Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Oct. 19 Kam na bane ni Mauri!

Life is great! It's definitely not easy, but when are the great things ever easy. Plus life improves everyday with my understanding of the language and my adapting to life here. Answers to a couple of questions: Yes there are mosquitoes in Kiribati, but I don't get bitten much. I have a couple on my feet and one or two on my arms but they are few and far between and don't itch much. Miraculously I haven't sunburned at all. I also have yet to put on sunscreen. I think that it is the Morley blessing. Rachael didn't get sunburned in AZ and I haven't gotten sunburnt here even though the sun is intense and I spend a lot of time out side. I will just keep on being obedient because I don't want to risk losing the help that I get (or my hearing! sorry thats another story)

My favorite thing here is getting called Imatong (white person) by the children. We'll be walking down the street on our way to an appointment and kids will shout imatong and run at me shaking my hand and talking to me. It's like I'm a celebrity! I've started messing with the kids a little bit. Sometimes when the kids are with their parents and they shout at me 'Imatong' I will shout back 'I-Kiribati!' The kids don't usually get it, but the parents think it is funny. Also When they yell at me I'll look all confused and respond in kiribati, 'Imatong? Where's the imatong? I'm black!' Again they'll look confused, but they get this joke faster, so it has been a bit of a running joke. When people say that I'm white, I tell them that I am black. I can't really comunicate all that much, so I talk and play with all of the kids. It is kinda discouraging when I talk to a 2 year old and they're vocabulary is bigger than mine, but I still try.

"Me at the dance competion feeling chill
 in my skirt and little flower thing on my head"
We had stake conference this past weekend and before that there was a competition where all of the wards performed the traditional (and sometimes less traditional) dances and songs. I got to participate and it was the coolest thing. There is a big (4'x4') wooden box that the men sit around and use like a drum to keep the beat. I have no idea what the words to the songs are, but I was copying the vowel sounds and singing with all my might because it is so cool. I love being in a group with everyone totally getting in to the music and singing and pounding the box as hard as they can. We should do something like it in america. Our most patriotic things are dull in comparison.

Stake conference was hard. I told my companions to not translate so that I could try to figure out the meaning on my own. Luckily the Mission President and his wife are in town, so they both spoke and I could understand them pretty easily (they are both american). He is a great guy, I got to have an interview with him and have listened to him speak a couple of times now. I could understand the speakers that spoke clearly, but most of the time I was just confused. It is so exhausting straining to understand. It takes so much concentration.

The food is almost always good. It is always fish and rice, with different stuff on the side. I like rice, because I always know it is safe and will taste normal. The fish is usually tasty it doesn't taste like american fish so it is good. One time I was at a dinner and they put a whole cooked fish in front of me. It still had scales and eyes and lots of teeth. So i just ripped off the  skin and pulled off the meat. It was good, you just have to be careful about the bones. They are like tiny swords. So yeah, the food sometimes looks weird, but I am determined to enjoy all of it. If it tastes bad I just quickly take a bite of rice and smile. I have become a pro not-gagger, which is helpful in showing them that I like their food.
Life is great! I love you all!

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