September 15, 2013

back to school

My second year of teaching started this past week! (we started a week late…)
I finally met my principal! (She was away last year, she went to America to have her baby)
We had a full week of school! (yea!)
I am teaching lower grades and Amanda is teaching upper grades. (all students will be learning English from a native English speaker!)
The students I taught last year remember what I taught them! (guess I did know what I was doing…who knew?)
My little sister started kindergarten! (she knows more than most of my first graders!)
My little brother graduated to 1st grade (he knows more than most of my second graders!)

Heres to another school year…hopefully we will have more school than we did last year! (that is my biggest goal-attendance!)

September 8, 2013


Tour…getting involved
The youth asked me to be a part of the finance committee for the group. I was surprised that they asked me, but excited to be a part of the community in another way.
Our group basically decides how we are going to raise funds for the youth and what we use the funds for. So I plan fun events and things for the community to do.
Sometimes we will…
Play bingo
Sell plates of local food
Since I have been too many fundraisers in America I have plenty of new ideas for the group!

It is nice to be involved in the community with people my own age. People are now asking me to go with them to meetings, so instead of sitting around all the time I am always going somewhere and doing something! I am so excited!

September 1, 2013

God watches over us

Tour…netipechow (sad or heavy heart)
That is how it felt when I got news of my parents being in an accident, and I am thousands of miles away.

A Peace Corps friend of mine saw the news on Face book, she texted me and asked if I had ‘talked to my family recently?’ I said ‘no, why?’ she responded, ‘they were in an accident, but no one was hurt.’

My heart sank! Netipechow!

I texted my mom to call me right away and she did. I was so happy to hear her voice and know that my parents were ok. (I have no idea what I would have done if something happened to them…)

The Lord was looking over my mom and dad, neither of them was hurt, but their car was totaled by another diver who was under the influence of drugs driving 80 in a 25!

Even though I am so far from home, I know that the Lord is watching over me and my family at all times!

August 25, 2013


Tour…fengen (together)
My family is back together again! Papachii came home from the hospital. He is slowly getting stronger each day.

Enrich turned 6!

Amanda and I went on a picnic with MWichen Maria (the women’s group at church). We had a bbq, with a ton of food! When we were finished some of the women chased everyone and dumped bukets of water on them, it was a fun afternoon.

Random thoughts…
Since my family’s visit and having Amanda on Fefan with me, I have realized just how much Chuukese I know! It is way more that I thought!

I enjoy having another volunteer on island with me, because now I have someone to go and kukkunou (hang out) with.

August 18, 2013

new PC

The new group of Peace Corps had their swear-in ceremony this week! It is super exciting to have new faces in Chuuk. I am especially excited because the school where I teach was able to get another Peace Corps, so now there will be two of us helping the teachers and students.
I will be teaching lower grades (1-4) and Amanda will be teaching the upper grades (5-8).

I was invited to sing with some women at church. I was on my way home from my tutor and I saw some women practicing singing. I stopped to listen, and then was asked to practice. Once we were done they asked me to sing with them at church, I said sure! It was so much fun! The exciting part was that I knew what I was singing and everyone told me that I said all the words correctly they were surprised and happy that I am finally comprehending the language!

The song was Samon kopwe tumunuei, which means the Lord will take care of me.

August 11, 2013


Remember when I told you I might be getting internet and computers for my school?
Well…it is getting really exciting here!
The Pisces group came for another visit!
I received 3 tablets and a solar charger for my school! 
The internet is still in the works (waiting on logistical paperwork from Telecom in Phonpei…)
I am still able to use the tablets, I am going to be starting workshops after school this next year teaching the teachers how to use them and how to use them to help in the classroom!
I am so excited that we are one step closer!
Check out the whole story here 

Random thoughts…

I got this awesome gift from my aunt for my birthday! Thanks Dominique! (I love hand-made stuff it means so much more to me than store bought stuff)

August 4, 2013

family and friends

Tour…family and friends
My host papachi (grandpa) has not been feeling very well and has been in the hospital on Weno.
I happened to be in town for the week helping with the new PC group’s training.
I spent every morning visiting papachi, and every afternoon giving sessions to the new group. I was super busy.
Family is so important to me that my first priority was spending time with them. Papachi has been a special person to me. He is extremely smart and very knowledgeable. He knows all about the Chuukese culture and he speaks English very well! I have learned so much from him. He is a very respected man in the community and just about everyone in Chuuk knows him or at least knows of him. When I tell people I live with him they tell me I am lucky because he can teach me so much about Chuuk.
Things he taught me I was able to share with the new group in teaching them about the culture; I gave sessions on funerals, birthdays, weddings, and life in the Lagoon.

Random thoughts…

We (M78) took the new group (M79) to Pisar! And we had a fun dancing night with glo-sticks!

July 28, 2013

new friends

Tour…new PC group
We welcomed a new group of volunteers! That means M78 and M79 will overlap for a year. The school I am at applied for a new PC and we were lucky to get one! That means this school year there will be 2 PCVs at U.F.O. Elementary! Yay!
I thought it would be helpful if there were two of us, one to work with lower grades and one to work with upper grades. My hope is that the more time we have to spend with each grade will increase the students learning as well as help the teachers.

I am excited to see what happens this year! Stay tuned!

July 21, 2013


Fourth quarter has ended…it is a little early but DOE told the principals that if we had 180 school calendar days we could end the year early…such is my life in Chuuk. That brings my (keep in mind I missed days for PC related work such as trainings) total teaching days to…wait for it…87! Technically we had 180 calendar days we just missed several because of funerals and other local events (these count as school days, why? Because it is Chuuk and we can…), so that brought the actual teaching days down.
The community decided against 8th grade graduation…
K-5 had graduation, so I went to take pictures and support my little brother.

Hopefully next school year will be more…well more days!

July 14, 2013


My language is coming along! At my birthday I gave my first all Chuukese speech (I did still have to read it from a paper so I could remember what to say…but it was completely in Chuukese!)

Tirou me fairo womi achengicheng ámáfen pwan tori kich meinisin.
Nepwong annim ngeni kich meinisin.
Kinisou ngeni kemi meinisin, ren ami feito fiti ranin oputiwei. Uwa men pwapwa, fiti ai famine me chieichieik meinisin. Am uwa fokkun chufegen ikenai. Uwa men mefi ai kinisou pounuwa pwan chiechi ngeni ekkóch aramas non manawei. Kinisou ngeni aiwa famine non Merika Steve, Seana, Ryan me Megan ren anisiei, usun ngang emon Peace Corps Volunteer. Uwa ren towaw seni iwem, nge ir na mwochen repwe pwan fiti ai oputi. Kinisou ngeni aiwa famine non Chuuk Aminiso, Kantito, Amini, Iris, Anama, Armita, Ricky, Anesty, Miniana, Sonson, Rich, Aimy, Enrich, Richen, Anistasia, Anifin, me Asapei ren ar tumunuei me etiwaei. Usun uwa fen mefi pwe ngang wesewesen cho chon non ar famini. Ra fokkun tumunochwei, uwa seni pwan mefi pwe aiwa famine repwe fokkun kinisou ten ekei mokutukut ra feri ngenei. Kinisou ngeni U.F.O. community ren ar anisei ai upwe senei usun non nom un Chuuk pwan ren ami mwochen, upwe anisi noume kewe semirit non sukun.
Uwa sani Chuuk uwa pwapwa iti ai uwa emon PCV non U.F.O. Kot a fen efeiochwei non ewe iir, iwe uwa kinisou ren mettoch meinisin. Kinisou ngeni ami meinisin, ren ami pwarano netipemi ngeni ai ranin oputiwei epwe pwan sakon ikenai.
Kinisou chappur
Uwa mwoch ai kewe aunties repwe kon

Excuse me for what I am about to say and welcome to everyone (a standard greeting to a speech).
Good evening everyone.
Thank you to everyone for coming to my party to celebrate my birthday. I am very happy that both my families are together and all my friends are here. I am very blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. Thank you to my family in America Steve, Seana, Ryan and Megan for supporting me to do PC and being away from home. thank you to my family in Chuuk Aminiso, Kantito, Amini, Iris, Anama, Armita, Ricky, Anesty, Miniana, Sonson, Rich, Aimy, Enrich, Richen, Anistasia, Anifin, me Asapei for accepting me and making me a part of the family and taking care of me. I know my parents are so thankful for this. Thank you to U.F.O. community for helping me learn about Chuuk and letting me teach your children.
I love Chuuk and I am so happy that PC asked me to come to U.F.O. God has blessed me this past year and I am very thankful for that. Thank you everyone for making my birthday extra special!
Thank you
I would now like my anuties to sing

I was told from many people in the village that my speech was very touching and meant a lot to them. Communicating with the locals in their language means so much to them; I still have a long way to go but at least I can get by with daily small talk!

July 7, 2013


One day this week I taught a total of 2 students all day!
As frustrating as it is to prepare a lesson and not have the class show up, I remind myself that I came here to teach anyone who is willing.
It is always worth it to see kids understand a new thing.
Even if I reach only one person while in Chuuk, my entire experience will have been worthwhile!
I love what I do, and I will do it even if only one student shows up.

Random thoughts…

I ate bbq turtle straight out of the shell in the middle of the night!

June 30, 2013

happy birthday to me's visit and my birthday

these are some of the adventures we had...

Arrival, claming with my Weno host family, getting our hair braided...




Met my language tutor and hiked to the top of my island...

 Swimming at Parem...



The best day ever was my birthday!
Cake and ice cream fights, dancing and Mariel and Melody (fellow PVCs) came for the party!

Uniforms and church events...
Ice Cream!

June 23, 2013



look who I picked up at the airport!
my family came to visit me...stayed tuned for all the adventures I planned for us to do!

June 16, 2013

Father's Day

tour...Father's Day

I suppose it is time to admit that I am a daddy’s girl (my dad would do anything for me!).
I miss my daddy!
Sometimes it is hard for us humans to fathom the amount of love Jesus has for us. We cannot see Him or touch Him. He is our Father and we just have to know in our hearts that He loves us more than anything else.
I do not share this aspect of my life very often because I do not think it is necessary, however I have recently thought of it in a different way (being away from home, always puts things into new perspectives).
My dad is not my biological father. I have never met my biological father (aside from a short time when I think I was 2, but I have no memory of it). The man I call dad, has always been dad to me. He married my mom when I was 5. He is all I have ever known as a dad. His love for me is a real life tangible example of how much Jesus loves us. Jesus does not have to love us, He choose to love us. Just like my dad choose to love me as his own.

Random thoughts…

4 more days until my family arrives! 

June 9, 2013


Tour…MST (mid-service training) and culture shock!
One year down one year to go!
All the members of my Peace Corps group (M78) were back together in Phonpei for a one week training to review or first year and prepare for our second year.
It was great to see everyone!
I was shocked at the way I reacted to a “big” city! I was overwhelmed!
How can I be experiencing culture shock?! I only went to another state within the FSM. Phonpei is very modernized compared to Chuuk, I just did not expect it to affect me so much.
There was electricity, cars, tons of people speaking English, automatic doors and lights, hot showers, air conditioning, a mattress, food choices…a very fast-paced life compared to my simple life in Chuuk.
I enjoyed hanging out with my friends and hearing all the stories from everyone’s first year of service.
The whole time I was in Phonpei I just wanted to go home, home to my small island and get back to my quiet, simple, slow-paced life on Fefan. I missed my family.
How am I going to be when I go back to America?! I do not even want to think about it…

Random thoughts…
My family will be here in 11 days! So excited!

June 6, 2013

1 year

Tour…a year in review
I have been away from America for a year!
A lot has happened in the past year (wait! It has already been a year?!)

I have been to 13 funerals but spent a total of 14 days at funerals
I went swimming 11 times
I went to the Mortlocks 1 time
I went diving for 2 days (total of 4 dives)
I traveled on 2 ships
I went to Pisar 2 times
I have been to 4 weddings
I went to Pisiwi 1 time
I played bingo 2 times and one time I won a bag of rice for my family!
Two babys have born in my family which means I will be around for their 1st birthday next year which is huge deal
It rained 145 days
I taught a total of 73 days (4th quarter still is in session-year round school)
I gained 10 pounds! (I guess that will happen when you eat rice 3 times a day everyday for a year!)
I read 39 books
I read 12 books in the Bible
I wrote 151 letters
I received 94 letters

Things I missed back home…
Other than the normal holidays and birthdays.
I missed my sisters and cousins senior year and graduation (congrats mag pie and sasha!)
I missed a great uncles funeral

June 2, 2013

hot showers!?

tour...a nice hot shower

I almost forgot that hot showers existed! (how could I ever forget that?!)
For the past year I have been taking cold bucket showers. At first they were cold and I thought to myself how am I going to do this for 2 years! (that lasted about 2 weeks!)
It is so hot here cold showers are actually nice, and I actually love bucket showers! (I take at least 2 showers a day, sometimes 3-morning, noon and night).
My fellow PCV’s and I treated ourselves to the nice hotel in town. I took my first hot shower in a year! (it was so hot I had to turn the cold water on a little higher!) It was the most amazing shower I have taken in my entire life.
It is amazing what hot water can do…like rinse all the soap out of your hair and off your body! I have not felt that squeaky clean in a long time. It was also weird showering with 2 hands (using a bucket one hand is devoted to always scooping and pouring water).

It is the little things in life that bring pure joy and happiness to my day. (but whenever I am away from my island overnight, I just want to go home and be on my own plywood bed and use my own bucket shower-does this mean I have adapted into my PC life to well?!)

May 26, 2013

Skype Party! sister's graduation

I was so bummed that I was not able to be home for my sister’s senior year of high school. I missed being a part of her special events…swimming meets, choir concerts, preparing for dances, and just hanging out with her.
She has been very understanding of my decision to join Peace Corps and I was able to keep up to date on all her adventures through letters, phone calls, and Skype dates.
I wanted so badly to go home for her graduation, but I just was not able to make it work out.
I ‘attended’ my sister’s high school graduation party! I went into town for the sole purpose of Skyping my sister for her special day, and it was the best day ever!
I was able to be a part of the celebration, I (aka the computer…) was placed in the living room and who ever wanted to stop by to say hi and chat with me could. It was so amazing to see all of my family and friends supporting my sister and being there for her for her big day.
I was also lucky, I was able to see and chat with family and friends that I have not seen since before I left and that was the most amazing thing ever! (I love that technology allows for things like this to be possible!)
Mag Pie I am so proud of you!
(oh and I am super excited because in a month I will get to see my family in person, they are coming to visit me!)

Random thoughts…
I got to do my own laundry the other day! I am making progress in the area of my family allowing me to help out…it only took a year

On my boat ride home, my uncle saw a ton of birds feeding on fish, so we stopped to fish…but we were not able to catch anything…

May 19, 2013

I decided to get my hair cut the other day…it has been one year since I cut my hair (the longest I have ever gone without one).
I went to the local ‘beauty salon’ (a room in the back of a store run by Filipinos).
My hair was sprayed with a water bottle to get it wet.
My hair was cut, with layers.
Then out came the hairdryer! (I have not seen/used one in a year…) Not only was my hair being dried it was being styled! I was thinking why bother…first of all I was sweating like crazy while this was happening and I knew the minute I left I would be putting my hair up in a bun (it is way too hot to ever have my hair down!)
It was quiet the experience, but well worth the $5 I spent!

Random thoughts…

Work on the basketball court has been coming along! Yay!

some of the girls who help cook lunch for the workers

May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

tour...Mother's Day

I was wished a Happy Mother’s Day today…that caught me by surprise! (I do not have the most important part of being a mom, a child.)
You know the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” well here in Chuuk that is exactly what happens. Everyone is called maama or paapa. I am often referred to as maama Elana (especially in school). At first I was not comfortable with this label. I told the kids I am not a mom, I do not have any kids.
I asked my mom why is everyone in a family referred to as maama or paapa when they may not be the child’s parent. She told me the students call me that out of a sign of respect, I am their mother figure while they are at school.
That is when I realized the advantage of a village raising a child. A parent may not always be with their child, but they know that their child is being taken care of by someone (who most often is a family member by some relation; aunt, uncle, cousin…).
It does not bother me as much anymore when I am called maama Elana (even though it is still a little awkward…). My view of being a teacher has change slightly in the fact that I am not just teaching someone else’s child, I teach them as if they were my own child.
I have 80+ kids that I interact with at school and I would do anything for anyone of them!

I have been blessed to have many mothers (all over the world!), but I only call one mommy. She raised me and is my best friend and I love her with all my heart! (lady you know who you are!)

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women in the world! (even if you have not given birth, you are still a mom to someone)

May 5, 2013

God's Love

Tour…His love
One of my dear friends back home, gave me a devotional as a gift (thanks Bethers!) before I left. “Jesus Lives” by Sarah Young. (I am embarrassed to say I just cracked it open…)
I have been preoccupied with other books and devotionals…but that is not a good excuse.
I decided to check it out this past week and it is amazing! (just like Sarah Young’s book Jesus Calling!)
You know when books have a bookmark built in…well I decided to see what it was marking from its original placement by who put it there during shipment to the store.
Well it was on HIS LOVE (I do not think this was an accident, it was all from God!)
Reminding me of His Love for me.
“Find comfort in knowing I am perfectly good and infinitely strong. If I were good but lacking in strength, you would have no stronghold in times of trouble. If I were strong but not totally good, My massive strength could be terrifying. In fact, My Power is threatening to those who oppose Me. However, I am the God Shepherd; I know My sheep, and My sheep know Me. Sheep have nothing to fear from a shepherd who is good. On the contrary, they feel safe in his protective presence. So it is with Me: You can feel safe and secure in My sheltering Presence.
The best way to avail yourself of My protection is to trust Me wholeheartedly. My unfailing Love surrounds all those who trust in Me. So your most important task as a sheep in My pasture is to keep on trusting Me – the perfect Shepherd of your soul. Find rest in Me alone, for I am a surrounding stronghold of unfailing Love."
Psalm 62:1-2

My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him. He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

April 28, 2013



Sometimes God is quiet...

Random thoughts...
-everyone back home has been so helpful to me! I appreciate all the support I get! Here is a big shout out for C2E! Thanks for the ABC letters
Thank you to the most amazing tech teacher and her students for making ABC cards for my classrooms! UFO Elementary loves them!

April 21, 2013

happy students

Tour…happy students

 In the past 2 months I have noticed a huge change in my students and teachers.
Our new building was finished, and now we are working on getting new supplies and materials to complete our classrooms.
New chairs arrived by ship! (the students had been sitting on the least it was new clean tile floor).
(in case you wanted to know, the ship I took to the Mortlocks was this size-I know it was hard to tell in the posts I wrote about my ship adventures...just imagine being on the open ocean in that!)

In my first few months teaching was an adventure, learning how to teach with less. Using whatever I had on hand.
Having a new building, and chairs has boosted the morale of everyone at UFO Elementary. Materials are still few and far between but hopefully that will change in the near future (stay tuned…books should be arriving soon and I am working on a lesson plan project with DOE and the other PCVs in Chuuk)

Timing is never certain in Chuuk…so while waiting for the ship the students took me around and we had a photo shoot (lead by the students of course) and drank coconut and ate óót (this is the stage when an old coconut starts to sprout leaves to eventually turn into a new tree. If you open it up the inside has a soft center (like the consistency of a dry crunchy marshmallow) and it is very sweet and delicious).

Then the chairs arrived!
We had to carry the chairs from the dock to the school (I am not good on estimating distance but I would say it is at least ½ a mile possibly longer). It took us two days to carry all 100+ chairs.

We now have complete classrooms, and the students are excited to learn!

Random thoughts…
-8th grade students can take entrance exams to test into private high schools on the main island…all of my 8th graders passed! (I cannot take all the credit (I was their teacher for only 6 months) there were 2 PCVs before me Johnny and Ben-thanks for all your hard work!)
-If you donated to the solar lamp project, they arrived last month and the community loves them! Thank you to everyone who supported this project.
-My American family sent me an Easter egg hunt in a box! My siblings loved it! Richen was the winner, she found the most eggs.

-We got a new puppy! His name was first Pancake, then Tabasco, and finally Azunto (a popular song/dance in Chuuk right now)