Most millionaires pay thousands of dollars to rent private islands, but here in the FSM you can do it for something like $10 a day. Once a year all of the JVs in the FSM get together for a week known as Re-O/Dis-O, a retreat for first and second years to relax, regroup, and reflect. We, the Pohnpei JVs, flew to Chuuk and combined forces with the 8 JVs there. I hadn't seen the other first year volunteers since orientation in July, so to say I was excited to hug Annie, Ian, Jason, Mel, and Mary was an understatement. We stayed on the main island of Chuuk, Weno, for a night before taking a bumpy, laughter-filled boat ride to the edge of the Chuuk Lagoon. Our final destination was a teeny tiny island called Pisar, a little slice of heaven in the middle of the North Pacific.
This is Pisar, where hammocks and hermit crabs abound.
|A picture of Pisar from the water|
|Hammocks, hammocks, and more hammocks|
Twelve Jesuit Volunteers and one Program Coordinator took a week to regroup. Under the shade of palm trees we reflected and shared, had moments of quiet solitude and moments of great community. Getting 12 young teachers together after 7 months apart (or for the second years a whole year apart) means there are a lot of funny student stories, culture stories, and community stories to catch up on.
Living in another country, especially a developing one (in an entirely different geographic area of the world than you've ever lived before) is about as wild as it can get. We're constantly on the go teaching and helping our staff and schools in extra ways, so taking a week of personal time was a real treat. We had a few retreat sessions each day and time to relax, read, play cards, snorkel, sit in hammocks, or spend your time however you pleased. You can wade through the water to one of the near-by islands, walk to the edge of the reef and watch the waves break, or bask in the white sand and perfectly clear water.
|Community time is always better when a hammock is involved!|
|Looking out at neighboring islands|
The sunsets were breathtaking and the company couldn't have been better. On our last night, there were a few moments where the second years honored the first years and the first years celebrated the second years. Our elaborate plan involved coconuts (which we husked ourselves), traditional clothing made of palm fronds, a bonfire, lots of theatrics, and a healthy helping of sentimentality. It was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip.
But, undoubtedly one of my other favorite moments was discovering this...
the best shower in all of Micronesia!! In my book, this outdoor bucket shower wins the award for Best View While Showering. Come on, soaping up with this view? Can it get any better?! I think not. I can't wait to go back to Pisar next year, but in the meantime there is summer school to teach (starting tomorrow), second years to say good-bye too, friends and family to say hello to, and much more!
|All the volunteers|
|The ladies of PNI. Mer, Britt, Kristin, and myself|