Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekend Stories

Parading Around and Bleacher Butt
Friday was the new event the new Department of Education administration decided we would have to end Teacher Appreciation Week. Walked out of the house at normal time in our designated uniform for the day. There are 5 districts on island, and each one had a different uniform for the event. Ours included a maroon i'e (skirt), gold t-shirt, and a woven hat. I did not have a woven hat in my possession just yet, but we were picked up in no time by a teacher I did not know that was wearing the same uniform as us. He was a really nice guy, and when we first showed up a teacher with a stack of hats that had not been claimed yet handed some to us.

On to the stadium we went, where I put on my hat and we found ourselves lining up for the processional - a parade of all the teachers walking around the track by district with a banner including the school names including each group. Alright... so, this hat I had been given had really long leaves that stuck out on the ends. I saw all sorts of hat styles that day, but the one I received had these long leaf ends hanging out past the rim of the hat. I snagged this upward shot. Seriously, check those things out.

Here is a photo of Hannah and I with Upu, the head of security at Tafuna. She always says hello, especially after we ran into her out in Aoa on the East side her village on one of our adventures a while ago. The hat did not quite sit on my head right, but oh well. It was sort of fun to wear it.

I really like this photo I snagged of Hannah's hat. It gives you a close-up of the weaving and shows the leaves hanging down.

After we made our walk around the track, we all lined up on the football field. A few words were said, and then a little Zumba took place. Yep, some instructors (not mine) were up front played a few songs, and all these teachers did some Zumba out on the football field. Zumbaing in a skirt does not give me much flexibility, but luckily we weren't doing some intense songs. These routines really made me appreciate the awesome instructors I have.

Next, was breakfast served the school lunch program. There were wheat cinnamon rolls, hard-boiled eggs, and boxes of apple juice. I skipped the egg and asked for a second cinnamon roll. Simple, yet delightful. Plus, who doesn't enjoy a nice juice box? We had to wait in line quite a while for our breakfast. This nice Samoan teacher Lou that has seen Hannah and I walking before and seemed familiar told us to follow him to grab our food. He was very kind, and I enjoyed talking with him.

Then, we went and took our seats in the stands where bleacher butt time began. A little parading around done, but then we had to parade again after the governor showed up to make his appearance. The parade was only scheduled to happen once, but the governor must have been running late or something. The start of one interesting but long day. Several teachers were not looking forward to parading around, playing games, and the dancing. Here is a photo of me with one of the Vice Principals and my Zumba buddy - Tutuila.

After the second parade, I watched some people go out and play games for an hour. Then, we had some lunch. A styrofoam container full with rice, taro, some beef and brocoli, taro, a huge piece of BBQ chicken, and half an orange. Also got a little bowl with some salad in it. I ate the salad, some rice, a little taro, and my orange.

Continued sitting watching song and dance performances from the backside, where our district was sitting. The first group to perform was out there for about an hour. Yes, a whole hour! My goodness did it drag on. Manu'a is apparently famous for going longer than necessary. Don't get me wrong this cultural stuff is cool, but when I don't know what words they are saying and it just keeps going it gets long. There were plenty of Samoan teachers taking naps up in the bleachers as these things progressed. We were the fourth group to get up and go.  Made our entrance, did our little choreography, and then sat crowded around our leader and sat for some more singing. Someone had their paper with the lyrics somewhat close to me, so I tried to follow along. Did alright following the dance. I can show you my traditional Siva Samoa when I'm home. A lot of slow hand movements and a little leg movement. One of my favorite parts was acting like we were rowing a boat. That was one of my favorite parts watching the Flag Day performances. I tried to take some video while we were out there, which I can share when I'm back.

Apparently we were one of the worst prepared performances, though, overall. haha. Guess that's what we get for not taking more time out of instruction time to practice. Crazy stuff. Doesn't matter, though. It was weird to me how there really wasn't anyone for all these groups to perform to other than the other districts, and some left right after their performances. The governor was only there for a bit, and there weren't many DOE representatives. A bunch of parading around to a purpose I'm not clear on. Anyways...

I was able to watch the final performance form the proper side, which was nice. This was my first time watching one of these from the front. There's was pretty decent, too.

Finally finished up a little after 4 pm. There were some closing remarks after the district performances had come to an end after the whole afternoon - hours, hours, hours... ack. The nice man Lou gave us a ride home in the back of his truck. 

A Nice Luau and The Statue of Liberty
A little luau was put on for the staff at my high school at a little secluded locally owned place called Moana O Sina Friday night. Nice little place and very well organized for the event. It is owned by a parent of some students that attend our high school. The event was put on by student council and the PTA. Here's a photo of the tables set up under a tent, as it was raining off and on that night. Looks like we were at a wedding.

There were a few little games taking place when we first arrived for prizes. They made all 4 of us WorldTeachers com up for this drink tasting game. I was confused with the soy sauce. Took too big of a swig, it tasted familiar, but I kept trying to think of a juice or something that tasted like that. Didn't even think of something random like soy sauce. haha. Oh well, one of the guys one. I didn't want a bottle of whiskey, anyway. Would have given it away.

After a little while they said they needed two ladies and two guys for some Limbo. Nobody was stepping up and then some of the other teachers were insisting I get up there. Seriously, I'm in a dress. Sure I'm slightly flexible, but limbo really isn't my thing. I got up and did it, though. They also got Talita, who works in the kitchen to come up. We both made it through three levels, and then they called it a tie. Thank goodness they didn't make us try lower, I would have probably fallen over. I was proud of myself for managing what I did, though. It took some skill in the knee-length dress I had chosen to wear. haha Ended up with some Hawaiian Host chocolates (with the macadamias inside) - good stuff, which some students have given me a couple times this year. I also received two small bags of Lion Coffee. Leaving these all packaged up til I'm back in the Midwest. 1) I don't have a coffee pot here. 2) I have my Snickers to enjoy these last few weeks, so the Hawaii chocolate can wait. :-)

Dinner was a nice little buffet. I wondered if we would get a buffet this time, and it was nice. I also wondered if there would be a pig in the middle of the table with an apple in his mouth. Well... close. At the end of the buffet line there was a platter with a pig head sitting up front and the sliced meat in the back. hahaha. I enjoyed some taro, taro leaves, rice, cucumber salad, and an orange slice along with some glasses of pink lemonade and water.

For dessert they had some really nice cheesecake and little brownies. I waitressed it up for my table, going over to the serving table grabbing the kind of cheesecake each asked for. I figured we could all use a little brownie, too. Scrumptious stuff, and nice small portions :-)

After dinner, a few students put on a little traditional Siva Samoa performance for us and some recognition took place, where the Student Council presented some of the staff with nice ulas. They gave special recognition to the Department Heads present and the WorldTeachers. That was kind of cool.

Finally, I spent some time wandering around talking to various people. My colleague Falanai threw this headdress on my head as I was chatting with him. I wore it the rest of the night, and I felt a bit like the statue of liberty I must admit.

Fun little night, got a ride home with one of the English teachers, relaxed a bit, and hung up my newest ula on a doorknob. They make cute little decorations for these last few weeks.

Zumba Instructor?
Erica and Teru were leading a Zumba session at Samoana High School Saturday morning for a diabetes event, and Erica had invited me to join them. They picked me up about 6:40am, and off to Utulei we went. It was the history club from the high school, and their advisors. At first, I started in the front row my usual spot, but after a while, I decided to move back a bit so some toward the back that couldn't quite see Eric and Teru up on the little stage could follow me. I've done this a few times. It was a fun morning.

Tuila has told me before that I should just go be a Zumba instructor. haha, yeah I don't know. Erica and Teru have both said I should, as well. Maybe I could do it some day. Anyways, we had a fun time, and I got everyone together up on stage for some group photos afterward. Yay for Zumba first thing on Saturday morning!

Rain or Shine, We Have a Good Time
Saturday was another planned "field trip" with Miss Boschen. Woke up to some monsoony rain, and I thought I sure hope it clears up by the time I'm meeting up with some students. 10 ended up gathering at the store I told them to in the village of Futiga for our trek for the day. It was raining, so we waited and didn't leave until about 9:45. One student that joined us actually lives in the village we were in and has been back to the cove I was taking them to before. Walked back through the village, asked the family that owns the cove for permission, and then made our way back on the little trail through the rainforest.

It's a pretty easy walk and a cool little spot, so I decided it would make for a nice little trip. Some of my regulars that have been attending the outtings, but there were also some new ones. They had a good time. Took some pictures, crawled around on some of the rocks, walked along the coral beach, and some went swimming for a while.

This is one of my juniors that actually joined this outting - the rest have been seniors, thus far. She said she had never been out here before and said it's crazy how new people like me come in and just get all over the place.

My one student that has come back here before showed me this cool cave that connects Fagalua cove and Fogama'a Cove. One bay, Larsen's Bay, with two coves. My picture doesn't really show you how cool it was, but I'm glad he showed this to me.

Here he is- Jeff. He also started crawling up and around to look at the neighboring cove. I had thought about doing this the other times, I was here, but I joined him this time.

Here is Fogama'a Cove.

Even though it started to rain while they were out swimming, that didn't stop them from having a good time. I'll be on a bus when it's raining and see people still out swimming all the time. As I've said before rain doesn't really stop activity here. I didn't feel like swimming on this particular trip, so I hung back under some trees as the rain picked up.

As we were getting ready to leave, it cleared up a bit, but then the rain got worse.

We were drenched by the time we made it back to the store. You can't really get on a bus when you are soaking wet, I've been told. The bus drivers don't like it. So, as the kids were sitting by the store, I stood at the side of the road with my hitchiker thumb out.

After a few minutes, a red pickup pulls over. He says he's heading all the way to Utulei which is way farther than any of us needed. I asked if it was okay if my students climbed in to the back of his truck, as well. "No problem", he said. Then, we just let him know when to stop as some were dropped off in Mesepa, some in Faleniu, and then me in Malaeimi. He let me ride up front after we dropped off all the kids, even though I was wet. Really nice guy - Ioesefo, who actually currently teaches in the JROTC program at the school right next to my apartment building.

Thus ended another nice little outting with some students, getting them out to a part of their island they had not seen before.
Ant Fiasco
First thing when I get home I find this swarm of ants crawling around this bowl of candy I had sitting out. All that ula candy we had, I had planned on sharing it at church, so I had opened up all the ulas and dumped them into a bowl. This had seriously been sitting on our counter for two days, and no problem. Why all the ants this afernoon? They were not only swarmed all up inside this bowl, but a whole line of them coming from the door, around the rug on the floor, up the cabinets, and across the counter. Gross! I had to let Hannah see it all before I started disposing of them.

All of the black dots you can find in this photo are ants.

A little closer up shot. All this candy was then thrown away, as you can imagine.

Hannah grabbed her vacuum and sucked up all those on the floor, while I tackled the counter with my bottle of Windex and paper towels. Must have been all the rain making them scurry even more into our houes that day. Man oh man, quite the ant fiasco. I'm used to them being around, but it was pretty obnoxious Saturday afternoon before running to the laundromat and getting drenched on my way home. haha. Got a nice chat in with the ladies at the Bookworm Internet Cafe, though, while I enjoyed a white hot chocolate. Good stuff. Enjoyed a Mother's Day Skype session with my mom, got to chat a bit with my dad, too. Finally, Hannah and I had our last frozen spinach and cheese pizza and watching a little Twilight.

Full Sunday
Picked up for church about 8:45am - normal time. After a nice Sunday School lesson by my friend Richard, we went on to the 10:30am service. After singing hymns, the mothers were all recognized an presented with candy ulas from their children. The mothers also sang a little song. Pastor's message then was about Christian mothers. Nice little morning, and all the mothers of the church had gone out for a dinner together the night before leaving dads in charge of the household.

In the van on our way home, and Richard asks me what I'm eating for lunch. "Not sure yet." He proceeded to invite me to join him, his siblings (I know them all from church - Lucky, Katrina, Jack, Jayoane, and Sonny), and other members of his family at his grandparents' house. I decided to go since I'm running out of time to spend time with them. We chatted a bunch, and it was cool to see a nice little Samoan house. He was telling me about the plants around the house and about his time living at this house for a year and half. I smelled some lemon grass; yeah, definitely lemon. We did not all sit down and eat at once, but there was some Samoan food and a little Chinese food. It was nice of Richard to invite me over to the Park family gathering for the day. He's been a great friend, and all of his siblings are great, too. One is about my age. Rich is the oldest of the bunch. 

Didn't get back to my place til about 2:30 or 3. Richard's aunt, who happens to be one of the teachers at my school, gave me a lift home - Lema. The one who has picked Hannah and I up a bunch last week. Crazy I didn't realize this before they were related.

Decided I wanted to get a core workout in, showered up, and then I sat for a bit before Junior picked me back up for evening church service. Made it back home about 7:30pm, ate a little, and then sat down to finish my blog post for the weekend. Now 9:05pm, and I am sure ready for bed. I've still got a bit of a virus in my system it seems. 

Hope all the mothers out there and everyone else had a great weekend. I should have started working on this post sooner, but the weekend got away from me. Good stuff, and the stories probably aren't as detailed as they could be. One of my favorite parts was feeling like the Statue of Liberty :-) Back to work as the weeks are winding down. Have a good one!


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  2. LOVE the headdress that was way cool! I love to hear about all the unique food you get to eat. I hate ants. We got some in our 18 once and man those suckers were stubborn!!!!!