Monday, December 12, 2011


Today my trip started early in the morning as I had to travel to the 6
am boat for upolu in order to ensure I was able to get everything done
that I needed to do.
After one last trip to the fish market for a delicious lunch, I was at
the airport ready to begin my 2 days of travel.
I am currently in the middle of my first layover-one that lasts 10
I was on the flight with miss Hawaii's family- who was just runner up
at the miss south pacific pagent-miss Fiji won, and met the beautiful
miss American Samoa.
So far in pago pago it is cold. I am wearing my long sleeves, pants
and am wrapped in a lavalava. I have closed toe shoes, but in the
spirit of samoa, where shoes all seem to meet their graveyard at the
most inopportune times, the bottom rubber just began to come off, and
it is peeling quick. If I was in Samoa I would have probably ditched
the shoes and began going around barefoot, but I don't think walking
around barefoot is as appropriate as it is in samoa-besides did I
mention that it's cold????
I was told that my next destination of Hawaii is really cold right
now. I can't imagine what will it be like in the mainland as I make my
way to LA and then over to the Rocky Mountain Coldness of Colorado.

Sent from my iPod

Fun fact of the day

Fun fact of the day
Did you know the Tongan Trench (situated between the islands of Upolu
and savai'i) is the second largest trench in the world. I enquired
about the largest trench, but was told to not be fiapoto.

Rumor has it-without news sources except coconut wireless,rumor is the
best you can go by- that scientists are worried about the volcanic
activity there. Sounds pretty scary if you ask me!

Sent from my iPod

Last Day

Last Day
Well, I didn't have much of a fa'amavae (going away party) at my
school, but one of my village churches more than made up for it.
On my last day in the village the church sermon had a large part
dedicated to me. It was so beautiful to hear what members of the
congregation and the pastor had to say (I've heard so many nice things
about myself that I might start to get a big head...)
Afterwards I spent hours walking around visiting people and delivering
last minute gifts. It was nice to enjoy the time sitting on
falas(mats) ad drinking Samoan cocoa.
In the evening my sister and I walked over to the construction site of
the new building.
Looking around, it was amazing to see how much I accomplished in such
a short my big head is really kicking in!
But I never expected to work so well with my community to help in so
many (somewhat random) ways. It really showed me that you can do
anything if you just put your heart into it.
It was the perfect way to end my Savaiian experience. Being around my
community that helped me grow into the person I am today and spending
quality time with my youngest sister who reminded me how lucky I was
to be a part of an amazing Samoan family.
If anyone is lucky enough to visit the villages that make up
Gaga'emalae, you are in for a treat!

Sent from my iPod

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lili's Top 3 Places

Yesterday while I was sitting at the blowholes, admiring their beauty for a final time, I realized my list for top places to relax, unwind and take things in.


1-Vedauvoo, Wyoming (probably spelled incorrectly).  It was the most amazing rock formation that you can just play on the boulders for hours, or just sit and relax.  There is great camping and sledding there….it is just fantastic.  (it you want to go,  take I80 it will be about 5 miles from Laramie, WY if you are heading west from Cheyenne. 


2 Alofaaga Blowholes- The blowholes in Taga, Savaii.  They just take you in.  I was sitting there watching them for an hour….and didn’t realize that any time had gone by. 


3.  Staten Island Ferry- It is such an amazing boat ride and you get to see so much.  It makes you really appreciate NYC (and I guess enjoy the parts of NJ that you see along the way…)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fisher lady

I tried my hand at being a local fisherman today.  I went down in the ocean with my mask and snorkel and had a great time swimming amongst the fish. 

What did I bring home from this expedition, my only catch, which was a lavalava. 

I don’t think I am as good a fisherman as the rest of the people in my village, better stick to teaching as a career path. 



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Poto teine

When I first learned that I would be coming to Samoa, my cousins in Hawaii tried to teach me a few words, but it went in one ear and out the other…

My first few weeks in this country I remember walking along the sea wall telling everyone, “Manuia le aso,” or any other polite phrases that I learned in class. 

It was a slow, long hard journey to learn this language, but when I finished training, I was told that my skills had reached intermediate middle, which really impressed me. 

Teaching English, I knew it would remain a difficult journey as you need to find the right balance of speaking English with the children and Samoan to practice for yourself in order to communicate with everyone else. 

However, in the end, I somehow managed to make it work.

I am coming back to America with an Advanced low achievement on my Samoan proficiency test.  (I was told It would have been higher as my understanding is comprehensive and I can respond, however, my grammar is off.)

So if you see me wandering around the US speaking Samoan, feel free to say, “Manuia le aso,” in return…it will make my day.

O a’u poto teine….ma aulelei…ma teiene le fefe…ma o le teine o le tama uma mana’o! haha


Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Week To Go.What Happens Next?

A Week To Go…What Happens Next?

Well, that time has come…time to leave the village….which is why I have been too busy to post any blogs….I am backlogged and will probably finish the ones I started a few months ago while I am back in the States. 

Yesterday, I had a farewell barbecue with a family that I have become close with, and it just seems surreal that I will not be seeing everyone daily….not laughing with the children as we make monkey or other strange faces.  They seemed excited for me, as they rolled off the names of my family members that they met and are excited for me to see again.  (They also are happy for me to see my very fat cats, as it is not normal for cats to be that fat!)  I became at a loss for words when the eldest of the family gave a long speech about how I am welcomed into their family.  When it was my turn to speak, I know I could not match the nice things he said about me in Samoan, which made me a little sad because I hoped they knew how I felt.

Today, someone sang a beautiful song to me, and then presented me with a small mea alofa.  It was too sweet.

For my last week, the teachers are taking me out for a BBQ to celebrate the year, and I am supposed to have a famavae (going away party)…but I am not sure when.  I plan to just enjoy the village life until leaving.  Some of my girls invited me to their dance practice so I can try to learn dances from other Pacific nations before returning to the States.

What are my plans?

Well after spending a month and a half in a reversed culture shock mixed between Colorado and New York (freezing my bum off!)…I will be returning to Samoa!

I have been granted an extension to work with Samoan Victims Support as their Home School Coordinator. 

It is nice to know that it doesn’t have to be goodbye to all the people I have come to love as they have become a part of my family. 

And I get to share my adventures with all of you from the other island…which will be a different experience as Upolu is sooooooo crowded and there are too many cars! (How am I going to survive in NYC for a few weeks?) 

Thank you all for your comments and encouragement over the past two years, it has helped to share things, and never expected an audience of people, especially of people I did not know at the start of this trip.  I have gotten more out of this blog than expected, as I just wanted to document my adventure for myself for later. (I kept a diary…and then a flood happened and I lost all of my entries…so paper did not seem worthwhile to do again.)  But I have also gotten the opportunity to connect with many of you, and friendships have evolved because of it.  Fa’afetai tele lava.

I hope you have a great holiday season.  Ia manuia le kerisimasi, po’o Chanukkah, Kwazaa, po’o ese ese  tu'uaga mo outou, ma manuia lava le tausaga fou.

Thank you again,