Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Quarter of This Adventure is Over

We apologize for the lack of blogs recently, but really what can follow a post about bug bombs?

July 4th was our six month anniversary on this rock! It sweetened the deal that it fell on Independence day! Though fireworks are illegal here, there was some celebrating to be had.

Independence day has a whole new meaning to us now that we are expats.  It caused us to really pause for a moment and think about how lucky we are to be American citizens. The freedoms we have, as well as the opportunities. It was also great to celebrate it with fellow Americans!

We went with several friends to Trader’s Ridge Resort where we swam in the pool until we were beyond wrinkly, and enjoyed a seemingly endless cooler of beer that was left over from the marathon party the other week. It was a beautiful day, with a few clouds floating by. It was just a great afternoon/evening with good company and lots of laughs.

The day before was also eventful for us. One of Miranda’s co-workers from the women’s association invited us to go to a village down south where a celebration was being held for the opening of a new Men’s House.

Going into a village is such a culturally rich experience. When walking in, men walk first then women, all in a single file line. Also when approaching a village you must have something in your hands. A small leafy twig works fine. This is to show you are coming in peace, empty hands could mean you are there to cause trouble.

We weren’t really sure what to expect, and were very thankful to Leona and her family for helping us understand what to do and where to go.  We had to separate for awhile, going with our gender to sit under a covered platform in the middle of this village. But were able to join up again after awhile when Leona noticed that many people weren’t sitting where they were supposed to. She attempted to explain all the “rules” to me, but honestly it is so complicated. It has to do with your family of origin, your married family, and the village you came from.

We ate local food, pork, fish, rice, taro, breadfruit, etc. We also got to try raw turtle. When something is offered to you in this situation, it is considered rude to turn it down, especially if you don’t know the people well. So when the plastic grocery bag full of raw turtle started circulating our little cgroup of people, we knew we would end up eating it. It is difficult to describe, but was the texture of what we would imagine rehydrated beef jerky would be like. Stringy, chewy, and a little mushy. It was pink in color. Luckily the pieces were small. The first bite wasn’t so bad, but the second just didn’t seem right!

We watched a few women’s dances, we missed the men’s dance because the event actually started on time- a rarity on Yap. We had seen several women’s dances on Yap day, but watching a dance in the village is different. It starts with family members circling the line of dancers while holding and offering gifts. There was soda, beer, tuba, fabric, shell money, and all sorts of food and candy.

Leona told Miranda that the dance being preformed was fairly new, and that the quality of this certain dance was measured by how loudly the dancers stomped their feet. She said they weren’t very loud, and there was little clapping when it was over. I guess they need more practice!

Unfortunately this is the day Miranda’s camera died. CIMG1295After talking with a few camera buffs here, it sounds like it is the photo processor. When taking a picture outside the picture is just white and gray with some lines running through it. Though we were able to get a few decent pictures as it was still taking a good photo every 5th or 6th shot.  Here are a few shots of the women’s sitting dance. The covered area to the left is where we were sitting, but we were in the middle and couldn’t see the sitting dance from there. 

CIMG1310

We enjoyed spending time with a few locals Miranda has gotten to know through the Youth Summit planning committee as we sat and enjoyed the celebratory atmosphere. But we could only stay for a few hours. We had plans to see our favorite on island band, Nudies. This band, has three of our expat pals in it, and we try to see them play every chance we can.

It was a quick dash home for a shower and change of clothes, then we were back on the road headed south to a little spot called          T-Mart. It is a little convenience style shop, as we have talked about in the past, but it has a stage and a few koyengs. We listened to the band, and enjoyed the beautiful night.

It still amazes us to think that we live here. The first six months were an adventure, challenging, exciting, and amazing.  We hope the next 18 months that follow will be just as exciting, but maybe not as challenging. We are finally having that regular feeling of “we got this” when it comes to surviving in a foreign culture. Now we can take a deep breathe, relax, and enjoy this paradise we now call home!

More to come soon! We have many stories to catch up with on here!

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