Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thoughts On A Saturday Morning

October 17, 2015

I read a lot. I wish I brought more movies though. I’ve seen Jurassic World about 6 times. I’ve seen Crazy Stupid Love probably 8 times. And I’ve watched The Grand Budapest Hotel probably 10 times. They’re all good movies, and I’m happy to have something to watch, but man…I know those movies backwards and forwards.

I love not having to shave. Or do my eyebrows. Or do my hair.

I really hope I don’t get sick from all the mosquito spray I’ve been using.

Mom just told me, “mongo tempura!” (Eat donuts!) I should really stop eating all these donuts. There is absolutely no nutritional value to them. Well, I guess if you count the bugs you find in them protein, then maybe there’s a little.

People are going to wonder why I’m still so light-skinned after living on an island for 2 years. And why I’ve gained weight when there’s not a lot of food to eat here. It’s from all the tempura, I swear.

Today we’re going to a fundraiser for the church where they’ll be raffling off amush (firewood). I don’t know why I like that word in Mortlockese so much…amush…

The women here are crazy about playing Bingo. Actually, crazy is an understatement. My host sisters sometimes don’t get home until 9pm from Bingo. I went with them once to watch and was bored within the first 5 minutes. Everyone knows gambling is addictive, but they don’t seem to care.

I need to choreograph the last few songs for my Zumba class tomorrow. Man, I love not having the Internet sometimes, but right now I wish I had some inspiration.

A drop of sweat just fell from behind my ear. It’s going to be really hot today.

I hope the women like my Zumba class tomorrow. Hopefully they’ll stop playing Bingo and come to Zumba instead. BREAKING NEWS: ZUMBA CURES THE WOMEN OF ETTAL OF THEIR BINGO ADDICTION.

I need to go shower. It’s hot.

Ants In Your Pants

October 15, 2015

What’s worse than ants in your pants? Ants in your care package food. I walked into my room one evening to find a trail of ants crawling up and into box of food my family and friends had generously sent me. I thought I had done a good job of putting everything into zip-loc baggies, but the ants had eaten their way through those. So, looking around at my limited resources, I emptied out my Pelican case where I usually keep my satellite phone and solar charger, and put all of the food in there instead. Sometimes, goodies from home are more important than technology.

Akino, and the Case of the Tipping Vase

October 11, 2015

There is one man on the island, Akino, who had taken a liking to me. He’s older, in his mid to late 30s, and is referred to as “crazy” because he smokes marijuana and prefers to spend time alone rather than with others. At first he would come up to me when I was standing on the beach or teaching in the classroom and ask how I was or if I was enjoying myself here on Ettal. One day he even waited outside of my classroom to give me a coconut to drink. Then he told my family that if I should ever need anything he was more than willing to help. Now, he’s building a local house, five feet from my own house, to impress me. People in the village, including my students, tease me about Akino almost every day. But, they also tell me that if I were not here Akino would still be living with his parents. 

One Sunday my family and I were in charge of making the flower vases and maramars for church. The maramars came out beautifully (my sister Nippy is very talented and taught me how to make them), but the flower vases kept falling over in the middle of mass. I’d stand one up, and it would fall down two minutes later. I’d stand it up again, then the other one would fall. Other’s tried helping me make them steady, but they didn’t have any luck either. My older sister and I eventually let them fall and reverted to giggling throughout the rest of the church service instead.

Grandma Makes Good Flour Balls

September 2015

On one rainy night my host grandmother made what we call soup. Soup is made from water, flour, and sugar. It’s this white goopy soup with balls of half-cooked flour in it that does not look the least bit appetizing. But the way my grandmother makes it is delicious. She takes the balls of flour and mixes chofar (the embreyo-type coconut meat) in it. The first thing I thought of when I tried her version of soup was, “Damn. Grandma makes good flour balls.” I started calling the dish “flour balls” and my family got a kick out of it. Now, we tack on “balls” to any and everything: breadfruit balls, taro balls, donut balls, bread balls…