25 July 2009

the perks of island life

a few of the things i did yesterday on nahlap, an outer island within the breakers of pohnpei:
-read my book while overlooking the falling tide.
-snorkled and found clown fish, angel fish, sea cucumbers, eels, starfish, coral, and tropical fish more beaufiul than i've ever seen in an aquarium.
-hiked for an hour along the coast to find the breaking pacific waves and a beautiful rocky shore.
-kayaked for an hour out to an abandoned fishing boat on the sandbar.
-tasted a rainstorm while gazing at the gray heavens, then sought refuge in the warmth of the sea.
-ate peanut butter and raspberry jam.

-admired pohnpei proper from a distance on a wild speed boat ride.

it was a good day. the adventure cost us less than twenty bucks, though it cost me the health of my skin - four degrees off the equator is something to shake a stick at.

we're already dreaming of an overnight trip, and of renting a two-story thatched hut in our new favorite paradise. its hard to believe life can be this good.

21 July 2009

learning pohnpeian

we're language learning right now, studying pohnpeian. its so different from any european language, i don't know how to describe it. some interesting highlights, though:

-the english-based words are very telling of the history here. words like rice and donuts (rahs, dohnud) are obvious adaptions, but also words like school and week (sakul, wiehk). in fact, most time-related words are obviously from english, spanish, or german. also there are no words for extended family members (aunt, uncle, cousin, etc) - when they distinguish those relationships from mom/dad/sibling, they use the english word.

-there are at least seven ways of counting, depending on what you're counting. (one for just counting, one for counting days, one for counting things that are long and skinning, one for counting things that are alive, one for counting people, etc.) i understand there are plenty more.

-there are actually three languages here. the low language (which we're mostly learning), the high language (which you are supposed to use to speak to people older than you), and a high high language used only when speaking to the king. people learn all three, and there are different words for everything.

-so far we've learned fifteen ways of saying possessives (my/your/his/hers/etc), depending on what you're possessing. one is for foods and one is for drinks, but the rest don't seem to have any discernible pattern. i think it may have to do with the concept of shared ownership. for example, 'my arm' can't be shared, but 'my book' definitely can, and 'my son' most usually is. a bit tricky.

its a difficult language to learn because there are no fast rules. our teacher's words were actually "we don't have grammar like you do in english". so we're practicing, and hoping for the best. thankfully the pohnpeians are incredibly friendly and very encouraging. it would be very easy to get by with english only here, but i'm going to do my best to learn.

18 July 2009

a few images

1 ) view pohnpei from above. kolonia is the town just beyond the runway.

2) first day snorkeling

3) my host sisters

13 July 2009

a new perspective

most of you know by now that i'm going to spend the next year in the federated states of micronesia. i'll be on the island of pohnpei, teaching english at the college of micronesia. the nature of this blog will shift to talk mostly about my experiences there, and i anticipate that i'll be updating much less often. (although i'm hopeful that my posts will be much more interesting than they have ever been.)

i'm leaving tomorrow for honolulu, and then day after that for pohnpei. i'm not too certain about my internet access once i'm there, so i won't make any promises about when i'll be updating. but i'll do my best to post as often as i have the chance.

as for the past week, i've had a blast visiting with family and friends. some pictures below!

1) hiking in the sandias with bennifer:

2) mark, jacob, and kristin overlooking los angeles

3) visiting the tar pits of LA with claire and d.carmody

03 July 2009

happy fourth!

my favorite part is the dramatic pouring of mustard onto a hot dog around 1:20