Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Readjusting to the Real World

"She just called a rope on me at tetherball and I didn't do it," the 3rd grader tattled to me at recess.

I could only stare.

"Is this going to matter to you tomorrow?" I asked.

"YES," replied the 3rd grader, body language demanding that I DO SOMETHING - like throw her opponent in jail or off a cliff or at least send her to the principal in handcuffs.

Seriously?  I walked away knowing these kids had no idea how good they had it.

This is what I got for coming home from a vacation on a tiny island miles from any mainland with no Wal-Mart.

The Cook Islands are a long way from Washington State in the United States.

Photo courtesy of jcimagery.net

In Rarotonga we watched an entire school of kids play soccer with TWO soccer balls (and they were far from new).  We watched another school play with one volleyball and the net.  There was one rugby ball (well, until it got stuck in the tree...).  That was it.

These boys kept running past us and falling down by us.  It took a while, but we realized they
were trying to get my teenager's attention.
Photo courtesy of jcimagery.net

Volleyball.  Notice how some of them have shed their uniforms.  They were very cautious
about even THINKING of getting them dirty.  The braids were also a mandatory part
of their uniform.
Photo courtesy of jcimagery.net

You'd think the competition would be fierce and the short recess time-demanded with the desire to must-touch-the-ball.  You'd think if a ball got kicked/hit astray war would break out: "you're wasting our recess!"

Nope.  I've never seen such giggling and laughing and genuine fun.  There was no handheld electronic device in hand ANYWHERE.  There was one boom box in the college in Titikeveka, but that was it for anything requiring a battery or outlet.  Kids were hanging out and talking with each other (or vying for my blond American daughter's attention in a land of Pacific Islanders).  They were helping carry the water for their teeth-brushing after lunch (yes, seriously, this was part of their day).

I saw a game of marbles in a park in Avarua.  Marbles?  I almost didn't recognize them.

Photo courtesy of jcimagery.net

So when I came home to tattling about the unfairness of life's little details, I could not help but be gobsmacked with the idea of how I needed to readjust my attitude - and NOT in a good way.  In order to survive the US attitude I needed to get more competitive, want more, demand my rights, want what my neighbor has (only bigger) and require that it gets done MY WAY.

Photo courtesy of jcimagery.net

That part sucked about coming home.  Not the fact that I was leaving a tropical paradise with crystal clear waters and the biggest avocados you've ever seen, but the laid back lifestyle of not needing my stuff, your stuff, my way in my time and everyone else be damned.        

Photo courtesy of jcimagery.net

Naaaa, I'm going to bring home the best souvenir - a better attitude about what I already have and the knowledge that I don't HAVE to need everything else no matter what the consequence.