Since we have arrived in Samoa, we have had a full day at the beach, another day snorkeling off of a catamaran in a coral lagoon, learned a healthy dose of common phrases, and met the local wildlife. Most people pay thousands of dollars to have honeymoons of lesser quality than what we have experienced for free. Samoa is not without its uncomfortable moments. These moments happen during training from 8am to about 9:03am. 9:04 is when the daily winds kick up and cool off our room. After that, life is good.
Our favorite moment so far was when a local cat ate a very large angry looking spider, which was about the size of my hand. This was especially amazing since Samoan cats are about the size of kittens back home in NY.
We have been very satisfied with the breakfast food, which is coconut, papaya, banana, and toast. However, this seems to be the extent of the fresh fruit that is widely available. Lunch and dinner are some variety of fried fish or chicken. There are pizza shops and bakeries as well.
I think I have officially adopted this mantra. “My life is better than yours”.
(continued by Karen)
Even though we’ve spent quite a lot of time at the beach so far, the word from other Peace Corps volunteers is that Peace Corps service is definitely not the “Beach Corps”. Many of the schools will be lacking in resources and students’ English ability will be worse than we are expecting. We got some recommendations from former volunteers today – one of which was essentially “Don’t expect too much so you aren’t disappointed.” As yet, we haven’t experienced a real Samoan classroom. That will come in a week and a half when we head out to our community-based training. For those seven weeks, we will be living with a host family on the south side of the island. We will have language training for half the day and TESL/teaching practicum during the other half. After those seven weeks, we should be ready to pass the Language Proficiency Interview (hopefully).
My favorite moment before we got to Samoa was walking up to the gate at the airport. I turned the corner and suddenly it was like we entered a miniature Samoa. The chairs were filled with Samoans wearing puletasis, lava lavas, and ie faitagas. Of the Samoans we talked to on the plane, all were excited about new Peace Corps volunteers coming to the country and interested in hearing about what we will be doing here.
Today, we played a fun icebreaker activity and I got injured! We were playing “All My Friends” and in the midst of scrambling for a chair, I got sat on by one of my teachers. Unfortunately, the back of my chair got jammed into the small of my back and I am going to have a HUGE bruise tomorrow. Ah well – that’s why we have Peace Corps Medical Officers (PCMOs) for – ice packs and Panadol.
Just to warn all of our avid readers, we will not be taking our computers with us to training in the villages – so we won’t be making very frequent posts. Look forward to much more after we swear in and are officially graduated to Volunteer status.