Saturday, 10 September 2011

Who Said I Loved Anything About Samoa?

This is my response to a question raised by another blogger, Lani @ Sleepless in Samoa. Her question was: Why do you love Samoa? Since I felt that an answer to this required further consideration, I chose to move it here as part of my blog so I can elaborate on my thoughts.

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 :)



  1. Great post Elizabeth! I just finished reading Lani's book and I have to say, you Samoan's really know how to eat well. I adore steamed sea snails as well. My palagi (I am trying to use that word as much as I can now!!) husband thinks it's disgusting. "The reason why I do not miss Samoa is because I never left it behind" that's such a poignant line and so wonderful. Culture is so important and I love being able to share aspects of different cultures. One of the reasons why Australia is so cool.

  2. "... you Samoan's really know how to eat well." LOL. How true! Most things revolve around food - Not good when you're trying to stick to a healthy diet. Sea snails aren't fattening though. Wish I could find more of them at seafood markets.

  3. Loved your post Elizabeth!. I can't believe I've missed out on all your wonderful posts. I don't know where I've been hiding myself.

  4. Yay Jo_an you've found me now, lol. You were one of the first few to officially join my page so you haven't missed out much :)

  5. loved what you said about never leaving the aganu'u and gagana behind, so true, glad I discovered your blog tonight

    1. Hi Samoanwoman, thanks for linking me another blog to stalk, hehe. I haven't been updating mine lately but will eventually get back into it :)