2010 in Review

I was only just starting to get used to writing the date 2010 and heck, its 2011 already. Where did the year go? What happened to it? My year was one dominated by writing. Stressing out about writing. And then more writing.

In January we set our sights on moving to Auckland before the year was out, because we took one giant financial step closer to moving with the sale of our rental ‘investment’ property. Making it possible to put a big chunk payment on our home in NZ. I kept going with visits to Aleipata and Falealili district, interviewing survivors. The ‘Samoa Observer’ got a whiff of the book project and did a front page story on it which led to another in the NZ Herald. And lots of super helpful emails and phonecalls – from tsunami scientists, an editor from Penguin Books ( WOW!) and assorted survivors from overseas. Sade started at RLS High school VERY NERVOUS because she’d been homeschooled by her mother…‘what if Im really behind in everything? what if everyone else is smarter than me? what if you taught me all the wrong things?!’ (such faith in me…) Me and Darren went to Saleapaga with a church service project and helped build a house for the Vi’iga family.

February I went to American Samoa to do more research and a massive earthquake hit in Chile. A Pacific wide tsunami warning had everyone heading for the hills and instead of interviewing 29/09 families, I sat and watched CNN footage of little ripples hitting in Hawaii. Fretting and worrying about my family back in Apia.Still managed to shop up a storm in Cost Co though. Couldnt go without bulk jello packets of instant cheesecake and absolute mattresses of marshmallows…

March we celebrated the Princess’ 8th birthday. She was baptized by her dad, wearing the same white chiffon dress that Sade wore 5 years ago. (with safety pins to help it fit!) I spoke at the church service and shared the story of Zion’s birth – born at 28 week size and only 2 pounds of butter big. A fragile gift. We all spent the weekend at Aggie Greys resort at Mulifanua.

In April HRH got super busy building the Amanaki Hotel. We took the leap and paid for our one-way tickets to NZ. Dec 22nd would be our liftoff date. No turning back. JB tried out for the school athletics team and convinced his father to help coach the runners. I was joyously ecstatic as i watched him win the 800m. The 1500m. Thank goodness the boy takes after his father in the athletic dept…

May saw me go a little nutty and commit to entering the 2010 Perimeter Relay. Which meant starting up early morning walking again. With superwomen – Maylani, Ramona, Lalomanu, Pualele. I FINISHED my first draft of the book. And said good riddance!

June was a jam packed month. Darren ran in the Samoa Marathon – and won. Knockin on forty and the man is still burning up the road ( and my heart) in style. I ran in nothing. As usual, June rendered us totally broke with THREE birthdays. Sade turned 12 and graduated out of Primary, officially becoming a ‘YOUNG WOMAN’. ( She was already one having long ago mastered the musu face and surly teenage attitude.) JB hit 15. Didnt want any friends over. Didnt want to go to dinner at a restaurant. The boy is soooo ashamed of his family. (make that totally ashamed of his super cool mother). SD hit seven and continues to find new and creative ways to push all my buttons. Including ones i didnt know existed. (Count to ten…no, not so that i can be nicer, so that he has time to run away before i get my hands on the salu.)

I cant remember what happened in July. More book revising. More stressing. More eating. More sleepless nights. Oh yes thats right, HRH celebrated the big 4 – 0. I couldnt throw a big bash for him since he absolutely forbid us to do anything.

August i did the Perimeter Relay and regretted almost every minute of it. I wasnt as fit. Or as enthusiastic. I wanted to die most of the time. Very grateful for the support crew. Very grateful for my teammates who made life worth living on that horrible day. HRH and JB had a super time on their team though. They overtook us somewhere after Le Mafa. Shirtless and sweaty.

I had another moment of insanity and signed up to sub teach English at my kids school. They were apprehensive but then realized i am not that bad and their friends loved me. My children grudgingly decided i was ‘a little bit cool.’ Thanks! The book was launched in September. Apia – too much emotion. Basically ripped out my heart and displayed it for all and sundry. Pago – felt like an outsider in enemy territory, silently begged for people not to throw rotten eggs at me. So glad my father went with me. Auckland – lots of family support but very tired at that point.

October we moved out of our house so we could renovate it. Cried to move. Realised, “I dont want to move to NZ”. But with book over i could at last pay attention to my children. Except, tired physically, mentally and spiritually – I got horribly sick with bronchitis, asthma. In bed for weeks. Died just walking up stairs. Read books, ate lots, took mega drugs. Had numerous steroid shots in the butt. Got mad that doctor never told me that steroids actually stimulate appetite. Only found out after 3 weeks of non-stop binge eating. THANKS A LOT! The Beast celebrated her third birthday. Filled the house with balloons for when she woke up. And let her ‘help’ me bake the GF cupcakes.

November JB and Sade had exams. Lots of studying and snacking. Was good mother and did lots of cooking. Started packing boxes. Torn with angst…what to take, what to leave? HRH went to Australia for a funeral. Took his parents.

December sold our house. Kind of. HRH finished the Amanaki Hotel. We cashed in our NPF – WOW! I love the NPF scheme. Gave away piles of stuff. Sold a bit of it. Had farewell dinners and brunches. HRH worked till 3am most nights finishing hotels, warehouses, homes and transporting oil mills. Almost delayed flights. Moved into Millenia Hotel four days before we left. Said goodbye to family and friends. Cried but tried not to. Avoided farewells at church by just not going. Got on plane, called my dad on cellphone while it was taxiing down runway – and cried till my heart broke. The Beast exclaimed loudly – “Yaaay! We blasting off to the moon!”

As i farewell 2010, i give thanks. To the Lord for carrying me through. For continuing to bless me with good health and strength. The sacred opportunity to be a mother in these exciting and challenging times.

To my husband. For his patience as I poured my heart and soul into my writing ‘career’. For his enduring persistence and strength as he worked incredibly hard to support our family. For the way he can still make me laugh. Even when he’s annoyed to bits with me.

To my children. For forgiving me when i scream and yell at them. ( without good reason.) For teaching me everyday how to be kinder, gentler and cooler.

To my friends. (all three of them…lol) For sharing my weird and wacky take on life. For listening to me. For inspiring me.

2011 – Im ready for you. I think.