Sunday, December 9, 2012

From Christmas Spirit to Coral Sperm and Lots of Great Stuff In Between

One of my little friends at church, Noelle, had given me this cute little hair piece a few weeks ago. I had told he I thought it was pretty, and she said I could have this one because she had like 5 at home as they had made them at VBS. I finally wore it to church as I thought it went nicely with my outfit that night - shades of purple. On the way back home saw one house decked out in Christmas lights. One of the first I've seen, although I guess that's probably because I'm usually not on the road at night. You know... since the buses stop running at 6pm and we don't have a car and all.

One of the girls that work on things every morning in my classroom before school and often during lunch drew me a nice "Merry Christmas" on the chalkboard. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Minus the snow and cold weather, of course. haha I did find myself thinking about how there are a lot of people who don't have white Christmases throughout the world. I may not be shivering but I can feel the spirit of Christmas around me - the important part :-)

I found a nice quote one day this week that I really enjoy. 1) It was said by Captain Jack Sparrow - one of my favorite characters. 2) It's a nice summary of a concept many people struggle to grasp. If you read my previous post, you would have seen that I dealt with some behavior issues Monday and Tuesday, but did you really get my spin on it. The situation is what you make of it, and this quote made me smile when I ran across it this week :-)

I found myself doing a little doodling during some work time one day that I gave the students. I'm not very artistic as practically knows - especially my students, but this is one little thing I've doodled many times over the years. This little flower vase. What do you think? No Picasso, but not too shabby either. haha

I even branched out a bit and tried something a little different. I was a bit impressed with the dimension I added in this one. Check out the corner of the wall back there. The table is a little rough looking, but oh well.

This week at Zumba I found myself taking note of all the people around me. The Zumba classes I attended back in the States were at college, and it was some students and staff - women all the time except a few occasions. Here, I Zumba with some other teachers, some administrators  older Americans, working girls my age, Samoan ladies of the generation above me, some kids, football players who show up for fun in the back some times,  some little Asian ladies, big firemen, an older Filipino man, and one guy with a really long beard. Then you have our great instructors - a pretty feminine guy and a girl with some nice biceps. What a fun group with lots of energy!

Thursday and Friday flew by and after a workout, Hannah and I sat down and enjoyed a few movies together with some chocolate and wine. Girls night for sure! We watched Mean Girls first, and then She's the Man. We had fun making comments on the extreme girl world and the guy world. These two movies definitely complement each other well. Random, but it was a good night.

Saturday morning I woke up at stinking 5:45am on the money even though I told myself I would just wake up when I woke up. My circadian clock sure is on top of its schedule. 5:45am is when my alarm goes off during the school week. haha. I woke up and did a little reading before heading West where I planned to relax in the sun for a few hours in a little secluded spot I had all to myself. Here she be :-)

I picked this spot as I knew it was off the path where no one ele would likely be, and I could work on that island tan a little bit that everyone expects me to come home with. haha I also knew there would be a nice breeze right here, and it actually felt cool at just the right times :-) Just relaxed and did a little reading. I am currently reading a book about a guy who moved to a highly remote island in the Pacific and talks about his two years spent there. Interesting so far. Our Field Director had mentioned it at Orientation, and one of my roommates got a hold of a copy.

I had enough of the laying around and decided I felt like climbing around on the lava rocks a bit. As I made it to the top of one, I noticed a nice little tide pool down below and decided I'd head down that way. Beautiful little thing with some nice coral and fish.

I decided to jump in a few times and played around with the timer on my camera. I found a custom timer setting where I can also tell it to take a burst of photos - like 3 in a row. Pretty cool. I didn't quite get one of my jumping in, but here's one of my not so Olympic medal winning splash. haha

What a nice little spot though and really easy to get to. Samoans just don't head past this one point at Sliding Rock much. I'll be heading back, even though I'm not a big fan of the feel of salt water. Lots of saltwater up my nose after my jumps into this little pool, but it was still refreshing in its way. A nice serene location :-)

Then, I met up with Hannah for lunch in Nu'uuli. I decided I wanted to order the mac and cheese off of the kids menu. Wasn't really feeling like a salad, and it was a cheaper option - bonus. Hahaha I'm laughing already before I even write the next part of this story. Are you ready? I was getting anxious for my nice little plate of mac and cheese to come out to find my eyes widen and take a double look as it appeared that I had just been served some Easy Mac in a restaurant. Haha Oh boy. It took Hannah and I a little while to stop laughing. Not what I was expecting, not that Easy Mac is bad... but in a restaurant? hahahahaha is all I have to say. Not going to be ordering that again there any time soon - although it was a large bowl and I do like Easy Mac, but I was really looking forward to some homemade stuff. Guess I'll just have to make my own one of these days :-)

We walked down to Lion's Park after that to sit in some shade, chill, and chat a bit. We discussed some politics, which was fun. Not one of the first things you'll catch me talking about but enjoyable, nonetheless. After a while there we started walking toward Tafuna, made a stop at the bank, and then decided we could use a little cool off in some A/C and thought about chilling in McDonald's or KFC for a bit. McDonalds wasn't quite so cool Saturday, so we moved down to KFC which really worked as you will see. Sat there and chatted for a while enjoying a little drink, and we found ourselves discussing the dogs on the island and a few experiences we hadn't quite accomplished yet, one being a to'onai - the big Sunday family lunch.

Finally decide it's about that time we head home and stood at the road and stuck out the hitchhiker thumb in hopes of a ride home. Two vehicles later a vehicle pulled over, and first thing she says is sorry about the dog hair. I bring my dogs with me to work during the week. Right away, I thought "Oh boy, what are the odds considering what Hannah and I were just discussing?" We talked about how the dog situation here is kind of sad - lots of dogs, lots of sickly looking dogs, no spade or neutering, and some vicious ones. So, she takes her dogs to work. Wait, it gets better. She has 17 dogs at home. 17! hahaha She has them all fixed, and she is actually trying to do some education on the island on the issue. Her name is Segi, by the way. Make sure you pronounce that "g" like it has an "n" in front of it :-)

She has a cocoa plantation in her backyard working some guys who are stationed in Utah and wanted to plant some here. She also does a lot of fundraising for breast cancer, as she was a survivor herself. She is currently 57 years old but a very active lady. She was really cool to meet. She proceeded to invite us over for lunch with her family on Sunday - the to'onai. Another one of the things we had just been discussing at KFC. Yes, please! She said she would come pick us up at noon and take us to her niece's house.

Came home to a package from my grandparents and mom that one of my roommates brought from the post office. I was excited, as I knew what a few of the goodies were. I decided to put the Grandma Wingert Christmas cookies in the freezer and pull them out later as I still have some of the sugar cookies that arrived last week. Plus, my mom's chocolate oatmeal bars I asked for were in this box as well. Oh, and some almond bark pretzels. I was actually thinking about those a few days ago, so they were a pleasant surprise.

I decided on an hour long workout - one I'm a little sore from on Sunday as I tried a different one. R remember I had my mom send the set of DVDs I had so I could change it up. Felt good, though. After my shower, I filled up a glass of milk and enjoyed one of my scrumptious chocolate oatmeal bars. Mmmm. Another nice taste of home :-)

I fell asleep out on the porch Saturday night, woke up at 2 and moved inside. Next thing I know it is 5:30, but I said nope you are going back to sleep. Didn't wake up til about 7:10 - that's better :-) Started out my day with a few hours chatting with one of my good friends from college, Shalimar. She is currently working with Americorps in Berkely, CA. We've been emailing back and forth, but it was nice to sit and chat for a while about all sorts of things. Right at noon a vehicle pulls up, and it is Segi's niece Luisa here to get us. The dinner was behind held at her house, and Segi was busy cooking. What a beautiful and enjoyable dinner. Conversation went in so many different directions, which I really enjoy. Almost felt like I was back home, with the mashed potatoes (I LOVE mashed potatoes), corn on the cob, three discussions going on at once at the table, and good times had by all.

Luisa's husband Tasi works as the attorney for the governor here, and he attended school in the States. Nina, another of Segi's nieces, grew up in Maine and recently moved down to American Samoa. They were all welcoming and fun to talk with. We've been invited to join them any time we like and even on Christmas day for dinner. So nice of them. I'm really glad we decided to sit in KFC ofor a bit on Saturday, stuck out that hitchhiker thumb, and ended up getting this ride with Segi - where it all started. Definitely will be going back now and then for some to'onai, conversation, and laughs :-)

Alright, I sure hope you are all ready for this. This has got to be the closest I am ever going to get to being on Food Factor or one of those crazy eating shows. One Samoan tradition is going out to the reef after full moons in October and November to collect these worms that live in the coral, collect the sperm, and then eat it. They call it palolo. When we first heard about this, we thought we have to try that while we are here, but then the opportunities didn't really come. I asked around a bit, but it seemed like it was something more people did in the outer islands. I almost thought this opportunity had passed. Low and behold, here on the table at Luisa's was a bowl of palolo. My face lit up as we were getting the chance to try this stuff. Tasi even commented that this is the caviar of Samoa. Here you are my family and friends, my hand with the little piece of bread with a scoop of some coral sperm that entered my mouth. Tasted a little squishy (Hannah used the word fishy), but I didn't think it was highly weird or anything. Not much taste, but it's really cool to now say that I've done it! Eat authentic coral sperm in Samoa... Check :-)

Another nice weekend for the books with some little adventures, going with it, and being in the righ place at the right time :-)


  1. Yayy glad to see I made it in a post finally lol I enjoyed our 3 hour skype date! It makes me miss you more though! Hope your having a great start to your week! Miss you!

  2. THere is no way that your Aunt Kristin would ever eat that green stuff :) OMG......hehehehe. I scares me. WAY TO GO!!!!