16 November 2011

castle conversations

A few months ago I moved into a new place we sometimes like to call The Castle - an apartment that looks like a castle and feels like a castle, but really, it is an apartment.  The girls and I hit it off straight away when I met them, much to my relief.  One palagi, the other Maori.

After a few weeks I move in - someone who has been on a rather winding journey with my identity.  A journey I am still on and will be for quite some time.  Not too soon after that, the three of us are in the lounge talking over a few bottles of wine and the conversation moves to the harmless topic of what colour to dye our hair.  All of a sudden the Maori looks in my direction and blurts out "With you, no matter how dark your hair gets, it doesn't make you look any more native than what you already are BUT ME, dark hair makes me look really native, really Mau-ree and I just don't want that look for myself".

In that moment my jaw mentally dropped as my mind raced with a myriad of questions, thoughts and realisations.  Most prevalent in my mind was why I ended up in this place of all places, living with this person of all people who is intensely out of touch with who she is, out of touch with her roots and seems to be doing all she can to disassociate herself with being Maori, which from my observation is exactly what she needs most in her life.  She is running away from everything I am running to.

I have no idea how my journey living in The Castle is going to pan out with a Maori in denial about being Maori and I frequently feel restless when I think about it because I know something has to give with this girl.  I do not know how it is going to happen, I do not know when it is going to happen, I just know it is going to happen.

This is me - Teine 'Afakasi.

25 October 2011

a new day has begun

Photo .. My favourite moment of the Rugby World Cup.
A beautiful and warming moment for all the world to see.

As they say, all good things must come to an end and here is the end of what has been a whirlwind six weeks that has well and truly reignited my love for rugby.  I went as far as purchasing a game ticket, a Manu jersey and three large Samoan flags - big deal kind of stuff for me!

The last time the All Blacks were in a Rugby World Cup final, I was a little girl in primary school.  I still remember the game as if it were yesterday.  Last night the anticipation was the same, the excitement greater.

One cannot talk about that Rugby World Cup in 1995 without saying the name Jonah Lomu.  As that little girl, I watched Jonah, amazed by the sheer strength an determination he possessed.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I exited an Auckland Hospital elevator only to be amazed yet again, by the strength and determination of Jonah as he sat in a hospital foyer waiting to go home.  Jonah's induction to the IRB Hall of Fame is well deserved.

Just before the game last night, I was confident the Webb Ellis Cup was in New Zealand to stay and ever conscious the French were not going to go down without giving it everything they had.  From what I have seen in media, the French have been gracious in defeat and the All Blacks have been, in one word, celebrating!

This is me - Teine 'Afakasi.

04 October 2011

kiss me, i'm irish.

Even though the Rugby World Cup pool matches are over, I want to take you back to the night of September 17, when Ireland rose victorious against the Wallabies.

It had not occurred to me to make the concerted effort to watch the game, and it was only the enthusiasm of a friend's fiancée that turned my attention to the television.  I was thinking to myself, why would I want to watch a game where it is not my beloved Manu Samoa playing?

In the early stages of the game it was quite obvious the household would have been happy with any winner on the night, as long as it was not Australia, which suited me just fine being loyal to the land of my birth.

At half-time, the game was locked 6-6 and I could feel some part of my being unfurling.  Then when the final whistle blew, I sat back in my chair with a sense of elation, not because Australia had been defeated.  No, I was elated because Ireland had won.

Amidst all the screaming and cheering and frightening my two-year-old niece (who did not know whether to laugh or cry staring at all the crazed adults in the room) an apple came crashing from the sky, smacking me nicely in the head.  I remembered, during of all things, a rugby game, that I have Irish blood running though my veins too.  Truly I do.

This is me - Teine 'Afakasi.

09 September 2011

today is the day

It has been quite some time since I last posted on my blog and while I should be sleeping, I have decided what better time to resurface in the blog world than today - the day the Rugby World Cup 2011 begins!  There is without a doubt something in the air.  I sense something very big is going to come to fruition which is nothing short of exciting!

One of the reminders the Rugby World Cup is happening in my own backyard is the multitude of flags everywhere.  If there was a prize for the most flags waving around from one country, Tonga would take it out!  Last week I saw a van with at least 10 Tongan flags attached!  And the only reason I know my neighbours are Tongan is because of the flags on their porch and roof top.  Sadly my own Samoan flag is nowhere near big enough to give them a run for their money!

This Rugby World Cup I am probably the most excited I have ever been about Manu Samoa participating.  In particular, I am excited to be going to the Manu vs Fiji game - my first time at a real live test match.  I will be wearing my Manu jersey proudly!  And Te Karere had a segment on the amazing welcome the Manu team received from Te Arawa in Rotorua in the lead up to their game against Namibia on Wednesday.  The Manu team has much promise and I wish them nothing but the best in this competition. 

Also in news headlines is the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum taking place in Auckland.  I heard John Key's intention was to have the forum coincide with the Rugby World Cup to give it more of a Pacific flavour.  Since learning about the effects of climate change on the Pacific, it has been a topic I place great importance on.  Hopefully discussions around the the reality of how vulnerable the Pacific is right now when it comes to climate change brings about more awareness on an international level.

The only thing left to say for now is GO MANU!

This is me - Teine 'Afakasi.

28 April 2011

get it right

This morning I woke up around 3 having slept all day yesterday recovering from food poisoning.  Feeling rather refreshed, the last thing I felt like doing was going back to sleep, opting instead for turning on the telly and navigating the blog world.  At around 5am I was vaguely aware of episode 23 of The Erin Simpson Show blaring in the background - a show I have watched before out of curiosity rather than interest.  The first time I watched the show, Tomasi Cama was a guest and my lasting memory of the show was not the irritating theme song or Erin's bleached hair or the food being cooked by the guest chef.  It was Erin saying Tomasi's surname wrong.

One of my pet peeves is people on New Zealand television who continually mispronounce Polynesian names and words (why I am bothered, I will save for another post).  I was that bothered by hearing Erin's mispronunciation of Tomasi's name being said to his face, that I tweeted "Someone needs to school @erinsimpson on a bit of gagana Fiki .. it's pronounced THama NOT Kama.Get it right." to which she replied "thanks - its impossible to everything right, ill get it next time xx".

As dubious as I was about Erin getting it next time, especially since she couldn't even tweet me properly, she did, much to my surprise, take my advice and got it right.  This morning, while the rest of my household slept, I wanted to laugh and do a celebratory dance as the sound of Erin Simpson's voice filled my ears with the name Tomasi Cama the way it is meant to be said!

This is me - Teine 'Afakasi.

17 April 2011

here fishy fishy fishy ..

I can now reluctantly say I am in my late 20's and recently I found myself at a 21st birthday feeling really REALLY old.  I was more interested in the food (only because I was broke and it was Filipino food I eat an average of once a year), I was not going to town on the party bus with all the 21 year olds and I got asked by a 21 year old (in a committed relationship with a child) why someone of my age and pretty was not at home with my husband and children.  And by the way, this is the second time in 2 months I have been asked why I am old young-ish, free and single.  Now I am starting to wonder, if there are plenty of fish in the sea, then where is my .. fish?

Did I have him and now he is gone?
Have I met him and just don't know it?
Is he yet to walk in to my life?
Or am I destined to become a nun?

I don't think I am a high maintenance kind of girl with a list a mile long on what I must have in my ideal man.  My list only consists of 4 points thus far!  Someone who thinks he is God's gift to me and me alone, is as tall as me or taller and is a Samoan who speaks at least Samoan AND English!  Is that really too much to ask?

This is me - Teine 'Afakasi.

25 February 2011

the down side

As exciting as it was to be in Samoa, there were things I was not looking forward to and things that made life somewhat less than enjoyable at times.  In order to not bore you with the really shit parts of my life there, here are just the shit parts!

As mentioned in my last entry, there was plenty of rain while there and it was probably the daily bane of my existence.  Firstly, my room looked like it should have been a laundry because more often than not, I could not hang my clothes outside to dry.  Secondly, rain equated to dirt and dodging pools of water everywhere making it a real effort to go places.  Thirdly, my laptop bag had a hole in it I only discovered on my way over and to make things all the more exciting my umbrella broke my second week there making it useless at protecting my laptop in its holy bag from the rain.  Cool.

One of the sad and irritating aspects of being in Samoa was the people who sell a variety of products on the street, particularly children.  I am acutely aware that I stand out in Samoa and these street sellers who will come up to anyone anywhere any time probably thought I had a healthy stash of money (which I did not).  It breaks my heart when the street sellers are children because I think it is no life for a child.  The majority of the children sellers were ones I recognised from when I was living there 2 years ago.  As for the adult sellers, there were a few characters!  One had the nerve to ask me if I had a cigarette after I declined the purchase of his stencil work while I was on the phone.  Rude.

I find males in Samoa to be generally very forward when it comes to females.  And for some reason, I seemed to have males there being generally very forward with me.  One day in town it was really bad.  Taxi drivers were constantly beeping at me, guys constantly wristing (is that what you call it?) at me and constantly calling out to me - all of which I ignored.  Just before getting in a taxi to go home, I decided to make a last minute stop at the Fugalei market where a guy proceeded to yell rather loudly “I love you baby” at me.  I turned around as I walked away and yelled back “Ai kae”.  I do not think the guy or his friends saw that one coming.  Dick.

This is me - Teine 'Afakasi. 

11 February 2011

some kind of summer

I have been in Samoa now for a few months and finally, a blog entry.  I feel like I blinked after the last entry and I was here.  Now that I am in Samoa, I feel like I have been here forever.  The things I was most looking forward to in Samoa were family, food and drink.  Thankfully I haven’t been disappointed!

Vailima has been going down a treat (except when I didn’t eat anything all day till after copious bottles of Vailima at my nephew’s 1st birthday) and amongst other outings, I have managed to make it to a V Bar Fiesta!  For those that do not know, at Fiesta you drink as much as you can with good company in 2 hours for 30SAT.  I cannot complain!

I love food in Samoa because I can eat everything I do not normally eat in New Zealand.  Sunday is my favourite day because taro and luau are on the menu!  I enjoy being able to go a shop within a 5 minute drive of my house where I can find pani popo, fresh ripe mangos and keke pua’a just to name a few.  After a drink, Siaosi’s is a must for me when there is no food at home, which really means we had elegi.

My family have been great, especially to have put up with me for all these weeks.  They do not seem to be in any rush to get rid of me either!  My family is a big one which means there are lots of children to make me go crazy when they are not making me laugh.  I am constantly grateful for my family who do everything they can to ensure I am happy here.

One thing I was not prepared for in coming to Samoa was the weather.  We had incessant rain for a solid month.  Now I know it is the wet season here, but I never thought it would rain like it has for as long as it has.  With the rain comes the cold and thankfully I arrived with a few items of warm clothing to make life more bearable.  My dreams of a decent tan are dashed unless the weather makes a miracle turn around.  Here’s hoping for some actual summer weather before I depart!

This is me - Teine 'Afakasi.