I’ve grown accustomed to and somewhat bored with a variety of things in Samoa. The first time I had octopus and eel cooked in coconut cream was a novelty. Now it’s just another meal. Taking the bus was a slightly scary adventure. Now, it’s just the way to get to the store. I used to watch the chickens in fascination. Now they’re just there, even when they’re standing on my family’s kitchen table as they were yesterday.
But there are some things that I don’t think I could ever get tired of. Here are a few…
Pigs, especially running pigs. A few years ago my friend Donna and I went to a Massachusetts county fair. It has been around forever and was very traditional. They judged pies and jams, goats and cows. We ate all the fried food we could because it was there. The highlight for me, though, was the racing piglets. They ran for Oreos. Samoan pigs run because they’re being chased by a child or a dog or just for fun.
I’m not sure why it makes me laugh out loud every time I see them run. Perhaps because they’re so fast, given their girth. Sort of like me being in the 100 yard dash in the Olympics.
Or maybe because they are so big but have such sharp, tiny hooves. Big, round bodies, petite little hard feet. Not unlike what it might be like if they had all the women from the Housewives shows (you know, the vacuous, mean and seemingly not very bright women of Housewives of Atlanta, Housewives of New York, etc.) run a race in their Jimmy Choos, fake body parts bouncing while they teeter on tiny heels. If they raced the pigs, no doubt in my mind the pigs would win.
My dogs have figured out that when I throw food out the door, sometimes the pigs get it first. That has caused an escalation of the dog/pig wars. Now, if a dog spies a pig within ten feet of my front door, they charge and the pigs race away, squealing all the way.
I also am still enthralled with the lagoon. I’ve always wanted to live on the ocean but wondered if eventually it would just be another backdrop that I’d ignore. Not so far. I love the smell of it, the sound and the look. It constantly changes color and the sound can range from a bare whisper to a huge pounding roar.
I was told by virtually every Samoan I met when I arrived that it was hard to teach Samoan children. They are cheeky and disrespectful. Sometimes that’s true, but mostly they are loving, sweet and funny. I can’t even imagine my last day at the school when I have to say goodbye to them. This week, having one class the whole time, I realized how lucky I am to be doing this. The kids arrive early to spend time with me and don’t want to leave me when the bell rings. How many times in our lives do we get that kind of love and satisfaction at work?
I also continue to be tickled pink with all the babies and toddlers. My life in the United States was pretty much child-free. My friends are beyond the child rearing stage and most of their kids haven’t started families yet or don’t live nearby. I’m trying to figure out a way to continue working, hopefully for a salary, and also still involved with children and babies in some way. If I’m successful in getting a paid position with Peace Corps, I will definitely want to do some volunteer work with young children.