Monday, November 1, 2010

post hallows eve

Here I am, in the good ole' Harold B. Lee library (for once) writing a paper for my survey of world religions class. Of course, I eventually got sick of it. Sooo, to remedy that, I thought I would take a break, and start creepin everyone's blog! After I finished that, I still wasn't feelin quite ready to write for a grade. So, I decided to write for mr blog!

I still haven't found my camera charger. Such a bummer- think of all those things I have done I haven't been able to document! Of which includes one of the greatest halloween weekends I have ever had. Mainly because it was triple the length- Friday, Saturday AND Sunday were all days of celebration! Friday I donned my Injun Pocahontis/Tigerlily outfit complete with a bow and arrows, and headed off to some sort of multi-stake halloween dance with my roomies. After that, I party hopped right over to a Fiji friend's halloween house, complete with a bunch of dead/stuffed animals from the museum. Fabulous. I then dined at the Provo hospital (which, I have just discovered, has a delicious grill which is open 24/7) and ate a grilled cheese with a root beer float. After that, I headed over to another house to finish the night watching Avatar. I don't care what anyone says, that movie rocks.
Saturday night I spent with a few Fiji peeps, ranging from movie watchin (music and lyrics- so great.. aaaaand, hope floats. woops, two movies in one day. That has to be against some sort of rule. Whatever, it was halloween), cosco, and yet another dance partaaaay (dressed as a stick man) complete with deck jumping.

To end the halloween weekend, my mother bribed me, Bry, and a couple of our friends with some soup and breadsticks in Bountiful.... We headed right up there. SO DELICIOUS! Mom, you are the best. Dad, you are the best.

Welp, my new goal is to get a camera battery charger sometime soon. Can't forget to document another weekend like that.

Ok, I guess I'll continue my assignment. Thanks blog for being such a great distraction when absolutely necessary. And when unnecessary I guess.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

College livin!

So, if there are any of you out there who still read my blog, I am now continuing my reports on a new foot. I have changed my background, changed the fonts and colors, and have done basically anything to get me to get going. Admittedly, I am not a very good blogger. In fact, I struggle to remember I even have a blog to update in the first place. In addition, Provo life is considerably less exciting than Tavau Fiji life, but I am still going to attempt to write about the every day happenings of what goes on in the life of Rachel Miles. Sooooo, not only do you guys get to see what happens in Fiji, but you get to see what happens at good ole' BYU! Rest assured you will hear some fabulous stories about my experiences in the Harris Fine arts Center (I spend more time there than in my own apartment- so I consider that where I 'live'), weekend excursions, intramural updates, homework happenings, and all the super exciting college life experiences! So buckle up readers, you're in for some "exciting" updates. Get ready.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

back in one piece!

Hello everyone! I am finally back from Fiji- safe and sound! In a nutshell, it was super hard- but probably the best experience I have ever had! I loved it, and i'm so glad I went. I can finally upload some pictures for all to see! Cause now I have free internet. Yessss. and no worries folks, there is a loooooot more where this came from. I think i have around 1500 pics. so maybe i'll post some more!

Just a couple of SWEET ladies in Rabulu village
Rabulu Kindee
We hiked the tallest mountain in Fiji- Mt. Victoria! Which we were, quite literally, climbing straight up this mountain. most of the time we were on our hands and knees, or climbing up the tree roots and branches and vines- hard to explain. just know that it was the coolest/scariest/hardest/most beautiful hike I have ever been on. No worries, this was just our tour guide. I'm pretty sure he hiked it barefoot.
Champions. Me and Sue
Navai Kids just climbin' a tree
Cutest little boys ever. For one of my music classes, another volunteer and I would teach a group of teenage girls, and these boys would try and interrupt the lesson and be crazy. So I would just take them away and play with them for an hour! They rocked
Standin on a huge pile of sugar cane- snappin a stick off for me to eat!
My Tokovuci music theory class- all of them receiving their certificates! They were pumped
Bau island- This tiny island took over all of Fiji, so the Fijian language is Bauan dialect (every place in Fiji has it's own dialect and variation on the Bauan dialect)
Band picture. Caleb, Me, Courtney, Janey
INSANE storm on the island- so me, Heather, and Courtney decided we were already soaked, so we might as well play in the ocean.
Me and Heather with the Tavua District Kindee! Some of them at least. there are around 50-60 students
Teachin a health lesson to the youth in Vatutavui village
Rugby game in Nasivi! Rugby is EVERYWHERE in Fiji- everyone plays it.
Janey, Stacie, Rachel Farr, Me, and Court in Nasivi
Cutest Nasivi kids. forgot their names.
Beautiful baby Eka
Just rockin my little baby. puppies are everywhere
My all time favorite Fijians- Arietta, or cook, and her two granddaughters Maggie (in the white) and Arietta
Liku playin the uke at my Tokovuci Music class
Cutest little kids ever- they would wait every day after school on these steps and wait till we passed, just so they could yell 'Namaste!'
Nasivi village business class
oh Tavua
I am a murderer.
look at this BEAST. They were all over the place in our house unfortunately.
Doin the Hokey Pokey with the Tavua District Kindee
Just learnin how to pound some tree bark into paper!
Starfish everywhere
Babiest lizard. So many.... so many.
Little boy Tavite (David) in Vanuakoula village. He had the biggest, most beautiful brown eyes i have ever seen.

Ok! Those are only some random pics from one of the three memory cards I have- so i'll probably be posting some more! Get ready!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Garden Island...

This very day, I am about to depart on a boat -bligh is her name, and go to one of the Fijian Islands called 'Taveuni'. This place, I hear, is one of the most beautiful islands in Fiji, and is home to some sort of flower that will only grow on that very island. I will be going on a saweeeet hike, that has natural water slides made out of rock all throughout the hike- that, should be pretty awesome!!! Anyways, I dont know much, only that it's an 11 hour boat ride to the island, we are stopping at Savu Savu on Vanua Levu (the upper main island of Fiji), spending a day there, and taking another boat ride to Taveuni, and livin the life there for two days, headin back to Savu Savu the next day, then hoppin back on the boat to Tavua. Wednesday night till monday morning- needless to say, I will have used up all my vacation days after this trip- but it's ok, cause i'm pretty pumped about it. Alrighty, I have to be at the dock in about twenty minutes- so till next time reader!


p.s. sorry this is such a short and scrawny post, I didnt have much to say- other than I'm pretty pumped and get ready for some great posts when I come back.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jai ho

This was such an awesome week!- let me give you a little tidbit of how it went.

First off, I got to skype my family- what the what!?! that never happens- they were all in Jackson lake, babies and all, and they made the trek to the lodge to get some internet service so they could skype me! Best ever. My finding a computer wasn't so easy, I'll tell you that much. Long story short, after running all around Tavua town (I was literally running, just a little info to help with the mental image) to and from all three internet cafes to 1. Find a internet cafe that wasnt all shut down for the day 2. Find a computer that had a camera for skype, and 3. out of those computers, sift through the ones which were broken, find a computer that had skype that worked/was fast enough to actually be worth it. 20 minutes later, sweat dripping down my face, I finally got to a computer! I wanted to sing praises out loud, it was such a miracle. Anyways, I filled my family canteen there.

Second, in addition to all the other team projects, all of my music projects went really well! I am teaching two new kindergartens, one is a Fijian kindergarten in a village called Rambulu and the other is a Muslim kindergarten in a village called Korovuo. Those went really well, I will be going there every week until I leave, and hopefully will be teaching some more music classes to those schools in the older grades. Music in Lautoka has turned into a choir class, which was super successful, after I finally figured out they learn everything in solfedge (?? I have no idea how to spell that) which is the do-re-mi singing - for all you 'sound of music' fans, it's like the song on that movie. Praaaaise you sight singing classes at byu, the only way I could teach them the songs was to translate everything, using the stuff I learned in that class. Anyways, I'm teaching them be still my soul right now using solfedge, and they are lovin it- they sound amazing! On Mondays, I'm teaching a village called Vatutavui how to play guitar, ukulele and keyboard- that's goin pretty well. It's kinda hard to teach, cause they don't have a guitar or keyboard there, they just have some in their local methodist church- but they reeeally want to learn it, so whatevs. That village is sooooo sweet, it's right on the ocean, and all their houses are bures (however you spell that one) which are the houses you see in the movies and on the internet, the ones with the roofs made out of palm tree leaves and the base made out of wood and everything. Obviously, i'm terrible at explaining it, i'll just have to post a picture of it sometime when I get back. I'm still teaching piano lessons to a young single mother who used to be a member of the church and who is starting to come back to church (her name is Suzi Q, and her cute daughter's name is Fanny) She is practically family to us, she comes over all the time, I go to 'training' with her (which is just scrimmaging soccer every night) and she has hung out with us on the weekends for the past couple of weeks. Aaaaanyways, moral of the story is, music is going really well, and I'm really excited about that!

Last, I had the sweeeetest cultural weekend. Sorta last minute, Saturday morning a group of us woke up and went with Suzi Q and Meli (another Fijian guy) to a nearby village called Nodolodolo and went on a hour long boat ride through the river to the ocean to this tiny island the Tavuans call their 'picnic' island- it's just this tiny island right off the main island that is pure white sandy beach, big enough for two palm trees and a bure. (once again, I have no idea how to spell that). We pretty much just sat in the sun, ate coconuts, and played in the water all day, it was the beeest. The island was completely COVERED with starfish, they were all over the place- I actually took a bunch and just spelled my name with them. So sweet. Kayla actually found like 5 in her hair, I guess that would be a downside to an island infested with starfish haha. Anyways, it was really fun. I might have gotten some cooked legs, but other than that, I didnt burn anywhere! Pretty successful weekend. That night, we went to Suzi's cousins 21 birthday- which is something to compare to a latin girl's 15th birthday- cant rememeber what it's called, quincienta or something? Probably way off. Anyways, they have this whole cultural dinner with the village and neighbors, the birthday boy was all dressed up in the native Fijian outfit skirt- flower head dress thing, and we just danced and partied. So fun! Then Sunday, we all donned our indian outfits we bought at Rups big bear and went to an Indian wedding- so cool! It was actually a Christian wedding, but they had some of the Hindi traditional things included in there to get the best of both worlds I guess. We proceeded to be the only dancers on the dance floor, being the display of the party once again, most people just like to watch the white people make fools of themselves. Which is alright with us, as long as we have fun right? haha. guess so. Anyways, 91 pictures later, I would say it was a pretty sweet weekend. Alright! Till next week readers. Moce Moce

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

one month?

I only have one month left here? WHAT?! The time is absolutely flying by! I have to admit, there are times that go by super slow, and I find myself daydreaming about American food (quite frequently) and my American family and friends- BUT, one day of bulas, cute little kids climbing all over you, riding the busses and looking at the beautiful scenery helps me remember why I'm here. Let me just list a few of the pros and cons of Fiji Fiji with the help of a little statistics and numbers-

lets get the cons out of the way.

-20 people living in a tiny house with:
---1 bathroom
---1 siiiick shower
---4 bedrooms
---1 kitchen
---0 dishwashers, 0 washing machines
---17284 humongous cockroaches
---1 cockroach the size of my palm sauntering across my face in the morning to wake me up
- 3 successful midnight mouse hunts in the house (those are pretty entertaining- adrenaline gets pumpin. Thank you James Brown the mouse slayer)
- 4 nights of finding lizards in my bed
-1 squished frog from my foot. (hoards of frogs appear out of nowhere at night- one day I tried to count the amount of squished frogs on our road- impossible feat.)
- 1 billion projects falling through, or projects failed because of 'Fiji time'
- 10 moldy loaves of bread thrown away (food goes bad super fast here, no preservatives anywhere in sight)
- mystery number of pounds gained. (for me to know, and you to find out- sorry reader.)
-3 worthless internet cafes. ok, not worthless. just really slow.
-105 degrees every day, plus humidity (I'm not actually sure the exact degrees- that's at the very LEAST what it feels like)
-4 stained adobe stove shirts
-0 hamburger meals. daaaang it

Now, the pros. Obviously more important.
-20 people living in the same house (yes, that is a pro and a con- despite the cons, it is SO much fun- the other volunteers are the greatest!)
- 100 consumed blitz bars (i'm addicted. they are toffee ice cream bars that I cant seem to stop myself from buying)
-70 cent (Fijian cent- equal to 35 cents in America) coconut buns (like cinnamon buns, only... mmmmm 100 times better)
-40 cent cream buns
-50 cent scorns with cream (I wish I could better explain what all these were.)
-7 dance parties
-3 traditional weddings attended- both Fijian and Indo-Fijian
-30+ volunteers giving up their summer to help serve the people of Fiji
-8 different volunteer projects
-countless hours of volunteer work
-10 different villages working with our program
-over 2000 people in Fiji taught by our HELP International projects and classes
-30+ music classes taught!
and muuuuuuuch much more! I had the exact statistics for the whole team at some point- but I dont have them with me at the moment. All in all, this summer Help International has made a big difference in little Tavua, and basically everyone on the north side of the island knows who the 'palangis' (white people) are and what we are here for! It's been an awesome experience for me, and i'm looking forward to another month- hopefully I can get everything done that I want to before I have to step on the plane and go back home! Stay tuuuuned. I will update more often this last month, I promise. I think

Monday, July 5, 2010

Every-day life in Tavua

Sorry guys, no pics this time- I forgot my thing to connect my camera. next time, next time. At least I can give you guys a little Fiji update. Here is an average week here in Tavua- Get ready for my biggest blog written update ever.

Sunday morning, wake up at 8 to go to church at 9- which sounds early, but isn't really. My body has never really fully adjusted- so I go to bed reasonably early (11 ish) and get up pretty early (7 ish) I kinda like it that way! Anyways- I get up, make my oatmeal breakfast, make another one, eat some fruit, then eat a pp&j. I then don my church clothes, which is pretty much the same clothes I wear every day- I sorta feel bad going to church in the clothes I wear everyday, so I try to spice it up a little with a little mascara if i'm feeling adventurous, and maybe even brush my hair. Haha just kiddin, I take care of myself here..... sorta. I then go to the Tavua ward- which is one of my favorite parts about Fiji- I LOVE church here! The people are so awesome, and so strong in their callings, and they are so passionate about everything they do. Sacrament meeting is the best, because they sing so high and so loud, and so Polynesian beautiful! (yesterday I was at combined family home evening with the ward, and Suzi Q was scolding me for not singing loud enough). Come home from church, hang around, maybe watch a movie on the projector we brought- then sometimes go to the school across the road from us and play soccer with the local kids. They are freakin amazing at everything they do- soccer, rugby, netball, singing, whatever. they are good at it. That evening, Arietta (our cook) and her granddaughters Arietta and Maggie come and hang out with us, then we eat an AMAZING dinner of curry, chutney, and roti. soooo delicious. Then, we end the day with some card games, ranging from any form of speed, to bloodbath, to five crowns, to nerts.

Monday through Friday, every day is pretty much BOOKED with all of our projects that we can choose which to go to. The projects are: Prism (a project that involves traveling with a doctor (Animesh is his name) who works in America three months out of the year and gets paid, then he comes to Fiji the other 9 months of the year to do work for free for the Fijian villages and Indo-Fijian settlements who can't really afford to go to the hospital or doctor) Square food gardening, Adobe stoves, and classes on Music, Health, Fitness, and Business. Some new projects are just getting started, Solar food drying, and just starting today some volunteers are traveling to a nearby city called Ba to work in an orphanage.

My project (music) consists of these weekly classes that I have been doing for a while now- every Tuesday, I go to the Tavua Kindergarten (which is right in town across from the market, only takes about 10 minutes to walk there) and teach a basic music class, which most the time ends up to be just clapping and singing and handing out stickers. But I love it. Tuesday and Thursday evenings, I teach basic piano and theory lessons to a group of high-school aged kids right after their seminary class in the LDS chapel, because thats the only place that has a piano. Wednesday, I travel by bus about an hour and a half to Lautoka, to teach intermediate music theory lessons to the 'youth'- youth here are about 20 year olds to 30 year olds- I looove that class, everyone is so interested and comes handy with pen and paper to take notes. After, we do a little bit of Ukulele and guitar lessons to a few people who are interested, but only for like 20 minutes. Wednesday evenings, we teach music lessons to a nearby Indo-Fijian settlement in Yasi Yasi- ranging from a few young boys to teenage girls to stay at home moms. That's basically my music project right now! A little more about daily life in Fiji-

There are lots of forms of transportation here- here are the ones that I use the most: First, the bus transportation. EVERYONE gets around by bus here- it's pretty essential. there really is only one MAIN road here on the main island- it's Kings/Queens road, that pretty much loops around the whole island, and goes to all the main cities- Tavua, Ba, Lautoka, Nadi, Suva, Raki Raki- I think there's something like 10 main cities- but those are the ones I know and travel to. So I travel by either express, or stopping bus to those cities - LOVE the bus rides. After bus, there are the taxis- which are lame. They are nice, but they are so expensive, those are rare experiences for me. Plus, every time I get in one, the driver tries to hack up the price cause i'm white. stuuupid. Dont worry guys, I don't let them push me around anymore, I've pretty much figured out how to work the bartering system. I'm a pro. Then there are the mini busses- which are like mini vans packed with seats- I think 10 people can legally fit in those, but they try and pack them pretty tight. Those are great, they are only two dollars. Finally, there are the carriers- my favorite mode of transportation. I showed you guys a few pictures of these- all it is is a truck with like, a cover over it, and a bench in the bed that we can sit on. Those are sweeeet. some of the drivers install their sound systems in the back, so we can jam in the back- haha it's awesome.

Alright, this is only the very basics of Fiji life- but my eyeballs are burning from staring at this internet cafe computer, and i'm sure you guys feel like you are reading a whole bunch of crap. So, to all of you who made it this far, congrats! you are my loyal blog friends. I will reward you with pictures next week :)

Moce Moce, I love you all! happy belated fourth of July :)


Sunday, June 20, 2010


Bula everyone! Fiji is just getting better and better the longer I am here- projects are going well, and it is so fun to get to know these amazing people on a personal basis! When we walk down the street, it's like we are celebrities here- everyone is yelling your name- "Rachelle, Rachelle, bula bula Rachelle!" as you walk down the road. It's a little embarrassing because I have no idea what their names are, so I just say "bula! how are you?" back. pretty much every time. But when you finally do learn their name, they seriously LOVE it- they get so pumped. Anyways, I dont have much time, so i'm just going to give you some pictures! they loaded backwards- it's the most recent to the oldest- so just scroll down and look at them from the bottom up, for my sanity. Thanks.
Sorry, I cant get this right side up- just some kids watchin us build a stove
Me, Sarah, Courtney, Lisa, Nicolle- Last night for first wavers sulu party!
Beautiful sunset right in front of my house
Susie-Q and her daughter Fanny! I teach Susie piano lessons

Courtney, Me, and Kayla in a carrier! those are the best. I dont know if I have explained those before, all it really is is you pay to ride in the back of a truck! bomb.
Tavua kindergarten music class! That gets a little crazy, to say the least

peace 2u my brother. Courtney, Sarah, me, Lisa, Nicolle. Thuggin

Beautiful view from the plane!!!!! UNREAL

uh...... sorry mom. proooobably the best experience of my life

I have never enjoyed a mcdonalds meal more. never spent so much money for it either

Tavua market! This is where I buy all my fruit

Teachin the kinnie gartners. at the moment, we are doing the hokey pokey. they love it

Average Fijian house. This is actually on the nicer scale- everyone lives in tin houses

Me and Kayla- temple trip to Suva

Kristy, Kayla, Me, and Sherry- Just chillin in a waterfall. not a big deal

Coolest rope swing EVER!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Delicious Coconut

Lunch at Vanessa's house in Nodolodolo after we built his garden

Me and Courtney looking like raptors. This is just a small taste of what we do every night- I dont think i have ever laughed so much in my life- we are all very good at entertaining each other. this was just last night! recent picture.

Rachelle and Rachelle! me and the girl in black are both Rachelle

korovuo village