Micronesia: Day 13

Friday, July 5, 2013
1:22 A.M.

Even though I’m writing this post on Friday, this post is about Thursday and July 4th.

Today was a pretty chill day. As a nice break, we went to the U.S. embassy in Kolonia for a 4th of July party. There were American flags, patriotic songs sung by adorable kids, Polynesian dances by the cutest 5 year old girls you’ve ever seen (and some older teenage ones as well), hot dogs (they didn’t have any veggie dogs, so I ate one), cupcakes, and even some Mormons. Don’t worry, they didn’t try to convert me.

My afternoon was spent with my mom discussing the logistics of my return home. Apparently, Peter Moran, the chief guy of the IPE (International Programs and Exchanges) department at the UW, ordered Julian to send me home. This was pretty hard to take… but I gradually accepted it, and my mom and I looked at flights going back to Seattle. I would like to stop in Guam cause I’ve never been there before and I know a cool Homo sapien from there, and then my mom and I were planning to see if we could sneak a couple days in Hawaii before we take the final flight back to Seattle. My return has been deemed a “medical evacuation,” so the flight will be completely paid for my the HTH insurance we were required to buy. I’ll have more info on all this stuff later and there is still an infinitesimally small chance I will stay, but I’m almost certainly coming home early and not finishing the class, whether I like it or not. My doctor has cleared me to stay, my parents are fighting for me to stay, the professor and kids want me to stay, and I want to stay, but none of us have the final say… that power belongs to Mr. Moran. And even if Moran changes his mind, this whole event has been so stressful on my mom that she expressed her desire to leave regardless of the outcome of the situation. This whole situation has been a mess, but that is a topic for another blog. In the meantime, I’ve still got some time here, and I intend to spend it to its fullest extent.

Tonight, I drank some sakau. For those of you who don’t know, sakau is a beverage that tastes like dirt, has narcotic effects, and is used widely throughout Micronesia and many other Pacific islands for recreational and spiritual purposes. I didn’t feel any of the effects, but that’s ok. It was something I definitely wanted to try, and I got to try it.

Tomorrow (technically today), I’ll be checking out seagrasses in some estuaries, and I’m very excited. On Friday night, all of Saturday, and Sunday morning through afternoon, everybody else will be at homestays at various places near Kolonia on the island. Mr. Moran has forbidden me from any homestays even though I will have to be here until at least Sunday evening because that’s when I can get plane flights to Guam. Instead, I expect my mom and I to do some touristy stuff. I may show her Nan Madol, and I really want to take her to a mangrove swamp in some way, shape, or form. I also really want to see if I can organize a deep-sea fishing trip or a trip to Ant Atoll, which is a 30+ mile open-ocean boat ride from Kolonia. The chances are slim, but it’s worth a shot.

My mom has recited this quote since my infancy:

“As you travel along life’s highway,
Let this motto be your goal.
Keep your eye upon the doughnut
And not upon the hole.”

I expect to be eyeing a lot of doughnuts before I leave Pohnpei.

Charlie

Finished 1:46 A.M. 

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