(Samoans practicing the Longboat competition coming up during Independence Day - June 1st)
With all of the pictures I have been posting, I thought I would write a nice update too as to what it was my parents were up to all that they did and saw while here visiting me.
When they first arrived in country on the same plane as Marques’ mom, we checked into a hotel in Apia and stayed there for 3 days. We visited Robert Louis Stevenson’s Museum and house (pictures below), went out to my training village, spent an afternoon on the beach at Lalomanu (one of the nicest beaches in Samoa), shopped at the local fruit, vegetable and crafts markets, and ate at many restaurants and visited with many volunteers. While in country they met every volunteer in my group but John, who had dengue, so dad opted out in meeting him.
On Cinco de Mayo we headed over to Savai’i and spent a little time with some volunteers who were having a fun potluck at Lusia’s Beach Lagoon. We ate some food, chatted with a few more of the volunteers and then eventually headed back to my place. The first night on Savai’i we just tried to get situated. Dad and mom emptied out everything they had brought for me and I started to put together some of the things I wanted them to take back with me. I had wanted them to head to the beach near my place while they were visiting, but Savai’i decided it hadn’t had enough of the rainy season and so it never really did break long enough for us to go on a walk down there.
They headed to church with me on Sunday and got the whole experience. The pastor even said a few words of welcome to them in English and he read the versus from the bible in English as well. Laupama and Viliamu invited us back to their place for to’ona’i and we sat and chatted with them for a long time after the meal. Mom had 3 puletasi’s made for her from the faletua (pastor’s wives) and dad had 1 shirt made for him.
They came to classes with me Monday and Tuesday. Dad wanted to teach the students, but they were shy to ask him questions. He actually was a little distracting in my classes. :) In one class they got on the computers and used the typing tutors. One of the pastor’s - Aufata invited my parents for dinner Monday night (he is the head of the tech department). Dad and he really clicked and dad enjoyed a few more afternoons in the wood shop area of the tech school with him, just puttering around. We also got out to the waterfall near my place one of the afternoons though the waterfall wasn’t “running.”
I think of the fun days they enjoyed was heading out to the one of only 2 sheep farms in all of Samoa. The Ministry of Agriculture is trying to start sheep farms around the country to help sustainability, but the family didn’t know very much about how to take care of them. Since my parents currently raise sheep (though not like they used to) another volunteer had asked if they could come out to the house and show the family how to care for the sheep. Dad showed them how to trim the hooves, told them how much salt to give them and what kind… It was pretty fun.
On Tuesday we started to drive around the island. We spent the night in Beach Fales around Savai'i. The first night was in Manase at Vacations, not bad, but it rained a lot. The second was at Satuiatua Beach Fales, really nice and it didn’t rain during the day or evening but it started POURING in the morning. At those fales a group of volunteers who were biking around the island and were staying with a nearby volunteer, headed down to the fales for a visit.
While driving around, dad really wanted to drive down any roads I had not been on yet. Since Savai'i has about 3 roads, there really weren’t any. There was one dead-end road I hadn’t been on yet, so dad headed down there. It was fun. We spent our last night on Savai'i back on the compound. I wish it had been another night after that, but I had already booked our boat pass for the car, something you have to do in advance here. We had dinner at Laupama’s and dad spent the day around my house fixing everything. He only needed to make 3 trips to the hardware store. As we were leaving the 3rd time one of the guys on the floor let us know they closed at 4pm. :) Nothing changes from the states to here. He really helped a lot though, he installed a new light fixture in my bathroom, and fixed the ongoing pipe problems I have been having, and put slime in my bike tires. I am set!
Once back on Upolu we had troubles confirming our reservations at Aggie’s Lagoon Resort and spent much time on the phone to Travelocity’s help desk. One evening dad and I picked up Bryan from my group and we headed to Sanapu-tai to Virgin Cove for dinner at the fales there. Bryan and I were supposed to go there in training for a drop off day, and we skipped out and promised to go back together. A year and a half later, we finally made it. It was a nice dinner. The customer service was amazing. Bryan wanted a vegetarian meal and they knew right away what it was! I was pretty impressed. Our last 2 nights we spent at the Aggie’s Resort near the wharf. It is one of the higher end resorts and definitely worth it. The food was amazing, we got to rent jet ski’s, swim in a pool!, I got a massage… it was fun to feel like a tourist on vacation for awhile. Though, I did run into a few people I know around the country.
They finally headed out last Monday. I was sad to see them go, but I had to get back to school. With the death of the Head of State, things would be shutting down soon and I wanted to get all my stuff and get back to Apia before the boats stopped running. Now I am in town and getting ready to head out tomorrow to Vanuatu for a week. I am REALLY excited to go. It is going to be a nice vacation. I don’t really have a lot planned; I just know I wanted to head there for a week during the school break. I promise to keep everyone updated on my happenings throughout this next week.
Dad on the balcony at Aggie Greys watching the lake form in the background from the heavy rain.
Me and Bob... Love you and Miss you Bob! You are as close to a brother as you can get.
Mom in the amazing gardens at Aggie Greys.
Mom cuddled up on the wonderfully comforable beds at Aggies. I think it was worth it just for the beds. The tv and air condinitioning helped though. :) Sorry mom, but i love this picture.
Until next time… enjoy the pictures I will try to continue to post.