There are dorms at the Arrak campus, but the rooms were not very clean, and Susan had a tent, so we decided to camp on the beach by the lagoon. Tide was low and the night was warm and beautiful when we pitched the tent. We put it high on the shore so we wouldn’t wash away. Then after talking for a couple of hours, the wind started blowing like crazy and rain started pelting us. We struggled toget the top on the tent, and it helped a lot, but the wind still whipped the rain up and under it a little. The storm passed over quickly and the rain dried out fast. Then we were awakened at 3am by the high tide lapping at our feet. It was a good thing we woke up and moved the tent inside the campus gate or we really would have woken up in a pool of salty water. Needless to say it wasn’t the best night’s sleep I've ever had!
The next morning we heard this catchy little tune on the CD player during breakfast. It was the hip-hop song, “Sorry, Blame Me” by Akon. It’s a great song, but it repeats the phrase “You can put the blame on me, you can put the blame on me, you can put the blame on me, you can put the blame on me.” at least 20 times in the song. Then, because it’s their current favorite song, our students put the CD player on “repeat track” mode and let it go all day for 3 days. They NEVER tire of their favorite song. So after about the 15th time hearing it, I had memorized the chorus, after the 25th time I could sing the verses, too, and after the 40th time listening to it, I was ready to “put the blame” on whoever turned that song back on again. The students turning it on would just look at us, smile apologetically, and say, “Sorry, it’s my favorite song!” I heard it again this week and just laughed.
By Day-4 we had run out of leisure activities (we had previously exhausted all other possibilities: snorkeling, playing cards, looking for shells, listening to the same song over and over and over again on the CD player, etc…), and we had finished the training so it was a good time to come back. It left me a lot more optimistic and happy about the coming semester. After faculty orientation (2 days with faculty and administrators) I was pessimistic again, but today and yesterday we assisted the Student Leaders to run the student orientation, which was lots of fun and it cheered me up again. We have some great new students as well as fantastic returning students.
This week is registration, and next week is the beginning of classes. I can’t believe the summer is almost over, but the weather never changes, so it’s always summer here. It truly does feel like a time-warp. But it’s a good time-warp, and I’ve adjusted to “island-time” and not caring so much that everything runs efficiently. This is a good thing, because had I not adjusted, I would be so frustrated with how inefficient everything is here. But in exchange for a lack of efficiency and time-consciousness, there is much more of a sense of the importance of personal relationships with others and the community. No one is independent. This has its benefits and drawbacks, but for now, I’m quite happy about it.