This was my first true international trip, and in my mind I had imagined everything to be so different. The biggest difference between Samoa and life in the United States, that I noticed, was that there isn’t too much of a difference. Sure, the heat and humidity is a big shock to the senses after growing up in the cool San Francisco Bay Area climate. But in Samoa, English is spoken just about everywhere. The people are generally friendly and helpful – but also very curious. “How long are you here for?” “Where are you staying?” Most of the dining options in Apia are similar to what I’ve tasted at home (I did have a chance to eat more authentic Samoan food when staying at the two different beach fales). And of course, drinking adult beverages after dark is not uncommon.
Matt asked me tonight what my favorite part of my vacation has been, but I couldn’t come up with just one thing. The scenery is absolutely amazing, so I can’t help but think of the different sights. Looking out at the turquoise-colored water on Savai’i is something I’ll never forget. Passing by the numerous villages and watching the people go about their lives will also stay with me. And the view high up on Le Mafa Pass was great simply because the green mountainside and clouds contrasted so much with the rest of the island.
The Peace Corps Volunteers I have had the pleasure of meeting here seem very at peace with themselves in Samoa. And now I can understand why. I know that class has been out, and life is very different when everyone will be once again focused on teaching. But Samoa is an amazing place, and when your escape from the real world is sliding down rocks at Papase’ea or snorkeling at the beach, I would be at peace with myself too.
Pictures below (Editor's Note: During the last 24 hours my camera was stolen and returned. The thief erased most of the pictures from Dustin's stay. Thus today's picture section is frustratingly skimpy. We're hoping the photos can be recovered from the memory card sometime soon.).
Behind the camera at the TV3 studio. Rotaract scrutineers in the background.