Surprisingly enough Thanksgiving was something I greatly looked forward to when I got to Samoa. It was a bitter sweet holiday as it was our first away from our family but it marked the half way point in our training and we had a big party at the Change de Faire (sp?) house to celebrate. This is the woman that runs the embassy here in Samoa but is not quite an ambassador, she reports to a man who is the ambassador for several Pacific Islands. During training we weren’t given very much freedom and were pretty much restricted to our villages with a couple of “center days” where we came into Apia and had lessons at the office, then were taken right to the bus stop to go back. Some times if we had time we would squeeze in a pizza and maybe even a beverage but mostly we followed the rules. This made thanksgiving even more of an event. We were going to a real party, with American food, Americans, in an American house and best of all football. I even got to catch the highlights of the OU game. It was a wonderful time and it was really nice to play with all the current volunteers, plus the turkey and mashed potatoes were insane! The next day I came down with a really bad case of strep and had to be whisked into town to start some intense wide spectrum antibiotics as testing takes so long here they just give it their best guess and start treatment. Lucky for me it worked! After two days in of rest in town, a lot of Ramen noodles, and drugs I was good as new. Sitting alone in my hotel room I though I would get into the spirit of things and think about what I am thankful for.
- Above all else I am thankful for my family. A father who inspires me with his strength, bravery, and incredible imagination, a mother who blankets me in love, support, and her own special light, a younger sister who verve for live and vibrancy is unmatched, and an older sister whose love and passion have infinite depth. These are just a few words about my family because to be honest I could never express how thankful I am for them.
- My opportunities. I have had so many opportunities in life am thankful for them everyday. The opportunity to travel, to go to college, to explore my dreams with out debt. These things have all lead me to where I am today and I ponder how lucky I am often.
- My friends. As I have mentioned before this is the first time I have been able to leave a place and know that I will always have the friends that I left behind. For the first time when I left a country, it wasn’t good byes I said, it was merely see you laters. I am so thankful to have found people that I love and cherish and that feel the same way about me. Let alone have a heck of a good time with ah ah.
- This place. I look out the window and I can’t believe I am actually here. I keep telling myself, “Rachael you were supposed to be in so hell whole in Kyrgslivakiaville freezing you butt off in six feet of snow.” But instead I’m in paradise. I get to drink out of coconuts, eat fresh mangos, and swim in the Pacific. Don’t get me wrong I know there will be lots of hard times and its not always a walk in the park in Samoa, but I cant help but look out my window and know I have been given a gift.
- These people. I am so thankful for my group here. I have really bonded with all the members of my group and already feel so much of my success here will be because of the support we give each other. I am surrounded by nineteen incredible people; who have opened their hearts to each other and are sharing this experience with all its’ ups and downs.