A Look Back

Tai Vilisi at home before her fall

2016 cost me my Grandmother – My beloved Tai Vilisi


Tai Vilisi having breakfast

19 May 1928 – 14 July 2016



Jesus Christ is Lord

Lighthouse on sunset.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over His Kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
– Isaiah 9:6-7



We won Olympic gold!

Golden men. The gold medal winning Fiji Rugby Sevens Team
Golden men. Standing: Josua Tuisova, Jerry Tuwai, Kitione Taliga, Osea Kolinisau (Captain), Masivesi Dakuwaqa, Samisoni Viriviri, Vatemo Ravouvou. Kneeling: Jasa Veremalua, Leone Nakarawa, Viliame Mata, Semi Kunatani, Apisai Domolailai. Image: Getty images.

Our men’s 7’s rugby team won our first ever Olympic medal in Rio.

Ever since it was announced that rugby will be part of the 2016 Summer Olympics the entire country has been simmering with excitement as our ruggers went through intensive preparation for the games.

And now we once again wait with excitement for our Olympiads to return home.


Thank you for a great year!

Image courtesy of http://www.susangoater.files.wordpress.com

Dear Fellow Bloggers,

Thank you to all of you who visited my blog and for your comments and encouragement during the past year!

Even though I did not post regularly as I would have liked [what with family, work and other of life’s many ‘moments’], you have always been right there and for that I am grateful.

My deep appreciation goes out to those of you who were kind enough to follow my blog. Thank you! Thank you from the depths of my struggling-blogger’s heart! 🙂

I have learned that it is not always easy to express myself in writing, and to write in a language that is not my mother-tongue, well. This is why I am especially grateful to all of you for sharing your time, attention and experiences with me.

Thank you all for making 2015 a great year!

Here’s to a new year full of creativity, inspiration, deep joy and profound wellness!

Thank you,





Such is growing old, inevitable. But growing older, and wiser, well, that is a choice we each have to make.

No, I do not fight against growing old. I have chosen to enjoy the journey and gather as much wisdom as I can along the way.

In the wise words of Samuel Ullman:

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.

What about you, what are your thoughts on growing older?

The Familiar Stranger

I was about six or seven when I started to notice the aloof stranger who sometimes visited us. He always came in the evenings as if he could not bear for us, for anyone, to see him in daylight.

He never said a word, never to us children anyway and always seemed so shy and unsure of himself around us. I remember that he was trim and looked strong. His skin was a medium brown and he had close-cropped hair as black and frizzy as my own. I never saw his eyes because it was always cast down or looking away perhaps secretly wishing that he was somewhere else. I can tell you their colour, they are brown but to this day, even though we have met so many times since then and have had long conversations, I still don’t know what his eyes look like, are like.

The nights he would visit soon came to be special nights for me. Not because he came, but because my mother would be extra nice to us and never yelled or growled at us which she would do almost every night for no apparent reason. I knew whenever he was expected because she would gather us in early, make sure we were scrubbed down nicely with soap and bundle us into our best clothes. Not our Sunday clothes or our going-to-town clothes but the best looking clothes from the tattered hand-me-downs that comprised our wardrobes.

He would bring gifts. Well they were not really the kind of gifts one would expect, but to me they were early Christmas presents. Not that we ever had presents at Christmas but that is neither here nor there. His gifts were tins of meaty corned beef that my mother would heat up and serve with plump white cassava for our dinner.  Oh, those were the looked-forward to nights. I would eat and eat almost as if I wanted to fill myself up with hot chunky beef ready for the other nights when dinner was only a cup of lukewarm tea accompanied by a small piece of lonely looking cassava or if we were lucky, a few pieces of yeasty bread. I never knew where he got those tins of yummy corned beef from. I did not really care then. It was just enough for me to know that those fat round tins with their red and gold labels would be coming to visit.

My family back then were only my grandparents, my mother, and my siblings. And the families and relatives who lived all around us. No one in our family ever talked about the familiar stranger when he wasn’t there and no one ever told us children who he was. He was like a mystery that I felt I had to solve because he did not fit somehow in our existence. I remember that my grandparents would never join us for dinner when he was around. They would always say that they had to go visit a relative or that they were not hungry. That always made him draw himself so straight and rigid and his eyes would be so hidden from us it was as if he refused to acknowledge that we were real.

It was only many years later, when his weekly visits became monthly visits, became twice yearly and some years not at all, when I started to see his face in that of my siblings. I remember how funny that was and how odd that a silent, unfamiliar man could look so much like them. Like us.

When he stopped visiting at all my mother started to yell at us more and more. I remember feeling so sorry that I had not tried to make friends with him. Maybe if we were friends then he would still visit and my mother would not be so sad and so angry all the time. But it was too late. He was gone and I didn’t know where to find him or how to get him back. I was afraid to even ask about him or to even start looking for him. A big part of me was afraid that if I found him, he would think that I only wanted him to visit again for the tins of corned beef he would bring and not because I wanted my mother to be happy again.

Many years later, when I was about eleven years old, my grandfather bought a thick photo album announcing that it was about time they sorted out all the family photos they had moldering in the clothes cupboard. I didn’t even know we had photos, let alone family ones. The photos were to my young eyes, a revelation into another time, another world that only adults knew about. There were photos of my grandparents during a trip to New Zealand before I was born. One of my mother looking so young and happy in a printed white dress. And there among those memories was one of a man holding a chubby baby in his arms. The man was smiling and looked so strong yet gentle as he tenderly cradled the baby in his arms. There were more photos of him and in all of them he looked like a different man, not at all like the morose looking stranger from all those years ago.

It was then, when my grandmother seeing the questions and the confusion in my eyes, sat me down and introduced me to my father.

Tai Bou’s Cassava and tinned fish stew

At Tai Bou’s house, no food was ever wasted. Left-overs were always eaten for breakfast the next morning but it was always the adults who had them. We children were never allowed and were always served whatever she had cooked that morning.

There was one exception though and that was her cassava and tinned fish stew. Using left-over cassava, Tai Bou would lightly fry them with lots of onion and Indian spices, then when everything was a nice golden brown, she would pour in a whole tin of big chunky fish pieces. Ohh, the aroma from that pot.

It was my comfort food and Tai Bou knew it and always made sure that a pot was waiting for me after school. But not every day though. I cannot explain it but somehow Tai Bou always seemed to know when I needed a bowl of her steaming hot stew. Ah, to come home and see that pot of stew bubbling on the firewood was my idea of heaven. Somehow it made everything right, no matter how hard a day I had at school.

Tai Bou was my fearless great-grandmother. She passed away more than two decades ago but the memory of her special left-over cassava and tinned fish stew is still alive and well in my heart.

In response to Writing 101: Day Ten: Happy (Insert Special Occasion Here)! Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.