MJ Live

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mothers Day Weekend (Written 5/15/06)

For the past two years, I have had two different seasons for two different families. In the winter time, I would usually spend time with my blood family and good times would be had by all. During the summer time (i.e. now, in the northern hemisphere) I would go to Arkansas and be with my Camp Ozark family – so for me this is another part of the year where I'm really missing home. Especially since this weekend was beginning of orientation at the camp, so I decided I should go visit my Falevao family to help ease the pain of not being home. It would be my first time there since January, but I wasn't quite as nervous about it as I was going back for that first time after training.

So Holly, Sarah Monroe and I decided that we would bike to Falevao on Saturday and spend the night there so that we could go to church on Sunday and leave on Sunday. Well, Holly has recently been to America and brought back a lot of gifts for her family so she couldn't really bike a backpack and a duffle back to Falevao. So one of the options we had discussed was her putting her bag on the Lalomauga bus which goes to Falevao and have them deliver it to her house. No bus for Lalomauga (which is the bus that goes directly into Falevao) came by, so Holly offered to pay for a taxi ride out to Falevao (courtesy of the tooth fairy) and we could just throw our bags in the back – so we really needed a taxi van, which you rarely see just driving around in Apia. No more then 5 minutes after Holly made up this plan, did a taxi van drive by and she stopped it. It was perfect timing and we were all able to get our bikes in successfully and we were on our way to Falevao. So I have still not officially biked to Falevao yet.

When we arrived at Falevao we got dropped off at Holly's house and decided Sarah and I would just bike to our house from Holly's house to make it easier on the driver. So once we got everything straightened out at Holly's place, we biked to my house next. There's a gravel road that leads directly to the cuddlesack that my house is in – so I decided to bike on the gravel road instead of walk my bike on it. Big mistake. People were yelling at me to get off my bike, which I couldn't understand why but I did it anyway. So if you're ever visiting a village in Samoa and want to travel a gravel road to a house, walk your bike!

Once I got home, only Tusia (my uncle) and Sione (my father) were home which was very strange to me – the only child there was Maselusi. I then found out that Taeao (my mom), Akimo and Satuala (my two brothers) were all over in Savaii visiting family for Mothers Day and would not be back until Monday. Oh, just so you know, I did get a gift for my Samoan mother – I laminated two of the pics that my American mom sent me (one of me and Taeao and the other of Taeao and Sione's mother) and had them framed, they don't have a lot of pictures so I thought it would make a nice gift not only for her but for the whole family. But since Taeao was in Savaii there was no way for me to actually hand her the gift which was kind of sad. But all was not lost as Poli (my aunt), Mileena (my niece) and Isaiah (my brother) were still in the village. So there was just a lot of hanging around playing with the kids and telling the adults what I did in Apia. They were also very impressed by my bicycle – they see Bryan and John ride there's into Falevao all the time but it was the first time they had seen my bike.

So on Saturday night, there was a huge thunder storm over Falevao which means that both times I have come back to Falevao it has been raining like crazy – I don't know if that's an omen or not. Anyway, it was my first time experiencing a brown out in Samoa (where the lights would dim and then become brighter again), it was quite strange. Eventually the lights did go out but they came back on. Whenever there is a lightning storm of some sort, the television and stereos are turned off to protect them from getting damaged – so the kids had to find some way to entertain themselves. So as I was sitting in the living room playing with Isaiah and another kid called Wayne, Isaiah start drawing pictures of Batman and Spiderman (Isaiah's a really talented artist for his age, I was quite impressed by it) and this got me to thinking "What other superheroes do they know other then Batman and Spiderman". So I start drawing the various icons associated with some comic book heroes like The Flash, Fantastic Four, Wolverine, X-Men, Green Lantern, The Incredible Hulk, the Avengers and Superman. I found out that while they know the big 3 (Superman, Batman and Spiderman) the other ones they had never heard about before – they didn't even know how to pronounce them, so I had a fun time trying to get them to say the names correctly (like sounding out Fantastic = Fan-taz-stic). That was definitely the highlight of my trip.

On Sunday we went to church and this was my first time back there since training, so I was hoping for a light service where we went in and got out in a reasonable amount of time. Well I learned my lesson to not expect a short church service on special occasions – the church service was 4 hours long (Umi le lotu!). Fortunately, it was not a tradition EFKS church service because there were some sivas done and some skits done as well, so it kept my attention even though I had no idea what was going on. Even some of the other Samoans thought the church service was long, so I was not alone in my sentiments. But To'ona'i was a good and filling meal as it always is. A little bit after To'ona'i, Sarah and I left Falevao to go see the Falefa Falls which are close to Falevao but we never got the chance to see it during training. It was not the far inland to see where it was which surprised me a lot, but it was quite a sight to see (you can't see it from the road that goes around the island). Once we took our pictures there, since we were waiting on Bryan to meet us at the Falls, we decided to see where the road next to the Falls led and we found out that it's a slight incline of a road but it gave us an opportunity to get some great overview shots of the northeastern part of Upolu. While we were biking up the road a Samoan guided us to some more spectacular shots of the island and the ocean in the same shot – it was quite breathtaking, which you will hopefully be able to see in the pictures once I post them online.

Once Bryan, Andrew and Mari showed up the Falls all 5 of us biked back to Apia. It wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be, but I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I've biked my mountain 15 times and my legs were use to pumping that hard. I wasn't try to go as hard as I could but just trying to be consistent. Once we hit some of the hills along the way, that's when Bryan and I kind of shot past everyone because I've done much worse then those hills and Bryan is an excellent biker. So with only one stop and no rain on our journey, we made it from Falevao to Apia in about 1 hour and 45 minutes and while I was hungry afterwards, my legs weren't cramped nor tired. Once I took a nice cold shower, I was refreshed as well. I spent the night at Bryan's house and then just hung around the Peace Corps office chatting with folks on Monday. So that was my Mothers Day weekend – a little more jam packed then usual, but that's what you come here for, right? This is also the last week of the first term of school – I can't wait! L8r.

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