This adventure keeps on getting cooler! Yesterday I spent the morning helping Sara and Josh clean up around their house, but afterwards we had an official welcoming from the family whose land the house is on where Josh and Sara are staying. I ate taro, breadfruit, coconut milk, salmon, SPAM (!!!), corn beef and cabbage, and terriaki beef. The food was so great (not the spam), but I completely understand why Samoans are such large people—they eat often and they eat A LOT. Don’t get me wrong, the food was phenomenal but I could never eat that much all the time. During this time, I experienced for the first time the role of genders within the household. At the luncheon Josh went to help bring out the food and the host family mom said, “Josh, have a seat. The women will serve you.” When I heard this I about flipped my shit, but I was respectful and served the food to the men as they sat and discussed football.
After our luncheon we went to one of their family friend’s personal beaches. It was on Maloata Bay. Here is a map of American Samoa. I’m staying in Leone and you can see on the west side of the map Maloata Bay.
As soon as we got there we were awestruck by the view. All of a sudden, Sara made some sort of noise so we all thought she saw a dolphin or a boat. She mentioned seeing water shooting into the air so we all watched intently (I thought for sure it was a great white.) We kept watching and all of a sudden we saw two whales surface. One jumped and splashed and the other smacked its tail. Seeing humpback whales in the wild was one of the coolest experiences of my life.
We decided to finish the afternoon by kayaking and snorkeling around the reef right around the bay. On our way home, one of the grandson’s of the host family sat on my lap in the bed of the truck. As we drove away seeing the sunset with this little boy sitting next to me telling me stories and calling me auntie (sign of respect), it made me both miss home (especially all of my nieces and nephews!), but also love my new surroundings. I’m constantly learning and experiencing new things and I love it!
This morning I woke up bright and early to attend the Dept. of Education Orientation for teachers. It was really bizarre. We started 45 minutes late. They served us breakfast—2 boiled eggs and a cinnamon roll. The orientation started with songs in Samoan, a prayer, and presenting of the colors. After some remarks from the local Reverend, the head of the DoE, and the Governor, we were released to go find our schools. As everyone says, we need to be very flexible when you’re a teacher here and I learned that first hand today. Today, I found out I am no longer teaching 3rd and 4th grade multi-age. Instead, I will be teaching 5th grade, with the potential of teaching 5 through 8 subject based. Hah. Joke life. Hopefully I will find out more tomorrow. Also, I found out that I will not be going to Manu'a until Saturday, which means I will only have Saturday evening and Sunday to move in and set up my classroom before school starts Monday morning.
I'll keep everyone posted on my teaching situation. Good thing no matter my classroom/age I get, I will still need all of the supplies and books everyone has purchased for me!