For over a hundred years, the villagers of Falealupo in Samoa were the last people on Earth to watch the sun sink from the sky each day. What must it have been like, to feel the hours race toward you like a set of collapsing dominoes as time zone after time zone left the previous day behind? Did these Samoans have a secret hold on time? Did they know what it was to make a day last just a little longer? Alas, no. The Samoans only made an alteration in the keeping of time, and the move was superficial. Even as we make little jumps and leaps over and through counted time, embedded in the Samoan time change is the reminder that we do not control time in the absolute sense. Samoans jumped a day ahead in the counting of time, they saw the new year sooner, and they will move economically closer to Asia as a result. But they will grow old and die just the same. Now, the Earth’s final sunset can be seen in the village of Poloa, in neighboring American Samoa, which did not make the time zone change. Though the decision wasn’t theirs, the people of Poloa were not only pleased by the designation; they felt privileged. It is “uplifting and a great honor for the village,” Poloa resident Tavai Fa’alogo told the Samoa News. “This historical moment makes me proud and happy to be a native of Poloa.”
more from Stefany Anne Golberg at The Smart Set here.