Sometimes, these "things" that happen in American Samoa grab your attention in a way that your body is not used too. Your heart may stop for a few seconds and then start beating faster than you ever thought possible. Your mind may race. Your body may become numb. Chances are, your body will sweat (oh wait, it already was sweaty). Sometimes, this happens.
These so-called "things" have happened to me four times now. While we can all agree that four is a very small number, we can also agree that four can also be a very big number. Most of you probably know by now what these "things" are, but for the blog readers that might be reading about my adventures for the first time (talofa!), I suppose I'll once again mention them (just because I feel that it is necessary to remind myself, "Hey! I survived. Cool!)
Thing Number Tasi: Trekking to Second Beach (what I now refer to as the beach from hell) on Ta'u. Falling approximately 3 times between giant rocks, slamming my ankle (hooray for not breaking it!..and I've got a scar. Sweet.), arriving at said beach, getting attacked by mosquitoes, and walking back only to be trapped by the cruel, cold-hearted tide that decided to sweep in fast and hard. Thank goodness I learned a lesson or two from my dear friend Smeagol. When in doubt, climb!
Thing Number Lua: Almost getting swept off a rock in Vatia and pushed out into that big, blue thing they call an ocean. That wave destroyed my underwater camera! JERK.
Thing Number Tolu: Sliding down a mountain, almost getting impaled by an avalanche of falling boulders. Okay, that was fun. I still have a bruise though...and that was a long time ago. Hmm?
And that brings us to today, and to number four.
Thing Number Fa: Abby and I decided to conquer the west (walking of course, no covered wagons here!). We left the house with a mission: walk west and not get attacked by dogs! We had the sun at our backs, we carried a plastic pipe that Amber found, and we started off. We passed some of my students, we had no problems with dogs!, we stopped to take in the views, we enjoyed the breeze, we talked about how weird it will be to live like a normal American in a few months, we talked about food (of course). It was a typical outing for the two of us. On our way back (it was getting hotter), we discovered a little cove/rocky beach area that looked like the perfect place to explore. As soon as we got down to the water, the sound that no one ever wants to hear when they are basically in the ocean blasted through the air. The tsunami siren. After a quick, bug-eyed stare between the two of us, we sprinted up the hill, hearts racing, our eyes plastered on that beautiful, calm body of water right next to us. Of course this would happen when we are a 45 minute walk from our house, right on the water. Of course. As that dreadful noise blasted, the creepy-as-all-get-out voice that goes along with it chattered away...in Samoan. Abby whipped out her phone to call Amber, as I thought to myself of who we could call to come pick us up (ah-duh Quinn - go climb a mountain). By the time Amber told Abby that it was exactly 12 noon and it was probably a test, the creepy-as-all-get-out voice started saying "THIS IS JUST A TEST...THIS IS JUST A TEST."...in English...finally! Of course it is a test. Of course. While this is a "thing" that doesn't really compare to how the other three made me feel, this "thing" opened my eyes and reminded me of where I am. Life isn't always papaya-y when you live on an island in the ocean and sometimes things happen that get your heart racing. 2 minutes after we calmed ourselves down, a man drove by us, "Do-ish you-ish want-ish some-ish fish-ish?" Awkward Quinn smile (What did he say?!) and "Oh, no, we're just walking". We have come to the conclusion that he must have said, "Did you go fishing?" Oh right.
I live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It really is papaya-y 98% of the time. And really, life would be pretty boring without a "thing" to spruce it up every so often. I'd be okay though if Thing Number Lima held off for a while...