I know, I know.... I haven't posted in a while. In the past two weeks Noah got sick and then was nice enough to pass it along to Dad, but as of today we are all feeling better. It's pretty amazing how many accomplishments Noah has pulled off in such a short period of time. Here is a timeline (might be TMI for non-family members):
July 10th - Noah said "da da" when Dad came into the room!! Later that day he said "baby" when he saw a picture of one. It took two more days, but then he said "mama".
July 10th to 20th - Noah mastered his walker and is now flying around the house yelling and laughing.
July 14th - Noah pooped in the toilet! There have been many more since, he obviously can't indicate when he has to go yet, but Mom has good intuition.
July 21st - Noah figured out how to get back into the sitting position from laying down.
July 23rd - Noah pulled himself to a standing position.
Yesterday (July 26th) - Noah was standing and holding on to Dad when he decided to let go and stand by himself!! Lasted about 3 seconds, but it seemed like forever... now we are starting to do some serious baby proofing.
And now what everyone really wants.... pictures of Noah (and one of Popeye).
Sliding Rock is a popular swimming area and we have been there a few times already. This image doesn't paint the full picture, off in that horizon are 12 foot waves (sometimes bigger) which explode when they hit the lava rock stretching out toward them. It's these waves that perpetuated the name Sliding Rock, as the big waves break on shore locals will fall back into the wave and slide for 50 yards or so as they are pushed by their force. As fun as it may sound this is not something for kids or the faint of heart, it usually results in bloody knees and feet and also runs the risk of being swept off the rock. If you are swept off the rock here there is little hope, many people and even groups of people who have turned their back on the ocean have been lost.
That being said, at low tide it's very calm near the shore and there are plenty of warm little pools to relax and drink coconuts in. You can also collect snails to eat, but it seems the locals always beat me to them. That's OK by me, from what I'm told the best ones are out toward the end of the rock and I am not about to risk death for escargot.
On one of our trips to Sliding Rock we saw Popeye....
And last but not least, one of the many ridiculous faces that Mom and Dad get to see everyday. For some reason Noah really enjoys plastering his face up against the side of his play pen resulting in very amusing faces...
TIPS FOR FUTURE A.S. RESIDENTS: Double check everything in which you are relying on other folks for. Mistakes are common, but after the initial start up of most things they can be managed on your own. Right now there is only one bank on the island (ANZ), rumor has it a new bank is opening (Bank of Utah) I don't know much yet, but I would recommend going with the new bank whatever it may be. This will help avoid any international transaction fees with your home bank and there is no way the service could be worse than ANZ.
As I mentioned previously, we are staying in a 3 bedroom house in a village called Leone (Leh-own-ay). We live up a hill from the local high school, our "street" is small, narrow and always filled with children, dogs, chickens and occasionally pigs. You won't make it up the road/driveway in the evening without a long friendly conversation or being given some sort of food. It is definitely a jump back in time, we have earned the love of all the local children with some left over birthday cake! I'll grab a picture of the road at some point, but here is the front of our place...
The living area is open concept and leads right into the dining area, kitchen and eventually laundry area.
So there it all is! We are happy to have found such a nice place, but I think we'll have had our share of washing tile floors by the end of this!
Yesterday was Dad's birthday and Mom worked very hard to make it special. She spent all day running around getting ingredients and cooking for a special meal.
In the pan are two parrot fish which were cooked in garlic, onion and fresh coconut milk. It was delicious and the meat was almost like lobster. Definitely the most colorful fish I have ever eaten. In the bowl next to the pan are pieces of raw giant clam, which was shucked and prepared that day. In case you've never heard of giant clams, here is a pic for reference (I'm not the diver unfortunately)...
It tasted similar to normal raw clams, but a bit chewier. It was a delicious meal and definetly a regional experience. Afterwords there was cake, and lots of it!
NOAH NEWS: Noah seems to like vegetables over fruits. He will eat carrots or potatoes all day!
TIPS FOR FUTURE A.S. RESIDENTS: Educate yourself about Ciguatera fish poisoning. The fish here is delicious, but you should make smart decisions on the type of fish you eat and what part of the island you buy it from. Do not buy fish near Pago Pago harbor, there are several concerns here beyond just the Ciguatera.
Many of the beaches on our side of the island consist mainly of coral, they're pretty but no fun to walk on. On Sunday we headed toward Pago Pago harbour to one of the sandier beaches. We spent the majority of the day lounging and Dad took a brief (very brief) snorkeling trip. The water wasn't the clearest at this beach and knowing that the harbour is a breeding area for Hammerhead sharks is a bit intimidating. The Pacific itself is extremely intimidating out here. The waves and currents are nothing to be taken lightly, especially during the trade-wind season, which is now. I did manage to see some live corals and a few fish which were different from those I'm used to seeing in the Caribbean.
Noah was a bit intimidated by the water and waves at first, but he came around and enjoyed himself after a bit.
Eventually it all caught up to him and he found some shade under a coconut tree.
And for some random updates, we now have a banana hanger and seem to have acquired a dog as well. The term "banana hanger" may conjure up the image of those little stands on someones kitchen counter with a few bananas dangling from it. Not so much is A.S... Saturday afternoon our landlord was on a ladder next to our house and we came out to this....
So not only did we get a place to hang bananas, it came fully stocked from a tree behind the house.
As for the dog..... well, dogs are everywhere in A.S. and can be problematic (jogging is not always a good idea). In the past year the veterinarian's have improved the situation drastically, but pretty much every house still has a resident dog. Ours is young dog named Rider and he is extremely happy to have someone feeding him dinner scraps now. It's surprising how much his general health has improved since we came along. Samoans don't have much (any) empathy for dogs and usually just throw there resident dog a piece of bread once and a while. Any other dogs get large rocks thrown at them... or much worse (I'll spare you the details and just say it's BAD). Here is Rider...
Here is a typical look at our car as we cruise A.S....
NOAH NEWS: Noah LOVES coconut water. He has also learned to flip his lips with his finger resulting in an adorable bub-bub-bub sound.
TIPS FOR FUTURE A.S. RESIDENTS: Caucasians are referred to as "pah-long-ees". Apparently it's not derogatory, so don't take offense.
If enjoy good beers, you are out of luck. There are six beers on the island; Coors Light, Budweiser, Bud Light, Steinlager, Heineken and Vailima. That's it. I have looked. Abandon all hopes of hoppy-ness.
The Jaskowiak Family
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