The Simple Life
After four days of a lovely get-a-way in American Samoa I'm back on my own turf. American Samoa provided me with some much needed time away from life as a volunteer. The two countries are still quite similar to each other (tropical islands, Samoan ancestry, common language, etc.)but because it is a U.S. territory the standard of living is considerably higher there. It was even a bit overwhelming at times after becoming accostomed to the simple life here in Samoa. I was able to change my Tala in for American dollars, I saw a Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken, there were parking lots, hot showers, and don't get me started on the grocery stores....okay, I'll tell you about them. I was completely overwhelmed shopping in air conditioning, navigating my way through more than just two aisles, using a shopping cart, and seeing freezer cases. But, luckily, I was able to cope and bought a suitcase full of groceries.
I stayed with my friend Colin and his lovely wife, Andrea and their two kids. Colin trained with us for 3 weeks in the village to learn Samoan. He works for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture in Pago Pago. I stayed in their very American home, slept in air conditioning and ate great food. They took me hiking to a secluded beach. I did family things like celebrate their 5 yr. old son's birthday at McDonald's and attend his school talent show. I felt relaxed and comfortable but I have to admit when my flight back landed in Apia, I felt like I was returning home. I like it here in Samoa. Even despite the lack of some modern comforts I like my life here more. I like not living in a consumer based society. I can even more truly appreciate the subtleties of a simple life. Granted it ain't the simple life an African mud hut (so maybe, I shoudln't make the simple life sound that great) but it is my life and I'm happy to be spending it here on this tropical island.