Scrumdown in the South Pacific

Apia Park Stadium

Alright, let’s talk sports.

Except, when I say that, I don’t mean catching up on the latest baseball stats or discussing the Kings’ chance at the Stanley Cup. A self-proclaimed sports nerd, when I really get going it’s not about “Tim Tebow: Savant or Flop” but sport as a sociological lens. What I love is discussing sports as an expression of gender, body politics, group identity, capitalism, and oh-so-much more.

So, sports in Samoa. In spite of their reputation for being rather hefty people, Samoans are also known as great sportsmen. In the United States, this can be seen in the disproportionate number of Samoan football players—these Samoan Americans are usually from American Samoan families (take a minute to think that through), and seem to possess an uncanny athleticism despite, or perhaps in addition to, their large frames. While Samoa doesn’t share the passion for football that is evident in their eastern cousins, they do have a passion for just about every other sport. Cricket and volleyball are played in the evenings in almost every village across the country. Soccer and netball are widely embraced by schoolchildren; weightlifting and boxing have brought much national pride to this country, and it’s not uncommon to see rudimentary weight bench set-ups outside in communal field areas. And, of course, there is rugby. Continue reading

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Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

Okay, so it might be driving instead of walking, and kilometer(s) instead of mile, but to continue in the trend of video blogs, I present you with a day in the life of a SPBD loan officer.

 

I Dream of “Original or Crispy”

Blame it on too much Angry Birds, or my 200th piece of fried chicken since arriving…but it seems I’ve finally cracked. Luckily, I preserved it in video form for your viewing pleasure.

Three weeks left here! Stay tuned as I hopefully think of the most entertaining and informative blog posts yet.

Picking up Habits, and the Newspaper

One habit I’ll never get sick of: taking endless pictures of the epic clouds here.

Whenever you move to a new place, you expect to pick up new habits. If the move is more minor, say, switching neighborhoods in the same city, it might just be that your habits are re-wired–a new coffee shop to stop by in the morning, a different route to walk your dog. When I decided to spend 4 months living in Samoa, I figured I would pick up new habits that I probably wouldn’t be taking home with me. And that has definitely been true; I’ve become accustomed to cracking open young coconuts on a hot day, taking daily cold showers, drinking instant coffee, assuming all food is for sharing (well that one wasn’t much of a stretch for me)…to name a few things. However, I did not expect that I would get back into the habit of reading the paper. Continue reading

Not Glamorous, But it’s Life

What you think I’ve been doing for the last month.

What I actually do every day.

After a small break from blogging, I realized I’d better dust off my keyboard, lest I disappoint my faithful readers (hi dad!). The truth is, whether it’s a result of getting close to my 3-month mark, a continually stalled social life, or a focus on work in the office instead of the field, I just haven’t found much to be blog-worthy lately. My biggest recent triumph is that I found a rugby team to play with! Hopefully, I can put together something about rugby in Samoa, which is the only thing that really feels like home here. In the meantime, I thought I would write a little bit about (yawn) work, since I realized it’s a little bit unclear what I do here besides go joy-riding in yellow pick-up trucks, battle mosquitoes, and expend huge amounts of energy grieving over what to eat. Continue reading