Sunday, June 26, 2011

It’s a Small World After All

We often find it difficult to write interesting blog posts. Sometimes, for weeks on end, nothing remarkable happens to write about here, especially since we try to keep a positive tone here on the blog. You probably don’t want to hear about what finally came in on the ship that we have been craving for weeks, or months- Dr. Pepper! Or how sometimes it is a struggle to just do the activities of daily life (ADL’s as Miranda once knew them at her job in the states) such as laundry, cooking, or even some days having to drag ourselves into work.

We see the same people at social gatherings and work related functions. After awhile, when nothing new or exciting has happened, it can be difficult to generate new conversation topics. Something that is still taking getting used to is how small our world has become. We see the same palm trees and lagoon every day. Even when we venture out of town to see something new, it still often feels like more of the same. Jungle.

Living in such a small square mile radius has been taxing at times. This feeling of being stuck is often referred to as “island fever”, similar to “cabin fever”. Sometimes one needs to get out and stretch their legs. With airplane tickets being expensive and vacation days few, it is tricky to scratch the itch of island fever. Keeping this in mind, sometimes we get a little silly to relieve the tension. There have been afternoon dance workouts, belting karaoke no matter how horrible it sounds, and of course the dogs.

Dogs here become part of one’s social circle, adding to the cast of characters we interact with regularly. We have complete conversations with familiar dogs while they sit, head tilted, appearing to listen. Miranda has been known to have an impromptu dance party with a dog friend to ward off boredom. For those whose  name we don’t know, we make one up. Just ask O.D. He came into our lives as a neighborhood dog who had claimed his territory as the once empty house across the street. Sometimes he would wander into our yard, looking for scraps or water. We called him The Other Dog, eventually becoming O.D. Since then he has become the dog trainer for the neighborhood puppies, teaching them how to be dogs, and how not to make him mad. Peanut has learned the hard way a few times about the latter. He rules with a firm fist, and is a bit stoic. If you get him to wag his tail, even just a little, you know you have won his approval and are worthy of his awesomeness.

Other than the internet, CNN and BBC, our live access to what is going on in the outside world is non-existent, hence talking with dogs.  Sometimes we don’t hear about typhoon or tsunami warnings until loved ones back home start to inquire about our safety. Delayed television programming in general adds to this bizarre feeling of being out of touch at times. There are times that this is a saving grace. We no longer have to put up with the media frenzy revolving around whichever celebrity has gone off the deep end this month (Charlie Sheen anyone?). Not being constantly oversaturated by the media can occasionally be a disadvantage. We only get bits and pieces of the whole story.

Some days it takes all the energy we have just to get through the day. Simple things here take a massive amount of energy as compared to our previous life in Seattle. Partly due to the constant equatorial heat, and partly because of the lack of many modern day convinces, even the most basic tasks can be draining. We have covered the joys of shopping, bugs, and the struggles that come with living on a tiny tropical island. We don’t intend to constantly rehash these same topics, but really there isn’t much else to fill these lines sometimes.

We started this blog to document our adventure of living in Yap, and keep in touch with friends and family back home. After awhile though, the adventure fades away to every day life. Granted, there are many things we have yet to experience here on the island, like scuba diving, that we secretly stash away for when the island begins to feel too small, too removed from loved ones, or too boring. Maybe some day we will get certified and will have that to talk about. Now, we could write an academic blog where we compare and contrast Yap to other islands, nations, and cultures, using our own previous experiences as a baseline. But we try not to be “those” stereotypical Americans who compare everything they see and do to The States. Also, we do not, by any means, consider ourselves experts on Yap, its culture, or the island itself. We refuse to portray ourselves as if we are. We are visitors here, we respect that.

And, of course, here’s an obligatory photo of the natural beauty of Yap, taken at Kadai Beach.

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