This past Friday was Leone HS’s “Welcome Back Assembly.” This, of course, took precedence over classes for the day. All the students were itching to get out of the classroom, and I too, was ready for the weekend. After three 30 minute classes, the entire school piled into the gym (which is outside – it has no walls!) for the big event. The Principal, VP, and some alumni from 1986 all spoke before the fun, and when I say fun, I mean FUN! The teachers sat in front of all the students and after all the speeches, we got the party started. Literally. One of the VP’s, Viper, introduced the entire faculty and staff, and while doing so, students placed fresh, handmade lei’s – straight out of the garden, around our necks. In AmSam, lei’s are called ula’s. As a teacher was announced, students would cheer and we would wave to the crowd. Imagine if they did that in the U.S.? The ula’s were brought in by all the students. The more ula’s you brought in, the more points your class got for the overall class competition. After the introduction, Viper called all of the new teachers down from the bleachers and well, made us dance. Music blasted out of speakers, and we boogied. I, of course, HATE being the center of attention, but thought to myself, “what the heck.” I let loose and took over that gym, and boy was it fun! After the assembly was over, all I heard for the rest of the day was “Great dance Miss!” “You were awesome!” “I loved your dance, Miss Quinn!” HA! My moves obviously made an impact. The dancing was just what I needed, and I think it loosened me up for the year to come. Many students also told me that they caught the whole thing on video. We’ll see if I can somehow get a copy of it! J
I finally got a picture of myself in my classroom!
These are some of the juniors and freshmen. The students have to wear uniforms to school here.
Some of the freshmen from my VIP spot on the bleachers.
Amber, Abby, our Principal Haili, and myself after the assembly.
I walked home from school with these handsome little men. The two on the left, Kolio and Malaki, are my neighbors and my little BFF's.
A shot of my hand woven ula up close - so pretty and it smelled amazing!
Later that night, Abby and Amber (my roomies) and I headed to the only stadium on island…it was FOOTBALL NIGHT! Leone was playing Samoana, a high school where three other WTers are placed, and we were ready to watch some of our students play. We had found some Leone t-shirts at one of the marts so we were decked out in school spirit. I am not a big fan of football. I don’t really understand the game or care about it in general, but I was still excited. Leone ended up losing both JV and Varsity. We played awful, but I’m still a believer – I know they will pull through!
Our stadium faces mountains on one side and the ocean on the other - not bad! You might also notice that there is a track around this stadium. I am going to help coach track and I am STOKED. Too bad it's at the end of the year...so far away still!
The Leone HS motto is "Unity is Strength." What a better way to live through that phrase than by holding your teammates hands. It was so gosh darn cute.
Flash forward to Saturday morning. I was up bright and early for ZUMBA! My friend Khoa and I got free tickets to a fundraiser so we thought we’d give it a try. While I had heard of Zumba, I didn’t know anything about it. Turns out, it’s super crazy awesome FUN! For two straight hours (with only one break that lasted 2 minutes) Khoa and I boogied along with a ton of Samoans. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. Khoa and I looked like complete morons, but we were having a blast. We salsa’d, shook our booties, ran around in a line, and did all sorts of crazy moves. It was HILARIOUS! What a great day to spend my morning, and by the time we were through, it was only 10:15!
It ended up being a gorgeous, sunny day in AmSam, so myself, Khoa, my roomie Abby, and our friend Allison took full of advantage of it and hiked out to Airport Beach. It’s called that because it is literally behind the airport. You start out in Fogagogo (try saying that in Samoan – it took me about a month to finally get all the vowels: fohngahngohngoh. Whew.) and you follow a road that eventually leads to the ocean. From there, the rest of the walk is on lava rocks, complete with beautiful blow holes and stunning views of the water. We saw lots of crabs scurrying around, and even some Samoan fishermen. After a 20 minute or so hike, we ended up at a teensy tiny beach. It was high tide when we got there so the beach space was very limited. Remember that in AmSam, white, sandy beaches are basically non-existent – instead they are broken coral and shells. Within 10 minutes, we were in the water, snorkeling till our hearts were content. We spent about 2 hours in the water, which felt great. It had been a long time since I was able to go swimming, and the water was at the perfect temperature. I saw some amazing fish and Khoa even saw a barracuda! I left the beach with some sun on my face- something that felt so good!
All in all, I had a great weekend. I was also able to get some grocery shopping in – this week’s steal was a couple heads of broccoli and some frozen chicken fillets. Woo hoo!
For those of you that go back to school this week – have a great first day and for those of you still on summer break, go hang out by the pool. J
My first view of the ocean when we got off the road. Sweet.
Looking back as we walked. I'd like to live in that house.
Airport on the left. Khoa in the middle. Ocean on the right.
This wasn't the beach we hung out at. The water was too shallow to snorkel.
Dead coral. I thought it was pretty.
Snorkeling is awesome. Seriously.
Check out that beauty up near the top left.
Stumbled upon some weird, straight fish.
Best find of the day!
Yep, I live here.