It is pretty hard to describe my life and experiences here through blogs, emails, and pictures. I am even able to communicate with folks back home via telephone, which is amazing! [In some Peace Corps locales, I wouldn’t be so lucky.] However, it feels like trying to explain a movie that you’re never going to see. I can tell you about the characters, the plot, and some exciting scenes. Alas, even if I was a stellar storyteller there would be so much left unsaid.
I suppose that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. …and who am I kidding? All you really want/need to know are the highlights. Even if you could watch my imaginary Peace Corps ‘movie’ in its totality, I don’t think you’d want to. The reality is that my life here is, in many ways, just like yours and just like mine was back home [possibly more akin to C-SPAN than a thrilling blockbuster]. So, for future blogging ventures you’ll be getting just the highlights. However, as a one-time only treat today I present ‘A Day in the Life of Nola…’
4:30 am Reach semi-conscious state because bells for early morning church have begun ringing. [Luckily, that’s only Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.]
5:00 am Sometimes…. sleeping! Sometimes… I am listening to the very enthusiastic singing voices of the churches down the street from my house.
6:00 am Definitely awake now. I don’t even need an alarm! There are always roosters and pigs making a ruckus and sometimes people like to crank up the tunes before breakfast [this can include anything from Justin Bieber to Celine Dion to various rap artists to LOTS of Taylor Swift to Josh Groban to old school Mariah Carey Christmas songs]. This doesn’t happen all the time and I really don’t mind. How could I be mad when Josh Groban + squealing pigs are serenading me on a lovely Tongan morning?
7:00 am I’ve just finished doing a few sit ups [let’s be serious, this doesn’t happen every day] and taking a shower. Some days, I boil a pot of water and use it to take a warm shower! [By warm shower, I mean I take a cold shower and then pour warm water over my head before hopping out. It feels better than it sounds!]
7:30 am Now I eat breakfast, the best meal of the day! If I have bread, I love a good piece of toast. Often, I eat oatmeal and a banana which is great too. [note: appreciate your pre-sliced bread America! Without the help of slicing machines, I am forced to eat texas-toast sized slices and use way too much peanut butter!]
8:00 am I clean up around the house and begin my trek to school. Sometimes this includes turning around, because I tend to forget my ‘kie kie.’ [The ‘kie kie’ is my traditional Tongan woven belt/waist garnish that is worn in formal settings. aka…every day at school!] Luckily, it’s a very short walk!
8:30 am The bell [which is actually an old propane tank] rings. All the kids line up, sing the national anthem, pray, and then head to their respective classrooms.
9:00 am After opening ceremonies ;) I usually wander over to our school ‘office/library.’ I spend a bit of time sorting and cleaning books with intermittent visits from my friend, Pita. He’s 4. He comes and chats with me [I apparently do not yet have the equivalent of a 4 year old’s vocabulary because he confuses me sometimes!] and sometimes I attempt to read to him in English. Naturally, he just wants to look at the pictures.
10:30 am Taimi Malolo! Recess! During recess, I usually find at least 15 kids who want to have story-time!
12:30 pm Kai Ho’ata! Lunch time! Snack time/laundry/last minute preparations for class!
1:30 pm English Class! I have about an hour long lesson with the 20 Class 6 kids. This week we’re learning about ‘Shopping’ words!
4:00 pm Now, I’m off to our Community Library. I am hoping that soon, this will be a time for high school kids to come read, work on homework, etc. During our first two days, it has been a literal circus with running, screaming kids, lots of mud, and giant bugs. We’ll see what next week brings.
6:00 pm Home, sweet home. It’s time to feed the dog. Did I mention I have a dog? This did not occur by choice. She adopted me. I make some dinner [which is occasionally a bowl of cereal :) ], have a cup of tea, and read a bit.
9:30 pm Mohe! [Sleep!] I don’t go to bed this early every night, but I will admit it is beginning happen quite often. Sometimes if I’ve had too much tea I manage to stay awake until 10:30 or 11:00. This is a wild life I lead.
This Week’s Update:
§ I am officially the Class 6 English teacher and very happy about it. This is going to be quite an adventure, as I have pretty much no teaching experience! I am enjoying it already, but if anyone has any tidbits of teaching advice I would gladly accept it!
§ We have had 6 straight days of non-stop rain this week. Oiaue!! [that’s an ‘Oh my!’ if I haven’t told you already.] I got my first opportunity to use a blanket last night. It was delightful!
§ Osi! [That’s it!] I hope I haven’t bored you with this far too detailed account of my daily activities. ; )
Have a wonderful week in the states!