And the game begins. I am outside my house 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Nothing in my pockets. How do I get back in?
Character strengths: Comfortable clothing, running shoes.
Character weaknesses: No wallet. No cell phone. No keys.
It’s a hop, skip, and a jump from my house to the hotel that’s become the frequent Peace Corps hang-out. I’m pretty sure PCV Briony, who often watches the cat when I leave to go to the village, still has the key to my house. All I need to do is find a Peace Corps Volunteer and use his/her phone to locate Briony. Dodging Apia’s many pot holes and various other gaps in pavement, I climb the steps to the hotel. They’re lowering the flag down the flagpole just as I go inside.
It’s shady and coolly humid on the hotel’s back patio, and the brick masonry is impressive. Chris 81 and Hanna 79 are sitting in wicker chairs. I’m saved! “Have you seen Briony?” I ask. “I’m sorry,” they say. “Your Briony is in another castle.” But then Chris hands me her phone and I call Briony.
The phone has trouble connecting when I call Briony's phone AND when I call Blakey's phone (Blakey and Briony live together.). Since they get terrible service at their house, there's a strong possibility they're home. But I decide to warp to the Peace Corps office. Just in case.
Back outside the hotel, the sun is getting low in the sky and the reflection off the clouds makes it look like they’re on fire. The green hills of Upolu provide a scenic background as I hurry across the bridge down to the Peace Corps Office. Walking up the steps to the office, a worker is lowering the flag down the flagpole just as I go inside.
My time in the office is quick. It’s dark and a little musty, as always, as I walk down the narrow corridor to the resource room in the back. Joey 81 is there. “You seen Briony?” I ask. “I’m sorry,” he says. “Your Briony is in another castle.” I head off, but I stop because I hear the incessant sound of the toilet running.
It does this a lot, and it annoys me. I pause my search for Briony to fix the toilet. It only takes a couple seconds to get the seal to block the water from getting out of the reservoir. I'm an excellent plumber.
It’s dark outside as I start to climb the hill. I have to back track past my school where one of my Year 11 students, Taleni, is starting his own walk up the hill after rugby practice. His orange cleats hang from his backpack by their laces. “Where are you going?” He asks. “Up,” I say.
I leave Taleni at his house and continue the climb on my own. Walking past Giordano’s Pizza, I can smell the savory aroma of marinating mushrooms. I could really go for a mushroom.
Outside the walls of Briony and Blakey’s compound there are still kids on the street, walking to the faleoloa, walking home. They sling their ska kupes at me like hammers, and though I sometimes feel the urge to bop them on head, I resist and simply outmaneuver them to get away. Finally as I reach the gates of the compound, the boys are lowering the flag down the flagpole.
Blakey and Briony’s campus is sprawling and the path to their house is tricky. There’s one road that leads up and one that leads down, and I can never remember which way to go. Eventually I make it through to residential area. I recognize the path to their house, and right in the middle of that path is a huge dog. His bark is loud, and I’m slightly frightened. I’m not sure how I do it, but I make it past the dog. Briony is waiting just on the other side with the key to my house.
I walk home.
I hope you’re well. Pictures below.
Phil woke up early and took pictures of Paul and me while we were still sleeping. In this one, Paul (floor) and I (couch) are doing tandem fetal positions.
And in this one we're doing the tandem sprawl.
Supy's Irish friend Claire with Paul.