1st Full Day in the Village

It’s lunchtime and I’m sitting here in Matautu in my fale surrounded by four kids, Lelefu, Sala, Fala and Timu.

Lelefu is my youngest brother. He has long hair and all last night I thought he was a girl. We walked down to the store (fale’oloa) after dinner and I was tickling him the whole way. Of course, the entire time I’m thinking he’s a she. Common mistake.

Sala is my cousin. He’s my little buddy. He likes to follow me everywhere.

Fala is his brother. He’s 3 years old. He is naked all the time.

Fofoa, my youngest sister, arrives wearing a blue dress with a white collar. I’m surprised that the kids’ clothing is so dirty.

Depart for LAX

Staging is over and the 12 of us from Group 69 boarded the bus for the short trip to LAX. At the airport, Neil and Laurie, the staging coordinators, gave us our “Peace Corps” passports and walking around money for the day we are going to spend in New Zealand.

When we arrive at the airport, there’s lots of confusion. The first 6 trainees have checked their bags all the ways through to Apia before the fuckheads at United realize that they made a mistake and it’s not possible. We’re all bummed because we thought we weren’t going to have to deal with our luggage in Auckland, but it turned out to be a false hope.

I don’t understand why the Peace Corps is routing us through New Zealand when there is a direct flight from Los Angeles. Typical government bureaucracy money wasting.

Goodbye to Saab

My mom and I depart for the Omni Hotel in downtown LA for the start of staging. Time to say goodbye to my beloved Saab. The car has been so good to me over the last three years. It did exactly what I wanted. It never once didn’t start when I wanted it to. This is a distinct difference from every other car I’ve had the sad privilege to own in my life. The Saab also made me feel safe and looked damn good.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to sell it. It sucks because I really needed the money I could have made from a third party. But that’s not such a bad thing since my brother is going to buy it, but at a huge discount. We just need to find a way to ship it D.C. He can just take over my payments which are miniscule, especially for Brian on his first year lawyer’s salary, despite his complaints to the contrary.