you only live once - but if you work it right, once is enough

Boston Travel Blog

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I'm home now. I am comfortably surrounded in my rolly chair and down comforter. I've already had my hot shower and Kelly's Roast Beef sandwich. I'm even almost all unpacked. But then again, I dont have any dirty laundry...or even clothes for that matter. Everything I brought home were gifts, lavalavas, books/notebooks and food. All of my palagi clothes are in plastic bags in Lotofaga and Alafua.

I'm back in Georgetown and I'm already trying to plan my next trip abroad. Will it be Turkey during Spring Break? Another DIS in January 2006? Or working abroad in China after graduation? All I know is that the more I travel the more I want to see. I remember Dr. Venuti once told me "The more you learn, the less you know." That is how I feel about traveling. The more places I go, the more pleaces I see and the more people I meet only make me want to do more - see more - converse more. I value the friendships and the contacts I've made in Samoa and Fiji more than anything else the Pacific Islands could have offered me.

I was talking to Sara Watson a few hours ago. (I'm still jetlagged and I haven't gone to bed yet) She said something along the lines of "I'm sure you have a lot of stories to tell. I know I do. But they're probably not as interesting." And I thought to myself...and replied with something along the lines of..."Stories about human relationships are always interesting. The location is just the backdrop to the story." I could have been anywhere in the world...even Drew...and I would have had interesting stories to tell from this semester.

The only difference is that this semester the people I interacted with were unlike anyone I've ever met. I had housemates from Papa New Guinea, Vanueta, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. At Drew my usual floormates are from NJ, PA and NY. I worked with Momoe vonReiche, a leading Pacific ISland artist. I spent a lot of time at the Bahai Temple and the Tiapapata Art Center in Tiapapata with a woman who was born two towns over from me in Massachusetts. I heard crazy travel stories from New Zealanders, Australians, Germans and English med students.

Arrive in LAX was odd. Danielle and I had a hurried 'farwell' because of the limited time we had to get to our respected terminals. However, on the shuttle I talked with a Peacecorp volunteer from Samoa. I had only been in Samoa for three months and I was ready to burst into tears from sensory overload. She had been in Samoa for two years and she looked like shit. Sorry for the language. It is intense, really it is. To go from the urban area of Samoa with one main road that can take you around the whole island/country to the middle of Los Angeles with houses built right on top of each other with no backyards, except maybe a pool. White people just look strange too. No offense, really. I remember when I arrived in Samoa I couldn't decipher the different characterisitcs of the Samoan face. I mastered it in under a week. Now I have to readjust and do the same for palagis. I felt ridiculous while walking down the aisle of the plane - everyone was on their cell phone. No one was talking, asking about their trip, or even just saying hello. It was a much different atmosphere from the original plane trip from Honolulu to Samoa - with mostly Samoans onboard.

I am still jetlagged. I've been up for a while. I tried to sleep to no avail. Now i'm just listening to the Pacific Island mixes I have, looking at pictures and trying to write a final entry for my journal.

I appreciate everyone who has read bits, parts or even the whole journal. The comments have made me miss home a little less and the entries have benefited myself because they allow me to think things out through writing. What I have put in this journal is just a tiny portion of all the places, people and feelings i've encountered.

If you want to know more...ask.
Call me up and we can go out for coffee.

"Wherever we go, across the Pacific or Atlantic, we meet, not similarity so much as 'the bizarre'. Things astonish us, when we travel, that surprise nobody else.
Miriam Beard

Fa soifua.
For now.

Love, Sieni.
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I think my Uncle Dave would be very upset with that last update. Upon rereading it and rereading a few of my recent comments...I've realized that I've been focusiing on MY comforts and what I learned. Which is important, self-discovery and self-realization are essential in growth. However, so is looking at how a trip abroad has affected the greater community and how what you learned can benefit the people you return to.

I think that is the part I'm still working out.


Instead of being happy about returning to my comforts, I need to look at why I have them and why they don't. Western Samoa is still a developing country. It is going through a lot of changes now and it is still struggling with cultural clashes. Not only in terms of culture, but with the environment and subsistence farming. There are still a lot of issues that I haven't fully developed opinions on...and then again whats does an opinion do but give you an argument.

I've adjusted a lot faster than I ever imagined. I got a job today in Human Resources of Filenes just for the holiday season and was able to drive my car on the freeway.

I have the tatau on my wrist to remind me of the memories and issues

And so I travel on...
photo by: bubu932