I’ve tried to keep you up on all my romantic adventures in Samoa. Oh, you’ve missed them? Yeah, me too, since there have been none. A bit of flirting, mostly on the part of married 30-somethinig men along with a few married guys over 60. A bit disappointing since a very high percentage of PCV’s meet their spouse during service – sometimes locals, often other PCVs. Four of our group of 17 plan to live together after service (in couples, not all four together, just in case you were wondering.)
The other day I was waiting for a bus outside the Tuisivi store. I go there for shopping and also for something to do. Life in the village is very slow. A woman I know stopped and offered me a ride. She was riding with her cousin, a matai (chief) who now lives in Australia. He’s here for an extended visit. She hopped in the back of the van so I could sit in the front seat. During the short drive home, we chatted. When we got to my house, he said he’d like to come over and see me sometime soon. I told him that he’d have to ask my “father”, since that is Samoan tradition. We chuckled and he asked who my father was. They know each other and as I was getting out of the car, he was yelling to my father that he wanted me to be his girlfriend. I couldn’t hear what his answer was but didn’t like the evil laugh they shared.
Later, my father was giving me back the key to my house that he’d used while I was gone but I told him to keep it, in case I locked myself out. “But don’t give it to the man who wants to date me, please!” He laughed.
The next day I was by the road, talking on the phone to a friend. I saw one of my kids riding by and waving like crazy at me. I waved back enthusiastically and smiled. Then I realized that my new “boyfriend” was driving and didn’t realize his niece was in the backseat, waving at me. Crap, he just thought I was really happy to see him. He waved to me with a big smile.
Today I was waiting for the bus at the Tuisivi store (I’m telling you, it’s a happening place) and chatting with some ladies from the village. When the bus arrived I didn’t pay any attention to which one it was, I just knew it was going my way and was crowded. I sat down and the bus driver turned to look at me as he drove off. Ah, one of my bus driver boyfriends. This is the funny guy who I’ve talked to several times and loves to tease me that he’s in his 50’s, single, has no kids and wants to be my boy friend. As another passenger confirmed one day, he’s in his 30’s, married and has several kids.
Today he was being friendly and I asked how he was. “Fine, but I’d be better if I had you.” He said it in Samoan and loud enough for half the bus to hear. The back half of the bus started laughing as the people upfront shared what was so funny. Our conversation went on for several minutes with him suggesting inappropriate things and me being amused and telling him he was being cheeky and passengers laughing. Finally, I just said that he should remember that God was watching him and besides, my father could kick his behind. That got laughs all around. I think I should list “bus comedienne” as a secondary project for Peace Corps.
Now you’re up to speed on my love life. Do you understand why I spend so much time hanging out at the Tuisivi store? Excitement, love and romance. Oh, and groceries.