Tuesday, May 30

My Two New Roommates

Yesterday my quiet Chinese roommate moved out and was promptly replaced by 2 young, loud, gay black men. Not only has the stifling heat of summer arrived but now I have my very own soap opera next door. My life is officially hell now. They are forever fighting, locking themselves in the bathroom for attention, calling each other names and threatening to leave each other every five minutes. It wouldn't be so bad if (a) they would let me use the bathroom every now and then, (b) stop walking around the place in their undies all day. I'm pretty liberal minded but I can only take so much.

Wednesday, May 24

Ways NOT to Stand Out

I'm finding that part of the process of adjusting to city life is trying not to stick out like a sore thumb. It's the little things that draw the distinction between a newbie tourist and a true blue local.

For example, when on any escalator, whether it's on the Metro or in a shopping mall, if you're gonna just stand, make sure you stand on the right hand side. The left lane is for the people who walk up the escalator and believe you me, if you're standing on the left hand side, people will let you know about it.

While riding the Metro rail, if you can find an empty 2-seater, you're expected to sit against the window, leaving the aisle seat available. I didn't really figure that one out til yesterday. I have been sitting in the aisle seat to deter people from sitting next to me, all the while wondering why people were giving me the evils as they walked by.

Never ever call a black man "bro", don't ask me why, just don't.

While riding the Metro, never laugh out loud, snicker or smile when eavesdropping on the conversation in front of you. I did that a few times and found out the hard way that the correct etiquette is to pretend you aren't eavesdropping even though you are.

When exiting the escalator, do not, I repeat, do not slow down to step off because the resulting bottleneck behind you causes people to hit their brakes and bump into one another like a stack of dominoes. I think it's funny when that happens but apparently most people in DC don't find it to be that amusing.

Noone has a sense of humor in this place, I tell ya.

When someone in DC invites you to lunch, don't expect them to pay for it. I can't figure that one out. I floated the idea of the inviter paying for the invitee's lunch to a colleague and he looked at me is if I was stupid.

I was standing behind an old lady on the escalator this morning (on the right hand side of course) and I noticed that she kept looking back at me while gripping her purse. At first I was a little insulted that she thought of me as a purse snatcher (like I could outrun anyone here anyways, most people walk faster than I run) but then I comforted myself with the knowledge that in a predatorial environment like the neighborhood I am currently living in, perhaps it was better to be viewed as a wolf rather than as a sheep. Except of course when a police car rolls by, then I try to look as innocent as possible, which is not an easy task for a 6'1" 280lb Samoan.

Tuesday, May 23

Pros and Cons About Living in the City

Now that I've been here for almost 2 weeks I think I now have a better idea of what I've gotten myself into.


In Samoa I drove a Ford Explorer, now I walk and ride the Metro Rail.

In Samoa I didn't pay taxes, now I do.

In Samoa it took me 5 mins to get to work, now it's an hours commute.

I used to play golf every weekend, 'nuff said.

I used to have my own office, now I'm in a cubicle.

I used to wear flipflops to work, now I have to wear socks and shoes ARGHHHH!


Here, I live near a zoo, not live in one.

Here, I can dial up any number of pizza places and they deliver.

I get paid in US Dollars not Samoan Tala *Praise the Lord*

Now I have a flash flip phone, medical insurance, life insurance and a credit card.

With the exception of the US Dollars *Praise Jesus*, I could pretty much live without everything else (well maybe not the flipflops). Living in the city has it's ups and downs and I'm sure its gonna be an adventure for Rach, Maddy and I.

Monday, May 22

Week 2 Update

I went to a baseball game at RFK on the weekend. It was a big game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals called the Battle of the Beltway since the 2 cities are cross town rivals. There were about 42,000 people in attendance and most of them were rooting for the home team. It was quite an experience since I've never been to a baseball game before, the atmosphere was something else!

I also went for a haircut at a black barbershop in my neighborhood. As soon as I walked in, everyone stopped talking and stared at me. I almost walked back out! But as soon as they found out I was Samoan and not Hispanic/Mexican I was good to go and the chatter started up again and I felt like I was in a movie or something, it was quite cool!

I saw a few movies on the weekend (since I don't have a TV yet) and while I liked Mission Impossible III, I thought the Da Vinci Code and Poseidon were a little boring. The popcorn was good though since they let you pour your own butter on, and I really poured it on hehe.

Thursday, May 18

Update From DC

Well here I am, in Washington DC working for the US government. I started work on Monday and tomorrow will complete my first week as a federal employee. It would be glamorous if it was FBI or CIA or even NSA but somehow Peace Corps doesn't seem to carry the same level of coolness but hey, it's a start!

It's been rather daunting finding a place to live but alls well that ends well. I'm living in the ghetto, trying to save on rent money and it's been pretty interesting seeing and living in an area you'd normally only see on TV. I haven't encountered any trouble yet and I've even walked home from the train at night by myself with no problems whatsoever. Having said that, as soon as I get my first paycheck I'm moving the heck outta here.

People walk so fast in this country. I tried walking at their speed but couldn't keep up for much longer than a few seconds and besides I feel silly walking that fast. It's almost like running. I'm walking down the street wondering where the fire is. I doubt if I'll ever get used to walking like that.

Riding the train everyday to get to and from work is another experience. I offered an old lady my seat this morning and she looked at me as if I was crazy or something. Everyone looks down while riding the train, which is funny because as an islander who is new to the big city, all I do is look around at all the different people from all over the globe who are in the train with me every morning.

That's a picture Rachel took the other day of Maddy saying he misses me and loves me. If you haven't seen the video of him at the playground on my Bebo page, you need to see it, it's great.

Hope everyone is well.