Monday, 22 October 2012

The trailing spouse and other new vocabulary terms

Anna finished her first week of school with a mufti day in celebration of Fiji Day. Now I don’t know about you, but we’d never heard that term before for a non-uniform day. Apparently it’s been used by the British army since 1816 (thank goodness for Wikipedia). She was supposed to wear a sulu jaba which she doesn’t own, but a classmate let her borrow one.

Anna models a sulu jaba. That's Roxy, the pregnant stray, that's adopted us.

Anna said that Dr Dr Hind, the principal of her UK school, would not have approved of her school's Fiji Day assembly. When I asked her why, she said it contained too much joy. Small children stood up and wandered about while the likes of Miss Hibiscus, the head of Digicel Fiji and Iliesa Delana gave inspiring talks. Iliesa, for those you who don’t know (and if you don’t, you definitely don’t live in Fiji), won the gold medal for the high jump in the Paralympics. It was Fiji’s only medal in the Olympics. What makes it even more incredible is that he only has one leg. Awesome!

For John’s birthday, we took a picnic down to the Hobie club. It was blowing a hoolie, so Anna and I sat in the shade of the palm trees while John tried not to get blown over sailing with one of the club’s regulars. John looks twenty years younger and a thousand times happier when he’s had a dose of Hobie. Can’t wait for the wind to die down a bit so that I can have a go. Perhaps I’ll look twenty years younger too.

Anna waits for John to come back while I cower in the shade. 

John doing the thing he loves best.

There’s a dreadful term that I only heard after I arrived here – trailing spouse. According to what I've heard since, trailing spouses have a very hard time finding jobs and getting work permits in Fiji. I am the trailing spouse, traipsing along after John while he pursues a career. How utterly prehistoric is that?

Last week, I went along to a fundraising morning at the Fiji Museum which I heard about on the Suva Expat Facebook page (which is indispensable). Of course, being an introvert, I didn't really want to go. I sat around in the morning, after John and Anna left, making excuses. In the end I decided that the need to make some friends and gather fodder to entertain you, my dear reader, outweighed the negatives. True to form, once I was actually there, I lurked in the entryway of the museum while the tropically attired trailing spouses made chit chat.

Overcome by a momentary loss of control, I actually approached a small group and introduced myself. They were very welcoming. I had an enjoyable morning watching Fijian dancers and singers, listening to a talk by the great grandson of Ratu Cakobau, the great Fijian king, who ate 1,000 people before converting to Christianity and watching a demonstration of how to make masi or tapa cloth. However, by the time the buffet lunch appeared I was starting to feel seriously disgusting.

Dancers from the Fiji Conservatorium of Music - they were amazing!

Being ill in the tropics is horrible. I felt generally rubbish – bad stomach and bad head, hence the lack of blogging. However after a week of sweating, being crabby and sleeping I’m almost back to normal. Well, as normal as I have ever been. Can’t say that reading the first book of Game of Thrones made my troubled sleep any easier – probably should have restricted my entertainment to something that didn't include decapitation and other sword-swinging barbarity. 

1 comment:

  1. I know 'mufti day'! That's only because I went to high school for a year in New Zealand though. And I never thought of you as an introvert! So funny. I don't know that you guys are going to want to come back to the NE... Love seeing these pics and reading the stories to go with them.