The Aspinall's have made it through ONE WHOLE YEAR of living in Apia, Samoa. Instead of apologizing (as I feel many of my past LONG AGO posts aways seem to start out as) for slacking off and backtracking to update ALL of our ten readers (anyone still following us?)….let's just dive into 2014.
We returned from Christmas 2013 in New Zealand ready to make our resolutions/goals happen. Don't we all feel like that come January? Last year, maybe due to our move to Samoa, we didn't really set any goals. Or the year before that. I think we made New Years resolutions as newlyweds, and the tradition has slowly disappeared since. Our 4th Anniversary will be this June. Yes we suck at goals I guess. However, since marriage in 2010, we've definitely noticed (along with goal slacking) many important things spiraling downward --spiritual & physical--that need a change. We won't bore you into listing and explaining each one, but rest a sure, they will be mentioned in posts throughout the year. Woohoo! (Hopefully)
The Business we have been running & co-own taxi and rental cars….and still going strong. We are ever so grateful to our Heavenly Father for blessing us with clients everyday. Not that all who come have been easy to service, but grateful nonetheless. And also again to our Mum & Dad Aspinall for this opportunity filled with life lessons all day, everyday.
We are also grateful for our workers, which includes family members, permanent workers and occasional random laborers from off the street. Their skills range from car maintenance to secretarial to tidying up our home. They too have had their 'special days' here and there, but we all have seemed to learn from our mistakes (or continue to) and thankfully we have not run Mum & Dad Aspinall's hardwork into the ground, haha.
Lastly, and MOST importantly, James definitely deserves ALL recognition for being a great boss/leader/owner. I'm just with the kids all day, handling all that comes with that, and occasionally I will look out the window or in the office and truly admire my husband's hard work. Being a businessman was definitely in the cards for him.
The Kids are growing taller, seriously. Both of my babies measured 21inches at birth and have since gotten longer and taller by the minute. A lot of people are shocked that Mahie isn't a three year old, which was also the case when she was one and they were shocked she wasn't two. And Evan is repeating in his sister's footsteps height wise. They are exactly 15 months apart and many times as I'm trying to catch a break of sanity, I've wondered why I popped them out so close together! However, life definitely wouldn't be the same without my energetic littles.
In the past year the kids have done more traveling than we could ever imagine at their age. Mahie is already accustomed to airports, security, boarding, airplanes, airplane seat belts, the button that reclines your chair, asking flight attendants for juice, sucking on a lollie when landing and getting her passport stamped. Trying to 'spot our luggage' is also a favorite game of hers. The workers at both Honolulu International and Faleolo Airport already recognize us during check-in and security. The "City of Sails" will also be added to the frequent flyer list soon.
Of what we can tell, they enjoy living here. Not sure if they notice a difference when returning to humid heat-stroke weather after trips to Hawaii or New Zealand. Guess the sweaty play life doesn't bother them. They enjoy running out and exploring our beautiful spacious property, not knowing the many Aspinall relatives and generations that once roamed the same yard. We love looking at the various plants of flowers, vegetables and fruit sprouting in different corners. Jumping off the faleoo in the back. Throwing scraps to the noisy pua'a next door and rice to our moa. Sadly one of our guard dogs died (Doran) and we now only have Nippy. They were here years before we came. And Miss Mahie....drumroll....has been successfully potty trained for the past six months. Woop woop! James likes to take credit, but Nooooooooooo! Potty training is a huge accomplishment for the MOTHER, I mean parents, as the child. And Evan....likes to rip his nappy off and bare it all. Let's hope duck tape won't be necessary, haha.
Our Family is doing good. Yes, there was a time when I (Ashlyn) first heard the sentence, "We're moving to Samoa" and responded with the most horrified ugly face ever. And now, I'll be the first to snap at anyone making snide remarks about living in Samoa. 1) Talking crap & they've never been there, let alone outside of Hawaii 2) Most people I've met here, live better than those talking crap, hehe. Two months in, I learned: It's NOT the end of the world. However, I still hate the sweaty weather & damn mosquitoes. Jay & I still STRUGGLE big time with internet usage. There is no unlimited internet here, you pay for a set amount, and once that is gone...pau hana'z until next month. Or just be like me & "top up" behind the Hubby's back (he does it too, hence, the struggle is real!) And we love our ac, lets be honest!! I'd be a witch, replace the 'w', if I couldn't escape to a cold room once in a while :)
We enjoy and appreciate living in Apia, specifically top of Lotopa/Tuanaimato area. We have all the conveniences that are available elsewhere, just with a hefty price at times. Everyone speaks English the closer you get to Apia. We love finding new places to eat. Our current favorite is Kokobanana's, best steak ever. We also enjoy our occasional drives out to 'Kua', village outskirts a.k.a. THE BOONIES a.k.a. we out of there before it gets dark. James' Dad (Aspinall side) is from Apia, we currently live in HIS own father's house. James' Mom (Stevenson side) is from Vailoa, in the Aleipata district out in 'kua', where there are exotic white sand beaches to swim at. We always try to make an effort to take the kids to Lalomanu, it's breathtaking. The water is warm and clear as glass.
Our Ward definitely has helped made the transitioning a lot smoother…even though I feel like we are the youngest couple with kids. The closest to our age are the YSA hahaha. We both have callings in our Pesega Lima family (International English speaking ward). James is an advisor in the Young Men's Deacons? And I am the Additional Relief Society activities coordinator (once known as Enrichment Night). Mahie has one more year of Nursery and she has FINALLY started to stay all by herself. Evan is kolohe and I try every Sunday to teach him to sit still. He loves Nursery but his turn will come in a few months (he's only 15months). I am definitely humbled and in awe of being among so many successful, talented, charitable and faithful ward members. We are deeply grateful to those that since our first day sought us out and befriended us straight away. We hope to acquire many more friendships.
How's our Samoan? Improved a little for all of us. Well James' range has definitely expanded because of working directly with customers and local businesses. Mine, I guess you could say I am able to "niele" in on conversations around me. Thanks to four semesters of Samoan at BYUH, I can pronounce words well, but I have since lost the confidence speaking in public. I look dumb trying to figure out what they're saying back. I just stick with kaukala faapalagi, even though it costs me a buck or two more. Always trynna make a dollar off the palagi :) And the kids…Mahie will say words, "Aua!", "Evan sau!", "Evan soia!", "fiapoko", "Sasa", "Daddy onosai" "mai le fua laau"…..and other stuff here and there. English is the language spoken in our home. But I'll hear our workers and house girl speaking to them in Samoan when they play outside.
This LEFT side of the road:
biscuit = cookie
chips = fries
swimsuit = tshirt and shorts as you are more covered up going swimming(modesty) & togs (nz)
slippers = seevae & jandals (more nz)
diapers = nappies
gas = petrol
gas = petrol
nuha (hawaiian word for 'acking up') = faalii
mahu = fafa/fafafine
broom = salu
mahu = fafa/fafafine
broom = salu
Mom = Mum
Kua = the boonies (like the PCC Samoan village, just people are of course modernized…somewhat)
Ulavale = as in 'naughty' kids ( i think)
oso = jump
kisi = kiss
faafekai = thank you
kapena = to clean
+many more (& bad ones too, hehe)
(Christmas/New Years break in New Zealand. Kelly Tarlton's Sea World Museum)
We will try our best to keep our life in Samoa well documented. We know our children will appreciate the memories we've made here when they look back. Hawaii was our past, New Zealand will be our future, but for now it's sunny SAMOA.
Manuia le Tausaga Fou