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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pohnpei, Pictorally

A few snapshots of life here in Pohnpei! This week marks the first full week of school. I'm really excited to get into a routine and learn the ins and outs of working here. It's been quite the journey so far, and I'm excited to get more settled and adjusted!
Local Catholic church, right across from Pohnpei Catholic School (PCS)

My classroom before cleaning/decorating

Before. Still working on getting enough desks for all my students!


Walking through the jungle to get to the J-house (Jesuit House)

The wonderful J-house!

Views from the J-house back porch

A little hut along the causeway

Little hut with Sokehs Rock in the background

Fried ice cream for dessert at the staff lunch on the first day of school!

So much green. So much sun. All the time.

Andddd after cleaning and decorating!

I am alive, having survived a gnarly stomach bug over the weekend. Ready to take on this week of school!

At a MicroGames basketball game


Thank you for your prayers, support, and love. Please keep it coming!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Keep On Keepin' On

This post was supposed to be called 'Pohnpei, Pictorially' and be full of beautiful island pictures so you can get a better idea of what I see everyday. Pohnpei is so, so beautiful. Imagine Jurassic Park meets George of the Jungle meets Tarzan, and you'll get Pohnpei in a nutshell. But, this post is not called 'Pohnpei, Pictorally' because of an unfortunate break in at our apartment this weekend. We were gone for 1 night, and some persistent thieves (who have already attempted 4 break-ins, and were successful once and stole a laptop) came back for more and stole my laptop, ipod, and cash, along with my community mate Kristen's laptop. Everything was strategically hidden, and in order to even get into our apartment the thieves climbed a large fence with barbed wire, broke a lock off of a huge black prison-looking-gate, and totally destroyed our door, breaking both the normal lock and the deadbolt off completely. Our relaxed, well-rested retreat selves morphed into tight shouldered, frustrated volunteers the moment we saw our door with several pieces missing. To soothe the loss, and because we didn't know what else to do, we bought yogurt at the store (a very expensive and rare treat) and played board games and tried to decide how to tell 4 sets of over-protective parents that we'd been broken into again. We topped the evening off with pasta and veggies and red wine and chocolate, and all was (mostly) well with the world. I prayed at dinner last night that the thieves would at least use the money they get from selling our electronics for good things, like their child's education or a gift for their mother. A girl can dream, right?

Here are some of the more amazing things that have happened my first two weeks on island:

-Caught a few events of the Microgames, including a party we stumbled across with all the athletes.
-I now have a Pohnpeian driver's license! It should win the award for most beautiful license design.
-We swam in a waterfall, and had to walk through the jungle (legit jungle) to get there. So. Beautiful.
-I've experienced massive, torrential downpours. It rains so much here, but I absolutely love the rain, because the alternative to rainy days are very hot, sweaty, sticky days. Because of Pohnpei's landscape and mountains and the surrounding atolls, it actually creates it's own weather.
-I've gotten to know the 2 priests on island, Father Dave and Father Julio, as well as the 2 orders of sisters on the island. The sisters don't wear traditional nun-attire, but they are sassy and wonderful. I get the joy of working with them everyday, and have so much to learn from them.
-I visited my host family for the first time! It was incredible and overwhelming and included traditional Pohnpeian food (my favorite dishes are fried bananas and bananas mashed with coconut juice), sakau, a Pohnpeian wedding (my host father is the deacon of the church), me learning how to shave coconuts and cook Pohnpeian food, and more. I can't wait to share more about my host family with you :)
-I've gotten acquainted with the layout of Kolonia, and feel confident walking around town on my own.
-Slowly but surely, I'm trying to learn Pohnpeian. It's a goal of mine to work hard on language, but it's a really tough one to learn!
-I've spent the last week preparing for school to start on Thursday! I'll be back tomorrow with a post about my classroom and thoughts on teaching here in the FSM. I'm in for the biggest challenge of my life.

If anyone happens to know someone who was planning on selling a laptop, shoot me an email!

Until tomorrow, friends. I'm in the 'keep on keeping on' mindset, and can't wait to get into the school rhythm and get to know my 7th graders!