I am currently sitting at my desk listening to this intense thunderstorm bellow just beyond my flimsy wooden door… as you well know, it is the middle of the hot season here in Fiji. That means long days of temperatures nearing 100 degrees, scorching unrelenting sun, and this stagnant and oppressive humidity that hangs over the village in the worst way possible.
Today was a day like many others in the village. Started the morning with a few passing rain showers, laid on my floor to soak up some “cool” for a few hours, worked on a poster for our upcoming water project, opened the library for a bit to let some of the school children return and exchange books, made some pumpkin soup (a terrible choice on such a hot, humid day I might add), and did a crossword.
Its funny, after being here in the village for so long, you can tell what’s coming in terms of weather. The stillness in the air and the blanket of humidity let me know there was a thunderstorm coming tonight. Sure enough, just as the sun was lowering over the horizon the rains came. I had my bath and put some extra water in my buckets preparing for the inevitable water outage that will occur after this rainstorm, charged my phone waiting for the potential of a power outage, and put my candles in an easily accessible place where I wont have to fight cockroaches, frogs, spiders and rats to get to them. Now as I sit here, I cherish the wind that picks up when the rains come. Its so cooling and refreshing after such a terribly hot day.
I’m watching the lightning flash the village silhouette into view, thinking to myself, “this has got to be the lighting for some horror movie…” that maybe one of those flashes will illuminate a crazed visitor wielding a freshly sharpened cane knife. Watching “Lake Washington” fill up, the affectionate name I have given the small lake that forms in front of my house in periods of heavy rain. Listening to the wind blow the already sparse fruit off trees, praying for the stability of my newly constructed porch (stand strong bamboo!), and thinking to myself how close I am to the elements out here.
Back in America we can choose to live in fake oases we tamper with to create our perfect environment. Too hot? Blast that AC! Too cold? Crank on that heater! Too dry? Where did we put that humidifier again? Our walls are thick, our windows solid, our doors double bolted. We can really forget that the outside truly exists until we have to leave our little cocoons if we so choose. Here, my house is the outdoors. I have 12″ gaps between my walls and ceiling, holes in the roofing iron that is my ceiling, cracks in my walls big enough to put a fist through, windows missing panes (and with gaps to boot even if I do choose to shut them), and a door with so much space above and below I feel like Snow White with all my little animal friends coming to visit. I hear everything. The rain is so loud on my roof right now if I yelled, I’m not sure anyone would hear me. And I love it.
I feel splashes of rain on me occasionally even though I am sitting in the most secure corner of my house. And I can’t think of anything more exhilarating. I love living so close to the “outdoors”. I’m really going to miss nights like this when I go back to America (whenever that may be). Nights where you are almost afraid to go to sleep for fear your flimsy roof will cave in and you will wake up afloat in your own house. Nights that even though you are tired and calm enough to sleep, the rain is so loud you cant escape the sound long enough to shut your brain of and actually sleep.
So I’m signing off for now, to enjoy the rest of this blissful summer storm.