Thursday, 11 October 2012

The New Normal Report Card

Well, it’s Friday of the week that Anna started school. This was the week that I had promised myself that I would start a routine that would guarantee no time would be wasted and no opportunities lost. On reflection, I’d give myself around a C, maybe a C+ and make comments on my lack of effort and not living up to my full potential. It’s just so easy to while away the time - emailing, Skyping, Facebooking, meeting John for coffee or lunch, shopping, tweeting and looking in the fridge for the elusive delicious snack that might have materialised since the last time I looked 30 minutes previously.

One benefit of this free time is that I have the luxury of actually contacting people (I even emailed my brother – Hi Bill!) and have been generously rewarded by having people email me back with updates on their lives that are longer than a tweet or a FB post. What a lucky person I am to have such interesting and loving friends and family.

I am remiss to have not taken a photo of Anna on her first day at school. This is due to poor parenting. I confess to not even remember what her first word was (though I’m sure it was something cute). She has been very brave and even survived her first French lesson, where the teacher thought it would be a good idea to get everyone in the class to ask her (in French) something about herself to which she was to reply (in French). As if the poor girl wasn’t under enough pressure! As one of her teachers said, everyone in the classroom has a story and it does appear that her friends do have interesting backgrounds, one having been to twelve different schools.

For those of you that have expressed concern about the current status of John’s existence, he is still here. He was in the Marshall Islands last week, which appears to be quite close on a map, but isn’t. We do get to see quite a bit of him, which is one of the benefits of living on campus only a four minute walk from his office. When we lived in the UK, he travelled so much that 1) people thought that David Thomas was my husband and the children’s father and 2) some of Anna’s friends doubted his existence. It is really lovely to be able to spend time together now and even more a relief to find that we still like each other.

Hanging out on the patio after dinner. Anna plays her ukulele that is standing in for a piano until our shipment arrives.

Anna’s first week at school was perfectly scheduled so that Fiji Day (10th Oct) fell right in the middle. She declined the invitation to join some of John’s work colleagues for a Fiji Day celebration on campus as she’d used up all of her social mojo. John and I walked down to the lower campus, which is right on the coast and enjoyed lunch which included food cooked on a Samoan lovo (which is basically food cooked in foil or banana leaves between hot rocks).

The lovo being delivered in woven bags. John sitting at the drinks table. As usual.

Mela was there and she made the most delicious salad that included thick slivers of fresh coconut toasted until dark brown which soaked up the balsamic dressing beautifully. Yum. I have a coconut in the kitchen so she can show me how to butcher it next week. John played touch rugby (barefoot). For those of you that are unfamiliar with rugby, it is THE sport of the Pacific Islands.  He acquitted himself admirably, being able to walk off the pitch at the end of the game without limping.

 John, Me, Mela and Beth, John's colleague (who also introduced us to Mela)

John playing rugby with some of the guys from the university.

That night we had a visitor – a 3” cockroach that ran across the headboard when I was getting into bed. Instead of killing it on the spot, I uselessly shrieked and ran out of the room, losing track of where it went. Fortunately we were able to track it down and John manfully squashed it with his flip flop. I am mentally preparing myself for my next encounter where I will kill it instantly, without flinching, using a graceful martial arts move.

I have not been completely unproductive work-wise. I have been reading a book on the history of the Fiji Medical School and lots of papers of child and maternal health in developing countries. The more I read, the more I’m looking forward to working. Quite what as is yet to be seen.


  1. I notice John favours the 'just below the knee' length of shorts while his playing chums sport the 'just above knee' look ... is this something to do with his status? Is he the boss or a boss? Does he have any time off at all?

  2. Hi Paul: The cultural dress code definitely does not apply to the university campus. He works a lot, but is only a four minute walk away so we do see quite a bit of him.

    He is a boss (at work anyway!)

    Best wishes to that gorgeous wife of yours, M