Thanks for nothing Dad

I grew up in an all female Samoan family. I didn’t grow up with a Mum and Dad, instead I had my Mum and Grandma. The Male figure that I did look up to was my Grandad. We all loved him to bits and it was hard when he passed on.

All my life I wondered what my father was like, where he was, why he never came to see us and even if he cared. People were always telling me that I looked like my father, and every now and then I would meet people who knew him who would say “you look just like your father!”. I would get people asking me why I was so white, and not believing that I was Samoan. I got used it as I grew older. I knew that my father was half Niuean and half French and thats where I got my fairness from.

I started asking questions about him. I thakful that I have a mother who tells me the truth. She explained to me that after being hospitalised by him, that she didn’t want her babies to be raised around that. I understood her choice. So I asked what his family was like. From what she said it sounded like his family were not keen on her simply becasue she was Samoan and not Niuean, and so naturally they were not keen on me and my sister either. That made me angry but I accepted it. I thought *So what if Im Samoan? Im proud!* My questions about him stopped there.

When I was 14 I went to school and this girl approached me and said “I know you dad, he’s cool”. I was thinking *who the hell do you think you are* but I calmed down and explained that I didn’t know him and I didn’t care what she thought of him. Next day she comes to me with a piece of paper that had a number on it. She said it was from him and that if we wanted to meet, that was him contact number. All of those years of wondering and wishing, I never thought it would happen like this.

Mum was cool about it. She left the choice up to me and my sister. We decided to give him the benifit of doubt. There is nothing in the world that can prepare you for you first contact. My mum had called him and he wanted to talk so I took the phone and all I heard was “Hi, it’s me Dad”. What the hell! It’s me Dad? After 14 years? I didn’t know what to say, but i agreed to meet him face to face.

Wow. I did look like him. He seemed nice, and had a lot of nice things to say, but there was one question that he didn’t answer the way I hoped. I asked why he wasn’t there and the answer was simple, he didn’t know where we were. I got over it though and let him into my life. I forgave him and gave him a second chance.

All was going well untill I went to see him at work and found his shop empty and for sale. That was 6 months after I let him into my life. He was nowhere to be found, no txt or call, nothing. He had just up and left without even saying goodbye. It broke my heart.

But I realised that I didn’t need him in my life. I didn’t need a Dad to be happy. Im proud to be Samoan, and have my loving famliy. They provide me with all the love I need and it’s him thats missing out. I guess if I ever got the chance to talk to him again I would say “I forgive you and I hope you and your family the best”. Im better off without and holding a grudge would just be a waste of emotion LOL. I wouldn’t have been the same person I am today and I guess in a weird sort of way I thank him, because all of that has made me stronger and appreciate my family even more. Thanks for nothing Dad…

Teineafaksi out…

PEACE!

xx

Samoa culture still going strong

Samoa, Fasito\'o-uta. Aiono Sooula\'s Saufa\'i

Talofa =],

I had a really weird dream lastnight.. I know what your thinking *what the hell!* LOL. And yeah I can’t really remember what my dream was either. But what I do remember is how I felt when I woke up…
I felt empowered?! To do what you might ask? Answer: To continue my personal journey into all things Samoan. To find out more, dive deeper and inspire more to do the same. I don’t know how on earth I am going to do that but it feels like something worth while.

Us Samoans have an amazing culture. I was lucky and honoured enough to do the Ava at my grandmas Saofa’i in Fasito’o-uta, Samoa. I was 16 at the time, white compared to the rest of my family and lacking in Samoan knowlegde. My body was covered in po’us and I was unprepared for what was going to take place at my grandmas Saofa’i. I thought it was just a small event and that I was made to practise everyday for no reason. On the day it happened though I was amazed. Little did I know that the whole villiage would turn out.

It was like clockwork. Everyone knew what to do. There was not one single person out there just standing around. So me being me, I jumped in there and helped out where I could. The old, the young, men, women, they all had their jobs and worked as one. Fast and efficient. I was in awe of the whole process. Next thing you know I was being swept away to get ready for my part in the Saofa’i.

All I knew at the time was that I was going to be the *Taupou. I knew that I had to mix the Ava the proper way and that I was to make no mistake!!! Or else I would get a hiding LOL. I walked in to songs and clapping, dressed in the traditional costume. I sat in the middle of the semi circle(of the aumaga men), infront of the Tanoa (Ava bowl). I wasen’t allowed to move or smile, and told to look straight ahead. Once I was signaled by the tulafale I started, after the first ipu ‘ava of water. I was shaking but tried so hard not to let anyone see it. I did what I was taught, making sure not to get water dripping down my arm, not letting any of it drip outside of the tanoa and thankful that my grandma made me practise so much. At the same time, I kept my back straight and my legs crossed despite the pain I was feeling in my ankles LOL. I was not expecting that many people to be around. I sat there for hours, back straight, not smiling, legs crossed, and if I was asked I would do it all again! Once it was all over I was able to get up and finally SMILE haha. I had swollen ankles but I still felt amazing, like I had done something magical =]

I was not expecting that many people to be there, and I wasen’t expecting it to be a ceremony on that scale. It was mind blowing. I was especially proud afterwards, when my family cried and thanked me. It wasen’t untill then that I realised the significance of it all. My grandma had to fight for the right to have me as the *Taupou and spent day after day passing on to me the traditional knowledge of doing it properly. It has been two years (making me 18 years young lol) but I still remember clearly what she taught me, and I plan to learn all that I can.

To say that I was at the ceremony would have been an experience to share, but to say I was part of it? According to my grandma not many afakasi NZ borns can say they did the Ava at my grandmas Saofa’i in SAMOA. I felt so blessed and honoured to have been given that role and lucky for me I have plenty of video evidence LOL haha.

That in itself is an experience and memory that I will cherish forever. In the process I made my grandma and family proud and it opened up my eyes to the wonderful tradtions and ceremonies in the Samoan culture.
We can safely say that our traditions and culture are in no immediate danger of being lost, for we pride ourselves in preserving these things! No matter where in the world we are, we will always be practising our culture. We practise many of the same things here in NZ as we do in Samoa. It makes me happy to know that our centries old traditions are still strong despite all of the western influences.

Always and forever proud to be Samoan…

Teineafakasi out..
PEACE!
xx

Legend of the turtle and the shark

Fonuea, Fonuea, Laulau mai se Manamea,
O sa ai e i luga nei? O sa Letuli e i luga nei.
A ua ina, a la ina, O le a solo mata’iga,
Laulau tu la le i’a, Ususu!

Fonuea, Oh Fonuea, Present to me the lovely pair.
Who are they that are up there?
They are the Letuli’s everywhere.
At rain or at sunshine, The crowd will march in line,
To view the fishes as they shine. War Shout!

Familiar with this legend? Then you would be familiar with the fact that there are two versions! Lol.  I got abit confused untill I asked my gradma (who knows everything lol).  One version tells of a man and women and there extreme love for one another.  The other one… Im going to jot down right now! =]

It goes as follows..

There was a old, blind women named Fonea and her daughter which she named Salofa.  They lived in Salega, Savai’i.  There was a famine and the village of Salega were starving. Funea’s family gathered up *soi which was gathered from the forest the day before.
Fonuea and her daughter kept an eye on the cooking from where they lived. Once the smoke had disppeared Funea guessed that the stones had been heated and that the food would take around two hours to be ready.
Once it had been two hours, Funea asked her daughter Salofa if she could see anyone coming to give them some food. The answer was no. Hour after hour she would ask her daughter, and Funea would get the same reply.
By then, Funea had become so convinced that her own family had left them to starve that she went to the cliffside with her daughter and they jumped off. As soon as the hungry daughter and mother hit the water they transformed into a turtle and shark. They swam east for miles untill they reached Vaitogi, Tutuila.
On the beach they transformed themselfs back into human form so that they could meet the high Chief Letuli and the people of the villiage. He treated them with food and clothing untill they regained their strength.
Funea expressed her deep gratitude to the High Cheif Letuli and made a vow that she and her daughter would reurn to the ocean to live under the Vaitogi cliff. It is there that she said she and her daughter would come to the surface and entertain him and his people, all he needed to do was to recite the chant (shown above). They have lived there for centeries, and have never failed to appear when the chant is recited!

I did research and I found this…
“It may sound too good to be true but the scene at the Vaitogi cliff is one of the great wonders of the world. Scientists have yet to find why the turtle and shark never appear to the surface unless Letuli’s chant is sung. It is as much a mystery to the foreigners as it is to the Samoans who have tried for several generations to attract the turtle and shark to the surface by other means but always failed. Best of brass bands played and large choirs sang the best of anthems, hymns and island songs over the cliff but they were all disappointed. Seeing the turtle and shark tops the tourists attraction in American Samoa today. It signifies Founea’s sincere love and appreciation”.

How cool is that? =]

Teineafakasi out..
PEACE!
xx

 

 

How the Tattoo came to Samoa

Talofa, =]

I have just read the stroy about how tattooing came to Samoa. Cool story I must admit… made me laugh untill I realised it wasent even that funny.. LOL
And it goes as follows…

There were two sisters named Tilafaiga and Taema. They were sent from Manu’a all the way over to Fiji to visit the daughter of King Tuimanu’a. While the sisters were there visiting her the royal family of King Tuifiti gave them a gift, which was a tattoo instrument.
Swimming on the way back to Samoa the two sisters held there gift tightly and sang a chant that the fijians had taught them, except they had translated it into Samoan. The chant in english was “Women are tattooed and me are not!”.

Exhausted and confused from the long swim back home they mistakenly reversered the chant, instead chanting “Men are tattooed and not women!”. Finally they reached Savai’i were they rested and recovered from their long and hard swim. Once they had rested they continued there final swim to Manu’a from where they had come from. They offered the gift (tattoo instument) from King Tuifiti to the Chiefs and people of Savai’i.

After hearing reversed chant from the sisters, the young men in Savai’i started to be tattooed.
And that is the story of how the tattoo came to Samoa! =] Pretty cool huh?

Teine Afakasi out..
PEACE
xx

Inspirational blabbering

Talofa! =]

Not long ago I decided to dive head first into the Samoan culture, history and language.  You might asky why… Well like so many others, I guess i was just a half cast with a lost identity =]

Every little bit of information that i find out is always recited proudly to my wonderful family (bless their poor ears! LOL).  They must be getting sick of my “did you know…”s but you you gotta share info with somone right? 

Ive been hoping that my enthusiasm would rub off on someone, and YES it has!  I have a little 11 year old brother, very bright and the biggest fiapoko I know.. haha well all little brothers are lol.   My non-stop blabbering must have made something click inside that little head of his because… He wants to join me on this journey!!   he ‘in my opion’ would be the most ‘LOST’ one in my family.  That is only becasue he finds himself stuck between his Samoan family at home and his Palagi family at his dads.

I am sooooo proud and honoured to have inspired my little brother to take interest in our Samoan culture =]  So there you have it, blabbering isn’t always a waste of time LOL.

Teine Afakasi out…

PEACE!

xx

Love for the FOBS

I may not look like your average Samoan because of my light skin, but I still LOVE my fobs hehe.  Just one tiny lil problem… it seems like everytime I meet someone here in Niu Sila, they have to go back to Samoa! haha lol. 

I mean.. sure.  Ovcourse you are going to have to go back.  But why now? haha.  Or should I say, why is it every time I decide to give them a chance their Visa expires or they get the big “D” for deported! It’s kind of like a lil joke between me and my kuzzin now.. “whens he going back?” haha.  My nanna always used to say to me “Don’t marry a Samoan boy.  You have a sharp mouth and you end up with black eye!” lol.  Sad guy aye.. haha.  She’s kind of right..??

But honestly, I am a self proclaimed FOB LOVER!  They algood bodywise too.. and all you ladies, don’t act like you don’t look! lol Especially the tamas with the muscles *deep breath in* =] Like my ‘Friend’ once said…

They’re like a piece of art… (“,)

Kwibbie this is for you.  I finally admit, I LIKE FOBS!! 😀

 

Teine Afakasi out!

PEACE

xx

 

Sibling Love !

Okay.. so I have been trying to learn the Samoan language.  It’s been kind of hard for me though and OMG it doesn’t help when your siblings laugh at you! lol 

My nanna has been trying to teach me, but I’m always getting my gramma mixed up haha.  Anyway, I just woke up one day and realised what I was missing out on.  She has been going on at me and my siblings for not being able to speak Samoan.  It’s not that I don’t want to because I do.  I tried taking Samoan in college but I quickly learned that if i didn’t know the basics, then the class was going to be EXTREMELY hard for me lol.  Unlike other classes, they didn’t start right from the basics.  Thats why I struggled in that subject lol.  the only reason I passed is because I took my work home and got my Nanna to help me haha.

For years I had grown up listening to family speaking Samoan.  Apparently, according to my Nanna, I could actually speak it when I was younger.  She said I lost it when I started school… I wonder how true that is?

  I didn’t want to be the only one in the family who couldn’t speak Samoan, the ‘fia palagi’ one lol.  Plus I had been in Samoa for a whole month so no excuse, right? lol  Thats what I thought anyway, untill my sibling laughed at me because I have ‘an accent’ when I speak samoan! lol.. I didn’t see that one coming. 

Well I got the last laugh when I had a full conversation in Samoan with my Nanna lol.. YAY ME!  Now I have to convince her to take me back to Samoa with her.. =] lol

 

Teine Afakasi Out

PEACE!

xx

Life changing trip

For my first trip to Samoa in 2008 I was expecting the blue ocean, Coconut trees and beautiful beaches.  But what I took away from that trip was so much more…

Instead of staying in a motel or inn we stayed with family in Fasitoo-uta.  The decison to stay with family really defined my trip.  Being a half cast I never really bothered to absorb my Samoan culture, but once I got there I felt something different.  I felt as if I belonged, something I don’t often feel in NZ lol.  The way of life was so different, some might say harder, but I say more peaceful.  

During the month that I sayed in the villiage I grew a deep appreciation for my Samoan side.  Us NZ born don’t realise how much we take for granted.  All of the things our parents teach us when we grow up (and we don’t know why it has to be done that way) makes sense when you get to Samoa.  Every little thing has a place, and everyone knows what must be done.  

With the little bit of Samoan that I did know, I managed to get by.  Soon enough everyone knew where we were staying with family and they knew our names lol.. I just loved the fact that everyone knew everyone.  I could talk to someone at the shop who could recite my entire family history if they wanted to lol.

Memories like buying a ‘choc top’ from the shop and trying to eat it before it melts, catching the bus in Samoa for the first time and not knowing that you can sit on people, buying ONE smoke form the shop, the big glass coke bottles, all of these memories make me smile like an idiot =].  Its true what they say about the little things.  Quite often its the little thigns that you miss the most…

Anyway… That one month I spent in Samoa has led me on this quest to find out more about my culture and be more involved with family things.  Im now still trying to learn how to speak Samoan properly lol. I fell in love with the people and the culture =].   

Im am a proud Samoan through and through!

Teine Afakasi out..

PEACE!

xx