Wednesday, May 14, 2014


It always seemed important to me whenever our children moved some distance away, to visit them in their new house/apartment/dorm. Somehow it helps erase the miles. When we think about them, talk with them, read their postings or emails, we can picture them almost as clearly as we could on skype; and there were plenty of moves before there was skype. We’re a little late in giving them that same consideration, and to be honest this may be more for us than for them or you. I want to remember as much as I can of this experience, and a fair bit of our time has been within these walls.

I must give a disclaimer before we begin the tour. I’ve been saying for weeks that I wanted to do this; take photos of our apartment, the rooms, what’s on the walls, what we see every day.  My idea was that we would do a quick pick up and straightening up and then take the pictures. What happened is that one day when I was engrossed in something else, Leon took the pictures. When I calmly said that I had expected that he would give some warning, or take it upon himself to do a little ‘staging’ first, he replied, “I want to picture it as it is every day”. Oh, great. I then, also calmly, (you can ask him) said, “Well if there are dishes in the rack, it is because I washed and it was your job to dry and put them away.” Didn’t phase him. It must be a gender difference. You can let me know.

This is Reality blog time.  What you see is, evidently what we see “every day”.  Not.  Right now, as I write this, the dish rack is empty. Mostly.

Here is our apartment from outside. Ours is the one on the left. Brother and Sister Sauni are on the right.

So won't you please come in?

Before we ever came, Sister Ho Ching took us through two available apartments via her ipad; apartment #4 has a lovely view of the temple. We were swayed by that. The disadvantage was that if you have guests, they must walk through the bedroom in order to reach the bathroom.  Well since you already have a suspicion about our housekeeping habits, you may think that was the deciding factor. Actually, the advantage that sold us on Apartment #1 is that it faces the parking lot and it is a short walk from the car to the front door when you are carrying bags of groceries. Now you know that not only do we leave dishes in the rack, but we're basically lazy.
Step into the living room a few feet and turn back to your left and you will see this. That is our front window. That is our coffee table that is undeniably always cluttered with books and papers. That is where we prepare our lessons, read, and occasionally watch a movie orTV.

That's our tv sitting at an angle in the corner under what you see directly above. That is such a great picture of the First Presidency. I begged it off of the worker at the distribution center here in the mission complex. It is the announcement of April General Conference. I was certain it would be removed from the window and thrown away after conference. He was nice enough to save it for me.

Keep going and you're in our little kitchen. Yep, there's the rack full of dishes.

Now you understand why we have our 'family' dinners at Sister Kamerath's apartment.

This is the wall opposite our kitchen table. Betsy and Justin gave us that 18 month calendar for Christmas before our mission. How perfect was that! As we passed each month, we cut the family pictures from the calendar and hang them all over our apartment. What joy that gives us to see their beautiful faces surrounding us.

Okay, go back outside and come in again, but look to your right this time. The map on the right is of Samoa. We live on the smaller island shown here; the one on the right, which is Upolu. Savaii is larger and less populated. We spent a day there when Leslie and James Merrell, Ben and Brianna were here last summer. Actually, the pictures between the maps are of Ben and Brianna.

This is our media center. ; )  From the Fife's we inherited a plethora of DVDs, many of which they had inherited from other missionaries. Leon set up an excel file on the computer; we distributed a list of titles, including some books, via email to all the senior missionaries. Quite a few couples drop in pretty regularly and 'check out' a flick, and sometimes a book. We don't send out reminders or charge fines for late returns, but he's a darn good librarian to keep track of where the movies are. We're not sure who will take over when we go home, but it's a good thing. We hope it keeps going. Maybe we should post a notice that we're accepting applications.

Down the hall is the bedroom. The bathroom is the first door on your right.
Actually, it's the only door on your right.

Not much to see; a stall shower, sink, toilet.

Note the ingenious solution Leon came up with to provide a clock in the bathroom:  One of his watches is duct taped to the wall. Again, notice the integrity of our Reality tour.

Our bed above.  Our bed below.  Colorful, don't you think?

OurReality dresser, and our entire wardrobe, visible from the closet door. 
Correction: our temple whites are in the hall closet.

We're back in the living room. This is our command center; our link to the outside world. 

So, now I am going to share with you the various signs and quotes you may have noticed that are all around.  Some of them are Samoan words and phrases from a time in the past when we were serious about learning Samoan. Somewhere along the way, we got distracted. The others are quotes that inspire and/or remind us of what we should be about. They have really been helpful.. Maybe you will find them so as well.  The first one is from President Monson. I have memorized this one.

So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment. 
                                                                                            ~ President Thomas S. Monson

Don't be gloomy. Do not dwell on unkind things. Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunshine. Even if you are not happy, put a smile on your face. Accentuate the positive. Look a little deeper for the good. Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, with great and strong purpose in your heart.  ~ President Hinckley

Think the best of others, especially those you say you love. Assume the good and doubt the bad.  ~ Unknown

O God, thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small. ~ Old fisherman's prayer, courtesy of son, Jesse. 

It's amazing what happens when you choose to let God shape your life and not let the bad things that happened be your present.  ~ Casey Anne Crowley, Argentina Neuquen Mission.

And last of all, the scripture that we chose for our missionary plaque. I've also memorized this one: 

And now my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you, to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build, they cannot fall.  Helaman 5:12

Thanks for stopping by. Notice the lovely landscaping as you leave.  This is what we see through our front window. (Remember the convenience factor before you judge.)

This is what we see from our side living room window. That's the mission home in the distance. Walk around our apartment to the right and you will see the Service Center across the parking lot.

Our apartment is connected to the temple president's home. If you look over their roof you can see part of the temple in the distance. This is they way we walk to the temple. We don't actually walk through the mission president's home, but we do walk through their car port.

If you head the other direction as you leave and walk around the Sauni's apartment, you get a better glimpse of the temple beyond. You can also see the back of Lavatai's apartment, which is connected to Lamoreaux's, which is connected to Fitisemanu's (temple president). We're all connected. And the laundry room is at the corner of the sidewalk, if you get what I mean. See the clothesline pole? Notice in the foreground at the corner of Sauni's apartment is a young and growing papaya tree.

They planted this tree at Christmas. These are big enough to pick. 
The oblong shape indicates they are Hawaiian papaya. When ripe they are yellow/gold.
Inside, they are a deeper color of orange than the local variety.

If you turn right from the papaya tree, the sidewalk will take you to Sister Kamerath's apartment. Hers is the door on the right.  What you don't see is chickens.  They've been banned from the complex because of the mess they create. Leon is most happy to have them gone. There are two individuals that miss them quite a lot: Sister Kamerath, aka, "Chicken Grandma", and Sister Sauni who regularly thins their feathers for them and dyes them brilliant colors - the feathers, not the chickens - to use in the gorgeous fans she weaves and exports to Pago Pago to sell. There are very few chickens around these days, and proportionately rather skimpily feathered. Sister Kamerath fed 'her' chicken pets from the 50 lb. bags of rice she regularly purchased for them. The main rooster would even come into her apartment if the door was open and stand on the little rug just inside. He was such a proud and cocky specimen. He's gone to a better place. Not what you might be thinking. The bunch of them are now residing in the yard of the mission home cook. . .Well, maybe it is what you're thinking.

Remember to drive on the left side of the road. And try not to use your windshield wipers as blinkers. No one will even notice. Well, that's not entirely accurate. The people in your car will get a good laugh. Trust me. 

Tofa soifua.  Thanks for dropping by. 


  1. This was so fun. Thank you for posting!

  2. This was wonderful!! But now I'm homesick for Samoa!!!!

  3. Really fun to see all the details! Great idea.

  4. Mom, I love your snarkiness. It's not hard to see that Quinoa is truly your imaginary grand daughter. (Still chuckling about chickens dyed in brilliant colors.)

  5. Awesome tour, Lindy-Lou! Your yard looks amazing! I'm sure it would look lovely if you make it a point to plant more of those adorably tiny palm trees. In any case, I love how cozy your apartment is. Thanks for the tour! All the best to you! :)

    John Lambert @ Cape Coral Lots