23 January 2013

Our Samoa transition

Talofa! Mama Aspinall blogging here from Lotopa, Samoa!

In the word's of Dora the Explorer (currently on non-stop repeat for Mahie), "We did it! We did it! Yah, yah, WE DID IT!!"
It's been almost TWO AND A HALF weeks since our move to Apia, Samoa. 
Drove to "Mum's" village Vailoa, on the other side of the island in Aleipata district. Gorgeous resorts along the way.

Some areas in Apia still recovering from Cyclone Evan. Very sad. Mud & logs all over in houses.

The hardest things we're battling now (and I may NEVER get used to)
     1. The heat: You sit, in front of a fan, on high blast….and you STILL sweat. (The life of living on any South Pacific Isle) I think we're getting used to the climate though, which is gorgeous. Clear sunny days and then extreme downpour when it rains. At times when I can't bare it, or when I put the babies down to nap…I escape to our a.c. bedroom. Yes, we are spoiled with our a.c, we're in Apia everyone. Meaning electricity, hot water, cable, internet, basically living in a similar community and housing as Laie. Some neighboring homes and properties are extremely gorgeous. Did I mention that a multimillionaire lives up the road and is my Relief Society president?! I'm grateful that we don't live way out in the real villages, well actually, I wouldn't have come if we did, hahaha. Being honest. The sun seriously doesn't set until after 8pm, so it really throws me off with bathing Mahie and eating dinner. That is the perfect time to sit out in the yard, it's peaceful & cool for Evan to enjoy. 

2. The "Mozzy's": Mosquitoes bite you everyday, well thats what it feels like. I wonder if we will ever build up a tolerance or if the mosquitoes will eventually leave us alone. Those green coils are constantly burning, I told James I smell like I'm forever on a camping trip. Ask anyone, I snap If the door is left even slightly ajar. I try my best to lock me and the kids in the house, but Mahie has become the most restless kid ever and NEEDS the outside. So I send her with one of the house workers or cousins because I think my legs can't stand another bite. So if you wonder why I dress Mahie in leggings everyday, that's her mozzy protection. Poor thing, already one of her bites have gotten infected from scratching and we had to take her to a Pediatrician. Which, by the way, quality care and cheap! NOT REQUIRING INSURANCE!!!! (FYI we're going to have Samoa residency & then citizenship….then on to New Zealand residency and citizenship)
Mahie snuck outside to the rain

Food has been good to us! All New Zealand brands, which means YUMMY! Real creamy butter, cheese…and even the bottled cokes taste better than in the U.S. Majority of everything is homemade (no quick trips to any drive-thru's anymore), and if not, straight from the ground and sea, obviously. I am still getting the hang of where to do my grocery shopping. American products can be found at certain places if we need them. It's funny how I bought James the Ninja Kitchen System for Christmas, and we said we'd start juicing come January. Well, since we've moved here, my Mother-in-law has been nonstop cooking and baking for us. It's a great help because the kids make me so tired, and James is tired from working all day…but we laugh because we KNOW we've put on weight! 
James and Mum having a bake off!

Pesega 5th: I don't even know anyone yet, but I love our ward. This is the FIRST time I've ever felt this way (other than my childhood ward). Everyone was VERY welcoming, and I think it helped more that EVERYone knows James' parents (Richard & Failuga Aspinall). Mahie did well in Nursery. A big change from a class of 23 kids to now 5. She only cried the last 10 minutes, to which a parent walked her over. Our ward is english speaking and called the "International ward". And, drumroll….it starts at 7:30am!!! Dannnnng, we struggle! But here, it's better to have Church early when it's cool instead of late when it's HOT! Families in the ward of friends we've made at PCC/BYUH include: the Merediths, Palepoi's, Fuimaono's and Seumanutafa's. *Cool Moment- We were approached by a missionary couple in charge of Public Affairs for the Church, and were asked to have our picture taken for a brochure representing the Church here in Apia. It will be used for both Church and parliamentary government business. Pretty cool when the Elder explained it to us as we signed waivers. Sadly we looked tired, haha and Mahie was asleep. 

James has definitely been working hard! I'm so grateful that although he works 9 to 5 PLUS any errands before or after office hours, he does it all from our home, where the office is located and where our family members help out too. I knew my husband should've majored in business, because he is quite the business man and efficient business manager. As soon as we landed, he went straight to work learning all that my Mother-in-Law would be transferring over before she leaves to Wellington. Our faith is surely embedded in our Heavenly Father. And I know James is doing an awesome job, he is in his element, seriously! Sometimes I need to remind him to take a break because he is always thinking of better ways to improve something. And his hardwork is definitely paying off! (Can't wait for April trip to Hawaii, woohoo!)

Ashlyn the STAY-AT-HOME-MOM, say what?! I don't know how my Mom did it with all 5 of my siblings and I. Mahie has hit the TWO stage (even though she's only 21months) and tries my patience all day, every day. We are seriously dumbfounded at her tantrums and fussiness. Sometimes she'll cry and we're like, what the heck? What happened? The only times I've lost my cool is when I'm nursing Evan, because she'll try to pull or pinch him to get attention. I'm grateful for our house workers and my Mother-in-law's cousins for playing with her, or taking Evan when the tantrums come around. Sometimes….most of the time lately, I want to pull my hair out…but I remind myself, HELLO, I only have TWO kids, and EVERY Mom has done this before….so suck it up! And I remind myself, how grateful I am that I don't need to work. That I can be home, right where my husband works, to play with our babies as they grow, to teach them, to endure tantrums, to watch Tangled and Mulan a million times with them, to rock them to sleep for naps……and to make sure they sure as hell don't get uku's!! :) hahaha, but for reals :) I struggle with being in baby/kid's world all day, but I'm trying!
Mahie leading the opening song. We've had 100% FHE so far!

Nap time. 

Ua lelei. That's our quick Samoa update! Everyday I try to learn some lingo, "Filifili mea tonu" Choose the Right!

17 January 2013

The Plane Ride

Our flight experience is a story all its own.  

Morning of Friday, January 4th, 2013. Mahalo to Laie's own 'Island Transportation' for picking us up at 5am and dropping us off at the Airport. That night/morning happened so fast with HUGE last minute packing, cleaning and important document finding! It was EXACTLY what I had been avoiding the weeks prior, but as usual, nothing like stress and rushing before traveling. Like I said, hugging my parents and siblings goodbye and leaving Laie was a blur. Mahie was barely awake and didn't understand why her Grandparents were hugging her long and tight, and eventually crying. We flew Air Pacific (first and LAST) lol, no it was fine. Actually it was a blessing we did, although at first it didn't seem like. 

When we checked in, the counter man wondered why James and I were assigned different seats. After trying many times to sit us together, policy explained that passengers with lap infants can't sit next to each other. (Annoying!) James took Mahie and I had Evan…and we both were window seats, rows far apart. As soon as we boarded, we explained (begged) to the flight attendant our situation and he immediately said he'd work on it after everyone was seated. Sooooo here comes my soon-to-be MELT DOWN! 

James' row was completely filled (although he sat by a wonderful couple). However, the two seats next me never filled UNTIL LITERALLY the last second with the most IRRITS SAMOAN LADY EVER! The very understanding Fijian flight attendant guy explained our situation and asked her kindly if we could have the whole row since we had two babies. He even offered her an upgraded seat at the front. And before you knew it, she threw a loud  and dramatic fit. She could've been the same age as Mahie, saying, "What's that you say?" (Flicking her wrist here and there) "The airlines sat me HERE!" "Why do I HAVE to move?" *He wasn't forcing her, just asking kindly but HINTiNG the obvious. Even the passengers around us couldn't believe she wouldn't move and I felt totally awkward two seats away cradling Evan. So the witch parked her broomstick and ALL her carry-ons, huge jacket, dead lei's, books, you name it…all NOT under the seat in front of her, but on the empty seat in between us, which the flight attendant already said I could use for the baby if needed!! And her damn pile started to crowd us. She seriously had no care for being considerate. I kept it all in because I had no sleep and I was still on a positive "Yay we're moving to Samoa" high. 

Two hours in. I had to pee badly. My arm was dead from carrying Evan, too scared to move incase I woke him plus my neck/back hurt. I resented the snoring ogre next to me blocking my way out and her pile of crap that kept leaning on me. James was too far away to call (and he was sleeping) to come grab baby so I could relieve myself. Plus Evan's diaper was so full I feared he'd get a rash. And then I started to get upset at James for putting the diaper bag in the compartment above instead of giving it to me. And THEN I heard Mahie starting to fuss followed by Evan right after…….in comes The Emotions: resentment toward EVERYONE on the plane, lol. Silent daggers at the woman next to me. Tearful eyes burning holes into the back of my husband's head. Hating on the airlines. Questioning if this move to Samoa was the right choice, upset at pulling an all-nighter... 

Melt-down: I bawled all my emotions out, everything I kept in since I first started to make preparations to move. 

…and then, literally, I heard a still small voice telling me to pray. And as soon as I started, it felt like everything was put on pause and every sound on mute. By the time I finished, I was calm and told myself, "You can do this." (But I think I took it a little too far, lol) I leaned over and pushed the woman hard to wake her, but I didn't wait. I was climbing over her lap before she could even open her eyes. Yes, she had that, "Oh no she didn't!" face on….And I gave it back to her, "Oh yes I DID!!".  Walked over to James sleeping and flung my hair tie at his forehead to wake him, handed him Evan. Grabbed the diaper bag on my way to the bathroom, shoved it across the woman to my seat…..and the whole time everyone watching me! Lol, after that I was a NEW me. For reals!  

When I went back for Evan, Mahie wanted me too. So I first took Mahie back to my seat and put a movie on for her. The woman was gone, so I removed her obnoxious pile from the middle seat and put it all on her seat. Even draping her dead leis all over her head rest. I returned with Evan and all three of us made house in our two seats. The woman returned and said, "Oh, you have two babies?" She sat for a little bit and tried to make small talk, but I gave her the cold shoulder and tended to my babies. After getting up one more time to grab something from James, the woman had decided to leave. The lady finally took that upgraded seat, without even telling the flight attendant. The two fijian flight attendant guys, the woman across the aisle and I all laughed shaking our heads. It took her 3 of the 5 1/2 hour flight to move. (Not that she HAD too, but hello!!) We finally had our row. James just stayed at his seat though, not wanting to bother the kind elderly woman next to him.

Thank you Heavenly Father for listening to me. For the flight attendants having compassion for me, bringing whatever I needed, eating all the snacks Mahie force fed them and even offering to hold Evan. For the Samoan woman across the aisle for reading my mind and offering to play with Evan & a bored/fussy Mahie the last hour and a half so I could finally knock out. (She even carried him all the way to Customs, lol)

What an experience traveling internationally with a toddler and newborn! No matter how many creative things I packed according to my Pinterest research, once a child wants OFF THE PLANE, there is NOTHING that can change their mind but landing!!

01 January 2013

Now that all the illegal fireworks have blown in Laie & the babies are finally fast asleep....I have been blessed with some alone time before hitting the sack. I'm dead tired, a little smokey, and the all of a sudden heavy rain is making me shiver. But I thought it would be nice to welcome in our FIRST OFFICIAL BLOG POST for 2013!!!

Many MANY things are in store for this year, with the biggest change happening this Friday at 5a.m. Honolulu to Apia bound! We are calling it our new adventure. And to keep our smiles up incase we hit those hard times (especially me), I've stumbled upon a beautiful quote that fits perfectly for 2013.

Here's to our little family!

Printed, framed....keep ya head up!

Goodnight Midnight!
Laie, soon-to-be-Samoa, Aspinall's