Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Biggest Wedding on the Island

On Saturday the 28th of July I went to one of the biggest weddings on the south side of Savaii. The bride is the eldest daughter of the pastor of the village next to us and she went to our school as do all of her younger siblings. The groom is the son of the man who used to be the pastor of my village for 20 years. He was also the president of the PTA, and he is currently on the Methodist Board of Education. It was huge. He also used to teach at the Piula Theological College (for Methodists). I would say about 80% of all Methodists were there.

The actually ceremony was very similar to the states. The vows were the same, just in Samoan. The pastor gave a short sermon, and there was a long prayer of kneeling down, but for the actual ceremony, it was the same.

The Bride's gown. It must have been fairly heavy.

The bride and groom, Selese and Uesele. After the wedding ceremony before the reception, the entire wedding party goes in a train of rented similar cars somewhere for a picnic while everyone eats and chats. When they get back the speeches are made (only on the grooms side) and the cake is cut.

The bride's cake. There are 19 cakes, one for every year old she is.

A close up shot of the bride's cake... real frosting!

The groom's cake. There are 16 cakes. No special number. Each cake is on display during the wedding. The bride and groom cut a piece out of each cake and share it. Then someone calls out who of the guests get which cake. All of the cakes but 2 were passed out to important guests. The remaining 2 were cut up into little pieces and shared with all of the guests. It was a fruit cake with real frosting. Real frosting! Yeah. :)

One of the flower girls. There were 14 people in the wedding party.

After the reception part including the wedding party dancing to a song or two (but not the rest of the guests), the real Samoan part of the wedding starts. It's where all of the stuff is passed from guests to the families getting married. Not the presents, that is put on a table like in the states, but the fine mats, cans of meat, blocks of fabric, food, money, cows... It's done at every Samoan event - weddings, funerals, church openings... usually it lasts half hour, hour at the most. This one was so big, that part lasted 3 hours! 3 hours of someone yelling out who the stuff goes to and passing everything on and receiving everything. I got a huge plate of food out of the deal and a few cans of sardines and canned mackerel.

A massive fine mat. One of at least 30 fine mats passed around that day. I think this is one of the largest. Fine mats are worth upward of thousands of tala and are passed around like cash.

Another fine mat.

A few boxes of eleni (canned mackerel). Every event has tons of cases of eleni and canned corned beef and sardines pass back and forth.

A leg of a cow... now you see how huge these events are. This leg of a cow went to the Methodist Theological College.

Friday, July 20, 2007

More America Pics

Me Eating American food right before the Mariners game.
The girls together again at the reunion. Adriane, Christi, me and Robin. It was a lot more fun than I was expecting it to be and I think that is the attitude of all that went. There's something familiar about talking with people that have known you since age 6, even if you haven't seen them in the last 10 years...

Christi trying the most amazing chilli (yes spelled with 2 l's on the bottle) sauce in the world! Samoa's Own Chilli Sauce.

All of us together again for a short period of time... and it was insanity and it was fun. Miss you girls! I still promise if I ever get married you will be there planning the party!
Sequence gets a little out of control. This is why I love Nichole... just as crazy as me.
Whose hair is longer? Right before I left, both of us got our hair cut the same length and have been growing it out ever since. In Samoa everything grows crazy fast: weeds, hair, fingernails...
Another amazing view of the Seattle area as seen from the east side (my uncle's place).

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I am once again back on the big island of Savaii. It was a whirwind experience back to the states. I think in the course of a week I did the following:

*Attended 2 memorial services (one for grandma and one for grandpa lloyd)
*Went to a Mariners Game (Terrace Club tickets)
*Had 2 doctors or dentist appointments (no cavities! Yeah!)
*Slept no more than 3 hours each night I was home (dad can contest to this)
*Attended my 10 Yr HS Reunion (Awesome time, so great to see everyone again)
*Visited the PC office in Seattle, PATH headquarters, at least 10 restaurants and friends houses
*Play the new game called Wii (LOVED IT)
*Hung out at 3 parks - watched and contemplated Police on horses at one of them
*Attended the Vashon Island Strawberry Festival (only festival our island throws)
*Went out in dad's boat
*Got to see my cousin who lives in Afghanistan
*And finally got to meet my brother's girlfriend Renee.
*Listened to new music and shared some Samoan as well

That's the short of it all, but really it was fun. I am so thankful I got to see everyone. Each evening was special to me, just hanging out and having fun. Below is a sampling of some of the stuff I did. I think the best part was chatting with old friends and catching up. Also, I might have a few contacts for the job I am trying to get when I finally do make my way back to the other side of the ocean... fun times, fun times.

Grandma finally brought all of us girls back together again. Me, Miranda and Elizabeth. Can't you see the family resemblance?

I missed this view. Beautiful Seattle from Alki beach.

The day with Ms Mary. We hung out at the park near Pike Place and watched horses and chatted. Awesome afternoon! Miss ya Mary.

**Internet connection is slow today, will post more pictures later...**

Sunday, July 08, 2007

America Day

Since the 4th of July fell in the middle of the week and some of us are teachers, or just had things to do, those of us on Savaii decided to get together the weekend after the 4th to celebrate "America Day" and Tim's Birthday. We had 7 of the 10 Savaii volunteers attend, not a bad turnout. There was to be no eating of Samoan food (successful), no speaking of Samoan (very unsuccessful - apparently we like speaking it), and TONS of American food. The type of food consumed consisted of French Toast, Hotdogs in massive quantities, tortillas with real minced meat, bacon and eggs... Now some of you may be saying that french toast, Mexican food, etc is not American food, but it's what we were able to find and somewhat of a luxery item here, so it counts. The event was hosted at Dylan's house. He has his own place like me and it's fairly close to town for those of us that had to leave early.

It was a great weekend. The weather was amazing. It was sunny and breezy and NOT HOT. Meaning, we could sit in the sun all day in the wind and not get all hot and sweaty. It was fun and felt like the closest to America we can get while here. Below are a few sampling of photo's that captured our efforts to produce America Day.

Everyone laying out in the sun. Tim's legs, Sarah and Vik, and Dylan sitting in the chair.

Dylan getting the setup ready to watch movies from his computer on the tv and listen to music. We are computer geeks... it's true.

Vik, Sarah and Dylan. We played a few games that night. Not sure what this one was.

Vik and Derek.

Vik, Amos and Tim arguing over the rules.