I finished my time living at the high school in Nu’uli on Tutuila. For a week, KC and I moved in with friends (Kate, Ben and Thahn) in Leone, Tutuila. We had to wait there until we could book a flight out to Ta’u. The flights there are quite unreliable, and we ended up being bumped almost ten times before we were able to catch a 6am flight on Sunday, August 9th. A bus picked us up at the airport in Fitiuta on the Northeast corner of the island and then carried, Kaitie, KC, Dan, Zac, Josiah, Nathan, Sam and me to our houses. I am the only one of the eight of us on the island doing a homestay. I’m living in Faleasao on the northwest corner of the island with Aso (who seems to be in her late 50’s or early 60’s), her daughter, Lasi (who’s 26), Lasi’s son iedi (pronounced yekki) who is 3 ½, and Loa and Anne, Lasi’s granddaughters who are about 10 years old. Loa is in my fifth grade class, too. She’s one of the twelve students I have (6 boys, 6 girls). Life has been completely consumed with lesson planning, teaching and more lesson planning since I arrived here. Classes began on August 10th, so I had a mere 24 hours to prepare after my arrival. It’s been an adventure. I’m exhausted, and just finally able to upload some pictures and these posts to the blog. This is because there is no internet on the island except for one dial-up computer my principal has in the main office, which I am borrowing right now. It gets even more frustrating, though, because the internet is either too slow or too stupid to open up my blog page, so I have to email all of these updates to my parents- so thank them for any updates or pictures you find on my blog at this point! I miss everyone, and if you’d like more individualized updates, feel free to ask me for my email- it’s the quickest way to find out what’s going on in my life in more detail.
Manuia le Aso!!
August 20, 2009
I can’t believe I’ve been here for a month. Time is nonexistent. American Samoa is only just sinking in. Tonight, I walked back from Kaitie and KC’s fale in Faleasao. It’s about a five minute stroll down a dirt road back to Aso’s house where I’m living. The night was so quiet. The only sound I could hear was the constant hum of the waves crashing to my right. The air was warm, and a light breeze made the palm tree’s silhouettes dance eerily in the moonlight against the sandy road. That walk felt as close to an out-of-body experience as I’ve ever known… yet, simultaneously, I felt grounded to the unfamiliar earth that surrounded me. It was the first moment I really had the ability to drink in my new home. I’ve been surrounded by people for these past intense four weeks, traveling around the main island of Tutuila and now finally unpacking and teaching in Faleasao on Ta’u. Teaching has been wonderfully exhausting and challenging, and now that I am starting to get into a groove (planning my curriculum efficiently and organizing my classroom) I have some time to myself. I spend moments looking around this beautiful town I now live in and wonder how I got here…what’s my role here…who will I become here? It’s really sinking in, and I can’t wait to learn and grow here. I hope the few pictures I have of my fale, my school and the road that runs along my quarter-of-a-mile, 100-person town reveal the charm of the quaint Samoan village where I’ve become family.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Today was long and full of mixed happenings. It began at 8 am when I awoke to the sounds of my host family installing a washing machine two feet from my bed between our fales (I live in bedroom separate from the house). I felt well-rested, though, so I decided to get up and clean my fale (which is a 12x12 room with a bed, table and then a bathroom off of it). It was really satisfying, and I’ve been happy with my swept floors and dusted tables all day. I went over to KC and Kaitie’s and hung out with them for some of the morning. We then took a 20 minute jog over to Ta’u and just kept walking for about an hour along the beach to this beautiful turquoise wharf. By the time we got back to their fale, it had been two hours and we were dying of thirst. We spent the rest of the afternoon indoors watching the show Weeds, and then I came back home and took a satisfying nap. Around 5, KC and I headed back to the office at Faleasao Elementary and planned our lessons for the week. It took only half as long as last weekend (5 hours…this is what happens when you have no Education training!)- so that is promising. Then, we headed back to KC’s for some cucumbers and tomatoes the boys (Dan, Zac and Josiah) had brought back from Fitiuta’s plantation- so delicious! It was the first time I’d had tomatoes since I’ve been in Samoa- I miss them so much- all vegetables in general. Tonight, walking home from KC’s house, I ran into Sonny (a local high school kid). He offered to walk me back to my fale, so I shared some of my fresh coconut in my fridge as a thank you. That’s the way of life here in Samoa- people don’t have much, but they give whatever they have to each other. I love the generosity AND the fresh coconut! I then retired to my little fale and read until it was time for sleep. Besides teaching, island life isn’t too tough…