Samoa was the perfect place for Eden Talataina of Israel and Auckland, New Zealand, to tie the knot with her long time beau.
She wouldn’t have it any other way because her husband is from Samoa and it was also a time to reunite with their families here.
“We’re having a little family reunion, so we decided to might as well have a wedding. It wasn’t a really big family reunion, it was just over a day and it was us and the family from Samoa,” Eden said.
“So we’ve been here a week and half now, so everyone’s leaving today (Wednesday) for Fiji. And then we’ll be staying here for a few more days, we will be here until Saturday.
“Our wedding was held at the Taumeasina Island Resort last week. We’re here with all our family from New Zealand and Australia.
“This is my first time in Samoa, a few of the family members have been here before, but majority of the family members, this is their first time.”
Despite being a first timer to our shores, Eden is no stranger to our culture and the island vibe.
She said being in a relationship with her husband for eight years, she had learnt a lot about the Samoan culture and also had a taste of the local dishes.
“I love the food. So I used to live with my in laws so they always cook our island food, chopsuey, palusami, luau, taro, but I tried here for the first time breadfruit, oh I love it, much nicer, I think I like it better than taro,” Eden said.
“I love the niu, I love it, easy to eat, the juice is nice, it’s sweet and you can easily just pick it off and eat it. Also the taro in caramel, I love it, and just the normal meat.
“In a way it wasn’t really a culture shock when I came here because I grew up with a lot of Polynesians in New Zealand, because I knew what the culture, the family aspect of the Samoan culture, so it wasn’t really a culture shock.
“Locals are very good, they’re very friendly, very similar to going to the market, there’s the same feeling and vibe if you go to the market in Auckland.
“I love my first time here, everything is just so beautiful, beaches, the trees, and I love the Samoan culture.”
Eden is originally from Israel and she moved to New Zealand with her family when she was six years old.
Moving to New Zealand and meeting her husband made her embrace the Polynesian culture more, especially having big families.
The only thing that struck her upon arrival is the unique Samoa weather.
“It’s very humid; I sweat all the time. We are so used to the Auckland weather,” Eden said.
“Lucky during our wedding, we had the marquee by the beach, and there was cool sea breeze, this was our wedding favours (iri) that we made, so everyone had an iri to cool themselves down.”
She said she enjoyed visiting the Papaseea Sliding rock, Piula Cave Pools, Lalomanu, and the Taufua Beach Fales.
“That was beautiful, that’s where I got burnt, so burnt, and then just visiting the families, villages and having umu and we’ve been to a few different resorts, we’ve been to Taumeasina, beautiful, Insel that was very nice, Pasefika Inn and now Tanoa.”
The mother of two also spoke about having more activities for children, apart from swimming in the pool.
“Because we’re all mothers, what we would love to see are more recreational facilities and activities for children. I mean the only thing they can do now is swim,” Eden said.
“I also think Samoa has a lot of beautiful resorts, but there’s always room for improvement if Samoa wants to, but I think it’s important to maintain the culture like in some local resorts, they still try and portray bits and pieces of the Samoan culture which makes you feel like you’re not in a resort in Australia or New Zealand.
“For me, when I go to a resort, I want to feel like I am somewhere different, away from the westernized world, so Samoa is great.”
Eden also wishes to travel to Fiji and Cook Islands.
However, our friendliness is an unforgettable memory for Eden and she will return for more.
“People are so friendly here, we can go anywhere and people say hi, and it reminds me of home, Auckland, and the scenery is just beautiful, it’s nice to feel like you’re here, but still live in paradise.
“I would love to return, now that all the family members have been here, we will definitely return and do a lot more sightseeing and travel to Savai’i.”
But for now, it’s back to work and reality for Eden and her family.