Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A visit is like a "now and later"

If I had unlimited funding, I just may import you all.....

The longer that I stay here, the harder I find it to blog about my experiences.  Things are becoming less new to me, so I do not feel the need to write about them.  Also, I am getting settled into the life here.  I am becoming busy, busy, busy!  When I am not busy, the last thing that I really want to do is to sit down at a computer for a couple of hours to find something to write about.  

Recently, I was lucky enough to have a visitor from the States.  Brian was the last person that I thought would visit me first.  That sentence sounds a little confusing, eh?  However, although I had imagined that he would come to visit me, I never believed that he would be the first person to come.  I am so lucky!  

We had a good time when he was here.  I don't feel like I got to show him all that I wanted to show to him though!  I was tired a lot of the time.  Luckily I didn't have to work as much as I thought I was going to have to, but I was exhausted from the week prior.  

I got to pick him up from the airport in Vieux Fort.  I have never been on a shorter bus ride my entire time in St. Lucia!!!!  It felt like a matter of minutes coming back from the airport because we had so much to talk about.  

The first full day that Brian was here, I took him to Gros Islet.  I had to work for part of the day, so I had him help me out with the After School Club.  The After School Club is offered to 27 registered kids ranging from 5-18 years of age.  I will discuss more about it in the next couple of posts.  Anyhow, I had Brian help out with "drum day".  We made drums from makeshift materials.  Unfortunately, there was a funeral outside the day that we were supposed to play them, so we had to wait until the following week to play them.  

Brian playing the drums during the ASC with Tariq.

So instead, we played games and the girls all braided Brian's hair!  It was quite the riot.  The kids LOVED him...they were jumping on him nonstop and would not let him go!

This is a pic of Brian with some of the kids from 
the "ASC"  After School Club in Gros Islet.  

This is me and Brian on the third attempt up 
to Pigeon Point.  Yes, it was successful, but 
very windy!

We got to go to Pigeon Point three times.  No, it was not because he liked it so much the first time!  It was because it had rained the first two times that we got up there.  Literally, it had been sunny and clear and the minute we stepped inside of the park, it started pouring down rain!  We waited for it to clear up those two times, but alas, it did not.  So what did we do but shelter in the local pub!  It is quickly becoming one of my favorite places in St. Lucia.  This bar is so quaint and perfect.  The walls are stone and it feels like you are in a little cave.  They allow cats to roam around freely and even to sit atop the bar.  That's my kind of place!  

This picture Brian took without me knowing there 
was a "toilets" sign above my head outside of the 
Pub.  He is funny, isn't he???

Perhaps one of my favorite parts of his visit was the Peace Corps Work Day in Laborie.  We worked with some of the other Peace Corps Volunteers to help turn soil, build a dam, and a few other things.  It was a great experience for myself and Brian.  That was certainly the first time that I have ever built a dam, let alone turned soil!  When I imagined myself coming to the Peace Corps, I definitely had more of this type of work in mind.  I love to keep myself busy doing laborous outdoor work like this.  It can be much more satisfying than the "desk work" that I sometimes have to do.  

Me and Jeff beginning the dam.  There was nothing 
there but water and rocks!

Turning the soil and weeding during the PC 
work day.  Hot sun and hard work.

Building the dam.  It took form after a little
hard work!

Anyhow, I helped to build a dam; Brian helped to weed and turn soil.  Luckily, his hair helped to shade his head from the sun.  He would have been burnt to a toast!  We had a great lunch of coconut "secret ingredient" rice after the work.  The ingredient turned out to be basil.  YUMMMY.  That was some of the best coconut water I have had since being in St. Lucia as well.  

After the work day, we went to Klu's to get chicken and bakes.  My, oh, my, was that satisfying as well.  A few beers and a few good chicken n' bakes....well worth the work!

I asked Jeff to invite us all again for another work day like that.  I would get "down and dirty" anytime!  

Did I mention I had to wash my tennis shoes three times to get the smell from the creek water out of my shoes????  Again, well worth it.  We also tried to make our way up Gros Piton.  However, we did not make it there until about 2:30 (to the trail head), so we only got to hike half way up due to potential darkness.  

Brian and I half way up Gros Islet.  His hair is 
covering up the gorgeous view of Petit Piton.

Aside from the work day and Gros Piton, I spent a little bit of time introducing Brian to Gros Islet, my work community.  On Friday night we got the chance to go to the "Jump Up".  The jump up is a street party out in the middle of the road that goes from about 7 to 3 am.  It is always a ton of fun!  It is even better when you know more people from the community.  For me, the longer I am here, the better it gets because I get to know a few new people every Friday.  This is a great way for me to meet people in my own community.  People tend to be a little more relaxed on Fridays, and then when I see them during the week in the community they are thrilled!  

We also went to the Castries market to do a little shopping for Brian's friends and family.  That was the first time that I spent a little bit of time in the market.  It is interesting to see how people react to two white people walking about in the market.  

During the week, if I am in Castries, most people will recognize me and at least not ask me if I want a tour of the island anymore.  However, when you are with a new white friend, well, that's all fair game to ask.  Sometimes I find myself playing along with them...."Oh, yes, I do need a tour....How much?  Oh, I got a better price from that guy.....oh, you are going to lower it?.....Hmmm....well, I want to go, but I don't have any money right now......oh, you'll accompany me to the bank while I get money?......Okay, well I have some other errands to do....wait here and I will come back and get you....."  Ha.  Well, sometimes it is more exhausting to say, "I'm not a tourist, I live here" and to explain what I am doing here and for how long I have lived here.  

Overall, it was really nice to have a best friend in town for a little while.  It was a different feeling; combining my old life with my new life.  Sometimes I would get a little confused...but generally, I loved it.  It felt good at times to remember things from Seattle, but at the same time, it also made me miss Seattle a little bit.  However, by having him in town, I automatically realized it was not Seattle that I was missing so much as the few people in my life that I just don't want to live without.  As nice as Seattle is, I can live in another place and be completely happy.  In fact, I just might do that after I get done here.  

1 comment:

Shawn <--> RUJedi said...

Hey there! Looks like we had visitors around the same time--cool! The first guest really is a strange experience huh? So little time to share what we've seen and done even in these few short months so far.

Glad you both seemed to have a good time. Coconut water always tastes better right after some hard work--what a tasty reward! ^_^

When you mentioned the Petit Piton--it reminds me that on clear days and depending where I am on the North Leeward, I can see the outline of St Lucia and the very recognizable Pitons. Good times.