In the Samoan language, the word for food is mea’ai. This past weekend, I’m sure I gained about 10 pounds due to the limitless amount of mea’ai that I have consumed (and I’m still going…it’s only Sunday morning!)
On Friday afternoon, my roommate Abby and I left school and hurried home to change out of our teacher clothes and grab our wallets – we were headed to the grocery store! This had been the one thing that we had both looked forward to all week long. The small stores by our house are only good for “I need this right now” purchases, and we were aching for some fresh produce and other necessities to fill up our fridge. Getting to the stores we wanted to visit is a long process when you don’t have a car on island. We had to take two buses both ways and it was almost 4:00 by the time we left. Buses stop running at 6:00, which meant that we had two hours to take two buses, visit two stores, and take two buses home. We were about to try our hand at speed shopping.
Our first stop was at Cost-U-Less (not an ideal store to visit when you’re on a tiny budget), but we splurged on some pepperjack cheese, a 10 pack of Starkist tuna, and I got some more coffee. Total shopping time: 10 minutes.
Stop number two was K.S. Mart. Apparently this was the place for all American Samoans to be at that time. I was instantly stressed the minute we walked through the door. We only had about 20-30 minutes to shop, and that alone was not enough for me to spend my time drifting through all the aisles. There were people everywhere and I kept bumping carts with Samoans. I left with some goodies though: tortillas, baby carrots (a $1.50 steal!), brown rice, black beans, oranges, apples, kiwi’s, peanut butter, ingredients for eggplant lasagna – thanks Terrie! (but then I forgot to get the eggplant…oops), cheap toilet paper, paper towels, soap to keep in my drawer at school (they don’t have soap or tp in bathrooms at Leone HS – ew!) and a loaf of fresh baked bread. I was a happy camper. Piling onto two buses was a little difficult with two big bags of food, but I managed to get home in one piece and I think only one kiwi got squished. Whew!
By the time we got home, Abby and I were starving…and that’s when the mea’ai eating started. I cut some fresh bread and ate it with my pepperjack cheese….and then I fixed myself some buttered noodles with tuna and frozen veggies. Immediately after, Abby and I decided to bake a cake, so we did, and ate quite a lot of it…but we still weren’t done. Later on in the night, we ended up at a “palagi party” (aka a bunch of white people hanging out at a house) where the WTers gorged ourselves on free food (we’re starving volunteers here, people!). It was someone’s going away party and there was cake, so I of course had more cake. I left the palagi party with sleepy eyes and a full belly.
Saturday ended up being one of the most relaxing and enjoyable days that I’ve had on island. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has a branch here because they are still helping with the development and building of houses that got destroyed by the tsunami that struck AmSam in 2009 (I think I’ve failed to mention that on this blog…oops. I’ll save that for another post.) Anyways, some FEMA workers were having a get together for some of their workers and for the WTers. The party started at 1:00 and Abby and I had time to kill, so we took one bus, and then walked the rest of the way. Total walking time: 1 hour and 3 minutes. By the time we reached the house, we were so sweaty, dirty, and exhausted. Thank goodness this house had a pool! The rest of the day was spent swimming (in our swimsuits!! – no Samoan’s around!), sipping pina coladas and margaritas, and devouring delicious, fresh food. We had fruit salad with papaya, oranges, apples, and strawberries to start off the snacking. Then we had cheeseburgers, homemade potato salad, and a romaine salad with veggies for lunch. Snack time came around and we had pizza. Later I ate a second lunch for dinner and then the host brought out a massive plate of pasta with fresh tomato, mushrooms, capers, and more. I was in mea’ai heaven for all 7 hours that I was there. It was such a beautiful, sunny day, and there is nothing to complain about when you’ve got great food, friendship, and beautiful scenery surrounding you.
The pool had a BRIDGE!
Did I mention that the house was basically a mansion? In AmSam? Pretty rare...
Heidi, Melinda, and I enjoying the water - that's a passionfruit plant behind us!
It was delicious.
Today is Sunday. Already I’ve eaten an orange, 2 slices of peanut butter toast, a piece of cake, and umu food (fish in coconut milk, breadfruit – my favorite!, taro with chicken in coconut milk, and coconut milk bread). It’s not even noon yet.
Life is good in AmSam. I can’t wait to see what this week brings in school, food, and fun! Have a great week as well – I am missing you all and I hope that the weather is cooling down for you. Malo!