Monday, January 4, 2010

2009

I know my 2009 Year in Review is late. I was off the grid in Inwood, West Virginia for several days, which I will talk about later.

So, without further ado:

2009 IN REVIEW

January found us still in Samoa with just under a year of service left to go. Cale's mom had just left from her three-week visit in December. We were still housesitting up the mountain in the ex-pat area and I was nursing the aftermath of my Christmas boil. We had our Mid-Service Peace Corps conference at FaoFao in mid-January. At the end of the month, I ventured into my school's computer labs to see what two months off had done to the computers. Answer, some lizards had crawled to their deaths inside the computers and a bird had flown to its death inside the lab.

Dead Lizard

February saw the start of school again. We also said good bye to Aaron. I started my incredibly popular blog feature, "Name This Plant" and Cale started a garden with actual plants. We also took over the post volunteer newsletter, Faitala. Also, there was this:

Dead Cow

In
March school was well underway. For the first time in recent memory my school offered girls' rugby as an extracurricular activity. The Student Loan, an American band, visited Samoa as part of the State Departments musical exchange program. We had a nationwide tsunami warning and as far as I can tell, Cale and I were like the only people to evacuate. We did it by bike. It was hot.

Fun with Tsunami Warnings

April was the month of Easter Spectaculars, mini-vacations at Hanna's Hilltop Resort and saying a long farewell to Craig and Allison who were heading home in May.

Wesley Easter Spectacular

In
May Cale was bit by a dog, my school's First XV rugby team lost miserably to Blakey's kids at Avele in the finals, the Methodist schools celebrated Culture Day and my parents came to visit. Cale and I also celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary by doing very little.

Jane's at Manase

June was my birthday and also the celebration of Samoa's independence (though they actually gained in in January, not June). We also saw the the 8th International Siva Afi Competition and hosted the 2nd Annual Beermeat and Video Game Night. But most importantly, Cale got his tattoo.

Cale's Tattoo Day 2

July was a busy month. We celebrated the 4th of July at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (thanks Robin), went to the beach twice and the circus once. However, the highlight of the month was the arrival of the donation of 189 computers from New Zealand that Cale and I were organizing. Many of you may remember the insanity that ensued. Thanks to the Surprise Swine Flu Holiday we had two weeks straight to work on the computers and we still weren't done.

The Tale of the Computer Donation

August was more computers, my Year 13 students' CAT (common assessment task) and Cale's birthday.

13.1 Sitting the PSSC CAT

September started out with the Teuila Festival. In the middle we had our COS (close of service) conference. However, it was the earthquake and subsequent tsunami on September 29 that defined the rest of the year. September 30th found us on the south side of Upolu searching for bodies in the rubble.

Tsunami: Disaster Relief

Cale and I spent the first weekend of
October on the south side with Benj, his girlfriend and our taxi driver, Dani. We had a list of people who had contacted us on the blog asking us about friends and family or villages on the south side. We made a tour of the area searching out people and taking pictures to post to the blog. Eight days after the tsunami, Group 82 arrived in country and there was another tsunami scare that day thanks to a earthquake in Vanuatu. Thankfully, everything was fine. Cale and I went to Savaii with our couch surfer, Lindsey, who arrived in country the day after the tsunami and would end up extending her two-week trip to eight weeks. Mid-month we celebrated the Group 82 Welcome and Group 79 Farewell Fiafia.

Group 82 Welcome Fiafia

November was also crazy busy. We were wrapping up all our projects and saying our good-byes. November 30th we were on a plane home to America.

At the Airport, Going Home

December was a cold-weather shock to our systems. I had to wear shoes when we visited Meghan in LA and then it snowed, SNOWED, in Indiana. We celebrated the holidays with family and ate everything in sight.

Christmas Eve

We are looking forward to an equally adventurous 2010 when we visit Southeast Asia and go back to school.

— Sara

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