Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Meetings and Doctors Appointments

Wednesday March 22 – I love how I can hear the roar of the ocean from my bed. Not individual waves, though sometimes if it is really quiet, but a continuous roar that I can always hear from my house. Sometimes, when the weather is really bad, it gets louder and wakes me up in the middle of the night. Sometimes when it’s really loud I dream of tsunamis in my sleep. I will miss the roar of the ocean when I head to Apia this week.

This morning I had to get up at 4am to make the 6am boat to Apia. I was really tired since Bob and I thought it would be fun to see how long we could stay awake the night before. I went to bed at 1am this morning. But, my real coffee has arrived thanks to dad and his generous packages, finally no more of the instant stuff that is available here. Though I am starting to know the difference between instants and which ones are better, I would rather have the real thing. So I got up and made a cup and Bob wanted me to wake him up too and give him a cup. I use my big green cup that would make dad proud because it’s probably like 2 ½ cups of coffee in the morning. My dad likes his coffee cups big too.

Around 5am, my pule showed up and drove me to the wharf in his flatbed truck. We discussed which classes my new counterpart, Meaalofa will be taking over. I imagine it must be hard on her taking over classes I have already started with a schedule I have already made. Some topics she might not know as well as others and wonder why I don’t teach ones I don’t know as well. I scheduled the tests and projects, I will let her have freedom, but I imagine it is hard coming in the middle of the term. It was hard enough coming and starting at the beginning of the year, even with all of the information Travis left behind for me. She will do great though, she is so nice and I really enjoy talking with her. Hopefully this week, she won’t be too overwhelmed with teaching all the classes while I am away at this meeting for Year 12. In the car ride with Amosa it was still really dark out. I had the window down and it was so warm. That is still a new concept for me, the west coast girl. I am still getting used to it being dark, windy and rainy outside and yet still warm…

When I arrived at the wharf it was still very dark and Lelega, the teacher I was going to travel with had not arrived. I bought my ticket and wandered into the waiting room until I could board the boat. Sala and Amos (2 more pisikoa) were waiting to board the same boat. Sala had work to do and Amos was heading in for the same meeting. The boat ride was nice because the sunrise was very pink and since the boat crosses the open ocean, it made the viewing area of the sunrise wide open. I was very tired though and didn’t watch as much of the sunrise as I wanted to. Mostly I ate banana bread Sala had made and chatted with Amos about the setup of his computer lab.

The bus into Apia was crowded as usual and I ended up having to sit on Amos’s lap the whole way. When the bus stopped at the Market in Apia, we had planned on sharing a taxi to the meeting with another teacher that Amos works with, but their cab was full. So we walked around in the now rainy weather for awhile trying to find an available taxi. The problem when that first bus arrives is that everyone is trying to take a taxi ride to wherever they are heading next as well, so taxis are scarce. We finally found one and headed to the meeting, arriving only a little late.

Other volunteers were there for computers as well. Marques and Sara were also there. This is the first year that they have the Samoa School Certificate Prescription for Computers. The School C test is set for almost all other subjects for Year 12. Since there has never been a prescription for Year 12 before, it was us teachers who were helping in writing the course layout. It had been tentatively written and we were editing it, putting in our own input and amending it. We discussed subjects and areas of focus for this year. It is a watered down version of what Year 13 learns. The object is to have Year 13 (seniors) as familiar with computers as we can get them before they start Year 13. We finished early, but we still had some technicalities to cover, so we stayed until the end of the day, around 3pm. I was a little stressed I will admit. I get stressed when I think about school. I feel overwhelmed. I started to feel like there were not enough hours in the day to teach the students everything we were covering, without after school things, and I just don’t have the energy for that. I will admit since I hadn’t slept properly in awhile and I was thinking about school, I was looking a little on the breaking side. So Marques said he would join me for pizza. The one thing I wanted to make sure I did while in Apia on this trip was get pizza.

First we had to stop at the bank because I was low on cash, and the bank ate my card and was closed for the day. I was already on a thin line, so I had a hard time, but Amos lent me money and we went for pizza. I wanted a pepperoni, artichoke and olive pizza, but I was with guys that would settle for no less than a meat and some more meat pizza. We had barbeque chicken. I convinced them to let me put onions on it too, for some sort of vegetable. As always, when I have food in me I feel better. When we walked back to the office Skye was there and I asked her if I could crash at her place since it was close to where our meetings were. I took a taxi out to her place and upon arriving at her house; I turned on the breaker and took a hot shower. It was everything I remember it to be. :) While I was waiting for her to arrive, I headed over to John and Bryan’s house. They live close by and were in my training group. They have a cat that was really fun to play with. We tried to get her to eat a centipede in their house, but she was scared of it. I don’t blame her, those things are supposed to be painful. Skye came home and I headed back over to her house for dinner. Even though I had eaten a good half of a pizza, I was still up for good cooked food. A few other pisikoa joined us and we had some great food, listened to Skye and Amos play the guitar, and passed out early.

Thursday March 23 – Amos came over early, since he stayed with the guys and we hailed a taxi to the last day of our meeting. We basically started the meeting and discussed how we were pretty much done. We did a few practices to get used to writing the big projects that Year 12 will be doing, and ended up ending early around noon.

Amos and I headed back to the PC office, and I had to head to the bank to get my whole card thing and pin number squared away. The end result was that I had to come back the next day to get my new pin number. I was heading back to Savai’i, on the 6am boat the next day, so I wouldn’t be able to pick it up. That was frustrating, but it was nice having some time to wander around Apia for awhile without a whole lot of agenda. I visited a few PC that work in the area and eventually wandered back to the PC office to chat with our PC doctor.

She looked at my face and wondered why the irritated itchy spots on my face hadn’t gone away yet. The medicine she had given me was supposed to get rid of bed bugs, chiggers, scabies, you name it and it should have killed it. And I had acne medicine in case all the other medicine made my face break out. So, she wanted me to see the doctor for my face and a few other problems I have been having. That meant I had to stay for Friday and not head back to school on the first boat in. I called the school to give Meaalofa the agenda and called my pule to let him know I would be at the doctors. Plus, now I could stay and get my bank card taken care of.

While I was getting ready to leave the office, I ran into 2 other PC volunteers who were on their way to the one theatre in town to see The Brother’s Grimm. Of course I was down for that. I had grown up with the Grimm Fairly tales books and knew all the stories. I liked the movie. The theater still has a little bit of a moldy smell from all the flooding earlier, but I got used to it fast. There is something about going to see the movies here. I almost forget for a little while where I am. Movies are like comforts in the PC; we all want them and watch them often as we can. After the movie I had a burger with John and Amos and then headed to a fundraiser for AIDS awareness that one of my friends in the PC was involved in. It was fun to go and buy raffle tickets, and not win, and hang out and chat. I headed to Holly’s house later that night. We went home late because she lives a ways away from town and we wanted to go in on a taxi with another volunteer, but he was finishing up playing poker. We waited until they were done, and then headed home together in the taxi.

Friday March 24 – I had to get up early and head to the office to go to my doctor appointment. The buses were late today and it took me a really long time to get into town. There is a spot into Apia where there is always traffic; near the Mormon temple. One thing I noticed is that the bus didn’t seem to be taking as many passengers as usual. On morning buses, they are so crowded chances are I end up sitting on someone’s lap most of the way. There is a hierarchy on buses. Only women and men get to sit in the front and get to have free laps, without someone sitting on them the whole way. The middle of the bus is for the women, and the back of the bus is for the sole’s or guys. When it gets crowded, people are all on laps, people are standing in the aisles, hanging out windows, sitting in the doorway… it’s fun. But, today it wasn’t like that. Right before we got to Apia, the bus was pulled over for inspections to make sure it wasn’t too full. If it was, the bus drivers would get a ticket. Now I understand. I don’t mind the crowded buses. I am used to them. At the school, if I ride the school bus to the wharf afterwards, it is really crowded because we drive all of our students’ home.

I actually ended up arriving to the office a little early, so I ended up chatting with John and agreed to meet him for lunch later. Not John from group 75, another PCV. So, the PCMO (PC medical officer) took me to the doctors. He wasn’t sure what was wrong with my face, but gave me some cream to help the itching. I don’t want it to scar. I will see a dermatologist next time I am out of country I think. He is a good doctor, but dermatology isn’t his focus. And I chatted with his wife, the other doctor there. I was having some other medical problems and we agreed to do a few tests, which meant I had to head to the hospital with the PCMO. I have to go back in a few weeks for blood work.

For lunch, John and I headed to a place called Mari’s Bakery. It is a nice little bakery, a tad expensive and very palagi, but I like it because they have Pepsi. I ordered enchiladas. Very nice. I miss Mexican food the most (get more excited for Mexico with you Mary more every day!), and I miss pizza often when I am on Savai’i. So, I had all my food cravings filled.

I finally made it back to the bank and got my card, a new pin and everything squared away. They were so helpful; I think they could tell I was frustrated. Then I finished errands and headed back to Holly’s early. I had one of my bed headaches that wasn’t going away, and so I needed to just chill for an evening. I think I passed out around 8pm. I was beat.

Saturday March 25 – I decided to head out on the 12pm boat. That morning one of the PC staff was being made a Matai, and there was a PC meeting for anyone that wanted to go later, but I find that there is always something I could stay for, and I really wanted to get home. On the boat I saw one of my teachers getting back from Fiji and sat with him and chatted. Meaalofa was on the bus when I got to the Savai’i side and we chatted about school and classes these last few days on the bus ride back. I invited her to dinner on Monday night when a few PCV’s would be out visiting me spending the night.

When I got back to the compound Bob wasn’t there so I wandered over to one of the faletua houses and chatted with her for awhile. We talked a long time. I find that it is encouraging to be surrounded by such amazing Christian women. Their culture allows them to express themselves and worship differently than what I am used to in the states, but they are amazing women of faith. They still worship and love the Lord, they just express it differently. Not good or bad, different. It has taken me some time to get used to it and to see it, but whenever I talk to them about struggles they are always so encouraging. I can learn a lot from them.

I think now, after talking to the faletua and Meaalofa, I am not as stressed as I was feeling. Meaalofa is a great teacher and is doing well with the classes she took over. I have more free time to focus on the other classes. We help each other out in class too. We both sit in while the other is teaching, in case there are a lot of questions, or if I need to say something I can’t quite manage fa’asamoa (in Samoan). It’s nice because then students get a little more individual attention. So, less stressed, and liking my counterpart a lot. I am looking forward to Monday night with her and some of my PC friends. We are going to make dinner and watch a movie on my computer. So, it will be nice introducing Meaalofa to my friends and getting to know her a little better as well.

Until next time… Sorry it’s so long. What does anyone think about the journal type blog entries? I want input, old way, new way, both?


At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Christi said...

I love the journal style. I think you are able to better capture your thoughts as they occur and describe them in more detail which I love.

At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Dad said...

I love the new way too. It gives me a better idea of what you are going through.

At 4:11 AM, Anonymous Cousin Tom said...

The Journal is a nice look at your daily goings on. I think you will also cherish them years from now as a reminder of the way you spent your time in Samoa.

PS Keep the mold away from that precious coffee stash :)

At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Liz said...

I like the journal style, too... but just cause everyone else seems to think you should keep it the new way, I'm gonna be different... I think you should mix it up between the new and old way and give some variety to the style of your blog :-) And that way you're not locking yourself in to a certain way - remember change and variety are good :-)


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