Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Miss, do you have a dollar for me?"

Here are a few Samoan songs for you to enjoy as you read this post: 

I could listen to this song on repeat all day long. I just love it so much.

A classic Samoan song

One of my students told me to show this to anyone who wanted to know what life is like in Samoa. This pretty much sums it up. [This video was filmed in Western Samoa...that beautiful beach with the island in the background? Yeah, I've been there. That's Lalomanu...aka paradise, clearly.]

I hear the following phrases multiple times every day (even from students I don't even have or know):
“Miss, do you have a dollar for me?”
“Miss, do you have a quarter for me?”  [I get the sad puppy eyes along with it.]
“Miss, do you have bus fare for me?”
“Miss, do you have a phone?”
“Miss” [x10,000,000]
It's like I owe them or something!
In AmSam...
...they don’t say suckers. Instead they say lollipops.
...they don’t say toilet paper. Instead they say paper toilet. [Funny, right?]
...people of all ages love doing the Electric Slide. My students like to listen to the song in class. Funny.
...they love the song “Sexual Healing” more than the average person.
...tough, hardcore, mess-with-me-and-I-mess-with-you-boys will pick “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift instead of a scary rap song.
...going anywhere without a plate of sandwiches, a bag of McDonald’s cheeseburgers, and cases of soda is not okay. Sad.’s normal to see someone weed whacking their lawns (not many lawn mowers here) in slippers, shorts, and a t-shirt. I cringe and hope that they still have toes by the time they finish.
...they share EVERYTHING. Cell phones, pens, backpacks, notebooks, homework (grr), and even food. Let’s talk about their sharing of food. Someone walks into my classroom with a bag of tuna sandwiches for a party they are having in another class (yes, when you have a party in your class, you bring tuna sandwiches. Of course!), that student is SWARMED. Everyone wants a sandwich. If one person gets a sandwich, everyone needs to take a bite out of it. If someone has a cookie or even a tiny little piece of candy and someone asks for some, they easily give it up and share it with them. Sometimes, they don’t want to share. I’ve had students literally stuff half a sandwich in their mouth in less than 5 seconds so they don’t have to share. I’ve also had students come into my room with food and hide behind my bookshelf so no one else knows they have it. They can eat it in peace (unless someone comes in the room, they get afraid, and shove it all in their mouths.) It is so very entertaining.
...hitting, slapping, punching and the whole violence thing is normal. Fights are always happening at school. It’s just what they do. They fight village vs. village. If one village comes into another village’s turf, FIGHT. (This happened on Friday. My student explained it to me. “Someone came into our turf, Unkah Bunkah*, so we fought them.”) Even if you try to explain to them that violence is not the answer, it’s just what they are used to and they won't listen to you. Fighting makes them proud. Their scars (yes, some of them have scars) are important to them. When I tell them that they shouldn’t fight, they just say that they need to fight. Anyways, the whole point of this is that I’ve learned to accept it, unfortunately. There were about 8 students in my room before school the other day. Out of nowhere they were all out of my room in under 3 seconds. I ran after them because I was so confused…it was just a fight and they wanted to watch. Good grief. It's like they have an extra sense in their minds that someone is about to punch somebody else...if only they had an extra sense to turn in their homework on time!
* Unkah Bunkah is the code name for the village Amanave (but only the west side of the village...). They also go by ATL.
*Tuala is the code name for the village Vailoatai. They like to shout TUALA all the time.
*The Tap Boys are from the village of Taputimu.
*The Snow Boys are from the village of Aoloau. Aoloau is also known as Alaska (ha) because it's a village in the mountains and it gets "cold" there. HA.
...these are all the code names I can think of at the moment...there are more...
In other news, final exams are this week! This means that I have almost finished my first semester as a high school teacher. Wowza. It has also been 5 months since I left home sweet Sycamore. Crazy. In a week and two days, I'll be on my way to Apia...and then to SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA the next day. Christmas break can't come fast enough!


mom said...

Who would have thought tuna sandwiches make a party?! Do they use mayo? Have you shared your recipe of dipping them in chocolate milk? Funny blog, Quinn and the music is good too!

Bo said...

Merry Christmas sweetie....I'll send you a box or two of office supplies after the holidays...Bo (tuna in chocolate milk?)

Jovan and Rich said...

haha tuna sandwiches, huh? Weird! Hopefully they don't use mayo or Miracle Whip, YUCK! How do you think Rich would respond to me taking tuna to parties?! haha, he doesn't like tuna!

'86 Crew said...

First, let me just say thank-you for taking on a monumental task. I wish you and your colleagues the best and a safe return to wherever you're from. Now the tuna thing, its like beef out here. Stake and potatoes to you, is Talo and fish to us. A stable if you might say. The sharing thing, its from our culture. Grow up in Nuuuli myself, we would eat breakfast at home, lunch at a neighbors house and dinner at a friends...and so on. Have you ever notice when people greet you in Samoa, after the "how are you" they usually ask if you have had something to eat. Its a national pastime sorta speak, sad but true. Anyway I really enjoyed the blog, may the Lord bless you on your journey and return you home safely.


Crusaders '87

Quinn said...

Crusaders '87- Fa'afetai tele lava for reading my blog! Your well wishes and support are much appreciated. I am loving the graciousness and kind hearts of all the Samoans that I have met. Happy New Years!