Day 7: Big

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My friend Mona’s wedding in Manu’a

Samoan churches are BIG and beautiful. This is only one of hundreds you will see no matter which island in the  you go to. You can see the European influence on our church styles instead of the traditional Samoan fale. Thank you to the missionaries who came to spread the gospel to our islands that influenced the building of these immaculate churches. Samoans are very religious. If there is one thing we do not lack in American Samoa, it is unique, big and beautiful churches.

Day 3: Water

My rendition of the “One Shot, Two Shot” challenge for Day 3’s theme, Water. The idea of the challenge was to take the same scene horizontally and vertically. 

Today I decided to go for a walk/jog along our sea wall specifically for this challenge. These photos do no justice to the actual view while you are running/walking along the coastline. Then again, I was using my iPhone. Can’t go wrong with iphoneography

Day 2: Street

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The “street” bridge connecting Ofu & Olosega

If there is one thing about American Samoa you must know, you can not get lost. There is one main road that goes around the entire island. We have some of the most amazing views while driving. This is from a trip to Manu’a I took a while back. Probably not taken on the best of days, but still beautiful none the less. I took it from the back of a truck while we were driving from one island to the other.

Day 1: Home

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View from Maugaoali’i taken July 9, 2016

When I use to live in America, I use to get a lot of questions about where I’m from. I was proud to say American Samoa. Regardless of the ignorant stereotypical replies I would receive, I enjoyed showing off photos like the one above. I love my beautiful island home. The scenic hikes are just the icing on the cake. American Samoa is about the Samoan culture, the history, my heritage, my people. No matter where I go, American Samoa will always be home simply because this is where my heart is.

When I think of home, this is what I think of. #DevelopingYourEye

Discovering Me via Social Media Freedom

The last time I was here was December of 2015. Before that, I was here in August of 2014. Coincidentally enough, the amount of time I’ve spent away from blogging are my two of my four favorite numbers 16 and 7. It took me 16 months from my August 2014 post to finally return in December 2015. After that, I was too caught up again in life (or maybe it was social media) to commit to blogging. I was lost in trying to live a life to please others.

During the second week of June, I decided it was time for me to get rid of my biggest distraction, social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat had taken over my life and I was literally using these tools to advertise myself (basically), cyber-stalk (in the most non-creepy way possible), covet, set a foundation for gossip and relinquish boredom. I didn’t realize I began to depress myself because I was too busy looking at what everyone else was doing instead of living the life I was meant to live and being more productive. My breaking point hit when I found myself upset my family and friends would do things without me and also frustrated with my boyfriend because he wouldn’t post anything about our relationship. I decided I needed to disappear from the social media realm for a week at most to get my head on straight.

It has been a month since my “social media freedom” and it has been awesome. I’ve gotten hooked on books again, focused on my goals and less involved with the unnecessaries. My circle has gone back down to those who care enough to call or text. The motivation I now have to do what needs to be done has risen. The need to advertise myself and portray “social media” me is diminishing slowly. The cyber-stalking has disappeared (obviously because I have no way to seek out what people are doing). I no longer compare my relationship to others. The news I read is actual news about what is going on in the world. Best of all, I feel happy.

Discover happiness in freedom, or sitting on top of a container :)

Discover happiness in freedom, or sitting on top of a container 🙂 PC: Sati

For the next ten days, I’ve personally committed myself to the “Developing your Eye” photography challenge to get me back on the blogging track. I need to do something small before I commit myself to bigger things. In this process, I hope to reignite my love for blogging and “develop an eye” for the beauty that surrounds me through people, places and personal objects.

American Samoa and Her Bipolar Weather

The whole day was perfect. Clear skies with few stratus clouds that gave some depth to the beautiful blue bliss above. The sun was bright as usual, but not too hot since there was a soft cool breeze.

As the day progressed, the soft breeze gradually became brisk. From brisk, the wind picked up and along with the windy weather came ginormous gray cumulus clouds which filled the sky. Not long after the rain would pour for no longer than thirty minutes then the skies would go right back to its beautiful blue as if it hadn’t rained at all ten seconds earlier.

This is the typical behavior of the weather in American Samoa. Any one would think the locals would be use to it, but no. There are still plenty of complaints of the random-ness of the weather. Not too long ago, the temperature dropped as low as 68 degrees Fahrenheit which is unusual for Am. Samoa because the temperature normally stays at 80-90.

As unpredictable as the weather is, it is still livable and it makes for interesting days most of the time. I’d rather have random spurts of rain than continuous hot and humid weather even if its because of those random rain spurts make the weather so humid. It’s what makes home, home. A lot of times, the sudden shifts are a good thing.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/sudden-shifts/

Smells Like…

Today’s writing prompt is entitled “Nosey Delights”. There’s nothing more delightful to me than the smell of a fresh blooming pua or plumeria.

Plumerias or as we call it in Samoa, Puas, outside of my uncle's house in Gataivai

Plumerias or as we call it in Samoa, Puas, outside of my uncle’s house in Gataivai

When I was living in America, the number one scent I would miss is the smell of fresh puas outside of my home. I actually didn’t learn the English term for pua, which is plumeria, until I visited Australia in 2005.

Every morning, I go to visit the pua tree outside of my house and there never fails to be newly blooming puas on the tree. In some seasons, there are really big ones and in other seasons they bloom a lot smaller.

The beautiful aroma remains the same. The scent takes me back to my younger years when we use to climb the pua trees outside of my old church and play tag. Sometimes we would take sticks and poke at the branches until the flower fell so we could wear them as seis.

I love wearing them as seis (flower worn on the ear or placed in the hair). They add to the natural beauty of any Samoan or Pacific Island lady. Puas are just as much of a nosey delight as they are pleasing to the eyes. Don’t you agree?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/nosey-delights/

Happy 114th Flag Day my Amerika Samoa

For over a century, my beautiful island home has been under the protection and generous hand of America.

We have experienced many blessings and benefits from being “an unincorporated and unorganized territory” of the wonderful U.S. of A. It may not seem like its a good thing being “unincorporated and unorganized”, but as a Samoan I count this as a blessing.

Taupou Manaia performing their siva ava at the opening of the Flag Day celebrations.

Taupou Manaia performing their siva ava at the opening of the Flag Day celebrations.

In the Samoan culture, land plays a very important part. The ability to keep our land even if we give up a few constitutional rights (like the right to vote for president or become a US citizen) is more valuable than being an American citizen. Why? We don’t have to struggle looking for land to build our houses or have to answer to any one else in regards to the land of our family. It’s more than just land. It holds generations and generations of family connections.

Even though we are under the United States, we have been self-governing since 1967. This gives the Samoan people the power to continue practicing our traditional values and culture. The “Faasamoa” and “Faamatai” is still very strong within American Samoa even though it is slowly adapting to the modernized Western world. We are able to hold true to our core as Samoans, which consists of God, family and respect.

My ancestors were smart when they chose to cede to America during World War I with certain limitations, which I believe was to preserve the culture, language and identity of the Samoan people.

Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie said it best when made this statement,

“This day holds special meaning and significance because it honors the wisdom of our forefathers when they entrusted, the hopes and dreams of our people to the greatest country the world, the United States of America.”

Cheers my Amerika Samoa. Manuia le Aso o le Fu’a. 

Fale Samoa with the American Samoa flag

American Samoa Flag and Fale Samoa