Settling In

October 13-18

We finally feel comfortable enough to refer to our new place as home. Matavera, the district in which we’re staying, is one of the more rural regions of the island, with little to no tourist attractions. Most of what we see around Matavera is the backroads, the open air and bush.

It’s been 2 weeks in so far, and we’ve accomplished so much!

Coming from the city, we’ve never had to use tools like weed-eaters or bush-knives, and it’s been pretty fun (physically intense at times too, but never too hard). Our room starts to feel like our own and Billy the goat has stopped trying to impale me.

After work, we choose a beach to spend the day at and take my scooter out to go lie down for some time around a drink or two, bathed in the tropical sun and usually in the company of some beach dogs. Rarotonga has a lot of them. A lot. Going out is quite fun too, we usually head to “The Islander” to meet locals of our age and have a drink, and then head home before closing times. (Unfortunately closing times here are midnight on week days and 2am on Friday, no more noise after that).

We’ve gotten the chance to try quite a lot of local food too, most of which tastes wonderful. We’ve been able to find a lot of food we were quite fond of at home, but not everything is within our budget as sometimes ingredients need to be imported, and so their prices soar.

Apart from our usual work around the house, we got the chance the other day to help out instead for a night at the only authentic French restaurant on the island, “Le RDV”, as waiters, bartenders and kitchen hands. We learned a lot through the experience, as we were helping out at an event, so a lot of people needed to be taken care of. Nonetheless it was a fun experience.

Joe, our host, we’ve noticed has a lot of reactionary ideas concerning, for starters, the idea of what a man should be and what a woman should be. For example, I wasn’t allowed to teach Priya how to use the weed-eater because it was a power tool, and to him, women shouldn’t be allowed because it’s a man’s job, and they have to stay home and do the easier jobs. By taking on an imaginary weight off of women’s backs, did he feel like he was doing them a favour? It’s also been interesting to meet the stereotypical man from the 1950s head-on, and see what I can only hopefully call a relic of the past that will not follow us into future generations.

About a week ago we were given the chance to meet Sonja, a 70-year old Austrian-Canadian lady living in Aitutaki, another one of the islands in the Cooks. She also accepts people like us, to help her out in her botanical garden and café. We spoke to great lengths with her about fair work, the island, what she could teach us etc. Later on, Odette asked us if we wanted to go for a week or two to Sonja’s place in Aitutaki. We thought about it for a long time, because chances are we won’t be in this part of the world for some time, and Aitutaki is famous for its beaches, lagoon and corals. Only problem was, we had to buy a return ticket and spend a bit of money we didn’t plan on spending. But hey, we thought about it and a negligible sum of money is worth the amazing memories a couple weeks in Aitutaki was going reward us with. So we took the opportunity and packed up to go to Aitutaki. We were just settling in, but we’d be back soon enough.

~ Skander & Priya



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