LIFE

Ever had those moments when you just want to slam your head into a wall for no particular reason?  If so – I hear you loud and clear.  We have reached halfway through 2016 and I can’t for the life of me remember what the eff it was that I promised to do this year 6 months ago.  I’m pretty sure I would’ve made some awesome NY resolutions like “study my ass off…make more money…be more patient…talk less and listen more…have a less stressful timetable..”..pretty much my standard list of to-dos every year. But nothing really rings a bell for me other than the fact that I have basically ignored my inner-pleas for a less stressful timetable.  I think I just hit the motherload of all stupid-ass-planning-without-thinking-ahead moments I’ve ever had in my entire life.

I’m not complaining about my life (well, not yet).  I’m just baffled – with myself…and the things I get up to.  In January, I wasn’t sleeping right. I kept waking up at 2am with creative ideas for community outreach events and ways of using my position as a community leader to produce awesome events that would showcase the amazing Pasefika creative talent that is right here in Melbourne.  I kept trying to brush off the ideas because helloooo -I’ve got shit to do man! I’ve got a PhD to finish, 3 kids to try not to kill…and blahblahblah I can’t even go on with this list..(it’s tiring to even think about my routine right now).  I just put it down to the things to do after I complete my studies.  But the ideas kept coming and I found myself typing them away in the middle of the night…..so by the end of January, I just couldn’t ignore the pull.

So what did my midnight dreams result in? Me founding a non-profit organisation called PICAA Incorporated. PICAA stands for Pacific Island Creative Arts Australia (We’re on Facebook and Instagram)  I got all the paperwork ready, got a board in place…found a secretary in the form of the most wonderful Samoan sista Evotia Tuitea and then boom…we started planning.  Soon afterwards, I started to accept gigs that I would normally turn down because of my schedule – but this time, I have a team of awesome  peeps who are down for whatever it takes to put Pasefika talent on the map here in Australia.  So now, I’m knee-deep in rehearsals as producer/music director for the first ever Samoan community-focused and community-based theatre production event in Australia – a play based on the story of Samoa’s creation called “Amataga o le Alofa” (“The Beginning of Love”).  Add to that, we put together a choir called “Pasefika Vitoria Choir” for a first-ever Pacific community event hosted by the prestigious National Gallery of Victoria on June 11th.   Yeah – I’m crazy busy: I’m part of a few Pasefika community and church groups already.  But can you imagine being a Pacific Islander living in a world where there is limited opportunity to take your children to see your people on stage?

Let’s keep the momentum going Pasefika people of Melbourne!  Let’s not worry about how hard it is to get our people seen or heard in the creative arts sector, or how hard it is to gain REAL LEGIT support from our own people (the ones who love to talk about doing things but don’t show up to actually do them!).  Let us instead focus on the end result – the part we play in opening these heavy-ass doors for our children who will grow up and not have to struggle to find opportunities to take the stage as proud Pasefika peoples. Our job today is make it HAPPEN for them – we have the means, we have the heart…we might go valea from the sheer stress of it all, but hey! Let’s go valea together 🙂

So am I on track to resolve my awesome goals for 2016? No. I’m still broke, I’m more impatient than ever..I still talk more than I listen (seriously, someone actually told me to shutup when I was talking over his explanation of something..probably not important hence why I kept talking lol)…and my stress levels? Pffft…what is stress these days? I can’t even tell what the difference is between stress and my life right now!

Manuia.

 

 

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THE FAIPESE MUM

I’ve been thinking a lot about the church music ministry and how I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve God through my participation in the choir as well as my community.  I’ve been in this role for 26 years now ( I started really young lol) and I’ve seen many moments of joy (weddings) and grief (funerals) from behind the keys.  I’ve also had some up/down experiences such as the time I was playing for the choir in one of our big songs (like epic) and the Yamaha-Electone I was playing on decided to go all funny and malfunctioned during the song…or the time I got a growling in front of the whole church by the faifeau because all year he saw me reading my romance novels from behind the piano during loku and just couldn’t hold his silence any longer lmao….and then there was the wedding where the bride insisted I play a particular song for her walk-in and when I told her it was a funeral song (a well-known one too) she demanded that I still play it but a ‘happy’ version.

When I moved to Australia 13 years ago, I didn’t know that I would (or even could!) continue my ministry in the EFKS church as I had come to a place where I knew no one and did not have any family nearby who could help me with my young babies during church time like my mother did for me in NZ. When I was little, dad was free to focus on his role as faipese (choir director/teacher) because mum was always there for us.  But when I think of my own experience, today I am the faipese as well as the ‘mum’ so most times it is hard to juggle my ministry as well as my young family.  I guess it’s fair to say that girls would start off as kapiago (pianist) but as we get older, settle down and have babies, it’s too hard to maintain the aufaipese (choir) timetable so the role of faipese (choir director) is normally fulfilled by males.  Female faipeses make a tiny number compared to males.

I look back and think of a special woman who came to my aid – the late Apitale Lua (RIP)  who religiously babysat my newborn Malia Lucy every week at peses and lotu in 2003-2004 while I conducted the church choir – teaching her young daughters Nafanua and Puna how to help look after her also, and then giving them the evils whenever Malia cried during service lol.  When my youngest Osty was a newborn in 2008, the entire row of altos (teenage girls) had turns looking after him during peses and loku…until he started walking and then wanted to be a cool guy with the tenors at the back.  I remember conducting a song with one hand and yanking his shirt with the other when he kept running around me – some good times there lol.  Also, I fondly remember that Sunday in 2002 when my Reverend at the time Dr. Rev. Peniamina Vai  (RIP) told the congregation to leave the little 2-year old Jeramyah to breakdance down the aisle every time his mum played the fast church hymns lol –  so I had one eye on my music notes and the other on my dancing son.

One thing that I’ve had to learn to deal with as a mum/faipese is that I have had to put my foot down with certain people and tell them that I am a mother first, a faipese second.  Particularly now, as a solo-mum, I will put my children’s needs and timetable first before I allow the choir to schedule rehearsals.  I’ve also had to deal with people who try to ‘own’ me as a faipese – I acknowledge my role in Sunday service, and I do my best to get that choir singing at the top of their lungs every week – but when people try and put their ‘hands’ on the ministry that God has allowed me to fulfil, or try to claim ownership over me as ‘theirs’ – then shit gets ugly.  I remember the time an elderly couple  (from another church parish) came up to me after  a combined service, thanking me for sharing my talent with them that day.  When they walked away, a member of my own church asked me “what did they say? and why?” and when I answered..she looked disgusted. Clearly she thought that as a faipese in her church, people from outside were not allowed to compliment me… I left that choir a few months later. I don’t understand how people try and put their ‘stamp’ on something that they had no input in creating and developing. It was my father who put my music lessons/practices/performances/exams ahead of everything he had in his life for a good 13 years, and my mother who made sure my fees were paid and comforted and encouraged me during the difficult times. So everyone else can just watch and listen thank you.

I make it a point to share my music notes with my fellow faipeses,  I get requests every month from Samoans around the world who are looking for a particular song copy and for some reason – I happen to have it – so I scan and email it over.  I don’t like this attitude of “these are my music notes and no one is allowed to see them” – because at the end of the day, I did not compose all those songs..so I don’t ‘own’ them..and I’m pretty sure that if a composer wrote a song, they would love for as many choirs to sing them right?

My father is pushing 72 and is still the faipese of his church choir.  I’m in my late 20s…..okay then..late 30s geez. So the way I see it…I have another 40 years of faipese work ahead of me…..and around that time I will be writing a blogpost called “The Faipese Grandma”….*****dying****

 

Ia manuia.

 

 

 

FIELDWORK TRIP: AUCKLAND, JAN 2015

This particular post was supposed to come before my last one (FIELDWORK TRIP: SAMOA, MAY 2015), but somehow I forgot to post it.  So here it is:

2015 is my FIELDWORK year – the year where I put on my ‘Budget-Buster’ hat and do things to make sure I can afford to travel to collect the data that I need in order to write my thesis.  These things include scabbing all the coins from my kids’ piggies, gradually down-sizing their lunchbox menus without them realising it, and ‘forgetting’ to pay for school trips so that when they get to their dad’s house, he ends up paying for them – you know, little things like that….

So – early this year, I went home to Auckland to check out the Archives of Maori and Pacific Music.  I already had a sense of what historical recordings of Samoan music were already on the shelves there thanks to the online catalogue that I have practically stalked since 2011, but I just needed to have a literal noseying-around to check if I could find anything extra. I wasn’t disappointed – the archives is an amazing goldmine of so many Pacific audio/video/dvd collections that anyone researching Maori/Pacific music and dance will find immense value in what these guys have here. But before I begin salivating while describing my archival finds, let me tell you about the other side of my trip first – the personal side lol.

Going home to conduct research isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially if you’re Samoan…and if you go to EFKS church…and you’re a faipese….and (even worse)..your dad is a faipese too.  Can I get a “pressure!” up in here…Nod your head, raise your hand in the air and say “Aye-MEN!” if you hear me.  My visit coincided with my dad’s month in charge of church choir music so yes that meant he could have a nice break while I took over the choir for him. I love my home church choir but choir practices are almost triple time-consuming than what I have to deal with in Melbourne.  So, peses were on Wed 530pm-730pm and Sat 4-6pm with Sunday service 11am-1pm – that’s about 6 hours every week.  That very month, the church lost a dear member to cancer so that meant heavy preparations for the church choir for extra services (epic 3-hour rehearsals x2 that one week).  All of this, while I had to visit the archives everyday 10am – 4pm for one solid week – and I had the kids with me too!

I know you’re probably asking me the question: “But Rita..why didn’t you ask someone else to do peses for you so you could do your research?” – I’m sorry..I don’t understand your question (uppercut yourself if you are Samoan and you asked me this question).

Moving on: The Archives of Maori and Pacific Music and Dance.  I was granted access to many different collections and types of Samoan songs and given digital copies of these by archival manager Nigel Champion who basically made my research such an easy process – Thank you Nigel!  I worked in a small room and basically sat there all day listening to music and taking selfles every hour to Facebook everyone lol. Some of the songs I listened to were from commercially released LP albums from 1960s onwards, some were from Richard Moyle’s fieldwork days in Samoa in the late 1960s, a sizeable collection came from 2AP Radio Samoa recorded 1970s onwards, also a digitised copy of 1910/1911 recordings that are originally kept in Berlin. However, one of the highlights for me was accidentally coming across sacred Samoan songs that were actually commercially released in the 1970s as an album of Samoan love songs – when I realised I had found recordings that were important to my research, out came the fist pumps and my 1-min victory dance (running man, Roger rabbit, the robot etc).

So the trip was awesome, my family were a huge help in keeping my kids busy whilst I hit the archives. Big shout-out to my brother who took the kids for a few days and when we organised swap-over, he brought my son into the city with no shoes – yep, I did one of those..walk down Queen Street..see my 6yo with no seevae, then quickly walk past him and pretend not to be his mother.  Also, big thumbs up to the lady who drove the 487 from Manukau to Otara one Thursday night I caught the bus, eating her KFC drumstick and navigating the streets of Otara like a boss.

Thank you for reading my blog post and staying right to the end (it’s a mission, I know). Hope it changed your life.

Ia manuia.

Attending the faigalotu for the late Sagale Lesa Sagale with the kids. The service was held in the marquee behind us, where our church (EFKS East Tamaki) offered support via prayer and song to the grieving family.
Attending the faigalotu for the late Sagale Lesa Sagale with the kids. The service was held in the marquee behind us, where our church (EFKS East Tamaki) offered support via prayer and song to the grieving family.
My last stint as faipese for EFKS East Tamaki before I caught my flight back to Melbourne - the funeral service of the late Sagale Lesa Sagale.
My last stint as faipese for EFKS East Tamaki before I caught my flight back to Melbourne – the funeral service of the late Sagale Lesa Sagale.

Hulk Coconut mornings

Every Monday-to-Friday at exactly 8.00-8.30am I turn into the Hulk.

No matter how elegantly I ascend from my lush king-size bed…and float to my bathroom to get myself beautiful for the day…then tell myself in the mirror that I am totally awesome and today is gonna be an awesome day – the minute I walk into the kitchen and realise that my kids are ‘behind’ with their school morning prep, I start hearing the piano music from the Hulk TV program in my mind…then my lungs start to expand while I start to breathe deeply…then out come the 10 questions…

“Why aren’t you in your uniform?  How long do you need to stare in the mirror for hmmmm?  Who dropped this piece of bread on the floor?  Didn’t I tell you to get your uniform ready last night?  Do you want me to come over there and pull your socks up hmmmm? Oh really? So it’s my job to get notices out of your bag? What…did..I…tell…you…about leaving food in your bag overnight?  Son, I swear if I look in your room for your lost folder and find it, you are gonna regret asking me to help you..so let me ask you one…more…time – where is your english folder?”

And just like that..they rush around getting their shit together while I stand there, hands on my hips doing the Jake Heke big-eyes thing at the pub.  I swear – they MUST do this to me on purpose!

So…same routine as always, last week, we’re in the car and I’m reversing out of the garage – still continuing my Hulk mother series of “This is why you need to….Did’nt  I tell you last night that….How many times do you need me to …..”  and then SMASH, my driver’s side mirror hit the garage wall.  This is mostly due to the fact that I was still ranting to my lucky-to-be-alive children that I forgot to look while reversing – I was mesmerised by their massive eyes looking back at me while I delivered my final statement. I get out, sellotape my mirror together and drive off.

You know what the amazing thing is?  When we’re at their school, I’m like “okay bye my babies, have a great day at school, I love you” – smiling sweetly at them…a completely different woman from the 30 minutes before.  My babies smile back at me, even hug me before they run off, but Im pretty sure they spend most of their school day wondering how they got to be stuck with a mother like me.

Moral of my story (other than to reveal my psycho side to you all) – my Hulk coconut mornings must now come to an end.  Obviously.  (Plus it was expensive to replace my mirror).

 

 

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Ia manuia xx

The Independent Man

Last month I made a quick weekend visit back home to New Zealand to conduct some fieldwork and have a nosey around at the Pasefika Festival (Auckland).  As always, my accommodation is my dad’s crib in Otara (yeeyah-choice-eoowwwwww!-nahbro!). I always enjoy the time we spend together – even though most of the conversation is about how terrible his aufaipese (choir) is sounding these days and what song am I up to with my aufaipese in Melbourne and oh-by-the-way can you notate a pese for me please lo’u afafine (my daughter)  before you head back home etc….

Since being widowed six years ago with the sudden death of my mother, I have watched my dad transform and – dear I say ‘blossom’  – into the independent pensioner (lol) that he is today.  The week after mum’s funeral, my sister and I took dad to the ANZ bank in East Tamaki so that he could find out his bank details and learn how to withdraw money from the ATM (which, for some reason, had Chinese translations but no Pacific Island ones?).  My mother was the financial boss in her marriage – my dad had no clue whatsoever what bills were due and when.  So he had to learn all of this real fast. Over the years, bit by bit, dad has been looking pretty slick (in a good way) and stylish (if you ask me). The aviator sunnies are a constant accessory (even indoors), a request for a ‘leather’ jacket purchase from Kmart seemed pretty-damn important last time he visited Australia, and the mobile phone bill? Oh my life, this guy seems to have international numbers showing up on his bill more than the local ones – thankfully, none of these are from Nigeria, Somalia or any place that sends through scam mail (they’re all from Samoa – which is kind of the same thing a ea?)

Living in another country – away from your elderly parents, is a worrisome thing.  Many of my friends, who have left NZ for Australia, are in the same boat.  As much as we love our new beginnings here, there is also that nagging thought at the back of our minds: is mum/dad okay? Will I ever see them again? Can I afford to go back home if something happens to them? If these questions go through your mind, you are not alone – welcome to the club.  There’s no easy way to overcome the feelings of guilt that you have when you first announce your plans of ‘leaving the nest’ and moving overseas.  For me, the only comforting thought is knowing that I can at least help my dad out financially – something I was not equipped to do when I lived in NZ – and making sure that I’m reachable at all times.  I may not be easy to reach when friends and other family members call, but I’ll always make time for dad’s calls/texts/facebook messages (yep, he has facebook lol).  Sometimes he likes to call to hint that a big fa’alavelave is coming up, most times he calls to ask more about a particular photo I posted up on my facebook page and wants to know what the event was – especially if the event was musical, then there are the times when he just can’t get the hang of a new pese lotu (church hymn) and needs me to sing one of the voiceparts so that he can learn it – via the phone lol (try doing this while standing in the long line at the bank – good times).

To those who are living their lives faraway from their parents: Fa’amalosi….

Ia manuia xx

Dad requested a solo pic for his Facebook profile page. Auckland NZ, 2013
Dad requested a solo pic for his Facebook profile page. Auckland NZ, 2013
Dad jammin' his pese lokus to mum's photo, Auckland NZ, 2014
Dad jammin’ his pese lokus to mum’s photo, Auckland NZ, 2014
The stylish grandpa. Auckland NZ, 2014
The stylish grandpa. Auckland NZ, 2014

The morning chore – school drop off

It’s mid-March and I find myself dragging my feet to my kids’ school gate.  Everyday my brain is battling an issue: “Should I wave from outside the gate?” “Will Osty be okay if I tell him to walk from the car?” “There’s 5 minutes ’till the bell rings but can 9 o’clock just hurry the eff up?”.  I walk my kids into the school grounds, watch the 5yo sprint to the Prep-playground and the 10yo skip off to her friends…like the good mother that I am. Not.

There came a time (like last year for instance…)  when i could just drive up to the school, yell at the kids to hurry up get out then drive off to start my day.  It’s been 6 years since I’ve had to drop off a preppie (new entrance/grade prep) and I can’t help but feel like it is such a chore.  Maybe because back then I was a stay-at-home mother so it kinda feels like it was an easier task and I had time to do it (it could also be due to the fact that I weighed 15 kilos lighter back then and was physically fitter than I am now, but no I don’t think thats it lol).

The first week of Osty’s school year was exciting – I didn’t mind walking him up to the area where he had to line up with all the other newbies….watch the other parents fuss over their children: one isn’t wearing both of his schoolbag straps properly (can’t have that!), one has a wonky ponytail…another needs shoelaces tied.  You see, that week was a good one.  I actually enjoyed it, watching Osty finally become a schoolboy after spending all of his life in full-time daycare.  But now it’s week 5 (i think) of the first term and while the same ‘fussing’ parents are still straightening their kids uniforms while standing in line, I’m slowly inching towards the school gate ready to powerwalk the shizz out of there.

So, like I said, it’s week 5 of Term 1. Prep parents have been told that unless parents are standing outside the classroom doors, their child will not be ‘released’ when the school bell rings.  Which is kinda funny, seeing as how all the kids – mine including – sprint out of the corridors like a pack of animals who have been set free from their cages (im sure I couldve used a better example but not caring at the moment).  As long as my child doesn’t run out the school gates without supervision (aka his big sister) I think he’ll be fine.

So as of next Term, this mother will NOT be tailing behind her children in the mornings.  They can get shoo-ed out of the car at 8.45am Mon-Fri and I’ll wave  when I drive past them.

(Edited to say: According to my daughter it is Week 8 right now…you see? I’m on a roll….)

Update on the life of The Lost Coconut

Well helloooo there.  Here’s a quick update on what I got up to in 2013 (for my 10 readers who are interested).

1.  I started this blog

For the past 2 years I have been reading blogs on academic life, how to write a thesis etc, my personal fave is The Thesis Whisperer (she is most awesome!).  I also read blogs by other Samoans who are inspiring – my faves are Fagogo mai Samoa,….aue! and the ladies where I get my TV updates (since I don’t watch it) at Jawkward LOL, and where I catch up with my hamo dishes via Samoa Food.  So one day I decided to create my own blog via WordPress and coming up with the name ‘The Lost Coconut’ cost me a good 30 seconds of my life.  It aptly describes the way I felt (and sometimes still feel today) when I left my pacific-friendly hometown in South Auckland, NZ to live in a not-so-pacific-friendly Melbourne, Australia.

2. My community choir ‘The Melbourne Samoan Choir’ (MSC) enjoyed a few performances in 2013.

I formed MSC early 2012 so that a few friends and I could get together and just sing good old Samoan songs for anyone who wanted to listen.   Having a choir like this gives us the opportunity to perform Samoan music outside of church.   Our 2013 performances included: MSC at the Famous Spielgtent 2013, The St Piers Festival (St Kilda) and The Melbourne Choral Eistedfodd (CBD).  Have a gawk at our facebook page if you like: https://www.facebook.com/TheMelbourneSamoanChoir

3.  I graduated TWICE in 2013

Not once – twice!  The first grad (in May) was for the Bachelor of Music degree I completed in 2012 which I posted about earlier: My Graduation.  The second grad (in Dec) was for the Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree I studied and completed in 2013.  My uni experience, as I posted earlier,was a very lonesome one – no other Pacific Islanders in sight – (see Where the Samoans at?) except for the young Cook Island girl who works at the uni campus.  Anyway, I finished my honours year successfully (First Class Honours wassup!).

4.  My son turned 5 and graduated from Daycare

All up, I have paid for 8 years of full-time daycare (Mon-Fri) for my daughter (now 10) and then my son straight after she graduated.  I can’t tell you how AWESOME it feels not to have a daycare bill to pay anymore wooohooooo! I …. am ….. fffffrrrreeeeeeeee!

5.  I wrote my first thesis / dissertation.

Leading up to my honours year I had prepared myself for thesis-writing by reading about the process, getting schooled-up on my academic writing, reading blogs of other academics and their experiences.  So I thought I was ready for the challenge.  Come submission time (Oct/Nov) I was a zombie…sitting for hours at my desk, eating breakfast at dinner time and dinner at breakfast time – I had lost sense of time (and ahem…smell..as my kids say).  While I anticipated that the honours year was like a world away from the B.Music I had finished, I was not prepared for the back and forth “final” draft emails between my supervisor (the expert) and I (the clueless student)…I thought that when I submitted my final draft to her to have a look over, then that was it.  One moment that stood out for me was when my supervisor patiently told me that after a full-stop, you only hit the ‘space’ button once (instead of twice which I was taught in high school in the mid-90s).  Let’s just say that at that moment in time, I felt like I had been cheated. All this time I had no idea that someone out there in the ‘word processing world’ would even dare to change the ‘2 spaces after a full-stop’ rule (the nerve).  Three months later and I am still in shock and I may not even get over it.

So this is just a quick snapshot of some of the stuff I got up to last year, alternating with my role as faipese for my church Northcote EFKS in Victoria, Australia, mother to the 3 animals that live at my house and wife to the their master leader.  I didn’t really get to have a break in December due to a few events that I participated in but I will take a seat right now and breathe a massive sigh of relief that 2013 is over…..so that I can do it all over again in 2014 eh!

Lost Coconut signing out….for lunch.

Ia manuia xx

I’m baaaaa-aaaaack!

“Procrastination….(long pause)….is the thief of time….(serious look)” – A serious-looking Reverend whom I will not name.

Way back in my teenage years, I overheard a conversation between my friend whom I was hanging out with for the day and her faifeau (church minister).  We  were given the most awesome task by her mother, of taking some lunch over to their faifeau’s house.  We jumped at the chance to do this (no we didn’t, we tried to take off but got the dog whistle from my friend’s mother just as we were about to hop into the car).  So like the good Samoan girls that we were (I mean ARE…like we ARE!) we sulu’d our ie lavalavas and took the platters over to the faifeau’s house.  On the drive there my friend – who I will call Tyra – kept muttering to herself.  The words sounded something like: “oh man I don’t wanna see him….haven’t been to loku in ages…oh man I’m in trouble..” before she turned to me and gave me a loud and accusing “Why couldn’t we have gone to your place instead today? ….” I tried to calm her with my “hey..it’s gonna be okay.  Seriously, he’s not gonna fasi you or anything” (and anyway, her family always makes nice crabmeat salad with heaps of Bestfoods mayo for lunch).

So we pulled up to the big two-storey mansion (I considered all  2-storey houses in South Auckland as mansions) with the nicely landscaped front gardens and the iron gates – oops can’t give away too much in case someone knows which faifeau I’m talking about lol.  The faifeau greeted us and welcomed us into his kitchen as we put the platters down on the breakfast bar (told you…mansion).  And I was right, the faifeau did not smack Tyra for her non-attendance at loku in the past year – he gave her something even more frightening – a sermon!. We sat there – my friend nodding her head every few sentences, looking sheepish and guilty for her sins and me looking so relieved that this was not my faifeau and I was not the one getting the growling.  I have to admit, I did look a bit agreeable at times when the faifeau gave me the “don’t you think so Rita?” look.  One particular moment that stood out for me was the following convo:

Faifeau: Tyra..it has been so long my girl.  What’s keeping you from the house of God?

Tyra: Awwwww ….it’s been a bit hectic with my studies and part-time job..and I know I need to come back to loku…

Faifeau: Remember Tyra, procrastination….is the thief of time….the THIEF….of time.

Tyra: Ummmm….

Me: mmmpccch. (That’s me trying not to laugh but still have a serious face on)

It was all over after 15 minutes.  We received our blessings from the faifeau, wishing us “a bright and prosperous week” (seriously he said that) while we walked slowly to the front door.  Once we were out of view we powerwalked it to the car just in case we got called back…..and laughed all the way back to her place impersonating her faifeau’s “procrastination” quote.  I can still picture his face as he said it…hell I can impersonate his exact delivery of that one line 15 years ago.  As much as I enjoy impersonating this particular faifeau and his speech every time Tyra and I catch up, I have to admit, those words ring true in my life right now.

It’s been six months since I last posted in my blog and my only excuse is…. I am guilty of procrastination.  So the moral of my story today is….”procrastination….(long pause)…is the THIEF of time (heavy breath on the ‘h’ in thief and serious face).

Ia manuia xx

THE SAMOAN MOTHER: The Stalker

THE SAMOAN MOTHER PART 2

Yesterday I had a Psycho-Samoan-Mother moment which I am not proud of.  I can’t stop thinking about it without feeling really valea and Im sooo embarrassed about it so hopefully this post will help me get it off my chest so I can be set free lol.

Yesterday’s episode is actually a by-product of when my 12yo son (Myah) attended a 13th birthday party 2 weekends ago.  He was invited to his friend’s house to celebrate with a few of their classmates.  When he came home with the invitation I said “sorry son, this is on a Saturday I don’t want you to go to some stranger’s house.  You can’t go”.  This was the first birthday party since he became a high-school student.  Of course he was disappointed but I had to explain to him that this is his first year at high school and I haven’t met any of his friends’ parents.  I was so scared of letting him attend.  All I could picture was me dropping my son off to some dodgy-looking house, meeting the birthday boy’s dodgy-looking parents and seeing dodgy-looking relatives sitting around the garage while there was a young teen’s party on. (Did I tell you I’m super-paranoid?)  So my final word to Myah was “I’ll talk to your dad”.  It was a cop out I know…..

I spoke to hubby about it and was shocked at his “why not? let the kama go to the party”  Seriously…I was like “say whaaat?”.  Apparently letting Myah go to his friend’s party was good for him and that it would give us a chance to meet other parents. (Did I also tell you that Im a bit anti-social?).  My arguments as to why he couldn’t go sounded really dumb especially since we hadn’t met the family and I was already judging them.  So the boy was going.

It was the week coming up to the party and I was really nervous.  I kept looking at the paper invitation scanning the party details for anything that would give me a clue as what kind of party he was going to.  I started to text Myah’s RSVP to the birthday boy’s mother and had to edit and re-edit my texts:  “Hi! Thanks for inviting my son to your son’s bday party.  I trust that it will be safe? No drunken idiots will be present?”  which I changed to “….Will there be alcohol present? Does anyone in your family have a drug problem? Do you know CPR?”  Everytime I composed a text, it just sounded like I was a stuck-up/snobby/righteous mother (time will tell) so I settled for a polite RSVP message with no mention of whether or not my boy would be safe.  At the time, it just felt wrong to question another mother’s ability to keep a group of young teenagers safe…but oh it killed me to not ask the obvious questions!

Saturday night arrived and we planned that we would take the other kids out to the movies while Myah attended the party.  So off we went to drop him off and in true Samoan style, we pulled up in front of the party house so that everyone there could see a car with a hamo family in it.  I even wanted the kids in the backseat to wind their windows down and wave out to their older brother as he walked up the driveway but got an “are you serious?” look from the hubby.   (Osty’s carseat would’ve been a good look I say….).

I accompanied Myah into the house and his friend’s family (parents and siblings) met us at the door.  They were an Italian family and they looked so normal – Mother was cooking in the kitchen, Father was helping his son put away presents as we entered.  As soon as I met them I felt so guilty at my earlier misguided view on other parents of high-school kids.  After chatting with them for a few minutes I learned that parents were most welcome to stay and hang out with them (tempting!) but my instincts were telling me that I had nothing to worry about.  All the kids were in the garage, music was pumping and they were all having a good time.  And yes, I took a look and scanned the tables but only saw fizzy drinks and snacks….. I ask myself: what were you hoping to find?

After our family night out, we picked up Myah from the party.  He had the best time – all the kids came to the front door to see him off and when we drove off,  he had such a content look on his face.  I felt so happy for him….everything was peachy.  Until yesterday.

The kids and I were driving around home when we saw a group of his classmates walking along the footpath.  Myah waved out and like the Samoan mother that I am, I took a quick look to scan each and every boy.  One of them was one of his closest friends John (not his real name).  An hour later while we were visiting a relative on the next street over, I noticed a group of teenage boys walking through the park carrying a box of alcohol.  While I was talking with my relative, my eye was on the window scanning the group but my vision was useless as I didn’t have my glasses on.  Straight away I started thinking that the group was Myah’s friends..and what the eff was a group of 13-year olds buying alcohol and walking around the street with it?  I was livid, I cut my visit short and gathered the kids into the car.   I was on a mission to try and catch up with that group because I NEEDED to confirm that it was indeed Myah’s friends and if it was……

We drove around the streets while I scanned left and right looking for the group.  The kids were asking who was I looking for and I was like…”ummm…nothing”.  A minute later, I saw them from afar.  So I rounded the corner to drive past them from the other direction.  As we got closer I took a good look at each one of them and realised that they were a bunch of young adults.  I felt like an idiot.  I felt like I needed I wind down my window and yell out “Im soooorrrryyyyy!”.

So there it is.  I am a crazy mother and if Im not careful, I will end up stalking my son’s friends.  I let Myah attend his first high-school birthday party and now I’m picturing all the things that could go wrong.  I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I have a teenage child and I have NO idea how I am going to get through the next few years if I am already a psycho in the early stages.  I don’t even stalk my husband like this so my poor son bears the brunt of my fear of something bad happening.

I welcome advice/comments from all my fellow Samoan parents of teenage kids.

The Lost Coconut is REALLY Lost right now…..

MY LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD THANK YOU SPEECH

“You love me! You reeeeeeally love me!” – The Mask, 1994

 liebster

It is my 4th week into this blog and I am STOKED to be nominated for THE LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD!  Biggups to my fellow bloggers JAWKWARDLOL (the LOL is silent) for passing this award over to my humble corner  – I am one of the lucky 3 they have chosen.  In keeping with this award, there are a few things I must do:

  1. Post 11 random facts about myself
  2. Answer the questions that have been set for me by the lovely ladies at JAWKWARDLOL
  3. Pass this award over to 11 new recipients
  4. Give them a set of 11 questions
  5. Post a badge of The Liebster Award on my blog
  6. Notify my nominees

PS.  If you want to re-visit your Samoan Teenager days, check out JAWKWARDLOL‘s  video Shit Samoan Mums Say.  So let’s get down to business shall we?

11 FACTS ABOUT MYSELF:

  1. I am a NZ-born Samoan.  My parents migrated from Samoa to NZ in the 1970s – Dad is from FALEALUPO (Savai’i) and mum VAIMOSO (Upolu).  I hail from the humble suburb of OTARA (South Auckland). Wassup.
  2. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life (watch this space).
  3. Career-wise, I am a late bloomer.  I got married and had kids at the age of 21 and didn’t go to University to follow my dream until I was 30.  I’m happy to say I have my Music degree AND still have my hubby and 3 kids.  However, its  a bit of a question mark regarding my sanity (it comes and goes).
  4. When things don’t work, I either throw them at the wall (my new phone when I couldn’t get the hang of touchscreen technology) or I kick the shit out of them (my expensive vacuum cleaner).
  5. My role model while growing up was Jackie Kennedy Onassis.  When I was 13, I watched a TV-Movie about her called ‘Jackie: The First Lady’ and I was instantly drawn to her.  A private, humble and genuine kind of woman.
  6. I don’t watch TV.  Up until a year ago I was hooked on the drama series BONES but then Booth got it on with Bones so all of a sudden it wasn’t  interesting anymore (I live for the buildup!).  However, for the next few months I will make an allowance to keep up with the ANZ Netball Championship. (GOOOO MYSTICS!!!)
  7. I played club netball when I was 12-13 years old.  I was the girl who always dropped the ball, threw it to the wrong person and stepped constantly.  My team mates always ignored me after games (except for one because she was my bestie).
  8. The first time I became a mother was a nightmare.  And I blame all those ladies who told me that childbirth was a beautiful and wonderful experience AH SHUDDUP! And I blame myself for stupidly believing them (Biarches!).   I had my mother, mother-in-law, sister, best friend, 3 x cousins and husband in the room – and dad in the corridor outside having a mini heart attack every time he heard me scream.  I got high over the gas and wouldn’t let go of the gas tube so when they yanked it out of my mouth I lost a tooth AND I kicked an elderly midwife in the chest and as a result she had a heart attack (luckily the A&E was upstairs).  So by the time I had baby no.2, I borrowed books and learned my shit about childbirth and was bloody ready!!!!
  9. As a musician, my principal instrument is the Pipe Organ.  While preparing for exams, I would be stuck in an old 100+ year old church by myself for hours.  But I enjoyed playing Bach, Buxtehude and Franck to all the ghosts inside that listened to me practice.
  10. I have been an avid reader of Romance Novels since I was 12 (shush don’t judge me!).  During class in high school, my English teacher caught me reading a Mills & Boon novel and spent a good 10 minutes lecturing me on how much rubbish was in those books.  I thought, maybe she was right?  So the next day, I went to the library (Manukau Public Library) and upgraded my reading list to Historical Romance Novels instead. What a coincidence that Fabio was the male in nearly every bookcover I saw.
  11. My favourite junkfood:  Bluebird TWISTIES, RASHUNS and RASPBERRY TWISTS.

MY ANSWER TO JAWKWARDLOL‘S 11 QUESTIONS:

What TV character would you most like to have dinner with? PeeWee Herman – so we could have a battle on who can sing “Deep in the heart of Texas” better.  I will easily win.

Look to your left! The first item you see will be taken with you when you’re thrown into a vortex that lands you in Narnia.  What is it?  My husband.  Yaaaaaaay!

What did you have for lunch yesterday?  A chicken-avocado toasted focaccia.

If given the chance (yes time travel is available, as are weapons) would you assassinate Hitler?  Oooh that’s a hard one.  To save the many lives that perished unnecessarily I would give it a stab go.  But in saying this, I’m a lover, not a fighter.

Favourite social media platform?  Twitter!  I keenly follow TheThesisWhisperer, TheResearchWhisperer, and PhdForum.

Welp! You’re sucked ino a movie! What kind and, if applicable, do you survive through to the end?  The Sound of Music – I get to play the guitar for the Von Trapps when they sing ‘The Hills are alive’ and then the Pipe Organ for Frauline Maria’s bridal march – my favourite moment!   Sadly, I don’t make it to the end because they didn’t take any instruments with them while crossing the border to Switzerland. Bummer.

Quick, the square root of 2345671!  Huh?

Jack gives Mindy $2.  Mindy loans a dollar to Jan.  How much money does Derek have?  Huh?

Timelord or Wizard?  Timelord

You get a call from your favourite fictional character, who is it?  JEM.  She’s calling me to say that I’m the newest member in her band ‘The Holograms’ AAAAND she’s giving me her earrings to keep! (“Synergy! Can you hear me?!”)  Truly Truly Truly Outrageous!!!!!

If lightning strikes the sea, why don’t all the fish die? (First of all, do you know the answer? Secondly, bonus imaginary points if you where that quote is from.)  I don’t know the answer to this…can I guess that this quote comes from a sad love song?

MY NOMINEES:

I am a new blogger – I haven’t made many friends as yet but I can say that I would like to nominate this award to 1 other blogger out there:

A Faatoia Fotography – a fellow Samoan/South Aucklander strutting her mad skills for all to appreciate – check her out!

And here are my questions to my nominees:

  1. What country would you like to live in (other than the one you’re already in) and why?
  2. If you were a successful entrepreneur, what kind of business would you be running?
  3. What movie is this line from: “Hey…my man! What it look like?”
  4. If you were a famous sportstar, would you be in it for the money and fame or for the love of the game?
  5. Are Shakespeare plays a waste of educational time?
  6. If you were to choose your ethnicity which one would you pick? (You can’t pick your actual one sorry)
  7. Do you play a musical instrument? If so, which one?
  8. The Spice Girls or One Direction?
  9. Very quickly, type at least 5 Supermodels from the 1990s
  10. What’s your blog about?
  11. Tell us about your typical day

And there you have it – my very first Blog Award!  Was it good for you as it was for me? Probably not.

Ia manuia xx