Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Don't hate, appreciate... teachers and mamas.

Malo lava!

When I think back to the most influential people in my life I think about my mom and my teachers, which is why I thought it was fitting that here in AmSam we celebrated both of them in one weekend.

Teacher Appreciation was the most outlandish thing I've seen in all 18 years I've been a student/teacher.  People here take this seriously. I mean really seriously. For about a month leading up to this week, we had only half days of school because all the teachers and staff of my district were practicing for a big event in Pago where all the districts comes together to perform for the governor and the director of education.

Everyone left Manu'a Wednesday morning as we head to Pago for our weekend. We left via the MV Sili and the boat ride there was pretty enjoyable. We got some great sunset photos and most people were able to sleep for the 7 hour ride. The boat ride took all day, so we didn't do much during our time on Wednesday. Thursday morning there were meetings all day, but that night our Principal took all the staff out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. It was the first time I'd been to a restaurant in 5 months and first time I'd had Chinese in over a year. It was fantastic. To make it even better it was a karaoke bar and they were playing great jams like "grease lightening" in the background acted out via Samoans. Here's a photo of Me, Madeline, and Vito (a coworker/friend) enjoying our feast.
Early the next day we had our major event which included songs, dancing, and step dancing, or if you want to say it in Samoan, pese, siva, and sasa. We started with a walk around the track introducing the schools, we played some games out on the field, then each school district performed. There was over 2,000 people in attendance. Here are some photos taken during that time.
Manu'a District setting up for our parade.

See the man with the sun glasses on in the middle with a big green lei, sitting like a boss?
That's our governor. 

School t-shirts! So much Manu'a Pride!

Sara (l) and Kristina (r)
Two of my favorite girls that live in Leone on Tutuila.

My favorite Manu'a ladies. Jacquie's on the right and Cat's on the left.
Cat was a WT volunteer last year that went on contract this year. She's hardcore.

Early Saturday morning we left to come back on the boat. The trip was pure torture. The waves were huge, we went through monsoon like rain, and I've never been a boat that bumpy. People were getting sick left and right. I was soaking wet. The only way to describe it was a war zone. I'm just thankful I don't get seasick. Overall, the trip to Pago was fun. It was a great break, but I'm happy to be back in Manu'a.

Sunday was Mother's Day, and just like everything else, they went all out. The Sunday School put on performances and they gave out candy ulas to all the women. Here are some snapshots of church.
Singing their hearts out.

One of my 7th graders on the Left, she was the MC for the performance.

4 of my students being cheeky in the background.

My brother is on the right, he was playing a father for Mother's day.

After church, we all went over to the family's to have a big delicious brunch. That evening we went for a ride around the island and I was able to take my favorite photo yet. One of me and my Mama. I couldn't ask for a better second mom. 

Happy mother's day to everyone, especially my real Mom! I couldn't be here if it wasn't for you. Love you!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Faleasao Weekend!


This past weekend was WorldTeach End of Service- our end of year meeting that is supposed to help us gain information on reentry into our home country. I remember writing this on my calendar back in July and thinking the day was never going to come, but now that it’s here and gone I can’t believe how close I am to this all really being done.

We spent the weekend in Faleasao and Ta’u, the two other villages on the other side of my island. The meeting was insightful, but the best part was that all of us were together one last time before we all start trickling out of the country. Our field director showed up Friday via plane and brought tons of food with her that none of us have had in months. There was frozen pizza, fresh oranges and apples, salsa, BREAD, spinach artichoke dip, and the like. I WAS IN HEAVEN. We compared her unpacking the cooler to an episode of Survivor during a rewards challenge where the reward is food. Although let me point out that Survivor is only 39 days (if you’re there for the whole time, whereas we’re going on 10 months… rookies.) Friday night we had a big dinner and Saturday we had the meeting, went swimming, and played more games. Saturday night I had a definite culture clash as I was eating frozen pizza with fresh coconut water straight from a coconut.

This definitely wasn’t how I used to enjoy my pizza back home, but hey, whatever you can get to drink that won’t kill/harm you here is worth it.

That night I went for a walk to enjoy the sunset because, like I said I really don’t have that much time left here. Here are a few snap shots of the view. To think that this is my life is actually really amazing.

This weekend helped me reaffirm that I absolutely love to travel and I’m not finished. As I start looking at what comes next I’m starting to get excited about it. I definitely think that traveling and continuing to live abroad is in my near future, but the even more exciting question is… where to next?

This coming week I am heading to Pago Pago for Teacher Appreciation events put on by the DoE. Every district was in charge of creating their own sasa (like step dancing Samoan style), siva (samoan dance), and pese (songs). We will be having a large performance this coming Friday that will more than likely last hours on end. We’ve been practicing non-stop for it and have let school out early everyday for the past 2 weeks so teachers can prep. I hear today is going to be no different, there are rumors practice tonight could last 6 hours. Ughh.

Anyways, I leave Wednesday on the boat for an 8 hour ride to the big island and will be returning Friday night on the boat, as well. All I can say is thank god I don’t get seasick. 

Fa Soifua.