Friday, January 27, 2012

The adventures of Erin and Quinn

My friend Erin spent a week in American Samoa and I can’t express how wonderful it was to have someone visit me. Erin and I’s friendship started in New Zealand when we studied through the same study abroad program. We even took a nine day trip around the north island right before we came home. Erin and I get along like peanut butter and jelly and I am so lucky to have such a great friend. She is now back in New Zealand for a while and will be studying to get her master’s degree.
The funniest thing that started our adventure were her first words when she walked out of the airport. “It’s so HOT!” Thank you! Someone finally can understand what I mean when I say that it is hot! The poor girl roasted away throughout the rest of the week. When I was cold, she was overheating. When I didn’t need the second fan at night, she did. When we climbed up a super steep and long hill to the village of Aoloau, she said she’s never been so hot in her entire life. I wasn’t even that hot! I found her reaction to the heat very amusing. I guess I’ve just gotten used to it (even though it will always be a pain in the butt.)
When we weren’t trying to stay cool (oh wait, that was always), we went swimming, we dined on the ever-so-delicious Grilled Wahoo sandwich from Rosie’s, we scarfed down ice cream from the gas station, we spent a day on the far west/north side of the island, we went to basketball games, and the list goes on and on. Erin even came to school with me a few times and was the talk of the town! The new palagi girl had to be viewed and introduced by and to everyone. Students I’ve never even talked to made sure to come in and get a look at her. Erin even got a few love letters. You can always count on Samoan teenage boys to lay on the charm in every way that they possibly can.
While it was sad to see her go, I will be able to see her again in June when I head back to New Zealand. Hooray!

Erin and I, happy and sweaty, waiting for a basketball game to start.

My 5th period wanted to have a photoshoot. The boys had to show off their muscles...of course.

Driving to the far west and north side of the island. There's nothing like sitting in the back of a truck with your friends. A few minutes after I snapped this picture, it poured rain for about 20 minutes. We got wet. Really, really wet. Fun!

Private beach, palm trees, and a kayak full of cute Samoan kids. What a great place to spend my MLK Jr. Day!

 Mavaega and I, laughing - like always!

This is such a Vanna White picture, but I couldn't help it. A student brought me a pineapple! A few days later, another student brought me two mangos! Score.

In other news, I had a terrifying, frustrating, and annoying incident happen in my classroom yesterday. Three boys in one of my classes got into a massive fight. This fight included lots of harsh words spoken in Samoan, lots of punching, lots of slamming against my chalk board, and lots of anger. It’s amazing how fast a fight can start here. I am sure that I have mentioned this before, but fighting is what a lot of Samoans do to solve their problems. Talking through an issue doesn’t really exist. Instead, they fight. I’ve seen plenty of fights but I usually just go about my business and ignore them. It’s hard to ignore a fight when it’s happening five feet from where you’re standing and your students are viciously punching each other in the face. My other boys in the class were trying to break them up, but they kept charging right back at each other. I, being the person that I am, froze in place until I snapped out of it and ran to the phone in my classroom. Just as I was about to call the office, a whole bunch of people ran into the classroom, including one of our custodians who thankfully, was able to stop the fight. He hauled them off to the office. Whew. What a mess. A scary, frustrating mess.
On a positive note, a kitten and a bird sitting on a stick (literally) both made appearances in my classroom this week. I have no idea where the kitten came from. I looked up at one point and a student had it in her arms. I don’t even ask questions anymore. Only in American Samoa!
Also, my room is turning into an art gallery. There is a closet right behind my desk. I only use the closet to hold my soap (other than that I keep it closed. termites...cockroaches. EW GROSS.) but the outside of the door is now home to many pieces of beautiful Samoan designs! Once I hung up two things that students had drawn for me, I have been handed a new page of artwork almost every day. Some students design my name or their villages name, others draw Lion warriors, others draw pictures of me teaching, others just draw Samoan designs. Samoans are so talented with something as simple as a pencil. A student I have never even talked to brought me an amazing picture today. We found an empty spot and hung it up - how cool, right?! Most students just like to look at them all and ask who drew them. Others like to make sure their village has been represented on my door. I will have to take a picture of my gallery so you can see all the art!
Also,TGIF! As much as I am loving school right now, I am looking forward to the weekend. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but having a couple days off will be much appreciated.  Fa soifua!


mom said...

An art gallery!! Good for you to do that for the students! Are there any art classes at Leone?

Love your pictures especially the one with you and Erin and You and Mavaega.

Ami said...

the pic of the beach (right before it rained) and the one right below it - beautiful!!

as someone who has also had to deal with a fight in the classroom - i completely understand what that feels like. i, too, froze, then tried to break up the fight before i even thought to call - i am glad your reasoning kicked in quickly!!

also - the art gallery sounds amazing. sounds like a future scrapbook. :)