so this past month has been crazy. getting the kids ready for finals, getting final grades in, decorating and having prom, graduation, honors assembly, farewell party, packing, departure, etc.
finals, i don’t want to talk about. they’re over and never need to be spoken of again.
prom was fantastic. i worked with the decoration people, basically whoever wanted to show up and help, and we did the decorations for the prom. the junior class was in charge. we made a couple hundred silver stars from cardboard and aluminum foil and hung then from all over the place in the bar. we got streamers and made a huge banner and got yards and painted them with stars as well for the tablecloths. then we attached huge silver stars to the walls and hung more purple and blue yards for a photo area. i ended up breaking the key to the back door in half, so we only had one door instead of two, but it still worked out well. one of the other teachers covered food, which was delicious, and sara’s dance lessons totally worked. granted, only the kids who went to the dance lessons danced, but it was amazing. they even got on the dance floor without sara or me and started dancing the cha cha. it was great.
graduation was nice as well, i painted a sign for it and we all got to see the seniors walk. it was nice to see all the students get diplomas.
yearbooks didn’t make it. the woman here i gave the file to is insane. apparently the yearbook wasn’t ordered until a month after i gave it to her. there was also a lot of other things that were a little sketchy that went down, but regardless, they’ll supposedly get here in june. we’ll see. hopefully the kids will actually have a yearbook to remember KAHS by before they leave to go back to their outer islands.
sara left yesterday. everybody’s going to end of service. as much as i loved my time here and whatever, this year’s management of the worldteach marshall islands program is way too unorganized and unprofessional for me to have any interest in returning to majuro. though i probably would not be forgotten at the airport this time, the idea of spending a few days down there being miserable and having my ass ridden about how i’m not doing what i’m supposed to be doing is just not appealling to me. with the departure of my roommate i find myself sitting on her bed clutching whatever things she left behind and weeping silently (with periodic outbursts of wrenching moans) until my body is dehydrated so much that i no longer can produce tears. i then go get a glass of water and repeat the process until i pass out, alone and weak from the isolation. it’s pretty horrible.
before all that started, i started watching scrubs for the 19th time and attempted to start packing. after prom i had a bit of a mess in my classroom as well and hopefully will have that finished by sunday so in case my 480 actually does go through i can go relax in the sun.
this’ll probably be the last post on the marshall islands experience. as everything in my possession that is electric broke this past year, my laptop’s dead, and i won’t have access online once i’m on kwaj. when i either get to the east coast, or chicago, or wherever the hell i am when i have access to photoshop and a computer and the internet again, i’ll be uploading some more pictures from graduation, the farewell party, and our 530am sunrise fondue breakfast that we had yesterday, as well as any travel photos i take in between here and richmond. it’s incredibly sad to be leaving this place and my students and everything that we’ve had around us for the past year. with graduate school coming up, i don’t get the comfort of returning to the home i attempted to make up in alaska, and am going to be a bit of a vagabond for the next month or so, but it’s going to be nice to settle down somewhere and know i’m not leaving in a year. even though blog posts only include a small part of what life entails here on guegeegue, i hope the last year has been as entertaining on this thing as it has been for us while living here. thanks for reading, signing off.
back from roi. alive and with all footwear. my bag smells like sour ranch dressing.
until words can better describe the ridiculousness of the past three days, i suggest a healthy browsing of http://www.flickr.com/photos/skurfee.
presi’ve got about 40 days left in the marshalls, so i’m more focused on daydreaming about returning to the states and civilization. getting my car, moving into my apartment into chicago, going to a reputable salon, dentist, and bank, etc. also wearing jeans, my ass looks good in jeans and my legs enjoy being recognized as two separate entities. the anticipation is swelling, but i’m going to try and keep the focus and maintain occassional updates on the ridiculous incidences over here.
we’re going to roi this weekend. last time we went to roi we got super trashed, ate from the pool like dolphins and lost sara’s shoe. hopefully this trip will prove to be equally as enjoyable. it’ll be for three days instead of two and sara and i have become more comfortable with the thought of wearing american bathing suits, so we can do that.
here on guegeegue, one of the neighborhood racist dogs died. the wrong one actually. stich and yogi, the black/brown one and the white one, were both horrible horrible dogs and in my opinion, only the loneliest of people would ever find it necessary to use them as company rather than just a branch from a tree or coral rock from the ocean. they are that horrible. though if i had to choose which i thought should die, it would definitely be stitch. i think i’ve mentioned that before, a lot of times. he growls and bites and starts fights and doesn’t listen. yogi is annoying, but goes away when you yell and i’ve never seen him growl at a person.
anyway, apparently the guegeegue police have the right to drive around the island and shoot any dog they want to if it doesn’t have a collar. they went riding around last weekend and started shooting up dogs. i heard they got five or so. (keep in mind that’s probably less than 1% of the animals-on-four-legs population) usually i think they just go for the females. my guess is the females make the puppies, so it’s a dually effective way of “controlling the pet population”. it was originally thought that they also got yogi, who is/was not female. him and stitch have recently been adopted by a few of the teachers out here, none of them marshallese, but they still do not have collars, so whatever. anyway, there was some unrest of the treatment of yogi due to said recent ownership declarations. as it turns out, the police did not shoot yogi. it was, in fact, some guy. HE had a dog that was also white, and he was getting really irritated that the dog kept bringing ticks into his house. so he did what all rational and level-headed individuals do and decided that to solve the tick problem, he needed to go shoot the dog. so he goes and gets a gun, we’re not really sure where he got THAT, since only the police are allowed firearms, but whatever, and walks out into the night, sees a white dog, thinks it’s his, and shoots it. obviously the dog wasn’t his, it was yogi, and now yogi’s dead. and the man probably still has a tick problem in his house. and during the midst of all of this something happened to stitch’s face that makes it look like he has organs or intestines or something oozing out of it. you know like when you impale someone and guts and stuff start seeping out? well that’s what his face looks like, it’s disgusting.
finally, nine more days of teaching and then final exams. i am stoked. the copier’s not working, the duplo’s not working, none of the printers will print because the black ink is out, and the secretary doesn’t really show up that much anymore. it should be an amazing couple of weeks.
so i haven’t been feeling the best for the last few weeks. fever, sore throat, swollen tonsils, headache. i kept teaching just because i didn’t want the kids to be running around during the school day with nothing to do, but they didn’t seem to have any mercy for the health deprived and i hold their behavior responsible for antagonizing my condition into deeper severity. not that they were doing anything really out of the ordinary for a regular day, just that they didn’t quite feel it necessary to tone it down a bit either.
anyway, this is spring break, which has been nice. it’s going by fast and i haven’t gotten done what i need to get done, but i guess there’s more time. we went to kwaj monday and that pretty much brought my entire spring break down a peg. i don’t feel like really getting into all of the parts that led to the major event, but in the end, i basically missed the last ferry from kwaj to ebeye by about five minutes, had to sleep on the docks, got my sponsors in a bit of trouble, then caught the 5am ferry back to ebeye the next day and walked, at 530 in the morning, the five miles from the docks to our house in guegeegue with no water, no food, and no money, what felt like 60 mile an hour winds pushing me in the opposite direction, and about 5 open gashes on my feet from the evening before. it was pretty monumental and there were a lot of moments when i didn’t think i was going to make it and that my body was going to be found collapsed on the causeway with half of my face eaten by stray dogs and pigs. fortunately my body didn’t fail me like i thought it would and i did in fact make it home, though the degree to which i dislike the kwajalein military base has skyrocketed exponentially. even with the free phone calls factored in, i still prefer my island more. we took a few photos that i plan to post, unfortunately my harddrive decided to die and so i have to wait until my new one arrives next week for the ability to transfer things from computer to computer.
short of all that, we have 5 weeks of school left before graduation and prom. as much as i’ll miss this place, i cannot wait to get to chicago, get to my apartment, get $40,000 in debt, and get started on my masters. i booked my connecting flight to the east coast last week and am starting plans on reintegrating myself into a more developed society. it should be pretty interesting.
developments as of graduate school acceptance excitement.
i’m putting together a yearbook for the school. well. i put together a yearbook for the school. in about two weeks. i don’t really know exactly how this responsibility got put onto me. i originally had just wanted to take pictures to help out, but whatever. i’m only teaching art and science this quarter so i might as well contribute elsewhere, too. i’m also trying to teach a toefl prep class. and the seniors have since started asking for help on the fafsa and their college applications. it’s a lot of stuff.
the fifth period boys, mainly just a handful of them, have started to refer to me as mom. “mom, what page are we on?” “mom, can you help me?” “mom? mom? MOM?!” i can no longer keep a straight face in this class. i used to be able to. not anymore. they all want me to take one of them home with me and adopt him as my son. he’s at least 18 years old. maybe 19. i’m 26, in case anyone had any doubts. i’m not really sure where the mom thing came from. i have practically no motherly characteristics. i’m mean. i yell all the time. i don’t have saggy boobs from breastfeeding. and i have absolutely no interest in ever having kids. maybe it’s a phase and they will forget about it soon.
education week is next week. this is when all the people of the marshall islands come together to celebrate education and all it is worth by cancelling all the classes and having activities and events somehow geared towards intelligence. i think there’s a spelling bee somewhere in there. that means no classes next week. it feels amazing. we don’t really have the week off. we’re supposed to participate in the activities by helping run them or hosting them or something. as usual, i don’t really have any idea what’s going to happen with all of that.
sara matt and i walked to the next island north of guegeegue last weekend. it was great. low tide lets you walk from some islands to others on the atolls and i hadn’t been before. we took our snorkel gear and headed out. the two damn racist dogs followed us, which was irritating. though, truth be told, they only really irritate me at this point. the phillipino teachers take care of one and the other white guy teacher lives alone and likes to have the company of the other. i’m the only one who really complains about their existence still. but i would really like if the one, stitch, were hit by fast moving car or eaten by a shark or something. i mean i’m definitely not about to take his head and beat it against a rock until it splits open or anything, but a quick over-and-done-with death caused, by accident, by someone other than me would be a nice surprise.
anyway, the island. we found some super big shells still intact that i’m going to either take home or send to a few people. i’m not really all about a nautical or island-ey home decor theme for my place back in the states, but some of these shells are pretty kick ass. we got out to the water and the coral was amazing. i thought i was really going to be bored by june, because we usually just go off the pier or by the beach down the road, but the coral at this island was crazy. it was like the stuff i see when i’m diving. and the low tide put us super close. plus, since there’s no beach, the visibility wasn’t horrible either. there was a white tipped shark that was out while we were, so i didn’t get a chance to take as many photos as i usually would, but i think we’re going to try and get back out there a few more times and i’ll try again.
my mother is in fairbanks. i called her from kwaj last weekend. (where i ran three miles at the gym after not having worked out for like, six weeks, so i’m excited about that) she was too busy to talk to me. apparently a friend of mine that she’s staying with is in the hospital. she should be getting out today hopefully. i was kind of hoping to get to talk to her when i called my mother, but i guess that didn’t happen. maybe next time. sending my mother to alaska makes me want to go back. so i might. i’m looking at cost issues and school grants and stuff and hopefully will be able to work in an arctic circle visit before class start in august.
school is going to be amazing. the debt is going to suck, the commute from where i’ll be living is going to suck, and the not being in fairbanks and the not being in the marshall islands is going to suck, but i haven’t been this excited about anything in a really long time. i mean i was excited to come down here to the marshalls, but a big motivating factor for the whole 3rd world country for a year thing was to get away from fairbanks and gain some perspective about what i was doing and whether i was really working towards something that wasn’t going to end in me being a big ball of resentment and depression. and when that situation resolved itself in exactly the way i thought it would, well, i was happy i left. but now i’m actually planning on doing something that is exactly what i’ve been wanting to do for the last four years. no compromise, no alterior motive. 100% for me. i haven’t done anything this big soley for myself almost ever, so it feels pretty nice. even if it did take a while to get here. and i know i’ll miss this place, and i’ve missed alaska for a while and still will next year too, but the really important people i’ll keep in touch with, and chicago has some really important people waiting for me anyway. and getting this experience will ultimately help me move to europe and become this internationally known design strategist and become more travelled and worldly. or something like that. wow. this was almost disgustingly sincere and heart warming. i think sara is rubbing off on me. i’ll try and make sure future posts are more geared to the sarcastic hopefully entertaining anecdotes about life in the south pacific, rather than gooey ramblings about my hopes and dreams coming true. cause i mean really, where’s the humor in stuff like that.
short update: i got into grad school!
iit emailed me to let me know and is mailing me an admissions packet. now all i have to worry about it money, but either way it means i’ll most likely be stateside this summer. i dunno how i’ll do adjusting to living in a city though. i saw a photo of a friend on flickr and there were upholstered stairs with handrails in the background and i almost didn’t recognize it. fairbanks and guegeegue have definitely made me used to run down living conditions … oh well. i’m crazy excited and even though it’s a year later than planned, can’t wait to get back into an educational environment. especially in a place that isn’t isolated from the rest of humanity like i’ve been in for the last four years. yay!
so i should be sleeping right now. but today was too ridiculous to not get on the internet pronto. currently, our truck is broken. i personally think it’s because recently, our maintenance guy, stephen, returned to his island because his mother was sick. stephen lived in ebeye and had a scooter from the school so he could brave the causeway whenever something needed to be done on the campus and he needed to come to guegeegue. well since he left, that scooter has been commandeered by the watchman/truck fixer rocky. rocky likes to make donuts in the yard with this scooter and ride it all over the place. well, since he is sually the truck fixer, but now has scooter access, he is less inclined than he was before to fix the truck, since he now has a separate mode of transportation and no longer needs to rely on this truck.
anyway, truck doesn’t work. so when trying to get to ebeye to catch the 1200 ferry to get to kwaj, we had to hitch in with the neighboring school’s schoolbus that went in for church. not too bad. we catch the ferry and get to the dock on kwaj, but sara and i are not on the list. it seems as though the sponsors who we were supposed to have are off island and they either forgot to find another set of sponsors, or they did find another set of sponsors and that set of sponsors forgot about us. either way, even though the visitors list wasn’t full for the day, since new regulations were set on the 15th, without a seven day notice, we couldn’t get in. at all. whatsoever. and the next ferry back to ebeye was at 330.
anyway, i had two major things that i really needed to get accomplished. one was calling my mother, who i have not called in like eight weeks because i was getting certified to dive, and two was to wash all of my clothing possessions in hot water because it seems as i officially have my second case of lice of the year. i had them a little while ago, but was too mortified to mention it. i think partially because, i mean, come on, it’s lice, but also there was a slight chance that i passed them on to this guy i hung out with around then and the thought of actually giving them to someone else was way too embarrassing to deal with. i really don’t know what i’m doing to get them. i mean, if not showering regularly caused one to get them, then that would definitely be it. but it doesn’t, so we don’t know what the hell is going on. regardless, i packed up almost every piece of clothing i own down here, shoved it all in my dry bag, and hauled it out the door this morning. anyway, neither one of those things were happening. i even tried going to the desk and trying to use their phone with a phonecard, no success. we sat at the docks and ate BLT’s and fries and apples and twix bars and a gross hoagie bun toasted with cinnamon until the ferry came.
we then walked through the entire town of ebeye with our luggage. plus, i’m in a guam dress. which is fine if you live there, even though they are outlawed. but i was definitely a spectacle. it was horrifying. we get to dumptown, hitch into guegeegue and i proceed to do my laundry in out ghetto samson washing machine. boiling pot of water and dumping them over my clothes and making everything completely dingy and bleed. i have to say, though, that the power was screwy lately. going on and off every half hour or so. and i was definitely nervous about getting home and having no power. but it was on and it stayed on. so using the propane stove that periodically explodes into a fireball just to boil water to kill possible lice bugs in my bedsheets was not necessary. anyway, my sheets are done, hopefully scalding hot water worked and i won’t be reinfecting myself when i finally get to bed tonite. half of my clothes are hanging up in the living room and i may be able to do the other 60% of my clothes that, if they weren’t all licey before, are surely licey now that they’ve been in a drybag with the rest of my clothing all day. i have a headache and the school’s phones are still down because no one knows how to pay a bill ontime. i got sunburn from walking in ebeye all day and there has been no icecream on island for over a month now. things are rough.
i failed to mention earlier that the neighboring school, queen of peace, was doing a fundraiser for valentine’s day. andrea had come over a while ago and asked about the feasability of selling decorated cakes and cookies. she had the cookies covered, but since i decorate cakes, wanted some input. she decided they would be delling two kinds, a heart and a larger square. we would frost them and then decorate with roses. originally the number sold by thursday was only 44 heart cakes and 18 square cakes, which was cool, and then by friday it went up to 69 heart cakes and 21 square cakes. it was crazy. so she baked the cakes for the original numbers by friday, but when i went over after school friday, she still had 30-some to bake. so we made this assembly line of all the students outside at their shcool, gave them each a cake to crumb coat and i showed them the process. however, while making the frosting we busted through two hand mixers. granted the quality of electronic devices here is minimal, that was just weird. we sent the kids home except for the few that were spending the night and helping with the cakes. found a third hand mixer and kept making frosting, crumbcoating cakes, baking cakes, and making frosting flowers. i went over friday afternoon at four and we kept working until about one in the morning. it was fun, i got to show the kids how to make flowers and help them with their cakes. the next day was delivery day, so i went back over at noon. the kids had done a pretty good job at making all the flowers and getting frosting on all the cakes, so i sat down and started piping on vines, attaching flowers, and piping on leaves for ninety cakes. not to mention at this point we had gone through four hand mixers. i don’t know what the deal with that was. but we had students mixing frosting by hand. then as we’re finishing up, our seniors from kahs show up to decorate the campus for the dance that night. they needed help setting the photo place up so around 6 i finish the last cake that i needed to finish and go over and help a bunch of indifferent marshallese teenagers set up where they’re getting their pictures taken later that night. we were planning on trying to make a lot of money for graduation by selling photos with their dates, but unfortunately, disorganization and the fact that last call for photos was yelled as the busses were being loaded to have them trucked back to ebeye made us only make a few bucks. we’re going to try and sell some of the photos next week though, so hopefully the seniors will have some cash to use.
meanwhile, i’m starting a toefl prep class after school next week. the stuff we have is from ’98, but our internet is working at the moment, so hopefully i’ll have a chance to look a bunch of stuff up online and have some updated materials. i’m kind of excited about the toefl thing, i think the kids will actually be behaved. anyway, i’m sure some other stuff has happened recently but i want to go eat some leftover frosting out of a pastry bag, so i’m probably going to go do that. i’m uploading some photos on flickr, so those might be of interest.
ok. so i wrote this insanely long blog post on the computer, but forgot to bring it with me and am too lazy to walk the 150m to go get it.
internet went out again.big surprise. i had gotten a 480 to make sure i could get my graduate stuff in on time, though, and i think that’s all taken care of. now we’re praying that they let me in and are in love with me so much that they want to give me money to go there too. we’ll see. it’s weird not being able to work on the resume and portfolio. there’s always something i feel like i could make better.
i got certified to dive this weekend too! went on my last two dives to earn it. i have excellent air usage apparently. we went down to 42 feet for 65 minutes on a short tank and i came up with 1100 out of 3000lbs left over. we saw a turtle AND a grey tip shark. it was craziness. i’m going to be getting my official card in the mail soon and am going to plan some boat dives with the kwaj people soon. i can’t wait.
i hate the dogs on guegeegue. there are two of them. stitch and yogi. they’re racist and they get into fights and they smell bad and they have fleas. i used to be a total animal lover. i wanted to be a vet up until i went to college. now i chuck rocks at dogs’ faces. it’s ridiculous. but honestly, when you have a racist dog following you around everywhere, it gets annoying. i don’t like being associated with racist people, and i think that racist dogs are just as bad. they used to not be fed by anyone. i was kind of hoping that at least one of them would die of starvation, but then one of the teachers here started feeding them, so that dream went out the window. and really, if just stitch died i would be happy. when you yell at yogi, he listens, he goes away. stitch does not. he wags his tail and crawls on his belly closer to you. it’s repulsive. and i understand how people can think how terrible it is to nail a dog in the face with a rock. and a year ago i would have agreed with you whole heartedly. but now i can honestly say there are some ok times to pelt a rock at a dog’s face. it doesn’t feel good to say it, but it’s true.
i’m uploading more pictures, a couple from snorkelling, a big composite one of matt’s birthday dance party which i will write about later given the time, oh and one of the vicious sunburn i got on kwaj this weekend. i decided to even out the weird lines all over the upper half of my body from tshirts/tanktops/halters. i’ve never dealt with tan lines before, and it’s a pain in the ass. anyway, for all of you flickr friends out there, go log into flickr and check that craziness out. i am RED. for non flickr friends, sorry, it’s a half naked photo to fully express the deep-red-to-pure-white situation that is my skin right now and i’d rather not have a bunch of creepazoids looking at it. those of you so interested can put in a special request. you all know where to find me.
hope that’s good for now, everyone keep their fingers crossed that IIT loves me and wants to give me money.