Monday, January 10, 2011

Just call me Riri

The US Coast Guard Ship we got to tour over Independence Day Weekend.

A common site outside a door.

Group 82 at the Independence Day Celebration. (Don't you love our Palagi clothes. It is nice when we get to wear them!)

Me and Rachel before the start of the 10K race. These are the shirts with our nicknames on them.

Rachel and I having fun in a store in Apia.

During training, I had the best language group ever. Rachel, Dana, Ali, Emi, (Becki and Jenny M for a little bit as well) and I always had a lot of fun as we laughed and learned the language in sometimes the most unfunctional way ever. But it worked for us.
We would sing about how we love people like corned beef, danced, played games, have show and tell, yell things out to encourage one another (the worst was a confusion between rape the girls, and encourage the girls, we had a few people confused when they heard us..), went on field trips around Apia and Manunu, but no matter what we became lifelong friends in the process. Some people longed for their language lessons to be over, especially when they stretched on for the entire day, but we always looked forward to being with our group.
One of the things that confused us about the Samoan language is the difference between spoken and written language. We didn’t understand how someone can say one thing a few different ways and it still be the same thing. We were at a loss whenever we heard them change the two languages on us. (It is not just us that get confused. When I visited Tonga, I had an easy time understand much of their language, but was told when they came here they struggled because of the two languages here.)
Here is a brief overview of the rules:
When in an informal setting the follow letters can be interchanged.
T for K
L for R
It seemed weird for us at first to use the two languages, now I can see myself and others interchanging between the two all the time. But in the beginning it was weird.
Rachel and I decided to use the K language (spoken language for our names) to try to ease the adjustment.
So Lili, was now Riri, and Lasela was now Rasela.
The nicknames stuck with us (just like the spelling of Lilly being switch to Lili stuck with me) and for our 10k race, on the back of our matching shirts, I had Riri written on mine.
I wear my shirt when I go exercising, and because of wearing it many people think Riri is my name because of this.
Earlier in the week, after a run, Riri was invited over to someone’s house for tea after a run.
Throughout the entire time I was there I was called Riri, and it was funny because I was corrected each time I mispronounced one of their names. Still I had a great time.
One of the daughters went to the store to buy bowls of noodles, while another daughter got to work on making tea. The great thing about Samoa is food never goes to waste. When you are done eating, you know someone will be following you and eat whatever you left over. So between the 6 of us (and 2 kids) we shared 3 bowls of noodles and a packet of crackers. It was a great time hanging out with a family, before heading home to my family. As I left, they called out, “Fa Riri,” a name that I am sure I am stuck with for years to come.

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