Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Shenanigans

Because the 4th fell on Sunday this year, we here in Samoa had to celebrate on Friday and Saturday (there’s a strict no fun policy on Sunday, not really, but Sunday is very much a day of going to church and resting, not much else is considered ok…aka no working or partying). So instead of celebrating our nation’s Independence Day on Sunday, we had 2 parties in the preceding days.

Friday night was the formal party at Sails, a nice restaurant right on the water. Everyone was dressed up in nice clothes, which for Peace Corps Volunteers is a rare thing. Even I was wearing a dress, which if you know me is really a big deal. I have no nice clothes here in Samoa so I had to have one made especially for this occasion. People were shocked to see me in a dress…I’m talking jaws dropping to the floor. It was a nice event complete with dancing, hors d'oeuvres, and free wine and beer. It was a classy event and fun for just the grown ups. And as what usually happens on a Friday night when lots of volunteers are in town, the party moved to V-Bar and Why Not when the formal occasion was over.

Saturday afternoon was the family event, a pot luck get together. People played Frisbee, croquet, and volleyball. Once it got dark, we lit sparklers and watched a slideshow with pictures of the US and fireworks (we can’t light fireworks here, so sparklers and pictures of fireworks had to do). There was a cake in the form of a USA flag and lots of food to go around.

Saturday night was the fa’amavae for my group, Group 80. We swore in as PCVs August 25, 2008 so we are officially done August 25, 2010. Some of our volunteers are leaving later this month to return home or transfer to other posts for a new round of Peace Corps and most of the rest of us late next month or early September, so this was our chance to have a party to celebrate us and say goodbye to people. It was a well done party (malo galue to the other groups for organizing it).

There was a really nice program as well…a slideshow of all of Group 80 in the field doing what we do, a talent show of singing and being musical, as well as the final act of Liz as taupou. Liz looked amazing…she did a great job! The taupou dresses in siapo (tapa cloth) and has a tuiga (traditional headdress) and does a siva samoa (Samoan dance). It was spectacular! The rest of the night was filled with fun I won’t go into on a blog open to the whole world, but we had a great time and it was a wonderful way to say goodbye.

The fun continued yesterday with a tour of the USCGC Kukui out of Honolulu, HI. The US Coast Guard was in town, coming from American Samoa on fisheries inspections. They came to the July 4th event Saturday afternoon and were nice enough to offer us a tour of their ship. That sounded like a pretty cool thing to do, so Sunday afternoon we did just that.

The mission of the Kukui is to maintain buoys and do some fisheries law enforcement. They’ve got a dive team, which I thought was pretty cool. We met Oscar, the man overboard dummy, saw their movie theatre (small but really cool), saw the captain’s chair and all his domain on the bridge, even sick bay and typical quarters for a sailor on board. They were even nice enough to give us official ship hats. It was a fun way to spend the 4th of July.

I was hanging out with other volunteers at Aggie Grey’s last night when they said something about me leaving in a month. I was quick to say it’s not quite a month…but then realized I will be leaving next month…granted at the end of the month, but next month nonetheless. That is a little scary and it continues to creep up on me. I’m leaving home just as much as going home. Adjusting should be interesting.

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