Out of ten I give my last week 9.5…. the 0.5 short of perfect was due to missing my Aussie friends & family on my birthday…
After what feels like months of counting down, Matt has finally arrived! At 1.30am last Wednesday morning I literally knocked him off his feet as I flung myself at him in the airport. He stumbled around like a drunken bum trying to regain balance and when he did, he had the sense to compliment me on my pulitasi (woo-hoo)! I had booked a night for us at Aggie Grey’s resort hoping to ease Matt into the climate but it was almost unnecessary… mother-nature finally answered my prayers and has delivered a bout of winter! The temperature has significantly dropped since the night Matt arrived. We have even been blessed with a few days of constant rain – I’m loving it!
Whilst the Australia Day function at the High Commission resulted in significant loss of brain function and money due to 2-up, it did also result in an acquisition of some very important contacts. Namely Louise Main, an influential local who is originally from Manono. Manono is a tiny island between Upolu and Savaii, the main Samoan islands. Louise was kind enough to arrange a short trip for Matt & I to Manono to stay with her family. I didn’t know what to expect but assumed we would be staying in basic fales and fending for ourselves…. I was gladly proven wrong.
After introducing Matt to Apia and picking up a gift for the family - a box of chicken parts, we jumped on a bus and headed up to Manono-Uta. From here we swiftly got ripped off $20 paying for the boat trip over the Manono-Tai but it was well worth it. On arrival we were met by Vero – the most gorgeous little Samoan housewife! For the next 2 days Vero and her family took amazing care of Matt & I. We were shown into out 2-storey fale which was just about the most romantic thing I’d ever seen. It was constantly cleaned, filled with food and decorated with fresh flowers – Matt & I felt like the most privelaged people around.
After exploring Manono for about 5 minutes it soon became clear that Matt was a novelty. Lots of the kids pointed and stared while the random one burst into tears at the sight of him! It was my first experience of a village and I simply hadn’t realized how much of a novelty a palangi (white person) would be. Even though I am foreign I don’t draw much attention given my dark skin and hair but Matt stuck out like a sore thumb. It took about and hour and I think the coconut gossip line had done its trick and we were well known on the island. Soon kids were running up asking to have their photos taken and chasing us as we explored the island.
Manono takes about an hour to walk around and is pretty much the epitome of a tropical island. As Matt and I wandered and breathed in the tropical air it seems that our brains became somewhat devolved. When my legs had started to ache, the mosquitoes started to emerge and my throat became parched I realized that we had been walking for much longer than anticipated. One look at each other is all it took to realize that we were lost…as the only palangis….on a tiny island…with only one path. It suddenly became apparent that we had walked straight past our fale. Although Matt made me promise I would not divulge such details I find it hysterical that I was with a tour guide when this happened. We all know that I am clearly dysfunctional when it comes to directions (cue: the Caen/Cannes incident) but there is simply no excuse for someone who has an ingrained map of Europe in his brain to get lost on a circular island with his damsel in distress. After a tantrum (from me), fair amount of back tracking and astute observation we found our home.
We were served curry that night and I was 100% certain that we were ingesting salmonella, toe jam or simply cat posing as chicken since I had watched this box of chicken be trampled upon the whole way from Apia to Manono-Uta, thankfully however neither of us got sick so either we’ve both got stomachs of steel or the food was safe! Breadfruit cooked in coconut cream was also served & it was delicious. Breadfruit is a fruit that grows in abundance in Samoa and amazingly it tastes like buttered bread – I’m also pretty certain that it is just as cholesterol and fat free as buttered bread. Falling asleep with a full belly, the breeze running through the fale and the ocean splashing beneath me reassured me that I had made the right decision to volunteer in Samoa for a year.
After another day and night of relaxtion and paradise we made our way home so that I could introduce Matt to his new home. Matt & Samoa are basically like long lost twins. They fit together like pieces of a puzzle so it was no surprise that Matt walked into the house at Vaivase-Uta, sighed and said “It’s great to be home”.
Birthday celebrations had begun earlier that day when Matt gave me an incredible necklace that he had carved from a log of wood. I will post a picture ASAP. The celebrations continued into the night and well into the next day with a night out on the town in Apia then a Barbie-Cue. I felt so incredibly spoilt by all of my new friends who ensured that I was surrounded by smiles and showered with pressies. I had such a great time. The Barbie-Cue was a big hit and attended by many celebrities but the guest star of the night was Wicky Wong. Unfortunately due to conservation of the vocal chords he could not be convinced to give a musical performance but did however pose for some photos in Wicky’s unique phat way.
The only downfall of the party was when Kate (Slumber Party Barbie), Matt (Fafafini Karbie) & I (Rockstar Barbie) rose the next morning to find that Alex (Power Pole Ken) had evacuated the building and left the other 3 housemates to clean the entire thing. Needless to say there was wrath amongst the remaining housemates and Alex has since been evicted from the house and voted off the island (really he leaves on Tuesday & after the poor clean up performance I must say he is pretty lucky to escape revenge). Speaking of revenge, there will be many a story to follow up given the Male BBQ (aka Shae) left a little surprise under the bathroom sink for the clean up team. The uncooked offal attached to his BBQ costume was neatly packaged, well brewed and highly toxic under the bathroom sink. Luckily Matt was happy to demonstrate his manliness and dispose of the rank mess. A warning has been issued and revenge will be sweet.