My delayed participation in the discussion was because of this: I was not sure whether I truly loved anything about Samoa. There were many aspects of Samoa that I enjoyed and appreciated, but I had to seriously reflect on what it was that I would hold dear about the place where I grew up.
|My absolute favourite food|
I have not been to Samoa for over 15 yrs because I do not miss anything about it. Honestly, nothing calls me back to the islands at this stage. Of course, I often crave the taste of steamed alili (sea snails), fai’ai gau (dolabella/sea hare baked in coconut cream), and I long for fresh, green coconuts to quench my thirst. Still, as much as I reminisce about food or the beauty of its beaches and landscapes, I just could not be sure what it is that I could confidently say I love about Samoa.
Today, I finally found my answer. The reason why I do not miss Samoa is because I never left it behind. Wherever I choose to be in this world, I always carry within me the gagana (language) and the aganuu (culture) of my ancestors. This is exactly what my soul is deeply engrossed in. This is what I truly LOVE about Samoa.
My cravings for Samoan food and beauty will never match my desire for knowledge of the faasamoa. Without being aware of it, this seems to be the very reason why I have been drawn to teaching Samoan Language and Culture. In sharing my knowledge with others, I share my passion with them in the hope that they also will grow to appreciate the faasamoa as I do. It is also a great drive for me to learn more, but most of all, is that I feel myself connecting with my ancestors in the process.
The last few days have been an overwhelming experience where I was immersed in this knowledge of the gagana ma le aganuu Samoa via presentations by a professor of Samoan Studies. I had promised a few people that I will give them a summary of the presentations, but I am going to need more time as I am still trying to absorb the information myself. Stay tuned :)