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!


  1. Wow, what an amazing adventure! I really want to visit Samoa someday so I might live through some of these photos for now haha.

  2. I love it! I love reading about your new life there in Samoa. It's like a vacation for me that I'll probably never go on;). I think it's amazing that your husband is helping out with the family business. Seriously, great 'experience' for if and when you folks ever decide to move on to something else. You know the work force, always looking for those with experience!

    And I can't imagine how I'd be if I were on that plane ride with that woman! Omgosh, I know I would have broke down just minutes after sitting next to her. I commend you! Some people are just so oblivious...or just down right stupid! Hahaha.

    ANDDDD thank you for sharing your personal experience with me. Seriously, I would have never guessed at all because you're such a strong person how hard recovery was and all the complications that followed. As strange as this may sound, it really is comforting to hear of others experiences. I just know that in the future I might just within with matistis(sp)? I've had countless clogged ducts already. Long story and I'll prob blog about it but breastfeedings been...a real challenge. But thank you AGAIN for sharing. It totally helps me to remember that it'll all eventually pass.