jingling sweet dreams
By @meriahnichols on June 20, 2011
I dreamed last night that we went back to Fiji. We were on Ovalau, the island that we first moved to when we moved there altogether from California when I was a kid.
|Map of Fiji. Thank you, Lonely Planet! Ovalau circled. Levuka is it's capital|
Only in my dream, we were not in Levuka (the main town of Ovalau). We were on the opposite side of the island. There was a startling new community developing there in my dream and when we visited, it seemed rather logical and easy for us to become a part of it. They said $100 a month for rent. And knowing Fiji, I could throw an avocado seed over my shoulder and know there would be a full-fledged tree with football-sized avocados being produced the next year. Yes, it's that fertile.
It was an exciting,beautiful, lovely dream. I was happy to see so many brown faces again. And happy to be in humidity with that super-thick Fijian grass under my feet.
*Back to real life*
I do think about moving back to Fiji. I think about the brilliant school system there. About the school I myself attended for years, Yat Sen. It's a marvelous school, the sort I'd like for Moxie and Micah.
I'm back from wandering around their site. This piece was pretty funny, "Schooling in Fiji is like a wild, carefree experience..." Chuckle. Yeah, scrubbing the floors down and picking up all the trash in school was sure "wild and carefree", as was getting knuckled rapped for being sassy, having to use a razor blade to scrape off oh-so-rebelliously applied nail polish. Let me tell you one thing: school in Fiji was strict in my day.
I wonder though, if like everything else, it has changed? That I might be longing for what no longer exists? I know that after the coups, most of my school friends emigrated to Australia or New Zealand - and they say that Fiji is different now. Dangerous, different.
And yet I wonder still - do they mean Jingletown, Oakland dangerous? Like, where the bullets would fly into my neighbor's apartment "accidentally" because of the gang fights below, dangerous? I have a hard time connecting Fiji dangerous with Oakland dangerous. But this is the thing: you just never know.
I lived for two years in Jingletown and only got decency and protection from the gangs - I encountered them late one night soon after moving in, exaggerated my deafness and it must have touched something with them because I never*ever had a problem again (full story at the end of this post for those that want it).
More bad stuff happened to me in Japan, the supposedly safest country in the world than ever happened to me in Oakland. So you just never know.
I'd like to go back to Fiji. See what it's like now. Walk slowly with my flip-flops and sulu. Pick a nice ripe mango off of a tree, peel the skin back and give it to Moxie to slurp all over and delight in. Like she does the watermelon.
With relish. Big, full, finger-licking delight
Chomp. Gulp. Slurp.
full story: meriah and a jingletown gang
I came home late one night, probably around 1:30, maybe 2am. I had been out dancing and was not wearing my hearing aids. As I approached the huge cargo door to my warehouse apartment, I saw a gang of men gathered in front.
Shit. Oh shit.
They had seen me and one guy was approaching my car and gesturing for me to roll down my window
Shit. Oh shit.
Roll it down? Keep it up and have it blasted away by the guns that I have seen these guys carry?
Shit, shit, shit.
Thinking that I'd rather not pay for a new window if perchance I got out of this whole and alive, I rolled it down. The guy was saying something. I couldn't hear him.
LIGHTBULB!!! PLAY THE DEAF CARD!!!
So I put on my very best 'deaf accent' said (deafly), wait, please, wait - I need to put on my hearing aids (and made some hand gesticulations that I eagerly hoped would be interpreted as 'sign language'). He looked at me incredulously, like 'you gotta be kidding me', but then when I reached over, grabbed my big-ass medical-looking monstrously huge hearing aids and put 'em in, he turned around, made a bunch of hand signals (signing!!) to his comrades and they, one and all, moved away. Shuffled down the street.
After that - whenever I saw them, I'd wave, say something in my deaf accent, "sign" and smile very, very brightly. They usually gave me a head nod.
My car - always parked outside my warehouse area on the street - was the only one that never got slashed tires. Was the only one that was never broken into - even when I foolishly left my wallet right there on the seat that one time.
Gangsters must have a soft spot for deaf girls. That's all I can say.
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