Saturday, February 5, 2011

The lovely friends in my room....

First Week of School

First week of school! Filled with new supplies, clothes, and haircuts. Fun ‘getting to know you activities,’ well rested teachers, and clean/organized classrooms. NONE OF THIS was the case my first week of school.  Now, believe me I’m not ignorant to think that any of this would be the case, but I must say I was not expecting my first week to be the way it was. The weekend prior to school starting I texted my principal to ask her when I should arrive at school; she said 8 o clock was when school started so arrive around then. Monday morning I showed up on time and ready to go. I showed up, and no one was there. Not a single kid, not a teacher, no one. Finally an hour later people started arriving and an hour and half later the principal came. All in all there were 14 students that day. Basically that day was spent talking to the principal and two other teachers about nothing in particular while the kids played. This went on for a couple hours and then the principal decided the day was over and we all went home. On Tuesday the same thing happened, exactly the same thing. Wednesday about 20 kids showed up and the weeded the school grounds, and picked up the grass clippings by hand.  Thursday was a different story. The same 20 kids came to school and were ordered to continue weeding as well scrub down all the classroom walls/ceiling. They also scrubbed the outside walls of the school and cleaned out the gutters. After that they cleaned the bathrooms. It is not uncommon for the students to clean the school the first few days of school. It was a little weird at first, but actually I kind of think it’s a good thing. Only in the sense that the kids take responsibility for their school. They take care of it and everyone works hard to make sure that it is up kept. I decided that I was not going to sit and watch the kids clean anymore and on Thursday I decided to get down and dirty and help scrub the walls as well. After all, its my school too!  The bathrooms however I decided to leave to the kids. J By the end of the first school week not one lesson took place, no more than a hand full of kids showed up, and the teachers seemed to still think they were on vacation.  Not the first week I had imagined. However, it seems to be the fa’asamoa.  I am excited to start teaching though. I’m going to be teaching grades 4,5,6 and 7 every day.  I don’t have my own classroom so I will be using the library.


I’ve been living with my host family for about two months now. They are a great family that I’m really starting to come to love. Each member in the family has their own story, but for this blog I would like to focus on my host dad. The reason I would like to focus on him is because last night it occurred to me that he resembles in many ways like my actual father. My host dad works for a gas and electric company in Apia. He has been working there for almost 30 years. When I asked him if he likes his job he said yes, but I could see it in his face that he is tired, and looking forward to retiring. This is similarity number one with my dad. My dad has worked for a service company for over 30 years and seems to be counting down the days until he can finally retire. He has worked his whole life and I know he is ready to finally be done. However, he keeps on working because he knows my family needs the money. The same goes for Mika, my host dad, he works because he is one of the only members in the family with an actual income. Every night Mika comes home he sits down, uniform dirty from work, lights a cigarette, has a cup of coffee and watches the evening news. Both men are the last ones to go to sleep, and the first ones up in the morning.  On particular nights when the day seemed to be particularly hard and long he is usually a lot quieter. This is similarity number 2, and identical to the T with my dad. Every night my dad comes home after a long day of work and secludes to quiet and relaxation time. This entails a cigarette and soccer/news. Those nights when my dad has a rough day you can usually see it in his face. His eyes will be a little red, and tired looking. He’ll usually be a bit quieter like he’s lost in his own thoughts, and he’ll do this thing where he puts his hand on his chin.   Last night while I was watching the news with Mika I saw him do this same exact thing. It was very surreal. I don’t know if its because I haven’t seen my family or been home in a long time, but I think about the little things a lot more now. The most random stuff like our crooked mailbox, how you could always see my dog in the window when pulling in to the driveway, and how when walking into the house I could always tell by the smell when it was spaghetti night. Every day my little host sister and brother run outside of the house when they hear my host dad’s truck coming. They always run to the truck before Mika can even get his door open. Always greeting him with huge smiles. I used to do this all the time when I was little I could see my dad’s truck pull up through the front window and I would always run out there to meet him. He would always have a Dr. Pepper drink and he would always give the rest to me. I loved being the first one to talk to him when he got home. I’m adult now, moved away during college, and am now living in Samoa. Nevertheless, I still think about those times, and even the smallest gesture from a new person who is in my life can allow the memories to come flooding back. I love it.