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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Two-hundreth Post!

Went back to work last week. It's nice to have an aim in life once more, something to wake up to and sleep stressing about hahaha! Ok not stressful really. I work from 4pm to 9pm which I think is pretty good. The boss has been trying to get me to work in the mornings too but I think I would like a quality of life rather than money. Or am I just lazy...well somebody shoot me... I also have a husband whom I think would like to see me at some point in the day. heh heh. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
So Muscat is still recovering from the remnants of cyclone Gonu and they're doing great. Though there are some areas that still don't have running water however water trucks are sent there every now and then to replenish people's private tanks. Today before class I went to help David move one of their cars to the school compound where his partner works in case there's flooding tomorrow and their cars turn into floaters again. (See David, your name's mentioned) David said he enjoys reading the blog and yet he's never found his name on it. I try not to use people's name to protect their identities and use fake names at times. This is my blog and I wouldn't like it if someone else was blogging about me without my knowing!(unless it's nice things of course)
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Another friend who also follows this blog expressed her concern that I'm publicizing myself to the world on this. Thanks for the concern but I really don't see the harm in blogging away about my little world. There are billions of people in this world and millions of blogs and websites I don't think the bulk of the globe would come across my blog much.
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I started this blog for our families and friends because we live so far away. Instead of writing the same email a hundred times I can just write it once on here and everyone who gives a damn can go ahead and update themselves about our fabulous lives!
My brain
When I try to go to sleep at night, my brain chooses this time to operate at 150mph!!! I think of all sorts of things when I'm trying to fall asleep. My mind wanders to all corners of the globe and beyond. I would also mentally calculate numbers, for example how much I should be getting and how much I would've gotten if I worked after hours and on and on. Or I'll try to figure out how old my nieces, nephews and cousins are or how old we might be if we had a child in the near future. I get so carried away that I forget that I was trying to fall asleep in the first place!!! Anyway I have this mental journey most nights and then there's the odd night when I just fall asleep with no hassles but I have to be really tired to do so.
Last night I thought of my schooling as a child in Savaii at St Theresa's school. I was trying to remember all my old teachers' names and where they were from... One teacher stood out and that was Sr. Maria from Ireland! She took me in year 6 and 7. She was fairly small in build and had bright green eyes(I think.) She was lovely, and I remember she taught our class some Irish song like 'Danny Boy' and some other Irish favourites that we all learned by heart. She even introduced St Patrick's day to the school and it was great. Of course we had to wear green and decorate our classrooms with green decos and all. She even told us some stories that included leprechauns and the four leaf clovers. From then on I filled in the bus-waiting time looking for a darned four leaf clover!!! I wonder where in the world Sr. Maria is today. Wouldn't it be funny if she came across this entry due to divine intervention...
Ok it's late and I better take my brain to bed I have to work tomorrow at 9am to cover for another teacher. It's 1am now and I hope my brain will be nice and sleep early tonight with the rest of my body. OK I sound really loony now.
To all four of you my dear readers, have a lovely day tomorrow and blessed week.
Manuia.
E iai leisi taimi na o lou fia tusitusi lava i le gagana Samoa ina ia aua ona galo lau gagana. Ia ae leai lava ni tala e ono faaaoga ai le tatou gagana matagofie. Ou te manatua ai aso o ou aoga i tauvaga tusiga solo ma tala i le gagana Samoa ma le faa-Peretania. Sa iai taimi na malo ai au tala ae ou te manatua pea pei o ananafi le tasi tausaga pe a o le 10 poo le 11 o ou tausaga. Na ou fo'i mai i le aoga ae valaau mai si ou tama matua o Lealali ma si ou tina tausi o Faleasiu ou te alu atu i le fale ona e iai le la tala malie la e fia ta'u mai ia te a'u. Ma lo'u alu atu ae fusi a'u e si ou tama o Lealali(o le faafafine) ma fai mai, "sau si au tama ua tu tolu lau solo lea na lafo i le tauvaga a le 2AB." Na pei e tutupu ni ufi i o'u tino i lou fiafia tele i lena aso. Ua ou oso atu i luga o le moega o Faleasiu ma ou kisi atu i lona alafau. Na alu lena vaiaso o o'u savali i luga o le ea talu ai lo'i fiafia tele ona ua lau mai lo'u igoa i le leitio! Tiuhuuuuhuuuu!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Back to normal!

Here I am blogging from home once more. The phone came back on last night along with the internet and showtime TV. Just as well as I've just about read every book on our book shelves and have had enough of conspiracies of taking over the world and lawyers making and spending too much money...! I think I should move on to more philosophical stuff for a little while...or not.
Lately I would pick up a book and start reading and if I'm not in the mood for it I would drop it and look for another. Maybe this is normal for others but I never used to do that. I got a list of books from my nephew Ben in Brighton so I'm now on a quest to find them and start reading some more.
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First of all let me go back to work. Hopefully on Saturday our classes will start again. The school was totally flooded and they were working on re-wiring the whole place due to water damage! And air-conditioning is a must as 45 degrees Celsius is not exactly an ideal classroom temperature! I hope for my boss' sake(and my sanity) that things are back to normal and we start on Saturday.
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I just found out that my sister's house got robbed last week-end in NZ which is sad. Luckily they were out of the house but the thieves took all their electronic equipment. The worst of all, their laptop was stolen with all the pictures of their new baby. Once again just as well we all have copies since day one of baby that I'll just make a CD of all the pictures and send it to them. Still I wouldn't want to lose our laptop let alone our hard drive..arrrgghhh. Well the police have the thieves' DNA and hopefully they'll be caught. Two other houses on the street were also broken into. Thank goodness that my sister and her family are all okay. Just the thought of your private space being violated is just disgusting and unthinkable. I hope those thieves get what they deserve, many years behind bars.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Destruction by Cyclone Gonu



Photographer: anonymous


Photographer: anonymous

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Post-Cyclone Gonu

O lea e lelei mea uma. E leai se mea o faaletonu ai maua. Faafetai i le alofa o le Atua ona o lana puipuiga alofa mo i maua i taimi o lologa ma matagi malolosi. Faafetai foi tatalo mai i aiga ma uo. Ia God bless.
I was in the middle of updating during the cyclone when the internet got disconnected. We still don't have the internet at home but will post some pictures afterwards. We continued to have electricity up to now. Water got cut off just for one whole day. After the cyclone we drove around Muscat and were shocked to find that there was heavy flooding, roads and cars were washed away. Houses were flooded as well. We were very lucky compared to many people around Oman. The damages are estimated at around $1billion! BUT this is an oil rich nation so it won't take long before everything is up and running again. I must commend the effiency of the government departments in issuing warnings to residents before the cyclone. Even their post-cyclone efforts have been remarkable. Our running water is already back on and the power never got cut off. Choppers and army vehicles and personnel have been working around the clock to get water and food to villages that have been cut off! More than 50 people died as a result of the cyclone so far according to the local newspapers. Businesses that could were already back in business as soon as they got power and water.
I went to check my work place because I couldn't get through on the phones and I found the boss and admin staff cleaning out the building because it got flooded. Luckily it was only floor level though they lost some books and equipment. So I had the week off until the work place is up and running again.
Otherwise praise be to God that we are fine and our friends are all okay as well.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Cyclone Gonu Updates!

June 07, 2007
It's still pouring rain here. Power is still on and so are the phones so its not too bad. Our bedroom window started to leak through earlier so we're just mopping it every now and then but otherwise all is well. The cyclone is supposed to pass Muscat and head up to the coast of Iran. Due to the dry air from the desert it has supposedly slowed down the winds and breaking up the cyclone so hopefully it'll pass soon. All I know for sure is that Muscat plants are now well watered for the next few days. There's flooding in some areas apparently and our friend by the beach didn't call us back to pick them up. I take it they left with their neighbours as that's what they were about to do when I last spoke to them.
My other friend who lives in a house at the university in Al Khoud texted to say their windows were all leaking through and the trees around the area had fallen and there was debris around the area and she had had enough of Cyclone Gonu! So I say we have it pretty easy so far. Because we're on the third floor of our compound we're pretty sheltered from the wind from all sides so we're okay. Just 3 hours ago a plastic table fell off someone's porch. I say that was pretty dumb to leave stuff out like that when there are strong winds. Someone's porch umbrella was also blown off their balcony!!! Some very smart people around. I shouldn't be too mean because I guess most people haven't seen anything like this before! Well just letting our families know that we're okay.(I lost the internet connection right about here so I saved this on word) Alex's flight last night got cancelled so he's watching DVDs to amuse himself while I blog away in between reading a Harlan Coben novel. I'll post some more updates soon if the internet is still running. Ta daa

June 08, 2007
So the rain finally stopped and so has the wind. Today was nice and calm and the sun even peaked through the clouds in the afternoon. The hills looked so beautiful and clear. However around Oman some people suffered devastation. Houses near wadis and the ocean were flooded. So we had it pretty easy. Some idiots sent text messages around that there was a tornado coming during the cyclone(?!?) which sent some poor souls into a panic. This afternoon we decided to go for a drive to check on friends and to get out of the apartment. One of our friends ‘Sera’ was by herself as her husband was stuck overseas. The poor lady looked so relieved that it was finally all over. Her house looked like she just experienced a major cyclone. Poor Sera was so stressed about the cyclone hitting that she was delirious with panic and packed up a lot of their things. To make matters worse she kept receiving messages from people about a tornado coming so she cleared out the closet for refuge!!! I just can’t believe how mean and inconsiderate some people are. I spoke to Frieda as well and she said that her neighbours called to say they were all in the closet with their kids due to the tornado warning. So while we were bored out of our minds yesterday, other people were really going through a crisis or rather, getting themselves into a frenzy about the cyclone. Hilda said she just slept, glad to have the time off work to catch up on her sleep.
The highway was flooded yesterday and we saw evidence of it today while driving around. Lots of road damag by the heavy rains.
Sometimes people are just negligent. They like to go out and have a look around during these disasters and then become victims in the process.

In the middle of cyclone Gonu!

Here we are in the middle of Cyclone Gonu in Oman. It has been raining since about 2.30am last night and its pouring down now. A bit of wind but not too bad. It's cooled down a bit too but so far we still have electricity, phone and internet. The TV satellite is down. The power has been flickering. Compared to what I've been through before this is mild and thank goodness it is so. However I just called friends that live by the sea and I was told that the waves are pretty big out there and that their garden has started to flood. We're waiting to see what the next plan of action would be. Over and out from Cyclone Gonu.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Cyclone Gonu

It's 6.40pm here in Muscat and the country is in a state of emergency due to Cyclone Gonu heading for the coast of Oman. Everyone was sent home from work today to await or sit out the cyclone at home. It hasn't arrived yet and hope it has missed us altogether. It is predicted to hit the East coast of Oman and Muscat would just get heavy rains and gusts of wind as we'll only get the fringes of the strong winds. So Inshallah as they say here it doesn't affect too many people and it breaks up soon. Its apparently unusual for these parts to get hurricanes or cyclones but somehow the Indian waters thanks to global warming has now provided the perfect conditions for a cyclone to form. I am not one bit excited about this because I thought I was far away from the Pacific prone to cyclones and here I am in the Middle East and it has followed me here! Isn't it ironic. This would be my fifth cyclone in my young life! Oh well such is life!!!
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On a lighter note I heard yesterday on the local news that according to an UK survey, Oman was deemed the safest country in the Middle East and North Africa and was rated 22nd of 121 countries that were included in the survey. I am not surprised by this because this is a peaceful country.
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I got lovely news from home last week that our family won the case to do with our family's Tuisafua title. Mom was the leader of our side and had researched the case and our genealogy for many years. God bless you Mom for a job well done for us and for generations to come. Thanks to all our family that had supported Mom and those that made it on the day and those like me that prayed for such an outcome. May the Tuisafua family prevail!
Malelega-a-le-Toelau suli(descendant) o le Tuisafua

Arrival

We landed in Heathrow at about 6.30 pm then went straight to the hotel to see Rudi. We hung out with Rudi for about 2 hours until Netia and Rich came after work to fetch us. We had a couple of pints at the bar before we headed to Winchester. We got there and went straight to bed in our comfortable beds in Nets and Rich's spare bedroom.
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The next morning after a hearty English breakfast cooked by a Samoan :) Alex and I walked down to the village and caught the bus into Winchester. We got to town picked up a map and followed the walking tour route. It's a nice little town and we had a look through the museum about the history of the area. We then went to the Cathedral which was amazing. Huge and had many extensions over time. And the main architect was named William and the renovator was another William and a diver that saved the church by diving under and replacing wood with cement over a period of five years was also called William!!! Many of those buried in the crypt were archbishops and headmasters and their spouses. We walked along and saw a cricket game being played near ruins of an old castle. We continued on and walked along the river which was just beautiful with the plants and trees hanging over it. Something out of a painting. We walked all the way and stopped at other sites before we reached the bus stop and caught the bus back to Bishops Waltham at 6.30pm. Got home and went with our friends to their village pub for dinner. Got home sang songs and played music on the piano and guitar. Later there was a challenge on wii but I was quite happy to sing away with Nets and our out of tune intruments!!!
Needless to say we had lots of fun.
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Next morning we caught the train to Hounslow in London to stay the night so we could head downtown and meet up with my cousin Mark whom I'd never met before that and James our old friend who used to work with Alex in Samoa. By the time we got to the hotel it was about 2pm and half the day was wasted on travelling. The hotel wasn't as close to the train station as we thought and there were no cabs insight!!! London is a HUGE city be warned. After gathering our wits we headed out again and found a tube station two stops away and headed into down town. We got off at Leicester Square onto Charing Cross and straight into the Brewmaster. Had a snack while waiting for James. One hour later James showed up confused by a message I left on his phone!!! We reckon he was lost in his own city heh heh. While waiting for James I walked out of the pub and stood on the street so he can spot me if he was nearby. While waiting I was enjoying watching people. It was crowded. People coming and going and everyone looked like tourists. This was corrobarated partly when an accented man stopped to ask me where the Cambridge Theatre was. I said sorry I had no idea I wasn't from there.
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When James arrived around 5pm we decided to start walking to look for Exeter St at Covent Garden where the restaurant was that we were meeting Mark and Kaye. We found it all right. Mark and Kaye arrived about 10 mins after us and then we sat down for dinner. It was really nice to meet Mark since we've been emailing for the past 5 years. They went to Samoa in 2005 and met the whole family there. We had fun and got on with everyone. We enjoyed ourselves immensely. Alex's cousin Matt and his girlfriend Cherna joined us later. We headed for Leicester Square to O'Neall's and left town late. We had a great time and was in need of sleep for the rugby was the following morning.

Rugby

Alex in his team colours

Nets and I flying the country flag.

Afeleki Pelenise after scoring a try.


Samoans in action.

NZ performing the haka after beating Samoa in the finals...arrrggghhh

Rugby

We were woken up by Nets and Rich who drove in from Winchester for the rugby. WE all stayed at the same hotel which was not far from the stadium. Matt and Cherna arrived and then we all made our way to the Twickenham stadium. We met up with other Samoans who lived in England and around Europe and we all sat together to do our cheer together. As Samoans it turns out we all know each other one way or another and some were old schoolmates. Small world this is. The rugby was great, our team won all our games and the people we were with made it even more fun. We went home around 6pm and went to get dinner from a nearby pub which served Indian cuisine. Went to bed early ready for another day at the field.
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We woke up early to catch the huge inclusive English breakfast and caught a taxi to the stadium. Once again great rugby and we were having more fun off the field than on. Our team lost at the finals to NZ. Upside was my cousin Alf was playing for NZ and he had a good game. Our team didn't seem to have it from the onset of the game and so lost miserably. NZ went on to win the cup that day. All of us Samoans went straight to the hotel where the boys were staying by invitation and waited around for about an hour before a room was ready for our contingency.
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We did our good ol' dancing and singing to amuse ourselves and one would think we won the tournament with the way we carried on. We were enjoying ourselves and then the power went out at the Crowne Plaza. I wonder now if it was a ploy to get rid of the supporters that were at the hotel but then the whole hotel power was shut down. The came around with glow sticks while waiting for the power to come back on. Well who needs light we kept on singing and dancing to the glow sticks and cellphones lights lol. It was quite funny. And as Polly pointed out later, the boys from Samoa probably thought we were nuts with the way we carried on with our singing and dancing but then it's the fact that being so far away from home when Samoans come together you just want to do everything that's Samoan hence the singing of old Samoan favourites that the younger ones didn't even know hahaha!
It must have been good because the Fijian star player William Ryder trekked over with two of his mates to join our party!!! And then we ran into another Fijian that we met in Hong Kong. It's such a small world when it comes to rugby and Pacific people. I also ran into another Fijian girl that I went to university with in NZ nine years ago!!!
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Once again it was a fun day and our boys proved to be good sportsmen once again. We enjoyed ourselves until hunger tookover we left the hotel and drove through one famous fried chicken outlet to get our fill for the evening. We slept fitfully as Rich pointed out, 6 more hours to the English Breakfast hahaha! Choo hoo.

Rugby

Samoa vs Australia

Samoa vs Argentina



Samoan supporters

Utu, Nets, Richard, self & Debrah

Saturday, June 02, 2007

London

Alex with his cousin Matt and James.

Shirna, Matt and I.

Alex and his cousins Ari, Matt and Shirna

Tired after a long day of sight-seeing in the rain. Netia, self and Shirna

In the Tower of London, Rich, Netia and I.

Friday, June 01, 2007

England

Netia and I down at their village pub.


Alex and Rich at a pub in Bishops Waltham.


With friend James at Covent Garden Market, London

With my cousin Mark and his girlfriend Kaye whom we met for dinner at Joe Allen's at 13 Exeter St, Covent Garden. First time we've met Mark and Kaye though we've been emailing for five years. This was also a lovely restaurant with a theatrical atmosphere.

My nephew Ben with his head in the wishing well thingy in Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

England and the Twickenham 7s

On Monday morning after eating our fill of English breakfast at the hotel in Hounslow we checked out and started our drive(Richard driving, Alex, Nets and I yapping) towards Lymington from where Alex and I caught the ferry to the Isle of Wight. The ferry ride was short and sweet but the day was so cold and cloudy. We were met by Neil and my bouncy brother Jos. The first thing that hit me about Jos were his startling blue eyes! They was amazing, quite a contrast to the dreary day. I hadn't seen Jos since I was 8 years old so it was lovely to see him again as well as Neil and my sister Leigh. We took the scenic drive to Ventnor and stopped along the way to see the land slip and the white cliffes. So nice for me to be back there. I could only get out of the car for a few minutes as it was just too cold for me. We got home and Ben(Leigh and Neil's son) was there to greet us too. He's my oldest nephew and 3 years my senior. First time I've met him. Unfortunately I was so tired, I went straight to bed to have a little sleep. Alex went for a walk with the family down to the beach and around the town and had a pint down the village pub. I woke up refreshed and we all chatted around the kitchen while Neil and Leigh made a mean chicken curry. It was lovely and relaxing and fun to hear Jos tell stories of me and my sisters when we were small. He had some old slides of us as kids which were awesome. That night we enjoyed a lovely dinner and then went with Jos for a walk down to the village before nightfall. It was great to catch up after all those years. Stayed up late chatting away until we all took turns to retire for the evening.
The next morning we only woke up around 10am. I didn't see Jos off which is a bit of a bummer but we'll see him next time I'm sure. Alex, Leigh, Ben and I went out for a walk down the land slip. The sun finally came out but it was still a bit cold. We enjoyed the walk and then we drove to Shanklin ate some pasties there, saw Ben off before Leigh dropped us to Cowes wharf to catch the ferry to the mainland.
Netia met us at Southampton and off we went home. We had a quiet night of fish n chips, the boys playing wii while Nets and I sat on the porch to rose and lots of catching up before we parted.
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We arrived back to Muscat this morning tired. We hardly slept on the 7 hour flight so we went straight to bed and slept till about 3pm. Alex has just left for work. He's flying to India and back. I'm already sleepy again now that it's almost midnight.
We had such a great time in England with our friends Netia and Rich. It was great to catch up with Nets. It's been a long time and its amazing how old friends just meet up after some time and yet get on and just quickly fill in the gaps as if no time had lapsed. We had fun times and best of all was that our hubbies got on which is a plus!!! On Wednesday we went to London for a bit of sightseeing. It was raining and we got into London at about 1pm. We went to Westminster Parliament house and the Abbey, Big Ben. We went to the London Tower and over London bridge. We couldn't go up the London Eye as it was raining and it would be useless to go up and not be able to see anything. After going around the London Tower we went to Knightsbridge to Paxton's Head Pub to meet up with Alex's cousins who also live in London. After a few pints and dinner we got back in the tube and trained to the car when poor Nets drove us all home to Winchester. We got back at around 2am. Staggered to bed exhausted but happy that we had such a lovely time. Yesterday we woke up lounged around with Netia and Alex playing tennis on Wii and I emailing. Poor Richard had to go to work. Netia made us a lovely Samoan sapsui(cho suey) before they drove us to the airport. We were stuck in traffic for a bit so we arrived at around 6.30pm and quickly checked in. The flight was empty so it was good for us.
Said our goodbyes and promises that we will meet real soon. It was sad to wave goodbye to Nets and Rich. However we had such a lovely time and look forward to them visiting ua soon.
Thanks heaps to:
Nets and Rich for your hospitality and for such good times.
Leigh and Neil for putting us up and for a lovely time..
Jos and Ben for staying back to catch up with us.
Mark and Kaye for the lovely evening.
James for making the time to meet up.
Matt and Shirna for coming out with us.
Ari for making it to see us.
Samoa Sevens Team for good rugby and tickets to the games.