Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hospitals, Homesickness and Holidays: April Adventures

Some of my Tap Boyz. I shall miss them.

It is raining so hard right now, and it kind of mirrors my mood. For the last few weeks, I’ve been in weird mood, sad for two opposite reasons: 1) I’m homesick and I miss my family, my mom, dad, sister, nephew and 2) I leaving Samoa in a month and I don’t want to because I’m going to miss my students so much.

As you can see, it’s quite a conundrum. Lol. I guess I SHOULD be looking at it as 1) Excited to see my family in one month and 2) Happy to still have a month left to spend with my students.

Lunchtime Naptime

Anyway. Sorry for no posts in April, but it has been insane. The first week of April was awful, because there were a HUGE fight in my classroom (broken desk, blood everywhere), and that caused all sorts of drama for the rest of the week. I actually broke down and cried during break one day, which was awful, because there are always students in my room during break, and they all saw me crying. BUT, I have to say, they were so, SO sweet about it. As soon as they noticed I was crying, they all moved their desks over to me and surrounded me and were like, “It’s okay, Miss. It’s okay.” And they didn’t even know why I was crying. Lol. So cute. I hate to cry in front of people, but at least it was in front of my faves, and not the students that caused the crying.

I WOULD like to say that I’ve been through some crap in my class, especially in the beginning, and I had some major issues with classroom management, especially with the second period, which is all my worst kids (and like two of my best, God Bless ‘Em.) But I have NEVER cried at school, until this month. Sucked. But! It’s all over now, and everything has gone back to normal.

THEN, the second week of April, I started throwing up, and having these awful pains in side of my lower back. At first I thought I was just sick and had pulled a muscle, but after three days, I finally went into the LBJ Tropical Medical Center (yes, named after THAT LBJ. He’s the only president to ever visit American Samoa. No one ever comes here. Hillary Clinton refueled here a few months ago, but she didn’t even bother to get off the plane. Anyway. Tangent.) So, I went to the “hospital.” They try, but it’s really very sketchy. Blood on the walls and that sort of thing. I was really sick, though, so I headed over there.

Well! As it turned out, I had a kidney stone, apparently caused by dehydration. I do drink a lot of water, but I also sweat a lot, apparently more than I drink.  Anyway, the kidney stone was kind of big, so they thought I might have to go off island (probably to Hawaii) to get it zapped, because they don’t have the technology here. They gave me some drugs to help, and LUCKILY, it passed without me having to go off island. (Off island, by the way, is the generic term Samoans used for anywhere that is not this particular Rock. As in, “Miss, I’m going off island tomorrow to California.”)

Let me tell you…passing that kidney stone was pretty much the worst thing ever, except for that one time my ear drum ruptured. For almost two days I felt like I was getting stabbed in the side, and it was just NOT a good time. After all was said and done, I ended up missing an entire week of school. My kids were all very confused about why I was missing. I heard various rumors as explanations, ranging from I was pregnant (I’m not) to I was fired (I wasn’t.) But this is Samoa. If they don’t know the real reason, they’ll make one up. Lol. All the Taputimu kids that usually hang out in my room were at a loss. Apparently they just wandered around all week, unsure about where to go. Lol.

Some of my senior girls lining up for the Flag Day Parade.

The upside of all of this was that the whole week, I got various messages from kids telling me how much they missed me. A group of them pooled all their money together to put money on their cell phone so they could call me to make sure I was alive. Did I mention I love my students?

Anyway. The week after Kidney Week, as it shall henceforth be known, was Flag Day week. Flag Day in American Samoa is April 17, which is the day that the U.S. Navy first raised the United States flag in American Samoa. Or, I guess you could say it’s the day Eastern Samoa became American Samoa. Anyway, it is a big deal here, and we got Tuesday and Wednesday off for the festivities. This meant we had Monday, Thursday and Friday at school, but it was pretty much a useless week. Most of the kids did not even come to school that week, so my classes were missing at least half of the kids. We did nothing but watch movies and play games.

Tuesday was the official Flag Day ceremony, so all the Leone seniors and most of the teachers participated in the “parade” at the stadium. I was the only Leone WorldTeacher to go, and basically involved about four hours of sitting and six minutes of parading. But they kids go to be on TV, so they were excited. Plus, it wasn’t so bad because I like the seniors and it was amusing to hang out with them for the day.

Some of Leone teachers getting ready for the parade.
After the ceremony, I headed to the airport with Sili and his mom to get his plane ticket to come to States this summer. I had to be there, since he is traveling with me. Of course, some of the Tap Boyz came with us, because, well, they tend to do stuff in groups. Moral support and all that. Lol. Anyway, Sili officially has his ticket, and Peni is getting his this week, so I guess that is really happening. They are both really excited to see the United States. I was talking to them about the differences between Alabama and Samoa, and they were at first horrified by the fact that there are no breadfruit trees or mango trees in Alabama.
“Are there breadfruit trees in Alabama or Pennsylvania?”
“Do you at least have coconuts?”


So then I explained we had apple trees and blueberries and strawberries.
“There are APPLE TREES?!?!”

Hahahaha. It’s going to be a hilarious summer.