I know that it is important to focus on the positive things in life. However, I also feel that it is important to air out frustrations, and the negative aspects as well. Therefore, I’ve decided to kill two birds with one stone. I figure I will talk about the small annoyances that are going on in my life right now, followed by the things that I currently love about my life. These small annoyances are not anything major. There just the little things that seem to get under a person’s skin. I’m thankful for there not being any huge problems going on in my life. In retrospect I think of myself as pretty lucky. I have my health, great friends and a great family. But living in a different country with no familiarities whatsoever can be trying more than anyone could know.
Lost in translation- I have to say probably one of the biggest annoyances for me is being in a room filled with people and not understanding a single thing that is being said. A constant conversation that you are never clued in on. When the only words you know are palagi, Peace Corps, and your name, followed by a roar of laughter. This happens to me everyday twice a day. I don’t know how many times I’ll be sitting around with people and they’re talking in Samoan, and I constantly hear them referring to me. I have no idea what they are saying about me, and they never feel the need to tell me.
Waiting- I think I spend more time waiting around for people, things, and or events. I’ve done more waiting around here then I have in my entire lifetime. Heading to church and waiting two hours for it to start. And don’t even get me started on waiting for buses. Since there is no bus schedule, and no bus stops you basically have to just show up at a random place on the road at a time you think there might be a bus and pray that it didn’t just leave 5 minutes before you arrived.
Loss of my independence- living with a Samoan family I seem to have lost 90 percent of my independence. I eat when they tell me, what they tell me, I wear what they tell me, and I go where they tell me I have even slept when they have told me to. I lived on my own for 4 years, and loved every minute of it. I ate, showered, went out, and basically did whatever I wanted when I wanted. So the fact that has take a complete 180 degree turn has taken some major getting used to.
Body taken a turn for the worst- I have gained weight since being here and exercising is not the most convenient thing. Running, which I try to do, is a lot harder because of the heat. Half the time I have no idea what I am eating, so the idea of nutritional facts is completely irrelevant.
Time??? What’s that???- Exactly what Samoans would say. Time, a concept that means nothing here. I don’t know when I am going to learn to stop asking when things are, or what time to be somewhere. Because its never at the time people say it will be. If someone says church is 8, expect it to start at 10. If they say a bus comes at 9 in the morning, it probably comes at 7:30 in the morning. If they say to be ready by 6 pm, expect to be sitting around for another hour and a half while everyone else is just then starting to get ready.
Like I said, all things that don’t hold a great deal, but when its happening everyday multiple times a day it really starts to weigh on you. Nagging and nagging at you like a small rock in your shoe that you can’t get out, or a fly that won’t seem to leave you alone. I try hard to see these things for what they are…small annoyances and appreciate the fact that, that’s all I’m dealing with right now.