My very silent blog readers ;p, this entry is one that I am writing on my first day back at work after a week full of celebrations in honour of Kiribati Independence day. If anyone knows how to party, it is the i-Kiribati. I love that you don’t have to push anyone to stand up and show a step or two or sing a tune or two. They are ever ready. I thought us ‘Punjabi’ peeps were rhythmic but hey, we have some very strong competition and that’s why I seem to fit well :).

Last week started off with our bollywood performance on Friday night amongst a very diverse crowd including the President and the First Lady! I am bias here and will say we stole the show although there were some amazing acts during the night. Still, my kids and I rocked it :). At the end of the night, we got a special request from the President’s office for a performance at the Presidential Banquet and it was rather fitting as we were packaged as a surprise for the visiting Indian High Commissioner. The Bolly-buzz continued that night and we are gaining popularity by the day. I just hope the legacy continues after I leave.

I do get asked what my real job is every now and then. Ha ha ha. I work as an Urban Planning Advisor and am loving every bit of it. Challenging to say the least and a challenge is exactly what I was looking for. It is great being amongst it all again today and seeing my super cool planners working hard solving problems. For those who have worked with me know that there is just something about problem solving that rocks my boat. Combine that with dancing, it’s like eating fish and rice! Some might not get that reference but fish and rice is the perfect dish here hence the comparison.

You know when so many things happen and you really want to document it all but it’s just impossible. Well, last week was a bit like that. Thousands of people gathered in Bairiki town for the numerous events that were on show like dancing competitions, singing competitions, choir, wrestling, fishing competition, fashion and beauty show, battle of the bands, food stalls, cultural shows, volleyball, basketball etc. An entire week of entertainment and each night would generally go into the wee hours of the morning. The i-Kiribati have amazing amounts of energy! I never managed to stay past 12:30am and by that time already having lost my voice cheering for the dance groups (dancing
competitions were ofcourse my favourite events). It was just constant go go go and yesterday, we organised a small picnic to thank all the dancers and as far as my gatherings go- let’s say, I love games, dancing and heaps of interaction so that is exactly what it was. This was followed by the dancers convincing me to go the ‘Betio bridge’ to jump into the water. Must have only been about 6/7 metres. Certainly felt like 20!! I did it three times, each time questioning why I was doing it while clenching the bridge with fear and taking about 20 minutes a jump and then being rescued by the dancers already in the water so we could climb up and jump again. Tick off my bucket list but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t on the list in the first place. Ha ha ha

I must say, the dance group, the picnic, the practices, none of it would have been possible if it weren’t for the support I received from people both in terms of faith, funding, space for practice, open minds, willingness to learn something new, encouragement and a can-do attitude (especially one little lady in particular, little only in size and I will call her ‘the wrestler’ to keep it anonymous. I saw her dancing at the local night club one night and in the moments that followed, knew she was the missing piece in my group ;p ). It is also amazing how things just happen and how the events that lead upto them make sense in hindsight. Life is interesting like that. It’s rather satisfying when the dots connect.

With that thought, ‘Tiabo-moa’ (Pronounced sabo-moa meaning good bye! Until next time)


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