After living on an island where I went to the store to buy the same stuff over and over again - black beans, KS bread, cucumbers, fabric (at least their was an extensive choice of selection there), eggs, - imagine how I felt when I walked into an American grocery store for the first time. My jaw dropped. I walked up and down the aisles in complete amazement. My eyes were bugged and my mouth watered. I thought to myself, "Where do I even start?!"
Moments and times like these have been happening continuously since the second I stepped off the plane in LA. Re-adjusting to American life has been interesting, to say the least. I can't say it has been easy. It has actually been very difficult and it took me just over a month to really feel like myself again. In that month, I would wake up everyday feeling overwhelmed, sad, confused, and unsure of when I would break out of the Samoan bubble I was trying to keep around me. If it sounds like I wasn't happy to be home, I don't mean for it too. I was happy - I AM happy. Being surrounded with my friends and family has been great and I really did miss them while I was gone. It's nice to feel American again and to feel like I belong.
What's next in line for me? I will be teaching four English classes at Kishwaukee College. I laugh to myself at the fact that I am still going to be a teacher. Just the other night, I filled out a survey and one of the questions asked if I was an educator. I stared at it and went, "Wow, I can check yes to that!" My life has completely turned itself around job wise and well, I'm just going along for the fun ride!
What did living in American Samoa show me for my life ahead? International Education is still the career path that I want to follow. While I have always wanted to work in study abroad, and still plan on it, I am also considering other fields of Int'l Ed - possibly involving the South Pacific where I could develop projects, programs, and plans that can improve the education for and on the islands. Are these just dreams? Possibly, but I would really like to see them as goals that I want to work toward and achieve.
How will I get to where I want to be? My number one goal is to go to graduate school. I hope to be enrolled at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (aka the school of my dreams) next fall. This means that I will be up and out of Illinois and moving to California in less than a year. Can't complain about that!
Last but not least, this will probably be my last post on "Quinn in American Samoa." Sad. I have loved writing posts and sharing my life with all of you. It was nice to know that people out there cared about something that I was so passionate about. Thank you for your support, thoughts, mail, love, and kindness throughout this amazing adventure of mine. My time in AmSam was perfect. I couldn't describe it in any other word. Sure it had its challenges, but it really was an incredible year and I am so lucky that I was able to spend part of my life there. While I miss the islands and will always dream about going back, it is nice to know that I can always call AmSam home.