Return to Samoa is homecoming for American woman

It is a homecoming for American Kelly Kneubuhl, who returns to Samoa 24 years after her departure from the island.

And this time she returns with her husband Dan Nolan and her two children, 24-year-old Ion Fults and his 21-year-old sister Paige Fults.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer at the Taumeasina Island Resort on Thursday, the 53-year-old American woman said it is her family's first ever visit to a country where she was raised. 

“Upolu has changed since over 24 years and the streets lights I was so amazed and other things too,” she said.

Ms. Kneubuhl said she was first raised in American Samoa in a village called Leone, and then she moved to Samoa where she grew up in Saluafata, before moving to California in the U.S.

She then had children of her own and wanted them to be close to her family in Samoa, despite them living in America, but did not have the time.

“It has been far too long and I should have brought than here sooner, but the States has been so busy than down here, and before you know it has been 24 years,” she said.

Her son Ion told this newspaper that their week-long stay in Samoa has been great, and they have had the opportunity to experience the culture and check out some of the country's attractions. 

“My mother was born here and now I am coming to see it for myself for the first time,” he added.

Ion said previously he had only seen photos of Samoa and heard the stories to imagine what it would be like, but he is now living the experience. 

He said that he spent a lot of time swimming at the beach, though the greatest experience for him was tasting Samoan traditional food.

“Very kind people and the best thing is the food, and I have tasted the palolo which is really nice, and that was the best thing was the Samoan food."

For Paige, she noted the big difference between Samoa and California and amongst the many differences is the weather. 

“It’s cool that I got to experience the different parts of the country and villages,” she added.

Having already checked out some of the island's attractions, Paige picked the popular Tosua Trench on Upolu and swimming with the turtles in Savai'i as two of the best experiences she has had.

The two Fults children said they are looking forward to discovering more of Samoa with their parents before they return to the U.S.

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