Somehow my online writing has been taken over by 140 character tweets and political Facebook re-posts . . . but I miss blogging. And so I’m going to try again. I first started blogging when I was 19 years old, trying to make my way in the city of Boston with my big brother. After three years of blogging, I took the posts down as I had started a “professional” life working at a hospital and wanted to maintain distance and hide whatever I interpreted to be flaws. Now . . . it’s been over 12 years since then . . . I’m 32, I’ve spent 8 years working in hospitals, then spent 3 years in the Peace Corps, and now I am attempting to live on an island in a shipping container with my husband. I’m just going to start putting it all out there. I’ll attempt over time to restore my old blog posts while adding new ones.
Here goes the first post.
I’m typing this from the Teitei Family Farm Living room, with 180 degree views of mountainous inland Fiji, where Steve and I are doing a three night homestay. The Teitei permaculture farm started 10 years ago. It’s an American family and they are the ONLY ex-patriot family living in the interior of Fiji. The patriarch of the family, Austin, is a Marine Biologist turned farmer who has also started a Happy Chicken project. I can corroborate that the chickens indeed seem happy, as one just laid an egg not too far from me where I’m sitting on the couch. : – )
This morning after breakfast I was in the hatchery, holding baby ducks just out of their eggs, when Austin asked if I wanted to join him picking guava to make guava jam. We used my height to our advantage, picking handfuls of guava, and filled up a bucket in 5 minutes flat. Austin gathered the rotting guava that had already fallen down for chicken feed. This afternoon our plan is to use the guava we gathered to make jam to take back to Vanuatu.
We stumbled across Teitei farm when I was searching for places to stay in Fiji. Steve and I had to come to Fiji, as I’m no longer a Peace Corps Volunteer and I needed a new visa. When you leave the Peace Corps early, even though we are on our extension year and have gone above and beyond the typical Peace Corps volunteer time, I’m considered an Early Termination from my third year.
Technically I signed to stay a full third year until April; however, I decided to leave on January 15th so that Steve and I could start focusing on getting settled and trying for a family. I’m not getting any younger and as we started crunching the numbers as one tends to do after 30, we realized we were too excited to start the next chapter and didn’t want to wait. Being a Peace Corps Early Termination, and wanting to stay in Vanuatu rather than go back to the USA, Peace Corps forced me to surrender my Peace Corps Passport (this is policy), leaving me in a foreign country without a visa inside my personal passport.
I could have kept the Peace Corps passport if I had accepted a one way ticket to be on plane en route to the USA within 48 hours of my last day (again, policy), but Steve and I couldn’t afford my return ticket to get back to Vanuatu and it doesn’t help to be 7,000 miles away from your spouse when you are trying to start a family, haha. Everything worked out, as Vanuatu is full of kind people, including the immigration office, and they helped me to get a new Visa inside my passport. The government office I have been volunteering for would also like to keep me on for a short term contract, so they will sponsor a Special Category visa for me until I complete my application for residency, which won’t be hard, it’ll just take time to process. Steve already has his residency.
Fast forward to, tickets to Fiji bought, ready to change Visa, but now . . . where to stay? While searching for places I came upon Teitei, and it seemed like the future Steve and I wanted. A self-sustaining permaculture farm with plenty of organic food and free range farm animals roaming around. We had to see it for ourselves!