next day there were rumors of a half day. Even the teachers didn't know the truth. Magically at 11:30 we heard the news. Half day again. Okay, maybe the kids needed two days to ease into it. Next day, half day. Oh, and the next, GUESS WHAT?! Half day. All the way through Friday the word "half" became "whole". The reason I came to figure out of why they were having half days was because there were transfer students going in and out of the school, but how does putting new kids in a class have anything to do with the amount of school in a day? Nothing, that's what. After the Monday half day, I figured out the real reason. "Well we had a half day yesterday. Why not today too?"

Enough complaining. I must say that Nett Elementary School's staff is excellent. The students have been wonderful. The facilities are awesome. People seem to care about their education. The students want to do their work. Behavior issues have been minimal. It's been a dream job for the past two weeks.

After school I've been keeping plenty busy with sports. I just finished up playing in a basketball tournament and a soccer tournament. My basketball skills have been long gone, if I ever had any. Honestly, I think I did a way better job at coaching my team than playing in one. I think it's that teacher's mentality that I've come to acquire after tutoring in college, teaching in Spain, and Peace Corps. However bad I might have been on the hardwood, on the grass I actually held up my own. I played with a mixture of Americans, British, and Pohnpeians on the Sokehs team, and we finished up third in the tournament. I have to say that I've really come to enjoy playing soccer over my Peace Corps service, and I've gotten a lot better at it than before. My best game in the tournament consisted of me putting 6 balls behind a goalie and into the net. By the end of the game I was tired of scoring. I kept telling my teammates to stop giving me good passes towards the goal. It was fun, too much fun. There's another soccer season coming up this fall. My name will be on the registration list.

I find myself smiling a lot. I feel integrated. I feel like I'm slightly making a difference. I feel happy. This year is going to be a ton easier than my last year, and I'm scared that it's going to go by too fast.

Here's to living life in the fast lane on an island with the slowest paced lifestyle in the world. Cheers.