The journey began with a trip into Apia on Thursday to grad supplies for the weekend and to pick up Lindsey and Sam. After a crazy day running around it was back to Samatau with my first houseguests in tow. We came home to two wonderful surprises. My family had moved a double bed (from where, I’m not really sure) into my room so the girls wouldn’t be sleeping on the floor, and we where having spaghetti for dinner. WE get a lot of canned spaghetti here in Samoa, but it is usually inside a sandwich and I don’t really count it as spaghetti. This was real spaghetti in real tomato sauce, with onions, garlic, spices, and chicken. Then it was off to watch a family reunion siva (dance). We were even called up to do some Samoan dancing ourselves. Then it was off to bed early to prepare for the big day. We took the eight o’clock ferry to Savaii. There are two boats and we got to take the newer one complete with indoor seating, café and televisions. We opted for the upper deck and watched the world float by. It was my first time one the ferry and also my first time getting a close look at the little islands in between the two big islands. One of them had a perfect volcanic caldera, (thank you papa the geologist…. I think that’s right) and it was spectacular. Then we made landfall to be greeted by some of the Savaii volunteers. We all piled in a Taxi van and headed to Falealupo the most Western point before the date line. We were going to be the last people in the world to celebrate the New Year. The drive was long and very windy, after we got off the main road it seemed like we were on some long lost treasure hunt on dirt roads cut through the jungle winding down the lava rock cliffs. Eventually we got to the little town of Falealupo and then to the beach fales we were staying at. From the pictures below you can see it was breath taking and as you can see from our fales it was an adventure. We spent the first day swimming and exploring the reefs, then playing volleyball in the rain. Later we cleaned up as best we could and started celebrating the approach of midnight…at around 4pm. It was a great time with Birthday cake for one of our volunteers, dancing under the stars in the sand, and general shenanigans. I will never forget looking up at the sky and realizing there was more white then black. The star were unimaginable, it was like a close up of one of those pictures they shoot from the telescope. The New Year was celebrated in every time zone in America as each of us hale from a different region. Then finally it was midnight and we brought in the New Year with great cheer. The next day we played baseball in the sand and soaked up the sun. Our last night in the fales proved to be a rainy so we occupied ourselves with beverage games, charades and late night secret sharing with much laughter. The next day it was back on the bus and we waved good-bye to paradise. I spent one night in Jenny’s fale on the North side of the island. She has her own fale and it was fun to imagine us having girly sleepovers there in the coming years. The trip was fantastic, but after a couple days of lots of travel and lots of fun, I was ready to get back to my house and family…. and catch up on some sleep. Happy New Year everyone!!