Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Weather dependent

Today looked nice and sunny outside with a little breeze, so I thought it would finally be a perfect day for laundry (we have to hang-dry all our clothes). But it never fails that as soon as I'm hanging the last few pieces of laundry it starts to look overcast all of a sudden, then a few drizzles start to fall and it's raining. Then comes the question of waiting it out to see if it's just a small drizzle, or drag everything inside and cover the living room and dining area with wet clothes that will take days to dry inside and hopefully won't start growing mold. Today I decided to wait it out, so far it just continues to look overcast with a strong breeze, hopefully the rain won't start again.

So as you can see our lives are very weather-dependent here, the above was just a small example. Things as basic as what we eat depends on the weather - if it's too windy and rainy for a few days the fishermen won't go out and there won't be fish anywhere in town. I can't imagine in the US not being able to get a certain food because of rain. Or if there are storms and the ocean is too rough the big ferry boat from the main island won't come for a week and we'll run short on supplies and food such as eggs (they only come from the main island), butter, chicken, and more. Rain also effects work and school here. If it's a rainy day many kids and even teachers just won't show up for school, or if it starts raining after school has started they'll have a long-run day and go straight through lunch then end early so the kids don't have to walk back and forth in the rain. At professional jobs people might not show up if it's raining hard outside. One nice thing about rainy weather is that it's a lot quieter in the mornings on rainy days - the neighbor kids aren't all outside yelling at the top of their lungs and even the roasters, dogs and pigs are quieter. On the other hand if it doesn't rain enough in the dry season our sima vie (rain water tank) that we get all our drinking water from outside could run dry and we'd have no drinking water. And during the summer here when it's unbearably hot and humid it effects what you do. You really think twice about walking across town or even a few blocks in the blistering sun. Back home you really don't think much about weather effecting your daily lives such as laundry/chores, food, transportation, or work. And the time of day also effects things here unlike back home. Local boats can only go out during the daylight hours, since most of them don't have lights and there are no reef markers lit up at night, it would be impossible to navigate. The time of year also has a bigger effect here on food supplies. Back home you can go to a big grocery store and get fruit, veggies and other seasonal foods anytime of year. Here if it's not in season, it's not available. During winter right now we have lots of vegetables available - lettuce, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, and green peppers, and bananas, papaya and root crops are available all the time. In the summer we'll get into the fruit season - pinneapple, mango, passion fruit, guava, and avocados. The summer is also the rainy season, hence more mosquitos, so we have to lather up with mosquito spray to avoid dengue fever. So the time of year, time of day, and weather has a bigger effect on our lives here.

This last week we've just been doing our normal work routines, I've started teaching a few computer classes again and we're battling computer viruses at the computer center I work at. Brett has started helping out with night classes once a week for the class 6 students who have their big exam in October. And every Friday now is karoake night at our local restaurant/bar so that's been fun. The Tongans always choose the cheesy love songs, and when it's just our group of friends there at the end we're all singing along. And now we're down to only four puppies out of the original 8, I think they've been stolen. The neighbor kids are doing good, we came home yesterday though to the little 2-year old boy peeing on our front steps! Peeing in the yard is "normal" here, but this was the first time he'd done it at our house. Back home right now the MN State Fair is going on, everyone back there enjoy it for us and all the good food we're missing!

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