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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Siva Samoa by Va'asiliifiti Tuisafua Moelagi my mum.


Filmed by Fagogo mai Samoa's dear friend Henry Tunupopo of our Mum doing the taualuga at the Life-Con fashion show. I was in tears when I saw this missing my mum and so proud of her spirit and pride in our culture. I count my blessings being born to this amazing woman who dances to her own tune in life. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Skiing fun and some mishaps

On our first day at Obereggen, we checked our boys into their respective classes and I decided to ski nearby so I could keep an eye on how their first day went. It didn't take long before my big boy got his confidence back and he was happily going up and down the piste with his class. Then I saw my little one on his first time on skis enjoying the experience as if he'd been born on skis. It was wonderful to see and felt good to know that we could do this more often as a family. Hubby in the meantime went for a hike through the forest realised his shoes weren't quite right drove to a nearby Decathlon Store to buy the proper hiking boots. 
In the afternoon he was breaking in the new boots by hiking up the first mountain to meet us for lunch at a restaurant at the top. We had a wonderful first day par some very sore legs and feet but we all agreed it was a beautiful spot and we were in for a beautiful week. We enjoyed the village teepee and returned to the hotel for late afternoon tea, a swim in the indoor pool and watch the sunset before dinner. We met other guests with kids who were friendly and trying to practise their English.
Sitting around the lounge bar area the hotel served complimentary bubbles for all the guests which was really nice. The owners came to greet all the guests personally and clink glasses which was a lovely touch. The main barman whom I thought looked Middle Eastern who was friendly and attentive came by our table and was very chatty with us. 
Everytime there was a lull in the service he came around and he'd chat with us. Hubby was enjoying this new friendship so he can enjoy good service at the bar. 
Anyway he turned out to be Moroccan but lived in Germany for over 10 years and lived in the skiing area for 3 years. He was telling us this and I asked if he was much of a skier and he said he tries to ski at least once a week. So I thought maybe it's not his thing because other ski area staff I know ski almost everyday and it's why they live in these areas. 
So I ceased the opportunity and was asking which piste I should go up and which was safer and how hard they were. As we can see three pistes from the hotel he was pointing out which ones to start with and the like. Next thing he asked if we wanted him to show me where to ski in the area! I looked at my husband very taken aback by this offer and he said, yeah why not so you know where to go. 
I actually couldn't believe my luck. I had tried to join a class so I would know where to go but it being low season there weren't enough skiers booked in for them to run a class so I was stuck trying to find my way on my own. So I accepted the offer and made sure we weren't affecting his job and he said it was fine he'd love to. He told me to meet at the lift first this in the morning and I was nodding with excitement to have a private tour guide show me where to go. 
Before the first lift moved I was waiting there excited to get the day started. From my skiing the day before I thought early morning was a bit icy but my new friend said it's a good time to start so I thought who am I to question him. He showed up and off we went up the mountain, we skied to lift after lift and we kept going higher and higher! I was a kid in a candy store as I marvelled at the beautiful mountain tops and the gorgeous pistes and it being a new skiing location for me was just awesome. My new friend was a great tour guide, he told me the names of the different pistes and it was starting out great. I warned him I was rusty and needed time to catch up. He'd ski ahead and patiently waited for me to catch up. It was quite icy as the sun hadn't quite warmed some of the ice on some pistes so I was extra careful as I didn't want to topple over at all on this hard ice but we were having fun. I was enjoying the wind in my hair and the sound of the skis in the snow. But also it was quiet, not many people were up there at that hour so it was lovely to go at my one pace and weave my way down the piste. I was murmuring prayers of thanks and grinning from ear to ear at the beauty of it all but also how lucky I was for this kind soul to bring me on a tour of the mountains.
We were on a red piste and it was quite icy, I was concentrating not to fall but also keep up with my tour guide when all of a sudden he takes a tumble down the slope. I slowed down and tried to go wide but also tried to go closer to see if he was okay. Then I realised one of his skis didn't come off in the tumble and now I was worried. I skiied closer and was yelling out if he was okay. He shook his head while trying to remove his ski. He was holding on to his knee and grimacing in pain. 
At this point I was so worried and felt so sorry for him to be in that way. Luckily at that very moment a slope marshal was skiing past witnessed this and came to his aid. I couldn't believe what just happened they were speaking Italian and from my try hard listening and deciphering my new friend was asking for the medics. I felt so bad at this point and I didn't know what to do. I collected his sticks which fell off when he tumbled and brought them to him. Within minutes the medics came up in a snow mobil ambulance pulling a stretcher. I couldn't believe this poor guy's bad luck and prayed that he wasn't going in the stretcher! 
I waited around to make sure he was okay when I realised they were discussing me with the medics and kept looking at me. I stood there not sure what was going on when the medic asked me in English if I knew how to get back. I realised my poor friend was telling them that they have to bring me along as I didn't know the area. Well my self sufficiency kicked in and reassured him not to worry about me and just focus on himself getting help. The medic asked if I knew how to get back to the hotel and in my haste I said "yes of course, I'll just ski all the way down".
To my amusement the medic informs me that I couldn't, that I had to ski and take lifts in order to get on the right pistes to get where we came from...! And I thought I was being smooth saying where I was going. I quickly said of course, I will follow all the signs to Obereggen as I did see they're everywhere. And now I was in a slight panic wondering if the signs were as easy to follow as I was imagining but nevertheless I will just make sure this poor lad gets the help he needs and not worry about me. So I wished him good luck and thought to remove myself from the situation so my new friend didn't worry about me anymore as he was clearly in pain. I told him not to worry and that I hope his injury wasn't so bad and thanked him profusely as well as apologised that he was hurt. He waved me off and I skied off with a prayer that all will be fine.
Well thanks to his good guiding skills I'd remembered generally where we had come and to my surprise we were about two villages west from where we had started. So I took my time read the signs and had a great morning of skiing alone. I figured that poor guy got hurt showing me this amazing place I may as well make the most of it and so I did. Come lunch time I skied all the way back to Obereggen and picked up my older boy and up the lift we went back to the top to have lunch with hubby who had hiked up. 
He thought I was arriving with our new friend but got a shock when I told him the awful story. That evening my poor new friend, ski tourguide and barman wasn't at work and the staff said that his leg was hurt from skiing. We felt really bad for the poor guy and tried to find out to get in touch with him but the hotel didn't get back to us about him. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Obereggen Skiing Dolomiti, Italy

Day 1.
We left our dear friends place in the morning and made headway for Obereggen on Saturday morning. The drive from Milan is just magnificent through North Italy. The flat becomes mountains blanketed by terraces of grapevines! I was a passenger in between snoozing I marvelled at the grape growers expertise in traversing the sloped vineyards. Rivers run through vineyards as well as train tracks as a train chugs along through the perfectly lines. And we are on a road that cuts right through this work of art. We ascend higher and higher into the mountains and it's still very green. I'm inwardly worried that there may not be any snow for us to ski on and we were all so looking forward to the snow. We drive through Bonzano and it is warm and the sunshine hitting the green trees is just beautiful. As we ascend the winding road it's still green much to our pleasure coming from the desert however at this moment we'd like white snow! It is of course very late in the season but well we were hoping for some freak weather that would cover the mountains with snow by the time we got there.
We arrived and in the distance we see two snow cover slops cascading down the mountain facing the hotel in the small village below. My heart fluttered and we were now screaming with happiness. We found our kid friendly Kinder Hotel Maria and returned to the car park near the entrance to the village. We walked to our hotel to check in. It's a lovely cosy boutique type place and we were met with warmth and efficient staff. Our room was perfect for our family of four. The kids had their own little room with bunk beds and we had a big double bed next door. The shared bathroom was huge with bathtub and separate shower. We had a good feeling about the place and we were going to be comfortable for our week long stay. We dragged our luggage across the road to the hotel and off we went to explore the small skiing village, book ski gear and classes. The ski rental place staff were helpful and we were done in no time. Also confirmed our kids ski lessons for the week and off we went to get our ski passes.
After everything was booked we grabbed a snack and a sundowner at the tipi outdoor restaurant facing the slopes as the sun set over the mountain. This part of ski culture makes you want to go back again and again.
We went straight to dinner at the hotel and it was a five course meal and it was delicious. This part of Italy is Tyrollean and so the food is more Austrian/German than Italian. So all week we had the best of the three culinary cultures and so we basked and indulged in this food heaven.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Christmas Fun 2016

We had a lovely Christmas celebration here in Oman. In the morning we woke up to our boys excitement that Santa had arrived the night before. Everyone opened presents and played with them. After breakfast we proceeded to get food ready for friends who were joining us for Christmas lunch. We invited friends and for everyone to bring a plate. Alex, Mike and Koni prepared the umu in the backyard and they started cooking from 8am. We had taro, cassava, pork, lamb, chicken and beef cooked in the umu. The smell of the umu on Christmas day was reminiscent of home and knowing it's a special occasion when you smell that earthen cooking in the air.
I baked pavlova and coconut buns and made a salad and set up the place for our lunch. Everyone arrived with arms full of food. There was so much food. There was beef curry, prawn curry, potato gratin, cheese pie, more salads, tiramisu, trifle, cole slaw and all the meat from the umu. There was a lot to eat. There were also a lot of kids in the yard playing and it just made for a really festive fun day with everyone having fun. A few party games were played much to everyone's amusement and just a good fun day with lovely people from all over the globe. Everyone with kids started leaving around 7pm and other friends joined us in the evening. The festivities continued until I went to put my older son to bed and went to sleep as well at about midnight. It was a lovely day and it's always awesome to have it with friends when we're far away from our families. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

December 2016

This year we're staying in Muscat for Christmas so we're making the most of it. A lot of our friends have left town to spend Christmas with their respective families so it's a bit quiet around here. School broke out last week so it was a little hectic as there were Christmas parties, fairs and kids programme's in school to attend and to remember things the kids had to take. There were also local charities to give to through the school so my mummy brain was busy trying to make sure everything was handed in on time and the right thing was given to where! Am sure everyone was apprehensive when the final day of school finally arrived.
Some sleep ins here and there and no school lunches for three weeks yay. Christmas fun has started at home. We've put up our tree and we've decorated here and there. We're hosting Christmas lunch this year inviting a few of our friends who are also staying back. So far we've had an outing on the beach yesterday with a few families and the kids had loads of fun. The big kids had fun with water guns running in and out of the waves and climbing trees and the little ones enjoyed sand play for hours. Came home with two tired boys and the little one went straight for a nap.
Preparing for our Christmas lunch is exciting. Trying to buy the right stuff for the food we're having so there's no stress. I did my Christmas shopping awhile ago so all good on that front.
Missing the family back home as we'd had Christmas with them the past 3 years. However it's also a relief to not be travelling during the busy season.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy NEW YEAR and prayers for those who are in need and in strife. We're never too far from the grips of despair. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Disney's Moana

A private viewing of Moana the movie by Disney was arranged by a few of us in our Pacific Organisation this past Saturday. All 94 seats were taken so the theatre was full of excited parents and kids. Some of us dressed in our Pacific colours, pales, flowers and necklaces to celebrate this significant feat. The fact that mainstream movie makers were featuring our culture and our part of the world on the big screen. Dressed both my boys in their Samoan attire of which they were excited to wear and they chose which beads or shells to wear with their shirts. My eldest wanted to wear his newly acquired shell necklace given to him from his performer and Samoan culture spokesman Uncle Chris. 

We arrived at the Cinema foyer and some people were there already and there was so much excitement in the air. I had promoted the significance of the movie to those who asked me about it and one dad came up to express how his kids were more excited now that he told him why the movie was special to the Pacific. 

Well when the movie started I was bursting with excitement and curiosity on what was coming! As the movie progressed I was lost in the island life that Disney portrayed which was exactly how we know it. We grew up reading those island life kind of stories and experienced a lot of it as kids so it was amazing that they portrayed it beautifully and in it's simplicity. That Moana wasn't a princess in a castle as such but an island girl whose palace was the rich land around her and the ocean that surrounded them.
The music was beautiful. Te Vaka sounds throughout was the sound of the Pacific. It was just right. 

My favourite character was Moana's grandma who was depicted beautifully. The wise old lady who listened to everyone big or small. Aside from being depicted as crazy I liked that she was the voice of reason. We all grew up with a wise old lady in our lives who was partly a rebel and actually made sense of all the rules and why adults acted a certain way. She was a heartwarming character and how she guided her granddaughter was beautifully written. 

I must admit when I heard of the Maui character and how he was prominent in the trailers I was worried that he was taking away from the heroine's role. But the movie fixed that, it put my worries to rest at how it turned out. Beautiful animation and thanks Disney for recognising our Voyaging Peoples.

*Half my family haven't seen it yet so I don't want to ruin it by saying too much about the movie)

Friday, May 06, 2016

Dublin, Ireland 2015

Since I called this blog our travels I better mention where we went this past summer. In the end we decided to visit friends in Dublin and to see the Republic of Ireland and what a good decision that was. Our friends hooked us up with and what an awesome heads up that was. We got an apartment in the center of Dublin which was walking distance to a lot of fun things. We did the Viking tour which was on a bus that later went on water. We were given Viking helmets and were asked to do a lot of roaring all around town. The kids are supposed to love it but our kid wasn't that excited about it! But I enjoyed it and the other kids on the bus seemed to enjoy it. Nevertheless it was a fun way to see Dublin. We found beautiful parks with playgrounds for the kids to play. We managed to do a few historical sites then catch up with our friends we went to see. Its an awesome walking city, you see a lot within a walking distance and places to eat everywhere. In the main centre near where we stayed we were hard pressed to find local food whatever that was..everything in town was international food! However we managed to find some nice places for a pint and a bite. I'd totally go back to Dublin! 

Summer 2016

How time has flown by. It's almost mid year once more, when I've just wrapped my head around the digits 2016! We had a long winter but last week the heat hit hard. It was into the late 30s last week and well, I forget how hot it gets here. We've been very lucky having nice weather with rain fall here and there. The new worry is that there may be some cyclones as the weather is warm and sticky...depression build up kind of weather. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Alo, alo lau foe...

OK no paddles involved but went on a boat yesterday in the 42 degree Oman heat! We made a plan to be at the marina at 8am...and the islanders we all were we finally launched at 9am so it wasn't to bad. This was to beat the scorching heat as it is still the height of summer in this gloriously sunny region! All our boat drivers...hubby and two mates are kind of first timers to driving/captaining a boat so were trying out the speed of the boat much to my dismay and wished from the back seat that I had darts to play find the bulls eye on the captain's back! The sea was a bit rough so the ride left a lot to be desired. Basically I was just worried that my two year old would bounce off the boat and none of us had life jackets and they were sitting in the back of the car! Responsible parents we are not, but I blame the heat because we forgot some life saving sh!t in the car! We didn't forget the coolers with the beers though haha. It's all about hydrating in the heat. We found a quiet spot in Bandar Khiran parked up and had a fabulous time swimming. The kids and I swam with the aid of boogie boards to the beach nearby and had a little play there before returning to the deep near the boat.

The fun thing about going out in a boat in my virginal boating experience, is that you can swim and float in the deep right near the boat. Now better yet if you have inflatable toys to help keep you afloat and it's the best way to get a tan(sunburnt). The sun reflects off the surface as well so there's no escaping the sun's rays. To avoid getting burnt one must apply sunscreen every hour..this requires getting out of the lovely water and scrounge around the now mess of things strewn all over the boat for the suncreen that has now been heated in the sun and reapply. So you sit for a few minutes on the boat sweating profusely while the said sunscreen drips off you then you decide to bugger it and jump back in the sea. It also helps to wear a hat to protect thy pretty face. That is awkward while swimming but it does the trick.

One day I will take a fishing rod to see if we can catch bait or just to keep the kids busy for all of 10 minutes but something fun to do while out there. Anyway so we came off the boat all a bit red but with constant application of aloe vera we're good as gold this morning! Aloe Vera is the magic treatment for sunburn so I make sure we have stocks of the stuff plus it grows well here so we have it in the garden too! Soifua ma ia manuia

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back to School 2015

So my seven year old started back at school 3 days ago and it's already the weekend! We survived the first three days and he's been enjoying going back to school. Of course the first morning of school and he announces that he's too tired and may have to stay home, to which I replied he may not! We dropped him to his classroom and his new teacher took the time to engage with him to which he answered her questions nicely. When he went into the classroom, relief was all over his face when he saw his usual friends and off he went without a look back at his parents. Three days in and he's happy with his class.
My little one will start at a creche nearby at the end of the month so that will be good for him also. Today after we dropped off Master Seven, Master Twe and I went to the park and he played for about half an hour. I love the park as only the two of us were there and with the shade under the big trees it wasn't too hot. Later on I took him to the Children's Science Museum in town and he had a ball playing with everything he could reach and see them work. A few home mornings with my baby boy before he's off to creche.