Monday, September 19, 2011

Creepers in the Laundromat and Other Island Adventures

Look at that picture! Yep, that’s right, the Leone Lions finally won a game…is was very exciting. Granted, it was against the sucky private school, but I am hopeful that this win will give the boys the confidence to win a couple more. Our previous games have demonstrated that we have the skill to win, we just need to get our head in the game. You’ll notice that in regards to all things Leone High, I now use the royal “we.” Lol.
Also: check out those new green uniforms…those were bought for us by none other than my NFL boyfriend, Troy Polamalu. He is just so great.

Anyway. That was Friday night. Quinn and I went to the game, Abby was sick and stayed home. After the game, we walked to KSMart to get a few groceries, and on the way there we kept getting passed by all these Leone people heading home from the game. Every other truck is like, “Hi, Miss Quinn!” “Hi, Miss Amber!” Quinn remarked that it was like a parade. Made me feel like a rock star. I love this place, especially our little side of the island. WEST SIDE!

In other news, I spent Wednesday and Thursday in the hospital. Apparently, I have fish poisoning (also known as Ciguatera), which is this serious thing where you can literally get poisoned from eating toxic reef fish. I spent two days in the hospital, which is a little sketch, I’m not gonna lie. The room was kind of dirty, and you can be sure I was watching like a hawk to make sure the needle they used for my IV was brand new. (It was.) Anyway, fish poisoning is super weird. Here is a description from the internet:

“Ciguatera is a foodborne illness caused by eating certain reef fishes whose flesh is contaminated with toxins that adhere to coral, algae and seaweed, where they are eaten by herbivorous fish who in turn are eaten by larger carnivorous fish. Predator species near the top of the food chain in tropical and subtropical waters, such as barracudas, snapper, moray eels, parrotfishes, groupers, triggerfishes and amberjacks, are most likely to cause ciguatera poisoning, although many other species cause occasional outbreaks of toxicity. Ciguatoxin is very heat-resistant, so ciguatoxin-laden fish cannot be detoxified by conventional cooking.
Researchers suggest that ciguatera outbreaks caused by cooling climatic conditions propelled the migratory voyages of Polynesians between 1000 and 1400.
Hallmark symptoms of ciguatera in humans include gastrointestinal and neurological effects. Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, usually followed by neurological symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, paresthesia, numbness, ataxia, and hallucinations. Severe cases of ciguatera can also result in cold allodynia, which is a burning sensation on contact with cold.
The symptoms can last for weeks. Most people do recover slowly over time.”

So, yeah. THAT’S fun. My symptoms are already going away, so they should be completely gone in a week or so. The kicker is, I don’t even know how I got poisoned. I eat fish quite a bit here, but I don’t remember eating any of the fish mentioned. I guess red snapper are especially notorious for this…when I got back to school on Friday, I told my kids I had fish poisoning, and they were all, “Oh, did you eat the red fish?” And I’m like, “Um…maybe?” And they say, all sage-like and wise, while shaking their heads in chagrin, “You shouldn’t eat the red fish.”

I love them.

They told me if they had known I was in the hospital, they would have come visit me. I’m thinking to myself, “Uh, yeah, I wasn’t wearing any pants while I was there, so that would have been awkward.” I did not, of course, say this to them.

Saturday I did not do much of anything. I was going to go into town with Quinn and some others, but I still wasn’t feeling up to par, so I stayed home and just relaxed. (side note: many times when my kids come into class, they’re like “Just relax, Miss? Just relax?” Then they act (fake) surprised that I say no, we have work to do. They make me smile.) Saturday night I went and did laundry at the place about a fifteen minute walk away. I know, I know, what an exciting Saturday night.

Anyway, I was just minding my own, folding my clothes, and this super creepy guy comes in and just starts staring at me. And I hear him talking to his buddy, and I KNOW they are talking about me and they are laughing and making suggestive faces and he was SO CREEPY. He was about fifty, with missing teeth and these gross sores on his legs and he was drinking, and I cannot even describe the amount of creeped out I was. And the weirdest thing was just the staring. I could literally feel his stare. And I was kind of freaking out because I knew I had to walk home and I he was just hanging at the laundromat, not actually doing laundry, and I was afraid he was going to follow me home. Luckily, one of my students was there doing laundry with somebody else, and as I was leaving, they were like, “That guy was talking about you. We’re going to give a ride home.” So, I was really thankful for that (I've included a pic of John, my rescuer.)

I mean, I know creepy guys exist everywhere, but I was living in a state of blissful ignorance here in Samoa, because everyone was just super friendly and I was always walking about by myself with no problem. This is the first time I have felt legit scared by somebody here, and it is depressing because I had kind of put all of Samoa on a sort of pedestal, and it sucks to have that taken away. Especially in Leone, the village that I consider “my” village now. But I guess even in Leone, there are creepy people. Especially if you add alcohol into the mix.

I’m not putting this into words very well, but I guess I feel sort of betrayed by Am Samoa for not being quite as safe as I thought it was. Which is ridiculous, but there it is. Disillusioned, you could say.

I know it was naïve and stupid of me to get lured into a false sense of security, so I guess this a wake-up call.


Today I went to church and it was a good time.

At church, I saw the same student (John, see picture) that rescued me from the laudromat, so that means I have seen him every single day this week. Lol.

I am going to join the church choir, even though I don’t speak Samoan. I just miss singing. (For those of you who don’t know, I used to sing.) I can learn the words, even if I’m not sure what I’m saying. Anyway, apparently word has gotten around that I want to join the choir, because last night doing laundry this person was like, “Oh, you’re the one who is going to join the choir!” And at church today, everyone was coming up to me all excited that I’d be joining the choir. Made me feel welcome, which was really nice. I probably won’t join until after White Sunday, which is in October. They’re in the midst of preparations for it, so it’d be hard to catch up if I joined now.

Anyway. Melinda’s spending the night at our house tonight, which is nice, because I haven’t seen her in many, many moons. I’m gonna peace out and work on some lesson planning.

Manuia le po!

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