Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Trying to put emotions into words...

It’s been a rough go of it this time around in Samoa. I have found that a lot of the little things that used to amuse me about Samoa are really annoying me. I know I’m just in a low point, and I will start loving it again, but one of the reasons I haven’t blogged is because I know my blogs would be super negative. And I really do love this place.

The main problem I am having is missing last year. I especially miss Quinn and Abby, Amanda, and the Class of 2012. Quinn and Abby and I were so very different, but we complemented each other and Leone very well. I really like Sara and Kristina, my new WT friends. But I went through all this stuff with Quinn and Abby and I wish they were still around to share things with. I feel like we three had such a special bond with the kids. Honestly we had a blast coming to school most of the time. I never once woke up last year and didn’t want to go to school. I talk to Quinn and Abby via email and sometimes I call them, but it’s hard, because I want to share everything with them, but I know they miss this place and I don’t want to make them miss it more. So even though I want to share every hilarious thing a certain kid did, I resist. It’s different this year, because Sara teaches juniors and seniors, Kristina has all freshman, and I have sophomores and juniors, so our kids hardly overlap. 

I miss Amanda, too. She was my best friend on island last year, and even though she taught at a different school, I spent a lot of time with her. It wasn’t until she wasn’t here that I realized I used to spend EVERY SINGLE SATURDAY with her. Most of the time we didn’t even do anything important. Several times we went out with the intention of doing sometime ambitious like a hike, and ended up drinking pina coladas at Tisa’s or Sadie’s. Sometimes we did actual stuff like snorkeling or going to the beach, but a lot of the time we just ran errands together and then watched history nerd shows on our computer. I miss her!

And finally, I miss the Class of 2012. I loved the seniors last year. I like my kids this year. There are a couple that I really like. But last year, almost all my kids made me smile just by coming into my room, and this year there are maybe four kids like that. I KNOW I wasn’t supposed to get so attached to my kids last year, but to be perfectly honest, they may have been my students, but they weren’t that much younger than me and they were sort of my friends, too. Actually, a lot of them were more like little siblings, I loved them that much. They made me love Samoa. I found my calling in helping them with their future and just listening to their problems. I still see them, but I miss seeing them EVERYDAY. In a way though, it’s nice that now when I see them I am not in charge of them, so I don’t have to yell at them for doing stupid things. Although…I still do that. Lol. One of my kids jokes that I am the annoying little person on his shoulder telling him not to do stupid things like get into fights. I claim that as a success!

I will never really be able to explain my attachment to these Samoan kids. They are just so much more open with affection then the “too cool” American kids. They are impossible to explain unless you actually meet them. Then you will understand. Ask my parents. They didn’t get it until they basically adopted Peni and Sili this summer, and now whenever I talk to Mom, she always tells me how much she misses the boys. That’s what she calls them, “The Boys.” Like, “Have you talked to the boys?” lol.

Anyway. This year.

I really love teaching World History. I just love history. My lesson plans are so easy because I really enjoy what I am teaching. U.S. History is okay… the kids in that class had made it their mission to make my life miserable, and there are SO MANY of them (I don’t even have enough desks for all of them), but we all had a little heart to heart. After making 5 of my bad boys cry (I gave them the ol’ guilt trip), things are MUCH better in that class. The other day they were actually all listening in rapt attention as I told of Washington crossing the Delaware in the dead of night on Christmas.

Of course, they could have all been stoned. Also possible.

One major thing that’s different this year is that I literally NEVER ESCAPE my children. I have no anonymity. Sometimes this is okay, but more and more it’s been driving me crazy. I moved to an apartment that is more in the actual village of Leone, and it’s closer to the “main” road, so it’s a lot easier for former and current students that are walking by to pop in for a visit. And by visit, I mean they come in and tell me they are hungry and eat all my food. Lol. That’s a major difference between the States and here. In the States if you see your kids outside of school, you can get into major trouble. Here it is seriously impossible NOT to see them. It is a very small island, and people are very fond of visiting.  One of the football coaches lives across the street from me, and therefore there are always football players stopping by because they “saw my lights on.” It’s gotten to the point that if I don’t lock the door, people just come on in. Which: part of me loves it, I’m not going to lie. It’s nice to be popular, and I am a very social person. But SOMETIMES I want to be alone, and at this point, if I want to be alone, I have to turn out all my lights, lock the doors, and hide in my bedroom reading by flashlight so no one knows I am home. Lol.

And Lord knows that I can’t walk a hundred yards down the street without someone shouting my name from somewhere. I can’t even leave my curtains open because inevitably I will hear “AMMMMMBERRRRRR” screamed from the back of a truck driving by.

I complain, but honestly I would rather it this way than no one ever coming to visit. It does make me feel loved. And it makes my day when my former students come to visit me in school.

I seem to remember feeling this way a little bit last year before Christmas break, and then I spent all of my time in Australia driving Darcee and Jill crazy by talking about Samoa and how much I missed it. Lol.

Me and Kristina at the Halloween Showdown

Stuff for the Championship game. Green glitter, green face paint, Leone ie, poster, green and yellow ula, green and yellow shoelaces, yellow slippers, green and yellow pom pons, even green eyelashes. I WAS READY.

The football players brought me food on Friday on the most tropical plate EVER.
Championship Pep Rally

Just started helping this kid apply for football stuff for college.

In my two years on island, I've never missed a football game.

Three of my students.
Anyway. This is a super long entry. But last Saturday was also the football championship and LEONE WAS IN IT! We got soundly beat by Tafuna (giant mutant children that they are), but it was still a big deal we made it to the game at all. And Tafuna does have almost a thousand more kids than Leone. But seriously, the game was so fun. I have always, and will always, love school spirit. I know some people are all hipster about school spirit and waaaay too cool for it, but not here in Samoa. Games are insane, in the best way possible. Of course, a Tafuna/Leone game often ends in violence, so the police were on hand in riot gear, lol. Teaching here really is a little like teaching in the inner city sometimes, only with palm trees and a super love of Jesus keeping them from actually shooting each other. (Well, that and there aren’t many guns on the island.) I mean, they could still knife each other, but for Samoans it’s really more about punching each other in the face with actual fists then using actual weapons (although they do throw a lot of rocks.) 

1 comment:

  1. Hey! My name is Julia and I'm considering applying to teach in American Samoa next year. I've been googling American Samoa recently to learn some things and hear about other people's experiences there, and I stumbled across your blog. Would I be able to email you to ask some questions about teaching there? It would be so nice to have a contact to get a little info from! Please email me if you have a chance.