Alisha Paulson – Kosrae, Micronesia: “Island Life”

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already been in Kosrae for almost 3 months. It’s funny to look back and compare how we acted when we first got here to how we act now.  Over-thinking many things, and not thinking enough about others.

For instance…

  1. Unless it’s an instant potato mix, can, or plastic bag of beans, put it in the refrigerator.
  2. An unlocked door = An invitation to all who want to come in.
  3. Don’t’ be fooled by clear blue skies on laundry day.
  4. Shower in the morning? Hahaha.
  5. You can be afraid of the cockroaches and let them rule your life and determine where you will sleep at night, or, put on your big-girl-pants because you are bigger then they are.
  6. Eating all the new and exciting meat at once seemed like a good idea at the time. But after the sixth trip to the bathroom in an hour? Really??
  7. That awkward moment when bathroom trip number 6 happens to MaKayla and I both with only one toilet.
  8. They like gum. Don’t bring extra gum.
  9. No power? No problem.
  10. Sleeping in? HAHAHA.

***

These past three months have definitely included some of the most challenging moments in my life.  I really enjoy teaching, but there have been some moments where all I want is to go into my room and stare at the wall. Surrounded by nothing but peace and quiet.  My nine 5th and 6th graders have a very wide skill level gap in between them, along with the 7th and 8th grade class.  So it’s been interesting.

Kosrae classroom

My 5th & 6th Grade Classroom

There have been a few more, “Come-to-Jesus” talks with my class lately. The students find immense joy in punching, pulling, and pushing each other to the ground–in the classroom and outside the classroom.  When we first came, I felt like everywhere I turned there was constant wrestling and shoving, even though they were just playing.  Recently, I feel like there might have to soon be a “respect girls” talk given to my students. I just don’t want the “girls-are-incapable-of-succeeding-or-doing-things” mindset to continue in the minds of some of the students.  But that just might be my “girls rule” side coming out.

***

Our most recent Kosraean adventure involved us climbing the second highest mountain in Kosrae called Mt. Matunte.  I’ve never sweat so much in my life.  I could have rung out my shirt as if I just held it in the shower.  On the way down it began to rain, so thus began the sliding, slipping, and scooting down the mountain.  It has definitely been one of the most fun things I’ve done here on the island so far.  I want to climb the highest one now!

On top of Mt. Matunte! 

On top of Mt. Matunte!

***

As far as learning Kosraean. It’s a much slower process then it could be.  But it’s coming, sort of.

***

Every time we get a package or letter we do a little happy dance of happiness.  Thank you to all that have sent us supplies and food! Basically, I have the best mom ever.  She has sent me so many things that I’ve needed, and since I went straight from school to camp to Kosrae the next day, she got all the supplies I needed via talking on the phone over the summer.  I love you, Mom!

I miss home.  My dad.  My sister.  My mom.  My friends.  Walla Walla. Fall. Dry/cool weather. Sweaters.  Pants. COFFEE. Vespers.  New music. Berries.  Avocados.  Salad. My Chihuahua.  Boys. Piano.  Basketball. Shopping.  Running. Swimming.

It’s hard for me to believe that I am actually surviving here without these things.

Kosrae

I love Kosrae.  The sunsets.  My students.  The tangerines.  The rain.  The ocean. The people.  The mountains.  The bananas.  The coconuts.  Our apartment.  Our support.  Pinterest.  Trying new things.  Acting like a child.  Packages.  Letters. Playing volleyball.  Singing in church.

MaKayla and I have both talked about how it will extremely hard handing over our classes to new SM’s [student missionaries] next year.  The investment we have put into our classes has become so much a part of us.  Every single day, I still can’t believe that we are actually here, doing what we are doing–climbing tangerine trees, bushwhacking up mountains, and teaching!  I love it though.

 

*Alisha Paulson is a student missionary from Walla Walla University, serving as a 5th and 6th grade teacher on the island of Kosrae, Micronesia, through Adventist Volunteer Service. This was originally posted on her blog on Nov. 7, 2014, and is used with permission.

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