Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Pago Pago, American Samoa - Time Travel

At 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, August 29, in Apia, Samoa, we boarded the 15 passenger Polynesian Air airplane to take the flight to Pago Pago, American Samoa.  The flight lasted 35 minutes, but we arrived at 10:05 a.m., Thursday, August 28, that's 23.5 hours before we left.  Some how the song "Eight Days A Week" seems to come to mind.  We can't decide whether to be jet lagged or refreshed and renewed.  In any case, Pago will be our home until the middle of January 2016.  Notice the picture of the pilots in the cockpit that hold hands for take-off (it's a very romantic flight).  There's not a lot of security on this flight. Okay, there is no security, no metal detector, no baggage screening, but luckily no chickens either. The next picture is leaving Upolu, Western Samoa.  We had a great time seeing our island from the air.

Here we are landing at the airport in Pago Pago.  It's almost like we could help unload the luggage.

Sister Saunders, the mission president's wife who had served in Pago the last 14 months, came with us to show us what to do and introduce us to all the missionaries.  There are several flights a day from Pago to Apia and Apia to Pago so when your luggage doesn't get on one plane it arrives on the next.  Our luggage arrived at least one flight later than us.  We didn't wait for it; we went straight to the mission home and refreshed, got a good look at all the packages we need to forward to Apia and those that are being shipped from Apia to the US.

We never wanted to serve a mission and be the office couple, mission president, nurse, counselor, travel agent, housing coordinator, car czar, etc.  but here we are all of the above -- mail handlers, missionary parents, nurse, counselor, technology trainers, and tourists and on and on.
We first had to get over our culture shock.  We enjoyed the Samoan style in Apia; Pago is American all the way except they still speak Samoan.  W e went to Cost U Less (think Costco) and really suffered culture shock looking at all the stuff to buy. And buy we did - Hey I need those!

There are two missionary zones in Pago - West and East.  Within two days, we had traveled to all the missionary homes except one at the far east end of the island and met all but two of the missionaries.  We will be missionary parents to 33 elders and 4 sisters.  Elder Vaiagai left today, Sunday, for Savaii to attend his father's funeral.  He will spend a week home and then will serve the last month of his mission in Apia.  We will be writing about these elders and sisters much over the next four and a half months.

We had a whirlwind two days of training from Sister Saunders and then she had to fly back to Apia to fly to Australia to attend a mission presidents training.  We are on our own.  And so another adventure begins.

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