Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I sohte wehwehki!

I sohte wehwehki! = I don't understand!

We started language training on Monday, and today I demanded to know this phrase. My poor, patient language instructor obliged.

Even though I've been listening to Pohnpeian for nearly four weeks now, I still get flummoxed when I need to process & answer a direct question. Mostly because I have the deep-seated desire to be perfect (in fact, while writing this sentence I inspired a debate between two of my PCT friends over "which is right? deep-seated or deep-seeded?" ... we went with the former), and the language-learning process just doesn't work that way. I have to make mistakes in order to learn. The best and most frequently used analogy for what I'm experiencing right now is that I'm pretty much a baby here in Pohnpei, linguistically, culturally, whatever. Even though I've had a few decades to learn in the U.S., I have to relearn everyday things, especially language and behavior. It can be frustrating, but it's also going to be incredibly rewarding when I finally become ... a toddler!!!

So patience is the word of the day. For me. For using the internet here (So slow! No photo uploads today!) For the people waiting for me to finish this blog post.

On that note, I must be off.

Love from Pohnpei!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Alive & Well (With a Site Assignment)!

Hello All!

I've been in Madolenihmw, Pohnpei, FSM for just over a week, and things are going great! Just this morning, in fact, I found out that I will be here (in Madolenihmw) for the rest of my service! Hooray! That means that P.O. Box 9 will be my permanent address, so get on with writing those letters! They seem to be arriving from the states in about 5 days, but they're much slower going the other way. Also, my access to the internet will be spotty for the next few months, and then probably only once every other week, so letters are definitely the way to go.

In terms of how it's been so far, I've got to say that everything about this place is perfect in a way that unfolds over time--the island itself is beautiful (I can't wait to explore it more), the people are becoming better and better friends (both locals and PC), and my training is adding to my skills daily.

Some highlights of the experience so far:
- Daily morning workouts in the training room before school starts with friends (yoga and boot camp exercises are the favorites)
- Visiting a local waterfall & Nan Madol (cool military ruins) with PC Trainees and my host nieces/nephews this past weekend
- Dance parties to Chris Brown's "Forever" in my host family's living room with my nieces and their friends
- My host mother (nono) ... she's the best
and last but not least
- The view from our front porch every morning & evening

Hope everything is going well with you all. Send me letters and tell me about it!

Lots of love,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A laugh before you go

Mom: Do you think you're going to put on any plays as part of your community development?
Me: Sure, yeah, maybe. Probably I'd want to kill many birds with one stone by making it a play in English that deals with hard-hitting issues like safe-sex, nutrition, recycling...
EJ: So, Cats, right?
Dad: I was going to say Hair...

This exchange happened at dinner tonight-- our last together as a family before tomorrow's staging in LA. The last couple of weeks have been full in a lot of ways. Two weeks ago I was visiting friends and roommates in New York and DC. This past week I've been frantically packing and connecting with Tustin friends and family. All told there has been mostly stress, joy & address-collecting. So it was nice to have one more family giggle-fest in the backyard before things change.

Ps: I'm bringing two kinds of Kathy Wright's famous/delicious homemade cookies to staging tomorrow, hoping their effectiveness as icebreakers haven't worn off since freshman year of college. Some things never change.