Wednesday, August 16

No Man is an Island

"No man is an island. No man stands alone." - Dennis Brown

We can vouch for that, especially after our move to Washington DC. We simply couldn't have done it on our own. We would like to sincerely thank the following people:

  • God. First and foremost. Traveling half the globe to a foreign land is no easy task, especially with the threat of terrorism, but we all made it here safely with no drama. We sincerely believe that our guardian angels were working overtime keeping us safe and sound so we could be reunited as a family once again.
  • Our families. Their support has been unbelievable, they were always there for us, from caring for Rachel and Madison while they were in NZ, throwing Madison a birthday party, providing moral support, to helping out with our air fares. We are blessed to have such supportive families. Thanks guys!
  • Cindy Streb. Cindy is truly one of a kind and her help from Day 1 was heaven sent. From helping me apply for the position, to letting me stay in her condo rent-free while she was away on travel, Cindy has been a fantastic friend. She even gave us her TV for free. Thank you Cindy!
  • Adam Tremper. Adam was kind enough to pick up groceries and medication for me while I was sick and stuck in the house. I think the measure of a true friend is their willingness to come through when they're really needed. Adam came through when I needed someone the most and I will never forget that kindness.
  • Steve and Lu Nagler. Steve and Lu in Connecticut have always expressed their willingness to help out in any way they can. It's comforting knowing that they are only a phone call away. They are our bigtime safety net!
  • Kathy and Hugh Ngaga. Kathy is our neighbor and lives in our building. I met her by chance on the day I moved in but the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that meeting her was through divine intervention. Through her we have a 2 piece couch set with pull out bed, dining table, 2 coffee tables, a vacuum cleaner, ottoman and a lamp all for FREE. Hugh even helped me drag all the stuff over to our place. We are very fortunate to have made their acquaintance.
  • Candi Bryant. Candi has been a huge help to me since I got here. She has driven me places in her car and has been a wonderful resource, helping me find my feet in a city that can be very confusing to a simple island boy.
  • Mark Bellinger. Mark is a co-worker who was kind enough to help me move a bed I found online to our place with the use of his truck. It was a lot of heavy lifting but Mark never once complained or asked for compensation.
  • HP, Teuila & Maxine. My friends and former co-workers from Samoa. They showed true friendship by checking up on Rachel and Maddy after I had left for the States. Maxine made sure that I got my medicine when I was sick, even though she didn't have to.

As a family we are truly blessed to have so many people who have gone out of their ways to help us. We may not be able to fully thank you ourselves but we hope and pray that God will bless you for the kindness you've shown us. Thank you, thank you all!

Monday, August 14

Island Boy in the City

Rachel, Madison and I went for a walkabout yesterday afternoon to visit the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to see some dinosaurs. Madison was so excited because he loves dinosaurs, however on our way there we came across a merry-go-round and predictably enough, Madison lost all interest in going to the museum. Thankfully we managed to talk him into going to the museum first, with the promise that we'd go to the merry-go-round afterwards. After going through the dinosaur exhibit of dinosaur fossils, he told us that he was "sad" that all the dinosaurs were dead and wanted to know "what happened" to them. The visit to the museum was kinda rushed because I have a feeling that Maddy was trying to rush us through the museum so we could go to the merry-go-round.

Walking to the station on the way home, Madison decided that his feet were hot so he removed his socks and shoes and went island style through the gravel, grass, pavement and subway system. It was funny seeing him walk the streets of Washington DC barefoot, his mommy wasn't too impressed but I thought it was a hoot.

The Way We Were

This is a photo that a co-worker of mine just handed to me this morning. He was in Samoa back in 2002 on a work trip and thought that I'd like to see a photo he took way back then. I had just started with the Peace Corps then and already this photo can tell that the three of us would be the best of friends. HP looks younger, Teuila and I still look the same, we don't look like we've aged a bit in 5 years (yeah right). I miss those two, the chats we used to share over lunch breaks, early lunch breaks, late breakfast breaks, ice cream breaks and every other excuse for a break we could think up. It's a wonder we ever got any work done!

Saturday, August 12

Reunited At Long Last

Rachel and Madison arrived safely in DC in the early hours of Thursday morning. It was so good to see them again. Madison and I shared a very long hug, it was obvious that he really missed his daddy. Being a family again feels really good. We spent the first day relaxing at home and doing a bit of grocery shopping later in the day.

We went to the National Zoo yesterday. It was a nice day, not too hot but it was a long walk from one end to the other. By the time we got home we all had a nice long nap.

This is a photo taken by Maddy with our cellphone while we were waiting for a taxi after grocery shopping. It was funny shopping with Maddy because he wanted one of everything that remotely looked like a toy.

That's Maddy with a donkey at the zoo. He later bought a stuffed donkey at the Visitor's center even though there was a choice of panda bears, giraffes and elephants.

That's Maddy at the airport smiling now that he's back together with daddy.

Tuesday, August 8

Happy Birthday BatGran!

Today is the 9th in NZ so that means today is Mom's birthday! Happy birthday Mom, hope you have a good one. I'm glad that you'll be able to spend most of it with Rach and Maddy there with you. I wish I was there too! Thanks for everything you've done for us this year Mom, I don't know where we'd be without you. You're the best mom a son could ever ask for. Love you!

2 More Days

Today is Tuesday and on Thursday I will be reunited with my family. To say I'm excited would be an understatement! It's been hard to remain focused at work , all I can think about is how I'll be seeing Rachel and Madison in two days. Two days!

Last night I picked up a king sized bed that I found online on , which is a really convenient website to find second hand stuff that people in your area want to sell at discount prices. The bed was bought 6 months ago at $1495 but I got it for $600 and it was still in its original plastic wrapping so I think I got a good deal. It's a pillowtop type bed and while it's very comfortable, it sits quite high off the ground, even I have to jump up a little bit to get on. Weird but once you're on it, you can't tell that you're high off the ground, unless of course you fall off it.

Tonight I'll be going to Toys 'R Us to pick out a few toys for Maddy. I won't go crazy but I think he deserves to have a couple of pressies waiting for him at the house when he gets there. I think I'll try and get 3 pressies and not spend more than a hundred bucks. Maybe there'll be a sale on.

Rachel and Maddy fly out of Wellington in approximately 10 hours. I wish them both a safe journey to the States. Hurry home hon!

Monday, August 7

Three More Days

Three more days 'til Rachel and Madison arrive in Washington DC! I've been counting down the days, hours and minutes since I found out that they had bought tickets to depart New Zealand on the 9th of August. I had a nice chat with Rachel on the phone last night and she sounded ready to make the trip over. I think the flight from Wellington to Auckland is like an hour, the flight from Auckland to LA is just under 12 hours and the flight from LA to Washington DC is a little under 5 hours for a total of 18 hours in the air. It isn't an easy trip by any means and I hope Madison behaves himself and helps his mommy out during the layovers in Auckland and LA. If I'm not mistaken, they start their travels tomorrow since tomorrow will be the 9th in NZ. It's a pity they have to leave NZ on BatGran's birthday but due to some quirks in the travel industry, flying out on the 9th saved us all a lot of money (as compared with the 10th, 11th, 12th or 13th).

I have so much to get done before they get here in the wee hours of Thursday morning. I've already paid for an airport shuttle to take me to the airport and we'll probably cab it back home. I was originally going to use the Washington Flyer service which takes us to the West Falls metro station for only 9 bucks each but then that would mean that we'll have to lug all the bags onto the train and then all the way home. Not the best of ideas when you've just spent the last 2 days travelling from the other side of the world!

I know my son is expecting some birthday presents so I'm going to do some shopping for a few pressies after work on Tuesday or Wednesday. I found a bed online and am picking it up tonight with the assistance of a friend from work. I should also try and clean up the place a bit before Rachel gets here although I know she'll still think the place is untidy.

Thursday, August 3


It's funny how family have been emailing me expressing concern about the heatwave we've been going through the past week or so. I didn't really notice we were going through a heatwave until I got a TV 2 days ago and saw it on the news for myself. I thought this was what summers in DC were normally like. I even compared the weather to Samoa, you know, hot and humid. People talk about the weather in Fahrenheit instead of Celsius so when they said it was 100 degrees outside I thought it was the same in Samoa, you know, hot is hot right? Hello? I just did a conversion of today's temperature (107F) and it equals 41C. Oka that's like 10 degrees hotter than Samoa! I crack myself up sometimes.

On a more pleasant note, the 1 week countdown starts today. Seven days 'til Rachel and Maddy arrive wooohooo! I had a bad dream last night that Maddy and Rachel arrived and I had forgotten to buy Maddy a birthday present and he asked me, "Daddy fea la'u pressie?" as soon as he walked in the door. I woke up in a cold sweat. Or maybe it was just hot due to the heatwave, but either way I better remember to go shopping for him before they get here or I'm a dead man! Seven days to go.... yay!

Wednesday, August 2

Happy Birthday Papa

Today is Papa's 64th birthday! Malo lava Dad, I hope you have a wonderful day and I wish I could be there to celebrate it with you. I bet I'll be missing out on the chicken wings, potato salad and rice special too! I miss home!

Tuesday, August 1

One Happy Family

The first thought that came to mind when I saw these photos
was "this looks like one happy family".

Madison is blessed to have a family that loves him to death.

Aunty Sachi and Lagi with Madison

Hangin' with Aunty Ling

Can't quite make out the engagement ring on Aunty Ling's finger from this
photo but this is a good shot of Maddy in what looks like a cool new
shark outfit. I hope he still fits it by the time winter rolls around
in DC in 4 months time.

Blowing Out the Candles

Would you take a look at that cake? Wow, the things they can do with
cake icing these days, unbelievable! I don't know about cutting a cake
with my picture on it though, would anyone like a nose with their ice cream?

Things that make you go hmmm?

Look at Mr. Moneybags here after his birthday. When I asked his mommy
what he got for his birthday there was no mention of any $$$. Reminds me
of that song from way back, "Things that make you go Hmmmm..."