Hi Everybody,

So we just checked our blog for the first time since our last post, and wow! We are appreciating everyone’s comments! We’ll use this Special Post to respond, then in a minute we’ll put up a regular post (with photos!).

Mom, thanks for the stunning update about Curt’s Datsuns and other assorted metallic objects. Wow. Maybe all that metal is worth some money at the recycle place? Just don’t start buying old Ramblers with it!! 🙂

Dan and Denita, thanks for the ultrasound news!! For some reason, yes, I was imagining a baby boy. We got the pictures of your house and yard; beautiful! Wish we were going to be around when that baby is born. We are thinking about you all the time.

Allen, Aaron, and Anna, thanks for the update and reflections on the Eugene election, and for making your secret ballots public! We of course are still registered in Seattle, but you can probably guess where we stand. We are bummed about the urban renewal and cig tax results. *Sigh* The upside is that maybe someday we’ll be able to swim in the Sears Pit.

Pauline and Brant, we’re glad to hear that Rio was not overly traumatized by her porcupine encounter — though hopefully traumatized just enough to avoid the next one she meets?

Lots of people (Anna, Mom/Sue, Aaron) have asked about the food in Fiji. It is yummy. While we were staying on the tiny island of Caqalai, all guests ate as a group.

caqalai.jpg

Meals were prepared and served by our hosts — you can some of see them waving in the “farewell” picture (in the previous post). The building behind them is the common dining room. One especially good dinner we had there, for example, was fresh fish (Trevally) simmered in coconut milk, with lightly sautéed greens (some tropical member of the cabbage family, maybe?), and taro & cassava root with chili sauce (tangy and sweet, not overly spicy). That was yummy.

After dinner, a traditional practice is to sit around and drink Kava, a mildly intoxicating herbal concoction of questionable flavor. There’s a clapping and “Bula!”-yelling ritual that goes with drinking it. Either we needed to drink a lot more, or our neural receptors are not tuned to the Kava frequency. For breakfast, there were fried-dough things, delicious with butter and jam. And tropical fruit of course – coconut, pineapple, mango, and papaya. Some of the food we ate grew on or around the island (coconuts, fish), but much of it was brought in by boat. The people who host this Caqalai “resort” are all from a village on a nearby island, and their small boats (as shown in one of the pictures) go back and forth at least once a day, picking up/dropping off supplies, family members, guitar strings, etc.

In other parts of Fiji we also had a lot of… Indian food! (Indian food likes to find us wherever we go, because it knows we love it so much.) There are inexpensive curry houses everywhere, serving very spicy dishes (according to Derry’s midwestern palate). Why is there Indian food in Fiji? Well, in the early 20th century the British shipped a lot of Indian people to Fiji as indentured servants. (That pesky British Empire again.) So Indian people were newcomers to Fiji a few generations ago; now, Indo-Fijians are a significant part of Fiji’s population and culture.

Staci asked why we were glad to not run into other Americans in Fiji. I think the feeling I was trying to express (in a smart-alecky way) is that it’s refreshing to be somewhere quite different, where, for example, nobody knows/cares about American football, but everybody’s glued to the Rugby World Cup. (We didn’t even know there was such a thing until we arrived in Fiji and every television was tuned to the final match.) It’s just kind of a nice mind-bender to be swimming along in a different cultural ocean, so to speak.

BUT we’re happy to report that we have run into Americans in New Zealand, and it was fun. We went caving with a family from Iowa plus a guy on leave from Iraq, and it felt like a nice surprise to suddenly have a little of that shared reality back. We talked about the situation in Iraq, rafting the Deschutes, and (of course) Oregon Duck football! 🙂

Jain reported that there’s discussion at Oakridge High School and other area schools as to whether it’s time to change team mascots from Warriors, Indians, etc. to something else. What do we think? Hmm. I (Kate) don’t feel any personal attachment to OHS’s Warrior mascot. I also don’t have a burning opinion about whether such mascots are derogatory or not, so my strong inclination is to take Native American people’s word for it. Just curious, what is the impetus for this issue being up right now in Lane County?

Regardless, a good outcome to me would be if the students, teachers, and community were able to hear Native American people’s perspective firsthand, think and discuss, then freely decide to change to a different mascot. (How about the Foresters, or the Hoedads? But not the Choker Setters or the Green-Chain Pullers, please! 🙂 ) This would be preferable to a change imposed from outside/above, which may foster resentment and bitterness rather than the respect and consideration that a mascot change COULD spring from.

OK now we will write a regular post…. Keep those comments coming!

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