Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Just Some Stuff I Noticed

School times were back to normal yesterday.  Some teachers stayed later than usual to continue work on fixing up their rooms and lesson plans.  I stayed to finish typing the Year 8 exam then some Year 7 boys wandered in and wanted to do a little singing.  I'm teaching them "We are Family"  and "Eye of the Tiger".  They seem to love them both.

My tiny buddy Richard was hanging out with me yesterday, sort of.  I was on the phone with a friend in the States.  Richard and 7 friends and siblings were just hanging out there because I was there.  It helped that I had just bought a loaf of bread.  Richard was eying it, so I ripped off a piece and gave it to him.  He tore that in half and gave it to his sister.  She tore that in half to give some to the baby she was holding.  I continued to rip off more pieces.  I ended up with half a loaf and a lot of smiles.

As I walked back to my fale, Richard yelled my name and "Fa!", our normal routine.  He kept yelling until I was in the house and out of sight.

I've mentioned I live with a big, boisterous family.  They're fun to be around.  Yesterday as I walked home, with Richard's yelling following me, my brother's were all chillin' outside their store.  2 grown men, 2 high school boys with a couple of friends.  Just hanging out together.  Nice to see.

Julius is a really cool 3 month old in the family.  His grandpa, who looks like a Samoan Richard Gere, is his primary care giver and loves his job.  Today when I first came home from school to drop off my junk they were napping.  Julius was on the bed inside his mosquito baby "tent".  Grandpa was on a mat, swaddled in mosquito net.  Very cute.

While typing the test today I laughed out loud.  One question was "What three things are needed to make a fire?"  My answer?  Marshmallows, hot dogs and beer.  Samoans don't get my humor.  Neither do most Americans.  I crack myself up.

Helped some of the "at risk" (academically challenged) kids yesterday.  Helped them make their own dictionaries.  They started filling them with words they know, along with the Samoan word to help with retention and spelling.  May save me from poking my eyes out when the 14,000th kid asks me how to spell jump in a five minute period.  Also helps them with alphabetization, spelling and really gives them a boost when they realize how many words they actually know in English.

Couldn't buy phone credit in the village yesterday and since I'm trying to avoid the sun (small issue on my face and the meds don't react well to sun) was waiting for the bus to head to the big store a mile or so away.  Scored a taxi ride with one of the other teachers.  Driver was a friend of hers and he dropped me off for free.  Yes!

Is it more annoying when people talk about you in your presence in whispers, while staring at you and using your name, or when they talk about you in Samoan, full voice, with you standing there?  I experienced both yesterday.  They weren't saying anything bad (I don't know about the whisperers), just commenting on what I was wearing, what I had just purchased at the store, the fact that I was waiting for the bus, etc.

The teachers do it at school, too.  It feels a bit like being a zoo animal with people commenting on you and assuming you can't understand.  They told us this kind of thing would happen when we signed up for Peace Corps.  We're the odd one out.

When the teachers do it, I now either join in the conversation, making snarky comments about me in the third person.  Or, I start talking about them to an imaginary friend.  It makes them laugh.

And what if zoo animals really can understand what you're saying about them?  Are they talking about us to each other?

I'm going to miss koko Samoa.  It costs $2.50 for a baggie full that fits in a styrofoam cup.  It makes a lot of beverage.  It not only is tasty, but is a great room deodorizer.  I bought some yesterday to take to school today as an oso for the teachers.  All night I kept getting a whiff of roasted chocolate beans.  Very nice.

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