Friday, November 17, 2006

It’s really hard to believe that Christmas is approaching. They put up a Christmas tree in the front hallway at CMI and it’s just a surreal feeling. To me it still feels like August because it’s still hot and humid (it’s a little more tolerable, but not much different). In fact, there’s so little seasonal variation here that I feel like I’m in a time-warp. That is good and bad. It makes me less frantic about time, and helps me relax a little.

It has been a good but busy two weeks. I was called as the Uliga Branch Relief Society president last week, and I’ve spent a long time going through the branch list finding out who’s who. We have our work cut out for us: there are 160 Relief Society sisters on the records, but the only 10 sisters who come to Relief Society were all baptized in the last 6 months and none of them have a calling. They are wonderful and eager to be involved, so I’m looking forward very much to working with them. We also need to be careful to maintain a balance between English and Marshallese because the church here is conducted in Marshallese, but with a lot of English speakers in leadership callings (me, Anita from Kiribati, Kim from Korea, the Senior missionary couple) it’s becoming more and more English. Calling Marshallese speaking teachers for RS and Sunday School will help.

I went to help the primary children practice songs for their program last weekend and the other leaders had not arrived yet, but the children were there. They are so creative about entertaining themselves! They take off their zories (flip-flops), put them on their hands, and have contests to see who can do hand-stands upside down in the parking lot for the longest. Next time they do it I’ll get a picture, because it’s so cute. About 15 or 20 children all balancing upside-down on their hands. They even have hand-stand relay races across the parking lot. Meanwhile when the rain started the little boys would run and slide across the slippery cement in the courtyard of the church building. They discovered that they could slide farther on their bums if they took off their pants, so when I arrived there were all these little pants-less boys sliding around the patio. Pretty funny!
The picture above shows another creative play-time that I observed recently. Someone had discarded an old refrigerator by throwing it onto the beach. Two boys took it apart and used the foam from inside the walls of the fridge as flotation devises to float around in the surf.

It’s President’s Day Holiday, so I’m enjoying having a day to fix some things and clean my house. I’m also having a study group with my students who need some extra help. Then tomorrow we’re having a Young Single Adult picnic at Ajeltake (the rural part of the island). I’m going to take my snorkel along and explore the reef down there. The weekend before last Laurie and I got snorkels and went swimming by the Resort. It’s not the prettiest part of the island, but the coral was AMAZING! It’s so colorful, and you don’t have to dive down deep to see amazing tropical fish (like clownfish that sell for $20 each in the pet store) and sea cucumbers. It was really quite nice, so I’m looking forward to doing it again. It’s cheap, it’s great exercise, and very beautiful.

Well, I’m off to get some more things done on the house. I’ll write again later. Happy President’s Day!

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