Sunday, April 24, 2016

We’ve been here a little over a month now, and I feel settled in.  We have a routine, we’ve found grocery stores and the parks, we know how to ride the bus.  Life here is nice.  We do have  an interesting housing situation-- we are actually in shared housing.  That means we have a bedroom in a 4 bedroom house, and all the other rooms are shared.  Since we have been here we have had several roomates (this is mostly used by the university as temporary housing), and actually after the first few days of panic (there is no way we can keep the girls well behaved enough!!) it has been fine.  We did not expect this-- it was a last minute thing done by the international office-- but the location and safety cannot be beat.  The house is on campus, so Daniel can come and go easily.  This also means the whole campus is the girl’s back yard, and they have claimed several “treehouses” (mostly trees with interesting roots they play around).  Also, there is a housekeeper (!).   To keep us from being too spoiled, I’ve told her we will clean our room, but I haven’t scrubbed a bathroom since I’ve been here :) . It actually makes me more conscientious, though. I’m much more careful about doing our dishes right away and making sure the girls clean up all their crumbs.

Living with others has been good for us, although not without some challenges.  I’ve seen some gaps in the girl’s manners that wasn’t apparent when we mostly kept to our own house. They are VERY interested in everyone else’s coming and goings, but our house mates have been tolerant of the constant inquiries of  “where  you GOING? What you DOING?”  We are still working on the concept of personal space with others, although it actually took about 3 weeks for the girls to be ok with me in another room. I felt like a mama duck with her ducklings for a while, I would trip over them every time I moved.  The hardest part has been just having one room that is really ours-- if someone is napping, or if the girls are at each other's throats and need to be separated, there really isn't anything I can do.  We will only be in this housing through July, and then will move to Samoa for at least a semester, so we can work with it for now.

As for Suva, it is the perfect sized city. The infrastructure in the city is much better than Belize-- cross walks!  stoplights! sidewalks!  It only costs 70 Fijian cents- about 35 US cents-- to ride the bus, and the buses run all the time, all over the city.  The girls and I love the bus-- Miss M asks just about every hour when we can go again, and when given the choice between going to the playground or riding the bus, she chooses the bus.  You‘ve never met a more thrilled bus passenger.  She spontaneously yells WOO-HOO! throughout the trip.  The buses don‘t have windows, so she sticks her little hand out, waves to everyone nearby, and yells, “I‘m riding the bus!!”   While Daniel is studying, we take mini-adventures, small trips of a couple of hours to explore without being overwhelmed.  We ventured into the center city and went to the market, which is huge and has a great variety of produce.  We also checked out a few malls, and the girls went to their very first toy store.  I’ve told the girls that the toys live there, so they don’t fuss when we leave, we will see how long that lasts :)  We get a lot of attention when we are out and about, but I have not felt unsafe.  Fiji actually feels much, much safer then Belize.

This picture needs a caption:  This is the downtown bus station, which happens to be RIGHT on the water.  That is a cruise ship pulled up to dock right across the street.  I couldn't believe how huge it was.

We  found a great modern jungle gym in a park on the water, with lots of slides and swings and climbing.  I love watching the  wonder in the girls’ faces when they encounter something new.  They have impressed me so much with how quickly they can figure out new situations, it is amazing how adaptable small kiddos are.  Miss M rode an escalator and elevator for the first time at the airport, and now she is a pro.  When we go to the mall, all she wants to do is ride up the escalator and down the elevator. She knows how to push the button for the cross walk and crosses like a NYC native.  Both girls also now recognize McDonalds…. there is one close to our house which we have visited for ice cream and the playground :).  You would never know a few weeks ago they were chasing goats barefoot across a field.  My goal for our time here is to do as many things as we can that aren't available in Belize, including things like dance lessons for the girls.  I also stumbled across some Chinese cooking lessons offered by the Chinese cultural center, and have gone a couple of times.  No one speaks much English beyond "Good!" with a thumbs up and smile, but that seems to be enough for cooking lessons.  It's a lot of fun.

Pardon the recycled Instagram photos for this post, I'm having some trouble getting my Mac on the wireless here, and have to borrow Daniel's computer for now.  I've got a few more posts written, and I figured I would just try and post more rather then worry too much about pictures.  More soon!

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