Where to begin? My life is now back to being somewhat normal, just not in a normal location. I’m starting to feel like I am no longer a college student (although the consistent later nights and early mornings would make my body argue differently). I have real responsibilities and I have students that depend on me. They are in hands for the next year and it is my responsibility to teach them as much as possible.
My landlord’s family is wonderful; Logoleo and his wife treat me and Madeline like we’re their kids. We actually call him Leo and his wife Momma. They check in on us and make sure everything is fine. They bring us food, give us money to put in the church offerings, and tell us when everything is happening. It’s safe to say they’ve welcomed us with open arms.
On Saturday I went fishing with Leo, his son Asila, and Madeline. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, but we caught three fish and I don’t remember any of their names. Leo actually did all the catching; Madeline and I sort of wandered the coast taking in the breathtaking beauty. We fished out of the national park, so it was great to be able to go in and see it. I guess there are wild boars in there, so all I could think about is Lord of the Flies. There are also lots of butterflies and moths, for someone like me who HATES butterflies and moths, this was more terrifying than being worried about being taken out by a wild pig.
After a few hours fishing, we came home. That afternoon Leo and Neta (Momma’s niece—the heroine of the centipede story) took us to see the other side of Ta’u- Faleasau and the village of Ta’u. These places were much more like beach villages. They are sea level, the front yards are sandy, and the housing style in slightly different than Fitiuta. Hard to believe that a drop in elevation and only a 6 mile car ride can drastically change your surroundings that much. Here is a picture of the views from the other side of the island. The Wharf for Ta’u is located on that side, so if you look in one picture, you can see the wharf and a sign made out of seashells in the side of a mountain, “Welcome to Manu’a.”
That evening we went to Momma and Leo’s for dinner where we had taro, coconut crab, the fish we caught, and some other little things.
Sunday was spent going to church. One of my 3rd grade students sat with me. The whole service was in Samoan, so I had no idea what was going on, but I nodded along and followed the actions like I did. A few times my student would see that I was doing something wrong, he would elbow me and whisper, “Teacher!! CLOSE YOUR EYES.” Hahah I listened. The reverend welcomed us to the church and the community during the service, which was nice. After church we went to Momma and Leo’s and had a big lunch. Again we had taro, breadfruit, boiled bananas, pork chops, chicken, fish, soup, and corn beef and cabbage. Interesting mix, but it all tasted pretty good.
When I don’t spend my time lesson planning, which is how I spend my weekends because I have to turn in a weeks worth of plan’s Monday morning, I spend it attempting to cook. I made some cookies Saturday for us to eat Sunday. Then last night I made breadfruit fritters. If you don’t know what breadfruit is, look it up. It grows on a tree and it’s a pretty weird texture. Anyways, I used the fruit to make dough and then made cinnamon sugar fritters. Here’s a picture of the finished product!
After only eating a few I took them over to Leo’s because I didn’t want to eat the entire thing. However, when I went I thought I would just drop them off and be on my way, but Momma wouldn’t let me leave until she had food to give to me. I left my house with fritters, I came home with 2 chicken thighs, 4 hot dogs, and 4 chicken tails (I don’t even know what these are). Clearly they mean business when it comes to sharing food.
I’m still trying to figure out the mailing situation here. It’s hard because I’m not on the main island, where my mail gets sent. So typically I have to wait an additional week before any of it actually comes out to Manu’a. I’ll keep people posted as I get my mail. For people who are sending me stuff via amazon, sometimes they will send you an email saying that they left it at the post office or they tried to take it to my house; please know that EVERYTHING ends up at the post office because they don’t deliver here. It is our job to pick everything up. So don’t worry, it should be getting to me in due time.