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Showing posts from 2012

Christmas Eve

We're in Kuala Lumpur getting ready for our flight to Auckland tonight on Christmas Eve. We arrived here two days ago and yesterday we spend in Bukit Jadang shopping and just enjoying/getting squashed in the Christmas rush here. The Christmas spirit is very obvious here which is lovely but I guess it's commercialism at it's best. After three hours of walking and more walking my legs had it and so did Master Four. So we hopped back on the monorail which is only 3 stops to our hotel. We went for a quick swim before enjoying snacks at the Club floor which was yummy. Later we went to dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant nearby which a friend recommended and it wasn't great. It's a challenge to find local eateries in this area which is a bummer.
Now at KL Airport awaiting our Malaysian Air flight to Auckland. One night in AUckland andnthen off to Samoa on Boxing day.
Merry Christmas, Manuia le Kerisimasi, Frohe Weinachten from us.

Cyclone Evan

Cyclone Evan has been and gone from Samoa but it left a lot of destruction on the island of Upolu especially in the capital Apia. Many families have lost their homes due to flash floods from heavy rain. About three people died and many families are still at evacuation sites. Just a terrible thing to happen to our beloved country once more. But we have done it before from Cyclones Val and Ofa and we'll do it again, rebuilding and starting from scratch. Samoans are resilient people and they will bounce back once the sun dries up the mud and it's easier to shift all that debris and rebuild their homes. The economic costs to families and the country is going to be immense but they can only move forward from here. Now the awful Cyclone Evan has just reached Fiji and I pray it dissipates soon and not cause so much destruction as it did in Samoa though they now class it as a CAT 4 Cyclone which is just awful.

Creeps on Facebook/ Facepoo

It's that time again when I'm totally off facebook. I've deactivated my profile for now. I got a friend request from a someone I didn't know but listed as a friend of one of my FB friends. So as you do you click on their page to see who it is and whether you remember them...to my utmost disgust and irritation there on his page are my photos! He had gone and shared my pics on his page. Him because that was his profile, and that he was from Am Samoa! Yikes and yuck. I messaged them that it was very creepy that he copied my photos when we didn't even know each other. What pissed me off more is how blimin' facebook allows this sort of thing. When I went to check the said photos on my profile settings they were set on 'public' which means any weirdo can see and copy then. You have to choose the setting EVERY time you change your profile picture and apparently cover photos are automatically 'public' and you can't do otherwise! Well that put me ri…

15 Days to Christmas

I've been busy shopping for the Christmas party and presents for people and have been enjoying it. Yesterday I did a very domesticated thing. One of my friends came over with her son so they boys played while we baked gingerbread cookies and jam cookies(Linzer cookies). Just love the internet and the recipes for all sorts of things. I had Christmas music on full blast while we toiled away in the kitchen. I just can't believe it myself but it was fun, tiring but fun. Let's just say it's a good thing Christmas comes around once! Anyway now we have lots of fun cookies for the kids and ourselves to eat and looking forward to Christmas dinner with a few friends this week-end. Yippeee. Merry Christmas:)

17 Days to Christmas

So exciting. Not long to go before Christmas. I just love this season. I really miss the Christmas spirit in other countries though. There's a few that get into the hype of things here but not many do it so it's lacking a bit. However amongst ourselves we're really excited about it all. I downloaded Christmas Music App so I can have some seasonal songs on whenever I feel like it. I can't wait for our trip home to see the family and enjoy the Christmas spirit on the way. We're having a Christmas party this Thursday with a few of our friends and yep really looking forward to it now. Yippee

Perfect Sky

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Beautiful sky in Muscat after rainy days. Very refreshing and clean. The dust has been pushed to the ground so it's clear skies all day. Just beautiful.

Samoa Wins the Dubai Rugby Sevens for the first time

So this is how it went. Samoa were in Pool C which was a tough one with England who always shine in Dubai and last year's winners, South Africa and Portugal. Samoa narrowly beat both Portugal and South Africa but lost to Portugal. Portugal managed to beat both England and SA kicking both those powerhouses out of the Cup race. Samoa then faced Wales and beat them nicely in the quarter finals. They faced France in the semi-finals and beat them too to make it into the cup finals to face New Zealand. The final was amazing. Paul Perez scored a try within 10 seconds from kick off. It was just beautiful. Lolo scored another, then Perez again. Another went to Tulolo I believe. Perez was on fire and he really stood out during this tournament. He was the player of the match deservingly. He was everywhere tackling the boys in black and was there when he was need to run the ball. The whole Samoan team played like champs and didn't give NZ a chance to get through this time. It was an aweso…

Weird

A car drove out and I took it's place in the parking lot. I went in to nearby shops to pick stuff up I ordered and came back within 20 minutes to my car and was horrified when I saw I had blocked a car in!!! I didn't realise the parking lane I was in wasn't parking but a whole line of cars blocking others in. I saw the car in front of me's driver in it so I waved at her that I was going and sorry. She came out of the car yelling 'rightfully so I thought' at me for blocking her in. I apologised profusely and said it was an honest mistake. I really didn't see there was no exit in front of her car as I had reversed parked. Anyway the lady was livid and said she'd called the police and I shouldn't do that kind of thing. Again I said I knew exactly how she felt but I was really really sorry for delaying her. She continued on saying I shouldn't do that to other people to which I said "I never do that, it was by accident as I just said I didn'…

Manu Samoa vs France 2012 - Before

Every Manu Samoa fan in every corner of the world at this very moment is most likely on the edge of their seat, biting nails, restless and just waiting with anticipation this next game that will start in an hour and half in Paris. After Samoa's last two wins against Canada and Wales this is a defining moment. They beat Australia last year and then went to lose to Wales at the World Cup in NZ which was heart wrenching for all Samoans. 
To me this will change Samoa's place in the rugby world if they beat France tonight after annihilating Wales last week in their homeground Cardiff! If they don't then we're once again a one hit wonder that win once in awhile. Last week we saw our team really have the goods to deliver. Having said that France are also at the top of their game. They beat Argentina last week beautifully so it's Manu Samoa has a huge task ahead of them.
Well I just want to wish our team the best of luck. O tou mama na. Whatever the outcome I'm a proud M…

Samoa beat Wales 2012

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In what was an exhilirating game to watch between Samoa and Wales last night in Cardiff, Samoa came out victorious with 26 points to Wales 19. Samoa scored 3 tries to Wales' one try. Fa'atoina Autagavaia, George Pisi, and Johnny Leota scored the three tries. Autagavaia's try came just after the first minute of the game which set the game for Samoa. They were fit and they were persistent. Pisi's try in the second half was another beauty as he touched down the ball in mid-air after jumping away to avoid the Welsh tackler. I think it was the best try of the match. They played like a world class team and I was just proud to watch them consistently going through their set pieces and not breaking down or making silly mistakes. The Manu Samoa I watched last night were a far cry from the one a few years ago when I would watch for the heck of it and feel my heart sink as the boys struggle through the second half from lack of fitness. This time they were fit and up to the challe…

Fun at the Park

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A nice Thursday afternoon at Al Ilam Park after yummy salad and cheese toasty at Cafe G.


Ayana Spa Rocks in Muscat

This morning a couple of friends and myself decided to go for a pampering morning at Ayana Day Spa here in Muscat. It is currently my favourite spa for their treatments, professionalism, atmosphere and cleanliness. Mum and sister enjoyed lots of days there in the past weeks so today was my turn. I had a relaxing massage that was just blissful followed by a manicure. Gosh I wonder why I don't do that more often! Before that I dropped my son off at school then walked on the beach with my bestie which is just so beautiful early in the morning. We enjoyed a nice simple breakfast at D'Arcy's on Shatti Beach before we made our way to the spa. Talk about a real pampered expat wife day! But you know what, we deserve it and 'yes we can'. Ia ua lelei.

Update

Wow is my page just boring or what? I've hardly blogged in the past months. Just weird how fast time flies since the last entry. Well a lot has happened. We have been blessed for the second time and have a few months to go until the arrival of our new family member. I'm grateful to God for blessing us again and praying that all goes well. Well I've been lucky with no nausea and whatever else happens to other people...but  have just been tired in the afternoons but then again that's normal for me so it's all good so far thank goodness. I'm starting to feel the little one's movements now which is very exciting and making it very real. The bump is growing fast now and so has my appetite. I'm enjoying my food that's for sure and the koko Samoa I have in the freezer for rainy days has never tasted better:) Coincidentally a lot of friends and family around the world are also blessed right at this time. My sister for one is 3 months ahead of  me which is v…

Time with Mother/Grandma

We've had the privilege of having Mum visit us in our home in Oman. It's Mum's first visit in my son's 4 years and it is just surreal it's wonderful. The last time was when I was pregnant with my son. It's so unusual but such a rare treat that I'm enjoying every moment with my mother. My son has warmed to his grandma and they have fun together now. I'm loving having my mother in our home and the fact that I can take care of her and make sure she gets alot of rest from the busy life she leads. I envy my family back home who have the pleasure of having grandma visit their kids all the time and it's moments like these that I wish we lived closer to our son's grandparents. 
Mum has a few more days and I'm dreading the quiet house after she and my sis from Europe leave. I'm going to miss them terribly when they go and will enjoy the last days we have together:)

Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman

My friend Millie and I made it to see Aida last month at the newly opened Opera house in Muscat. Well it opened last year but I finally managed to make a show. Last year almost all the shows were sold out as they brought in sought after acts for the first year of the Opera house. They had Domingo, Andreas Bocelli, The Russian Ballet, Japanese drums and if you snoozed you lost out. I was over the moon when my opera going friend called to say she had a spare ticket for me to see Aida by Verdi. It was performed by the Warsaw National Theatre and it was beautiful. The colours on stage and the beautiful performances and voices were just magical. I enjoyed every minute of it. Last night we went to see Jessye Norman an American Opera singer. It was an enjoyable performance and the lady had a mesmerizing voice but I found it weird to listen to opera in English! Not that I understand Latin or Italian but somehow it sounds more intriguing than in English. Nevertheless Ms Norman had a very allur…

Kate Middleton and Prince William in Tav

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So we from the Pacific love this label Tav. It is owned by Cook Islander Elena Taveoni and she's been selling it in Raro and Samoa in Janet's Boutique store. The latests store opened in Auckland and I must admit I've visited this new store every time I was in town browsing the sale rack:) They are not cheap but the quality and the workmanship on the clothing is well-worth the buy. And if you're my friend on facebook you would see I wear my beloved Tavs all the time. So it's lovely to see the Duchess looking comfortable and fabulous in what we Pacific women love to wear. Great day for the Tav Stores across the Pacific. I hope it won't make the prices go higher as they're hefty as it is!

News in the ME

I said to the hubby that we should have a party next month as it's been a bit quiet lately since the last party. He said we shouldn't and we should keep a low profile for awhile in light of what's happening.
 I asked what's happening? And he informed me of the protests going on around the ME to do with that anti-Muslim movie some idiotic people filmed in the US. I quickly switched to the news channel and read online and yep was I in the dark about it all!!! And then I understood why I'd been getting messages from people concerned about us. I've been so busy with my son starting at a new school and getting stuff together that I hadn't really paid attention to the news! Well having said that, nothing shocking is happening around us thus far and hope it stays that way.

My Birthday

I woke up to a text from one of my friends to meet her for coffee after kids drop off. School started this week so having free hours in the morning is all a novelty once more for me. I texted back yes. Hubby got up to say happy birthday and went back to bed as he worked late the night before.
I met my friend at a cafe where I could have breakfast. I had decided my birthday was going to be a non-event as the surprise party was my focus. I texted my bestie that we were at our favourite cafe if they wanted to join us for coffee. They showed up with big smiles wishing me a happy birthday. I felt so bad when the friend I was having coffee with looked up in shock and embarrassment that I hadn't informed her about it. Well what was I gonna say guess what "it's my birthday!!! We had a nice breakfast and then I offered to take my friend's sister to the souk. The souk is the beautiful market place in Muttrah the old capital of Oman which is in Muscat. I hadn't been there is …

Surprise Party

My bestie has had her last chemo-treatment and has been given the all clear of breast cancer to our utter relief, however she still has a year of a herceptin to go. The worst is over thank God for that. So to celebrate her surviving this ordeal and her birthday in one go we decided to organise a surprise party for her. Her hubby was in on it and he wanted to do it at their house as he had just installed an outdoor bar for entertaining. And so we planned. We finalised a date that most people were available on which is flaming hard when most people are on rosters... but the final and most difficult task was getting her out of her own house and then to sneak her kids to mine for the night. 
In the end another friend invited them over for drinks before going out to dinner. Her sister was visiting also so they went off and we took the kids home with the sitter. It was crazy. Once she left the house, friends and I rushed over there and set up the house and garden for the party with her hubby…

1 September

First day of my birth month! Just gets me excited lol. I've received my electronic present already from hubby so I'm a happy b'day girl. However I still expect a little love on my birthday. Weird much? maybe but I'm sure millions of people are like that. Thank goodness for facebook that make people feel extra special with the birthday reminders that make people receive so many birthday wishes. I have to admit I'm one of those suckers that just love those messages from family, close friends and not-so-close friends. Ia lava ga kuluku.

Update

My dear friend has completed her chemo therapy treatment for breast cancer and has been cleared to our joyful relief. Her hair is slowly growing back but sparse at the moment. She has a monthly injection called herceptin she has to take to be rid of a cancerous gene she has for the 11 more months otherwise life goes on and we're thankful that she survived this.

Our other loved one has just completed her first round of chemo and radiotherapy and now having a break. They will conduct tests to see what effect it had on the tumor and we're all praying and hoping for the best results.

Fifty Shades of .....

If you want some entertainment read this brilliant version of Fifty Shades of Savai'i by my talented sister. Just brilliant.

Austria

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'My life as a dog'

Dramatics I meant 'with a dog'. Yes literally, we brought home a three month old Labrador cross last week. Two sleepless nights and days later I was absolutely mortified. I could not believe we had done that. I, since I was a child had never owned a dog. Same goes with the hubby. We were both debating how to pass it along. However the Apple of my son's eye is so cute that we're SLOWLY warming to it. Oh yes everyday hubby and I deliberate how to get rid of it but my son's growing affection for it has stopped us from doing so. I think it'll be one of those things that traumatises a child. "I'll never forget the day my mum and dad gave away my dog" choo hooo and so the dog stays. 

But having said all that, not-so-little Apple is a fast learner and a smart dog to our relief. Some dog lover friends had said Labs were stupid, personally I cannot tell the differences in intelligence from one dog to another but I do appreciate it when they learn what we te…

Heilbronn 2012

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Heilbronn

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The next day we headed into Heilbronn to have a look around. It was a lovely little city. Heilbronn is where hubby's forebearers came from and why they have that last name. One of the great grandpas dropped a couple of letters from the name to their current name. It was a beautiful sunny day so everyone was out and about, the cafes were busy. We walked around the town centre and went to the Experimenta Museum, a science museum for all ages in which our son had a ball. We were there all morning before we grabbed lunch and headed back to our hotel.

Our bikes were ready except Tau's one which was too big. The helpful receptionist called the bike guy who showed up with another bike which was still too big and then had us follow him to his workshop. He was mighty helpful and very lovely. 15 minutes later we were armed with the right sized bike and helmet for our little one and two good ones for us. Off we went bike riding down along the river. It was just so beautiful. I dreamt of d…

Ele Opeloge update

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On 5th August Ele Opeloge competed and ranked 6th in the Women's +75kgs Group with a mark of 267kgs! She did awesomely and this fan is so so proud of this Samoan Competitor and what she has achieved. Zhou Lulu of China went on to win gold with and Olympic record lift of 333kgs. 



Schloss Heinsheim

We landed at Munich Airport at 7.30am after a 7 hour flight from Muscat. We had a good rest on the flight and went straight to Thrifty to pick up our car. I love how small Munich arrival is, each terminal allow for a few flights so from my experience we've never had to queue up to customs which is convenient. We programmed the GPS for Heilbronn and off we went. Hubby driving and me being a live GPS just incase. Of course 1 hour into the drive I was knocked out! See being Samoan we can sleep anywhere, whether we've just woken up or not! Travel and sleeping go hand in hand. 
I woke up about 30 minutes to destination. Driving on the outskirts of Heilbronn town itself was just beautiful. It's wine country and there were vineyards everywhere and corn fields for miles. Hubby found us an idyllic hotel in Heinsheim near Bad Rappenau 15 mins from Heilbronn city but country enough for us to enjoy the weather and fresh air. We passed Bad Rappenau and after a windy road we drove along …

Ele Opeloge for the Olympics 2012

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Ele Opeloge is ready for the 2012 Olympics. However she's just recovered from chicken pox 3 weeks ago according to a Samoa Observer interview. I hope it doesn't mess up her chances for a medal this time around as she seems hungry for it now. All the best Ms Opeloge. I love this picture with her malu(Samoan female tattoo) on display. Shows the power and the heart of the woman in one shot. And that's what little Samoan Girls are Made of.


Home in Muscat

We drove back on Saturday which is when Ramadan started here in Oman. It started the day before in Dubai. No cafes or restaurants are open in all the malls except some hotels that keep the restaurants open for guests but shut away from public eye. It's really weird because the malls have lots of cafes and so it's very quiet in the malls and just strange not to have the option of having a coffee. This is my 8th Ramadan and it's still a shock. We just have to stay put and not spend much money during this month which is a good thing. I feel for those fasting because 1. It's VERY hot at the moment it's the height of summer and without water! 2. The days are loooong. It doesn't get dark until just after 7pm!! So Iftar isn't till then! All the best to those fasting I say and more coffee mornings at each others houses for us non-fasters!


New do to support loved ones undergoing chemo

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Haven't had short hair since I was a child! At Al Sondos Hotel in Deira Dubai. They cool the pool so one can swim in the morning before the sun gets too hot at over 40 degree Celsius

Hurricanes vs Chiefs

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We went to the Cake Tin to watch the Canes play the Chiefs last night with family. The Hurricanes had to win though they weren't the favorites to win. It was a lively game and the final minute was just amazing as the Canes went through many phases to score their winning try. Sonny Bill W was on the receiving end of a spear tackle. Luckily it wasn't fully executed but the player was sent off with a yellow card. Sadly I think it was symbolic of the general feeling towards SBW with his recent decision to leave! Great game indeed.






Cancer Confuses

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Today my son and I went to see our loved one undergoing chemotherapy at the Wellington hospital. We come upon a room with six cubicles and at the end on one side is our loved one. We sat by her and chatted while the machine dispensing the chemo drug beeped away. There were 5 others in the other seats with the tubes in their arms while the machines bumped away. The hospital obviously tried to make it as user friendly as possible but the reason why we were there doesn't get away from any of us. My son was a bit confused and stayed away. After awhile we went to leave, our loved one had been there since 8.30am and now it was 1.30pm and she still had radio therapy to go after another hour of chemo. It's been a long day for her. I wish I had powers to just heal her and make this shitty cancer go away but alas here we are.


As my son and I were leaving we heard the organ playing in the lobby. We came down the escalator and walked towards the music. We came upon a young lad playing clas…

The gift of a Child

This week I met a friend of a friend who is a few months pregnant and looked fabulous. I congratulated her and she gave me an unimpressed smile. I'm then made aware that this pregnancy was an accident and by no means were they really accepting of it due to their circumstances. The couple already have 7 children between the ages of 20 and 12 and to them they're just about to see the last of their kids through school and it's really hard to make ends meet and then here they were about to raise a new baby. I remembered close friends in NZ that really want a child due to their lack of reproductive success. They had undergone IVF to no avail late last year and are now really open to adoption. So I told the pregnant woman about our friends with no kids in NZ and she said she is very keen to let them adopt her baby. I suggested for her to sleep on it and talk to her family and see what they say while I contact our friends and see what happens. Today I called a lawyer and discuss…

When Water Burns by Lani Wendt Young

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Lani Wendt Young's second book in the Telesa Trilogy, 'When Water Burns' is now available for worldwide purchase from Amazon. This fiery young adult fantasy adventure combines Pacific mythology with contemporary romance.
Release Date Announcement: Print Copies of 'When Water Burns' - * NZ/Australia/Pacific: June 25th, 2012.               $24.95 NZD      (plus postage)   * USA/UK/World: June 13th, 2012.                       $15.95 USD     (Lani Wendt Young: http://sleeplessinsamoa.blogspot.com/2012/06/release-date-announcement-print-copies.html)

Seki a Samoa

My son and I landed safely in Samoa in the early hours of Saturday morning. We had a good nights sleep and woke up to a beautiful sunny day. I was greeted by the welcoming crowing of roosters, chirping of birds and the sounds of the neighbours. Just blissful sounds of home to me. I looked out through the practical modern Samoan window of louvres and was rewarded by the breathtaking multi-colours but predominantly rich green of the plants and trees. To me this is a sign I am HOME. My sister and hubby have moved to a new place and on one side is a cliff where one can hear the distant sound of a waterfall. I woke up and just took in everything around the house and was just happy and content. I am home once more and am grateful that I can come home more often than not. Had a lovely time catching up with my family and my Mum. 


Rugby
At 3pm we made our way to the games to watch Manu Samoa take on Scotland. It was not a very exciting game with Scotland scoring a try in the first 5 minutes and …

5 Days Post-op Wisdom Teeth

Today the swelling on my face is much better, the feeling in my tongue is back and the scabs that were around my mouth have just about all cleared. There is still a numbness on the bottom right side of my lip and the pain is almost all gone when I'm due for my medicine. My right ear is still block until I hold my nose and blow or I move my head to the side. Today I finish the antibiotic course I was prescribed. I got another anti-inflammatory tablet that really brought the swelling down and really was pain numbing which was great.
Last night however I started to freak out about it all. I wondered if the feeling on my lip and chin will come back and whether I will go back to normal. I mean I thought up every possible worst scenario and I just got scared. I regretted having the surgery done and all the bad thoughts went through my head. Poor hubby who was away on a work trip walked in and was met with a freaking out almost chipmunk! I chatted to nurse sister and she reassured me an…

Post Op: Oral Surgery 3 days later

I took panadol, antibiotics but refused the anti-inflammatory prescribed as it causes swelling around my eyes. So there's a lot of discomfort and I certainly look like a chipmunk. Huge chin plus scabs around my lips where they must have held my mouth open. Every time I imagine what they did I cringe. The doctor called a few hours later with further instructions for after care, to put ice on my jaw and even drink cool water or eat ice cream to help with the healing of the wounds.
The next morning I was very swollen and tender in the mouth area and my jaw was just huge. My son was bored and wanted to go to school so I covered my mouth like a bandit and drove him to school. It was very uncomfortable but made it to pick him up again later. I covered my face more to save others from a sight for sore eyes. When I showed some of the ladies my swollen chin the look on their faces said it all! And back to bandit style I went. Today however I finally feel a lot better like I'm definite…

Wisdom Toothless

Yesterday I went in to have my 3 wisdom teeth removed. It had taken me a long time to have the courage to go get this done. So earlier last month we met a dentist and was encouraged to go see him to have my bothersome teeth removed. He did the X-ray and then made the appointment for the surgery. One of my  the wisdom teeth was horizontally impacted and another was fairly deep. Well I went in a little nervous but my mind was at ease it'll be okay. I changed into the hospital gown with the gap at the back luckily it overlapped! The nurse showed me the way to the surgery and once I was on the table the anaesthetist came in and well it wasn't long before I was out to the count.
I woke up in the recovery room not feeling my mouth! I fell asleep again. When I woke up the dentist came to see me and said that it was a difficult procedure as one of the teeth was deeply embedded in the bone. They wheeled me to my private room where I was just happy to sleep and sleep. Finally they gave…

Happy Birthday Samoa

Big party in Samoa today for the Diamond Anniversary. Manuia le 50 Tausaga Samoa. Facebook is hot with overseas Samoans yearning to be home on this very special day for our country. As for us, we were at an Australia/New Zealand Moulin Rouge themed ball last night and the lovely band upon request did a shout out for Samoa at midnight which we really appreciated. 50 years of FREEDOM. Woo hooo I wish I was watching the fautasi races this week.

Counting Our Blessings.

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Throughout this awesome trip we did in Europe, our 3 year old was safely in the care of my husband's parents. We all went to Austria together for a week and then we parted ways in Munich, where we saw them off at the airport to come back to Muscat on their own. Hubby's parents were looking after our son in our house while we were away galavanting through Europe. Here I say I am truly blessed to have them in my life. Not many grandparents can do that for their kids so we're very lucky. So to avoid them going stir crazy in Muscat, hubby arranged that they go to Kathmandu, Nepal for 3 days for a tour around there with our three year old in tow! Mind you this will be 3 Year Old's second time there.
A friend couldn't believe that this was happening, and pointed out that we were sending our son with his grandparents on their own to Oman in the Middle East and then on to Nepal, both "third world countries", were we crazy? Well that's looking at it in a way …

Venezia - Last and Sad day

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We slept in. We got ready, checked out of the hotel and dragged our bags through the street to the boat. We decided to go to the train station to check the train times, leave our bags in the baggage storage and make our way to a Salvador Dali exhibition and see the museum of costumes before catching a later train to Milan for our flight in the evening. As we stood on the boat enjoying the sights of Venice I reached for my phone to take some last photos, when I did I noticed I had messages. One of them was from my dear friend who has been like a sister to me since we met four years ago. In the text she tells me that her test results came back and that she had breast cancer and she will have a mastectomy this week-end. I looked up to find my husband for support and it's as if Venice had gone black, had lost it's glamour in that one moment. All I wanted was to get home to hug my son and then go see my friend and hold her hand and just be there for her through this terrible journe…

Venezia: Day 2 Morano Glass

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Venice day 2
We took up the free ride offer from the hotel to go see how glass is made on the island of Morano. It was a very cold day and windy over the water. They took us and four others in a water taxi which was quite comfortable. We saw the glass master heat the particles in extreme heat and mould it into a vase then another into an horse. His skill was fascinating to watch and they are apprentices for many years before they can be masters. Afterwards we were shown through to their immense shop with the hope that we'd buy some products. As much as I wanted one I was just imagining arriving home to Muscat and finding a shattered expensive ornament in our backpacks! So no grazie to the pricey glassware. 














We walked through the small island to the town centre Colonna, had coffee and jumped on the boat to San Marco square to make the most of the day. It was a bright cold day but we arrived to hordes of tourists all over the place. There was a long queue into the Doges palace which w…

Venezia

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Venice day 1
We took a train from Verona to Venezia/Venice that took one hour with beautiful views. We pulled into the Venice train station and outside the main entrance we bought public transport tickets for 48 hours 28euro each plus Venezia Tourist Cards(highly recommended) that get us into many attractions with minimum payment or no extra fee, meaning you avoid the long queues too. We caught the boat to Lido Island where our hotel was located. The boat took about 40 mins but the views were just beautiful. We learned later that you can take a boat that makes fewer stops which cuts travelling time.