Today I am 25 years old and it feels like I'm still 24 & 23….not really 22 because there's nothing special about being 22, but I DEFINITELY don't feel like I am 21. I was engaged at 20 and married by 21, and was such a different person then. Looking back at the things I once worried about makes me shake my head and laugh. I'm pretty sure when I reach 30 I'll have this same experience of reminiscing and rolling my eyes...but 30 is too harsh and OLD for me to care about right now, haha. Let's get back to today and 25.
I was born at Kahuku, Hospital (back in the day along with all the other BYU-Hawaii TVA college babies) on Valentine's Day 1989. Apparently I was the first baby born that day……….in Hawaii (haha) so my Mom was gifted roses and Valentine's goodies to her room. I forget the company that congratulated her. I was delivered via c-section, so was that cheating? Well I was an 8 pounder, and the 'smallest' of my 4 siblings.
I am the 3rd in line and the oldest girl. My Dad named me after his mother, 'Ashlyn' Ululani Ka'onohi who passed away due to asthma complications, when he was a young boy. I have always loved my name and felt a special connection to my grandmother because of it. My Dad also gave me my Hawaiian name, Ka'iulani, after the alii Princess Victoria Ka'iulani, meaning "the highest point of Heaven".
James came home on Thursday (day before my birthday) from doing errands and said we were to leave in a few hours to a hotel he had booked. Those hours turned into a grey and rainy day which reminded me of my birthday last year. We had stayed at Le Uaina and it rained non stop: wet, sand and freezing a.c was not fun. Sooooo, we decided to just stay home. It was better that way. We decided to treat ourselves to one of our favorite restaurants, Kokobanana's for dinner. BEST NZ sirloin on island.
Apart of my birthday spoils included me telling James what to bake. He is a very talented man and can whip up anything, usually not following any recipe. I requested peanut butter cheesecake with brownie crust (found recipe on Facebook). That was a flop. Yucky. And yellow cake with chocolate frosting for my birthday cake. He went straight to work on the cheesecake so it could set overnight (so much effort put in to a poorly written recipe) and I got on the phone to chat with my parents back in Hawaii. I miss my family a lot and am so grateful that James lets me indulge in phone calls and Skype when my heart feels heavy. In Samoa these types of communication are used sparingly. At midnight the kids and James wished me Happy Birthday.
(Me at the top before climbing down. There's a woman behind me struggling with her phone camera so I asked her if she wanted me to take the picture. Her reply, "NO!! I do selfies, that's my thaang." Then I thought, well can you hurry up & get out of my background, I do All-by-my-Selfies too, except my photographer is at the top getting heat stroke)
(We love taking our babies with us everywhere)
We headed out to Aleipata the following morning, with our insulated 'Foodland' cooler filled with sandwiches, drinks & snacks from Myna's. I loooove the drive out to 'Kua'. You leave the busy town side of Apia and continue on to quiet rural villages surrounded by lush green landscape. Here is where you find the gorgeous waterfalls and romantic white sandy beaches that tourists drool over. I really wanted to visit a particular place that I've seen photo's of online and so we pulled over at the breathtaking To Sua ocean trench in Lotofaga. Holy cow were the surrounding gardens blazing hot. It was a $15tala entry fee and I feared we'd all pass out from the humidity during the 5min walk from the car. We were escorted to a mini fale that overlooked the reef and crystal clear south pacific ocean. It was nice taking a break in the shade, but that was short lived since our daredevil 16 month-old Evan curiously sprinted toward the cliff side. James froze with fear, but I however, knew Evan would stop and come back. Maybe it was 'mother's intuition' or because I'm with the kids 24/7 glued to my hip….I just didn't fret. (NOT saying that I don't watch my kids and alway let them wander off) Evan stopped, took in the scene of the ocean, then turned around and reattached his self at my knee. I went back to unpacking snacks, but the incident scared the hell out of James so staying for a snack was a no go. But I got to experience To Sua for a quick minute climb down and up. It really is breathtaking and the ladder is very sturdy. Maybe the same height or a little higher than Waimea rock? Plus there just HAD to be a lot of middle aged men swimming & being niele, 'creeper alert'!!
We then spent the rest of the day at our favorite family beach: Lalomanu. You can rent a beach fale for the day and they have a place to order food, bathrooms and showers. Very cheap price. (It's like Alamoana beach but more of an upgrade with facilities and less crowded). Do you like how I explain with Hawaii comparisons? The kids ran in and out of the water and watched the fishes swim around us. Mahie is still hesitant in the water and panics a little when the water rises to her chest. Evan however probably inhaled so much seawater that day, tumbling into the little shore ripples. He is our 'white' baby, born very fair thus easily sunburned. Jay rested with him in the fale while Mahie and I stayed out on the sand the entire time. We were very papa'a afterwards.
I don't know how James did it because me and the kids knocked out on the long drive back across the island. The celebration didn't stop there. James again returned to the kitchen and cooked a yummy dinner + finished the set cheesecake + baked my requested birthday cake. Mahie thought it was her birthday and James had to kick her off my 'birthday candle blowing seat', which she did not like. I let her blow my candles anyway as I made my wish. Very delicious cake, I ate 2nd's, third's....
Thank you so much to my Hubby and 'Chillens', celebrating any special occasion with your family is the best gift ever. And a big thank you to all my birthday wishes from friends and relatives around the world. I ALWAYS take the time to read every card, note, text message and Facebook comment :)
(our shiny tanned skin & bush ocean dry hair)
At 25 I'm married, celebrating my 4th anniversary in June, two children, college degree collecting dust, stay at home Mom, living in Samoa, still a book/history nerd…….and 12 pounds away from my ideal weight, haha.
To many more birthdays with the 'loves' of my life.