Shockingly (at least to me), it has been ten months since I left Am Sam. Some days it feels like it was yesterday and others like it was a lifetime ago. Before I left, I told Moi that if he married Polu within the year of my departure, I would return to the Rock. Well, he called my bluff and they got married on May 30. He is really in love with Polu, so I think that had something to do with them getting married beyond wanting me to return to the island. I spent about ten days in Am Sam - and if I say so myself - it was awesome. When I arrived at the airport, immigration went really fast, and my bags were the first ones to arrive - which is a small miracle for the Pago Pago International Airport. Even better, my friends met me at the airport - with new T-shirts saying "Weave is Risen" and more importantly - some big Vailimas. I knew it was going to be a great week. The first weekend was Moi's bachelor party - I am prohibited from blogging about most of it - I will say - it was hilarious, Phil Murphy is a trooper, the song Stand by Me will never be the same for me and New Guy welcomed me back to the island by throwing up on me. good times. During the week, I visited the High Court, enjoyed the local cuisine - two new restaurants opened on the island - Carl's Jr. and Rose Garden (a Chinese place), and caught up with all my friends. It was a little strange to be back - it was all familiar - the wild dogs, the slow driving, the bad beer and food, but with new palagis. Also Nate, New Guy and the Lady live on the east side - they have great places - right on the water with decent beach area (for Am Sam). I spent many, many, many hours in that water. The wedding itself was great. Polu was beautiful and I think everyone had a great time. As is tradition - the couples all wore matching outfits. TNG is so Barney, he doesn't know how Barney he is....
The Lt. Governor even made it to the wedding - I am glad he found time to go since he is busy being Lt. Governor and fighting federal corruption charges. The FBI agents who help build the case against him were also at the wedding. Aw-Kward. After the wedding we went to "Haz-Matts" place (a new palagi) for post-party. At the end of the trip, I was sad to leave the island and at times thought about staying - but how could I pass up another Chicago winter, working 12-14 hours a day at Big Law Firm and wearing shoes instead of sandals and a man skirt. Oh no, I have made a horrible mistake! No plans for future visits, but I have learned never to say never...
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I have been told that all good things must come to an end. Well, a really great thing for me is ending - My Year in American Samoa. I was not sure that I was going to make it my first two weeks - a six hour delayed flight to Pago (4 am arrival), a shattered windshield four days after buying my car and then almost drowning on my birthday - not a good start to my adventure. However, I am sure glad that I stuck around for the year - cause it has been one of the best years of my life. I am going to miss this place a lot, the High Court, my drive to work, the wild dogs and especially my friends on the island.Without them it would not have been such an amazing experience. So all that is left is for me to get on the flight and give a big Fa'afetai tele lava to everyone. Fa you later!
Saturday, August 18, 2007
My last full day in Am Sam was sad, but great. I stayed at the Castro's B&B. I highly recommend it. Freddie cooked me breakfast, we chilled out and watched TV for awhile. Then a group of us went to Airport Beach. The weather was great as well as the blowholes. New Guy sprung for my last meal - which I should have know was a bad idea. He combined two Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese. He called it the Pounder. I ate it (had to - a matter of pride). However, I felt so sick. I was actually sweating trying to digest it. I finally had to pull the trigger in the bushes - I felt much better. That night we played some poker at New Guy's place. I won, sweet. I don't think they let me win cause the Samoan gods were looking over me - during the night I got four of a kind twice - including four aces. Awesome. Why am I leaving?
Nate with the help of the Association organized a (surprise) palagi Fa'alavelave for me. A Fa'alavelave is a traditional Samoan celebration normally associated with funerals or weddings. As I was going off-island, it was my funeral. It started with a funeral procession- we drove around the neighborhood - and cars even pulled over for us. We went to New Guy's place, which they had transformed into a Samoan fale - palms and all. They also made T-shirts. After I got over my initial shock, they started with the presentation of the gifts.Nate served as the High Bullshit Talking Chief and thanked everyone for the wonderful words and gifts. The gifts and food was great, but then, they took it over the top. They presented a Size 2 pig.It was awesome. The feast began. I got to carve the pig.Thank goodness Leti was able to help me out. I had a great time and it was just so amazing that my friends organized this for me. It was the best send off I could have imagined.