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!