Friday, September 08, 2006

The First Two Weeks

Today (Friday, September 8) marks the end of my second week in American Samoa. What a crazy two weeks. I am adjusting each day and accepting the Samoan way of life. Everyone is really friendly and I try to laugh at the unique aspects of life in American Samoa.

For example, I am adjusting to the wild dogs. We have a bunch of random dogs all over the island. For the most part they leave you alone. I walked to the store one day and had about seven dogs follow me to the store and then back home. When I got back home, they just camped out on my front lawn. I now have a guard dog that walks around my property. He is useful, but he also barks at me, so I think he is more worried about the house then me. oh well.

Overall, I am enjoying the experience, but today was a tough one. I finally got DSL at home - sweet. However, my laptop still runs on Windows ME - yeah, old. So, the my friends at BlueSky (the Internet provider) could not hook up my computer. If a computer could laugh, it would have laughed at me today when I attempted to hook it up to a DSL line. My co-clerk saved the day - he brought Windows XP and I was able to upgrade and get the Internet working. yeah.

While I thought the DSL hook up was my crisis for the day - the powers that be had other ideas for me. In the afternoon, one of the court assistants called us and told us that something happened to my car. My car that I just got two weeks ago. It appear that some kid decided it would be fun to try to get mangoes out of the tree by using a rock. It seems his aim is not that good and instead of hitting the tree - he hit the front windshield of my car.


Fortunately, a number of kids stayed around and told us who did it. I called the cops. They took a "report" - I use quotes because calling it a report insults real reports (that line is for my trial team) - anyway, he took my name, and information. I told him that I had the name of the kid who did it and the name of his parents and the village where he lives. The cop was non-pulsed. He asked me if I wanted to press charges. I said yes, he seemed annoyed. He quickly left and told me that I could get the police report in about two weeks for the insurance company. However, I have learned that using the name of the Chief Justice (my boss) can be very helpful in working with the Samoan bureaucracy. Our office manger told the officer that I worked for the Chief Justice. The officer finally showed some emotion - he told me that the report would be ready by Wednesday.

I next called my insurance company. I decided to get full insurance and I am glad that I did! At first the insurance company seemed unfazed by my situation. They told me that I could not get it fixed until the police report came back and I got an estimate from a number of auto places. My voice went up an octave. They told me to come over to the office (which was across the street). Which I did. I tried to keep it in check - counting to 10 and breathing helped. Anyway, I filled out the forms and my claims agent looked at the car. He informed me the car was drivable - regardless of the smashed windshield and pieces of glass. By this time I was calming down and realized that I was in Samoa and just had to roll with the punches. The next punch was that of course my windshield glass was not kept on island and it might take about three weeks to get to me. good times. Looks like I will be driving with a shattered windshield for awhile. I drove home and even with the potholes, the windshield didn't move or shatter further. Sean and I taped it up with some packing tape - McGyver style. I guess it is good thing that we only drive 20 mph. No worries mother - I will be safe.

My insurance should cover all the damage - minus the $250 deductible. However, I am going to call the parents next week and see if I can get that covered. Perhaps a trip to small claims court....I'll keep you posted

Never dull in American Samoa - I really hope my stay in Samoa is not as action packed as the first two weeks. yikes.

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