As I sat on the white sand of Airport Beach at 2:00 a.m. the other night, I gazed up at the sky full of bright, sparkling stars. I managed to see three shooting stars (score!) and yes, I made three wishes. Life doesn't get any better than that, right? Stargazing on a beach in American Samoa?
What I've failed to mention is the following:
- I was one sleepy teacher. School wears me out. At home, it took me at least an hour to fall asleep. Here, it takes me 10 or less minutes. Having to stay up past 10:00 was a challenge. I took a one hour power nap, but that only made me more tired.
- 2 minutes after we got out of the taxi and started the long hike to the beach, it started pouring. And by pouring, I mean POURING. I remembered to bring my raincoat (whew) but that only does so much. The poncho you sent me wouldn't have done much, Mom. I had to walk all the way to that little beach soaking wet from rain. I also had to make sure I didn't trip and fall on rocks, or get thrown into the ocean (that wouldn't have happened, but I'm trying to make this hike sound extreme even though it's not). I did get sprayed by a few blowholes though.
- The hike and beach were PACKED with Samoans. I'm surprised they weren't chanting "PALOLO! PALOLO! PALOLO!" I can hear it now in my mind - it would have been neat. As we hiked, Samoans literally raced around us. I was amazed. Nothing like a little sea worm to get ya going faster than glacial pace.
- 5 minutes after arriving at the beach: rainfall number two. We were lucky to get invited under a tarp tent by Samoans. They later cooked us a fish over a fire. Seki a.
- It was a long, slow, "I AM SO TIRED. WHY DID I LEAVE MY BED TO GO LOOK AT WORMS," kind of wait. We killed about 3.5 hours of time doing a whole lot of nothing on that beach.
- I was cold, like legit, legit cold. My rain coat was keeping the wind away, but after getting wet from the rain, my body just couldn't warm up. Abby and I eventually huddled under a tiny towel. Brr. 10 minutes before we left, we realized that the water was a heck of a lot warmer than the outside temperature. We should have just sat in it the whole time!
- Last but not least, I didn't even see a silly Palolo. I know, right?? All that for NOTHIN. Apparently it was a "bad catch" at Airport Beach and no one really caught any because they weren't really coming out. People were in the water with their flashlights (edit: in my last post, I said that they glow. I was wrong. They don't glow at all. People use flashlights to spot them.) and the National Park Service set up some traps, but from what it looked like, no one had much success. Everybody packed up and hiked back. By the time I got home and got in bed (after taking a freezing cold shower. oy), it was about 4:00 a.m. I had to be up at 6:25. Less than 2.5 hours of sleep before teaching 105 juniors? Hooray.
All in all, I'm glad I went. Someday I will look back on it and be really glad that I attempted to see Palolo. While I didn't get to eat any, I did get to see shooting stars, so I'm a happy Quinn.
In other news, Wednesday night was Parent Teacher Conference night. I met with a total of 15 parents, 14 of which their children were either getting an A or A+. It felt weird being on the teacher side of the table and telling parents that their children are excellent students and very respectful. Some parents were shocked when I said how great of a student their child was in my class. "I wish he/she would do that well in other classes." (That made me feel good!) I, of course, wished that more parents of my challenging and un-motivated students would have come, but sadly they did not.
Tonight was the first meeting of the Lion Running Club! 12 students showed up. 2 wore slippers (flip flops) and 1 ran in his socks. While I told them that they could just come back tomorrow with their shoes, they were too excited so they just ran in what they had. I thought it was funny. It was a pretty random group but I did have students from all grades, so that was nice. We ran to a field down the road, did some shin walks, some circuit exercises, abs, push-ups, and then ran back. Some of them barely ran, others ran the whole time. Abs and push-ups were extremely hard for them, but they enjoyed the squats and lunges. It was an adventure, that's for sure! A lot more students are still interested in the club, they just forgot to bring in their consent forms. We will see how many show up tomorrow!
Last but not least, I must share with you a 'melt-my-heart' moment that happened today. In 2nd period, my students were writing a Diamante poem (poem shaped like a diamond) and as I was reading over some of their poems, I noticed that one of my boys was sitting by my desk and writing something. I got distracted and forgot to go see what he was doing. After the class left, I remembered and went over to my desk. In my lesson planning notebook, he had wrote, "When you read these few word I hope you'll think just for a moment of how much you meant to me. There are so many people whom I dearly love and care about in this world but theres no one else quite like you." Can we all say AWW. I got my first love note. The student that wrote it can always make me smile. He's sweet, does his work, and is clearly a charmer (and a good writer!) Reading his little anonymous note made my day so much better.
I got the note from the student on the right. What a cutie! (The other two are cute too, of course! They make me smile just as much.)