Christmas gift provides memories for a lifetime

By Anina Kazaz ,

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FIRST TIME OVERSEAS: Briar Galpin made the best out of her first experience in a foreign country.

FIRST TIME OVERSEAS: Briar Galpin made the best out of her first experience in a foreign country. (Photo: Anina Kazaz)

It’s better late than never. 

As a late Christmas gift, Briar Galpin, 15, was surprised with an island getaway to Samoa. 

It turns out that Samoa is the first overseas destination for Briar to visit. 

She is from Auckland, New Zealand and she came with her father to the Pacific Island.

“It is a great experience to go abroad for the first time and to such a place like Samoa,” she said.

She arrived with her dad last Sunday and they left yesterday.

“It has been really nice to get away from the winter,” Briar shared.

Dear Tourist met her in the lobby of the Taumeasina Island Resort.

The main purpose of her stay in Samoa is to see something and to enjoy a good time with her father.

Coming home with a tan will probably make some of her friends jealous.

“The highlight I would say was to get a tan. We have been relaxing at the pool and yesterday we went to the markets. For a bit of sightseeing we went to the Piula Cave Pools and to some waterfalls. It has been relaxing to tan a bit,” she said.

After her first visit to Samoa and in the Pacific area, you can count on her promise to return.

“I would like to go to Fiji, Rarotonga, Hawai’i and other Pacific countries,” she said.

“I got a few Samoan friends back at home and I have heard of Samoa before,” Briar said.

“I would say the biggest difference between the New Zealand and Samoan cultures is mainly the value of things. For example being Catholic and being part of the church is a very big thing here and in New Zealand it does not really matter as much.

“The people are really nice. In New Zealand, the workers don’t really like talking to you and here they like to create conversations and it feels welcoming.

“Here you can’t buy specific things at specific times, not like in New Zealand where you can buy anything at any time,” she explained.

The food experience is different for her too.

“I tried the tuna it was nice and has been different from the cans in New Zealand. It was fresher than what we have at home,” she said.

“The villages here we don’t have that at home. I guess you can see the poverty a bit through the conditions in the villages. The houses for example I think, when it is stormy they can get very uncomfortable with the open windows, so I don’t know how they deal with that,” she said.

Because it is her first time in a foreign country, she only wishes to say that Samoa should not be quick to develop.

“I think it is fine the way it is. I don’t think they need to change anything. The culture is present and I like that. This resort is really nice and very different compared to the rest of Samoa. They’re probably trying to shape it to be more presentable, I guess,” she said.

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