First, here's the group picture from our little field trip to the National Park Visitor Center Wednesday afternon. Rocking my formal Samoan puletasi with a sei by my ear.
Thursday was the final morning of standardized testing followed by another afternoon of basically babysitting, keeping the few students that came to class occupied. After school I took a small group pf three students on a little visit to a spot known as Sliding Rock on the west side of the island. Took us a while to get all the way over there due to some road construction.
This was my first time seeing Sliding Rock with bigger waves and a higher tide. It was pretty fantastic. I took a video of the waves. Here's Matane, Filipo, and Maui checking out the interesting spot. We only stayed for about 15-20 minutes so some of us could make it home in time to get ready for the school concert. They thought the place was cool. Since the water was up higher I couldn't take them on a little walk to show them some things a little ways down. Safety first :-)
Changed quick and started walking back to school with Hannah, when Filipo and another student go by in the back of a truck. He waves, and I sort of flag him down. Bout time one of my students actually sees me and gives me a lift. Hannah and I got to ride in the back of the truck with them to school for the concert. Not too long after we crawled out of the truck, Tavini hops out of another truck. Two of my football boys. Two of the three that spent a bunch of time in my room that first day of school and ended up signing into my class. We've been through a lot together since. They're great boys.
The Tafuna High School Spring Concert included performances from the Swing Choir, Concert Choir, music class, Leone High School, Pava'ia'i Elementary School, and some contestants from Samoa's "The Voice" competition. Wasn't just our students singing, but a whole community of American Samoans, which was kind of cool. They all sang beautifully, of course. I recorded some. All to share when I am back.
It's interesting to watch their feet up on stage. Yes, their feet. They all usually have matching or themed outfits on up on stage, all sewn here on island. Their feet, though... some of the boys wear shiny dress shoes, some sneakers, some just black socks, and some barefoot. Yep, barefoot. Most of the girls stood on stage barefoot. Not really weird here. People will wander around barefoot all day. Even if the girls had shoes on, most would just wear "slippers" (what we call flip-flops). Sure, some people have nicer sandals they wear to church and other occasions but many just wear slippers. I've grown so used to just throwing on my pair of sport flip-flops with just about any outfit, even my dresses at church.
Friday, we had a local librarian come in as a guest speaker. He is Samoan, taught for four years at a high school, but now currently works at the public library. He gave a great presentation explaining what he does at the library and what some other careers are within library science. He also gave a great take home message of working on your education and having some what of a plan. Was really great having this local visit our morning classes.
For lunch we had some corn on the cob and papaya. There were also hamburger patties, but I obviously didn't eat any of those. I noticed some of the Samoan teachers taking large piles of leftover hamburger patties to go, and I wondered if my kitchen friends would let me take home some of the leftover papaya slices. I could use some more fruit at home. I went and asked, and they ended up giving me a whole papaya that had not been cut yet. I also asked about corn. I figured she would just wrap up a few ears for me, but alas... I brought home a dozen ears of corn. Yes, a whole dozen. I have meals for my last few weeks now! I've already used up most of the papaya, but it doesn't last in the fridge very long.
Here you can see my big papaya and dozen ears of corn wrapped up in syran wrap waiting to go home in my backpack. Luckily, Hannah and I decided to stop along the side of the road and hitch, and someone did pick us up.
Friday night Hannah and I decided to make one more trip to Koko Bean for some iced tea and a little dinner. I haven't been particularly hungry around dinner time lately, although I am feeling 99% over my sickness. Great feeling of finally getting all the crud out of my system :-) I just ended up eating a piece of banana cream pie. Decide that would be a fun last thing to enjoy there while we chatted for an hour while drinking our iced tea.
Saturday morning we were off to this little place for our WorldTeach End of Service conference. A little day with meetings, reflection on our year of service, discussing transitioning back home, and sharing experiences. Decent little thing with our Field Director. She's done a great job organizing things and supporting us. The conference ended with a little slideshow of some photos she put together from those we had submitted and then we were allowed to use the pool for a few hours. I just sat on the edge with my feet in and enjoyed a little sun. Picked up a little color, but I guarantee people will still think I did not tan at all even though I've been living on an island for nearly a year. haha Oh, I definitely have some lines.
Finally took a photo of the mural that is on the school right next door to where I currently live. This was painted by my friend Lilian's boyfriend. It's awesome!
I was thinking about all of my papaya on my little leisurely walk home after a bus part of the way and had the idea to make myself a little papaya milkshake. Mushed up 1/3 cup of papaya with a fork in my coffee mug, added a couple scoops of ice cream, poured in a little soy milk, and stirred that baby up. Turned out pretty good. Yum.
Okay, so Friday night as we were leaving the Koko Bean, we saw some people with some onion rings on their plates. I found myself craving some onion rings after that. Convinced Hannah to go on a little venture with me potentially getting some onion rings. We decided to first check out a place that had recently put a sign up saying "now open for lunch and dinner". Was just another Asian eatery. Man, there are so many of those here it's not even funny. Plus, that place said they had a big order to work on, and it didn't sound like a good idea to stick around.
Decided to poke our heads in at this place with a big "Seafood Restaurant" sign just to see what was all on their menu. Uhh... not really seafood. Sure maybe some fish on the menu, but not what woe would have pictured. Asian, once again. Next place just to see, Asian again. haha Well, turns out we just walked up and down the Tafuna road, chatting away, and finding lots of Asian places. Decided to walk to Toa, where we have shard the plate of onion rings before. Good onion rings, and we knew they had good iced tea, too. Ended up being just the right thing. A nice leisurely evening strolling, enjoying some onion rings, good conversation, and iced tea. We also decided to split a piece of apple pie. Mmm.
After church Sunday I warmed up a few of my ears of corn and enjoyed those for lunch. Looking forward to enjoying corn with the family soon. I found myself remembering that one of the last things I did back in Nebraska before moving to American Samoa was husking a bunch of corn with my Omaha family. We're not called the Cornhuskers for nothing :-) I bet I'll have a chance to help with canning corn this summer at some point.
One Lipton tea bag left in the box I had purchased a while ago. I had noticed this little recipe on the side for "Hot 'n Spicy Chocolate Tea", and today seemed like a good day to try it out. Brought some water and soymilk to a boil, put in the tea bag, and let it brew for a few minutes. Then, I stirred in a little sugar, chocolate syrup, and some cinnamon. I don't have nutmeg and ginger, which were part of the recipe. Nice little drink, though. Always fun to play around a little bit.
You can see it has a chocolate hint to it in this photo along with some floating cinnamon. You may also notice the reflection of the coconut tree out my window in the tea. Thought that was kind of fun. :-) Having a hot drink in hot weather. Definitely something I never used to do (minus when I would go through my coffee phases, I suppose), but it has been growing on me down here.
Apparently this is the weekend to play around with a few things in the kitchen. First - the papaya milkshake, second - the hot chocolate tea, and finally - soy ice cream. All I did was pour some soymilk into a tupperware container, added some sugar, and stuck it in the freezer. I set a timer for 30 minutes, pulled it out, stirred, and repeated over a time period of 3 hours total. The idea came about as my friends that have been teaching out on one of the smaller and more remote islands of American Samoa have made ice cream a few times like this in their freezer. Still a little runny, but I know they said there's was like that. Just something fun.
Threw a little on top of a little papaya crisp I made today.
Said thanks for being a good friend to me this year to Richard at church tonight. He is off to Hawaii on Thursday for a little trip and I will be leaving before he returns. He said he and his girlfriend might pick me up at the airport in Hawaii and take me somewhere while I'm on my longer layover. That would be cool if it works out. He was who I made the papaya crisp for, but figured I should enjoy a little piece myself. One more for good measure.
Alarm clock is set for 5:15am tomorrow morning. I did not do many morning workouts these past few weeks with being pretty sick at first, it continuing to linger, and wanting to gear all the energy possible to my immune system. That time is done. I have missed my morning workouts. Still made it to Zumba these past few weeks, but it will be nice to get my core and abs workout going again. Doing it every morning between now and the day I head back to the Midwest. Then, the fitness continues when I come home. It's part of my lifestyle now. I felt a bit lost without it that week I was really worn down from being sick, and I am anxious to get back to the 5:15 alarm sounding to get my day going :-)
Hope you all have a good week!