MJ Live

Monday, September 11, 2006

Are you ready? (Written 9/11/06)

It has been a great few days here on the island of Samoa – mainly for things that remind me of life outside of this little bubble I'm living in. And it all began last Thursday afternoon…what was last Thursday afternoon you may ask? Oh, just a little game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins. That's right – the NFL season has officially kicked off and I couldn't be happier. The Teuila festival was coming to a close on Friday so we had a lot of Peace Corps Volunteers (especially from Group 76) in town to watch the game(s). After only being able to watch bits and pieces of games last year it was a great feeling to know that this year I would be able to experience a whole season without worrying about packing for a 2 year trip or going through training. So we went to our local spot (the Kofi Haus) to watch a little NFL action on ESPN International. Fun times were had by all and it was a good game to watch. This school break could not have come at a better time because I was able to watch the Thursday, Sunday and Monday Night games this week – that won't happen to often during the school year!

On Sunday, though, I got to experience a different reminder of home – I talked to my mom for the first time since January of this year. And it was a great experience, just hearing her voice. While emailing back and forth is nice and all, there's nothing like the sound of hearing loved ones – and even though it was a short call it still brought a smile to my face. I also got to speak to some friends of mine which was a great surprise.

In all I would say that this was a very good weekend of just decompressing and having some good ole fashion fun – reminding myself that while I am here, there's still life outside of here and there's still parts of home that I can enjoy here. The great thing about watching the NFL at the Kofi Haus is that I get to share a little bit of my sports with Samoans here, which makes it more special and unique. In a country dominated by Rugby it's a breath of fresh air to be able to talk football with some Samoans.

But there's one thing that you can't really talk about with Samoans because it just doesn't have the same impact on them as it has on every American – September 11. It was kind of weird for me today as we remember the tragedy that happened 5 years ago – 5 years ago! I still can't believe it was that long ago….but I went to the bank today to do something and they had their little flip calendars out to the date. And usually the 1 in the number 11 has some kind of hood on it to show that it's a 1 instead of a lower case L. Well these calendars didn't have a little hood on them so it looked like two lower case L's – or two towers. Imagine everywhere you look seeing something that looked like two towers on 9/11. It was a surreal moment, let me tell you. So as I was watching the first Monday night game (Minnesota vs. Washington), they replayed the images from that day and Josh, John McDonald and myself just kind of sat in stunned silence as they showed video of the explosion in the tower – but around us people just kind of went about their business. Like I said, a surreal day. But it gave me a reminder of what Peace Corps goal is really about – hopefully preventing another 9/11. To show people from different culture that Americans are not all greedy, selfish people who want to ruin the world – we care and because we have such a great wealth, we want to share that with the world – whether it be by using money or people. To show these different countries that America is not as bad as they read about in the paper or see on the television. One of the reasons I joined Peace Corps was because I'm very proud to be an American – I wouldn't want to be from any other country regardless of the problems we have – and I wanted to serve my country in a meaningful way. Fixing the American global image seemed like a pretty meaningful thing to do. So as I get further away from the tragic events of that Tuesday morning, I have but one goal for my country and for myself – Never Forget.

Out of Tragedy, Triumph-Heroes-Unity: 9/11/01

No comments: