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Monday, November 01, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Short trip & Birthdays

Tomorrow we're going to try and catch a flight a new destination and we all can't wait to do it. yippee.
We went to one of Tau's friend's birthdays and had a fabulous time. The kids did and so did the adults. The hosts were so organised so plenty of food to eat and drinks. It was fun. Tau and his friends had a nice time. We came home and I found that I left the front door unlocked!!! I freaked out a bit and went in to see the TV and other things were still in the house so no one waltzed in and help themselves when we were gone. Then I found that the back porch door was unlocked as well!!! Hubby had grilled stuff on the BBQ and forgot to lock the door! Oops. Just hope that won't happen again! Oh and when hubby got home there was a car that ran into our skip out front!!! How he did that is beyond us because the skip is safely off the road! The guy after bumping the skip got lodged into the barriers that are there to protect the new drains so good luck. We saw the police out there and the car was from Abu Dhabi..good luck.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sleepless in Muscat

Due to my over consumption of treated red grapes (in other words red wine) from Spain last night and my early work out this morning, I was really tired. I dropped Tau to nursery came home made brekkie with hubby_dearest before he went to work and I to bed! I slept till it was time to pick up my son from nursery. Boy that was a good sleep too. I picked my son up from nursery and brought him home fed him and self lunch and then took him for his afternoon nap. I read my book and next thing I was fast asleep next to him again!! We woke up around 4pm!!! So we came downstairs, I made pasta with salmon baked in the over. It was a yummy meal after a whole day of sleeping. So now hubby_dearest and our son are asleep and I can't sleep! I watched Sex and the City the movie and boy that was good. I was in tears when Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big had their altercation on the street! It was full of raw emotion and it was played really well. Gotta love a good love story.
Tomorrow I have to get curtains for our three windows that exposes us to the outside world. OK my son's room doesn't have curtains either. We've yet to hang them up:( I know slack but well don't have the tools and blah blah I just have to get the professionals to come hang it up along with putting in new ones. I also have to make a trip to a plant nursery to get some more plants for our garden. I want some colour-ful leaved plants out there to break the green. I love our little Eden within our gates.
Driving in Muscat is still the same: Crazy. It's a game of who quits first or risk having your car bumped, scratched or plain CRASH! Nevermind if you're in the correct lane they would run you off the lane just to be one car in front! What's wrong with merging in an orderly fashion. aaarggh. This city is growing fast and the roads aren't equipped to hold the number of cars on the road but then this could be said about a lot of cities in the world. Speaking of which we happen to live off a busy road which is quiet at night and there's a bend in the road not far from our current location. Last month, three nights in a row there were accidents on that bend. They happened late at night and I was sleeping in the front room and I could hear screech of tyres and a thud at the end as the car hit the lamp post, the next one hit the plastic barriers on the side of the road. Since then they've put temporary indicators on the side of the road to mark the bend and I haven't heard any crashes since. On that note I'm off to bed and hope to join the dreamworld soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Covert blogging

So I tried to hide a fact in one of my blogs and the person I was writing about knew straight away I was talking about them! So much for my covert blogging! Not that I really tried. Just venting really.
I made it to the exercise class this morning. As I dragged my feet along the beach all I could think of was the nice Spanish shiraz that I delightedly punished myself with the night before. I congratulated myself for getting up for the exercise session but in between rubbing the cobwebs from my eyes I also advised myself not to do that again the night before running up and down the beach trying to get fit! Boot Camp has been so much fun, exercising as the sun comes up in the morning and making friends with fellow unfit boot campers has been a blast. Next week is the last week of Boot Camp and am sad about it but I've also signed up for the next session. I figured if I can't drag my lazy bum to the gym then I might as well do this first thing three mornings a week.
Lee Child
I've read Echo Burning by Lee Child, a Jack Reacher novel. I must say this guy is really good with his writing and I find it enjoyable. I'm now reading the latest ones I'm onto '61 hours' and have 'Worth Dying For' to go next. I'm into reading at the moment once more and really enjoying it. I like getting lost in books. I read 'Hard Girls' by Martina Cole and boy does she waffle on about crap. Like describing over and over that the heroine was 'old, wrinkly, long in the tooth, everything sagging' I mean WTF. I skipped a lot of parts due to repetition about the age of the heroine amongst other things!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Slacking off

I have training in the morning but tonight we went to friends for some drinks and dinner. I have it in that order because that's how it was. We had a lovely time but I have training early tomorrow and I had about a whole bottle of red wine to myself as one friend was pregnant and one didn't drink! Anyway here we are at home and am tired and about to go to bed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chile Miners rescue

It's nice to hear that the Chilean miners are being rescued as I type this. However the funniest twist is when one of the miners' wife found out there was another lady waiting for her husband. It turned out the lady was her husband's mistress!!! So as the Daily Mail reports this miner is "stuck between a rock and a hard place" ha ha. I'm sure he's well aware he's in deep s*&^ when he gets out. Now the wife has decided that she won't go to the site to wait for her philandering husband because the husband asked for her and the mistress to be there when he gets out. He's a real winner...not.

Mad morning

This morning my alarm went off and I must have stopped it instead of snoozing it that I woke up again and the time was 5.33am! I was so disappointed in myself as I thought I missed the Boot camp training this morning. Then I thought hold on it's not too late to catch some of it. I quickly got dressed, brushed teeth and ran out to the car and drove towards the beach. Lucky I'm not too far from the beach so was there within 10 minutes. So I was about 30 minutes late but I made it in time to do most of the self test and the rest of the exercises. It felt good and was happy to have made it. It's a good start to the day. When I got home hubby and sonny were fast asleep and was told that Tau didn't sleep well so I snuggled in after my shower and was knocked out. I woke up a few hours later refreshed and went out to the Women's Guild group coffee to get my new card and tickets for the Crystal Ball next month. I'm really looking forward to the ball and praying that Alex gets the day off so we can go:)
I sat down in the few seats available and met two ladies who were both new to Muscat. One from Germany who lived in Spain and one from Australia but grew up in England. It was nice to also run into an old friend who now has a gorgeous six month old baby girl called Rose and her mum whom I also met a few years ago. It was nice to see them and plan to catch up again. Meanwhile Tau was running around making new friends in the coffee shop with the waiter and two other little girls there. The local people are really very nice with kids and Tau being the little charmer that he is always charms his way into people's good graces. The waiter came to carry him out of the shop and said bye bye. So cute.
We went to Dubai on the week-end with Alex who had to be there for a week. Tau and I came back on the Friday and he insisted on pulling our one bag. It was about 17kgs but he's pulling this thing. So I just walk ahead pushing the trolley with his car seat and making sure he's following me. People stopped and stared and smiled and this little boy pulling the bag that was heavier than he was!!! It was so funny and I'm sure they were probably thinking I was so hard to let him do that lol. We got home ok and Oman Air staff in business were really nice. I love the hot meals in business between here and Dubai so will make sure we do it again next time:)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reproducing and adoption Samoan style

I've been absolutely rubbish at updating my blog. I'm really disappointed in myself for it. So I hope to improve though do not hold your breathe. So happy news in the family my sister is pregnant with their second child, my brother's fiance is carrying their third child(he has three from a previous marriage) and then everyone looked at me to be the bearer of the 26th grandchild to my mother: and I said considering the way the others are reproducing I'm sure someone else will will cover that number. Sure enough one of my sister-in-laws is carrying their fifth child(this same brother has other kids from previous relationships) so I think my family has far exceeded the kids quota though I do want another child. What I don't understand is how people who struggle manage to just keep having babies when they can barely afford to send the other kids to school. Funny thing is I heard my Mom tell my sister-in-law and brother last time we were in Samoa to consider family planning and focus on giving the current live kids the best education and everything and they both agreed and said of course they're not having anymore kids. Well good luck, 3 months later they're pregnant!! I thought it was hilarious when I heard the news. Though the poor sods weren't laughing when they found out.. but nevermind, in Samoa every child is wanted and will be looked after by someone or other. Of course in this case my brother and his wife are doing the looking after of the soon-to-be five kids!!! with all our help of course, because it takes a village/extended family to raise a child.
Which reminds me, when we were in Samoa and stayed in the village for my hubby's tattoo, every family in the neighbourhood had a kid that was someone else's that the grandma, aunties/uncles were raising. The house behind us had an 17 year old boy that lived with his grandma. The grandma proudly told me that his eldest son 'gave' her his eldest son to be her baby and companion. I didn't get that! I asked the others about it and they said at first the kids parents were both working in Pago and had no one to look after their first born so they brought the baby to grandma to look after till they settled. However they now have six more kids and decided back then that the eldest is best to stay on his his nana!!! The boy seemed well-rounded and normal. A good looking boy too. I wondered about this set-up for days, if the couple ever missed their eldest son or wanted him back or questioned their decision? I don't know and would never know. But the said boy is now a young man and will soon have a family of his own!
In the house we were staying at there was a similar case though the boy that was living there was the only son of the couple that left him! Apparently he was left there too because the parents travelled alot for their work but when they came to take the boy back he didn't want to go. So they took him anyway but apparently the boy would not settle with them as he wanted to come back to his nana that raised him. The kid is now 19 and lives happily with his nana, uncle/aunty and their kids. The story goes that one week in his final year at school, he got up as if going to school and headed up to the plantation and came back with crops and things for dinner that day. At the end of the week when his uncle asked why he was doing that and he said "school is not for me, I want to work to look after the family." So they tried to talk some sense into him but the boy had made his decision and he wasn't budging. When we were there this kid was the backbone of the family as in he looked after the family plantation and worked the land for their food. And if ever I needed some coconuts of papayas this kid would deliver by the end of the day! During our time there I noticed he was an honest, hard working and very relaxed kid. He was pleasant to be around and a very calm soul at that. I think he'd make a great chief one day, but in the meantime he's working his way there.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Update

Villa
At the end of July we found and moved into a villa which has a nice small garden and one car garage though both cars can fit inside the gate. We've been here for almost three months now and it's great. The A/Cs were noisy at first but the maintenance were quick to service them. One is still noisy but we hardly use it so we don't bother. We've had a few BBQs here which have been fun. It just shows how much we missed out on entertaining since we didn't have the space before. Tau is enjoying the outdoors more as the weather improves.
Austria
At the end of August, Tau and I travelled to Austria to visit my sister there. We were there for two weeks and what a lovely time we had. We flew to Munich where my sister picked us up from and two hours later we were in Mondsee. The weather there was great plus the views and the greenery made it divine. Every day we did something fun for Tau not to get bored. Plus we could use the pool so we swam almost every day for the first week as the sun was shining and the pool was just perfect. We would go down by the lake for Tau to play at the playground there some days. We went to the Salzburg Zoo when another friend came from Vienna with her two boys to see the animals. Tau loved it and we all had a nice time. We went swimming at the Bad Ischl thermal Baths and it was lovely, newly renovated pools and it was well designed with about 5 pools to choose from. There was a lazy river too and it was lovely. There were quite a few people but it didn't feel crowded. It was a nice way to spend a rainy day. I loved the sensation of the cold rain splattering on my face while immersed in the warm water. Tau had a nice time and so did 7 year old Oliver who didn't want to leave. One of the days we went by a creek for the boys to dig and play with their buckets. We wore boots but we all got soaked in the feet. It was fun and something different to do.
Boot Camp
About four weeks ago I signed up for Boot Camp here in Muscat. Two South African guys are running it and it's just been fantastic. On the first day they made us run about 800 metres down the beach and I almost blacked out and walked most of the way. I was so unfit it was tiring and disgusting.
This morning I managed to run the 800 metres where we do the stretches and then run back again:) It's great that I'm a lot fitter and it's been fantastic. This class runs three times a week and I go to the one at 5.30am! Yep, me miss sleepy head actually get up at 4.30am and go to Shatti beach to exercise. It's a great group of people and it's just a nice thing to do rather than sit around and just put on weight!
This morning though there was a large group of men jogging from one end of the beach towards us. It was amazing there must have been over a 100 of them in uniform. We think they were the local police cadets in training. Just a cool sight though. It's also really cool to see so many Omanis out exercising in the morning. Most of them are older men and couples. It's great to see people working out, and the feeling's contagious.
Commonwealth Games
Samoa has won three gold medals and one bronze so far in Delhi India. It's very exciting for Samoa.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friday, July 09, 2010

Villa hunting

We're looking at moving to a villa(house in Oman). I went searching last month since we got back from Samoa. We finally found a really nice one that met what we wanted and within our budget. It was up to our company and the agent then to write up the appropriate documents and all and then we get to move in. Well we were happy and awaiting move in dates however we also realise that in this country nothing is straight forward. Sure enough we followed up this week and the agent was being elusive. We finally managed to get a hold of him to be told that the landlord changed his mind and that he wanted to rent all his villas to one company. Naturally we were very unhappy because he could have just called our company back and told them that but instead he wasted our time and lead us on. Anyway we're back to square one looking for a villa again. Our lease is up at the end of the month and so we have two weeks to look for a villa we like:) So here we go again and praying that we find one that we really like just like the one we missed out on.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tau turns two





Our son Tau turned two. We organised a party for him and his friends at a local indoor play area with all sorts of games for the kids to play with. After and hour or so of play we called them back to have lunch sing the birthday song and cut the cake as well as have a go at the coolest pinata ever that our friends made for Tau. It was a fab party. Almost everyone made par the ones that had left the country on holiday. We all had a nice time catching up with friends while the kids played. Tau got loads of presents which was fun for him of course. Thanks to everyone that came. Great times

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Samaga Pe'a


The time came when the completion of the tattooing sessions were near. We went to Samoa for three and a half weeks and we were hoping that it would be done well before then but by the third week we were not so sure we'd be done well before or in time. You see in Samoa there are a lot of unforseeable circumstances that arise. One of those was the tattooist's family from ovearseas showed up for family meetings and all. So there had to be days off while the tufuga dealt with his family duties. On top of that Mother's day followed and then the final week was full on tattooing everyday until it was completed on Saturday.
On this Saturday I dropped the two victims off to the tufuga's house, hung around to serve breakfast and then went back to our host family to help with the preparations for the samaga ceremony. Samaga is the ceremony that formalises the completion of the tufuga's work and where he lifts his taboos and bans and let's the new pe'as out into the world as free responsible tattooed beings. The family along with all of us were all excited about the end of the work.
On the final day when they were tattooing the last bit of Aleki's body I was there to video and take photos of it. We had discussed it the night before the amazing end of his journey and I mentioned some protocol that occur at the end of the pe'a.
Well come the time, they tapped in the final tap and the tufuga said "Ua uma" or "It is done" Aleki slowly sat up. They told him to take his time and not to rush as his legs were freshly tattooed. Apparently some people topple over when they get up too quickly. The next thing took us all by surprise as Aleki stood up and did what a proud, robust Samoan does in moments of triumph, he did the tuliususu
"Chooo hoooo"
and proceeded to do an aiuli(dance) and hugged the tufuga, his assistants and all the supporters that were in the fale. Not a single eye was dry in the house as I think everyone hadn't expected such a Samoan reaction from New Zealand born, English speaking(with a bit of Samoan) Lealali Aleki. It was a beautiful moment to witness in my eyes, I felt so much pride and love for this man that was my husband. He had broken barriers and overcome this massive test in life and I was proud to be by his side all that way. I couldn't have dreamt of a more beautiful ending to the tatau journey of Lealali Aleki.
The surprises didn't end there. I went back to the main house to assist with the preparation for the ceremony and there I found the neighbouring family old ladies were making leis for the occasion using fresh flowers.
I was so touched by this act of family love. I was so emotional there and then at the realisation that all these people were celebrating with us and were doing what they could to help with the ceremony. As my mother puts it, when one starts the pe'a, the supporting family all hold their breathe as everyone anticipates and prays for the succesful completion of the job.
1. For obvious reasons, so the tattooed man comes away with the full tatau and
2. If unfinished it is the shame of not only the half tattooed(pe'a muku) man himself, his children will be shamed but that of the whole family as well.
So the completion of the tattooing was now celebrated by all. The neighbouring ladies and young men came to help our hosts with preparing the food. My mom arrived in time for the ceremony with things for the sua(presentation). Alex's Mom, Dad and aunty arrived with clothes and a beautiful ie toga(fine mat) from Alex's uncle in Manase that he wanted to give for the sua. Alex hadn't even met this uncle yet.
The ceremony went well and Lealali and Folasa were humbled men at the end of it all. The outpouring of love and support from our families and friends was just humbling. The prayer was conducted by Leilua Keni who's a deacon at his Methodist church in Sataua. Lealali and Folasa danced with pride and joy and for a few minutes pretended they weren't in much pain. We took a lot of photos of everyone there to remember this day by.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Cyclone Phet

Cyclone Phet was downgraded to a Tropical Storm yesterday. There was lots of heavy rain in Muscat that caused the wadis to flow. Buildings in the wadis were inevitably flooded. There's this big mall called the CCC centre here in Qurum that was once more flooded as well as the Mc Donald's near it. In Gonu three years ago the water covered all of the fast food outlet but this time the water was half way up. Still a lot of damage I'd say to their equipment and the lot. I think they make enough money that this is just a minor glitch to their operation. Otherwise the south of Oman where Sur is, there were pictures uploaded by people there showing a lot of houses were flooded. Once more that poor city suffers from the floods. We drove around Qurum and Al Khuwair areas this morning and I must say it's impressive how the roads have already been cleaned or in the process of being cleaned by government employed labourers. I must give it to the government they obviously learned from the last cyclone. Luckily the rain stopped last night and the water has receded in the wadis. We were actually on the beach as if nothing happened there. They had built a bridge in Qurum so that the water ran freely under it into the ocean. It was just completed a few months ago so that was lucky. Last time it was a road that blocked off the wadi and marsh area that when it flooded the water basically washed the road away. There's roadworks in many areas that are obviously aimed at alleviating the waterways to run straight to the ocean and not block the wadis no longer. Unfortunately some of those road works would be slowed down by the flooding so far. I hope not many suffered from this cyclone and that it dissipates before it hits Pakistan.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Cyclone Phet in Oman

While I'm blogging away, Tau and Aleki are fast asleep. I decided to cease the moment and catch up on my blog. I quickly checked my facebook page and a friend was online who also lived here in the same complex. She informed me that there is a cyclone heading for Oman! I thought she was having me on but then she called me and confirmed. She'd been shopping for food and said that the store shelves were cleaned out as people went to buy food to prepare for the worst. Saddest thing is we have no idea. This morning we went out to view two prospective houses and came back and were at home all day. We had the radio on in the car and there was no mention of a cyclone then! So I'm hoping and praying that the cyclone doesn't come our way:( I just looked online and they mentioned it weakening but not too sure. On top of that I tune in to Euro news and the breaking news is that of a man that had gone on a killing spree somewhere in the UK! It is madness. I better go get some sleep in case we have to battle a cyclone tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

By stander / supporter / family


Watching the tattooing and the tattooed men from the sidelines is an amazing experience in itself. My mother said to me from the beginning to prepare my husband and myself for it is a challenging journey and it is no easy feat. Well her words couldn't have been more true.
My task throughout the tattooing was to make sure everyone was well fed, that everything was running smoothly and be there to support Aleki and give him the encouragement to keep him going. There were some bumps along the way but one had to try and keep it together so that the two guys can just focus and get through the tattooing.


Unfortunately for Lealali Aleki's(warm showered bum for most of his life) the cold showers throughout the day were nearly as bad as the tattooing itself (he said). Moreover they had to sleep on the floor on fala papa(hard mats) throughout the three weeks. They weren't allowed to use sheets while sleeping(and the nights were cold) nor sleep on mattresses. On the third night Lealali suffering from sleep deprivation decided he'd sleep on the bed because it might get him some decent sleep. I decided not to protest and let him do what he wanted. As we're chatting away with the family the sergeant major showed up for his nightly checks only to find yours truly knocked out on the bed. He immediately got him to get off the bed and back on the mat and that was that.

Taboo
The tattooist has all these taboos that once the tattooing starts the participants have to respect. Well these rules all make sense for they are all to aid the participants on the road to a fast recovery. For example sleeping on the mat: The mat presses on the skin of the area tattooed thereby squeezing out any gunk trapped under the skin. That's my take on it and they've been using these rules for centuries so they really do work. On the mattress the skin sinks into the mattress and the skin dries stuck to the material. So when the patient moves the skin is ripped from the tattoo making it an open wound!
The advise from the tattooist and from those that were tattooed was that the cold showers and massage with soap and water was the quickest way to heal nicely. And a doctor friend advised Alex that it had been proven that nothing beats soap and clean water to keep the wound clean. So on went the 8-10 showers a day by the boys as the tattooing progressed.
Watching what these men went through day in and day out, I was in awe of this art that is part of our culture. In awe of not only the art itself but also a lot of respect for those undergoing pain everyday to complete this part of our traditions. What makes them go back to the tattooist every day for more pain boggles the mind. Lealali Aleki said he drew his strength from our ancestors and from his Samoan heritage that makes him who he is today. His Samoan up-bringing in New Zealand by his parents and his Samoan grand-parents who spoke to them only in Samoa and ingrained in them the importance of the Samoan culture and the interweaving of family into everything that makes Samoa unique.
Support
The support from strangers and people we'd never met before was amazing. Other tattooed men just showed up at the fale to show support, to egg on and reassure the two new victims. Others came and stayed the whole day and helped to shower and massage the two guys. Others just came to eat and left. Others came with food or kava to asi(contribute/assist) in the process. This is what it was all about.
Another chief of the family came on the first week-end for a family meeting and was surprised by the tattooing, he decided to stay to support Aleki and Iegi through their ordeal. He was actually tattooed as well back in the 60s. It was amazing to see these tattoos from different eras. They all were of the same outline but the intricate designs varied from one to the other.
Mind you most of these people were my family but I hadn't met half of them before. The fact that I was my mother's daughter I and my husband were part of the family and we were their children to look after. Whether I had shown up before to this part of the family or not was not important. The bloodline spoke for us and I was thankful to my mother for keeping all these family ties alive.

Taga tatau i Samoa / Tattooing in Samoa

My husband was offered and he accepted a matai title from my family early last year. Afterwards he said to me that it was time he gets the tatau. He'd always wanted one and now he felt was the right moment to get his tatau.
The tatau is the full body(covers 65% of the body) tattoo that young men who come of age get. Today men get it when they are ready or want it. So we planned quietly and arranged to do the tattooing in Savaii with a tattooist at Vaipu'a Savai'i whom also tattooed my brother 6 years before. Alex and many of our friends have been tattooed by this man Su'a Loli Keli with arm bands or other designs. He's a real artist with a good eye. He's very talented and everyone I know he'd tattooed come away smiling and happy with the design they get from Loli Keli.
The time came and we traveled to Samoa via New Zealand. We spent one night in Auckland and the H-Town delegation picked us up from the airport which was really nice. We spent a few hours with them as Tau and MM got on like a house on fire until we couldn't stay awake any longer. We relaxed at the Millenia hotel in Apia for 2 nights before we caught the Lady Samoa III boat to Savai'i from Apia with Mom. We did our big shopping in Salelologa before we headed out to Sagone.
We'd decided to stay with relatives in the village. We went straight to the tattooist house to do the formalities to give the fusika and discuss the tattooing and all. There was a nice feast that evening with our hosts and we got to meet the rest of the family. We felt comfortable and welcome from the first day. The tattooist(tufuga) arrived at around 8am the next morning. After breakfast the tattooing began at around 9am. Alex was joined by Iegi. Iegi is from our village and a friend of my brother's. He was to be the soa or the partner of whom shares the pain with the primary tattooed man (it being Alex in this case). So each session starts with the primary participant followed by the soa. The designs are not necessarily the same for both men.
They started with the va'a (canoe) mid-way down the back. They took three hours to do Alex's back and then broke for lunch and finished off the day on Iegi's back.
Watching that first hit by the tattooist is something else. And that's only the beginning of the journey of the tattooed man.

Day 1 after the first session. Alex is watched over by Leilua Viali who was the fofo(masseus) and mentor. Alex and Iegi called him the Sergeant Major because he checked on them at the most unexpected times to send them to the showers, remove any sheets from the tattoos or make sure they're not sleeping on the freshly tattooed areas.

Emergency in the village

I went back to the house to make sure the chow was ready for the galuega (tattooing) and found my cousin had driven to the galuega with it. As I was about to hop back in the car to go back to help my cousin's wife ran up to me accompanied by some random village boy if I could help this family by driving their child to the nearby hospital as the child had collapsed. I agreed and the boy and I drove to their house not far away to pick up the child. When I drove up, three women ran towards the car with one cradling what looked like 3-5 year old girl in her arms. The little was unconscious as her head was lolling as the woman cradled her. I asked if she was breathing and the older woman said that the little one was breathing but just not responding. I drove towards the hospital with what's now the little girls grandma and two aunties. I wasn't aware of the whereabouts of the mom but the little girl was under the care of the grandma that day it seemed. As I was driving along to the hospital the grandma said to the others that we must stop to see someone named Fiu.
I thought they were talking about another relative so I turned into that house as they pointed it out. As soon as I stopped the car all three were out in a flash with the child while yelling out to the household if Fiu was there. The answer was yes and that Fiu was in the umukuka out back so they called out to Fiu to come. Next thing I saw, was this household running around gathering leaves and herbs as it dawned on me that this was the village taulasea(natural healer)! I sat in the car drumming my fingers waiting. There were more than enough people there so I wasn't going to help in any way but be in the way if I got out of the car. Eventually after the child was given a mixture to drink and massaged I heard cries and then the girl's aunties asking her questions like 'what's your name?' and 'who am I?' and who's this?" pointing to the grandma. The kid must have been answering correctly because they were happy with that and they bid adieu to the healer and returned to my car with a wakeful little girl. They hopped in the car and thanked me profusely for driving them. As I came out of this drive and was about to turn towards the hospital they all quickly decided that there was no need to go to the hospital and that we should go home. I insisted that the child must be checked by a doctor but they were adamant that the child was okay now and if I could drive them back home faafetai lava. I reluctantly dropped them back to their house. They wanted to pay me for taking them but I said not to worry about it and drove off after telling them that they must take the child for a follow-up at the hospital.
Should I have just driven to the hospital against their protests? But then
I decided that it was not my place to try and tell them what to do or not to do.

Tales from our trip to SAMOA from April 27th to May 19th 2010

We've been with the family in Hamilton for three days now. We've had a nice relaxing time. Tau's grandparents flew up from Welly to spend more time with him and it's been a lovely week-end. Jody and I have had our night out after our scrumptious dinner at Lone Star where I ordered a whole bowl of mussels and ate it all too. yum yum. It was just really yummy. Anyway we're now packing and head to the airport real soon. Next destination Brisbane to the Labans and meet the newest handsome addition to the family Mr. Lyell Jnr Laban born to Lyell & Victoria Laban. He must be my granddad's 100th great-grandchild as grand dad had a few to many kids in his scandalous time.
I better get going bro-in-law is busy cooking up a storm for brunch this morning and my tummy is making funny noises. I shall update on the tattoo journey as soon as I get on my own comp at home.
Here's a taste: On our first week-end in the village one guy was caught driving through the village locking a woman's head in his arm as he drove around. Then he stopped under an ulu tree and put a gun to her head and was threatening to shoot her due to her telling everyone about his indiscretion.
Let's call him the Unsub to borrow from Crim Minds. So this eventuated because the lady(victim) caught the unsub in an empty house she was house sitting with another village woman that was not his wife. The victim went straight to the pulenu'u(mayor of the village) and reported on the unsub. The mayer called a village meeting and punished the unsub 1. for breaking and entering. 2. for the extramarital affair (apparently he was caught before and was warned to stop of be banned form the village.) So this time the village banned him and told him he wasn't allowed back until further notice.
After the meeting the unsub went straight back to the victim and threatened that he will kill her when he gets the chance. The pulenuu was again informed and an emergency meeting was called. At this meeting the chiefs decided to ban the unsub for life and this time his family had to provide 50 aumatua(female pigs) and 1000 tala by sunset or all face banishment from the village for this guy was warned countless times and not respecting the village rules anymore.
By 1pm the family came up with 1 aumatua and 10 pusa apa(elegi boxes) but the village said it wasn't enough.
By 4pm they came up with 2 dead cows and about 40 pusa apas or something like that.
The village decided to accept this payment and let the family stay but the unsub remains banned for life. So that week-end we had lovely fresh steak for dinner as the pusnishment goods were distributed to all the families.
Needless to stay I was starting to like the village and was hoping for more steak as long as no one dies in the process....love the village police

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Shamal

When I get back from Samoa I'll write up on our time on Shamal. Our friends Alec and Ann arrived early this month on the Shamal, their beloved Catamaran they sailed up from NZ through Australia, Asia, Sri Lanka and India. We've had a lovely time with them here in Oman and they will set sail for the UAE in two days as we head to Samoa for a month. Until then soifua

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oxford

We've been, we've seen and we're pleased. We flew to Heathrow on March 3rd and drove to Oxford on the same evening. We checked into our hotel and waited for the scholar and Aute to come by. They didn't show up till about 2 hours later thank you very much. They'd just sat down to dinner when I called but I thought it wasn't long. Anyway it was so nice to them when they made it over. My little sister was accepted as a fellow in the Reuters School of Journalism at the Green Templeton College at Oxford University and went there to do her fellowship for three months. So it was a full on course and we managed to squeeze in the trip to go see her during her studies. We had lunch at her college a few times and met her classmates and some of her friends. We later joined her class for tea at the director's residence which was really nice. Tau made an impression on the Oxfordians as they passed him along and entertained him all evening which was great. The people were nice and the town was just beautiful. We visited a few colleges including the old and famous Christ Church which is one of the oldest colleges in Oxford.
We caught up with Austrian delegation for two days before Desiree had to return home. On the same day the Isle of Wight delegation arrived and unfortunately due to miscommunication we missed each other for a few hours that day. We caught up in the evening which was fabulous. I also fell sick that day not sure whether it was the cold but I came down with a fever and a runny nose. The next day I stayed in bed while the family went out to breakfast. It was terrible as I wanted to spend more time with my sister but I was just not fit for company. So I stayed in bed until they all returned from breakfast and then we all went to lunch at The Trout Inn at Port Meadow. It was a beautiful restaurant set next to a canal. Further down was an old monastery and pathways for walking. After a yummy lunch we strolled through the old monastery and by the river banks until it got too cold then we turned around and said by to my sister and brother-in-law who had to drive back south that day. We had such a lovely time with them it was sad to see them go.
We drove around the countryside for a bit and stopped near the Blenheim Palace and had tea in Woodstock village. It was nice then we dropped by my sister's place and hung out there for a bit until we went back to our hotel to sleep.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Books

I finally succumbed to the vampire trend and bought the Twilight book and read it on the flight back from NZ! Wow I must say it was quite a read and it wasn't bad at all. I didn't like the bit of the story where I thought the story broke after the heroine was attacked but otherwise the writer was very good with words and I must say a very realistic way of describing a teenage crush when nothing else matters but what you feel and the subject of one's infatuation. So needless to say I'm hooked and want to get through the other two books now.
On the way to NZ I read Caroline's Sister by Sheila O'Flannagan. It was okay... I thought it droned on in some bits and it got to a point where I just skipped paragraphs and still didn't lose the storyline which was almost boring by the end. Needless to say I was glad I was done with that.
When I went to England a few years ago I met my eldest nephew Ben for the first time and we discussed books and he gave me a list of must-read books. On this list were all three Phillip Pullman books and last December I read Northern Lights. That was really good I must say. I was sucked into the book until the end. Funny thing is I realised after the first few lines that I'd seen the movie The golden compass or other which was not that great plus Nicole Kidman is just atrocious these days in movies. So I was worried that I wouldn't enjoy the book as much but I did and I can't wait to read the next one. I'm now reading a Michael Connelly novel called Bloodwork. There's a time for some authors I say and I like to take a break between authors otherwise I find the writing predictable and irritating.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Stand-by Travel and Citizenship

Ia e muamua ona sii le viiga ma le faafetai i le Atua ona o lona alofa tunoa mo i tatou uma ua le mavae lea. Ona oo ai lea o lau faafetai ia John Key for I got my NZ citizenship application accepted last October thank you very much. I got a letter from the citizenship office last month that the ceremony to take my oath of citizenship was on February 8th of this month.
As we decided it's best to get it over with now, we had to make arrangements on how I was going to accomplish this with the least disruption to our baby boy's life. Thank goodness for good friends my best pal in Dubai decided that she'll come to ours and faamuli with my son when hubby dearest was at work. So it was sort of a wife-swap except I wasn't being swapped, I had to make my way to Wellington in the fastest possible way and back before my son forgot he had a mommy. I was travelling on a discounted fare (thanks to hubby's job) where I would be one of the last people that they consider at boarding time to hop on the flight if for some miraculous reason one passenger dropped dead, didn't show or had to be off loaded due to whatever reasons.
All three flights out of Dubai that morning were full but I did my PR work and visited all three gates and introduced myself to the staff to let them know that if there were a seat available to make sure that they called me who was standing not far from the counter with only a carry on bag ready to fill that seat.
Well most of the staff were so nicely negative about my chances but I stood like a statue near the counter on the first flight that was leaving and tried to make sure I didn't look too desperate(though that was obvious from a mile away) and smiled ever so often to the check in staff just to remind them that there's a prospective passenger there!
Boarding time came and went and one check in staff signaled to me that they were waiting for ONE passenger. Unfortunately I was wishing all sorts of airport mishaps on that person like lost luggage, can't get through security blah blah. And then the main staff signaled for me to come over. And low and behold one passenger had to be off loaded because they didn't have the right visa for NZ so I got the one vacant seat all the way to NZ!!! Imagine my joy as I was contemplating getting back on the flight to Oman as I was missing my son so much, especially when I spoke to him and he said "come": ouch. Needless to say I was in tears and not enjoying the experience at all. It was like I was travelling without my heart for that whole time. It was terrible. In the process I went mad with the Sat-Nav phone on Emirates making calls that cost too much so I could talk to my darling back home.
Anyway I got to NZ safely and went straight to Hamilton with my sister and her two kids to see our other sister with the one kid:) It was nice to see everyone but I was knocked out in bed by 9pm and woke up the next morning at 8am.
To be cont'd

Feoaiga

We came back from Dubai today. Hubby went for word to start with and after Bubba's nursery on Wednesday I picked him up and headed straight for the airport to go to Dubai. Here is how my day went that Wednesday.
Bubba and I were up at 6.30 fed him his breakfast got ready and off we went to drop him off at nursery. He cried for a bit as I left but the teacher at the gate reassured me "he cries for two minutes then he stops after you leave". I wasn't sure whether that was supposed to make me feel better!
I came home and quickly did our packing, tidied our messy apartment from bubba's playing the night before, toys all over the lounge and I also tried to get some washing done before heading off so we're now greeted with a tonne of laundry on our return. After the house was nicely tidied, dishes washed, laundry in washing machine I had enough time to zip down to the salon and got my nails done. Oh yeah I needed a reward after all that work heh. I told the lady to cut corners so I can get out of there as the clock was ticking and it hit me I had less than an hour and a half to pick up sonny boy and get to check-in for our flight.
The night before I had done the right thing and listed ourselves on the flight just to be sure we're wait-listed as we were travelling on discounted fares, thanks to the perks of hubby's job.
So I rushed out of the salon grabbed our bags and literally ran to the car with stroller in tow and drove like a mad woman to pick up my son.
I apologized to the teacher that I was in a rush and off we went, strap my son in his seat and off to the airport we went. At the long term car park I realised that there were no trolleys there so I had to leave my son's car seat behind as there was no way I could take child, stroller, and three bags to the check in by myself!!! Where were my third and fourth hands when I needed them. We finally get to the check-in counter with 20 minutes to spare (they close the flight an hour before take-off) and the guy looks at our ticket and had a exasperated look on his face. I gave him 2 minutes before I asked him what was going on and he said, "oh" he says "you aren't listed on the flight so I'm trying to call reservations but no one is answering, why don't you go back to reservations and book yourselves and then come back." OK I just about blew my top there and I calmly said to the check-in staff that I DID list us on this flight the night before and if he can't check us in then by all means call his supervisor or someone that can enter us in the system. He tries to call again and all this time there's another staff behind him talking away to him and they're having a full conversation meanwhile the clock is ticking and I know they'll close the flight real soon. He says to me again "you have to go to reservations and list yourself" I lost it then and I said to him in a stern voice,
"How do you expect me to take my son, bags and all and run out through security to reservations and back within 10 minutes?"
The guys just wanted me to go away, he didn't care less whether I got on the flight or not...so I pressed and said call your supervisor and I'm not leaving here till you check us in and I'm not going anywhere. I listed myself on the flight last night and so we should be in the system. He finally called his colleague at the other counter who took our passports and ticket and checked us in!!! This guy was just typing away on his computer and I had to ask him if everything was okay and he said that there wasn't a problem he was checking us in. Meanwhile the other idiot has left his counter with his friend and chatting away obviously on their break. No wonder I was in the way of his break time...arrrgh.
Anyway we got on the flight alright and the crew were really nice that day. Sonny boy was really good and we were in Dubai in no time. Luckily our friends in Dubai had an extra car seat which we managed to borrow for the 5 days we were there. As usual we had a fab time with our friends.
I went to the Jazz festival with the girls on Thursday night and saw David Gray in action. He was just awesome. He sounded just like on his recordings it was fantastic. We had a nice time. We also went to the movies with our friends and saw Avatar in 3D which was not bad. The visual effects were amazing though the storyline wasn't original at all. We enjoyed it though. Last night my girl Nets and I went to see Valentines Day which was a fun movie. We laughed a lot and enjoyed it which was fun.
Now we're back home and nursery is on holiday so I have to do a lot of things to keep sonny boy busy in the morning. Off to bed now it's late.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Haere Mai

We've had a fabulous time this past Christmas. My Mom, the Waikato delegation consisting of sister JJ, her hubby G and princess Moerangi all arrived the day before Christmas to spend it here with us. Very exciting times. Christmas day we woke up to the smell of yummy champagne breakfast prepared by Tau's nana Sue which consisted of croisants, ham, french toast, strawberries with chocolate dip, poached eggs and the lot topped off with champagne of course. So it was a scrumptious start to Christmas day.
Alex got busy with G to cook the turkey in the weber bbq. Nana Sue was busy in the kitchen all day as we come in and out to help clean and chop whatever was needed but Nana was in control of the menu for the Christmas lunch. My Mom and sis J were occupied keeping the kids entertained and at some point made it to their beds to have a nap. Come lunch time we all had our second wind and were ready to eat some more and party. Alex's Aunty Theresa and her family arrived with more food for lunch and then we sat down to tackle the turkey, lamb, ham and all the yummy desserts that followed. It's amazing how no self control can be exercised on such a day! After lunch we Grandpa Jim played Santa and distributed the presents from under the tree. It required the receiver of the present to dance their way to Santa before getting their present. It was a good laugh and fun. Many glasses of champagne and scoops of food later we were singing to Aunty Theresa's guitar strumming and taking turns playing the ukulele, dancing and trying to remember the lyrics to old songs. At around 12 the guitar player had to bid adieu as the kids were ready for bed and then we all called it a night, helped with the clean up and stumbled into bed.
It was a lovely lovely Christmas as my Mom made it and Tau had all of his living grandparents together that day:)