Samoa, the perfect birthday gift

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 04 January 2018, 12:00AM

Nothing says “I’m really into you” than giving your new beau the gift of a Samoan experience which is exactly what Alice from Wellington, New Zealand, did for her man, Kris. It must have worked because on their return to New Zealand, Kris tells Dear Tourist that he’s going to move in with Alice. 

Dear tourist met the couple as they were doing some last minute shopping at the Savalalo markets.

“Alice’s impulse bought our tickets for Samoa as a birthday gift to me which was far too much money for her to spend on me and it was really nice and I’m super appreciative,” said Kris. 

“My birthday was in August and she gave it to me as a gift then and she said to me ‘we’re going to Samoa’ and I was like wow, ok,” he laughs.

However it was a win-win situation for the couple because for a long time, Alice has been curious about Samoa, being a teacher to many young Samoan New Zealanders at her school in Tawa.

“We’ve come for a holiday, I’m a teacher in Tawa, Wellington and heaps of my kids are Samoan and I was trying to decide where we were going to come, so we decide on here to have a look.”

The heat has been the only obstacle for the pair, but their adventures together have been memorable and it opened their minds to the many different experiences of other world cultures.

“The first thing that hit me was how hot it was here in Samoa. Unbelievably hot, oh my gosh,” said Alice. 

“But it’s quite different from New Zealand, it’s been awesome. Our taxi driver from the airport was amazing and he gave us the low down on what we needed to do. We did a little bit of resting because we didn’t really know what was going on for new years and everything was quite quiet so we did a bit of relaxing and then the last couple of days have been all about going about.”

You could tell by the way Alice’s face lights up that there was one special part of her trip that ticked one off the bucket list for her. 

“We went for a day trip to Savaii yesterday which was awesome. It was a very quick trip, but for me the highlight was when we got to swim for turtles.  Which is something that I have wanted to do for years and years so that was so awesome. The people we met there were cool, we met some other tourists and that was a really nice way to spend the day.”

Kris, on the other hand, was looking to experience authentic Samoan food which to his surprise, he found hard to find, but one kind stranger’s act of kindness meant that he got a taste of our road side barbeque culinary delights.

“The highlight for me was while we had been travelling around, we‘ve been looking around for Samoan food which surprisingly was a little hard to find here. I guess it’s because over New Year’s we were stuck in our hotel and so they tend to have European style food.

“But yesterday while in Savaii, we found ourselves in a bit of a hurry so our taxi driver called ahead and organised to pick up some barbeque along the way which was a really good experience. Then we arrived back to our hotel last night at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel there was a fiafia show and we had the chance to try more Samoan food like the fish and palusami. Normally fish is outside of my comfort zone, but what we had was really good.”

Alice is curious to see how her student will react to her stories of Samoa, but now that she has an insight to the cultural heritage of her students, she will be looking at the conversation with a new perspective.

“It’s going to be a really interesting conversation when I get back to my kids at school. Because when I told them that I was coming here, they just kind of laughed,” she said. 

“But it’s going to be interesting talking to them about what I saw and how that’s different for them when they come back to spend time with their families.”

The couple have found themselves in interesting situations here in Samoa which they admit they would never experience anywhere else and it has really expanded their worldview.

“We have had some really cool opportunities here,” said Alice. 

“Like we were on the other side of the island yesterday and there was a family who wanted a ride over here to Apia, so we picked them up and we got to know them a little bit and so it was a cool opportunity for us to do something a little different that we don’t normally do in New Zealand.

“I definitely think this is an up and coming destination,” said Alice. 

“I would definitely recommend it to other people as a place to visit because it’s awesome and coming to places like the market and going on the buses and things like that, it’s just cool.”

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 04 January 2018, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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