With under four months left till my departure from Samoa, I have been making a conscious effort to appreciate the here and now while I still can. For a while I found myself caught up in a last quarter funk, desperately craving the comforts of home. But then it hit me, when will I ever have the chance to live in a Samoan village again? I need to live each day to the fullest and take in all Samoa has to offer before it’s too late.
Strolling to school in the mornings, I no longer rush by the women as they ask me where I am going. Instead, I make an effort to engage them in conversation, if only for a brief moment. Yesterday was the epic return of BINGO to the village and I found myself sitting in the middle of the huge church hall with a circle of teachers, in a situation where I once felt out of place but now felt among friends. I looked around the room between games and was met by smiles of familiar faces. And in the end, even though I spend $24 to place and only made back $2, the day was worth it for the memories alone.
Today in school there was no tea to start the day. Having had a heavy morning of song practice with grades 3, 4, 5, and 6, I eagerly awaited the bell signaling interval, and guaranteeing tea. When the time finally came, a fifth grader brought me my cup with a smile: “Rachel, tea!!” I took my cup, gazed into the milky mixture, and had to laugh. Not one, not two, not three, or four, but five ants were floating at the top. With less ants I would have scooped them out and drank my tea, but following the culinary rules I have come to learn over the years, for than 4 bugs in a dish means time to toss it. I took out my water bottle, soothing my over worked voice, and made a mental note to enjoy the moment, for in America, I doubt I would have laughed being served ants for lunch!