Return to Paradise: The Dread

There’s a massive shipping container parked outside my house. We’re packing. It’s really happening…we’re moving back to Samoa. And as I shift through piles of junk, sorting the useful from the useless, the reality of what we’re doing is slowly starting to sink in. Along with a bit of apprehension. Because even though moving home was my idea (but cleverly dressed up and presented to the family so they would THINK it was their idea…), Samoa aint perfect. Because nowhere is. And there’s some things I’m not looking forward to. Like –

1. Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night and having to tiptoe with wary apprehension as your eyes search everywhere for a cockroach that might run up your leg. Or a foot long centipede that might bite you. Or a big fat lizard that might drop off the ceiling onto your head and get tangled in your hair. Laughing. Samoa’s home, but I will miss being able to walk around my house at night without my bug and pestilence radar on.

2. Having to actually leave the house to buy groceries. I discovered online food shopping here a while back and it changed my life. Are you a hermit who hates putting on real clothes and going OUTSIDE your cave (the light…nooo its too bright!) , hates the time and energy involved in going to the store? When you could be sitting at your desk writing or eating? Or online chatting to your writer besties halfway round the world? If that’s you then you need online grocery shopping. I love buying everything from the safety of my office and then having it delivered to my very front door. I dread having to actually go to the store in Samoa, navigating dusty potholes, real live people, and did I mention there’s real live people out there?

3. Soul sucking, life suffocating HEAT. Samoa is hot. Drenched in humidity. Hot so that you step out of a cold shower and you’re sweating even before you finish putting clean clothes on. Hot so that you wither even in the shade. Hot so that you want to climb inside the freezer and live there.

4. Going for a walk or a run and having to watch out for barking, biting dogs that want to rip your leg open. Carrying a few stones in your pocket. Or wielding a stick. For those…#JustInCaseOfDog moments.

5. Leaving my Big Son behind. He will go with us for a few weeks to Samoa but then he starts university in Auckland at the end of February. This child has been my constant companion for eighteen years. I’ve only ever been apart from him for a few weeks at a time when I went overseas to have a new baby. Apart from the worrying about him as he navigates his first year away from home – I will miss him dreadfully as my friend. In the last year, our relationship has become less #MotherAndSon and more of #FriendsAndEquals. He’s funny. Insightful. And we can talk for hours about everything random under the sun. Its an oh-so inevitable thing because its time for me to let him go, but yes, the hardest thing about moving to Samoa, will be missing my firstborn child.

Aaargh, and now I’m getting super sad and this was supposed to be a lighthearted whine and whinge about going to Samoa! Back on track here, my question for you readers who have been to Samoa: I know you love the motherland, but what do YOU dread about going back? What gets on your nerves? Come on now…be honest!

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14 comments

  1. I dread the faikakala family members always wanting to be up in my life. I also dread not having unlimited internet/texts/phone calls. I dread the prices of the food. I espeacially dread the moekolo eyes. I dread waking up early to do the umu. I dread stayin home all day and doing feaaus (SAMOAN GIRL PROBLEMS). But overall, i LOVE SAMOA, and would go back anyday. (Not to stay tho) Haha

  2. Healthcare, low income and high cost of living there – I love my Samoa and will always visit but cant move back 🙂

  3. Samoa used to be and was our home for the past 25years it will always hold a special place in our childrens and our hearts and we will always have the connection to Samoa.If you feel the need to go….GO!
    There will be choices to make and do …go with it never look back there is always the idea that you can always move back and vice versa to which you are doing now.theres consequences to your choice I am sure youve already sussed out the move,keep writing your blogs,please just keep writing I enjoy them,and home is where your heart is….it will work for you, my friend….safe travels

  4. I’m used to to bugs, as you know we live on a farm land which is inhabitant to these creatures. I hope you didn’t encounter any during your stay. Lol. I’m mostly frightened by centipedes. I got bitten twice and very painful. I mostly dread the arrogance of people, the “old school way”, some of them at least. The rudeness when you go anywhere, esp to town, on the roads,etc. don’t get me wrong, there are some nice people in the islands, like anywhere else. Most of what you said, I agree. I don’t do online grocery shopping, though. I don’t know about Apia, but tutuila where I’m from is terrible when it comes to just about everything on this planet, at least in my experiences. I’m not sure about the thought of relocating there. I still call it home, as I visit yearly. There, I’ve been honest hope I didn’t offend anyone. Good luck on the move. You can do it. You’re closer to me now. Haha

    1. Lima you have the best of both worlds there in Hawaii I reckon, lol. Beautiful island surroundings and all the ‘modern conveniences’ of America as well. Your home in Laie is beautiful – and no, I didn’t see any bugs when I was there. I look forward to bringing Darren to Hawaii for a visit next year, hopefully!

  5. I actually sulked for weeks when my Mom said we be moving to and living in Samoa.

    Having had to move a few years back here, I seriously dreaded not being able to get my favorite chocolate from the store without suffering a major heart attack at the price, not having hot water -.-, not having cable or cheap internet, having to fight myself to not scratch mosquito bites, always having to share with my gazillion cousins lol and a whole other bunch of stuff.

    However, coming back here though, gave me courage. It helped me through depression after my dad died. It taught me how to value education, and the effort that goes in to ensuring that our young people are well suited for the future. It taught me love and respect. It taught me how to value even the smallest of things and how to realize how much I had taken for granted.

    I could make a huge list of what I’m grateful for, but that’s all I can think of from the top of my head 😀

    Samoa is really beautiful and full of lessons that I couldn’t have learned elsewhere. I hope the negative won’t wreck the excitement of just being home.

    Happy Day before New Years Eve!

  6. Aw I feel SO homesick for Samoa now & admire your move back SO much Lani. I too agree & laughed & winced at the faikakala family members ALL up in your business, no wifi or unlimited texts, healthcare, etc. I truly believe though that all the beauty of our Samoa will be worth making the move & I wish you all you seek in making the move. Keep writing, it helps with sanity & clarity so much ae a…. Ia soifua ma ia manuia

  7. Yes, Samoa lacks many of the modern convenciences that make life easier. But I can honestly say that I don’t miss any of those when I’m in Samoa because being surrounded by the abundant warmth and love from so many people all the time (a luxury/invasion of privacy I sorly miss overseas), not to mention the delicious food, far outweighs everything bad – except for the dogs. If I could go for run or a walk with my iPod on really loud at any time of day without worrying of being attacked by a pack of vicious dogs, I wouldn’t dread anything really.

  8. I was very fortunate to visit Apia and the surrounding areas May-Jume of 2013. I’m in love with your island and the people.
    I have so much to learn and will look forward to continue reading your blog. I plan to go back May-August of 2014 and then hopefully be returning the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015 for a longer period.

  9. After a recent stint in Samoa myself 11-18th January, I would say – losing all my money very quickly to family members before my Holiday has even taken off, the Ferry ride to Salelologa and the nausea I always seem to feel. The feeling that I’m always being “ripped off” (market vendors/taxi drivers) maybe that’s just me and hearing comments or backstabbing in Samoan and thinking “don’t these people know I’m Samoan too” and my inability to defend myself because I can’t adequately speak the language and knowing I would make a fool of myself simply by trying to defend myself.

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