Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

Village kids playing football in the streets

Village kids playing football in the streets

There’s really nothing more perfect than a beautiful sunset, greenery all around mixed with the sound of kids laughing and playing even if it’s on the road. You’ll find this all over American Samoa. These kids sometimes play football, rugby, cricket and whatever games they can come up with using whatever is around them.

I remember growing up on these streets. It wasn’t cemented until I was in the sixth or seventh grade. My brothers, cousins, other village kids and I would either race wheelbarrows, bikes or tires down the rocky slope farther down the road. Sometimes we would race by foot from where my house is to the front of the road and back. When it rained, we would play in the puddles and make mud slides. I experienced many skinned knees, scratched-up hands and “eating dirt” moments but the fun we had was worth it.

I’m sure it’s frustrating for drivers who constantly have to drive slow or beep at these kids who really have no where else to play except the streets sometimes. When you really take a step back and soak in the joy and innocence you see in these kids, you really can’t help but smile and appreciate the beauty and joy in that very moment.



On to the Next One

Closing the door on this quarter while opening the door for the next is both exciting and relieving at the same time. Quarter 3 seemed to go on for too long so being able to see this…

Oh the joy of seeing this !

Oh the joy of seeing this !

…is absolutely breathtaking. There are many beautiful things in life, but one thing I find absolutely beautiful is seeing something completed and done and not having any remorse about anything.

Sometimes I wish we had set quarters in life. So in that way I would know when to open what doors and what doors should never be opened at all. Unfortunately life is full of surprises. I guess this is what keeps life interesting. If we always knew what we were getting and when we were getting it, life let alone whatever opportunity or learning experience is behind whatever door we choose to open wouldn’t be as exciting.

Yes it would save a lot and I mean a lot of heartaches and hurts. What is life without the sours? It can’t always be sweet or might get sick.

Anyways, I’m grateful and eager for the 4th quarter to come and go. I’m excited for the lessons I’ll learn and the values I teach. Last stretch, so this should be fun. Here I go on to the next one.

Wasted Days

Nothing ever seems to satisfy. When I’m busy, I long for a day that I can waste away sleeping or lounging around. When I acquire a day I can waste away, I miss the feeling of being busy.

Most days I wish I could have absolutely nothing to do. As much as I love being around people, I long for solitude. Inside there’s a tug-a-war between my cravings for solitude and socializing. Naturally, I’m a social butterfly. I have always tried to deflect the title, but I can not escape what I am. I’ve learned that the hard way.

Sometimes I feel a busy day ends up being a wasted day. I get so busy with responsibilities at work and church. At the end of the day when I get home, I lie there and think “what did I do that was worth remembering about today?” Most of the time I come up with vague answers or nothing I’ll really look back on 10-20 years from now and being like “Oh yeah! I remember that day when…”

I need to learn to master the art of being busy but not to the point where I neglect the important things like family, building relationships and making worthwhile memories. Force myself to step back and absorb the beauty of what the day has to offer or the lessons that need to be learned.


Believe It or Not

I believe in Jesus. My heart knows without a doubt He is the Son of God who chose to come to earth to live a hard life and end up dying to save the world from death. Because of Jesus, I get to live twice except I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy my second life more than I do this one I’m living now. The idea of something new to happen is so exciting.

I don’t believe in getting to heaven through good works. It’s in the Bible. Don’t believe me? Look it up. This doesn’t mean you don’t do good things. God’s will for every one is to love on others more than you love on yourself.  Love is a good thing.

I believe love conquers all. It doesn’t matter to me what kind of love it is, whether it’s a mother-daughter love or a brother-sister love or a best friend love. God intended love to be powerful. It’s the center for every relationship no matter what kind it is. It can change the hardest heart if it will allow love to penetrate.

I don’t believe love hurts. Love doesn’t hurt any one. It’s the disappointment, anger and feelings of betrayal and getting screwed over that hurts.

I believe technology will eventually take over the world. I’m not a trans-humanist, but I do believe there’s a robotic era that is approaching slowly but surely.

I don’t believe I’ll live to see the robotic era. I’m praying and hoping I don’t live to see it. It’s already ridiculous how much I rely on computers now.


Daily Prompt: Something So Strong – My Bestest


Tell us the origin story of your best friend. How did you become friends? What is it that keeps your friendship rockin’ after all these years?

 Some best friends are discovered at childhood. Some are discovered while going through rough patches. Some are discovered after fights. Some are discovered when living life and partying. Mine was discovered through another person.

She was dating my first cousin in high school. She was quiet and reserved. Being the social butterfly I am, I would try to strike up conversation every time she came around with my cousin to hang out with us at our family functions (mind you I’m 2 years older than her). We made our first connection while sleeping over at a mutual friends house during graduation season. We talked and laughed all night. That summer of 2008 we were inseparable. It helped that my cousin she was dating had left to basic training so I promised him I would take care of his girl while he was gone. That summer was the beginning of late night cruises, beach days, laughs, memories, tears, good times, bad times and a lifetime of friendship.

2008 until Forever. My Bestest

2008 until Forever. My Bestest

Everyone has used that saying “Distance makes the heart grow fonder”. The reason I believe firmly in this saying is because my best friend and I spent a lot of our time physically a part. We constantly talked and stayed connected and made it a point to make sure we saw each other every year. I have her back and she has mine. No matter how many changes we’ve both experienced in our lives; she is the one person I can always count on that will be there when I need her to be. How does our friendship stay strong? Love. As corny as it may sound, love is the reason we stayed friends despite all the changes we’ve endured. The kind of love a person has for their siblings is the kind of love we’ve developed for each other. No matter where life takes either of us, I will always love her like I love my brothers (because I have no sisters) and she will always be the best of the best, which is why I call her my Bestest.

We Built This Island…

Ironically enough, I just had a conversation with a friend about why I’d choose the island life over the city life any day. I’m not a city girl. I never was nor will I think I ever will be. Some say it’s because I lived in the wrong cities, which I disagree with because I loved the places I lived. It just wasn’t enough for me to call home. I had all my wants taken care of but not all of my needs.

My island home where I lack nothing is American Samoa found in the South Pacific region. It’s small, extremely small. I love it. There are so many beautiful things about where I live. If you came to visit my little rock, you would understand why I love it so much. Unless you’re big on shopping then you would probably complain all the time because shopping here totally blows. Then again, what do you expect from island living?

Even when it's stormy, it's still a beautiful day.

Even when it’s stormy, it’s still a beautiful day.

Yes. I live in a modernized society, but my culture is still very rich and strong. Although there are many advances happening in our island, I am proud that my people still strive to hold true to the three key values of the Samoan culture: God, family, respect. These three values are my culture’s driving force. These three values are what my island, my home, my life is built on.

Bi-polar weather is not my friend here on the islands. It could be extremely sunny in the morning and totally stormy in the afternoon. You never know what you’re going to get throughout the day. I give props to our meteorologists for trying to predict our crazy weather.

One of the worst parts of island life is the craters on our roads we call "potholes"

One of the worst parts of island life is the craters on our roads we call “potholes”


Another part of island life I have issues with is fa’alavelaves. I applaud Samoans for always wanting to give a helping hand, but requiring so much from those who have so little is ridiculous. Sometimes I feel as if some of our people give big amounts because of pride in their family and they want to look better than others.

Don’t get me wrong, I love giving to others and helping out my family. My grandma has always told us to make sure we always take care of our family no matter what. If you know Samoan families, that doesn’t mean it stops at your siblings. Samoan families include up to third sometimes even farther generations. Anyways, my point is I feel the system is being abused and taken advantage of. It either needs to go back to what it was intended to be or taken out all together because all these faalavelaves are putting Samoans in debt.

Other than that, I love my simple island life. I may not look like an island girl, but I was born a Samoan island girl and I will most likely leave this earth as a Samoan island girl. I love my Amerika Samoa.

Props go to my cousin Jenny for taking this photo of me and my Polynesian bush hair. Check out more of her work on her Facebook page - Maniā Photography

Props go to my cousin Jenny for taking this photo of me and my Polynesian bush hair. Check out more of her work on her Facebook page – Maniā Photography

*exits singing* We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll.


Weekly Photo Challenge: “Greener” Perspective

I wasn’t planning on doing this challenge initially. While thoroughly enjoying a lot of the other bloggers posts on perspective, I figured why not try it out. This is actually my first challenge post ever.

One of my favorite parts of being born and raised in a Polynesian culture is learning how to make food with anything including cooking with leaves

One of my favorite parts of being born and raised in a Polynesian culture is learning how to make food with anything including cooking with leaves

In this photo, I chose to focus on the leaves that the laulau (fish in taro leaf) is wrapped and cooked in. The ti leaves, which are focused on in the photo on the left cut out from the main image on the right, are used in so many ways. It can be used to make clothes, for cooking or even for massages. I remember growing up my grandma would make me collect ti leaves to use when massaging my brothers when they were sick because the coolness of the leaf absorbs the heat from the body.

That’s beside the point. The point of this photo is if I had only shown the ti leaves you would’ve probably thought “why is she showing pictures of some bush/grass?” It’s the type of leaf I was focused on. It’s sleek but strong texture makes it the perfect insulator. This leaf is not just a regular leaf. It’s part of something bigger and very delicious.