08 August 2014

Snow! And Fiji culture! ....in Dunedin?!


Everybody stay inside - it's not safe. Close the roads leading into the hills, cancel this morning's health centre appointments, tell the students not to come to class... Snow is on the ground in Dunedin!


I mean.... really? The entire city shut down for this little dusting?

Dunedin may be known for its damp, bone-chilling cold... but this coastal city don't know a thing 'bout snow! 

I've been loving it though! Snow makes for a proper winter, in my opinion. Theoretically this weather will keep me inside to work on my tourism essay, but then again...it might just be another excuse to keep reading Lord of the Rings. 

Yes. That seems preferable. 

But while I am in the blogging mindset...I might as well tell you about my Fijian culture experience from earlier this week. I got to participate in a traditional Kava ceremony, Fiji style, which I signed up for through the Student Centre (they offer so many great activities), because... why not? It sounded like something cultural.  

Kava is a drink made from the root of the Piper methysticum, which is related to the pepper plant. Drinking kava is a huge part of Fiji culture - it can be social and casual, but it is also highly ceremonial. For example, the oldest male (or the chief) always drinks first; the women always drink last. You always clap once before receiving your bowl of kava, then you drink it in one go, and afterwards clap three more times. 

Preparing to mix the Kava in the communal bowl
We were totally on "Fiji time" that night. Our hosts prepared a PowerPoint presentation about Kava, its history, effects, preparation, etc. We would go through only one or two slides before we drank another round of Kava. We were all relaxed and sleepy because Kava is mildly narcotic. 

To put it positively, Kava tastes earthy. To put it very literally, it tastes like warm, muddy water with sawdust. But experiencing Kava is less about the drink itself and more about the people you are with. Kava is entirely about the community. 

Our little group (of about 7-8 people) stayed in the student centre until the building closed, which was around 11 pm--a full hour over our allotted time. We were just relaxing cross-legged on the floor, listening to Fijian music, chatting about nothing in particular. 

And so, while in New Zealand, I got a small taste of Fijian culture. I also got to experience snow in Dunedin, which only happens a couple times a year, if at all. So I'd say it's been a good week! 

Cheers, everybody!

1 comment:

  1. I am still laughing at the blizzard conditions you had! Ha ha. Yes, they do not know snow like we do here in CO.
    It would make for a good tea and reading day. Lord of the Rings is always a good choice. My favorite character is Sam Wise Gamgee. Loyal and true to the end. Oh, if we all just had a little of his character and integrity in us the world would be a better place. All the experiences you are having are so unique. The kava one sounds so intimate and meNt to be peaceful. A good choice for that outing.
    Take care my daughter and know you are loved by a silly lady in CO!
    Momma Monique