Monday, January 23, 2012

The Tears of Teenage Boys...

I had a great time in Australia over Christmas break. Of course I had a blast with Darc and Jill in the land Down Under, because let’s face it: Jill+Amber+Darcee=AWESOMENESS.

The thing is, going to Australia made me love Samoa even more. The last few weeks before Christmas break, I was completely burnt out on Samoa. All the little things that don’t usually bother me were driving me crazy. Then I went to Australia, and I spent the whole time missing Samoa. Life perverse, isn’t it? Lol.

I can’t stress enough that Australia was awesome. But it when I got in that line in the Brisbane airport, the one for the flight going to Samoa, and I saw all those ‘ie and lavalavas and puletasi, I actually though, “Ah, I can’t wait to be home.”
Of course, two minutes in the line and I had already met two aunties of one of my students, someone who knew my neighbor, and a lady who offered me a ride from Faleolo to Fagali’I in Samoa, where I would catch my flight back to AmSam (it’s a 45 minute cab ride, otherwise).

As the illustrious Catherine Queen would say, “T.I.S. This is Samoa.”

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Australia did wonders for my issues with Samoa. Two weeks in the “civilization” of shopping malls, booty shorts, and $200 sunglasses, and I was ready to swim back to my little volcano in the ocean. Seriously, the first time I went to the mall in Australia, I just stood there staring at all the STUFF. I never even thought about reverse culture shock, but MAN, did it happen to me. I was so overwhelmed by all the goods, and money, and especially all the white people. Lol.

Plus, it was COLD.

Heh. By cold, I mean 75. But I”ve been operating under 88 degrees/1000000 percent humidity, so it felt like it was freezing.

Anyway. I’ve been back in Samoa for two weeks now, and I’ve been feeling the love for Samoa/Samoans. I got back almost a week after school started, so when I did finally get back, my students were so excited to see me, and it really made me feel loved. Then last weekend was my birthday, and a bunch of us went up to the Gurr’s place in Malota (the whole way up the West Side.) It was a really fun birthday, and I was really happy that everyone came out for it. I did walk right into the ocean with my phone, so OOPS to that. No phone for me for a while.

One of my students gave me a birthday present: a Samoan Bible. It is really cool, and since I know the Bible pretty well in English, I am able to decipher some of the Samoan words.

Speaking of Samoan, Quinn, Abby, Alison and I have started taking Samoan Langauge lessons from the Mormon missionaries in Leone. THEY ARE SUCH GOOD TEACHERS. Seriously, I’ve learned so much in only two lessons. I’m already able to understand more of what my kids say to each other (which is not necessarily a good thing, lol.)

Also speaking of languages: I’ve started a Spanish Club at school. It’s going really well so far. Lots of being are interested, and even kids that aren’t in it are walking around speaking Spanish to each other.

In Earth and Space, we’ve been watching Armageddon, since I promised them a movie and it is more or less about space. (ish). Anyway, we finished it today, and I look up and seriously half of my big, tough, eighteen year old boys are crying at the part where Bruce Willis says goodbye to Liv Tyler. IT WAS SO FREAKING CUTE. I just enjoy my boys so much, because they do things like cry at movies and wear flowers in their hair and just don’t worry about whether it makes them look “gay” or “girly”. They just do what they want and aren’t ashamed. It’s so refreshing.

Speaking of my boys, there is a group of about 5 of them that I just love more than anything. Like, I’m gonna cry like a baby when they graduate. Every day they are in my room before school, and during lunch, and whenever they possibly can be. I’m helping them apply to college, and they just amuse me to no end. The weird thing is, most of these kids are the kids that all the other teachers call the “bad kids.” But for some reason, they never skip my class, or act like jerks, or give me attitude. Maybe it’s because I’m the only one that treats them like they are worth something. Seriously, though, I love them. They are like the little brothers I never had. I’m trying to figure out how I can marry them off to all my cousins, so that they can be in my life forever. Lol.

In other random news, I got super sunburnt this weekend. I never realized how much my kids touch me until today. Almost all of them do things like touch my shoulder and say hi, or give me a little punch on the arm as they walk by me. I guess normally I don't even notice it, but today it was like, "OW OW OW OW OW!" Lol.

Anyway. That’s it for now. Sorry about the no pictures. The internet is super slow and one picture takes FOREVER.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In which I beg for school supplies....

Sorry, loyal readers. I know I’ve been very lax on the blog updating recently, and I apologize. I feel like it was October and then all of the sudden it was January.

I will update soon, I promise, but first I would like to make an impassioned plea, the same one I made on Facebook:

I need school supplies!

My volunteer stipend isn’t enough for me to buy all the school supplies I need, and my students don’t have the money to get the supplies for themselves. So I’m gonna rely on the kindness of you guys, and beg you to send me some.

American Samoa is part of the U.S. postal system, so sending here is the same as sending anywhere in the States. Also, since you are donating these supplies, you can write them off come tax time.

Here are some things I really need:

• Construction paper (lots!)
• Sticky Tack (for hanging projects; I have to use a lot because it’s so humid here.)
• Sharpies
• Blue or black pens
• Pencils
• Glue
• Stickers
• Scissors
• Stapler (students are rough on staplers)
• Index Cards
• Clay (to let dry and then paint)
• Paint to use on the clay
• Paintbrushes
• A globe
• A blow-up globe

• We are going to make a paper mache Earth, so I need tons of newspaper. If you wanted to send some old newspapers from your home, it would be cool for my kids to see news from around the world.
• We are soon going to start a huge project in our classroom. We are going to paint my ceiling to look like the solar system. The problem is paint is expensive. There is an Ace hardware here, so if you are so inclined, you could send me a gift certificate to buy indoor paint for this project.
• Any educational DVDs about the ocean or Earth Science stuff. The History Channel has a great series called the Universe that I would love to have the first season of.
• Finally, if any of you wanted to send me NFL stuff, I could use it as prizes. Thanks to the success of Samoans in the NFL, kids here LOVE FOOTBALL. Any team stuff would do, but they especially love the Steelers, Packers, Bengals, Patriots, Raiders, and 49ers. Basically any team that has won a recent Super Bowl or has a Samoan playing for them. Lol. They also like the Ravens, but I refuse to encourage such habits. (GO STEELERS!!!!!)

Anyway, thanks so much for any help you can give!

My address:

Amber DeBardelaben
c/o WorldTeach
PO Box 5411
Pago Pago, American Samoa