Oh hey! It’s been over a year since we left Belize! This occasion was marked by me finally using the tickets to American Samoa that we were forced to buy on our crazy trip to Fiji. The tickets expired a year from purchase, nothing like a little procrastination :) Daniel and I have zero regrets about taking this adventure. I’m trying to convince him to keep up this slightly nomadic lifestyle, but if you know Daniel in real life, you are laughing right now. He just wants a quiet life on his farm.
Life is going pretty well here right now. In December, we FINALLY (after 6 months of looking) found an off campus rental house, and it is quite perfect. A big yard and porch, a kitchen with a stove, room for the girls to spread out alllll their toys. It even came with a dog. The bus goes right past our front gate, our neighbor is a nun who brings treats over for the girls every few days, and we have a little grocery store within walking distance that sells fresh donuts in the mornings.
We’ve slowed down a bit on our adventuring-- since we decided to stay in Samoa for the rest of Daniel’s studies, it feels like we don’t have to rush to get everything in. (Oh yeah: we are staying in Samoa until November!) My parents were able to stay with us for almost a month in January, and the girls completely wore them out :) While my parents were here we visited several beaches and took a ferry over to Savaii (the bigger of the 2 islands that make up Samoa). This is where I admit that even though I grew up going to the Atlantic Ocean for vacations, I think the Pacific has ruined me for beaches. Crystal clear water that is warmer then a bath, bright blue starfish, tiny little hermit crabs scurrying about in perfect little shells..... sigh. We don’t get to the beach as often as the girls would like, because the side of the island we live on has a rockier coast. Although, if it were up to my babies, we would be at the beach all day every day, so I guess they will never be at the beach as often as they like.
We now have 3 year old and a 4 year old, and it’s been sooooo challenging. I would say that Lu has caught up to Miss M developmentally, so it’s pretty much like having twins. It’s crazy to see pictures from our fist few months in Fiji, when I was hauling the girls around in an Ergo carrier and a stroller. Now they can climb up the bus steps by themselves, and confidently walk down the aisle and plop into a seat. Lu hasn’t outgrown her klutziness, and falls off something pretty much every day. She also is completely untrustworthy, and if she manages to disappear for 30 seconds I know I will be fishing a whole roll of toilet paper out of the toilet or scrubbing crayon off the walls. Emma is freshly 4, and we are seeing some glimmers of rationality emerge from the “threenager” stage (so much drama. so much screaming). They have outgrown that easy bribability that I loved about the 2’s, which makes adventuring a bit more challenging when they won’t walk uphill for an hour for a cookie and a juice box. But-- everyone is toilet trained!!!!!! And they are always, always up for an adventure, even if it’s just a bus ride into town to the grocery store. They were enrolled for a few months in the cutest little preschool run by Catholic Sisters, (which technically should have given me 2 free hours every weekday! ) In reality though, preschool bugs hit us hard, and after struggling for a term with the girls out sick almost every week, we decided to give it a break for a while. I’m crossing my fingers their immune system will adapt, and we will try again next term. I’m enjoying becoming part of our village community though the preschool, and I love that the girls are picking up bits of Samoan language and culture.
That about catches us up! We decided to stay in Samoa because the campus has an agricultural component, unlike Fiji, so Daniel has access to animals for research. He’s finishing up with the research soon, and the remainder of the time will be for writing his thesis. After a few months of ridiculously hot weather, things have started to cool down and I am loving it. I’m looking forward to “winter” here, which so far seems like it will be sunny skies and cool breezes. I’m trying to take some time each day to just sit quietly and absorb the beauty of this island, because I know I will miss it so much when we leave.