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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Advent, Christmas, and a Cat

We have a cat. I’ve never owned a cat before, but here I am, quarter-mother of a furry, feisty feline. ‘Own’ is a loosely defined term here, just like the Ponhpeian definition of a ‘pet’ is an animal you name and feed scraps to if it guards your house in return. By ‘own’ I mean we give our cat some attention and let her rub up on our legs when we come home. We don’t feed her, but for some reason she keeps showing up every morning, eying us lazily as we open the door. 

We named her Lady, pronounced Lay-day (think heavy southern drawl). A name = emotional investment and attachment. There’s no turning back now, folks. We love Lady and Lady loves us in return. Isn’t that what life’s all about? All Lady wants is a little love and attention, a few scratches and the peace of mind that she has four friends she can come home to that will care about her and not mistreat her (which is often the case for most pets here). Isn’t that what we all want? Someone to rub our belly and love on us?

The past few weeks have been filled with a whole lot of love and (figurative) belly rubs as we, four tired teachers, enjoyed our Christmas vacation. December was a wonderful whirlwind of advent and parties and singing and decorating and celebrating Jesus in tropical, humid fashion. The day school got out (December 19th) we opened the Pohnpei JVC Bed & Breakfast (aka our apartment) to two fellow JV’s from Chuuk here to coach their team in the high school basketball tournament, as well as Kristin’s sister, and Mer’s boyfriend. Between hostessing and hospitality duties, I’ve read 2 books, cooked, watched Christmas movies and generally slowed down the pace of my days. Slow feels good. Most of my days teaching are a whirlwind as I spin from one subject to the next, opening this and explaining that and keeping the energy in the productive-yet-excited zone. Christmas break was the perfectly-slow-and-quiet-zone with some action thrown in. A Christmas Eve sunrise hike, complete with mimosas and a killer view of the island/ocean. Cheering for the high school basketball team. Showing our visitors around our favorite shops in Kolonia. Eating homemade noodles in perfectly creamy sauce at Nett Ramen. Waterfalls, lots of time at church and many, many games of Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan. Belly rubs and back scratches for us all.

Happy 2015! Here begins the Year of Micro: all 365 days of 2015 will be spent in this country. Here’s to the infinite possibilities that a new year holds, to fresh starts, plenty of grace, and the knowledge that we have a place to go home to where we are loved and cherished.

Some pictures from December:

One of our two small Christmas trees!

We tried making ramen donuts for one of our community nights. I think we're all glad we did it, but wouldn't do it again.

The view from Sokehs Ridge

And, of course, Lady