Sunday, January 22, 2006

This gives cankles a whole new definition...

My attitude about Samoa has taken a positive turn since I have been back from Christmas. Some days I even entertain the thought of staying for another year or so. Then again...I don't think I could do that to my feet and ankles. They are slowly becoming Samoan which is the scariest possibility yet. I was blessed to be given small ankles. From the time I was little, I always knew I was destined to be small but there was some mix up, and then I moved here.

Cankles (your calves running into your ankle leaving the void of an actual ankle) are a real problem in the States. You see a lot of people running around and have to wonder to yourself what they were thinking when they decided it was okay to show those puppies off.

Well, I can tell you what they are thinking. They are thinking there is no hope out there for a cure, so they will have to put on a brave face and act like they don't have a problem. I used to think that cankles were a joke, but have since realized that it is in fact very serious. It pains me to admit that I have cankles. Not just your average, run of the mill cankles, but I have Samoan cankles. That is at least 4 times the average cankle. You have to have pretty hefty ankles if you are going to carry anything from a 5x to an 8x around.

My swollen ankles reached new heights on Thursday of last week. We went out to celebrate a birthday at the Equator. The Equator is one of the nicer eateries on the island and is hooked onto the hotel. So in honor of this fine eating establishment I decided to dress up a bit. Instead of just a t-shirt and jeans, I went with a t-shirt, jeans, and heels. For some reason, when I was packing I just knew that I wanted my favorite heels with me for such occasions.

My heels are normal heels, except for the fact that they have an ankle strap. I knew I was heading for trouble when I was putting them on and I had to poke new holes just to get them around my ankles. It was touch and go for a minute...not knowing if the strap was going to join on the other side.

After dinner I came home to get out of my shoes for fear that my feet were going to pinch off. I was horrified when I saw my ankles to say the least. I had to take a picture because I have never seen anything like it. Prepare isn't going to be pretty.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Picture time...

I have started posting my pictues online. It has only taken me 5 months, but now I am with it. My pictures are at The username is and the password is family. I am going to try to update them frequently, but you all know how good I am at that.

That my friends... is a shark.

Saturday was a beautiful day, so we decided to go to the beach. We went to Fagatelli Bay which is a marine reserve not too far from where we live. This was my first time to the bay, and possibly the last due to the hike to and from the beach. Fagatelli is a beach for the determined beach goer. To get to the top of the mountain you have to drive through the dump and then get out of your car and ask a Samoan family if you can continue on. They must give you their permission and open the gate for you or you can't get up to where you park.

The hike down wasn't bad. It was a steep in places, but due to all the rain we have been having, it was very slippery. Some would say that I am a slow hiker, but I would classify it as cautious. When you fall down as much as I do it forces you to double check every step on foreign ground. The hike down took me a lot longer than everyone else. I only fell once though which is pretty remarkable. When you get down to the bottom of the hike there is a large ladder you have to crawl down before you are on the beach.

As I was crawling down the ladder I heard the others yelling for my camera. Turns out that there was a shark in the reef. We have seen sharks before, but this one was really close. He was in really shallow water, but he didn't stay long. He was in and out long enough for us to get some pictures and video of him, and then he went out to deeper water.

I wanted to snorkel, but the water was too rough. Probably from the cyclones in the area. I was okay with not snorkeling though because I realized how pale I am getting. It was a great day to work on my tan.

I was dreading the hike out from the minute I got down the ladder. I decided to hike out early by myself because I am slow and not in the best shape. Turns out that was a good idea. I left 30 minutes before everyone else and it was perfect. When I finally got back to the car I thought that my core body temperature had to be at 300 degrees...No joke. The hike ended up being easier than I anticipated, but you add the sweat and the heat and it isn't something Im looking forward to doing again any time soon.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Im back.

I'm back. I have been back on "the Rock" for over a week now. It has been really strange, but really good. Not to mention busy and exhausting.

I never thought that I would say it, but I am glad that I am back. I will even go as far to say that America Samoa is not the worst place you could live. In fact there are much worse places in the world. Places that don't have electricity, internet, or Diet Dr. Pepper. Some days I have all of those things, some days are more questionable.

The thing that I disliked the most about being on the island before Christmas was the lack of Diet Dr. Pepper on the island. When I got back there was a surprise in store for me. It is in all the stores along with my second favorite Coke Zero. It all came as a New Years miracle, if you will.

The rain has been a constant since my return. The big rumor on island was that we were going to get slammed with the after effects of two tropical cyclones that "just missed us." People were stocking up on water and pulling their kids out of school because the power and water were going to be knocked out by the 100 mph winds. Fortunately, they were just rumors. We got a little wind and a lot of rain, but that is about it. The rain was fantastic during the week because my classroom was cool. I didn't even turn the fans on. It was a fantastic feeling not to sweat to death. The only problem was that when the ground is completely saturated creatures that usually live outdoors tend to venture in. I really didn't have any problems until Friday when I was teaching and a rat ran into my room. We both froze in our tracks when we realized the other was there, and I did the natural thing...I chased it out of my room. I am thinking about it now and thinking what would I have done if I would have caught up with it? Pick it up? The advantage here is that I chased him right to his hole. I now know where he lives and I have sent the proper people to greet him with traps the next time he comes out.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Here I come...

Okay. I haven't posted in 11 days. I didn't realize that it had been that long. That's almost 2 weeks, and totally unacceptable. I have been super busy trying to get school all together, and finished. I can't believe the semester is already over. It went so fast. The great news is that I am coming home tomorrow. Granted I don't actually reach home until Tuesday, but I begin the great transit tomorrow. I am like a five year old before Christmas. I can't stop smiling, and I am in a FANTASTIC mood. Since I haven't really taken any pictures in the last 10 weeks I am heading out to video the whole island today. Should be fun. See you soon...

*PS. The pictures...I just wanted to publish pictures that prove that I actually have been hiking for all of the doubters out there.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Apparently I am a performer.

I have been asked to join a dance troupe. Possibly the funniest thing about this situation is the fact that I can't dance. Not even remotely. I was asked by a Samoan woman that I know, and I might go as far to say I was deceived. One of the aides at the school goes to a church that is doing a big Christmas spectacular this Sunday night. Each family puts on a skit, sings or dances. She said there are only 18 people, so I thought about it and decided that I could do anything in front of 18 people. What I didn't understand that when she said "18 people" she meant the term loosely. She meant that there would be 18 Samoan families. A Samoan family is like an American family only with a average of 12 people per family. So basically I am going to an adult dance recital in front of a large crowd. Her family chose to dance this year and they asked me and Amy to join them. She said that we are going to do Hawaiian dance movements and that she would put her three small children in front of us so we don't stick out so bad. The kids come up to my knees, how can I not be seen behind them? Plus, we are going to be the only two white people in the place. We are wearing our lava lava's so that we look a little more Samoan, but I was told that people will know I am white by looking at me.

They came over tonight to teach us the first half of the "dance". The funniest part is that we are Hawaiian dancing to Dolly Parton. I'm not sure that I have ever seen anyone hula to Dolly, so this should be an interesting experience. I learned the dance rather quickly due to my amazing dance aptitude, but they were only able to show me pieces tonight. I was trying to do the foot work but was encouraged to try to keep my body as still as possible and just move my hands. I guess I look spastic when I move my feet which just shocks me. How do I get mixed up in these type of situations?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

This is serious...

Well, I have started a new lifestyle. I am getting in shape. This is not a cosmetic decision, but instead a decision out of necessity. First, I don't want to turn into an 8xer. Second, I have to make sure that my jeans are loose. There is a multitude of reasons that I need my jeans loose. One is that it is so hot if feels like you are wearing Saran wrap if anything is touching your body. Another is that I need them loose so that I can eat real food (Mamaritas and Rosas) when I am home, and still fit into them when I get back. I have made idol attempts to "get in shape" in the past, but this time I actually mean business. I have 20 days, and 20 days is going to fly by. I plan to get in shape in two ways...swimming and walking. I have told a friend that I would get up with him at 5:15 AM to walk. I haven't purposely got up that early in year, so I am currently praying for a monsoon. I also am swimming 30 laps a day. It doesn't seem like much, but it's pretty sufficient in a hot pool. The beauty of swimming is that not only am I working to my "get in shape" goal but I am also getting tan while Im at it. My dermatologist is going to freak out in December, but right now I am living it up.

There are several things that I am dying to do when I get back to the States. One is eat Mexican food. I think that is my big one. I have to give it to the Samoans they are huge people and they aren't even eating the good stuff. There is no Mexican food on the island, and I am a Mexican food junkie. Another thing I can't wait to do is get in a car that is going over 20 miles per hour. The speed limit on island is anywhere from 10-25 miles per hour which seems normal to me now. I was in the car the other day and the person that was driving was driving at a break neck speed. I was a nervous wreck, made sure I was seatbelted in, and I was holding onto the door handle. When I peeled my eyes open to look at the speed I almost laughed...A whole 30 miles per hour and I thought I was going to die. I have become a turtle.