It has been such a long time since I have put anything in here I am finding it difficult to decide where to start. I guess I will go back toward March. We had graduated our certificate II students and had a successful bbq celebration to boot. Not half as colourful as the last one but then I may well be desensitized / acclimatised now. I am just shy of the halfway mark of the original contract meaning one year and people on the 6 month contracts are getting notices preparing them for reverse culture shock returning to Australia so who knows how I will react.
Its funny actually the things that are the norm here now I had one of my guys arrested on the job on the main highway and another wanted for questioning in a Romeo and Juliet type story and I am not free from trouble myself getting pulled over and called into the police station for not having a Solomon's license haha but everything ticks along and we handle it with good humour.
What else has happened, jeez, so much, I found myself teaching English night classes to a group of Taiwanese volunteers and snuck in some of my local guys too but that has come to an end (I am so behind in these blogs) and they are returning to Taiwan in two weeks. I will actually miss the classes they were good fun and also got on a few bushwalks with them.
My protégé was successful in her application for a study trip to Australia and has gone and come back. From this I've gotten a great feeling of pride and satisfaction and a few laughs from stories of her own tales of culture shock, reminiscent of scenes of the gods must be crazy movies.
I also inquired about basketball at the local stadium here just out of sheer heck and got a call from a lady saying yes she has a spot on a team so off I went to practice. Turns out they are A and B grade players some on the national team and I am in the deep end. My first practice game in two years travelling abroad and I nearly died, the looks of disappointment from the guys were evident but over the past three or four weeks, I have been a picture of health and could almost call myself fit now, so we won the semi for B grade this week and play the Semi for A tomorrow.
Oh Danielle and I (there's a whole other story there) also got an invite to and attended a local wedding which was fantastic (photos uploaded). It was a mix between kastom culture and Catholic tradition with tribal dancers in traditional costume leading the procession of a bride and groom in western dress (white wedding dress and black suit). The reception was amazing, on the beach with the extended families from two villages numbering in the hundreds. Then two whities as conspicuous as you can get being treated (to the point massive awkwardness at times) as special as the bride and groom. I think I have said it before but despite the sketchy publicity and indeed evident disorganization of tourism, the people are among the most friendly and welcoming as anywhere in the world.
So there's a crash course in life to date. Looking to the future I am coming home! I have opted to conclude my assignment at the end of this year and though I have mixed feelings about the decision there's a carrot on a stick in front of me making it easier. A job prospect has come up in China so this snowball of globetrotting might not yet be over. Anyway that's next year, concentrating on this year I am hanging out for September when my brother and partner Nina will be over with my old friend Tamz for the great Island hop through Western province, then in November a last hurrah of relaxation with a visit from Karen back in wintery South Australia right now.
Lots to look forward to!