life in Samoa

Countdown to Independence Day

Theres twelve more days until Big Son goes away to university. This makes me sad. Because I will miss him desperately of course, but also because then I will be stuck with all these other children – as my very bestest babysitter in the universe runs away to a life of independence and freedom from childcare servitude. I frequently wail, “Son please dont leave me with these demons!”

And he shrugs and says, “Theyre your kids, not mine. I cant stay here forever.” Such a sad truth.

So in the meantime I resolved to spend lots of time with Big Son doing a variety of fabulous activities. Whether he wants to or not. So that he will be convinced of his mother’s fun awesomeness and WANT to come home soon to babysit four demon siblings. All the other children are in school for most of the day so its perfect timing.

I took us to a wonderful place called TOUCH OF SAMOA for one hour long foot massage treatments. (I highly recommend it. Immaculate, beautiful, peaceful and very reasonably priced. ) Big Son whined and whinged the whole way there. Because he’s never had a massage treatment before and he was convinced he would loathe it.

But it was heavenly and he stopped complaining. Ha.

Then we went to lunch for his favorite. Sashimi.

And because its not enough to just have fish for an appetizer…then he had grilled fish as well.

(I impress myself with all the healthy eating choices Im making since I got here. If Im not transfigured into a lean mean healthy machine very soon then theres something wrong…)

The good stuff didnt stop there. We got starfruit vineka from the market (because the cheery persuasive sales girl said, “Suamalie! Very sweet. Very good.”)

Only they were the sourest vineka Ive ever had the misfortune to taste. So much for ‘very suamalie!’ Thankfully we also got pineapple.

Which WAS very suamalie. Especially delicious with LiHing powder from Hawaii (thank you Janice!)

After all that, Big Son went to the gym and I went to work where Im starting to like the novel Im working on. The story is taking shape, the words are flowing and the characters are coming alive. Here I am – hard at work… (with not a lamington or donut in sight…) If all goes well with this book it will be released in April.

Today was a good day. A day where i was grateful to be a mother. Thankful to be living in Samoa. Blessed to be doing work that I enjoy.

How was YOUR day? What are you grateful for?


Sometimes, Samoa Sucks.

It took fourteen days for it to happen. For me to cry/freakout/meltdown/puke and rage – and ask, myself…the universe…the three legged dog on the side of the road…the uncaring blazing sun…the hot-as-hell little car with horribly useless air conditioning:


I knew it would happen at some point. The crash was always coming. I’ve always hated the weather in Samoa (i’m not a beach person and to be perfectly honest, I loathe the outdoors.) I knew it would be hard to adjust. And i was prepped to be uncomfortable and whiney and irritable at times.

But yesterday it all hit me at once. Our shipping container has arrived and we’re unloading all our junk. I had only “helped” move stuff out of it for a very little while but the suffocating heat inside a steel box was too much for me. Heatstroke aint no picnic. I was dizzy, nauseaous, and angry at myself for being so useless and weak.
On the drive home, bumping over dusty potholes, I looked at this place I willingly chose to return to, with its centipedes and assorted other minor annoyances – and I was utterly decrepitly unhappy at the realization that this is my home again. WTH were you thinking?! Why did you want to move back here you idiot! 

And then i cried. And was sick.

And even after drinking lots of ice water and sitting under a fan- i was miserable, surrounded by boxes and assorted junk that needed sorting. Yes, I know that in the grand scheme of things, we are very blessed to be able to move back home to Samoa and Im grateful. Most of the time.

But yesterday I wasnt. Yesterday was a depressing, awful day and i was hot and tired and sick. And I wished we hadnt moved here. Yesterday, for me, Samoa sucked.

Today’s going to be better though. Right?

Fun and Games


This is what children do when there’s no Xbox, Disney Channel or Cartoon Network, broadband and the PSP batteries are dead…

Actually, correction – this is what they do when they are “dying” suffering from abundant- technology withdrawal and their mother is sick and tired of hearing them whine about how bored they are, so she buys a pack of cards and snarls, “Stop being pests before i spray you with Mortein and go play nicely!”

What activities did YOU do when you were a kid and electricity and internet hadnt been invented yet? Okay, so maybe youre not as prehistoric as me…but seriously though, what fun stuff did you get up to that didnt involve TV etc?

Marital Dischord in Paradise (Or, When Your Partner Gets On Your Nerves)

Today marks one week since we arrived in Samoa. And its taken exactly one week for the Hot Man to conclude what I suspected he would…
      “Its kind of stressful having you all here. And expensive!” he said in exasperation. “When its just me I can work and train without worrying about other people. I can just buy simple food for dinner like taro and a can of tuna from Siaosi’s shop.”
      This may have been prompted by an incident which took place when he came home from work the other day bearing fa’alifu taro ( baked taro in coconut cream) and two packets of kekesaina (local doughy cookies made with flour and water etc and seasoned with soy sauce and sugar.) He bought these items EVEN THOUGH i had told him on the phone that I’d cooked dinner and baked banana cake, chocolate pie and chocolate chip cookies. Okay, a bit extreme in the kitchen there but Im really trying to embrace this Domestic Goddess thing and to be honest, its making me very tired. And grumpy. Especially when my husband comes home with bought readymade food. Aaargh! So I was a little “sharp” with him. As in, kinda witchy. (but with a capital letter B.) And he wasnt happy about being told off by a sweaty, grouchy, tired wife. So yeah…maybe that prompted his complaints about how stressful it is living with me again.
     Even though i knew this conclusion was coming, it still rankled. “Oh yeah?! Well it aint no picnic for me either. In NZ i had the whole room to myself and i could stay up all night writing and sleep half the day because there was no psycho-athlete getting up at 6am to run 15k, making me feel like a lazy slug. And…and…and…and…you keep using my towel and so when i go shower, my towel is already damp and i HATE that!”
      But of course I wasnt done. Because of course I must verbalize ten extra complaints for his every single one. “And the reason why it costs more when we’re all here is because Im trying to feed SEVEN people and I have to shop at stores where a yoghurt costs four tala and breakfast cereal is twenty tala. And sure we could all have taro and tuna for dinner but we would need to buy twice as much taro and at least four cans of tuna which are 3.50 for one…so do the math…and blah blah …and it doesnt help if you go buy blaardy kekesaina that we dont need!”
      Yes, this is what happens when you dont actually co-habit with your partner for several months. When you only see each other on weekends every few weeks and youre in a rosey, loving (vaguely lustful) haze. You’ve missed each other so much that neither of you can do any wrong…and money is no object. And silly little things like using the wrong towel, or buying unnecessary treats are not annoying at all. And a wife who prefers to stay up half the night and sleep in the day – isnt a sign that shes incredibly lazy (or ignoring you.)
     Yep, twenty years with this man and getting used to each other and getting “in-synch” is not a painless, automatic thing.
      But today was better. Because I went to sleep early last night (midnight instead of 2am) and i cooked nothing today – so Im not tired and irritable. Instead, Im determined to be a nicer, kinder wife. #promisesPromises
      But i surely hope he brings home some taro and kekesaina today because we’ve got nothing to eat.

A Day in Samoa


This is the hill right outside our driveway. Its my early morning nemesis because I’m trying to avoid dying an early lazy-writer’s death – by going for an energizing walk every day. I walk to the top and then feel like puking. I walk down and up the next hill, then feel like puking. Perhaps “energizing” isnt the right word for it?
      Then I have a breakfast you certainly wouldnt eat in New Zealand.

Chilled esi (otherwise known as papaya) with a squeeze of lime. Its delicious. And unlike the energizing walk, it DOESNT make me feel like throwing up.

A day in Samoa is often hot, sweaty, dirty, and busy. And ALWAYS colorful.

Perfect pinks, the ‘suni’ flower. (sorry dont know the English name!)

The gleaming silver of my massive steel barbed wire fence. (now THATS something I didnt have in NZ!)

A myriad of greens. Lush and rich.

Mashing mushy yellow misiluki bananas for banana cake – a serious endeavour for Bella.

Brown. Colors of earth on a quick trip to Plantation House to say HI to the grandparents.

I dont have a desk to write at yet so the next best place is my bed. Under the fan on full blast and with a cautious eye out for centipedes and rogue pili (geckos).
Samoa. Its a blessing to be home again.