Saturday, September 25, 2010

"You're a Dancing QUEEN! You just LOVE to DANCE!"

Once again, paradise delivers a wonderful day to me on a silver platter. I was a bit groggy getting up this morning, especially knowing I had a test and site cleanup to tackle. I got up 20 minutes earlier than I usually do to cram a few extra terms into my head; animals I probably wouldn't see out there, but that my teachers would be delighted to point out if we did. After the morning meeting we had site cleanup and our room was assigned to "beautification". Which was more like a communist activity… Pete said, "Ok ladies, I need you to move this pile of rocks, to there, and make another pile of rocks." Well, not EXACTLY like that, but that was the gist. We spent an hour moving rocks and concrete slabs from one side of the volleyball court to the opposite side where the large rubble pile is. 8 trips of a broken wheelbarrow and some country/rap music later, our hour was up and it was time to return to the group. We went to go change for the test, and quizzed each other on names and terms on our way out to the boats. Overnight, somebody had stolen our teeny Mercury 8 HP backup-backup motor and we had to use the Zodiac chase boat instead to haul everyone out to the dive site. People were cramming and freaking out and humming and screaming before the test, utterly nervewracking habits to have before tests, at least for me. A few of us decided to sing Motown songs instead, and our boat turned into a much better atmosphere for test taking. A nice rendition of "You've lost that lovin feeling" later, and it was time to take our test. The first fish we saw was one I had never seen underwater before. Great. The next 2 were stingrays, a rare sight. 17 more fish later and the test was done, complete with parrotfish, damselfish, snappers, groupers, and a honeycomb cowfish, one of those 5 fish I had crammed before getting on the boat. I got a few minutes to review my answers abovewater and on the boat before I had to turn it in, and I remembered that first fish I had seen. Malacanthus plumieri. Success! So with that madness behind me, we headed back in for some lunch and preparation for our community outreach program.

I was helping with computer classes today, most of which were just people coming in wanting to perfect their typing skills, set up facebook accounts or emails, install skype, etc. However, today the Port Authority was sending employees in to learn some basics so there were a few more people in the computer room than usual. I was working with a woman from the P.A. that wanted help with an email account, and then was needing to learn Excel for future P.A. work. However, excel is really difficult to teach when your student is unfamiliar with mathematical terms and cursor functions. The nuiances of Excel are rather tricky to learn if you haven't been using a mouse for a while, and mathematical terms and functions don't make sense if you don’t use them often. It was a harrowing 2 hours, but I think she was in a good mood when she left. Her sentence-forming skills were poor too, but we powered through it, setting up basic ledger sheets and yahoo email accounts. Whew.

Dinner-time was shortly afterwards, and it was already dark by the time we had cleaned up. Time to go out! The Center was abuzz with energy ready to blow off steam from our huge test. We started out at Chicken Bar and chatted with some locals and just released general energy after such a stressful study week. A few of us talked about making trips to see other students or travel to other states. Mike is all set to come visit Stephen and I in May so he can run Bay to Breakers, a famous San Francisco race. Mike and I have been swapping stories recently about track and cross country and this race has been on his bucket list for quite some time. We got bored at Chicken so Alex (Pags), Sean and I went over to Rooster's so shoot some pool. We ran into Red, a local man that had teamed up with me in dominos to beat Goochie and Money last week and he challenged us to some pool. Him and I have had some cool conversations, so he gave me one of the shark teeth he had collected earlier in the week. Way cool.

We left Rooster's to return to Chicken bar, but met the crowd of students migrating to Bayside Ballers, the closest thing we have to a club here. Which happens to be right next to Roosters. Almost the whole Center was there, and we spent the next 4 hours dancing and dancing and dancing and dancing until we had all sweated 8 lbs or so and could barely stand. I love that all the guys in this program are both willing to dance, and rather good at it, and we all just have an absolute blast when we do go out. A few of us danced with our favorite local characters too, and we all were drenched and out of breath by 12 when it was time to make curfew. I walked home (1/2 a block?) with Pags and we met everyone else playing spoons in the common area. A few rounds later and it was time to calm down and settle in for the evening. Pags and I swapped epic back and arm massages and enjoyed the temperate evening, talking about our families and childhoods. He's always good for great conversation late at night, as is Mike (Sway), some of the few night owls that tend to keep me company in the wee hours of the morning. I crashed into bed around 2, exhausted, exhilarated, and content with life in this beautiful place.

Go broncos!

Chase, Sean, Mikenna, Pags, Myself, Savannah, and Money, our local "tour guide" of sorts.


  1. You better hope that accepting a shark tooth from a guy doesnt mean you're now married to him...

  2. Haha nope, but maybe dominos partners for life. :)