Life in the South Pacific

Stop in and read all about my Peace Corps journey in Samoa! Don't forget to send me letters and emails!! Packages are always welcome too! :)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Off to the Village!

So tomorrow we are off to the village, Vaie'e for two weeks. No email or phone for 2 weeks! I'm looking forward to it. Life is going to change a lot and I can't wait to tell you all about it! I'm just hoping that none of us get sick!!

A lot has happened this week. Yesterday we had a water safety lesson. We went to a beach down south, I can't remember it's name. We did some snorkeling, learned about the breaks in the reef and the current and how strong it can be. And it is pretty strong! There is a little beach fale resort that is AMAZING. It was a beautiful ride. My camera died, but people in my group have pictures, which I will get sometime. And I will also upload my pictures SOMETIME after I get back from the village. We've just been so busy! But the ride to and back was beautiful. The blue and aqua water with the palm trees swaying, watching the surfers, it was amazing. We also saw more of inner Samoa, where there was so much green. Absolutely gorgeous! The water safety lesson was a lot of fun though and afterwards we just came back and hung out, went out for some pizza as a big group and did some homework.

The other day we had some girl talk with some volunteers. We had Chinese and Vailimas and it was a good time. Nothing like kickin' back with all the girls.

I can't believe I have been here for only 10 days. It feels like a long time now! There is so much I could write about Samoan culture, and one day I will write a novel and tell you all about it!

For now, I must go to the post office, but check my blog when I get back in 2 weeks!!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Settling In

So I am now covered in bug bites. I look like I have chicken pox. I have learned my lesson and am now, instead of putting on Love Spell, lathering myself with as much insect repellant as possible.

The weekend was great. We had a fiafia. Group 75 (we are Group 76) threw us a little welcome party. They did traditional Samoan dances and then brought in an amazing fire dancer and then made us lots of food. We met a lot of PCVs..I finally got to meet a bunch of the people I've emailing. We talked, had some drinks, ate and played some games. Email me for more details!

And then yesterday we FINALLY got to go to the beach! Woohoo! After being in LA and Samoa, it was crazy that we hadn't seen the beach yet. It was BEAUTIFUL. We went to the south of the island (I think). Matareva was the name of the beach. Our village that we will be going to is Vaie'e. It is pretty much directly south of Apia.

We're still continuing our languge. We are starting to pick up more and more. Here are the Samoan names of everyone in our group:

Amanda=Ema
Jordan=Peta
Sarah=Sala
Jame=Emi
Dane=Tana
Tim=Timoteo
McCabe=Kaiva
Emilio=Lio
Vik=Vita
Jessica=Sita
Lili=Lili
Ray (well, his first name is William)=Viliamu
Jan=Ianeta
John=Iona
Eric=Elika

Okay, I gotta get going. I promise to post pictures sometime soon!! And write more when I get a chance!!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

More on Samoa

Okay, I originally had a long blog written out but I'm not quite sure how to get it on this computer. So this will have to be another short and sweet message.

We officially started language training yesterday. It was definitely a laugh. We'll be switching trainers over the next 11 weeks, but Samoan is definitely hard for us. There are 5 vowels, with FOUR different ways to pronounce each vowel. It sounds very similar, very subtle differences, but once we train our ears it should be easier. Then there are 13 consonants. It's not too bad and we laugh a lot.

We also found out that we will be finding out what village we will be in for the next 2 years on July 24. So I am very excited.

Other than that, our days consist of getting up around 7:00 am and having breakfast and then training starts at 8:00 am. We have various topics containing life and work, safety, medical, and some others. The majority of our time is spent on language.

And my Samoan name is Sefa. I was going to give you a run down of everyone in my group's name, but I think I'll have to do that another time.

Last nite we went to a sports bar in Apia with some volunteers and had some drinks and watched the World Cup. Well, we were going to watch the World Cup, but they played rugby on every channel. So I got a run down on the rugby rules from a current volunteer. It's great meeting a lot of the current volunteers.

Yesterday Amanda (my roommate) and I went to the market and shopped for our own fresh food for the first time. I love it! We got mangoes, coconuts and this Samonan food. It was wonderful. We also bought some puletasis (the sarongs women wear)...lavalavas are what the men wear.

Alrighty, I am off to get some food now!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Talofa!

I am in Samoa...FINALLY!!! It has been a whirlwind the past couple of days. Talofa...means Hello here in Samoan. We got here at 5:30 am yesterday and we got our luggage and had some current Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) meet us at the airport. It was really nice and pretty cool! Then we got on a bus to Apia, the capital, where we are staying at an air-conditioned hotel. very nice.

So we rested then had an Ava ceremony...a traditional Samoan ceremony. It was mostly done in Samoan, so i didn't understand what was going on, but it was TOUGH sitting cross-legged for 30 minutes. Near impossible. I thought my feet were going to fall off. But thankfully, for us girls, we can sit with our legs to the side, but guys can't. But still, my legs were going to fall off I thought. Then we had to say a line in Samona and then had to drink a cup of ava...or kava. This root that is grown here and is a popular drink here in Saamoa (that's how they say it here!) and in the South Pacific.

We got a tour of Apia then went out for some drinks with some PCVs. It was fun, but we were exhausted by 9pm. It was nice sleeping for 9 hours.

Today just a long day of training!! The weather isn't too hot here yet...but it's still hot. I'll really have to get used to it. We had cake for a fellow trainee today, Emilio since it is his birthday.

And now I better be off, I'll write again soon! I'll try and write more on my laptop and then upload it here.

I love you and miss you all!!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Staging in Los Angeles

Hey everyone!! So we just finished training here in Los Angeles. It was LONG and pretty boring. Just information about healthy, safety, policies and fun stuff like that.

I've met everyone in my group...there are 16 of us going...8 guys and 8 girls. Everyone seems really nice so far and it's fun getting to know everyone. But it feels like it's just moving so fast. We are supposed to rely on these people we barely know as our support system! But we'll get to know each other a lot better in the next few weeks I'm sure. We leave for Samoa tonite at 11:45 pm...our flight was already delayed. We were originally supposed to leave at 8:45 pm, so we'll have a few hours to kill at the airport. Not really looking forward to it.

It's been a whirlwind so far and I'm thinking of all of you back home! Last nite we all went out to dinner and had some drinks at a sports bar. Then instead of going out to a club we decided to go to a liquor store and drink in someone's room. lol...it was a good time.

So we will be getting to Samoa at 5:45 am and pretty much be going all day long. We'll be staying in a hotel for the first 10 days before we are all sent to live with host families in a village that I think is called Amaile. Something like that. We'll have more access to internet and phones while we are at the hotel. If you want to call, the phone # at the hotel is 011685.20.782. We'll have long days once training starts...language and medical and cross cultural adjustment. And since Samoa was once a British colony (something like that), we have tea time twice a day! I can't believe it's all happening! We swear in as official volunteers on August 23rd!

Alrighty, that is it for now. I'll update again when I get to SAMOA!!! Can't believe I'll be there so soon. I miss all of you and am thinking of all of you. It's really starting to hit now that we are leaving the U.S.!

I love you and see you soon!!!!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

This Isn't Goodbye...

Can't quite believe I'm leaving today. But I am. Just wanted to write a quick note before I left for LA. And I just want to thank all my friends and family for a great past couple of weeks. I will truly miss all of you. Thanks to all of you who just took the time to see me off. It really meant a lot. The thoughtfulness and kindness was just wonderful. I couldn't have asked for more.

I will write when I get to LA!! (hopefully!) I've posted the latest pics from various things on my sidebar. Check 'em out!

Love you all!!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I Take That Back...

Okay, I completely take back my last blog where I said that I wanted warm weather. It is sweltering hot here, not to mention humid!! I can't move! well, it's not THAT bad, but it is hot! What happened to spring in Jersey?!?!

So now I am calmly waiting for my journey to begin. Hard to believe that this time next week I'll be in Samoa. Whoa.

I did enjoy my last Memorial Day Weekend for the next 2 years. Got to see a lot of people, and actually did a lot, though nothing that we actually planned worked out. But I did get to see my little cousins...the love of my life, Rachel, who I am going to miss so much. She is the most adorable thing ever! And we did manage to get on the rooftop at the Gansevoort Hotel in NYC Saturday nite and got some great views. And though things did not work out as planned at all, it was still a good time. Got to see some Rutgers pals-Marc, Nat and Evan! Marc, good luck to you with everything!! Sunday spent some more time with my cousins and family and then went down to the shore with Roma and Antonietta. Things didn't work out as planned AGAIN, but that's just cuz the shore was packed! I really liked 507 Main in Belmar...totally my type of place. We ended up at Edgar's in Sea Girt and Roma did get to see her guy. :)

Monday was HOT and I went hiking with the fam. Great workout...so great that I haven't had to workout since then. hahaha. It was a little taste of what the conditions will probably be like in Samoa.

Last nite I got to have dinner with some MMEGers...thanks girls!! I ate entirely way too much!

And tonite, fondue with my girls at The Melting Pot! I tried not to eat too much today, so hopefully I can stuff more food in.

BBQ on Saturday at my house for anyone who can make it!!

THREE DAYS TILL LA!