Sunday, November 23, 2014

You are worthy. Another self help spiel.

So before I watched Manu Samoa get stomped by the Poms yesterday, I saw a documentary on about parenting, and how different parents push their kids to success.

There was an Indian lady and her daughter that were exactly like my mother and I growing up. She along with the Chinese mom & her son were the from the far-right camp of parenting. Kids need authority and control, they need pushing and direction in order to succeed. They have no idea what they want, they're just kids, that's my job as a parent.

On the other end were other parents (most of whom were of the blonde blue eyed variety) who had a more holistic, laissez faire approach to parenting where kids had choices, freedom to become who they are meant to become, etc.

My approach is honestly more like my fellow people of color in the sense that I think kids need guidance and help to find their way. Though, being a product of this, I can also honestly say that at times, it leaves you feeling worthless, because you got a bloody A- in an exam. One gold medalist (swimmer) said something that resonated with me that I wanted to document:

"If you are nothing without a gold medal, you will be nothing with it."

Her point being you need to feel complete as a person, separate from your achievements, otherwise, you will end up like the guy who despite being a partner at a law firm & an accounting firm tried to commit suicide after not meeting his target number of gym reps (or something asinine like that).

My point is, don't do gym reps at all (wait a minute. Lol). No, my point is (and I'm saying this to myself really), you are more than the attainment of your gym reps, you are more than your achievements. You are more than your masters degree, you are more than any first place this & that, your perfect report card and your high paying job. And when I say you are more than that, what I mean is they mean nothing really. You are nothing if not a good person, a decent child to your parents, a good friend, an honest worker, a patient wife (ok maybe not that. Lol).  When you derive your self worth from things that actually make others happy (what a concept) you actually make yourself happy. Seems simple and obvious, but that's part of why it's quite profound to me.

Strive to achieve goals, but strive also to have a deep enough self awareness that as a divine child of God, as a mother/ wife/ sister/ friend, you deserve to feel happiness, even if you don't meet your self imposed target achievement to feel worthy.

Eh, ka'i deep fo'i.

Alright, self help note 12035097 noted.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sunday ramblings of a pregnant Samoan rugby fan

So after an over indulgent to'ona'i (is there any other kind?) I am finding it impossible to nap in this thick, punishing heat. It must be how Manu Samoa felt today getting beat by England. Frustrated, uncomfortable and kind of like I wanted to throw up. Heck, I about went into labour watching the game this morning, although, lets be honest, I do get that way during most Manu Samoa games.  The Pom officiating and commentating was just atrocious. There is a special place in Hell for Nigel Owens, this I sincerely hope! #deepbreaths

With all the drama this past week around the team's threatened boycott, the tongue lashing from the PM & the SRU's (lack of a) response, I hate to say I called it, but I had a feeling it was going to end this way. Nothing good was going to come of it (other than some pretty awesome #SamoaUnited tweets from other teams/ players around the world).

I felt this was going to end badly, not because I don't empathize or agree with the players cause, but because it was an act that aired Samoa's dirty laundry on the worldwide stage (clearly we aren't capable of solving our own problems and need smarter nations to help fix things),  the grievances seemed to be "about the money" (lets call a spade a spade), and ultimately it made a lot of noise, upset a lot of people but ultimately went nowhere in resolving anything. If you're going to boycott, you better make damn sure you are transforming the face of Samoan rugby for the better. After today's loss, it doesn't feel like it did.

The truth is, Samoan rugby has gotten further on less. On nothing, really. That's the stuff Samoan Rugby is made of. Having nothing, and defying odds. Boxing above our weight & beating big nations on nothing but guts and heart. I imagine at least, that team allowances were never an issue at the team meetings of our best ever teams in history (think Keneti Sio & the 91 World Cup team).  And if they were, there's no doubt that a threat to boycott, would be an act so defiantly disrespectful to country/ PM/ family, that it would never even be uttered.

The problem is, as nostalgic as the '91 World Cup is for me, the world, international sport and indeed our breed of Manu Samoa player is evolving. The only ones not evolving quickly enough, sad to say, are our Union. I believe it operates on good intentions (on a good day), but if we're to compare to other Unions (where our players are exposed), it seems, we aren't even doing the basics right (jerseys, training gear, communications, etc - mentioned in the players letter and in Mahonri's report after 2011 RWC).  And the simple fact is, basics, as well as transparency and accountability it's not too much to ask for. It's not.

SRU's current administration I think want to do a good job (rose tinted statement), but they are just out of their depth, and they have failed to raise their game at the same pace as world rugby, and boy are the cracks showing.

It's a pity though, because Samoa has proven itself in the region as a government and a nation that is evolving. We have a government administration considered among the best in the region, our private sector is growing, and our economy is developing. We are no longer an LDC, and recently hosted SIDs. Samoa has smart, qualified, capable people and leaders. Now, before all the whistleblowers and corruption police (NZ borns) get their knickers in a twist, we are far from perfect, but the truth is, we are capable of doing a better job of running the Union, for Samoa!

As for Stui - I think he has unfairly gotten the brunt of the media backlash (not that he's losing any sleep over it - all in a days work for the man) but the SRU would today, not have the funding support and national support it has without him. Hiding behind him is a poorly lacking board/ administration team that don't know how to do their job well enough for the people they serve - the players and the public. The PM's fronting of the Union has only allowed their mediocrity to continue, although I imagine he is still there for fear that it will turn to shit without him. And my opinion is this is a real risk because I believe it is his name that has brought in the majority of funding.

So how do we fix this mess? Ia, Good question. Lol.

Not simply. The PM has the power to make the changes needed at the SRU. Someone trusted with the right plan needs to convince him to sign the difficult divorce papers. And the players, they need to focus on the game, and leave it on the field.

One things for sure though, it must be a tough time to be a WAG. Lol

Ia, lava loa. Fa laia. Go the Manu.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Eggplants, maternity leave & feminism.

So according to my various apps, at 26 weeks and 6 days, my baby is the size of an Eggplant. It really feels more like a bunch of bananas or a jackfruit. She feels biiig. We are having a GIRL! I'm pretty excited to be adding to my sisterhood of the travelling pants club, and my husband is taking deep breaths pretty nervous about another dose of estrogen in our house. We all know my house reaks of it.

Baby 2 is super active and kicks like Beckham which is always fun, especially when I suddenly feel like I'm about to pee in the middle of the night, or in the middle of a management meeting.  Christmas is looking busy with my brother getting married, and work being on another level of insane, all while of course abstaining from alcohol #struggleisreal, let me tell you.

I'm trying to sort out my maternity leave for next year which is a tad challenging seeing as there is no maternity leave at my work (because I'm based in American Samoa and it is not mandated by US law). I swear the longer I live in American Samoa, the more I am convinced that the United States (and associated territories) really is the most backwards country in the world. So I will have to Macguyver my way through post natal fun times by pooling together all my annual, sick time off. It's the only time I actually wish I lived in New Zealand. Or, really just about anywhere else in the world. Anyways, hopefully feminism grips the right balls in Congress some day soon and the shit gets fixed.

Oooh feminism. Have been seeing a lot of feminism posts lately on social media, many differing views of what it means, some embrace the word itself, and others don't like the word itself. Some are angry, some more diplomatic. Hard core feminists criticizing people that don't identify with feminism (the word) as ignorant and soft. And then people who criticize the word feminism as man-hating and seek for a more inclusive word. My view is, you can split hairs, and judge each other all day long but isn't that all besides the point. Isn't it just a little cliche for different women in a women's movement to be at adds with each other. Don't we all want the same thing, equal rights for all. In the wise words of Usher, "Don't talk about it, be about it." Now whose balls need to be gripped in order to enlighten the US Government to grant the damn mat leave?

Anyways, peace and love to you all. Stay safe from cyclones this season :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

20 weeks.

I'm 20 weeks, bitches.  Half way point. And I feel, ok. Work schedule is demanding and I’m fighting a flu, but in general, I’m fine. Touch wood. 

I had a follow up appointment today and as usual joined the cattle herd of pregnant women in the crowded waiting rooms waiting for our 5 minutes of undignified prenatal “care”. The last time I went for a check up, there was a new doctor standing in for one of the usual, she was an Indian lady. Probably a volunteer of some sort, here to help a third world country, probably fresh out of med school… You could tell she was in way over her head, she seemed panicked and had probably never dealt with 50 pregnant patients before 8am.  The doc normally gives me an ie lavalava and asks me to get on the table thingie. She told me to get on, and without warning she pulled my dress up over my stomach, she looked at my legs in shock and said, you have lots of tattoos eh? I just nodded. She then listened across my belly with her stethoscope for all of 3 seconds, and said, “I can’t hear the heartbeat, don’t worry about it, come back in 4 weeks.” I don’t think she even made eye contact with me. It was over in 5 minutes.  If I hadn't several similar appointments (minus the shock horror at leg tattoos) I would've been shocked.  But I'm not, a tad disappointed perhaps, but well adjusted enough to not get into a tirade about it. This is island life for you. 

So today, again I went, expectations zilch, a bag of food and a book to keep me busy while I waited out the 2 hour sitting time. The visit was – uneventful. Baby’s heartbeat was strong and regular, tests all came back fine... come back in 4 weeks.

What I did find impressive is the educational programs that run in the waiting rooms. So the Department of Health has these programs (Well baby, Breast feeding, WIC, Pre-natal health, etc…) and they send representatives to talk to their target (knocked up) audience about their services. Probably the most opportune time since we have 2 hours to kill and nowhere to go. There is a wealth of (largely free) resources available to pregnant mother’s and newborn care. You can get free breast pumps, free healthy food during pregnancy and the first few years of your child's life. Free birth control, free visits to the hospital, your house from breastfeeding nurses. And they are constantly telling you what to eat, and giving "advice" on how to stay healthy during your pregnancy. I always find it amusing the no nonsense way Samoans tell other Samoans what to do especially when its women telling other women what to do. It’s like listening to your mother tell you off.

“Don’t be fiapoko when you breastfeed, if you do it wrong, your baby will choke. Pay attention.”

“Quit drinking that soda crap. Oh, its so disgusting how can you even feed that to your baby? Drink water and milk, you hear?”

"These programs are optional, you have the right to refuse, but girl, its free food. Don't be an idiot. Sign up sheets are at the back there with Lise."

Today an older lady gave a no-nonsense talk about birth control, it was the most hilarious, graphic, awkward, and definitely memorable discussion about condoms, vasectomies, IUDs, STDs and cheating horny husbands I’ve ever sat through.

One of the gems from her talk today, “Condoms are good for you! Make sure when your husband wants to jump you tell him, “don’t touch me until you put on that rubber!” Condoms are especially good for you because if your husband is sleeping around, whatever he caught from the hoe down the street, you won’t get it.”

Lol. Preach sister. 

20 weeks to go. Touch wood. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Toddler Fun Times and (Shoot me with a) Gun Times

Now that I’m expecting again, I think about how my daughter will react with some sibling company. I often find myself wondering, how well they’ll get along, how often they’ll fight with each other, and whether they’ll conspire together to do things that they’ll know are against my wishes! (Highly likely, I suspect)

It also makes me cherish this time with my “only child” while I have her all to myself, and while she has me all to herself. I guess like most things, there are incredibly challenging moments, and then there are those priceless moments that far outweight any (sleep lost, cash deficit, weight gain, I could go on and on here).

I thought I’d make note of some of the fun times, and the times I wanted to grab a gun and shoot someone.

Fun time – watching Lili’s reaction to animals at the zoo, and vehicle exhibits at MOTAT (Museum of Transport & Technology), her excitement is so visible, you get excited, and then exhausted just watching her.

Gun time – The tantrum she threw on the tram at MOTAT where she screamed for the entire 15 minute train ride because she wanted to take the plane (exhibit) home.

Fun time – Scrolling through her iPad Youtube surfing history and seeing the weird things this kid enjoys watching. Disney toy reviews, video game reviews, Kinder surprise reveal videos, vintage Superman clips (Christopher Reeve only), Lego videos, etc. Lol

Gun time – Her biggest frustration is: slow Internet. Lol (Take it up with your ISP :P) Lawd help us if we reach our data cap.

Fun time – our funny little conversations. She says things like, “Hey Daddy, you’re so beautiful!” or when she sees a picture of her Nana she’ll say, “That’s my Nana and your mom”, or when she calls me at work to ask me, “Watcha doin, mommy?”.

Gun time – when I’m dead tired and she wants to ask the same question over and over and over.  “Mommy, how do you kill the crocodile again?”

Fun time – her funny little Lili-isms. Like when she goes to anyone’s birthday party, she thinks it’s her birthday. She’ll blow the candles on the cake, and expect to open the presents…” Or, when she gets something she wants, like we agreed to go swimming the next day, and she does a full on gratitude dance, “Thank you mommy, thank you mommy,” singing and dancing with appreciation so genuine, you could only get it from a 3 year allowed to go swimming.

Gun time – trying to take her home from birthday parties while she’s kicking and screaming wanting to take “her” presents home. Or, trying to take her home from swimming and she’s not ready to go yet. Of course, lots of kicking and screaming.

Fun time - Her love of reading. And how she likes to correct me, and skip ahead to her favourite parts when we read.

Gun time – When I’m late for work, and she is insisting we “Read it one more time, mommy, pleeeease.”

Fun time – Waking up next to her and she says, “Good morning mommy!” and she pokes your eyes til you they are OPEN.

Gun time – Trying to go to bed, its already late, and she pokes your eyes til they are OPEN.

I could go on and on here.

No doubt, more fun and gun slinging times ahead.  


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Vacation update

It's pretty generous of me to call it a vacation, but I guess that's what it is to turn on your vacation automatic responder message and then ignore work for 2 weeks. I gave instructions not to contact me unless they needed a drop of my blood to save a soul. And even then, it better be someone important. I practically threatened the life of a staff member of mine that whatsapp'd me about trivial work fodder on my very first day. I've heard nothing since. I haven't touched my laptop, turned off my email on my phone and decided to do zero work.

So, with no work, the last 2 weeks have been... cold. And I've replaced the stress of work with the stress of dealing with my neurotic, crazy parents. And frankly, some days it's hard to say which is worse. Have spent much of my time child rearing, cleaning and cooking, you know like a good daughter/ wife should? Yea, bloody torture. The thing I have missed most second only to sunshine, is my babysitter.

I've also somehow spent exorbitant amounts of money, lord knows on what other than my parents groceries and my daughter's frequent excursions to Burger King - ok fine, those were my excursions but damn, those BK Chickens really add up. The shopping has been shit - nothing but winter Sales (except for the one awesome Clearance sale at Postie - go ahead judge me, I don't care).

On the plus side, managed to catch up with newlyweds (thanks for the dinner guys!) and managed to get away and spend 2 nights away at a hotel in the city (more coins) because the thought of taking another flight to "get away" was just too damn tiring for me.

I've also filled my quota of KFC, meat pies, meringues, BK, St. Pierre's sushi, and Yum cha on this trip.  Yes, only the finest Kiwi cuisine for me.

We are booked and ready (!) to fly back tomorrow, and I just got a call (from work) this evening that I need to stay here a few more days to get some work done.  I find this slightly annoying, but I am almost gleeful at having the excuse to get out of my wifely/ daughterly duties for the next 2 days in the name of work.

Lawd, I just want my normal life back.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Travel and tummy anxiety

 Today, I depart on a long awaited, much need, and extremely overdue vacation. I have to go to the Cook Islands first for work, and I’m so over work that I am not looking forward to it and I’d rather not go. I’m also having major flying anxiety with all the crazy happenings with flights of recent.

The flight that went down just off the coast of Tafuna earlier this week with the father son duo on their journey to circumnavigate the world was particularly heartbreaking and literally, close to home.

I figure, all this anxiety and tiredness will dissipate once I get a clean break from the grind, lots of sleep and hopefully have a few meals I enjoy.

I am expecting with our second baby, praise God. I’m just crossing into the second trimester, which means for the last 12 weeks I have been a walking bag of hormonal treachery. (Because you know I’m normally such a ray of sunshine? Shut up.)  Completely the opposite from my first pregnancy when I felt as though nothing was really going on except for my voracious appetite and protruding belly.

Well, I am looking forward to some down time, hopefully my mother doesn’t drive me too crazy.

Wish us luck, travelling Gods, be kind!

I hope the rest of you out there are doing well

xo

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bad wife award

I am (yet again) the recipient for the bad wife (and not in the good way either) award for forgetting my husbands birthday for the 3rd year in a row! There's really no excuse, I never forgot once before we got married.

Lucky for me, he is definitely the more patient and kind of the two of us. I won't get into the mad fuss I made on my birthday. #facepalm

Needless to say, epic, groveling comeback in the works.

Happy belated birthday husband,

I love you, always.

Your (bad) wife.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Timata le Gagana

I'm currently reading Timata le Gagana, a book by Fofo Iiga I. F. Sunia on the correct use and application of the Samoan language.

It's useful for people like me, who in pursuit of mastering the English language, have found my wielding of my Samoan tongue shamefully below par.  It's the biggest irony of my "higher education", that I didn't learn, or care to learn the proper command and use of my Gagana Samoa, that is now more precious to me than any degree. Guess the joke is on me, eh!

So, it's in accessible enough language that I'm finding it an informative and entertaining read.  The author's voice is both serious and funny, it feels like he is sharing a fagogo with me as I read through his passages explaining away common mistakes in spoken Samoan language.

A few funny excerpts. I've been guilty of both!:

Failautusi: O la e i luga o le isi laina. Se'i alu ese ona ta'u ai lea i ai na e valaau mai.

O le sasi lenei e malosi ai failautusi i ofisa. E mafua i le faaliliuga o le tali faaPeretania: He is on the other line." Tuu pea ia le nanu a papaplagi, a o la tatou gagana e fia fai ia sa'o ma logolelei.  Tamaiti e, e le o ti'eti'e lou pule i luga o le isi laina! O lae talanoa ai.

--

Ua augata e mafaufau i le faaupuga Samoa o le faatali le pasi, oso mai loa le kesi - "Ala po e kesi le pasi." Ua uma le pu'e, a ua kesi.

.....

O le fuaitau lea e fia faaliliu o le catch the bus. E le mafai e se isi ona pu'e se pasi! E saoasaoa le mea, toe lapo'a! A e a fia alu i le pasi, usu po e faatali, pe taofi, pe faatu (le pasi).

Get your copy: Timata le Gagana


Friday, June 27, 2014

I’m melting.

Shit. I’m tired, and I’m bloody tired of being tired.

I’m at another one of my famous breaking points where I don’t know if I need to fire people, or just quit.   For a long minute now, I’ve been trying to stay positive and approach things as a challenge, and today, I’m just, done. Over. It.  


Time to go the hell home for the day, methinks before I spontaneously combust.