It is hard to believe that it was seven months ago that I was sipping a beer at StormCloud Brewery and serving guests at Chimney Corners Resort. The time since studying for finals at the University of Michigan and lying on the shores of Lake Michigan has flown by. It is shocking how busy I have been. When coming to Fiji and joining the Peace Corps, I was told to bring plenty of books and movies and to prepare for having lots of free time. The reality is I don’t have enough time for many of the projects I planned to start and would like to begin. I have found my search for projects to be similar to my travel experience. The more you do and the more you see, the more you want to do and want to see. Needless to say, I have been keeping myself very busy between my new water project, girl guides, a reading program, my literacy program, youth group talks, typing reports, picking up rubbish, creating a debate team, and doing my life skills program! Speaking of shocking things, I wear shoes about 5% of the time and have already gone through 7 pairs. Here is the story behind each pair of shoes…
- The first shoes I lost were my favorite chaco sandals. I went to Malolo Island for Christmas and for some reason decided to bring my shoes. I wore them one time and left them outside at the door (you never wear your shoes in someone’s house in Fiji). Not being used to wearing shoes, I forgot to pack them as we were leaving. After making it all the way to the mainland, I realized I wasn’t wearing any shoes. At that point, most of the shops were closed, and not wanting to spend money on shoes, I traveled all the way across the county by bus to Suva area (Vuci village) for our New Years celebration barefoot. I then caved and bought a pair of $2 flip-flops in Nausori Town.
- This cheap pair of replacement flip-flops was then “taxied” in the village during a grog circle. When people leave the grog circle to pee, they often just slip on the most convenient shoes at the door. Well whoever used my shoes must’ve been too grog dope to return to the circle after using the toilet (or rather the woods) and headed home with my shoes.
- Again, I bought $2 replacement flip-flops. When leaving site for a training I had to attend in Pacific Harbour, I realized upon reaching the mainland, I was shoeless. This time I bought another pair of shoes for my travel from Nadi to Pacific Harbour.
- These emergency flip-flops, purchased because my shoes were at home in Waya and I was on the mainland, were taken at a club in Suva during this training period. We were out dancing and I insisted on taking my shoes off after entering the club. I am used to being barefoot, and so clearly, my shoes got in the way of my dancing. When I looked down about an hour later, I realized my shoes were gone. Being only about half way through my time on the mainland, I was forced to buy another $2 pair of flip-flops
- Back in Yalobi, I attended a grog circle with shoes (a rare occurrence) because the sand along the walk to the village was too hot to be barefoot. On my way home from the village, I forgot to grab my shoes, because again, I am not used to wearing them. I left them behind at the grog circle but didn’t even realize they were missing until about a week later.
- Again, I reached the wharf and set foot on the mainland only to realize I had no shoes. I headed to a bargain box to buy yet another pair of $2 flip-flops. I think I should put a sign on my door that says, “GOING TO THE MAINLAND?? DON’T FORGET YOUR SHOES!” so that I will remember to grab my shoes before heading to Nadi.
- When staying in Lautoka during the cyclone warning, the house I stayed at was burglarized. Don’t worry we are all safe! Fortunately, all my stuff was locked in my room except for my shoes, which were in the common room by the door. There was a pile of shoes next to the door and ones that were a lot nicer than my $2 flip-flops, but for some reason, mine were taken! RIP bargain box flip-flops!
For reasons outlined above, my fellow volunteers gave me the “Most Likely to Lose Her Shoes” award.