Current Time in Pago Pago

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mix and Mingle

We just got back from Matthew's first "camp out" as cub scout leader.We really had a great time. I remember the cucky, lame, weird skits, chants and music that the young boys would come up with when my brother was in scouts and I can testify that things have not changed. We watched for about an hour as funny little 10 year old boys acted out owls eating worms and chants in Samoan. Even the parents were yelling " lava, lava" or "enough, enough."

But we had a great time. My favorite part was a game called "mix and mingle" where everyone walks around dancing to the music till the leader yells a number at which everyone starts grabbing at each other in a mad panic trying to get that number of people in their group. It's like musical chairs but with people instead of chairs. The best part was when the leader yelled out 2 and Matthew and a sturdy samoan man run and grab each other in a big bear hug. They stand there hugging each other till the leader validates that they have 2 people in their group and the music starts again.

Another highlight was when we brought vegan hot dogs. Keep in mind this is a Samoan camp out. We were impressed that we got a few people to try our chips and salsa but the sauerkraut on the hot dogs was a no go. We really had a great time with a lot of laughs but I'm happy to be sleeping in my own bed tonight!

Fatu Ma Futi

I don't know if I posted about this already but one of our favorite palces to go is the local watering hole called Fatu Ma Futie. Fatu ma Futie is about 15 minutes from our fala - going the local speed limit of 25 miles per hour. The legend goes that Fatu and Futi were lovers and they were sailing in there canoe when a storm or really big wave or something knocked them out of the canoe and so they had to swim and they swam and swam and they were so tired that just before they made it to tutuila - they were from savaii which is an island about 300 miles away in western samoa- they drowned and these two matching rocks sprang up where they drowned romantic, despite the story, if you drown at fatu ma futie you have to be like the worst swimmer EVER since it's like waste high at the deepest part - but it still makes for a great swimming whole. And the two dead rocks make it a great view.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Samoas A Tricky Place

So, Matthew and I have learned there are a lot of tricks to living in Samoa. If you know all the tricks then living here will be a breeze. For example, if you want fresh produce, the trick is to know when the shipment comes in and go shopping that day. Easy enough. Or if you want to pay a reasonable price for items the trick is to know which markets to go to to get it. For example, at one store Matthews maple syrup is $2.50 at another store the exact same bottle is $7.50.

On the passenger side of our car, to open the door you have to use the handle on the outside or, if the window is up you can lift up on the lock and the handle at the same time and after 5-6 tries you'll get it open. The trick to driving in samoa is a swerving wave motion to dodge all the potholes. Don't worry, it doesn't matter what side you're on because the person coming towards you is on your side of the road doing the same thing.

The trick to turning on lights in samoa is to flip the switch and then go about your business. When the light starts to dimly flicker all you have to do is throw a rag at it and it will come on full power. We learned that this was everyday knowledge and not just at our house when the neighborhood kids started coming over and already knew the trick.

The trick to getting clear-er water out of the tap is to turn it on in the morning and wait a few minutes for the water to start flowing. Then you leave it running till it's stopped running murky brown and it should be clear-er the rest of the day.

The trick to not having bugs in your Food is to keep EVERYTHING in the fridge or freezer. The trick to staying sane is to go to the beach often. The trick to being happy is being with the one you love and the trick to loving Samoa is having AMAZING friends that make all the other tricks worth it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fa'i Samoa

One thing I LOVE about samoa is the road side stands where we buy Fa'i or bananas. Our favorite kind is the apple banana. Its short and fat and tart....which is why they are also known as Samoan bananas. Palagi bananas are long and skinny and have no flavor...these are the dole bananas that we are use to back home.
I was also surprised to learn that there are tons of varieties of bananas and not just the palagi ones we are use to. There are bananas that they boil or bake every sunday that are kind of dry but go really well with coconut milk (what doesn't?) and there are bananas that they bake in the skin and they taste like they've been baked in brown sugar. They are so sweet I almost can't eat them. But I think this one variety takes the kake fa'i.

yes, it is as big as Matthew's head....and Matthew has a big head. This is a banana. It was given to us by a dear friend and neighbour.

The meat is a neon yellow and after you eat it you pee the same color.....sorry, TMI. You cut it in disks and fry it up. It has the texture of a dense banana bunt cake and taste like a mix between a banana and a sweet ulu.....if that makes sense. It was good but the "end result" had us a bit worried. We weren't sure if that was a sign of superior nutrition or bio-hazardous material.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Few High/Low Lights

Yesterday was fast sunday and I bore my testimony in Samoan....mostly.

We are almost finished redoing the counter tops so I will soon have a kitchen.

I get my new Samoan yoga mat today....The only one of it's kind!

I just went to the bathroom and as I went to flush a gecko started running around the inside of the bowl trying not to drowned....Matthew was gone so it took three tried but I finally got him. Just glad he didn't come out while I was indisposed.

What's your motto? Do your best!

We are in the Mapusaga Fou 3rd ward. Matthew and I both have callings. We are joint teachers of the English primary class where we have kids ranging from a sunbeam to a 9 year old which makes our lessons very interesting. Matthew is also the cub master over 19 cub scouts. He was the obvious choice because all the boys were usually at our house anyway. When Matthew first received the calling the boys were up every day asking if it was scouts and Matthew has been very successful at getting the boys out. He usually has 150% attendance because even the boys scouts and neighborhood kids want to come.

Our latest adventure was taking the weblose scouts (10-11year old) and teaching them how to swim. I thought this would be easy, their surrounded by water for goodness sakes. Surly they know how to swim. Again, I assume to much. Since I was the resident expert (which is another frightening point) I was nominated to be the certifier. We had done this once before with all 18 boys so since we were only taking 7 I thought this would be a breeze.

First we had to find a place that was deep enough for them to dive into. You would thing, having the ocean at our doorstep this would be no big deal....wrongo. As you can see from the pictures, we had to fake it. It almost came up to their waste.....speaking of waste....I'm not sure if you can tell what those big white buildings are behind them.....that is the one and only sewer plant on the island, but I digress, back to the swimming.

The boys did quite well considering they didn't really know how to swim. A few came up coughing and hacking but in the end they all did all the requirements and earned their badge. Way to go boys! If you have to drowned it might as well be in a beautiful place like this.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Christmas in Samoa

Here are just a few highlights from our Christmas in Samoa
This is our Samoan Christmas Tree
It's made from a stack of books, a water jug and a lava lava. The ornaments are made from the gold wrappers of some yummy rochers. Perfect timing on the first gift of Christmas from Matthew!

These are my Christmas Jammies that Matthew picked out all by himself! I was so proud of him! No embroidered cats here!

These are Matthew's Christmas Jammies- I got him a real, traditional Samoan Tattoo....rrrar

This is what Samoa gave Matthew -

He actually got four of them. Two on his back, one under his left arm and one under his belly button. We're not quite sure what they are but we thought it sure was thoughtful of Samoa.
We really had a great christmas here -80 degrees, sunshine, and celebrating our Saviour with the ones I love!