Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ode to Sundays

A Sunday to never forget
I love Sundays. I did not used to. I used to think they were so boring. All you do is walk to church, eat, sleep, then eat some more. I did not see the beauty in the day, because I was busy thinking of the negativity.
The longer I have been in Samoa, the more things have began to change. Sundays now are my favorite. They are a day that I really get to spend in my community, and enjoy relaxation.
Almost every Sunday after church I go to eat with a different family. We have a gigantic feast of the best food Samoa has to offer. Then, we joke around, hang out, and maybe even lounge on the floor and take naps.
This past Sunday after church I went to the bishop’s house. I love spending time with his family because they are so friendly, and really are my family. For our meal, they made sure to put dishes with my favorite food directly in front of me. Which meant, pumpkin soup, mashed pumpkin, fish, taro and other goodies. (Wow, that is all food I would never touch in America…) They always make sure I eat until I feel like I am about to explode, and with the many dishes of deliciousness, it is a task that is easy. Then since they had family visiting from Apia, we had a special treat, ice cream.
I then spent hours talking and hanging out. The girls and I alternated lounging out on the mattresses with putting on wigs and dancing to music.
I was planning to go to the neighboring village to go to the afternoon service, but after spending the time with the family, I did not want to leave. I felt so much at home, a feeling that I love because I feel all over Samoa.
So when they invited me to drive to the other side of the island, I quickly agreed. I wasn’t ready to say good bye for the day. We loaded up 11 of us into a van and headed west. It was great. We drove past all the villages I know so well, and felt like I was having a homecoming. Then, towards the area that is unfamiliar to me. It was beautiful. I fell in love with Savaii all over again. We finally arrived in Manese, the village we were to drop someone off at, exactly on the complete opposite side of the island. I saw some palagis at the beach resorts, and were happy that they had the opportunity to visit my island.
The ride was going so quickly because we sat there singing, talking and having the time of our lives. As my 9 year old friend was sitting next to me so close, that she was practically on my lap, I began to reflect on how I would have felt in this situation a year ago.
A year ago, I would not have thought the idea of a few hour car trip for no reason would be fun. I also would not be fond of the closeness of a young girl to me. I used to need my space. Now I see nothing wrong with how close we all get to one another.
It made me think of another volunteer’s story of going back to America for a visit. She was taking public transportation, and saw a seat between two women. Of course she decided to sit there. Apparently the women did not like the closeness in proximity to them, and had to stand up. How the women were feeling, is exactly how I would have felt a year ago. But now, it feels like close is the only way to be. Which is why, uncomfortable as it may be, I do enjoy the crowded busses, where we often sit four to a seat.
The sun began to set as we finished winding from the east side to the west side. I looked over at the east side, and became thrilled with where I live. Although the eastern side of Savai’i has nice beaches, but it does not come close to comparing to the sunsets on the west side. In my opinion, I live in the most beautiful place in the world.
We arrived back in our village and even though I was exhausted from the day, I could not stop beaming. I had such a fun day, that it is impossible to put into words.
Sundays are so unique and special. It is a time to not have any worries and think about all the people that love you. Like most volunteers, I feel really fortunate since I have such a large family here and in America.
When you combine my Sundays with Saturdays being spent in a similar fashion with family, I think I have the best weekends of any volunteer. They may laugh at my dedication to church and village life on the weekends but weekends aren’t about that. It is about relaxing with the people you love. Which is why I love weekends.

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