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

In Loving Memory of my Grandma Fou

This post is dedicated to someone very dear to me that went to be with Jesus on April 10, 2014. 

My grandma's face in the back though :D

I miss her. This photo was taken on my 25th birthday. She asked me “Aga fea e fai sou toalua? Toeiti alu a’u. Fia vaai a’u lou faaipoipoga.” (translation: When are you getting married? I’m going soon. I want to see you get married). I laughed and replied “Aua e te popole (translation: don’t worry) Grandma, I’ll get married before you go. I promise.” I won’t be able to keep that promise now and it makes me sad to know that I can’t. My grandma’s face in the back though 😀

Some people grow up not knowing their grandparents. On my mom’s side, I was fortunate enough to grow up with four different grandmas that were basically like having one. I was “the pele” (equivalent to princess, still am) and I was treated as such by all my grandma’s sisters living in American Samoa, which I refer to as my Aua grandmas. Grandma Fou was the oldest of all my grandmas. She was loving. She was kind. She was sweet. She was beautiful. She was wise. She was strong.

She was a phenomenal woman. She had such a peaceful presence that would flow from her spirit. My mom said she was the best at putting babies to sleep. No matter how fussy I got, Grandma Fou would put me in her lap, sing to me and po po me until I fell asleep. I spent most of my infant and toddler years in her house. Like my Aunty Julia (Grandma Fou’s baby girl) said, I was the first grand-baby they took care of in their house.

I  remember feeling loved whenever she’d greet me with a “Hi Baby”, smile and kiss me on the lips. I remember feeling safe when in her arms. I remember feeling joy every time I saw her because I knew I was going to get money or candy. I remember looking forward to going to daycare in Aua because I never really stayed in daycare. I spent most of my time with her and Papa Fu’e in their house because they spoiled me and I loved it. I remember our Fale family Christmases at her house. I remember family events and even random visits to Grandma Fou’s place just because. I remember how much I loved the relationship she had with her sisters.

The Fale Sisters - My Aua Grandmas. <3 Grandma Fou, Grandma Eseta, Grandma Lafo and Grandma Vai

The Fale Sisters – My Aua Grandmas.

I have no regrets. I loved her greatly and she knew it very well. I made time to see her and loved on her but not as much as she loved on me. She lived a full, blessed life and was clothed in beauty, humility, wisdom, strength and love. She always took care of her family and loved beyond words.

Life won’t be the same without her earthly presence. She’s rejoicing with Jesus right now and experiencing a blessed reunion with Papa Fu’e, Great-Papa, Pema, Aunty La’i and all her loved ones that have gone before. Heaven gained another beautiful spirit. I love you Grandma.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 (NLT)

 

I will miss you immensely.

I will miss you immensely.

 

Seven Thankfuls

I’m thankful for My Creator because without Him I won’t have life.

I’m thankful for life because without life I wouldn’t know what love is.

I’m thankful for love because without love I can’t build good, solid relationships.

I’m thankful for all the relationships in my life because without my family, friends and acquaintances my life would be lonely & boring with no one to share my joys and pains with.

I’m thankful for joys & pains because I’ve learned a lot about the plans God has for me and how He’s shaping me.

I’m thankful for God’s plan for my life because it teaches me to rely on Him and His time.

I’m thankful for time because it makes everything in my life more precious, priceless and I’m able to make beautiful moments that turn into precious memories.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who makes everything about my life worth living & beautiful. Thank you.

Honor

A simple thank you to all those who selflessly & courageously fight for American rights and freedoms.

A simple thank you to all those who selflessly & courageously fight for American rights and freedoms.

Words are inadequate when it comes to giving honor to where it’s due. The whole reason Christians honor God is because of the fact He sent His one & only Son to come and die on the cross for the sins of the world. The same goes for these freedom fighters. The reason they receive so much honor is because of their willingness to serve this country with their lives.

I always use to think of the military as just another job outlet. After going months or even years without seeing some of my family members because of their choice to go into the military, I realized its more than just a job. These people have families and friends they go for long periods of time without seeing. They sacrifice being in the comforts of their own homes and being a part of their communities to go out and fight on behalf of those they love and those they don’t even know. A lot of these men and women miss out on time with their children  and significant others simply because they made a choice to give up their lives to the United States of America.

Here’s to all those veterans that have sacrificed their lives and time so we can enjoy ours. Thank you for your service. God bless each and every one of you and your families.