Thursday, June 30, 2011

Teacher (2)

There's a teacher at my school who I think is cool. And by cool, I don't mean she's lenient about homework or gives lots of free time or lets us eat in class (well, I wouldn't know if she does all this because she's not, in fact, one of my teachers).
But the one hour I did have her, I just thought she was really... cool. She was sincere, wasn't patronizing, witty, knew what she was talking about, clarified things and was just so... cool.

I think a lot of people thought she was a bit odd (that's just an inference, and maybe that only applied to the dude sitting next to me). But she reminded me of myself. And I'm sad that I got to have a taste of her teaching. Because now I know what I'm missing out on. Oh well, fingers crossed for next year!

And I have a feeling this makes me sound like a suck-up to teachers or whatever, but hey, teacher's are people too. Sometimes I wish I was older and knew teachers on a personal level because they make for good conversation. Teachers have one of the most interesting jobs to me. Because students come in a large variety and I like to hear what the adults who engage with them daily deal with it all. How do they keep themselves from strangling students when year after year they just drive you up the wall? Why do some of them seem like they just really don't like students when their job requires that they work with them every day?

But anyway, pftt... I'm cool. Keep it real.... gangsta....

(I'm tired so I'm hesitant about posting this.... I'll just delete if I wake up and I don't like it)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Being Samoan (Whatever That Means)

I've heard a lot of times people telling me I don't seem very Samoan. They sound very surprised when I tell them that both my parents were born and raised in Samoa. And that I, too, was born in Samoa and moved to NZ in 2003.

- My guess is that I "don't seem Samoan" because I don't call my friends "use" (pronouced "oos" which is derived from the Samoan word "uso" meaning sibling of the same sex but people just use it as "buddy" or "pal").
- Or maybe it's 'cos I pronounce my P and B with distinction.
- Or because I don't wear an ie lavalava every season of the year - through hail or storm.
- Or because I have a decent number of white and other non-Samoan friends.
- Because I don't speak it. Well, I can sort of still speak in Samoan, but I have like, an eight-year-old Samoan vocabulary so it's a bit sketchy and I'm not confident in conversing in Samoan.

When I hear Samoans at school talking to each other in our language, I wish I could somehow insert myself into their conversation and be part of their group if only for a while. Just to let them know I'm one of them.

Generally, Samoans are associated with domestic violence, fresh-ness, unintelligence, poverty and a whole lot of negative stuff. Esp. the Samoans living in South Auckland. The thing is (and I'm ashamed to say), that's what I associate Samoans with too. I know, I know. But it's true.

Is that why I'm so drawn to non-Samoan company? Why I thrive in trying to improve my English. Thinking that if I try hard enough, I'll become less and less Samoan and be perceived in a brighter light. Fake it till I make it. Writing this makes me feel so stupid and is a sort of wake up call.

The thing is, singing Samoan hymns with my family brings this fuzzy, warm feeling. A feeling of home. And wearing a puletasi makes me feel like an Island Princess. Sitting at the back of the pick-up truck on the way to Lalomanu and waving to local villagers who live in the middle of nowhere is so fun. I miss being able to just Siva Samoa on demand to any Samoan song.

What I don't want to do is try to live up to a standard that says I have to do "this-and-that" or certain traditions to qualify as a "real" Samoan. I don't want to feel less of a Samoan because I don't act or talk exactly like the Samoans who've never left Samoa. But I do want to get in touch with the Samoan aspects of my life and get into it more. Time to badger my mum about my queries.

(I re-read this post just before publishing and it's a bit disoriented. But I'm gonna post it before I chicken-out and decide against it).

Thursday, June 23, 2011


When I get a thought just as I'm about to fall asleep, and it's a thought that has blown into a blog-type thought, I'm almost always too tired to get up out of bed and write it down. So now, I just use my phone as a voice recorder and I narrate my thoughts to myself. Now this is one of the most unnatural feeling things I've ever done. First, I can't talk too loud in case people in my house will hear me and come in my room wondering who I'm talking to, only to find out I'm talking to myself. Then not only will I be embarrassed, but my recording will be ruined and I do not want to store my embarrassment so I'll delete it and it'll be a waste. Second of all, when I play it back, it sounds funny. It's not good quality and you can hear my breathing because I hold my phone close to mouth so I don't have to speak loudly. 

One thing that I'm trying to wrap my head around is people can disagree with me. It's bizzare. Sometimes, people just don't see things the way I do. And I think to myself "Are you blind?! Seriously?! Like, what's your problem?" But it's a two way thing. I can't see things from their perspective. But in the moment when anger starts to flare up, I'm the one who becomes blinded. I'm the one consumed in my own point of view, refusing to budge. Yeah, that's what I find hard to cope with. Benefit of the doubt is sometimes the hardest thing to give.

A lot of the time, when I get nervous, I talk too much. And I don't like it. I wish I could just my brain down and shut my mouth. Because sometimes I wished I would've sat in an awkward silence then have filled it with nonsensical gibberish. 

When I say things in my head, I'm so confident. My voice is loud, clear and bold. I mentally rehearse my words and I love them. Then I open my mouth and the words seem to tumble out and trip up on each other. I then get very flushed and start fumbling with something. 

I've recently got into U2 (Mostly their famous songs).


Friday, June 10, 2011

Those Boring Classic Novels

I'm currently reading a Classic for English and the first thing I noticed was the very tiny print. Then I started reading and the words made me go:

I needed to look up every second word in the dictionary. It was frustrating and totally killed the mood of reading.... However, I am slowly getting the hang of it. 

I've found that this kind of piece of writing isn't meant for skim reading (like a lot of novels I read). This literature was a form of art, words used to paint a masterpiece.

Every word and sentence was chosen and written with purpose. Words were woven together and not merely printed on a page to tell a good story. The art is in the story-telling itself. So now I read this book out loud. Because it makes for a beautiful sound. It's has a sort of melody to it. If you were to ask me to summarise each chapter, it'll seem like nothing much happens and the story is moving slowly. Well, perhaps it is. But like nature, you miss the beauty if you rush through it. To see the beauty, you have to pause, if only for a moment and really look.

"On the morning appointed for her departure Tess was awake before dawn - at the marginal minute of the dark when the grove is still mute, save for one prophetic bird who sings with a clear-voiced conviction that he at least knows the correct time of day, the rest preserving silence as if equally convinced that he is mistaken."

I don't think I've ever heard bird's singing in the morning described that before. 
Dey don' make 'em like dat no more.