The Rat and the Pillow
I came home from Fiji and Independence Race Weekend exhausted. I quickly put my things in my room and came out to socialize with my family. “Did you notice anything with your room?” my mom asked me.
Oh no, I thought. Did I lose my spare key causing them to try to clean my room while I was gone, or do something different with that little space that I can call my own? I was really hoping not, so I went back to my room and said “Leai”.
“Really, the rat didn’t come and eat your pillow? He ate all of ours,” she said as she motioned to a stack of pillows.
I ran back inside and looked on top of my bed. My pillow looked like it had exploded and cotton was everywhere! I grabbed the pillowcase and showed it to my mom and said he ate mine too. I was told to clean up the pillow so he does not come back.
I started unpacking from Fiji, and started with those amazing food (I love Clif Bars!) my brother and sister had given me from America. I stopped when I was called for dinner. (Back to my boiled bananas, taro, and chop seuy for meals!) “Ua uma?” (Are you finished?) I was asked.
“No,” then I explained how I was putting away food so the isumu (rat) did not eat it.
My mom explained that I did not have to worry about that. The rats only eat the seeds from cotton in the pillows. I tried to counter (very unSamoan, I know) and say that rats also food when they can. (I have seen the bite marks out of my soap and toothpaste, and have seen a few other pieces of food do a disappearing act.)I was told to go clean up the pillow and my mom would come to check my room to make sure I had gotten rid of the entire mess.
I was too tired, and rolled up my sheets, and put new sheets on, and decided I would just go to sleep and deal with it the next day.
I was caught, even though I slept through an inspection. The next day I was caught with a loose piece of cotton that had gotten stuck to my puletasi. Mom told me I needed to clean my room right away and she knows that I hadn’t because the cotton is on my clothes.
Sometimes my interactions with my Samoan family take me back to my own primary school days, and it makes me laugh. Living with a Samoan family is a completely different dynamic than anything I have experienced before. I talked to a few people about what my rat did while I was gone, and was asked why I didn’t scream, or throw a tantrum and cry. Samoa has been full of experiences where I know in the future I will laugh at the stupidity of the situation. There is no reason to make the situation worse than it really is, because let’s face it, I would have never expected when coming to Samoa I would have a rat causing me so much drama in my life.
(Picture is of my Samoan family)