Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Funny Things that Have Crossed the Ocean

Jeggings- Jean Leggings… Since these things really shouldn’t exist in America, who would have thought they would make it to this secluded island but they’re everywhere.

Girls Rule the World- This Beyonce song is epic and has become huge here! After it was shown on American Idol, which is a huge deal in Samoa, this turned into a country wide obsession. Also the Bruno Marz song “I just don’t feel like doing anything.”

Energy Drinks- This is crazy to me. A country that only has one bottling company is now selling energy drinks. One of the major pillars of Samoan society is just chilling, everything takes time, nobody is in a rush, and major energy is never really exerted. I have no idea how or why but there it is, Samoan Bottling Company is now selling energy drinks, and people are buying them!

Salad in Samoa! It’s Contagious

The most incredible thing has happened… My family is eating salad. This sound absolutely ridiculous I know. In Samoa vegetable are very rare and the once that do appear are always totally boiled to death in soaps. There are definitely no native Samoan dishes that include raw vegetables. I have now been in Samoa for nine months and have slowly been bringing new foods and different ways to prepare foods into my house. The salad has been a bit of a slow process but recently it has been appearing at least three times a week. I don’t have a lot of control over my meals as they are prepared by my host sister, but I do a little shopping once a week and bring back things that I like to eat mostly fruit and vegetables. In the beginning this just translated into a lot of cucumber, cabbage, and carrots in my chicken soap, but after a lot of dropped hints things are turning around. Salad! The coolest part is once I talked about how healthy vegetable are my host family started eating it too. I am super grateful for all that my family does for me especially that they feed me and take the time to prepare food for me. I know they make an effort to cook things for me that I will like and want me to be as comfortable and happy as possible. I can’t imagine my experience here without them and if exposing them to vegetable or listening to me talk about healthy foods mean they will be around a little long I couldn’t be happier.

Fourth of July

What a weekend! Four days of good old American fun or at least as close as we can get from this side of the Pacific. The marathon weekend began on Friday afternoon. Since we only get together about once a month we group our birthdays, and since we were all going to be in town for Fourth of July, we decided to celebrate all the July Birthdays while we were at it. Friday was a group party for Lindsay, Sarah, Katie, and Natalie. We treated ourselves to a fancy Italian dinner then headed to this really cool converted house up in the hills called Apeula Heights. It was gorgeous and had a wonderful huge balcony that showed the whole eastern side of the island. The view of the stars was epic. A great night of good company, awesome DJing on the part of Jenny, and even a little musical-chairs ensued. Saturday we headed to the new American residency (the small version of an embassy). It’s this crazy modern contraption of lots of curvy steel and glass. Very cool looking but definitely out of place here in Samoa, but hey different strokes for different folks. We had a potluck chill session out on the porch with all the Americans living here in Samoa. Tasty food and good company again, always a recipe of fun. Then Saturday night we had a chill dinner at the Yacht club (actually nowhere near as fancy as it sounds, but still my favorite restaurant in Apia) and then to see the third Pirates of the Caribbean. Sunday was spent laying by the pool at a resort and taking advantage of a drinks-special that means we can actually drink a beer other than Vaillima… SOL! Can you believe it! Then the big day rolled around, Monday the formal celebration of Fourth of July. It was held at the new American Residency again and was quite an affair. Lots of Samoans with high government positions were there and even the head of state. The Apia orchestra, assisted by some of the Peace Corps, performed two thirty minute sets, some volunteers performed songs, and I myself performed in a skit to promote the Health Challenge. Who would have thought my drama background would have come in handy in Samoa. There were delicious appetizers and even an American Flag Peace Corp cake! Three times during the evening tears came to my eyes. Once when we sang the national anthem, once when the MC asked anyone whose lives had been effected by a Peace Corp to stand, and then when we light sparklers! It was a great weekend and well needed. It seems like somehow there is one of these big events every three months or so right when everyone is wearing thin. Now back to the village for mid-year exams and the rest of term three. The next celebration… the joint August and September birthdays!! Guess who will be turning 23!