Tuesday, July 14, 2009

4th of July & Birthday Fun

I left Fiji on the 5th of July and, due to the International Date Line, returned to Samoa on the 4th of July. I got about 2.5 hours of sleep the whole night and that was from sleeping in a chair at the Peace Corps hostel because all the beds were taken by people coming in for Independence Day celebrations. Jenny and I weren’t all that happy coming into the hostel at 5 in the morning, wanting nothing but a bed, and seeing them all taken. Oh well, such is life; que sera sera and all that.

We had a really fun celebration for the 4th up at Robert Louis Stevenson’s house. A Navy ship was in town for the Pacific Partnership Program, where they hold health clinics for humans and animals as well as helping with infrastructure projects. We had a little softball game against the Navy and might I add a job well done by our boys in the 14-4 win. I was supposed to play but seeing as how I had very little sleep I decided I didn’t really feel much like actually using energy that day. So I kept the official score, complete with marking singles, doubles, outs, etc. I never learned official scoring, but I kept semi-official score and that was a fun skill to learn. We had a fun evening of chit chat with the Navy guys about their jobs here and where they were going next, as well as really good food. We had real hot dogs, none of that chicken frank stuff you get here, baked beans, potato salad, chili for the hot dogs, and free wine and beer. Quite a few people were in attendance besides us PCVs & Navy personnel including the Samoan Prime Minister and Head of State, Miss Samoa, and of course the master planner of the event, the Charge de Affairs. A small Navy band played music and we danced to the live music, enjoying being able to dance to something other than Samoan music or hip-hop. We lit sparklers, ate ice cream, and enjoyed the night.

My birthday was a pretty chill event, which is what I wanted (anything other than sitting in my room alone the whole day; I didn’t really want to do anything in the village because they would make it a big spectacle and that was the last thing I wanted). I went to Apia and went out to dinner with some of the PCVs who were in town. I had said a few weeks ago I was going to save up my money and buy a steak for my birthday and that is just what I did. I enjoyed it too. I had already given myself a pretty big birthday present in the trip to Fiji (best present I have ever given myself and it will be hard to beat), but I felt a steak was a worthwhile present on the actual day of my birth. It was quite nice to have cake on my birthday as well (thanks guys).

Most of the other PCVs are older than me by a couple of years; I’m second youngest in country and was the youngest until Group 81 came last October. It is funny to hear everyone’s reactions when they find out how old I am. To most of the volunteers I’m but a baby as they are in mid to late 20s. Acutally, we have a young group here in Samoa as the average age for PCVs is in the 30s. Even the Samoans think I’m too young to be here and away from my parents. They don’t really understand that as a 23 year-old I wouldn’t be living with my parents anyway, but that is a cultural thing I’m not sure they will ever really understand. I’m pretty used to being the youngest or close to it though. I was always the youngest in school and of my best friends I’m the youngest by months. So another birthday gone and one more to go before I leave (I hit the hat trick and will celebrate three birthdays during my 27 months of Peace Corps service).

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