On the way home from town last weekend, I was sitting in the backseat of a pickup truck. It was pitch black outside, the cool breeze was whipping through the open windows, and I was staring up at the sky (have I mentioned how bright the stars are down here??). Out of nowhere, someone yelled “Hi Miss Quinn!” as we drove by. It snapped me out of my star gazing daze and I quickly yelled back, “HI!” Let me remind you that the speed limit is a creepingly slow pace of 25mph, but driving any faster than that is not an option here. But still! It was night and there were barely any lights, yet the glow of my palagi skin was enough for the person (turns out it was one of my students who never comes to class) to notice me from afar.
I’ll just come out and say it. I’m popular.
I’m so popular that 3 cars stopped in the middle of the road today (one almost causing an accident with a school bus – eep) to ask me if I wanted a ride to school. I politely turned them down. I like walking to school in the mornings.
I’m so popular that the Leone ‘aiga buses not only pick me up when I don’t ask them too but know where I live. This happened on my way home from school today. Yes! Free ride on the best transportation EVER.
I’m so popular that on a run the other night, at least, AT LEAST 10 people said hi to me (as in they said my name, not just hi). It was a 26 minute run.
I’m so popular that people I don’t even know will say hi to me. On a run last week, a man was sitting by the road and as I ran by, he yelled out, “Hi Quinn!” I had no idea who he was.
I’m so popular that I feel like I’m in a parade when I walk across campus. “Hi Quinn! Hi Miss! Hi Miss Quinn! Hi Miss America! Hi Party Girl! Hi Momma Quinn (yep, add that to my list of nicknames). I really do feel like Miss America. I just need to start doing the fancy wave.
It’s kind of weird being popular. It’s also weird when people drive by in cars and shout out my name but I don’t know who they are. I’m not one to ask for attention, but I’m definitely receiving it here. While I already get stares for being a palagi (it’s super funny when little kids see me – they oogle or shout out “palagi palagi!”), it’s nice when someone actually knows who I am. I feel bad for not knowing everyone’s names in return, but hey, with having to learn 105+ names like Lauaki and Matafaga, you probably would have a rough time too.
I'm going on a mini vacation! This Friday, myself and a couple other WT friends are island hopping over to Upolu (aka Western Samoa). It's Columbus Day weekend which means that we don't have school on Monday. While Upolu is still a Samoan island, it's a new "country". Upolu has its own currency called the Tala (taaalaaa). Currently, one USD is worth $2.33 in WST (Western Samoa Tala). KACHINGGG. It's like New Zealand all over again! Everything is 50+% off! On Friday night, we'll be staying in Apia (uh-pee-ah). Apia is known for it's market: food, handmade crafts, etc. I'm going shopping! I've been told to get the fish and chips and a fresh niu (coconut) at the market so I am super excited for my first meal there. On Saturday, we'll be heading out to the far east side of the island to the Taufua Beach Fales on Lalomanu Beach. It will take about 1.5 hours by taxi to get there...but once we do get there, I'll be spending 2 full days and 2 nights in "paradise." Not only will I be sleeping in a hut on the beach, but I'll be enjoying some peace and quiet - no HI MISS QUINN's for three full days. I'm pretty excited...
Enjoy your own Columbus Day weekend! While you may not be in paradise, at least you've got apple cider donuts and hot vanilla lattes...