I left Colorado on a snowy Sunday morning. It was weird to see snow, since the previous day I was walking around in just a t-shirt, since it was so warm. I was ready for my four flights and day and a half of traveling so I can arrive on my new island in Samoa.
My first flight left without a problem and I landed in Salt Lake City, which also had their mountains covered in snow. I waited for my flight, and when the flight was supposed to board, we were notified about a problem. The maintenance crew was onboard fixing something and they said they had to wait for a part to come in from Atlanta. We were delayed by a few hours. The good news was that I would be able to watch some of the NFL playoff game on TV (They switched off CNN news for it!), but the bad news was I was going to miss my connecting flight in Hawaii.
The problem with heading to this area, is there are not many flights a week. To get to American Samoa there are only two flights a week. Sunday and Thursday. I was told that while I waited for the next flight I would be put up in a hotel in Waikiki Beach. So my falavelave allowed me to have a little mini vacation in Hawaii.
I tried to make the most of my time there, since it isn’t everyday that you are FORCED to vacation in Hawaii. I did everything I possibly could fit in during that time period. I went to the USS Arizona, which is always an interesting place with a great museum. The following day I decided to scuba dive and explored a shipwreck. The shipwreck was awesome as we were able to swim through the inside of the ship. There were also the friendliest turtles on the ship. They just swam right next to our shoulders and hung out with us. After diving, I decided there was still plenty of time to do something else, so I went to the zoo. The Honolulu Zoo is pretty nice, but my highlight there was spending time with the goats in the children’s petting zoo. The following day I awoke before sunrise to hike Diamond Head. Diamond Head is a beautiful hike that was carved into the mountain, making the ground completely uneven and rocky. I should have been smart and brought my flashlight, but for some reason I went against my better judgment. It was fun having the stars to guide me as I hiked the trail. It was beautiful at the top and the sunrise was nice. Afterwards, instead of resting in my nice, comfortable hotel room, I went to Sea Life Park. At Sea Life Park, besides having amazing aquatic life, they have the world’s only wholphin. The wholphin’s dad was a 2,000 pound killer whale and the mom was an ordinary dolphin. They created a huge 900 pound wholphin. She looks like a normal dolphin, just much bigger and stronger. The dolphins and the wholpin seem friendly and are extremely talented in basketball. I also got to spend time with my cousin whom I barely see because of geographical reasons.
When my flight was finally ready to take off, I was “adopted” by a Samoan family, who had me stay with them the entire time at the airport. When I got on the plane, I was fortunate enough to get two seats to myself…My adopted family saw this, and the little 8 year old girl decided to join me…and talk to me for the entire 5 ½ hour flight. I went through customs with my new family but said my goodbyes as we parted ways..me to another hotel, and them to their family’s house. That flight was such a great experience as I got to review my Samoan and met so many friendly people. A had many offers for rides while I was there.
The following day I was off again. Back through customs, I was ready to arrive in Samoa. Although I left on Friday, I arrived in Samoa on Saturday. It was strange how one short half hour flight is the difference between a work day and the weekend.
Although I am in a new setting, it is nice to be back to the country that has provided me with a nice home for the past 2+years. It’s good to be back.