Thursday, 3rd, March. Sarah and I decided to relax today; seeing as we had a few weeks to wait until work started we went to the beach nearby in Papamao. Tan and another of his two friends drove us to the beach; we were laden with a bucket to catch pipi as everyone was calling them. Tan and the others dropped us off at the beach and they went to pack n save to shop while we relaxed.
The beach was stunning, windy and warm, sunny with clean sand and clean water. After a quick swim wear something nipped my big toe and I screamed loudly and splashed back to shore we set about finding the Pipi, it was easy, we spent hours ferreting around the surface of the sand picking up the small clams. We asked a local man if there was a limit to how many you can catch, it was 150 per person and we already had way more. We gave the man the ones we could not take and he thanked us. I went and chatted to a group of Taiwanese girls who were also digging for Pipi. They were also on a working holiday. So far I have noticed a lot of Taiwanese and Malay people. Not so many mainland Chinese. Even though Chinese can get a year work visa and Malays can only get half a year. The reason is that only 1000 people a year from mainland china can get the working visa.
The day wore on and we sat content viewing our catch and smiling at one another at the realization we where finally here, after all the talk and the preparation, we were finally where we wanted to be.
Tan picked us up and we went back to Pack n save where we did some shopping “excuse me mate, do you wonna help send the woman’s touch rugby team to the finals this year?” a tall burly Maori asked me. He and another strong looking man where sitting by a table with some shiny badges and pictures of women playing rugby. They soon found out that I knew little or nothing about what touch rugby was, rugby league and a bunch of other names where “ do you know what rugby is” he said in a condescending voice “ yes I do” I replied getting instantly annoyed. He tried to sell me some spiel about me buying a small clip for 20 dollars. I engaged my purposeful bad acting and said “I will think about it”.
The supermarket was not that big but it had the biggest and most various amount of meat I have ever seen. The rows and rows of lamb, in all its different shapes and sizes. Barbecues with tasty meat promotion thrust slices of pork in apple sauce in our faces as we walked down. Smoked meat, sausages, pork, and beef. Everything. Sarah literally didn’t know what to do. She looked around frantically in dazed ecstasy. Glancing at a section and prancing over arms reaching out, and then noticing something further down. Torn between which to look at first she would dance on the spot with a pained child like look on her face.
When we got home I noticed I had sun burn, it turned out to be horrific. Manly on my back and neck but a little on my face and arms and legs. I felt hot then cold, my teeth chattering just before an acutely uncomfortable wave of heat bashed my body. I was almost sick on several occasions but through drinking water, sitting in a cold shower and meditation I slowly eased off the sickness.
I mussed about how life is like a roller coaster. Only a few hours ago I was having a relaxing time on a paradise beach now I was in hell. Weak and wishing I could sleep, nausea and depression.
“We have a saying in China ‘pain and happiness’ It mean you have to sacrifice for your happiness and dreams” Sarah said to me as I sat wondering if it was all worth it. I began reading C.S. Lewis’s book. ‘Surprised by joy’. It was a real thinker especially one line I came across about how it isn’t the times of constant happiness which we remember vividly, it’s the sharp moments of joy which spring out of pain. I spoke about this with Sarah and she disagreed “When I was in middle school I was miserable all the time, I cannot remember any happiness”.
I kept on reading, letting Lewis’s life story wash over me and soothe my soul, I read well into the wee hours and after I lay down in discomfort and meditated on my back, sending all my healing energy to the heat. I soon became calmer and the heat lessened and I fell asleep.