FOKI KI ‘API

For the past couple of months, my sisters and I have been busy organising the idea of hosting our ever first family reunion since we been married. After months of planning, we decided to have our reunion in ‘Eua and we were all so excited because it meant; foki ki ‘api (going back home), back home to where it all started. I was excited especially because this time around I will be bringing my husband and daughter so they can see where I grew up and where I call ‘home’.

As our boat approached the gateway to ‘Eua, I got abit emotional as I slowly observed a sight that looked so familiar, a sight that I re-call so many memories, a sight that I call home. It was so good to be back home once again. Driving from ‘Ohonua (this is town) to Ha’atu’a (name of the village where I’m from) everything seemed so small. I don’t know if its because I gained over 60 pounds in the last couple of years lol, but everything seemed like it shrunk in size. I got to meet up with some of my childhood friends, high school teachers, sunday school/primary teachers and what a sweet reunion it was!

One of the most exciting part of this reunion was being able to reunite with my sisters after 4 long years. Living apart in separate countries honestly felt like 40 years lol so this reunion was very special to us. This reunion also allowed Lyca to spend time with her little cousins and I know its these memories they will remember and share together as they grow up. Unfortunately due to work commitments, Paane was unable to be with us but boy did he miss out! lol- its ok Paane, the next family reunion will be your chance to redeem yourself lol.

Included in our family reunion was a service project, and as a family we all agreed to sponsor a student from ‘Eua Middle School; and this scholarship will look after all her school tuitions for one year. It was such an emotional morning as we presented our scholarship to the family and what a humbling experience it was to see how grateful they were for our service. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

Came the morning of Christmas Day, my aunty Ati Lahi (whom I’m named after), came early to our Motel with our breakfast- and it was a tray full of cakes, biscuits, cream buns, sandwiches etc..not your typical bacon and eggs on toast kind of breakfast lol- it definitely brought back memories growing up in ‘Eua. Every year, each family will prepare a plate of goodies and then it is distributed to families in the neighbourhood on Christmas morning. By the end of the day, we are left with a whole heap of food from all the neighbours- which explained the tray of food my aunty came with early in the morning to our motel lol. It’s these sweet memories that I miss most about ‘Eua especially on Christmas Day.

As we stood and gathered around the table to share a meal on Christmas Day, there were no christmas presents, no fancy christmas decorations, no christmas tree; just like the good old days. Not because we couldn’t be bothered putting decorations up or a christmas tree let alone buying presents, but simply because we couldn’t afford it. All we had was a meal to share  together and that was enough, enough for us. So being back home brought back all those sweet and humbling memories of my childhood.

As usual for all trips and vacations, there is an end and this is the part I hate the most. I hate goodbyes. This past 2 weeks has been an enjoyable time for me and my little family. I am so grateful for the opportunity that we had to be together once again and especially creating new memories together as a family. I know this is not a goodbye but rather a ‘see you later’. So from my little family to yours, we hope you all had an amazing Christmas and wishing for bigger and greater things this new year!

‘Ofa lahi atu.

 

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Our family picture on Christmas Day. Missing Paane.
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Mom and Dad
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The two trouble makers left at home lol
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Our floral patterned dresses blend in with the trees lol
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Family picture.
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Dad and his slaves lol
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Tukuafu family.
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Tonga family.
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Nemaia family.
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Failed grandkids picture lol- none showed interest except for Nana and Papa lol
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The morning we presented our scholarship.
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With our chosen student.
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Meanwhile…..lol
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Sightseeing day!
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My camera flash was on and yet, they still black in the picture lol 
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love this pic of them.
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Li’anga huo a Maui.
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Didn’t realize our outfits match lol 
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Taina and Baby John not feelin the pic lol 
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Lyca being her annoying self lol
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At our reunion dance.
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My husband was playing mr photographer hence why he is not in the pic..also if you can see carefully, the rest of the kids are sleeping on the stage lol…
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It was such a hot day! 
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Sosaia is forever pulling faces in all the pics! lol miss this little monkey.
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NIUE KO E MOTU TU TAHA

Couple of months back, I was talking with my husband about the idea of visiting Niue. I was hesitant at first because the idea of travelling with a 4 month year old baby was scary and plus this would be my first time away from my husband since we been married, so I didn’t want to leave him…lol

Our first day here in Niue, was sooooo hott!!!! As soon as we got off the plane, I was sweating a river lol (i know, gross) haha..I think I sweated more than my whole entire zumba sessions I’ve been doing back home lol. We were greeted with a traditional Niuean feast called ‘umu and it was very delicious! So thank you to Fasa and Puso for going out of your way to prepare it for us. We appreciate all your efforts. 

Niue is very beautiful AND very clean! It truly is a little hidden paradise on the rock. The way of living here in Niue is very much similar as to my upbringing back in my home land Tonga. So nothing was new to me and I was able to relate to very similar situations. 

One of the things I enjoy most about Niue, is how close everything is to each other. My husband’s village is the capital of Niue and so they stay pretty much in the main shopping centre of the whole island. It’s been so great to be here in Niue and be able to meet the rest of my husband’s family and also experience parts of his culture. 

My MIL currently resides here in Niue as a way to help make ends meet. As hard and depressing as that sounds, sometimes you just need to make certain sacrifices so that everything can be smooth sailing, even if it means living apart from your loved ones. During my time here in Niue, I got to really see how hard she really works for her family. She wakes up in the wee hours of the morning and goes to work and doesn’t return til dark, and by the time she gets home she is exhausted. If she is not at work, she will be at home making flowers to sell at the market. I cant imagine how hard living apart from her family is, but I know if it’s one thing she wants; is to be able to return and live together with her family. 

Due to work commitments, my husband was unable to be with us but we both miss him terribly! In the meantime, we are enjoying our time here in Niue and everyone has been nothing but kind and welcoming to us. A special thanks to my husband’s family for showing us so much love and making us feel at home. 

Fakaaue Lahi. 

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Her grandmother made her a ‘foufou’ and she loves it!
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Lyca had the pleasure of meeting her great grandmother- Nana Pasa.
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I had the pleasure of meeting these two beautiful souls! Thank you for being the best babysitter to Lyca. Meet Lave and Anabelle.
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Niue is best known for its uga (coconut crab)..if you been to niue and havent tried the uga, you are missing out!
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A typical dish in Niue.
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This a traditional niuean dish called ‘nane’.
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Lyca and her aunty Erin at the Avatele show day.
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Pawpaw! One of my favorite fruits.
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This was taken in Hikutavake. The view was very pretty!
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Some beautiful looking taros lol
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All ready to be cooked!
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‘Ota/Raw fish- fresh fish drowned in coconut cream. 
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This was taken on a very hot day!! and the only pic I have with my daughter..
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Lyca and her Nana at Okioki Mai.
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My little Lyca enjoyed her time swimming in Niue. She loves the water!!
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Scattered around Niue’s coastlines are several cafe’s. This is just one of many. 
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These beautiful flowers were picked from Ma’s garden. 
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This is Nive and Nava. Both very beautiful, smart and fantastic performers!
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The smell of frangipani will always remind me of Niue.
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This is aunty Moka and her daughter Emu.
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Niue, ko e motu tu taha.

 

To be 16 again

I had a conversation with my husband the other day and we talked about some of the most ridiculous things we’ve done throughout our teenage years. Everyone make silly mistakes right? I mean, I thought I knew it all back then and looking back on it now, “Yeah right Ati!” lol.

So, I wanted to write some things I would tell my teenage self today, if I could.

choose wise friends. you will find that most of your friends will do certain things. Things that may go against your standards and what you believe in..and just because your friends are doing it, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it too. Although choosing wise friends is key, but being smart is key also.

so what if you failed a paper? that’s life! you will either pass or fail. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Make mistakes! that’s how you learn. Don’t be discouraged. Pick yourself up and try again.

don’t be so caught up with the things of the world. You know, the need to have the latest iphone, hair straightener, high heels or pair of jeans. You will find that when you get to my age, those things won’t even matter. And plus, you won’t even fit those pair of jeans anyways LOL

– don’t stress about your weight. I know you may think your fat now. Oh trust me! you should see yourself now. Your morbidly obese lol..so learn to love your body and enjoy it before babies come along.

when you get to university, pick ONE subject and stick with it. You will find that you wasted a lot of time deciding on what you wanted to study. And because of this, you’ve created unnecessary stress for yourself. So be prepared and be wise with your time.

learn to budget your money. Again, don’t use your money to keep up with the latest trends. You will find later in life, that the amount of money you spent on shoes, clothes and makeup would’ve came in handy to buy nappies lol..I mean, do you have any idea how expensive those things are? so start saving now and use your money wisely.

learn to say NO. I know your’e a sensitive person and you don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings but trust me, some things you just have to harden up and say no. Because at the end of the day, everything else will be fine and you will be the one suffering. So save yourself the drama and learn today.

don’t be so quick to date! trust me when I say, you will have all the time in the world to date. Most guys are jerks and you will come to the realisation that, your prince charming; the one who will love you for you and make you happy will come later in life. So, be patient.

don’t be crushing on celebrities because I’m telling you now, it’s a complete waste of time lol..I mean, they don’t even know you exist..I know your friends will have one particular celebrity they admire and what not..but c’mon now! Is Chris Brown gonna take you to the temple? Uhhhh, I don’t think so! So, don’t invest your time on unnecessary things.

appreciate the little things. You will find that the best things in life are for free. You will realise that you don’t need expensive things to make you happy but rather the small and simple things you wouldn’t even think it’l make a difference. So take advantage!

My battle with breastfeeding: The Highs and Lows

Before I begin with this post, I just want to say that; what I am about to share, does not necessarily make me a ‘pro’ breastfeeder or perhaps claim that I am better than anyone at breastfeeding or say that “you are doing it wrong!” kinda thing. What I am about to share is solely based on my own experience and hopefully this post will shed some light on some mothers who are struggling with breastfeeding or perhaps consider breastfeeding her child.

So thinking back on my pregnancy, I always knew from the ‘get go’ that I wanted to breastfeed my baby no matter what. Growing up, I’ve always known that breastfeeding was the best thing you could ever give your child and I never really understood why mothers would choose otherwise. However, given various circumstances and situations, some mothers just cannot breastfeed. No matter how hard they try, they just can’t and that’s it.

Given my situation, I was very fortunate enough that as soon as Lyca was born she latched on pretty well and away she went! She knew exactly what she was doing and thank goodness for that!! because I literally had no clue lol. So not only did she make things a lot easier for me, I knew I was very lucky because I knew some mothers weren’t as lucky as myself.

So why did I do it? Why am I breastfeeding? The answer is simple. “I wanted the best for my baby”. The thought of formula feeding was very unnatural to me. I mean, the word ‘formula’ on its own; sounded like some kind of weird, scary, scientific experiment. So to even begin to think about what goes in that tin of powdered milk, and how it was made, scared the heck outta me. So that was the main reason why I chose to breastfeed my baby.

However, having said that; not everything was smooth and peachy. In fact, it was one of the most difficult task I had ever come across. The pain of breastfeeding was so excruciating and that was something I was not prepared for. I briefly talked about it on my ‘Postnatal Blues’ post here. I’m not gonna lie, at some point I was on the verge of giving up and slowly giving in to the idea of formula feeding. But I knew if I was to put my baby on formula, I was only thinking about myself which was really selfish of me. I came to the realisation that its not about me anymore but rather a little human being who’s life has become so dependent on me, and I can’t just let her down because I was experiencing some pain. I knew I had to be strong. I knew I had to overcome this. I knew I had to really endure to the end, in order for my baby to have the best.

So what did I do with the pain? I kept on breastfeeding! As crazy and painful as that sounds, I really had no choice but to soldier on with the pain and continue to feed my baby. I know it sounds easier said than done on here, but trust me when I say, the pain was so torturous and I think some mothers out there can relate to the same thing. In my head I was thinking, “Geez how much more pain does a woman need to go through?!” I mean, isn’t childbirth enough? Apparently not. lol

Then, there was the whole breastfeeding in public thing. I’ve come across so much drama online and on the media about breastfeeding and it made me sad to see how society views breastfeeding in public as ‘inappropriate’, ‘disgusting’ oh even worse- “go breastfeed your baby in the restroom”..I mean c’mon now! Would you take your food and eat in the restroom? I don’t think so. Same principle applies here. I am not saying that all society think this way, but i know others beg to differ. And of course at the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I haven’t experienced anything like this but if it was to happen, then now you know where my thoughts lie lol. What I’m trying to say is, if your baby is crying because he/she is hungry, don’t feel like you have to hide or don’t be afraid of what others might think or say. When your baby is hungry, they will demand for a feed right then and there and they wouldn’t care where you are at the time. And you shouldn’t be either.

I’m glad to say that breastfeeding eventually did get a lot easier for me. I only experienced pain for just 2 weeks. I know, 2 weeks felt like 2 years at the time! lol- but that pain only lasted for a short period of time. Now, I enjoy nursing my baby and having that special bond that only you can experience with your baby through breastfeeding.

If it’s one thing I learned from breastfeeding is, establishing a good latching position, and I think this is key. What I had thought at the time was a good position, turned out to be the complete opposite; and that is when it went all down hill for me lol.

Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful and natural experience a woman can have. And if it be done properly, it can be such an enjoyable experience.

To all my dear mothers, nothing can ever compare or comprehend to the sacred role we hold as a mother. It is our divine duty given to us and although it comes with a lot of pain and heartache, the joy of seeing your baby grow and knowing that you tried to give them the best, is rewarding on it’s own. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Give yourself credit for all that you’ve done because you deserve it and so much more.

Ati xx

Work with what you have..

So this is how our morning went..

Our usual routine went from a feed to a bath and then a photoshoot lol..yes, I know crazy new mother syndrome..haha

My sweet girl was very good to me and lasted throughout our mini photoshoot sesh. Thank you to my sweet sweet handsome husband for buying my two favourite toys at the moment-  of which I will post a pic of it real soon.

Due to this ridiculous weather, we couldn’t go outdoors or go somewhere fancy to take our photos. So I had to work with what I had and make it happen. Bear in mind that I am no professional photographer nor I claim to be one, sooooo be nice! lol..these pictures were just for fun and of course trying out my new toy!

So enjoy xx

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My two fave things. Thanks babe!

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So of course, I didn’t have ANY fancy props to work with. I don’t know if you can tell from the pictures; but we took our pictures on our bed in our bedroom lol. I used our headboard as a backdrop and it turned out alright.

I used different headbands on her so the pictures don’t look too plain. Also, the butterflies I ordered online a while ago to decorate the walls and these are the ones that decided to fall off lol- So I included them in the pictures.

And the background of the picture is just our white blanket and some pillows to help with levelling lol- and voila! you got yourself some good looking pictures lol.

You don’t have to go to such extreme or buy expensive items for a photoshoot. Just work with what you have and you will be surprised with the outcome!

Ati xx