Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Know I'm in Samoa Because...

My feet are always d­­­­­­­irty.  Even seconds after stepping out of the shower.  My best friend here has a dirt floor in her kitchen, which is common.  I believe her floor is cleaner than mine, even though I sweep and mop regularly.

Cheers was a fictional bar where “everyone knows your name”.  I live in a village where everyone knows my name.  And most people at the market in Salelologa know my name.  And it’s not unusual for someone I’ve never seen before, from the other side of my island or Upolu to call me by name.  I’m known far and wide as the big, old Pisi Koa. 

I took two little girls from my family to the market this morning.  They sat on the bus with their arms around each other.  Sweet as, as my Kiwi friends would say.

There’s a large, perfectly ripe pineapple on my counter.  It cost $2 USD.    It would have cost more but the vendor at the market I usually buy from has kids in my school and gave me a discount.  She also gave me a free avocado.

I reached into my kitchen cupboard to pull out a rusty can (it takes about three weeks for a can to rust).  I touched something wet and indefinable.  I let go of the can and extracted my hand from the cupboard, covered in spider webs and something that looked a lot like human poop.  Or bad chocolate frosting.  I smelled it because I prefer to know what I stuck my hand in rather than just guess.  It smelled like soup.  Beef soup, to be precise.  My bouillon cubes had melted over everything in my cupboard.

I had to yell at the pig that was coming into my house to look for food.  Or because she likes me.

I had tuna sandwiches for lunch three days in a row.  Tonight is the second night in a row I’ve had chicken.  It’s a good thing that I love tuna and chicken.

The music started on the boom box at 7:35 a.m. this morning.  It was late because everyone slept in since it was raining and a holiday.  It’s 7:40 p.m. now and my sister is singing at the top of her lungs.  She’s got a great voice and I wish she would have made it on time to audition for Samoa’s Got Talent.

When I got undressed last night I found a dead spider in my bra.  Hmm.

I have more than a dozen bites.  I suspect the spider was responsible for some of them.  I blame mosquitoes and fleas for the rest.

Lots of people walk here, to get where they're going.  They always smile and wave and say hello to everyone walking or driving by.  

Tino has yelled hello to me more than a dozen times today.  Is it wrong to have a crush on a 12 year old?  If I had a grandson, I’d want him to be Tino.  He has a heart of pure joy and love.

My shower is twice as big as the ones in the hotels in New Zealand where I stayed.  Good thing, too, since this morning I shared mine with ants, a cockroach, two large spiders and two small centipedes.  And that’s after spraying it down every day with bug killer.

Yesterday I held or touched four babies.  I knew two of them.  The others I met on the bus.  I’m going to have to retrain myself not to automatically reach out for babies when I’m back in the USA.  Here, everyone loves babies and shares them.  No worries about germs and predators.  Plus, we all think it’s funny to watch the reaction of a baby seeing a palagi up close for the first time.  The baby girl on the bus stared at me, wide-eyed, for almost an hour yesterday.  When I’d turn away to look out the window, she’d pat my back and I’d turn around and she’d stare some more.  Fun stuff.

I know it’s time to pray because the sun is setting, under the clouds, and the church bells are ringing.

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