Sunday, 6 January 2013

Warning: this post contains spleen venting

First thoughts on what it would be like to move to Fiji? Endless sun, sand and sea? Ha! Let me dispel you of this notion once and for all. True if you move to a resort and work as a divemaster your life will all of those things and more, I’m sure. But for most of us that have jobs that require sitting at a desk, living in Fiji means living and working in Suva, and at the moment, Suva is in my bad books.

Over the last few days, things have happened that have really tested my affection for this hot, sweaty place. First, I misplaced my passport. Now it would be churlish to blame this momentary lapse of being a responsible adult on where we live. However, I had stashed it away somewhere safe for the duration of Cyclone Evan and on going to retrieve it I could not find it. John and I have searched everywhere in the house at least twice and still no luck. It was about to expire anyway, but my main record of travel over the last ten years has disappeared in a post-storm, bereavement-fueled fug.

Of course you need to file a police report to replace a lost passport. Obtaining the police report required three trips by taxi to the police station. To be completely fair to the Fijian police, I never had to wait more than ten minute to be told to come back later and on the third trip, it took less than five minutes for the neatly typed, very boring police report to be placed in my hands.

Also, I have had two attempts to get my American passport photo taken. The place that takes them here specialises in taking the least attractive photos ever. For the next ten years, my glowering stare from beneath my perspiring brow in my passport photo will be a reminder of our time in Fiji. If you plan to move abroad, be sure to have a couple of different photo IDs besides your passport and some decent passport photos. It could save you a lot of bother.

Our beloved little Reg, the cutest, scruffiest kitten this side of the International Date Line, broke his leg on Friday. Over the weekend, he managed to progress it from a greenstick to an infected compound fracture. Problem is that the only vet in Suva left for her week-long holiday on Friday afternoon.  Yes, you heard me right - THE ONLY VET IN SUVA. Even the Society for the Protection of Animals in Suva does not have access to a vet until February. Here, animal life is cheap. If you’re seriously attached to your animals, I would suggest that you keep Fiji as an expat destination off your list and check the availability of veterinary care wherever you’re thinking about going.

We had a sleepless night nursing him. Thankfully, I’m married to a mad scientist who happened to have a bottle of powered ampicillin in his office left over from an experiment, so a slug of that mixed with goat’s milk in a syringe, cooling with damp towels and the occasional cuddle kept him alive until we got him to the vet’s this morning. He’s only receiving nursing care though, so we’re hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

Finally, after dropping Reg off at the vet’s this morning, I fell asleep for an hour and woke to no power. It was only after another hour or so that I realised that we were the only ones in this situation in our neighbourhood. In our house, that’s how you can tell that the electricity bill is overdue - they turn off your power. Of course it does help if you receive the bill. The timing of the bill arrival is completely random. I had suspected that this might happen so last week I tried to put some money towards our account but was told that they needed a copy of the bill or the amount due to pay it. It is like a Kafkaesque nightmare. Another trip into town to pay the bill, a six hour wait and the power is back on.

Maybe I’ll feel a little better now that the ceiling fans are on, I've eaten some delicious half-melted ice cream from the freezer and I've vented in this post.

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