Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Daily Grind

Training reminds me so much of the dorms. For the past two and a half weeks, we have all lived on the same floor of a hotel, so we always see each other. We have class every day in the same conference room, and we always go into town in groups of people, watch movies together on laptops, and in general hang out dorm style.

There’s not too much I can say about training. It’s all pretty basic and what I expected it to be – medical matters, safety, language, and boatloads of information about teaching that is completely over my head. The days kind of blend into each other because it’s all pretty much the same.

However, we did have our welcome fiafia last week, which was quite exciting. All the current volunteers came into Apia and performed dances for us. Then we had a performance from some fire dancers, and ended with a delicious potluck and an outing into town. It’s really great to meet all the current volunteers, and so far they all seem pretty excited to meet us, although I’m sure they get asked the same questions a million times – what are the host families like? What’s your school like? What’s the food like? How do you dress to go running and what do you say to the guys who talk to you?

Another notable day this week – I went on a hike to climb the “mountain” on Upolu. I’m pretty sure it’s the highest point on the island, and I think it’s a dormant volcano (although I’ve heard mixed stories about whether the volcano is dormant or still active but never really erupts…) It took about 45 minutes to get up and maybe a half hour to go back down. On the top, you could look out one direction into beautiful green hills and look out the other direction at the ocean. That was a fun excursion.

Today we got our host village assignments – they split us up into four training villages, which I think is a new thing for PC Samoa. I will be in Lotofaga (loh-toh-FAHN-ga – the “g” is pronounced “ng”) and I get a bike because apparently my host family is a bit farther away from the training fale than most other people. I find this hilarious because I much prefer walking to riding a bike and I haven’t really ridden a bike since elementary school, except for a few occasions in college. I also have to wear a helmet whenever I ride my bike, and it’s pretty much impossible to wear a puletasi or knee-length skirt while riding a bike, so they suggest wearing shorts under a lavalava and changing when I get there. I see a lot of sweaty days and helmet hair in my future. Host families will certainly be an adventure, but according to Kierkegaard "To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose onself," so I'll just keep that in mind.

I will not be taking my computer with me to my training village, so I doubt I will have internet access for the next 7 weeks. In one week it is Halloween, in three weeks we get our site assignments, and in four weeks (maybe five, I can’t do time math) we celebrate Thanksgiving with the Charge d’Affaires, but all those stories will have to wait until we come back to the hotel for swearing-in in mid-December. I will talk to you all then!

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