“That is the nature of endings, it seems. They never end.
When all the
missing pieces of your life are found, put together with glue of memory
and reason, there are more pieces to be found.”
- Amy Tan
I watched my first full episode of Coronation Street, by choice, not so long ago - one of my Grandmother's all-time favourites - and my great post Coro Street epiphany is that if there was a single person to blame for me liking trashy television, I would have to say it was my Grandmother who was so highly dedicated to her daytime soap operas .. but blame has negative connotations so let's just say I owe her! The Rents were like the television police for the most part so I loved television at the G-Rents house because in my child mind I was given full permission to be naughty with adult supervision. As much as I miss my Grandmother, there is plenty about her that lives on in me, discovered and undiscovered, and I am grateful for it.
You would think having two Island women in the kitchen would make for an Island meal cooked with ease right? WRONG. A call had to be made to my Mama while at the supermarket to know what taro to choose, we bought too much of everything except the pe'epe'e, one of us could not go without injury while scraping the taro, then the taro was over-cooked and once we got to the bottom of the pot, the taro was a little on the crispy side. And just for good measure, there was an abundance of untidiness to go with it that our kitchen helper, thankfully, whisked back in to a semblance of order along with wine!
Somehow I have managed to make my way through life not acquiring the art of Samoan cooking and have inevitably paid the price by only ever eating Samoan food where it has been made by another, making life oh so difficult when all I want to do is eat Samoan food. Tonight showed me there is hope though because amidst the ever so slightly disasterous fa'alifu talo, there turned out to be a delectable sapasui made simply by following my nose.
I have started watchingThe Factory Story and I am loving it! In an attempt to prolong the inevitable end of the webseries (at least I think there is an end), I have only allowed myself to watch one or two episodes at a time - before sleep, on the bus, waiting for friends - but just like a Whittakers macadamia block, I cannot help but get through it all in one go. Before I know it, I will have reached episode 19 when what I really want is for the webseries full of song to never ever end!
Steamy Sundays for #31WriteNow would be incomplete without the steamy being that is Robbie Magasiva. If you have a tendency to stalk like I do then like the Magasiva Broz on facebook. Enough said. Just look and enjoy.
I fell asleep before I could muster enough strength to put fingers to keyboard and write a post even mildly interesting. Too much energy expended on working incredibly hard followed by an evening of food and laughter with my Best. To the Island guy who referred to us as Chocolate Latte while passing by, next time come up to us and talk.
If you take note of any of my tweets or know me in real life, you will know that I love food, food loves me and I am always on about being hungry. Without a shadow of a doubt, my weakness is for anything remotely Samoan when it comes to men. food. To make things even worse, I come from a family of food bests - my mum with sapasui, my cousin with keke pua'a and my aunties with pagipopo, pai fala .. anything baked really, leaving me with a penchant for fine Samoan cuisine - if there is such a thing! But of all the Samoan cuisine I loved the most growing up, it was luau and ulu fresh off the plane via the umu. As much as I am ever so delighted to receive a gift of taro chips these from anyone who has recently returned from Samoa, it does not affect my family in the same way luau and ulu once did in bringing my family together to hear the stories our
travelers had brought with them from home and to share a meal around the
same table, or in this case, crammed into some Aunty's lounge. Those were the days!
It was with great pleasure that I attended the book launch for Lani Wendt Young's much anticipated book The Bone Bearer - part 3 of the Telesā trilogy. If you did not make it to the book launch then you certainly missed out! The vibe was chilled, the smell of delicious Island treats alluring, the performances incredibly enjoyable,Yolande the MC hilarious, the crafts, clothing and jewellery beautiful and there was Lani doing fabulously with meeting all the people who lined up to say hello, have their books signed and photos taken.
I must confess, I did one of those school girl jumping squealy things in the privacy of my own home as I took my copy of The Bone Bearer out of my handbag for several reasons, but most of all, it was a celebration of Lani's journey and literary accomplishments thus far. It has been amazing to see what I like to call the Telesā heat spreading, evolving, from what started as a single flame. And I am ecstatic to finally read the story of Daniel and me according to Lani.
I was recently reacquainted with T-Mobile's Welcome Home advertisement featuring a few of my favourite tunes which I had completely forgotten about. This video never fails to put a smile on my face or make me laugh out loud 1 minute and 56 seconds in. Simply put, I think this video is AMAZING!
Ideally the above picture would have been me today, only I barely
slept last night, I had to be at the office earlier than usual this
morning, my breakfast of one tall caffè macchiato did virtually nothing
to stop me feeling like I had been hit by a train, work was a beehive of
busy busy busy and I am just not that tanned!
many loves in my life and one of them is any kind of quality fruity
moisturising lotion or body butter and PURE FIJI is one of my absolute
favourite brands. Coming home after a mental Monday at work to a nice
shower followed by some PURE FIJI body butter makes for feeling amazing
during the relax and unwind.
Sad to say I am nearly out of
my body butter supply and I wish the stuff was not so damn expensive to buy here. I
cannot justify 46NZD for 235ml so it looks to me like I need to make
some Fijian friends!
The steamy tattooed bodies of the Braxtons make watching Home and Away a breeze. My favourite of the brothers is Darryl 'Brax' Braxton played by Steve Peackocke because he of course has a steamy body with tattoos (probably fake, but who cares!), he is a bad boy trying to go good and his character is one that commands respect. I am most excited that Steve will be starring in Hercules: The Thracian Wars as Stephanos alongside Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson as Hercules. The film is set to be released in July 2014. Bring it!
Today marks the halfway point in my #31WriteNow blogging challenge and a challenge it has been!
I have had many moments stressing about what to write each day, but even with the stress I feel better mentally for blogging. Taking time out of my day to write has helped to put things of my every day life into a healthier perspective.
One of my strategies for blogging achievement has been to prepare by picking a daily theme or topic which gives me the focus I need. This planning has worked so well that I have a theme or topic planned for each day of the rest of the month. In saying that, there is plenty of room for flexibility.
Since day 1 of this blogging challenge the nerves have decreased and the excitement has increased so here is hoping for that to continue.
I had a meeting with a Samoan girl and a socially eccentric Palagi guy last month to discuss a topic that was going to cause a few waves. Socially eccentric Palagi guy voiced his disagreement on the topic, ending with an idiomatuc expression implying the topic was ridiculous and was received by Samoan girl with the kind of roll-of-the-eyes sigh that screams OHMYGOSHYOUAREABIGWEIRDO. Later on, Samoan girl asked me what the idiom meant, so I explained. Her response with a screwed-up face was that she still did not understand and I did because I am Palagi. For a split second I pictured myself grabbing Samoan girl, shaking her and yelling uncontrollably because me having Irish blood was not the reason she does not understand and does not make me smarter than her. I even failed to convince her with the truth that I only understood the idiom because of everything Socially eccentric Palagi guy had said beforehand. In reality Samoan girl is one of the loveliest souls you will ever meet so instead of me creating a scene fit to land me in a straight-jacket, I had my say, changed the topic and felt sad because it was as if Samoan girl had decided she was not capable of understanding before I explained anything and made me wonder how much of her life she goes through putting a lack of understanding around such things down to her being Samoan.
Every so often I get this yearning, similar to an aching feeling when I miss Samoa. Today for you I have a small selection of songs from my I MISS SAMOA playlist that helps me to accept the reality that the only island I am on is a cold one called Te Ika-a-Maui, my work will not suddenly feel the need to send me on an all expenses paid trip to Aga Reef Resort or Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa (I'm not fussy) tasked with drinking cocktails while sunbathing, nor will my bank balance allow me to just jump on a plane and go because the only money I won today was $10 on scratchies that cost $10!
I have loved this song (sung at just about every formal Samoan gathering I have been to) for as long as I can remember. In retrospect, I think I felt the meaning of this song long before I knew the meaning of the words. This genre of Samoan music is largely what I grew up listening to and takes me back to my childhood days of listening to Samoan talkback radio and connects me back to my Grandparents because this is their music and gift to me. There is a fantastic playlist here with more of the same.
O se Vi'i o Lauli'i
This is the other genre of music I largely grew up listening to. It is the music of my parents generation when Elvis and le igi were king!
Samoa e, Maopo'opo Mai
I have always been a fan of Vania's distinctively smooth voice since my high school days when I started to discover the more modern Samoan music of today. I enjoy listening to pretty much anything of his without overdoing it.
I'm in Love with You
If I close my eyes and use my imagination, anything Nifoloa sends me straight back to being in Samoa. Songs by Nifoloa were the soundtrack to one of my trips back and evokes many different memories and feelings.
What are your songs that remind you of Samoa and make you feel like you are home?
The Mau and the Visitor started back tonight for a second season which will run through till Friday. If you did not see it in June then this week is your last chance! Written and directed by Pulotu McCarthy, this stage production weaves the romance between Sina and a New Zealand police officer with Samoan history of the early 1900's, ending in the death of Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III.
In June, I found the play to be a yoyo between funny and serious reflected in the best acting from Sam Iosefo (not in season 2, but do not let that put you off) who played Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III, as well as the writer and director himself who pulled off the excellent portrayal of a stumbling phlegm hoicking drunk Samoan!
The least liked part of the June production for me was that Sina's love interest (also not in season 2, but do not let that put you off either) seemed too old for her, or maybe she was too young for him .. either way, too hard for me to leave my judgmental goggles in the car on the apparent age difference. And my most liked part was the high amount of Samoan dialogue throughout. It was quite refreshing to see a Samoan play where there was more than the usual Samoan profanity here and there.
I have a confession to make. I enjoy watching trashy television.
Last year I was introduced to Geordie Shore which led me to the first season of The Valleys. After following The Valleys through, I decided it was a tad too .. trashy, until I caught a glimpse of this weeks steamy tattooed bodies.
From what I can gather, Anthony and Jason Suminski are twins from Pontypridd who speak funny, have a tendency to make monkey noises and are well inked which is what piqued my curiosity and led me to watch the season 2 marathon of The Valleys a few weeks back.
What really caught my eye after their abdominal muscles and before their faces, were their sleeves which appear to feature Pacific designs and thus raises my question, what are these young twins from Wales doing with Pacific designs tattooed on their steamy bodies? And what makes me even more curious is they look like they could pass as being sons of the Pacific.
During the week I stumbled across a sketch by Monty Python and laughter aside, it reminded me of The Laughing Samoans sketch about when they were at school in Samoa. Between the two sketches, the cultural context is different yet in essence, the humour is the same to me. A nice reminder that we are all just human beings living this crazy thing called life.
For those who want to get a snapshot of life in the Samoan bus lane, read Buses by current Peace Corps volunteer Brad and This Ain't My First Rodeo by former Peace Corps volunteer Matt. While Matt was in Samoa, I followed his blog religiously and am now following suit with Brad's blog. These blogs give comprehensive insight into navigating life in Samoa through the eyes of non-Samoans. They're brilliant!
In other news, this morning a fine young man offered me his seat on the bus. He is the 1%!
I have lived in several different areas of suburban Auckland, all of which have led me to commuting to the city and over the years I have found myself consistently astounded at the shocking bus etiquette Auckland has to offer. There seems to be 2 rules about 99% of the time when it comes to giving up ones seat for another.
Rule 1 .. do not stand for an adult if you are a school student
Rule 2 .. do not vacate a seat for elderly where you are younger than the elderly person and very much able bodied no matter the number of passengers
It is at this point I start to feel my age and grow a deeper appreciation for some of the times (and only some as I am still growing up!) when the Rents would speak of younger days because back in my day I would not have thought twice about giving my seat to anyone older than me. Heck, I still do it now!
As soon as I saw an elderly Indian couple get on my bus last week I was straight out of my 2nd row seat. When I turned to face the front of the bus poised and ready for take-off, the little old lady had paused blocking the aisle, caught my eye and smiled a smile of appreciation as brilliant as her sari before sitting on the seat I had moved from. As I smiled back, I felt joy.
I know I cannot change people so I do my best to be considerate to my fellow passengers and I occasionally think what a world of good it would do for the selfish ones to ride a bus in Samoa. We all know what would happen if they played by the aforementioned rules over there and Lord knows they would deserve it!
Today is day 7 of the #31WriteNow blogging challenge and I am struggling to keep up so I have decided on three themes to help me on my way to a blogging achievement. For Tuesday Tunes please refer to previous post, Throwback Thursday will be some sort of tale from my past and Steamy Sunday will be all about hot bods with tattoos. As for the rest of the days in the month, I just pray to the writing Gods that I can churn something out!
I have decided to dedicate Tuesdays to sharing tunes because my life without music is a life less lived.
When I first heard Blurred Lines I instantly wanted to jump up and dance, much the same as when I first heard Marvin Gaye's Got to Give It Up which the all knowing Wikipedia says helped to inspire this song. I quite often get songs stuck in my head for what feels like weeks and this song that brings a sense of elation is it right now.
Cook Islands Language Week has begun and will go till Saturday. I don't know about you, but I like the concept of having language weeks to raise awareness and celebrate our Maori and Pacific languages in a country where maintaining these treasures is something of a struggle.
While doing my last minute research for this post, I was a little sickened to find an article quoting the Minister of Education and Pacific Island Affairs, Hekia Parata as saying "it's not possible for the government to produce teachers in all the languages that communities might like". I do agree that community support is key to the cause of language maintenance in New Zealand because without a communal buy-in, nothing can be sustained, however I have to side with Labour MP and Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson, Su'a William Sio in saying that responsibility cannot be solely placed on the community for the survival of their languages.
When it comes to language, the face of education would change in my dream New Zealand. At the very least, te Reo Maori would be a compulsory subject in all primary and secondary schools as well as having the option to study a selection of Pacific languages, particularly the languages of the Cooks, Tokelau and Niue.
On Tuesday night there will be a talanoa at Massey, Wellington with the tattoo art and design collective Taupou Tatau that I wish I could go to. Ever since the day one of my big cousins came home with what was then one incredibly cool contemporary tattoo, I decided I wanted a tattoo too. I was only a child and come to think if it, this particular big cousin was somewhat of style guru to me growing up. Years on, I have acquired some ink, thanks in part to my style guru cousin and would be telling lies if I said I did not want more. Put simply, I love tatau for the story and meaning it carries .. I also love steamy bodies that come with tatau!
I have just gone through the FREAK OUT stage that I often go through when writing, only magnified times 100 because I have no idea what I am going to write and I only got home at 11:30pm and maybe I should just give up on this crazy writing challenge that I am going to suck at any way!
Now I am just writing through it because it is now 11:42pm. SHIT!
Shit because the only thing I can think of to write about is related to work and I do not like talking about much to do with my job because my boss is a bit of a stalker, but I am going to do it anyway. What else is there to write about? Time is not my friend. If you know me in real life, please please please no commenting on what I do to pay the bills.
Today I was speaking with a client from India. I could barely understand what he was saying in general so when he decided it was a good idea to give me his email address should he need to be contacted, I did not know whether to roll over and die laughing or just roll over and die as he said "S for sun, I for iPhone, N for .." I for iPhone? He couldn't say infant, indigo, idiot or INDIA? Aue, what is the English language coming to?
It's after midnight and surprise surprise, I'm wide awake perusing blogs when I come across the #31WriteNow blog challenge via PIMPI KNOWS and Awesomely Luvvie to post something to my blog each day for the month of August. Within minutes I decide to go for it .. considering my last post I think what better way to force myself out of my comfort zone and get writing than to rise to a challenge, even if it is self imposed. I am calling myself crazy right now, however this is going to be a fulfilling adventure that I am both nervous and excited for.