Friday, 24 February 2012

Christmas and Teirio

We went home to Sydney for a visit at Christmas time because we have a new nephew Spencer and I wanted to surprise my friend Holly for her wedding. It was so great being home. We did all of the things on our list that we were looking forward to- except Pete didn't eat KFC and Hungry Jacks at the same time. The wedding was beautiful. I'm so glad I was able to be there.

Since being back, we have both been a bit sick on and off. Sharing is caring. Kiribati is not a pleasant place to be sick, with the heat.

The year is only just starting at the theological college after a long break. I (Nic) will be teaching for the first 2 weeks of semester, and then we leave. Leslene, the Australian Librarian will be taking over the teaching then until June when she will be leaving also. UnitingWorld are looking for a replacement for both of my roles, so speak up if you know of anyone who might be interested.

We sent the weekend at Teirio. It is an islet of Abaiang, the next atoll over from Tarawa. This was our 3rd and final trip there. The water was rough, so we couldn't go on the smallish motor boat we had booked that would have taken about 2 hours. Instead, we had a 5 hour sail there on Friday afternoon, which went into the night. We saw a real shark in the wild, which was exciting. It wasn't a big man eating one, but was still about 1.5 metres long. We watched a lovely sunset, then a trillion stars filled the moon-less sky, some of them moving. There were even stars glowing in the water (maybe plankton?). Magical! We zig zagged back and forth a bit trying to find the passage through the reef into the Abaiang lagoon in the dark, then finally arrived, guided by a smaller boat with a torch, for a late dinner and bed.

Our Saturday consisted of eating, sleeping, swimming, reading and a walk around the island. Teirio is a small island, so only took about 1 hour to walk around at a slow pace with a bit of bush bashing where we couldn't find a path.Some of us had a go at flying a kite (it is hard work!) then we watched another pretty sunset over the ocean.

When we left on Sunday, we sailed out about 200 metres then jumped back into the turquoise lagoon for our last swim/snorkel. Most of us had a go sitting in the nets at the front of the boat at times, but soon realised we didn't need to sit there to get wet. The sea was pretty rough, so we all got pretty drenched. It was fun. It was sunny most of the time with the occasional heavy downpour passing through.

Looking back at Teirio as we left.
You can see the throne on the back of the boat

The toilet on the boat is a throne/seat hanging off the back of the boat with a hole in it for droppage into the ocean and breeziness. When someone needs to use it, a sheet of material is held down for privacy. Pete had just pulled down his pants to go when a fishing rod next to him starting making a noise indicating a big fish had hooked on. So... up went the sheet with people diving for the rod, and everyone's attention was drawn to the back of the boat- and to Pete on the throne. How embarrassing! He pretty quickly pulled up his dacks and moved away until all the fishing action was over. A few people had a go at reeling in the fish. It ended up being a big sail fish, which was a beautiful blue colour when pulled out of the water, but lost its colour pretty quickly and spent the rest of the trip in one of the nets at the front, waiting to be eaten.
Maria with the sailfish she helped reel in

Flying fish are amazing. We had never heard of or seen them before coming to Kiribati, but assumed they were fish that jumped. However, they really do fly- for about 100 metres at a time. They must drink Red Bull. We are so used to seeing them flying around above the water now that they almost missed a mention in this update.

When we were nearing home, we spotted a large pod of dolphins who popped over to our boat to say hello. They were beautiful and playful, swimming underneath and boat and alongside it. What a wonderful end to a relaxing weekend away.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Our top 10

The top ten things we look forward to when we return to Aus...

1. Eat a Hungry Jacks burger and KFC chicken, at the sametime
2. Drive a manual car, faster than 80km
3. Drink a pint of cold beer from a glass while watching the cricket
4. Listen to commercial radio ads
5. Get a haircut, just a small trim
6. Go and watch a movie at the cinemas with Nicole
7. Stay overnight at mums place
8. Catch-up with family and friends at the Winston
9. A swim at the beach
10. Read some junk mail

1. See family and friends
2. Meet my new nephew Spencer
3. Eat yummy food (e.g. scotch fillet steak, chicken breast, lots of cheese, salads, desserts, roast lamb etc. etc.)
4. Drink water straight from the tap (no more collecting rain water, boiling it, cooling it and bottling it)
5. Have warm showers
6. Have access to a car 24/7 that I can drive on smooth roads without worrying about stray pigs, dogs, chickens and children wandering on the road
7. Get hair cut and coloured
8. Go shopping to buy new clothes
9. Wear what I want, instead of what is considered to be culturally appropriate
10. Being comfortable, knowing that I understand the cultural norms and what people are talking about (especially when they're talking about me).

Living in a developing country gives us a new appreciation for the things we take for granted back home.