February 14, 2002
Dr. Kava (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the airlines)

Today was an awesome day! It was the welcoming day for all the first years at USP, so we had a big welcome ceremony. Part of the welcome involved a big Kava drinking ceremony where representatives from the 12 South Pacific countries sat in a circle and accepted the traditional Kava...Erika and I got to represent Canada so we not only had our first Kava, but we got to embarass ourselves in front of anyone...YIPPEE!!! It is quite hilarious how they prepare the Kava for drinking...they have a giant bowl where the place the Kava and then they take what amounts to a giant coconut leaf mop and use it to stir and wring out the kava. The best way to picture this is imagine having a giant bowl of soap and wringing out a washcloth in it repeatedly...not too appetizing eh? Kava itself is not the tastiest of treats, mildly resembling really bitter coffee with a nasty afterbite...after you swallow it your mouth goes numb (like you were drinking throat medecine). After the Kava ceremony each nation did a traditional dance. It was absolutely amazing, definetely beating out Survivor, Rum Jungle and Blue Hawaii in terms of realness (sorry I had to insult Elvis Paul). They didn't use any sort of electronic device (CD player...etc) and either sang or had cool instruments. The Samoans seem to be the funniest of all the nations and at the end of their dance they came and grabbed Erika and I out of the audience and basically did a mating dance around us (it was absolutely the funniest most humiliating moment of my life) We had to choose a Samoan and then dance with him...I didn't think dancing with a man in a skirt could be so much fun. Tonight is the dance/dinner and afterwards the Cook Island boys have invited Erika and I to the bar...the Cook Islanders are the most Westernized of the nations and the only boys at school that will speak to us...I think the rest of the guys are scared of us. It's actually quite weird how gender relations work here (at least for us)...none of the students except the Cook Islanders will sit and talk with us, but any older man (over 25) including all construction workers, taxi drivers, kitchen workers and random men in Suva will come up to us and chat. Sometimes it is quite scary as men will follow Erika and I for a while trying to talk to us. Today is actually my first time in Suva alone and it has been a night followed by mare...can't wait to go home.

Posted by Sierra at February 14, 2002 07:03 PM

Hey babe! I'm glad to hear you've arrived safe and sound and are already shopping! Sorry to hear about the luggage. A great big "bah" to that. Now everytime I say that word I am reminded of Karen with a goat's head! Anyways, Happy Valentine's Day, babe. Oh, and I saw Shanahan on tv tonight and thought of ya. Miss ya tons.

Love ya,

Posted by: Bop on February 15, 2002 12:26 AM

Make sure you take your time before choosing your new Fijiian husband. It sounds like you have lots of suitors. See you at the wedding.... :)

Posted by: Dr Gonzo on February 15, 2002 03:49 PM

a Fijian husband>???????

I'm mildly distressed at the thought of it.

Remember dear, we need to rebuild our Birkiebeiner team. Priorities priorities...

Posted by: your mother on February 15, 2002 05:05 PM

hey sierra,
look at you picking up cute guys in skirts before a week has passed!
things here are lovely, i'm a little tipsy (sorry mrs. van der meer) at the moment because I just came back from steve's b-day party.
enjoy the sun!

Posted by: Lana on February 15, 2002 11:43 PM

just wanted to let you know that i'm alive sierra after my bday. I did way worse shots than you and benn and ben and i tallied them at over 20 for sure. I woke up at 2pm sat, totally drunk but i slept it off till 4 and went to kerry's cabin. Watch out for kava, crazy stuff. Send another update soon, tell us what's going down. later

Posted by: StEpHeN on February 17, 2002 04:04 PM

Yo Sierra,
Sounds like you're enjoying yourself, I myself am having a great time....all things considered, wholy shnykies.
But whats worse is the uncle ned got a leak on monday, finally got it fixed tonite.
Funny stuff tho, Tony had an almond rock on his head watchin the game.
Friday we were out on the balcony with couches cus it wasnt potatoes in a mold at all, and for the game against Sweden we had a lot of kitchen sinks and pig's ears at the rubby dub down the frog & toad.
But its my uncle ned bird lime, so talk to you later.

Posted by: KC on February 18, 2002 01:12 AM
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