Friday, February 28, 2014

My mom the MBA student

So my mother has been admitted to the MBA program at Massey University and is starting her first paper this semester. I am so proud of her.  Clearly I’m biased but my mother is just one of those women who are endlessly amazing. Every good quality people think I possess, my mother possesses ten fold. (Same might be said for the nasty qualities. LOL! Ok, just kidding J)

At the tender age of twenty, following the sudden death of her mother, she left a college scholarship to pursue her fleeting schoolgirl passions with the Prime Minister’s (at the time) youngest son (she’d hate me for saying that but it’s my blog, sorry mom!). She was married at 21 and raised a bunch of bratty kids and she gave us the best of everything. We are all grown, educated and off in the world sending money back to her. She has checked that box and she rejoined the workforce about 7 years ago (after raising kids and running family businesses for 20 years) and she is currently a Manager in a NZ Government Ministry. She has taken to Public service/ Corporate life like a house on fire and she is now going back to finish what she started to get her piece of paper.  And it is so my mother to consider herself ready for the MBA program without anything but experience, who needs a measly Bachelor’s degree anyway?

I laugh when I think about her in an MBA classroom because I can see her debating with CEOs and lecturers like she was born to do it, because, that’s just how she rolls. She will command the room each time, and she will be critical, firm and eloquent in her contributions and fiery should some poor sod ask to be put in their place. Oh, to be a fly on that wall. I would watch it for sport I tell you.

I offered her some study tips, for which she politely thanked me (thanks little girl). But something tells me, she’s got this. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

5am randomness

It's 5am. I've eaten my way through Lili's cookie stash, browsed blogs and news sites (I use the word "news" loosely) all night and here I am stupidly losing precious minutes of stress averting sleep. I do feel sorry for my staff tomorrow.

I recently had a negative pregnancy test. I was instantly relieved and than deeply disappointed immediately after. Maybe this year is the year? Maybe not. Maybe. Time will tell.

Work continues to be the escalating evolving challenge that it's always been. I feel 2014 is going to be a good year after the various breakdowns and epic learning curve last year proved to be.  Mostly, I just feel more like myself than I have in a long while.

Looking forward to a week in Fiji next week with my crazy friends. Girls trip for BFF bride to be Tia before her big day in April. 13 of us going, girls, queens and sex changes!  If you know us, you'll know it is sure to be crazy!  Let's hope there's a stripper pole in Nadi sturdy enough for at least one of these 6ft drag queens to perform!  I'm resting my liver for it, it's only the responsible thing to do, you know?

Hotly debated item right now at my house is where daughter will go to school. The answer is not simple though I will most likely get my way. Because I'm right, I mean, because it's what's best for our daughter (and I'm right).

Trying to get off the cookie crumb trail and back on the healthy living bandwagon. I'm currently researching (procrastinating) my novel new way to tackle this problem (ie making excuses). I feel it coming to me soon (as I enjoy this double chocolate cookie). Yes, it's coming to me (and a glass of milk). As you can see, the struggle is real.

Enjoy your week :)

Ps - Call out a search party if you don't hear from me after next week! Lol

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Nothing to say

I hate when you say, "I have nothing to say."

When you say, "I have nothing to say," it actually says a lot.

It's you not wanting to share with me.
It's you not wanting to work on this with me.
It's some passive aggressive bullshit rather than just having a conversation to sort it the fuck out.
(Ain't nobody got time for dat!)
It's you trying to just accept things for what they are, rather than improve them.
It's some kind if admission that it's too hard for you.
Or I'm not worth it for you.
It's you giving up.

Fight back.
It gives me hope that even though you disagree with me and you hate me right now, you aren't afraid of this challenge and you haven't given up on us.

The day I have nothing to say, is the day I'm done.

They're just words, but I hate it when you say, you've got nothing to say.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Back to the grind.

So I’m back from Hawaii and straight into the office on a Saturday, not only to tackle the workload but to also to help abate my anxieties about the atrocious amounts of money I spent shopping in Honolulu. I’m experiencing a rush just thinking about it. And now the only rush I will experience will be to the loo because all we’ll be eating for the next couple of weeks will be expired noodles. But who cares, it was all worth it and I could do with losing a few pounds anyway.  

My strict diet and good intentions all went to hell when I came face to face with all the culinary delights Hawaii had to offer. Whatever discipline I had built up over the last 3 months of the year eating relatively clean, dissipated completely in the 7 days I was there.  Aside from the free wine, I hit up all my favorites: Korean BBQ, Japanese bentos, Musubis, mac salad, mochi, Chilis!, and then of course, the vast selection of colorful cocktails available just about everywhere. Let’s just say it was a blowout. A most delicious blow out, but a blow out nonetheless.

On my flight back last night, I resolved to getting back on the fitness bandwagon when I got home. Mentally willing myself to join the 5am Zumba classes and getting back on my Paleo eating scheme.  #Yawn.

My husband just called me to come home and eat freshly prepared chicken salad. I couldn’t hide the disappointment in my voice as I automatically responded: “So no Carl’s Junior for lunch then?”

"No," he says.

"Wow, who died and made you the boss of me?"

I see a cranky dinner in my future.

Good weekend to all. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Randomness from a drunken 30 year old

I’m in Hawaii at the moment, it’s for work, but it’s still Hawaii. Sigh. I love this place. Unbeatable weather, great food (awesome service!) and shopping! Did I mention, I’m here for work? Ahem.

After my extreme disappointment last night at not being able to order room service after 10pm (seriously? this is the Hilton for chrissakes, can a bitch get some bread? Don’t make me tweet Paris about this!), I found myself at an all you can eat breakfast buffet at 5.30am this morning. Haha. As you do, right? No?

My table was by a man-made pond, which had a few ducks swimming around in it and quacking.  I had a mommy moment - I almost burst into tears, as I pictured the excitement in my daughter's face if she were with me at that moment.  Such simple things can give so much joy to kids. She would have loved it and then she would have wanted to jump in the pond to swim and quack with the ducks. My near tears episode quickly turned into relief as I imagined myself, hungover at 5.30 in the morning, wresting with a screaming toddler in a man-made pond with those damn ducks. Ah yes, that’s right, that’s why I didn’t bring her this time.  Phew! Mommy moment over.

Yesterday was first day of meetings and I won an iPad Air in a business card draw! What luck! I immediately thought of how great it will be to not have to fight over my iPhone with my almost 3 year old (she wins every time) now that she will have something else to distract her. Better buy one of those baby proof cases. Just last week she threw her Dad’s laptop across the room while she was playing “Godzilla” (Rawwwrrr raawwwrrr *Crash followed by her evil laugh Muahahaha!).  A day later she smashed her babysitters smartphone screen also.  Sigh. It doesn’t take much pretending for her to be a terrorizing monster, and I find it odd and funny that people too often say she gets this from me.  (Yes, that’s like so odd. Shut up.)

Won the iPad yesterday, the day after my birthday. A birthday stroke of luck, I’ll take it! I was going to say I never win these things but in thinking back, I won a phone in Sydney in a business card draw and I won a portable DVD player on one of my previous Hawaii business trips so maybe I am lucky! Haha.

Life at 30 smells suspiciously like life at 29.  My liver still needs a cleansing. Especially given the number of "functions" we will be attending this week. I don’t believe in psychics but I see a lot of free wine in my not so distant future.  I guess I'd better stock up on hangover food.

Happy week, one and all! 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Life advice from a drunken 29 year old

I've had a splitting headache since about 2pm today. I can feel the familiar knotting pains of stress knots in my neck & shoulders already creeping in. 6 months of exercise & peace searching undone in just the first week of the year. Ha! I've a sneaking suspicion that it's a sign of what 2014 has in store for me. Work & stress knots. And crazily, I'm ready for it. I'm sure my chiropractor misses me anyway.

I turn 30 in a few weeks. I've looked forward to turning 30 since 25 lol. I've always considered it a point in life where one comes into ones own. You've lived through the frightening inexperience & naïveté of your teens, having lived through your fair share of mistakes and mishaps in your twenties, and you come out the other end having shed unnecessary insecurities leaving a more refined sense of self and being more comfortable in your own skin. That's at least as I envisioned it. On the eve of my 30th, well,  I don't feel all that. But there's still a few weeks to go right? Lol

I saw in the new year, like all mature almost 30 year olds, in an extreme drunken stupor. (May the photo evidence never surface so help me God!) I spent New Year's Day clinging to my floor for dear life and swearing to never drink again, like, Ever.

I've spent the following week being disgustingly reflective about what I've learnt in the last year and pondering whether I'll forever be a drunk, even after I'm 30 (which lets face it, it's quite likely). Anyyyyyways, here are my list of lessons from 2013 I wish someone had told 20 year old me.

1. Work hard, even when it's thankless - it's rewarding, until it's not, than ask for a raise or leave.

2. Your friends are the ones that still love you even though you suck at keeping in touch & forgive you when you've been asshole, sooo stop being an asshole & put in the effort to keep in touch.

3. Men are simple creatures. Unfathomable as it may be - they aren't stressing over you. And if they're just not that into you - get over it and find someone who is.

4. Succeeding in your chosen field is not only possible - it's a conscious choice you make to not just do things to be successful but to become a more successful version of yourself. I know that's waffly & intangible & cliche crap but it's true. You'll be surprised how easy it is once you internalize it, and the biggest evidence of that is how not smart some "successful" people are.  The power of self belief, eh.

5. Love your body. Trust me, even on your off day, you're still relatively hot. And I say relatively because, you ain't no Kim K bitch, sit down! But you know what, nobody likes a Debbie Downer, so pull yourself together Khloe, you're cute too, so you better werk!

6. Exercise is a bitch, but again, it's worth the pain, so deal with your laziness and get your ass on a goddamn treadmill.

7. The best form of self pity is a stiff drink but please don't take it past the hangover. Ok, write a bitchy blog and get it out of your system but be a grown woman and build the bridge. This applies to grudges, arguments with friends, spousal disagreements, work drama, and good old haters.

8. Fight fair in love. We all know what an angry & difficult cow I can be, nobody knows this better than my long suffering husband (and staff!). I've learned that being right isn't all it's cracked out to be. And true friendship & mutual respect are what allows you to scrape through the first two years of marriage. Lol.

9. Family is everything. Whatever bitterness you held towards your parents because of whatever shit they put you through as an ungrateful child and teenager, release it into the wind. Having a child makes you realize how much of a pain in the ass you must have been to raise and just how scary, taxing and down right difficult child rearing really is. So guess what, forgive! And not only should you honor them by being a decent parent (well you can try) but really - be a decent child now to them if you're lucky enough to have that opportunity.

10. Life's short, eat cake. One slice and then try Paleo!

Disclaimer: this is my advice, no guarantees it will work for you or for me for that matter.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Holiday season

I’ve just come off the back of a short holiday in Auckland (the most unoriginal & unexotic of destinations) but surprisingly I had a grand old time. Highlights of which include:
  1.  Eating. And I do mean KFC. I know this makes me such a fob but you go ahead and try those damn Wicked Wings. Both my first and last meal in NZ.
  2. Enjoying riotous nights out with Tia, Goddess & the hoochiest of them all, Henry. We were of course, entirely classy the whole time (all I have to say to the bouncers that "asked us to leave" is - CAN I SEE YOUR MANAGER! hahaha Good times!)
  3. Spending quality time with my daughter & niece. Which is just further affirmation that a career in childcare is just not for me because after two days, my real job seemed like cake.
  4. Hanging out with my dysfunctional family. Nothing makes me crave my boring, regular, stressful existence more than my bi-annual dose of my mother reminding me how much more I have left to achieve in life and my dad reminding me how much weight I have left to lose.
  5. Shopping. Mostly groceries, diapers and sushi. Facilitated by the discovery of the In-Mall crèche. Thank God for paid childcare, did I mention that already?

My sister joined us from Australia and we all managed to spend just enough time together as a family to be ready to say goodbye again.  I’ve brought my Dad back home with me (and daughter) and we will be spending Christmas together – which is good, he’s a simple enough houseguest to keep happy. Or so I thought. He’s on a healthy living buzz and wants to eat fish and salad every day. Which is fine, except when I want to eat a burger and some damn fries.  At least we both agree to having beer in the evenings.

Work is busy, but not as busy as the last two years so truth be told, I’m lapping it up, because with my luck – I will be in tears (again) before the new year.  

Enjoy the holiday season people! Drink responsibly J

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Random Annoyances

  1.  I am sore. 3 days worth of Zumba lead by fa’afafines and Amazonian women will do that to you. So, I’ve been on sort of a health kick and while I feel better about NOT being asked whether I am “carrying” lately, I can’t help not being satisfied with the answer to the only burning question that really matters, which is – am I fucking skinny yet? To which the answer is, “keep going, sass!” Impatience is a bitch. 
  2. And so is hunger. I've been on a diet where I've been trying to "eat Paleo". My actual diet has been - limited carbs, no sugar and alcohol only on the weekends. What? I'm on a diet, I'm not crazy! Anyways, it means I'm cranky a lot (ask my husband), except for the weekends, of course.
  3.  It’s Friday today, except in a few hours when I am back in Pago, it will be Thursday. And thanks to daylight savings, I get an extra hour at work today. The general inconvenience of this day (and now time) difference is immeasurably immense to me (and nobody cares).
  4.  Now, I’m generally a reasonable person but dealing with people who don’t do their job, or presume to know mine, just makes me want to physically hurt people. If I could incinerate people with just a thought (Leila Folger, much?) there’d be a lot of ash in my midst. They’re all lucky that all I can do is bitch about them on my blog.
  5. The US Government shut down. Who the F does that? It disappoints me that egos and money can cause the shut down of a government like the US, not to mention the shut down of it’s over reliant affiliated territories that fights it’s wars yet can’t vote in it’s elections. You expect that from under-funded island states like Fiji, and us, not real nations, like the US. What’s next - cannibalism making a come back?
  6.  My daughter talks now. She says things like, “No! Sasa, pepe!” to other kids at the playground and she will run to her Daddy, when mommy says No, to Dora cartoons when she should be sleeping. I love her to pieces, but boy, who knew 2 year olds could be so manipulative, bossy and demanding. Does of my own medicine much? Haha.
  7. Not be self absorbed or anything, but I need clones of myself right now, one to be in each timezone, one to teach my daughter some manners while another goes out for the stiff drink I need.
  8. TGIF…Not!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Selling Samoa

This whole uproar about cultural identity and the cashing in of outside brands on our cultural artifacts just makes me roll my eyes. As both a proud Samoan and a marketing professional, I have to say, this whole notion that palagis are trying to make money off our culture and should be crucified in the press? To me it reeks gently of tall poppy syndrome, which ironically, is about as authentically Samoan as it gets. The economics of the matter don’t come into play unless of course, they are in our favor.

Selling culture, it’s a delicate matter yes, but I don’t believe our patterns and culture are intended to be locked in a box for only Samoans to profit from.  And I say profit from because that’s really the only issue here, is that someone other than we are profiting from this. You know it would be ok if those clothes were on Mena or Eveni shelves. Anyways, I digress.

I’m not going to rehash (anymore) the whole Nike kerfuffle, other than to add, they should have spent the money on a cultural adviser. It might have spared them the PR nightmare. But it has got me thinking about Samoan brands, or brands in business that are carving a niche for themselves as a brand from Samoa, and doing it well. Below are a few Samoan brands actively selling Samoa, in their own way that I for one appreciate.

Tanoa Samoa Apparel
Samoan Brands selling Samoa? My favorite has to be TanoaSamoa . Apparel brand that comes out of American Samoa, they sell online and have recently opened up shop in Samoa. They also sell jewelry, handicrafts and shoes but their apparel line is what I’m most impressed with.  Some of their designs are produced in collaboration with local artists, which is nice I think, giving a platform for local artists to showcase themselves other than empty art shows. They have a huge range of consistently changing styles in a nice range of applications (Aloha shirts, casual t-shirts, hoodies, kids clothes) that I think is appealing to Samoan markets not just locally but abroad.  Their stuff is also very good quality, and reasonably priced and constantly being updated and adapting with market conditions. I am a fan of these guys, not because they are smart Samoan business people creating good Samoan product, but because they are smart business people, period. More people would “profit” by learning from them.

Samoan Film – Heart to Heart/ Fatu o le Alofa
I watched “Heart to heart/ Fatu o le alofa” in the weekend. Made by Navigator Island Pictures, it claims to be the first feature film made in American Samoa made by American Samoa young Director Zena Iese featuring an all local cast. It is an ambitious film, and even though it showed a few flashes of brilliance, I thought the plot was a little confusing at times, and then it just ended abruptly, like, premature abruptly, like “oops we ran out of budget” abruptly.  Some of the acting was a bit amateur (not hating, just saying) but that crying closing scene by young American Samoan actress, Sissy Christine Unutoa honestly had me in tears.

I really enjoyed the camera work (because you know I’m a filmmaker) there were shots throughout the film, like the sped up driving shots along the coastal road, and the scene at the Leone open-air Post office, and at the bus stop that perfectly captured the simple beauty of Samoa. And then in contrast, there were parts of the story, like siblings fighting over land and money, and the generous use of violent verbal abuse in jest (and in seriousness) that nicely convey the complexity of Samoans and life in Samoa.  I felt the film left a lot to be desired but I must commend the makers for embarking on what was no doubt a hugely challenging project to create something true to Samoa, which I think they succeeded in doing.

Telesa Book 3: The Bone Bearer
This weekend I also read the third book in the TelesaSeries, The Bone Bearer. I found the first two chapters the hardest to read, and then I met Akamai, and I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.

The story was definitely action packed with more twists than a Miss Samoa Pageant sarong category, and it moved at a surprisingly quick pace which was unexpected but a welcome surprise. I enjoyed that the story shifted from the sickening love story between Leila and Daniel to the tormented tale of Pele. Not that I’ve got anything against undying love, but I can only take so many passages about staring deeply into each others souls before I start rolling my eyes.  Don’t get me wrong, Daniel seems like an upstanding guy and all but the scarred less talk more action style of Keahi is more my cup of tea. I am conflicted in my admiration for Leila – while she seems strong and smart on the one hand, I find myself getting annoyed when I am in her mind while she is overthinking things and being a bit of a martyr.  I suppose heroines are supposed to be annoyingly perfect, but the darkness and humor of some of the new characters (enter Pele & Talei) added a lightness and depth to this book that I particularly enjoyed. I think it’s a true testament to the talent of the author in bringing out the emotions so vividly in her characters, that she drew from me very real reactions and emotions towards them.

My favorite thing about all three books is the author’s descriptive setting of the scenes. The detail with which she describes Samoa her weather, her environment, her lava fields, her ocean is intoxicatingly evocative.  The imagery is so strong for me that I feel as though I am there, in every scene, sensing, feeling, fearing, fighting, learning, and laughing alongside these characters. 


These three examples are examples of Samoa for Sale. Good for them, I say.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Sunday Nostalgia.

It's a Sunday morning. The smell of roast pork wanders throughout the house awakening appetites pushed along by the breeze from the ocean down the road billowing gently through the open louvres. I enjoy the light wind on my face as I look out with pity at the trees and rooftops bearing the full brunt of the special kind of heat and humidity that only occurs on a quiet Sunday in Samoa.

The neighborhood is quiet except for the rustling of the leaves of the coconut and breadfruit trees outside, and the sound of my daughter rummaging through the pots and pans while she asks questions to those preparing roast pork for to'anai.

The sounds, scents and the heat take me back to so many other hot Sundays in Vaisala and Fagali'i. When I smelt that smell of burnt lau sului and mamoe kao as we walked back from Sunday school with sweat on our foreheads from walking uphill in our 3 layer Sunday best. When I felt that same breeze on my face when I sat in the back of the pick up riding to the store to buy some Veloveta ice cream to enjoy with imported canned fruit cocktail (the days before red velvet cheesecake with cream cheese icing). That same sound of rustling trees and waves crashing on the not so distant beach, lulling sleeping adults in broad daylight while children get up to mischief.

I have to laugh at the impracticality of wearing a 3 layer dress with socks and shoes to church on a tropical island. And at the warped notion of value at eating imported canned fruit cocktail while fresh fruit rot at our feet. And the strangeness of a whole nation taking a nap in unison after enjoying a feast of Samoan proportions. It's kind of funny, because as impractical and warped and strange as these Sunday rituals are, I must say, I've really not changed much at all.  Sundays in Samoa. So good.

I think the food is ready now.