Thursday, March 17, 2011

Returning to Samoa

March 16, 2011

Who would have ever thought that Samoa and this blog would reenter my life? But they both have.

Last December, 2010, Dale Withington, the Samoa Peace Corps Country Director, sent me an email with pictures about an awards ceremony held at the end of an event called, Samoa Challenge II, in which the Peace Corps was the prime mover . The Challenge was a ten week program starting with about 300 rural village women and ending with 89 about the perils of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension through weekly meetings on diet, nutrition, and exercise. A few days later, he asked me if he could lure me back to coordinate a Samoa Challenge III. I took the bait.
Winners of Samoa Challenge II

I now find myself with a ticket for an April 10th departure on a 25 hour trip back to Samoa, via New Zealand, as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer with the title of "Samoa Challenge III Coordinator". The return date is an ambiguous, end of August.

Of course, I am not alone in this world and life does not happen in a vacuum.

First, there is my wife, Mary. She her approval for me to go solo on the condition that if she found another place to live while I was away, she could buy it. I said "Yes". As of this moment, we are awaiting the results on an offer to buy a townhouse which is three times larger than the condo where we have been "temporarily" living for the past years. If accepted, this would end her 2 1/2 year daily quest of real estate listings.

Second, there is my youngest daughter, Kim. After trying to get pregnant for the past two years, she is now expecting her first child, a boy due June 25th. There is only one way a future grandfather can ask for forgiveness about possibly being away during the birth of her child and that is over Sunday morning donuts, our favorite time together.

Third, there is my son, Nicholas. He is now established in both a career as an accountant at US Bank and as a significant other, sharing a Minneapolis condo with his female accountant friend, Heidi. As long as the University of Iowa and Michigan State University continue to play sports, we shall never be at a loss for conversation.

Fourth, there is my oldest daughter, Teri, and my 17 year old grandson, Sam. They both find themselves living alone in their State College, PA home while her husband and his father seeks a new life.

So, it is not without some reservations I reactivate this blog for the challenge of Samoa Challenge III. However, those whom I leave realize you don't get many opportunities in life to do something big and probably understand me better than I understand myself.


Karen's Planet said...

Great news Nick!!! I anxiously anticipate reading about your next chapter in Samoa! Lucky you.

Anonymous said...


Great to see you'll be heading back. Thank you for once again committing to serving my beautiful homeland. It is greatly appreciated.