Thursday, September 15, 2011

Close of Service


We stood on the porch watching the whales breach and jump in the distance.  It was amazing that from so far away we were able to see so much activity from them. 

Down the hill from us was one of the destruction sites from the tsunami, an event that played a big role in the start of our time in Samoa as we were unsure for the longest time if we would even come to Samoa.

Were we on holiday?  Nope, we were enjoying the down time of our COS conference.

Close of Service….the end of two amazing years….and as I heard from a few of my group members over and over again, “It’s the beginning of the end.” 

While others said, “It’s the end of the beginning.”

Both statements are true.  It is the beginning of the end.  For two years I have had 12 sisters and 2 brothers that have been the best family I could have unexpectedly asked for.  We started out as strangers, and now have grown to love one another.  We often get on each others’ nerves like siblings do, but it only brings us closer.  I remember being intimidated by some of my group members, I mean it felt as if Peace Corps had picked the best of the best….and I was confused at how I fit in there…

The end of the beginning is true as well as since it feels like our life has now restart.  We are going to be coming back to America with a new sense of who we are.

 Sessions were filled with helping us map out for the future, think of the past two years and remembering to enjoy the present.  We learned a lot, and ate a lot. 

I really mean we ate a lot!  We must have looked like savages as we neglected to use silverware, since we were not used to having more than a spoon.  There was also so much palagi food that reminded us of home that we felt the need to shovel it into our mouths quickly because we wanted to make sure we all got to eat as much as possible. 

During our downtime, besides eating and watching whales, it was nice to see the individuality that is brought to Samoa Group 82.  We are a group with a billion different interests and we show that each time we are together.  While some people snorkeled and swam in the ocean, others ran, while some sat on porches and read.  There were some on the grass doing yoga, while you could hear the guitar strumming as some members were singing.    

We did have some group time together, where we had a dance party, which in the spirit of Samoa looked similar to a Bar Mitzvah party was we danced to only pop music and even limbo-ed on the dance floor.

By the end of our time together we sat around a circle and one by one we told stories about each other and it was the most beautiful experience.  I had Kyle.  Kyle I feel like I did not get to know as well as I wanted to because of geography, but I still loved to spend time with him since he is my brother. He takes care of us all, and is always there with a smile (and an ice cream).  Now, from what I learned from him during Close of Service, he is quite the comedian.  Kyle will do amazing things in his life, you can just see it in him.

Emilie had me, and she brought me to tears as she talked about me.  Even though Emi and I were on the same island, we only saw each other less than once a month.  But it was nice to know she was always there with a smile or an inspirational text message. 

It was sad to see our conference come to an end, because in less than two short months our group will begin dispersing as we go on with our lives. 

We will forever be 82.


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