First, I want to make sure that if you hadn't checked my blog since last Friday, you may want to make sure you scroll down and the read my previous post as well about my mini vacation to some of the other Samoan islands. I talk about some different experiences and things I learned over there.
Now, onto the new post about a few things I did over the weekend after returning from (Independent) Samoa and before beginning my second semester as a volunteer teacher. Monday morning, here I come!
Friday, Hannah and I headed to Tafuna to run a few errands after sleeping in a bit and then grabbed a bus heading for the blowholes. Now, normally we would have just gotten off the bus at the corner and walked a ways, but luck should have us someone was headed the same way we were and had the bus driver take us farther back. That worked out rather nicely. Ever since I had seen these blowholes down near the airport runway a while back, I knew I wanted to go back some time and told Hannah it was worth seeing. There are holes in the lava rock where ocean water makes its way through and then shoots up and times, making me think of the geysers in Yellowstone National Park (which I hope to see some day).
After sitting there for a little while, we started walking and then caught a ride with this friendly lady Rachelle. Feels good to be back in American Samoa, where catching a little ride is no big deal and enjoyable. What a way to meet people :)
We headed to the Koko Bean for lunch, where we enjoyed some mashed potatoes and string beans. My whole meal only cost me $3.25. Pays to be vegetarian and not order meat sometimes. haha Did a little grocery shopping at the store, where I wanted to pick up some milk. The little store where we live only had full cream on hand, and I much prefer skim milk. I saw chai tea concentrate, and I decided to grab one of those as I hadn't bought one in quite a while, and it sounded like a nice little treatment (and let's be honest - simply a treat), for my little sore throat. Then, I noticed ricemilk on the shelf. Not just ricemilk, but ricemilk that was cheaper than the skim milk I was about to buy! How crazy was that!
Hannah had mentioned rice milk to me a while back as we were discussing vegetarianism and veganism. I said I liked soy milk and almond milk, and she suggested I should try ricemilk when I got the chance as it wasn't as thick. I figured that would be one of the first things I'd buy once I landed in Omaha, NE. Now, here I was in American Samoa with organic ricemilk in front of me. Looks like I didn't have to wait 5 months to try it. Plus, did you hear me say it was cheaper than the skim milk. Unbelievable! So I bought 4 quarts. Put one in the fridge straight away, and tried a glass after it chilled. Yum. Definitely not thick like soy and almond milk, and I did notice the rice part. Oh, I was excited! Really healthy for you, too.
I went on to make myself a chai tea with the rice milk. Mmm did that hit the spot. Good stuff.
A few of my fellow volunteers who teach on one of the outer islands stayed with us a few nights again before heading back out there, and it was fun to exchange stories from break. One went to New Zealand, one to Hawaii, and then there was Hannah and I who had traveled to Samoa. A few of us also made a little walk up Canco hill to enjoy the view from our friends' porch and chat some more.
Saturday morning I awoke, went to Sualua's for french toast with fresh fruit and coffee before heading back to the store to stock up on some more ricemilk while it was there. You never know if more will be replaced on the shelf, so I have a decent supply now. Plus, remember I said it was cheaper than the skim milk I've been buying. Bonus for me on a volunteer's paycheck :-)
Then, I came back home and just had a lay around, read, and relax day. I hadn't really done that over break, yet. A day to just sit at home with not many cares. I worked on some coloring pages in the books my grandparents sent me for Christmas. I even sort of took a little nap. I'm not much of a napper, but it was appropriate on Saturday. Later that afternoon, Hannah brought out the giant gingerbread pals her mom had mailed in a package. They were marked "for Hannah and Jess". Oh boy, looks like we had some fun to have.
We decorated them and enjoyed every minute of it. Sometimes, we almost have too much fun.
Our completed masterpieces. Mine ended up being Tarzan and Hannah's a Samoan in a one piece with painted toe nails.
Of course we had to see how they tasted. My little guy suffered a broken arm on his journey from California, and then I sorta broke his legs by accident; so, I couldn't hold him up in one piece for the photo. Haha. Two crazy kids at heart we are :-) Thanks Hannah's mom for sending us this random and fun activity.
I also did let my brain do a little thinking on Saturday as I was reading "Ender's Shadow" by Orson Scott Card. This author was introduced to me a while back by one of my biology professors lending me "Ender's Game", which she claimed was the greatest sci-fi novel. Good stuff for sure. I was brought back to the series when I visited Luther Seminary by one of the professors there who told me that books later in that series were very theological throughout, and I dived into those my last semester at Morningside. He also suggested reading the parallel series, which "Ender's Shadow" begins. I started reading it a few weeks ago, but then left it at home during my vacation. Well, I finished it by Sunday evening. Great read. I can read fiction and find my brain really engaged. Pretty cool. I'll admit I had some nerdy moments. Reading is one of my hobbies!
Speaking of hobbies. Exercise has become one of my hobbies since the beginning of this school year. Yes, I did just say that. Exercise is one of my hobbies. I found myself missing my workout routine while I was on vacation and it felt really good to start back into it the day I returned. I also found at the end of the semester that I felt like I had been plateauing a bit and needed to change my exercise routine up a bit. I now have my hands on the videos for the Insanity workout program, and a few weeks ago I decided I would officially do the program in addition to some of my regular workouts starting after break. Not really a New Year's resolution, just a challenge for myself and as a girl that enjoys exercise right now, sounds like fun to me :-) "Crazy kid," I'm sure some of you are thinking.
January 7th, say hello to the 9-week Insanity Program. March 9th, I'll see you on the other side. Like I said, it's time to add a bit more to my exercise routine and change it up. Here goes nothing :-) No idea how much weight I've lost, as I am horrible at guessing, but the number doesn't really matter to me. Maybe I'll weigh myself when I come back to Nebraska and maybe I won't. I was content with where I was when I left Nebraska and had no plans of losing weight while in American Samoa, but hey it's working out and feeling good. I've definitely slimmed down and have kept up with exercising. I really do enjoy it. So, in addition to Zumba twice a week, and little workouts at home I will now be joining Shaun T on my computer screen 6 days a week for Insanity. I even have the Insanity program hung up on my wall so I can cross out the days as I go. I got this :-)
Hope you all have a great week! I'm excited to start up the new semester with my students, incorporate some new things, and hopefully get going with some field trips. The semester will be over before I know it, and I'm going to make the best of every day and do what I can for these students.
That reminds me, one of my students walked into church this morning (this was his first time at our church) and right away had a big smile on his face when he saw me as he said "Miss Boschen!", gave me a little hug, and asked how my Christmas was. Maui was actually the first student that showed up for my first period class on the first day of school. He's a great kid. Made my day :-)