The market, lice talk, and a resort

This weekend really helped me maintain my positive outlook.  It helps so much to be out and about, as opposed to stuck inside the house with the girls without a way to get around.   To be fair, I could take a taxi to take the girls out, even just to the grocery I am not truly stuck here.  Warren did purchase a car which we should have within a month, so by then I will be SO ready to drive.  I am truly ready now...we just have to see if I am permitted drive the Peace Corps vehicle that is on loan to us currently.  The more I get used to being a passenger around Suva, the more I feel like I can probably drive here.   It will just take some time to get comfortable.

On Friday night, I went running on the sea wall with one of Warren's colleagues, Dave.   He runs there twice a week and invited me along.  The air was SO thick, humid, and hot, but it felt amazing to get out there and finally run.  Also, I wore shorts (my longest ones, but still shorts).  It was ok!  I didn't really see any other women in shorts, but it seemed ok since we were clearly exercising.  After the run, Warren and I stayed at Dave's for dinner.  Brooke, (the RPCV who married a Fijian) made us an awesome meal of pasta with pumpkin, greens, and chick peas.   She didn't bleach the greens and we all feel fine! (I think from now on I'll only wash them well).   I learned something fascinating last week from Michelle (my angel) that Dave and Brooke (dinner company) confirmed.   In Samoa and parts of Fiji if a family has all sons, they dress their last born son as a girl and have him perform stereotypical girl activities (cooking, cleaning, etc) so that when the parents are elderly, they have a girl to take care of them.   They call the boy treated like a girl a "shim".    This is so interesting to me!  What if the parents are not sure if that is their last son?  What if they have a surprise baby after what they believe to be the final boy?  Do they change who they treat like the girl?  I will do some research and get back to you.   I did just try to find something about it online and there is very little there regarding Fiji.    This may take some field research!  I have noticed here in town there are many effeminate men, wearing make-up, etc.  While Fiji does not seem openly accepting of homosexuals like we are in Atlanta, apparently Suva being the "big city" is somewhat of a mecca for GLBTQ's in Fiji.  

We had a lazy Saturday morning at home and then headed into the city to go to the market and check out a new bubble tea place.  First we went to a huge craft market with all local Fijan crafts.  The girls' got fans before we headed into the market.  Everyone here seems to love children.  They all smile at them, and many people stroke their hair.  We've had a few older women lean down and kiss their cheek very gently, even in the airport when we got here.  We then moved over to the food market.  It is this HUGE area filled with vendors selling every kind of fresh fruit and vegetable you can imagine. It was Saturday so it was VERY busy.  I had to hang on tight to the girls' hands as we pushed our way through the bustling crowd.  It is all outside and covered by large pieces of plastic to keep off the sun.  It was VERY hot.  It was a bit overwhelming and exciting all at the same time.  Again, I felt grateful for Warren as he led us through with confidence, but also dependent upon him...which is kind of weird.  But, now that we've been through it once, I could easily go solo.   By the end of the trip, the girls were completely melting and complaining non-stop.   We walked over to an air-conditioned mall and got some bubble tea.   They probably appreciated that frozen tea more than any other frozen drink in their little lives!

Andie forcing a smile towards the end of the market trip.

This is how they both truly felt at the end of the market trip.  Although, they did enjoy it at first!

The mall's view

Our finds at the market

That evening we went over to some expat's house that work at the embassy.  They have three girls all similar ages to our girls.  We had such a good dinner (fish and veggies...and we feel fine!)  and learned so much about navigating out time here in Fiji.  I figured out a lot about the school and all the great places we can visit on the weekends.  It was interesting to talk to them because they move every 2-3 years.  She mentioned a few times how the international school is great and isn't it wonderful we don't have to worry about our kids being kidnapped here?   I guess when you move around from so many different types of countries, you don't take anything for granted.   She also mentioned three to five years of head lice is pretty much unavoidable here.  Yikes.  I will do everything within my power to prevent them!   The kids have to wear hats when they go out for recess and apparently the hats just sit in one lice spreads easily.   I will give my kids a plastic bag to keep those hats in!  Fingers crossed we are the 3% that don't get lice...but if we do...we can manage.   Again, we've managed that before.  

Yesterday, we went to Pacific Harbour, a coastal town 45 minutes away from here.  We visited the Pearl, ( a local resort that has a lovely beach, super fun pool, and a nice brunch buffet.   Some friends met us there, and it turns out that one of them is an awesome singer!  The entertainer called her to stage to sing and she was phenomenal!  The girls loved her too.   Go Allegra!  She has a CD coming out this Friday.  Check it out! (   We had such a great family day just eating, swimming, and at the Pacific Ocean all day.  It's pretty awesome that these resorts are so close and we can go just for the day.  I feel like the weekends are going to be a good re-charge for me here.   I hope so anyway. 

Quick PBJ break

The girls loved this mermaid cove in the pool!

The beach

Allegra singing

The girls were mesmerized.

Ready for the trip to the beach!

On the way to the resort, we passed through many villages.  Again, I am struck by the poverty here.   There are so many little shacks without electricity or running water.  It was pretty hot and all the doors were open.  I saw many people sleeping on floors or just sitting outside with fans.   Warren's colleage, Dave, is an RPCV from here and he told us he'd take us to his village soon.  I am looking forward to it.  I want the girls to understand that living here is not pools and resorts for everyone.  When I think back on my Peace Corps days, I think I was up for more adventure then.  I think as I get older, I get more comfortable in my ways and conveniences, and have to push myself harder now than I used to when I am not surrounded by these comforts.  I have such respect and admiration for Fiji Peace Corps Volunteers.  Peace Corps Fiji is no joke!

A perk of being home...time to work on puzzles!