Sunday, February 9, 2014


So, why am I already talking about things I will miss? Time is flying by! It is easy to imagine being home again and how we will soon feel that we were never away. Scenes and people that make up our life here will fade into distant memories.  How many months have we left to serve?  Six months. Roughly 2/3rds of our mission is behind us. Unbelievable. These things I will miss:

1    1.     Samoan skies in all their glory: the temple spire against the sunrise, sunset on the ocean, the night sky, cloud formations reflected on the sea.

2.       The beautiful taumaliga trees that we call umbrella trees for their arched top/flat-on-the-bottom leaves and red blossoms. There are two on campus and one across the street from our favorite little café.

3.       Living next to a temple – not just any temple. The Apia Samoa Temple is judged by Elder Dalin H. Oaks to be among the top five temples for beauty, including the Salt Lake Temple. Our friends, Sonny and Karen Ho-Ching have visited fifty temples and agree with that assessment.

4.       Serving the Lord full time and the companion blessings of discovering God through the temple ordinances,  the immediacy of his love, forgiveness and tender mercy, and coming to know myself better. Painful.

5.       Growing in our marriage through the intensity of our shared experiences.

6.       The natural beauty of this island paradise, still in many ways as it has been for a very long time.

7.       The genuine love, generosity and friendliness of the people. Smiles meet us everywhere.

8.       The music that is part of the very nature of Samoan people. It is not uncommon in the ordinance workers’ locker room for a sister to begin singing quietly, soon to be joined by other voices in lovely harmonies.

9.       Our Pesega Lima Ward. We love our ward. Home teaching and visiting teaching assignments and other service opportunities are helping us know the people on a personal level.

10.   Our senior missionary friends from Australia, Samoa, New Zealand, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, California, American Samoa, and Utah.

11.   The food. The glorious food: palusami that we dreamed of all the years since we left here, taro cooked in coconut cream and onions, fausi talo (taro boiled, shredded, formed into cubes and then cooked in caramelized sugar and coconut milk); breadfruit ((when cooked it resembles potatoes for taste and consistency); cocosamoa (when you simmer it for an hour or more and take a spoon to scrape the residue around the inside of the pot you get melted dark chocolate); supoese (there’s some on the stove right now) and sapasui (the Samoan version of chop suey).

12.   Movie nights with friends. Game nights with friends. There is a special bond between friends far from home.

13.   Living next to the mission home. Those darling elders and beautiful sisters, President and Sister Leota, their daughters, Rachael and Pearl. Rachael arrived home from her mission on the same plane that brought Lamoreaux to us. Pearl is filling out her mission papers now.

14.   Our Samoan friends from the temple and from our ward. We are happy to learn that many of our Samoan friends have family in Utah and there is a reunion planned in the near future, plus the possibility of drop-in visitors.

15.   The sight and sound of waves breaking way out on the reef, sending their white foam up into the brilliant blue sky.

16.   Senior missionary Family Home Evenings and Temple missionary FHEs every month.

17.   Not wearing nylons.

18.   Our many trips to Tafa Tafa Beach, owned by the Su’a family, temple workers and church employees, always including a feast prepared by the family for our temple family.

19.   Fresh fruits: pineapple, papaya, many kinds of bananas, passion fruit, avocado, mango, coconut. Leon found a tutorial on the internet for making fresh passion fruit juice. Fatu Tumanuvau gives us passion fruit from her tree once in a while. I was counselor to Sister Tumanuvau forty years ago in our ward Relief Society. She also gives us papaya from her trees, which we make into supoese, which I made today.

20.   Fresh seafood, right off the boats and at a reasonable cost.

21.   The best fish and chips anywhere and available at many restaurants and cafés.

22.   The flavor of life here with the contrast of old and new: traditional fales, ‘palagi’ houses painted in colors of the rainbow, small dingy versions of 7/11 stores everywhere outside of the city of Apia; huge ornate old churches and modern LDS chapels; traditional Samoan dress (lava lava for men and puletasi for women), and modern dress on many city dwellers.

23.   Our favorite café, Mari’s, with the heavenly harmonies and sweet guitar of the father/daughter duo that sings during the lunch hour. And the food is good. You can look out on the harbor while enjoying your meal.

24.   The sight of a big ship in the harbor; if it’s a cruise ship (rare here), we feel like locals, thinking how strange those palagis look, walking around town with their white legs and skimpy clothes. (Did we ever tell you about the day we were having lunch at Mari’s when three tourists came in, couldn’t find an empty table and asked if they could join us at ours? All three Europeans, two men and a woman, strangers really to each other except they had rented rooms at the same inn. The woman was very surprised and annoyed to find there was no local Samoan food on the menu. She gave the waiter a bad time about it. One of the two men had planned a South Seas tour with a traveling companion that for some reason I’ve forgotten bailed on him and was flying home. He was intending to find the first flight home himself at that turn of events. Evidently traveling alone left something to be desired. The other man was a frequent visitor to Samoa, a musician himself, he had developed a friendship with the Labrum’s, the father/daughter duo that entertain regularly at Mari’s. We exchanged email addresses as he promised that when we and he are home again, he will send us a CD of Labrum’s music which he personally recorded w/o professional equipment. Still, if indeed he does, it will be a treasure to us. I do remember his name, Ludwig Waelder.

25.   The crystal clear sea water in colors of turquoise and blue, refreshing and cool, never cold.

26.   Robert Lewis Stevenson museum and grounds.

27.   The shops where you never know what treasure you might come across.

28.   The three blind brothers who sing daily in front of Chan Mows and play guitar with a jar on the table. They come regularly to the temple.

29.   The beautiful children. Their singing in Primary. How fun it was to teach a few times a group of nine year olds.

30.   The primary schools with their schoolyards full of uniformed children, each school with their own colors, sometimes matching the color of the school. Our favorite school uniform of course is the Pesega yellow shirts and blouses and royal blue shorts and skirts, the same colors our three young boys wore to school so many years ago.

31.   Piula, the fresh water cave pool. We loved it then, we love it now.

32.   The sea wall down at the harbor and beyond that we have yet to walk as far as we can see.

33.   The old clock tower in Apia, one of the few landmarks remaining since our first stay.

34.   The colorful buses with their colorful names, the passengers stacked two and three deep and wedged side by side.

35.   The torrential rainfall that normally lasts only a few minutes before the air is still again and the sun is out.

36.   I will miss the youth talks in our sacrament meeting on Sunday. With sixteen missionaries serving currently from our ward, it shouldn’t be surprising that they deliver excellent spirit-filled messages . My, they are impressive young people. Almost as impressive as our grandchildren. ; )

37.   Outdoor markets where you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, locally grown, fresh flower arrangements, souvenirs, etc.

38.   The fresh fish market (see earlier post).

39.   The families we home teach. What a blessing they are to us!

40.   The simplicity of life here.

      There they are. Forty things I love about Samoa. I intended to come up with 25 things, but that just got me started!  Did I mention I love to watch them dance? Oh, and I love how every talk begins with, "Talofa, Brothers and Sisters", to which we all answer, "Talofa". And the incongruous things we take for granted now. For instance, just a day or two ago, one of our new senior missionaries asked Sister Goodlet (while we were there in their apartment) where she might locate sewing needles. She said she had been to several shops selling fabric, but none had needles or thread. Leon piped up with the solution. He said, "They had sewing kits at OK Auto when I was there the other day." It's hard to say whether Sister Hammond was still numb from jet lag and culture shock, or whether she is adjusting remarkably well. She just took the information in stride and said, "Okay." Hoping to help with the context, I offered that, after being on the look-out for a pie tin every time we shopped for groceries and household goods, the first one we found was at Bluebird Lumber.  
      I think I'll stop now. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Sounds so great! I wish we could come see you.

  2. I miss it too!
    I am confused as to why she didn't check the auto parts store FIRST in her search for needle and thread??!

  3. It sounds so wonderful. I have been hoping so much that I could travel over to see you but circumstances with my family have depleted my discretionary funds. I think we are supposed to help our family first, Right??
    When I sit in my son's new home and think of the tools I helped replace after they were stolen (think big bucks items such as table saws, nail guns, drills, finishing tools, etc), I'll pretend I am seeing some of the things that are your favorite. Can't wait till you invite us over for an authentic Samoan feast when you return. Ha Ha. Love you and hearing about your wonderful experiences. -- Mitzi

  4. Aw Mitz, so sorry about the theft. Yes, you definitely have your priorities straight. It will be so good to see you again! Thanks for sharing.

  5. What a great list, mom. We love you and love that you love the place and people you serve. What a great blessing to us all.


  6. It was great reading your list. I understand how your list can grow and grow. It is the same with us. I am so glad I took lots of pictures because our time went by really fast too and they bring back treasured memories