Archive for the 'Rachel 19' Category

Back to School!

Friday, February 18th, 2005

Hey everyone! Whew, I am finally back at college, ready to start class again this week. Although it’s been nice not having class for awhile, I’m excited for spring semester to start. The classes I am taking (mainly in the fields of psychology, sociology and philosophy) should be really interesting…but maybe challenging, too! So we’ll see. I went to visit one of my best friends at her college this weekend. It was really fun to party it up at another college. I had sneaked some Fiji beer back in my suitcase…so I drank about 5 of those on Friday night, lol! My friend thought they tasted kinda bad…but I’m not too picky, I’m more of a “beer girl” than a hard liquor gal anyways. My favorite is Miller Lite, and also Mich Golden Lite….yum! lol. But I have to remember to exercise it all off whenever I drink, heh. That’s always a bummer!

I’m also REALLY excited to include in this journal entry some pictures from FIJI!! Most of the pictures were taken by my with a dinky disposable camera…but my roomate (who also came to Fiji) had a digital camera, so a couple of the pics are from her, not me. But I was still there, so it’s all the same to me!

The beautiful picture of an island, is of Beachcomber Island, which is a little ways off the mainland of Fiji. It was absolutely gorgeous, as you can tell! The color of the water was unreal…I could hardly believe my eyes, it was such a perfect shade of aqua! Amazing. I didn’t want to get off that tiny lil island, but we only stayed for a day.

Another pictures is of the amazing Sigatoka Sand Dunes. The scenery was breathtaking, and as you can see, there was a TON of sandy hills. The sand was scorching hot on my skin (I was dumb enough to wear sandals…whoops!) but it was worth it, I had a blast.

I also included a picture of myself with some Fijian village children. It was their first time seeing white people, besides on TV. Needless to say, they were ecstatic to meet us, and very friendly. They reminded me of how fun it is to be a child. I loved their smiles, it made me melt.

The last couple pics I have are of me and my friends taking advantage of the drinking age there! Hehe. (it is 18 there, instead of 21, yay!) One picture is with my roomate (the cute lil asian girl) and a fellow college friend who also went to Fiji. Another picture is of me drinking a Toblerone at the bar by the pool. Toblerone was a delicious mix of Bailey’s Irish Cream and some other stuff (which I forgot, lol) – it was so good, and the bartender gave it to me for FREE, woohoo. I loved the drink so much that I made my friend take a picture of me with it, lol.

Well, hope you guys like the pictures! I can try to scan some more to include in my next journal. I think I’m gonna have a low key night tonight and just rest before my 9am class start tommorrow (yikes!). Have a great week guys!

Take Care, Rachel

I’m in FIJI!

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

Bula everyone! (Bula means “hello” in Fiji) Wow, Fiji was absolutely amazing…I can’t believe I was only there three weeks…it felt like two months! I had so many fun adventures there.

First off, the weather is really really hot. I’m a upper midwest girl, so this place was SCORCHING hot! About 85-95 degrees every day, and extremely high humidity. You know it’s bad when even the locals are sweating and desperately seeking shade. I’ve never sweat so much in my entire life…honestly! But it was all part of the experience, lol. I learned to immensely appreciate even the slightest of breezes…they felt like a piece of heaven in the hot tropical sun.

The people of Fiji are so wonderful. I’ve never met such genuinely kind, generous and selfless people. They have so little and are so poor, yet they are so happy. What they lack in resources/money, they make up for in their big and open hearts. Music is really strong there…you can’t help but be moved by their beautiful harmonies and the intricate rhythms of their drums.

It’s hard to summarize three weeks there, but here’s a list of some of the things I did:

1. I crawled thru a tiny hole to enter the famous Cannibal Cave, where the Fijians used to (not anymore!) perform ancient dances before killing then eating their opponent. Cannibalism mainly existed when you captured your warrior opponent, for it was seen as the ultimate victory to not only kill, but to eat him, too. Humans were also sacrificed to the various gods and ancestors, prior to the Europeans’ arrival and conversion to Christianity.

2. I trekked up some pretty steep and sandy hills to see their Sigatoka Sand Dunes. They’ve found human remains and pottery that dates back over 3,000 years! The scenery of the dunes and the ocean was breathtaking.

3. I visited their one and only psychiatric hospital, called St. Giles. The field of psychology is really behind there, definitely not up to western advancements. As a psychology major, I was really interested in this. They have only two psychiatric doctors for the whole country! To treat patients, they mainly use medication; counseling the patients is very very rare. They give them their pills and that’s about it. Although, ECT (shock therapy) is still very prevalent there. They even let me and a couple other students witness a schizophrenic patient receive shock treatment! Although I felt guilty to be invading the patient’s privacy, I knew I had to watch because it was a once in a lifetime oppourtunity. It was very strange – they only use shock therapy in the U.S. for extreme cases, but here, they use it with many patients frequently. Also, people with eating disorders are not seen as having a mental illness. Rather, they are checked into the general hospital for “dietary malnutrition” and forced to eat enough to leave the hospital. They receive no counseling for their disorder, because most people view it as merely an eating problem, not a psychological issue. That was very disheartening to hear.

4. I stayed overnight in a local village and spent two days there. Votua Village had about 300 people and everyone was so nice and welcoming. I stayed with a young family – a couple with a 6-year old boy named Abel. He was the most adorable thing ever! Just the cutest, sweetest little boy ever. He loved giving me hugs and decorating my hair with hibiscus flowers from the trees surrounding their house. The house was just a 4-wall cement building, flat roof. No electricity (so no tv, radio, lights, etc) a bucket for a shower, and straw mats for the floor. We would just talk in the dark, lit by only one kerosene lamp. I drank lots of “kava” at the house – kava is water mixed with powder , which is ground up dried roots from the yaquana plant. It tastes like dirty water, and since it is a mild narcotic, your lips and tongue go numb for a little bit. But don’t worry, its very MILD, I had no hallucinations or anything freaky! But I did drink 10 full cups of it…I started to feel pretty tired and lethargic, lol. My “dad” for the evening speared a fish for me from the ocean, and my mom, Tema, cooked it whole, eyeballs and everything! Although I don’t like eating meat that still looks exactly like it did when alive…I ate it anyways to respect their culture. It tasted delicious actually! Little did I know, that a day later, I would throw up 4 times, have a fever, and feel really faint/weak – my professors are pretty sure it was food poisoning, because my sickness lasted only a day. But it’s all good…it was worth it, because I had an amazing time in the village.

Well there is so much more I could say, but this is getting to be pretty long! I will save it for another day, another entry. I will also try to scan some pics soon here, so you can see a taste of Fiji! I hope you all are having a great start to your new year. Don’t forget to pray for all the tsunami victims. Take care everyone!

Rachel 🙂