Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Museums & Reverse Culture Shock

I had such a great start to the week. Monday afternoon I spoke to a representative from Manu'a (the group of islands I will be living on). All of her advice was super helpful and I'm feeling more prepared than ever to finally make my way out there. Tuesday was a busy day. My final solo lesson for training went better than expected. I LOVED interacting with the kids and teaching them about democracy, majority rule, and voting. They responded really well to it. We finished our language lessons yesterday and I'm starting to understand conversations better and better. Not sure if I wrote about this last time, but I've had a few conversations with Samoans in Samoan and it definitely helps me learn better when I speak directly to them.

Today was the best day ever (at lease since I got here). This morning we had a conversation about America Samoa and it's relationship to the rest of the world. We also discussed whether or not this qualifies as a developing nation or not. This might be boring to some, but considering I majored in International Studies, this discussion was right up my alley. After our discussion we went to the only museum on the island. IT WAS SO COOL. Here are some pictures of the eclectic place.
This American Samoa flag was taken to the moon and back on Apollo 11.

Traditional Samoan Tattoos

This flower (pictured below) is still used for its medicinal
practices on the island I will be living on. This was taken more for
Zac and Amber to see. I figured you med students would appreciate
the fact that they have meds to fix supernatural diseases here.

Traditional Samoan dress

This is a High Chief dressed in his ceremonial outfit. There are still high chiefs today that wear this during ceremonies and celebrations.
As you guys can see, culture and tradition are still very strong here. I loved learning about the history and seeing how it has changed through the years. Today I was definitely reminded just how important culture is to people and how vital it is to preserve it whenever possible.

After the museum, we went out to a fale (house with no walls) and met with some women who taught us how to weave. This was another great part. Today, I made myself a bracelet from bandana (pronounced baahn-dahna) leaves. It was so amazing to watch these women with such skill weave amazing bracelets, baskets, mats, and everything else. While I was weaving, I remember thinking, "this is something I am going to remember for the rest of my life." I'm sitting here with women who barely speak my language and I barely speak theirs, yet we were communicating through art and emotion. Pretty powerful stuff. It's moments like this that make me realize how much I love traveling and even more so, how much I like learning. I hope that feeling never goes away.
Weaving process. You start with really long leaves. It took me about 45 minutes to do the whole thing.

Finished product!
Today I also experienced my first bout of reverse culture shock. I had some spare time on my hands so I was surfing the web and I came across on how the two twilight stars are caught in a cheating scandal. Unfortunately, one of my guilty pleasures was celeb gossip, but today when I saw it I got really pissed off. I was SO frustrated that every magazine is blowing up over it, when I'm half way across the world struggling to find affordable school supplies for my students. UGGHHH. Sorry for that rant, but I had to get it off my chest.

Those are the only updates I have. I've officially started the law school process with MSU's application 'in progress.' Sending love from across the world. Until next time. Alofa.

1 comment:

  1. "Communicating through art and emotion"

    SEE WHY I'M OBSESSED?? Art is the international language.