Thursday, July 08, 2010

21 Months!: The Story So Far and FAQs

This morning marked exactly 21 months since we landed here in Samoa. It’s weird how in some ways it feels like we just got here, and the last 21 months has gone by in the blink of an eye—and on the other hand, it feels like we’ve been here forever. It’s feels different now; the scales have tipped, the wind is at our back, we’re no longer running into the forest. Phil and I had a depressing conversation Sunday morning about how we’re going to slog through the next 5 months, and yet I was just thinking tonight about how much I’m dreading leaving. It’s a lot of contradiction, but without going on...

The Story So Far (as continued from April 8, 2010)

These last three months I’ve had a slew of interaction with people from my American life. Luisa came to visit, then I went to Hawai’i, then Dustin came to visit. To continue with the dichotomous motif, those 6 weeks were both thrilling and exhausting.

Luisa showed up just before midyear exams got underway, but we were able to get out and sightsee quite a bit despite school still being in session. Among the highlights of her stay was catching the culture show at Tanu Beach Fales, eating at The Curry House twice, and Luisa driving a right-hand drive car around the island.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, my school was mad at work preparing for English Day and midyear exams. My school alternates Samoan Culture Day and English Day every other year. While I greatly prefer the treat for the senses that is Culture Day, I found English Day to be tolerable, if only for the wealth of Michael Jackson tributes. In fact, I was asked to emcee the event at my school, a task at which I performed with stunning mediocrity.

9 hours after English Day ended I flew to Hawai’i where I joined my family on Oahu for a week. Hawai’i, with its statehood and all, proved to be the most American place I’ve been in the last 21 months. I toured the sites and the fast food restaurants, mooched as much wireless Internet as I could, and managed to teach my family Euchre. There was one wild night with high school friend Melisa, and somewhere along the way I managed to take the GRE.

I island-hopped back to Upolu just in time to catch the Digicel Smoke-Free College Rugby Tournament, where my school performed admirably, but lost in the semi-finals to freight train that is Blakey’s school.

And right about then, Dustin showed up. At this point I was ready for life to slow down, so Dustin and I took it slow. We checked out the Sliding Rocks with Lili 82, Rachel 82 and Rachel's visiting guest Gwen, watched a TV taping of the first round of the Samoan Independence Day Quiz, and attended a fundraiser for Peace Corps Samoa’s non-profit arm, Avenoa Tutusa. After a week of sluggishness in Apia, we made it out to Savai’i and then took a trip around Upolu in a rented jalopy.

The 1st of June marked Samoan Independence Day, a very wet morning. The day after, Blakey’s family flew in; her brother Peter is still here 5 weeks after the fact. A host of PCVs ran in the Independence Day 10k, and several of us attended the parade to celebrate the World Championship Samoan Rugby Sevens team.

Schoolwise, term 2 has been tedious. My students aren’t the pious cherubs they once were, and the thrill of teaching has worn a bit. But athletics and soccer have spiced things up.

We celebrated the 4th of July in style with two parties—one of which I didn’t attend—this past weekend.

And that’s the story so far.


Are you back yet?
    No, I’m not. I still live in Samoa.
But you’re coming back soon, right?
    Kind of. I’ll be back a couple weeks before Christmas.
Why don’t you take taxis more often? It’s, like, a $2 taxi ride to Farmer Joe.
    I rarely take taxis because they’re expensive. It’s a $4 ride to Farmer Joe, and if I taxi roundtrip, it’s $8. Why pay $8 to travel a walkable distance? Believe me, my time here isn’t busy enough that I don’t have time to walk and save $8. That said, if you’d like to contribute to my taxi fares, please send cheques payable to The Matt’s Samoa Blog Taxi Fund.
What are you going to do when you get back?
    Going back to school. Or getting a job. Or getting a job and then going back to school. Or vice versa. Couch surfing. I’m coming to visit you. Eating a lot of burritos. Riding the elevator at the Westfield mall in San Francisco. Joining a gym. Considering going vegetarian. Buying an iBook. You know, that sort of thing. By the way, do you know anyone who’s hiring?
Tomorrow starts a new round of cultural exploration. If you have ideas for cultural exploration, please submit them in the comments section or email them directly. Tomorrow’s topic will be Livestock.

I hope you’re well. Picture highlights from the last 3 months below.

A fire dancer at Tanu Beach Fales.

I've said it before, but this is easily my favorite sunset picture I've taken.


Physics teacher Malele and English teacher Suasami at English Day festivities.

Dan, AJ, Jordan, and Casey riding in the back of a pick-up after one of our league soccer matches.

Me and Duke Kahanamoku.


Quilan Vos said...

Have you decided on your tatoo yet?

And sorry about the taxi crack from my cousin. She thinks you're the thriftiest 'palagi' ever lived.

jane reinking said...

Speaking of thrifty, did you ever decide if you are "spongeworthy" and break out that reserve sponge? If not, I will be bringing you a new spare so you can live it up in your final months.