Apologies for the lateness in posting. I have come to realise that waiting a while before writing about an experience is a coping mechanism. It allows me to forget some of the more challenging aspects of the experience and turns it into a good story in my mind. Last week, a friend and I spontaneously decided to travel to the Marshall Islands or shall I say, a little speck of America in the Pacific.

I should have asked but I know she will not mind. A dear friend sent me an email in response to my account of being in Kiribati and then the Marshall Islands. She wrote that upon reading my blog entries, she thought that either I “have landed in a magical never-neverland, or had a mighty tough positive mindset, or were obscuring the discomfort of adapting to a completely new environment”. All of which is true to an extent. It was worth sharing her insight because my blog certainly requires a bit of reading in between the lines!

Being in Majuro gave me the distance from Kiribati to see it for what it is without having to cope with daily life. It is tough but also makes me realise that volunteering is truly needed here and I’m getting an authentic package. It is rather interesting how much happiness can be felt by having something you are deprived of. The secret to happiness as this dear friend of mine concluded is perhaps in visits to what we perceive as the developed world every now and then.

The Marshalls was a very interesting trip. At first my fellow traveler friend, Jess and I were super excited about all the junk food we were going to be able to eat. Our first serving of massive onion rings tasted divine. The first cocktail- muah! Next day, breakfast of pancakes and scrambled eggs on the side with filtered coffee tasted pretty damn impressive. The next memorable meal involved waffles, massive waffles. Again, tasted divine. By this time however, we were struggling with meal sizes. They were far too big for us. That night, we began our 24 hour internet marathon with sleep and food breaks in between. Our hotel room (with a window for the first half of our stay and without a window for the last few days) was well stocked with crackers, chips, dip, tea, fruit and a nice shower. Basically everything we needed and then I got a tummy bug. It was a slight struggle to eat anything and keep in for longer than 15 minutes but lucky for me, Majuro has good facilities in most places so I still went to the beach, to an outer island, shopping but there was always a sense of urgency to find the nearest facilities. Ha ha ha. The following day, Jess too got hit by the bug and against all odds and with a slight twist of fate, we found our way to a pharmacy and bought their only bottle of ‘poop stopper’ pills. They worked and we had them till the day we came back to Kiribati. I have to say, we were determined to have a good time and to eat good food that a silly tummy bug wasn’t going to ruin it for us.

We brought back loads of goodies with us! It was lucky I was travelling with Jess as everything that could go wrong, tried to go wrong. Take for example, my bank cards. None of my cards would work! We didn’t realise there was a departure tax and there is no ATM at the Marshall Islands airport. We were only carrying Aussie money by this stage but it all worked out. Tummy bug happened but that too was managed. My philosophy was that I was going to eat the bug to death and I succeeded- eventually.
On our return, we caught the local bus from the airport and my body could certainly tell that there was a difference in the condition of the road. We slowly rattled home to familiar sounds of loud music, pigs, roosters and dogs, smiling faces, cultural depth, smoking cooking fires and a low level in our rain water tank. Ha ha. It is good to be back!


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