I don’t want to give the impression that there’s nothing I would miss here. On the contrary, there will be a whole list of new items and sights that I’m going to be wishing for repeatedly, probably starting many of my sentences with, “In Samoa we…” That’s going to get really annoying really fast, so I apologize in advance to all of you people who are going to have to be around me when I return. I hope you’ll understand and excuse me as I deal with a bit of counter-culture-shock. I feel it coming on already as I think about going home. There’s a lot of things that I’ve learned to live with here; some of them I will miss, and some I won’t. A few samples of life that I will not mourn when I leave are:
- Bugs. No matter how clean you keep your house, bugs of unusual size will find their way inside. Just the other day, I was brushing my teeth when I noticed a largish cockroach perched near the faucet. My response? “Oh, there you are!”, while continuing to brush. Eventually, I waved my hand in his direction and he took off for the back of the sink. Cockroaches, various inch-worms, moths with a wingspan of four inches—I’ve learned to take them in stride, but I’ll be quite happy to not have to brush insect life off my pillow before I sleep!
- Ants. I know, ants are bugs, but they’re really a phenomenon here in sheer numbers. They’re everywhere, marching hither and yon in platoons, and they get into everything. Leave any food unguarded for 15 minutes, and there will be a squad of the little critters investigating it when you get back. They carry off whole cockroaches and moths—quite an intriguing sight.
- Humidity. I don’t mind the heat so much (I hear it’s warm in Ohio as well), but the humidity is something else! Every morning when I get up, clothes are as damp as if I had been swimming the day before. It corrodes jewelry, smears ink, and generally molds food fast. Even fans can’t entirely drive the moisture away.
- Cold showers. Okay, you saw that one coming! J Yes, I can make do with cold water, but it sure is going to be great to have hot water again! One time, when the lights in the bathroom burned out and we didn’t have spare bulbs, I had to take a shower by flashlight! That was an interesting experience…
- Unreliable electricity. The power goes out frequently, for no apparent reason. This gets a little annoying when it’s dark outside and you were hoping to catch up on emails in the evening! It gets even more so when you want to take a shower, since the water pump is electrically operated.
- Unavailability of coffee creamer. For those of you who know me well, this is a sad loss indeed! J
So that’s a short list of things that I will not sorrow for when I leave. However, to keep everything in balance, here’s a list of things I will definitely miss:
- The flowers. It is such a treat to have a beautiful array of blooms waiting for you every single morning! Do I feel like a white plumeria flower for my hair or a bright red hibiscus? A wonderful question to ask yourself every morning! The flowers, especially the plumeria, send out a wonderful perfume that makes every plumeria shower gel and lotion smell like a cheap imitation.
- The variety of citrus fruits. Orange, lemons, and limes are cheap and plentiful. Pastor Jim got two bags (each with about twenty oranges) from a roadside stand the other day for only 20 taula all told—about $10. No excuse for getting scurvy!
- The gorgeous scenery. Every morning, I wake up to the mountains towering over me, and the sea glimmering behind me. When our family takes a vacation, we always have a discussion about ‘mountains or the ocean’—we end up choosing the ocean almost every time. Here, I don’t have to make that choice!
- The constant climate. Yes, I know I was just saying I wouldn’t miss the humidity, but a temperate climate, where the heat never gets more than five degrees out of line, is great! I prefer the cool days, but there’s only a few marks on the thermometer between a hot day and cool one.
- The people. Hannah and the Civales first, of course, but I’ve gotten to know many of the wonderful, friendly people here, and it’s going to be tough to leave them behind in many ways. I’ll especially miss the 1st and 2nd graders—their smiles brighten up my day!
So, on the whole, it’s a wash about what I won’t miss and what I will. Which do you think would be easiest to leave of the things I mentioned, if you were here? Which would be the hardest?