busy days as term wraps up

Busy days as I like them.

Tuesday: Was Diwali! A friend Kirti invited a bunch of us over for Diwali lunch, and it was good fun and the food was really tasty. I got fired from making roti because they kept turning out square. A bunch of us saw Flight too at the cinema (menh). Diwali is ‘the festival of lights’ and everyone sets off fireworks all day. At night it was insane, there were big fireworks everywhere being set off absolutely everywhere and it was lots of fun.

We have been having too much fun with fireworks lately because they started selling them about a month ago. You can get so many kinds of fireworks and they are all different. The best ones were the red ones with tubes.. on Diwali we set one off that had 15-25 tubes and it was reeeally big. My next favourite ones were these small fireworks called helicopters that fly up and spin around. Very dangerous. We hid behind pillars.

Damage the first day we found the fireworks stand (note: all of these were not set off in one night)

On Friday, Mary Ellen and Paul arrived in Suva and we went out to Ashiyana (sense a trend?) with a few friends from here. We had curries, vindaloo, daal, samosas and naan – all really good. That night a lot of people went out because it was a lot of the international student’s ‘last’ full weekend in Suva.

Saturday I showed MEP and Paul around USP and took them on the bus along the sea wall (scenic route!). I was suffering a bit of -ahem- dehydration all day. That evening we went to dinner at Tiko’s which is a seafood restaurant on a boat. It rocks back and forth every so slightly (romantic? no it just made me feel nauseous).

After goodbyes with them, Rosi and I went to a big live music party at Uprising Resort (about 45 minutes away) with Rosi’s cousins and friends. It was a big deal. They had live concerts and then a DJ. It was sooo much fun. We stayed overnight at her cousin’s place.

Lastly but not leastly, I went sailing Sunday and tried to learn some new tricks. Wasn’t very good at them, but hopefully I get better. My muscles are still sore. Then finished off the weekend with some yam chow (dim sum!) and crashed.

I’m done three finals and have one left later this week. Two of them went really well and one went okay (didn’t realize the stuff from pre-midterm would be on there oops.. but I know I still got at least a B). The international students have started leaving already.. I am really glad I will be here for another semester. I am 100% excited for NZ and Aus (less than two weeks to go!!!) and anticipating all the awesomeness, but am really happy I am coming back. My Fiji time is not over. I would be really upset if it was.

Finally, I will share with you something that happened today that really illustrates how life is easy here. I am in the process of deciding where to live next semester and was hoping I could renew my residence agreement as a back-up plan. I talked to one of the halls managers and was asking him if there was a cancellation fee if I decided I didn’t want it. He proceeded to stare at me blankly and said that there wasn’t a cancellation fee. Then he asked me why they would have one. Fiji life is easy here, sega na lega (no worries). Why worry when you don’t have to?

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fiji fashion week 2012 + sailing times

This past weekend was very busy! Friday was pretty laid back, just went out to dinner with a couple of friends. Saturday morning, John and Corey and I hiked up Joske’s Thumb, which is a nearby inactive volcanic plug. I still need to get pictures from John about that, so I will blog about that later! Saturday evening I went to Fiji Fashion Week, and Sunday I had an awesome day sailing and ate out at Ashiyana (pretty much the BEST Indian restaurant of allllll times, soo tastyy mmm).

Fiji Fashion Week was pretty fun! It was almost like watching Project Runway, but without Michael Kors. It pushed me to keep making my own clothes and jewellery again… not really doing that in Fiji. They gave away free tickets to USP students to sit in the nosebleed section.. I tried to go with my friend Moni from my accounting tutorial but she wasn’t able to get a ticket unfortunately. 😦 So after much convincing, I decided to go by myself.

I liked this one
And this one

There were two collections that I really liked.. the first one had a lot of nice clothes and there was a beachwear collection in the middle that had really nice clothes.

Some of the collections had traditional Fiji-style elements
Definitely ready to wear
It’s like Kat’s tin foil skirt!

Sunday was a good day of sailing. Grahame (the Fleet president) was back from his trip and he gave us a lesson. Lately I have been crewing with Deb (one of the ladies in charge) and we are… definitely learning. To put it nicely, hehe. Grahame would drive around in the motor boat and ‘teach’ us. And by teaching us, it usually involved him screaming at the top of his lungs “What the hell are you doing???” “Is that how you handle a jib sheet???” “You have no plan!!!” “Where are you going????”. (some of these statements are censored) I feel like I am learning more and more, and I do like that he is so straightforward. I am hoping that I will be able to do some more skipper-ing of the hobies, but it’s pretty expensive to do that.

Last week I was a little all over the place, but this week I have been more focused. I have eight days of school left, and two papers due before then. I just finished my major Accounting assignment (which turned out to be 9 pages!!!). I am still figuring out my study break plans but I do know that I will have to study!! All my finals are worth at least 50% of my grade. I will be meeting Mary Ellen and Paul in Savusavu, and I haven’t decided if I will go earlier and go up to Taveuni before meeting them. I’m taking the ferry there most likely, and I booked a cheap flight back from Savusavu on the Sunday before exams start (I can’t wait!! Hoping for a clear day). That night will also be Helenka’s last night in Fiji, so I will be meeting up with her then! Then, Mary Ellen and Paul will be back in Suva the weekend in the middle of the two weeks of exams. I am reallyyyy looking forward to seeing them both!

(Despite being a little more focused, I JUST realized why there was no one in my tutorial this morning… I showed up an hour early!! Haha)

fiji economy update

Yesterday, Laurel and I went to the Fiji Economy Update 2012 hosted by USP. It was an all day event with professors from all the universities talking about research in economics that they have been doing. USP IS a pretty influential school, considering it is the only major public institution in the area.

Some of the talks went right over my head. The ones that I do remember were the professors talking about the economic impact of the 2009 flooding, the affordability of housing, and a talk about poverty and gender links. I’m not sure what I gained from the day, but the flooding talk and the squatter settlement talk links DIRECTLY to what I am studying in my policy class.

We also got a delicious lunch.

Laurel

We also maybe spent too much time with each other that day.

The weekend was pretty good. Friday night the student society threw a big social night which was basically like a middle school dance but with cheap beer. And on Sunday I got to sail for a long time with the boys. They were being extra silly and it was a lot of fun. I fixed the pictures from my intro hobie sailing course post, I added a few more photos here.

I have been having an intense gecko problem lately. My fishphobia has been replaced with an irrational fear of the geckos (batrachophobia?). They used to just hang out on the walls, but I have seen them on my bed posts, IN my bed, running into my pile of folded clothes in my closet (!! why) and lastly HALF A GECKO in the bottom of my trash can. Still alive too!! He didn’t have a tail and only had three limbs. Traumatizing.

hobie sailing with fiji hobie

There is a small hobie club beside USP and I have been drooling over the boats since I got here (where we paddle is right beside the club). Luckily last Sunday I got a chance to sail at their open house!

They sent two people and one skipper out on the boat to try out sailing. The skippers were all young and very good – the Fiji national champion was there as well as a couple that have come top 10 in the world!

It was unlike any sailing that I have done before as the boats are so light and the sails are so big compared to the size of the boat. The boats go really fast and you get totally drenched. They loosened up the boats and said they were only going at about 1/2 of the speed they normally go (12 knots instead of 22-23), but it was so fast and so fun!

Sailing is so cool.

This photo makes it look like a pretty calm day, but it was a super windy day!

PERMAGRIN
That’s Megan and I in the pink/red boat! So much fun.
Photo from fijihobie.com

I know I keep saying this, but genuinely, this was my favourite thing I have done here. We are trying to get a USP Sailing Club together and they are offering an Intro Hobie weekend in a couple of weeks, so I am crossing my fingers it all works out. I’m thinking that since I am here for a year, it might be worth it to invest some money and time into it because I could learn a lot and really improve. I feel like it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and the possibility of sailing was one of the main reasons I came to Fiji. I will have to do some thinking over the next couple of weeks! I can’t wait to get into the harness.