Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Exploration #1

If you have followed my blog since the beginning (all 2 of you...haha), then you know that I wanted to find a super neat-o way to document my experience in the Peace Corps. My friend Emily who lives in NYC (hey em!) introduced me to a book called,
How to be an Explorer of the World: A Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith.
The book reminds us that everyone is an artist and that,

"at any given moment, no matter where you are, there are hundreds of things around you that are interesting and worth documenting".

Smith lays out a bunch of different ways to pay attention to your world - little things that you wouldn't have even thought of. So, really it's the perfect way to tell this story - my story in the Peace Corps in Tonga.
This is seriously a book I recommend checking out. I won't be using all of her ideas (or posting any more pictures of the inside of the book because that's how much I think you need to own it). Also, most of the explorations you will see on this blog are ideas that I came up with. But I figure we could start here and share ideas and that's why I'm posting this. I'll do an exploration here in the South Pacific at least once a month for the entire duration of my Peace Corps service and maybe you could try it wherever you are.

Stopped at an intersection waiting for a red light to turn green?

Standing on top of a mountain in Colorado?

Sitting in a library in England?

Living on a sailboat in Maine?

Organic farming in Tennessee?

Snow-shoeing in Canada?

Brunching in New York City?



Even if you don't write it down, it's a fun thing to do. A different way of looking at your world.

So let's begin.
Shall we?

(And I'd super duper love it if you left one thing you noticed in your exploration in the comments section of this post!)


I thought about this exploration when I was sitting and watching my students practice for Culture Day (which is the last week of school before summer break - just a few short weeks away!). They were performing the traditional Tongan War Dance or kailau (kai-lahw) as it's called here. So here are 10 things I hadn't noticed when I first sat down:

1. The way the sun casts shadows on the ground and the way the wind made the shadows seem to dance.

2. The smell of the trees and ocean mixed with the humidity. The air is thick.

3. The feel of the wooden spear I am holding in my hand while its owner is hanging from the mei tree behind me.

4. How every single little girl at school has perfect braids - complete with red ribbon - in for school. I forgot that this was a requirement.

5. The dirt on my toe nails. Don't worry. I have since scrubbed them. I live in flip flops now. What do you expect?

6. That I am the only one with blond hair and blue eyes in this entire crowd.

7. The rumble of a truck as it passes by with 8 people in the back. It's white paint chipped and there is no back window.

8. The way the sticks hitting the corrugated metal sound like an awesome (and quite loud) drum.

9. The little boy who is not doing the Tongan War Dance at all, but instead something Britney Spear's might have done in 1999.

10. Atu's face (the principal) light up as the Class 1 - the littlest ones - complete their dance without hitting each other with the wooden spears.

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