Samoa is great for the soul

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 12 October 2017, 12:00AM

Where do broken hearts go?

Apparently to Samoa, according to Laura of West Auckland, New Zealand. 

The young teacher from New Zealand was checking out the gluten free breadfruit flour on display when she decided to confide in the Dear Tourist about how she ended up in paradise with one less travelling partner.

“I was supposed to come to Samoa with my partner, we planned this in the last school holidays because we are both teachers and we broke up the day before we were supposed to come here so it was pretty horrible.”

Like any good support group, Dear Tourist encouraged her to let it all out.

“I cried on the plane all the way here but then when I got here, everything changed – it’s been beautiful and it’s been good for my soul and every single person that I meet says hi, good morning, talofa, how are you – everyone is so friendly and reaching out to me so it has been really good for my soul to see the goodness in human beings again.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Laura who didn’t really come into her own stride until a few days later with the help of the locals and the staff at Manusina who instinctively knew how to help her heal a broken heart.

“It’s been beautiful, but I will tell you that the first two nights I was here, I felt so uncomfortable in the room that we booked because it felt wrong to be there without him so I hardly went to my room I just went everywhere else. I went to Piula cave pools, walked around and talked to people and when I was doing that I was ok.

“I felt some relief when I left that accommodation and went to Saleapaga. I stayed at the Manusina beach fales and the family there have been so hospitable and so amazing. I was booked to stay in a closed fale but then they said to me ‘can we recommend you move to the open fale it will be the real Samoan experience’.  It was the best thing to get out of the closed fale that me and my ex boyfriend had prepared for ourselves and go to a brand new fale and watch the ocean – so beautiful.”

As Laura talked about the places she had been and people that she had met, Dear Tourist couldn’t help but notice that this kiwi tourist had excellent pronunciation of Samoan words that we had to inquire on the reason behind it, 

“I am a Maori bilingual teacher. I’m not Maori, I’m one hundred percent Palagi but I learnt Maori as an adult and now I teach Maori children in New Zealand. So it’s helped me to learn one Pacific language to learn another one and the daughter of Paleo at Manusina has been teaching me to speak Samoan. Its so easy and so similar to Maori.”

Overall Laura was relieved that she took her the advice of her sister and work colleague who told her to venture out on her own like the “mana wahine” she was raised to be and continue to enjoy her life even though she had just experienced a shock breakup. When one door closes, another one opens and not quite in the ways you expect as Laura found,

“This is probably not my last time to Samoa, it’s my first time but it’s definitely not my last.” Laura said. “And I’m not going to try do everything in one go because there is so much to see and you know what I believe in, is slow tourism.

I’ve just been sitting in my fale and walking around the village of Saleapaga. Monday being a public holiday it was packed, I had no idea it would be packed. Every family was out there in front of their house – I loved it! Because it was a public holiday, there were no buses I thought I might as well enjoy the local White Sunday festivities and I joined in and went to church. I absolutely loved it.”

When Whitney Houston asked the universe, “Where do broken hearts go?” it may well have whispered back to the legendary songbird, “Samoa. They go to Samoa.” And all was well again with the world. 

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 12 October 2017, 12:00AM

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