Monday, February 04, 2008

Novelty slowly but surely wearing off

So I have been in NZ for almost a month now. Yes, a month since I have seen my baby and that realisation took a real toll on my mental state this evening. With the cold biting my fingers and nose, it made it even worst.

A call home resulted fruitless as both my husband and son were "out" on a walk. Since when did they go for walks? Walks without me? Jealousy is a good descriptive word but does not really hit the nail in what I am trying to explain. I want to be at home.

I am growing sick of all the layers of clothing. I am getting tired of my runny and frozen nose. I cannot stand how impersonal it all seems! I am very much a people person and thrive on relationships I have with other people. I love walking down the street and meeting someone I know and having a chat with them.

I long to engulf my son in my arms and give him a hug. The feeling cannot be explained of when you feel him hug you back with as much might as his small body will allow. Its at times like these that I know I am reaping the rewards of being a mother. I miss waking up at night and wondering whether I am drowning only to find my son lying across my chest, his head resting comfortably on my belly. I can just see him with excitement spilling from his face; running as fast as he could to greet me as I come home from work. He jumps into my arms and I shower him with all the kisses I can muster while all he is interested in is what treat I have for him in my handbag.

I took two buses and train today to get to school. Total travelling time approximately 1 hour. I saw hundreds and hundreds of people being it peak time when everyone was making their way to wherever they needed to go. And it was all done in silence. Occassionally you would hear the chatter of school goers at the very rear end of the bus. Or two friends who clearly follow a routine of travelling together each morning. Never would a random person say good morning or offer help as you walk around looking for the sign that says platform V. After going back to the sign further down that says platform V with an arrow - you follow the direction given by the arrow and still - no magical appearance by platform V. You face your dilemma in silence until you get enough balls to ask someone. They help but not after they've looked you up and down to assess whether or not you would run off with their hand bag.

Its at these moments that you long for that heat to engulf you and have you prespire for no good reason at all. To have someone beep their horn and wave frantically from their car window while dodging an idiotic taxi driver slowing down unnecessarily because he spotted a potential passenger. To see a familiar face and have them stop you and ask you how you are. To be offered information just because you looked interested.

I am really beginning to miss home while I certainly and acutely miss my darling son.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


So I have been away from my family for 16 days today. I miss them dearly but not terribly. I dont feel a yearning to see them or to hug them. I dont feel that this is a bad thing. I feel that this "time away" was something that was long overdue for my personal well-being. I have a lot of time on my hands so I do a lot of thinking. And I mean A LOT of THINKING. This surely cant be too healthy but it feels good to be able to talk to myself again. To contemplate things in my small head and tune into that sixth sense of getting the feel of things, situations and peolpe. The results are amazing! I am now a true believer of "Trust your instincts!"

This post I have headed responsibility. I guess after listening to Alanis Morisette's Perfect, I got thinking about my childhood. There are stark similarities of my childhood to this song. I guess I was always pushed to do better at school and even now, my parents, father in particular, expects me to do more. He expects me to be more like him. I find it very hard to do this as much as I want to please him and make him proud. I feel as though everyday, its a struggle for me to be me. It sometimes feel as though I am drowning in it all. And so while I am roaming the streets of Wellington taking in the possibilities, the choices, the varieties, the culture, the freedom, I cant help but appreciate my Dad, my Father. Without the shit he put me through, I dont think I could survive in this bigger world. Thanks Dad.

So I didnt really mean to go into all that but where I was going with this post I guess is parenting. Yes, PARENTING. Its a responsibility way bigger than me and just this morning, as I thought about my childhood and its woes, it again dawned on me that being a parent spells huge responsibilities. The person/people your children will become is in a big way, the result or product of your parenting. I know this isnt a new discovery nor is it rocket science. But still, it never fails to amaze me that I am now a parent and every once in a while, I wonder if I am doing a good job.

At the end of the day, I guess it comes down to whether my kid will be an axe murderer or your average, every day, crazy-once-a-while person just like I am!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Holiday Home in Samoa

Hey, if anyone is interested in visiting Samoa and wants a clean, spacious and self contained place to stay, drop us an email and we can hook you up.


or call my Dad on +685 24246 - ask for Toilolo.

Kiwi Businesswoman Blasts Toilet Man

A trip to a toilet in Apia has upset one New Zealand-based Samoan businesswoman so much; she wants to tell the world about it.

An angry Misa Emma Kesha said she would never forget the day she had an argument with ‘a toilet man.’
“I don’t want people to think that I’m a stirrer but complaints are good because they can help prompt improvement in services,” she told the Samoa Observer.

“I was in town looking around and buying postcards for friends in New Zealand,” she explained. “I always enjoy telling them about my visit home.”

However, she said she felt the urge to go.
“I forgot about the bathrooms at McDonald’s family restaurant, which I could’ve used because they’re much cooler and hassle-free,” she said.

So she ended up at the public toilets behind the Nelson Memorial Library.

“I went in to the toilet and the man in charge who was standing at the door demanded that I give him my handbag,” she explained.

“My handbag contained my passport, bank and visa cards, license and a lot of money.
“He was growling and continued to demand my handbag. I said to him if he was crazy, or if he had a brain.”

But the man insisted.

“I couldn’t believe,” she said. “The way he demanded the bag from me was rude. So I told him, I don’t know you from a bar of soap so I don’t trust you.”

But Misa said the man’s retort shocked her.
“He said to me, you are lucky to have a toilet to use,” she recalled.

As a matai, she said the man was disrespectful and downright arrogant.

“He told me it was a policy that all handbags or bags of any kind, are kept outside. But why?
“No one has the right to tell me what to do with my handbag. I have never been treated like this in any country, only in Samoa.”

Misa said she has travelled extensively to countries like India, Singapore and New Caledonia, and has never come across such treatment.

“Is this how tourists are treated?” she asked.
“Is this the kind of attitude our people here show to returning Samoans?

“I think of myself as a tourist and as a Samoan visiting my home but if this is how Samoa is being promoted to the tourism industry, then I don’t know.

“My Tongan friend who was here for the South Pacific Games, when she returned home said “Misa your country is beautiful.”

“But this kind of attitude is ruining it.”
Misa said if the man had asked nicely, she would have understood.

“But was growling and he continued demanding that I give him my bag,” she said.

“There was nothing in that toilet to steal and they even give you sheets of toilet paper so I don’t understand the way I was treated.”

Asked for a comment, one of the caretakers, Lauatea Masefou said the policy has been in place for years to minimise damage to the facility. Ms Masefou and her husband are employed to look after the facility.

“The policy stops people from damaging the facility,” said Ms Masefou.
”In the past, when me and my husband first became caretakers of the place, we had a lot of problems in restoring the facilities to a clean condition.

“The bathroom has 12 cubicles but when we came in, only four were usable because people had damaged the facility using in appropriate materials and flushing it down the toilet.

“The walls were badly damaged and there were swear words and inappropriate drawings all over the walls.

“We are always careful about who we allow in the bathroom with their bag and we don’t.

“There have been people who refuse to leave their bags outside, so they are allowed inside with them.”

In Misa’s case, she forcefully took her bag inside, she said.

It’s unfortunate for the poor toilet man behind the Nelson Library to get such bad publicity. I say unfortunate because I have always admired both him and his wife and the work that they do. This has got to be the cleanest public toilet I know in Apia. Maybe not by New Zealand standards, but certainly by our local standards.

I read this article with mixed emotions. On the one hand I understand where Ms Kesha is coming from and on the other, I totally know where my toilet man is coming from. I too would not have let go of my handbag (in the rare event that I had money in it!) but if my job was to mind 8 broken toilets and 4 that are functional, I would not give ANYONE the slightest chance to ruin the very few toilets that work.

In saying this, a small but humble advice to Ms Kesha. No, we don’t usually treat tourists like that - with rudeness and what not. Being Samoan you would know that we are friendly people. My toilet man is only human and must have had a bad day. Minding toilets in Samoa where cleaning products are expensive and plumbers are hard to come by, please give him a break. Visit another public toilet and then you will understand where I am coming from. Mr. Toilet Man behind the Nelson Library is doing a wonderful job. He even lives there because he wants to give our public clean toilets. How is that for commitment?

To my toilet man behind the Nelson Library - malo lava le tauatai. E le faigofie lau galuega. You are appreciated and you can take my handbag any day even if you were a bar of soap and I will not be worried because I know where you live!