Lo’u atunu’u Samoa / My beloved home, Samoa

Even typing this is gut-wrenching. When the news hit here in Niu Sila / New Zealand, I feared for the worst, and hoped the best. The early reports were few and far between, keeping my hopes alive. Early in the morning a work colleague, who had just come back from a holiday in Samoa a week earlier, came into my office and casually joked about the tsunami hitting a few huts, might kill some chickens and a few roaming pigs. I know she meant it jest-fully, and I think I smiled and went along with it, because I was still hoping she was right, that it was just a few things.

But fear began to grow, a large lump in my throat, my stomach turned, as news throughout the day progressed and the magnitude of the disaster only just became apparent. All the news was about the Samoan Tsunami. My work colleague came in later that day and expressed her sadness and asked if my family was affected. As did many other work colleagues. I lied to them all, and said my family in Samoa is safe. But only minutes earlier, my mother had rung to say my cousins who had left for school in Samoa were still missing. Why did I lie? Because sometimes it’s easier to deal with a situation without worrying others. Despite feeling a deep hole in my soul, of worry and hurt, the need to lie also helped me cope with the unknown. Lying was also a form of keeping as much of normality intact despite your world crumbling around you.

Throughout the week I would stare outside my office window, high up in this glass tower, in this concrete jungle, looking into the distance of the beautiful Waitemata Harbour, beyond the mighty Rangitoto island and into the horizon towards the great Pacific ocean, towards Samoa.

It was an emotional rollercoaster every time I answered a call from family for updates, or clicked the refresh button on news websites. My heart was torn, ripped apart, and pulled in all directions.

…from NiuZila

Lo’u atunu’u Samoa / My beloved home, Samoa

Even typing this is gut-wrenching. When the news hit here in Niu Sila / New Zealand, I feared for the worst, and hoped the best. The early reports were few and far between, keeping my hopes alive. Early in the morning a work colleague, who had just come back from a holiday in Samoa a week earlier, came into my office and casually joked about the tsunami hitting a few huts, might kill some chickens and a few roaming pigs. I know she meant it jest-fully, and I think I smiled and went along with it, because I was still hoping she was right, that it was just a few things.

But fear began to grow, a large lump in my throat, my stomach turned, as news throughout the day progressed and the magnitude of the disaster only just became apparent. All the news was about the Samoan Tsunami. My work colleague came in later that day and expressed her sadness and asked if my family was affected. As did many other work colleagues. I lied to them all, and said my family in Samoa is safe. But only minutes earlier, my mother had rung to say my cousins who had left for school in Samoa were still missing. Why did I lie? Because sometimes it’s easier to deal with a situation without worrying others. Despite feeling a deep hole in my soul, of worry and hurt, the need to lie also helped me cope with the unknown. Lying was also a form of keeping as much of normality intact despite your world crumbling around you.

Throughout the week I would stare outside my office window, high up in this glass tower, in this concrete jungle, looking into the distance of the beautiful Waitemata Harbour, beyond the mighty Rangitoto island and into the horizon towards the great Pacific ocean, towards Samoa.

It was an emotional rollercoaster every time I answered a call from family for updates, or clicked the refresh button on news websites. My heart was torn, ripped apart, and pulled in all directions. [FULL STORY]