Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Expectations, goals, and a whole lot of fish

I really enjoyed my time in Australia, but stepping off the plane and getting blasted in the face with hot humidity just felt right. I was happy and ready to get back into my everyday routine. I expected it to be hot (which it was and still is). I expected lots of household chores: cleaning, laundry, unpacking (check, check, check). I expected to go grocery shopping (fridge is back to being fully stocked). I expected to lesson plan (well, kind of. I’m ready for tomorrow at least!) I expected it to rain (yep, sure has).
I didn’t expect two little boys to show up at my doorstep and bang on the door because they were so excited to see me. I didn’t expect to play Frisbee and soccer with an entire yard of kids. I didn’t expect to make my bff Mavaega’s day when I gave him a t-shirt from Australia. I also didn’t expect to make so many new friends in two days. All it took was for me to go to the laundry mat, stand out in my front yard with a Frisbee, and go swimming in the ocean.
Leaving this island for almost two weeks and then coming back has given me a chance to look at my life in a new perspective. So many people love me here, and I love them right back. I should have expected all of the things above to happen, but things like unpacking my suitcase or cleaning the bathroom got in the way. Now that it is 2012 and my second semester as a high school English teacher starts tomorrow (wow!), I am going to take a deep breath of humid air and strive to open my eyes a little bit more this year and soak in as much as I can. I have a goal to breathe, learn, accept, work with, embrace, and love every bit of my life in American Samoa (even if I sometimes want to cry). I know that I can accomplish this goal and I think I am already off to a good start.
What better way to end this blog than with some pictures from my quick overnight trip to Apia…  

After landing in Apia, getting my passport stamped, and hailing a taxi (and when I say hailing, I mean picking one of the many men that are anxious to taxi you to places)- Abby and I were off to Supy's house. Supy is a Peace Corps volunteer and he lives about 5 minutes from the airport in the village of Moto'otua. I had his address but the taxi driver took us to the wrong place. We called Supy. No answer. We kept driving. Hmm...where are we going? 30 minutes later, we end up at Supy's house. Have I ever told you that no one in all of Samoa has an actual address? You just sort of say things like, "I live in the yellow house behind California Mart" or "It's on the street next to KJ Kiel Electronics." Apparently even taxi drivers struggle with this method.

After dropping off our bags and getting to know Supy and another Peace Corps volunteer Blakey, we were off to downtown Apia for some food. We ate at a really nice hotel right across the street from the water. I can't remember what it was called, but it was classy. The 'foodie' in me was excited to eat. Being the 'try new things while you're in Samoa' person that I am, I shared fried eggplant (delicious) and Poke. Poke is apparently a Hawaiian dish - raw yellowfin tuna, soy sauce, and a few other things (read about it here: Poke). I can honestly say that I thought it was so darn tasty. From never eating any sort of fish besides tuna sandwiches to now eating raw fish...I have come so far! Go me!
Poke on the left, fried eggplant on the right - yum

Next up was an even more appetizing fish burger. More tuna - this time cooked. Absolutely delish.

Western Samoa is so New Zealand-y. They use 'tomato sauce' (aka tomato water) instead of ketchup. Blech.

It's obvious that we're still in Samoa. The shine on our faces says it all. That drink in the middle of us is a Vailima. Vailima is the beer that is made in Western Samoa. I think it tastes like watered down dirty water, but hey, that's just me. Vai means water and lima means five. Huh?

After a restless night under a mosquito net that didn't quite do its job, Abby and I were up at the way-too-early hour of 3:40 and out the door by four a.m. After a taxi ride to the international airport (it's about an hours drive outside of Apia), we checked in, and eventually said goodbye to Samoa for a while.

Little did we know how BIG the Australian airport would be compared to the airport that only has two gates...
More to come soon!


Mom and Dad said...

Never in a million years would I have expected you to eat Poke. 2 million years. Wow!
Excited to begin reading about your Australian adventure, Quinn!

Ellie said...

Tomato sauce is amazing!!!
Glad to hear you had such an awesome trip Quinn. Merry Christmas and happy new year and all that, cant wait to see you this year! Do you know when you're coming to NZ?