Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm baaaaaaack!

I've been back in Samoa for a month now, and for the first time since I've been back, I'm starting to feel like I did last year when I was in love with this place. The first few weeks were awful, because missed last years seniors so much. But I'm really getting to know my new kids, and I'm starting to love them. Maybe not as much as I loved last year, but it's getting there.

 I especially love my sixth period. They are a little cheeky, but I love them. Last year, I didn't really have a favorite class, just favorite students in each class. This year, I definetly love sixth period. I love every single kid in that class. They are so funny and actually seem to like listening to me teaching about history. They speak up and share their opinions, and I love them. They are of course mainstream, but you know I love them best.

Things haven't changed too much at Leone. lol

They may have graduated, but these crazies still come by to visit me.

Some of my boys

Sarah was all, "I'm pretty sure I don't know a single kid that wanted to get this picture taken." Ha! Welcome to being a bid deal. lol

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Lost Blog Posts: Part Two

This is part two of the lost blogs from my year as a WorldTeacher. I have put a disclaimer here and say that I am writing this in retrospect. And also let you all know that I am back in Samoa, having decided to sign a DoE contract and stay on as a teacher. It is going to be a little difficult writing this because I’m in the middle of my second week back at Leone, and I am so sad all the time, because I miss the seniors and I miss Abby and Quinn and I wish it were last year. So maybe writing a blog about two of the saddest events of last year—Baccalaureate and Graduation--, is not the best thing to be doing in my current frame of mind. But I can’t start writing about this year until I update about LAST year, so here goes.
So, the Sunday before Graduation was the Senior Baccalaureate ceremony. This year it was at the Catholic Church in Leone. Amanda and Rosa came with Abby, Quinn and I, which I was really happy about, because I love that they have become a little part of the Leone family, too. They’ve spent so much time with me in Leone that they actually know a lot of my kids and they kind of get how awesome Leone is. It’s actually pretty funny, because originally Rosa was supposed to teach at Leone…in my mind she is just such an elementary teacher now that I can’t even imagine her teaching high school. There is not a whole lot to say about the ceremony, like most church services in Samoa, it was in Samoan, and I have only a general idea what they even said during the ceremony. However, it WAS a beautiful ceremony, and the kids looked SO GREAT in their clothes they had made for the ceremony and graduation. Here are some pictures of the clothes:

Beautiful girls in their Baccalaureate/Graduation outfits

Good lookin' crew

During the ceremony, the seniors sang several songs, and it was amazing. The voices of multiple Samoans raised in song is just not something I will ever get tired of. I am going to try to post a video of it here.

After the ceremony, everyone just kind of milled about outside the church, and there were tons of pictures and tons of hugs and tons of candy ulas and maybe I cried a little because I knew how much I was going to miss these kids. Did I mention all the hugs? Because there were about a million, which was GREAT, because I freaking love hugs. I have to say, I think of all my kids at Leone, Fale probably wins for best hugs. Although Noke and Justin come in as close seconds. Lol. Anyway, after much milling about, we headed back home and took some lovely photos, which I will put right here:
The Leone roomies! I love these girls.
My BFFs from WorldTeach.
Okay, moving on to Graduation. Oh, graduation. I don’t really have words to express the way I felt that day. I was so happy, and so proud, and also so, so sad, to see these remarkable people I had grown to love graduate and move on with their lives. Just to see Fale, Aladdin, Peni, Paisano, Noke and the Tap Boyz get up there and receive their diplomas was amazing. Especially since it was a little touch and go for some of them for a while. Lol. God love ‘em.
Me and Aladdin and Sili...the Originals, as I like to call them.
 The first kids to really give me a chance.
The day of graduation, it was hard for me to put into words the way I feel for these young adults that I have had the privilege of knowing. From hindsight of three months, I recognize the feeling as love. I love those little shitheads like they were my own family, and I can’t wait to see what they do with their lives. As I took photos with all the boys that drove me FREAKING CRAZY the first few months of school, I kept thinking, “Wow, we’ve come a long way, baby.” Lol. If you had told the Amber of August 2011 which kids would be her favorite in June 2012, she would have just laughed and laughed in disbelief. Hahaha. Oh, how this year has changed me.

Troublemakers, God love 'em.

Pasiano and Aladdin!

Pan and Fausaga
After graduation, I went to Taputimu to Fatima’s graduation party. I grew close to Fatima the last few months of school, and I was really happy to be invited to her graduation party. Her family was such a good time, and in all honesty, reminded me a bit of my own family, drunk uncles and all. After Fatima’s, her and I headed across the road to Mata’s/Fred’s graduation party/some random guy’s birthday party. Which fazed nobody in the least, because: This is Samoa. At her graduation party, Mata asked me if I would ask her dad if she could get a tattoo. She tried to convince me that if I asked, he would say yes, which I was hesitant to believe, because I am just not used to having that kind of influence. But sure enough, I asked and he goes, “Because it was you that asked, I will let her.” Lol. Who knew?

Fatima buried under all her candy ulas.

So, sidebar: that next week, before I left Samoa, Mata came over to my house with a friend of hers that does tattoos, and got a tattoo IN MY FREAKING KITCHEN. I had not realized that was part of the plan, but I just went with it because, again: This is Samoa. The best part was Abby and Quinn coming home from wherever they were and being completely unfazed by the student getting a tattoo in their kitchen. Because: T.I.S. I know I say that a lot, and I know I stole it from Cat (hi, Cat!), but it really is just the best reaction to most of the insanity that happens here.

Prayer during graduation

Anyway, the rest of my last week was kind of crazy. Rosa spent much of the week at my place because she wanted to get off Aunu’u early just in case the weather turned bad and the boat didn’t run the day of our flight. It was nice to have some company, because I was little bit bereft after Abby and Quinn left for New Zealand. Plus, it was good to have someone to help me pack! J
Grad party in Taputimu.
Also that week: the Tap Boyz came over and cooked dinner, because we had all this extra food and I figured the surest way to get rid of it was to feed it to Samoan teenage boys. And Sili and his girlfriend came over one day to help me clean. It was a very surreal week, because I couldn’t believe I was actually leaving, and I couldn’t believe I was actually taking Sili and Peni with me, and I was so excited to see my actual family and so sad to leave this family and looking back, it was all a blur. A blur that culminated in the third saddest time of my life, the day I left Samoa.
But that is a topic for another blog.