Tonight was the night of the school Christmas party that is planned by the "local" teachers (not all the teachers at Pohnpei SDA are SMs). As usual it turned out to be a lot of fun. Social gatherings revolve around food here so it was of course present. It was a potluck of sorts, with everyone bringing their own dish. Turkey, fish, rice, titus (my favorite fried banana thing here), various curries, different plant roots, and a lot more were covering the many tables. Oh the fun.
Laura and her T.A. Mrs. Jano
The gym was filled with "Reggae Christmas" tunes and a constant murmer of voices broken by outbursts of laughter as everyone found a group of people to carry out a conversation with. I tried someone new this time, but sat down on a broken batman action figure right as I tried to open up the conversation. Awkward moment, for an already quiet conversation. Then the night started with a presentation of thanks to my cousin Laura who is concluding her stay here before Christmas and a short message about the meaning of this time of year. Then the music began again and all the SMs were told to take our seats so that the local ladies could come around a place leis on our heads. It was the first one I have received since I missed the group's first day here so it was all new to me. Then a lady came around spraying one squirt of a perfume on each of us followed by the principle's wife who quickly rubbed coconut lotion on us (traditionally it is done over most of a person as a greeting, but time was short). We were then told to dig in after the ladies uncovered the food - another custom at mealtime. We all loaded up and then waited for the "show" to start.
Some of the local teachers and church ladies put on different skits for us and dances meant to make us laugh and man was it hilarious. We were all rolling in our seats as each new character (of ladies we all now know) began their dance to the island dance party mix. One woman began randomly doing jumping jacks once she ran out of moves while my favorite, a very quiet and dry-humored woman with grandchildren, came out with her hair let loose, sunglasses (at night), lei jumping on her hair, and was shaking her hips as if she were 22. Straight face and all. To my surprise she signaled for me to come over and dance. She didn't know. She didn't know I would use the "shopping cart", the "disco", "I'm snorkeling", or "the cat paws at the rain". Surprise was felt all around and only added to the laughter of the night. I was also able to try a new drink called "halo halo" which is made of shaved ice, coconut milk, beans boiled in sugar water, sweet red gooey squares, and that's all I can remember. It was different, but very good. I would have it again. Then the night wound down with music playing and we all retrieved our dishes from the tables.