We are all immigrants, have been or will be…
One phrase that can get me fired up pretty quickly is when an ignorant person says “Immigrants need to go back to their country!” directly or indirectly. Whether it’s towards immigrants, different ethnicities, foreigners or refugees that somehow seem to be taking advantage of the country welfare system or taking “their” jobs. Although I see this as prospective of Lack rather than abundance, I am not here to justify the actions of all immigrants today. I am just speaking from my own personal experience as an immigrant and an observer. Today I wish to reflect on history and highlight the values that we have learnt from our immigrant ancestors and the need for all of us to apply them into our lives today.
Reflect on your Past
I guess what irks me the most is those bashing immigrants don’t take the time to realize that if they looked a couple of generations back they will see that their own ancestors were hardworking immigrants also, and they wouldn’t be where they are without those immigrants. We all have to start somewhere and generally speaking immigrants have to start from complete scratch as they have left “everything” behind and even their knowledge and understanding may still be a couple of generations behind! (Or sometimes way ahead) We can even take it a step further to the natives of the land, that they too were immigrants at one point in history, and made themselves at home with little to no conflict from the current inhabitants or animals of the land.
Please remind me I’m an Immigrant
All immigrants and foreigners need a little reminder too. It is easy to forget the hard work of the past when we don’t have to toil the land and where everything can be handed out easier. Although labels are not fun but I will turn this into a good one. Let the word immigrant or FOB be a word that reminds you that you are being labelled in the same category as many diligent immigrants before you, who have overcome barriers, challenges and stereotypes to rise above and beyond. Such immigrants have founded such companies as “proctor and gamble”, “at&t,” “google” and so many more. To me the Immigrant title represents
- hard work
- risk takers
- leaders and pioneers
and so much more that we need to learn and live by!
Modern day Immigrants
Today immigrants don’t look the same. I guess the reason why I am very passionate about this subject is that I grew up in hard-working immigrant home. (So of course I have a slight bias.) My parents were immigrants to New Zealand in the late eighties seeking for a “better life.” Although they are citizens and have lived there for nearly 30 years, they still come across many challenges. They came to New Zealand to further their education, but because of difficult family financial circumstances had to join the workforce instead. There were many struggles for both of them to leave their homes, close family and friends behind and adopt to a strange new lifestyle, and finding work. They also had to learn a new language and therefore were referred to as (FOBS.) . Somehow they managed to raise kids in a bilingual home and culture, which was also very difficult for a child and teenager to balance two very different worlds. Fast forward 25 years they have had 2 of their 3 children graduate from college, the last one approaching graduation; they have legally adopted and are raising 2 more children, they have lived in their own home for over 20 years, the dad has gone back and completed tertiary education and they both are contributing to their church and community. They provided their children with opportunities that they never got, to learn piano, vocal, violin, cello, guitar, participate in tennis, netball, rugby cricket drama classes and so much more. My parents are only one of the MANY immigrants that have seized the many opportunities that this country has to offer. (And no they are not “fie palangi”)
What I am trying to say is that we all are immigrants in some point in our life, whether we are new to a school, to a job, a new community or even country. Let’s be kind and respectful to each other as we are all in this journey together. Whether we are new to a place or have lived there since the beginning of time; Let’s be adventurous, take risks, be industrious, creative and apply the Immigrant mentality by to our life taking life by the horns and making the most of every opportunity.
Lots of Love
How do you feel about being called an immigrant? How have you turned around negative situations into positive ones? Would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
The main reasons why we got to come down to New Zealand this christmas was due to my siblings weddings. They conveniently planned it round the same time so we and other family members didn’t have to make the trip twice in one year. I know they would have preferred to have had it separately so they could actually take time to enjoy the festivities and planning individually but they were extremely kind to do this so we could all be here to enjoy it with them. So in two weeks we had two weddings and the first wedding was my little brothers wedding.
It began at the Hamilton Temple early morning at 9.30am. With little to no sleep for most of the family as there were tonnes of decorations and food preparations the night before then we made the hour and a half drive to the hamilton temple, the rest of the family that couldn’t go in the temple stayed home to finish off the cooking for the reception. Our Temple weddings are slightly different as we get married and sealed in the temple and only those with a temple recommend can go inside. To understand more about our temples click here. Majority of my parents families are not members of our faith and therefore don’t have a recommend therefore were not able to go inside but they have full respect and understanding of this. My brothers wife (Stacey) is a recent convert and is the only member of her family so she didn’t have anyone in the temple to see her get married which was extremely difficult for her and her family, but it was amazing to see all the support from her family and friends waiting eagerly outside the temple for her. When we got to the temple my husband and I were told that our recommends had expired a few days before so this was extremely sad for me as I had been anticipating to be present, and we weren’t able to go into witness their ceremony. But we understood that the House of the Lord is a House of Order and we had to accept the rules even though it was a hard pill to swallow.
After the Sealing ceremony in the temple we went to their reception at Buckland’s beach. Had our typical Polynesian style ceremony with tonnes of food and dancing and craziness. Before we knew it the day was over and now this couple have begun their journey together as the new Mr and Mrs Ahokava. Here are a few of my favorite flicks of the day.
Photo Credit: Elder Reed Spencer
Tonga, also known as the friendly island, a beautiful island with a plethora of untouched nature for us to experience. It’s still so raw and compared to the other islands less “touristy.” Tonga has always been my place of ancestry and identity. For me as a kid, when we went to Tonga we just did the normal things like go to the market, swim in the dirty water in the city, go to the haa’monga a maui (sunrise rocks) and play with the cuzzies. But going back next time, whenever that is… will be a completely different experience. I have so much on my bucket list that I want to do there, and swimming with the whales is definitely one of them.
In the post Whale Songs in Tonga, Millie Slater describes this wonderful experience of swimming with the wales. She goes on to describe this experience with her family as “one of the greatest experiences of our lives”. One can only imagine this experience of being able to swim with these magnificent intelligent animals that rule the oceans. While their everyday life consists of crunching numbers at Slater Chartered Accountancy in New Zealand, being able to escape for a few days and take their office to the ocean made for a well-deserved holiday.
Her beautiful account of their sea adventure gives us a firsthand experience of becoming one with the ocean and its creatures. I love the way she explains the mutual respect and love for the animals. After reading her mesmerizing article I want to book a flight to Tonga right away and have this experience for myself. I love the idea of creating memories with family and this is definitely one that will never be forgotten To read more about their wonderful family adventure and for their recommendations on which tours they took, head over to their blog.
Because I am a lover of all things beautifully vintage and antique, I am more than happy to write up about this cute ARTea Room for food and art. I am also a lover finding and eating at unique places, not your usual big chain restaurants, (even if that means I will be just eating a muffin.) I really do enjoy going out to eat as a family especially when I am in a unique cozy and warm atmosphere.
ARTea Room has the best of both worlds, imagine enjoying the company of both your favorite things, delicious food and beautiful artwork. Here at the ARTea room you can expect amazing service, finest quality teas, light breakfast and lunches, cakes, amazing artwork by talented artists and gifts for every occasion.
If you have special events coming up contact ARTea Room to see how they can help you make it perfect. If you are in the area I am sure they would love for you to stop by have to have some cake or just take a stroll and look at their beautiful artwork collection. But if England is too far from you like it is from me their facebook page is just a click away! I’ve got my fingers crossed that one day our travels might bring us to this little corner of the world!
Miss A and I are attempting to learn sign language together. I haven’t been around much of the deaf community but I do admire those who work with them and take the time to learn to communicate with them. I decided I wanted to teach my baby sign language as a means of communication with the family before she can actually talk. At the moment she doesn’t seem to be picking up anything other than the “milk” sign but I think it’s probably our teaching methods that are not too consistent. I decided to do this video of the Tongan Alphabet in the American Sign Language seeing we are here but I would love for somebody to upload videos in other sign languages because I know it’s different in various countries. This is just a fun way I feel for my baby to get familiar with learning Tongan.
Please write some feedback am I obviously not trained in this language and could be doing it all wrong. So feel free to let me know.
This is the tongan alphabet
A E F H I K L M NG O P S T U V
p.s Miss A just had lunch hence her burping in the middle of the song lol oh and my “a” sign is wrong thumbs in the wrong place …opps
When Conner and I were dating seriously, I knew that I had to make some pretty crucial decisions about where we were going to live. I knew for sure I wanted to live away from New Zealand for a while just because the cost of living is so expensive there and I like to pretend I am a nomad sometimes. One thing that annoys me is howpeople think as soon as they hear immigrant and you are moving to America because you live in poverty and need new life with better opportunities. Although this may be true in many cases. When the fact of the matter was I would have actually preferred that we lived in Australia, and still secretly do hope to live there for a bit. But we primarily moved here as he was still part way through school and his schooling was pretty much free so it was a no brainer.
Moving countries can be daunting at first one because you are leaving all familiarity behind and you just never know what’s going to be around the corner. You may get stranded with no way to get back home. You may get abducted and no one knows you are missing. You may get lost and your phone dies and you run out of gas. The possibilities are endless. But for certain it is a new adventure which requires courage and faith, at times determination and perseverance.
1. FAMILY WILL ALWAYS BE FAMILY
Although my family is half way across the world I still keep in touch with them on a regular basis. I talk to one or more of them several times a week and with social media it makes it all the more easier. It’s always nice to know they are just a phone call or message away. Although it does make it a little harder when you see them get together with the whole family and you are missing.
2. MAKING NEW FRIENDS REQUIRE EFFORT
It was hard at first having to make new friends especially when they don’t get your New Zealand sense of humor or your polynesian mocks. I really had to make a effort to get myself out there and talk to people. I had to find common ground in things I didn’t think I would such as parenting, fitness, crafts and random things. People already have their life going on and it’s not they are trying to be rude that are already in their routine so sometimes talking to someone new and befriending somebody that hasn’t been in their circle friends can be out of the norm for them as well.
3. IQ DROPS
You literally feel your IQ has dropped several points. Instead of being the savvy one you now have to ask every person and their dog questions about the weather, the transport, the shops, groceries, everything and anything. Google and GPS app becomes your best friend. You just need to accept that you will be handicapped for at least the first month until you get your head around things.
4. BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED
You can’t just expect to love the place that you are in if you don’t integrate into the place. If you don’t treat it and make it like home you will never fully appreciate why you are there and the opportunities that await you. The best way to cure homesickness is to go out there and find somebody who needs you.
5. CHOICES DON’T JUST AFFECT YOU
Just because it’s my decision it doesn’t mean that should only consider how it affects me. One choice can affect not only you but many more generations to come. My parents moving from Tonga to New Zealand has not only affected them but us and their grandchildren to follow. My choice to come here has also affected my sibilings and my parents now my parents have to consider putting money aside for when they can come and visit my family here. My sibiling have to plan big family functions around so that I am also factored into the equation. It isn’t the easiest situation but I am grateful that
6. STASH AWAY SOME CASH
You never no when you will need a ticket back home. You never know when a family emergency back home may arise and you want to be prepared for those situations. Save some money for that day, just in case you never know.
7. EMBRACE NEW CULTURE
One thing that I still struggle with is embracing this american patriotism. I know it sounds bad but I feel like a fake when they sing the national anthem what am I suppose to do just sit there while everybody else is standing. Or do I not put my hand over my heart? I feel like if I don’t do it everybody is thinking I am a jerk??? But I guess that is something that I still need to work on. So I just do it and hopefully in time I will start to actually feel like it has meaning to me. I think time will be able to help me grow fonder of the country and all its new traditions.
Are you looking to moving country, state or city? What were some of your obstacles? What are some things you can do to prepare for these changes? Share your thoughts and ideas below… Would love to hear them
Repost from previous Blog
: Speak your Language!!
5 Ways to Preserve Our LanguageIn this day of age its not that cool to speak the language of your parents. Growing up in a traditional Tongan home I was mainly raised by my grandmother so that somewhat forced me to speak Tongan. But with my parents, who were exposed to more English through work, I got away with speaking to them in English. This then raises a few issues…Teachers in Primary Schools and Secondary schools are then faced with having to reteach English and undo some habits that have already been formed by the children.
The issue is that children are speaking BROKEN English and BROKEN Tongan (in my case). They don’t have either or.
Although our parents do have lovely intentions of trying to speak to us in English to get us to practice, or maybe they too are trying to practice for their sake. Personally for me more than anything we need to be sticking to the language we know best and cultivate it so that it becomes rich for our children. English will defiantly come in time and we don’t need to worry our kids will eventually learn English the proper way.Research shows that those who speak two or more languages have extra brain stimulation through out their entire life. Allowing them to be able to adjust to different circumstances and adapt to unexpected or unfamiliar events. A study that was done by Dr Brain. T. Gold from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine between those who spoke 2 or more languages and those who just spoke one language proved that both groups were able to complete the task, but those who spoke 2 or more languages completed it faster and used less brain power to do so. So why wouldn’t you want your children to learn and keep your language!! Here are some tips that I have seen have helped me and my family…
- Help them develop pride in who they are and where they came from. That their culture is what makes us who we are and unique
- Ensure that one parent always speaks the language to the child, if both parents go back and forth with the language it may get confusing for the child.
- Read in your native language. Growing up we always read the scriptures in Tongan even though we may not have known what we were saying but we were practicing pronunciation.
- Sing Songs. Its funny some songs that I didn’t even know the meaning of when I was little when I sing them now all the words come together and I finally understand what the song is saying.
- Set structure: If you have rules to only speak a certain language one week stick to it and try and be consistent with it otherwise its always easy to fall back to english
Most importantly have fun incoporaptating your traditional language with English. What are some of your tips for raising your children with two languages? Share or comment below!
Our good old trusted friend you may have seen him in meals like…
Boiled Taro and Coconut cream or boiled green bananas and coconut cream or one of my favourite lu sipi!!!Growing up I always thought coconut cream was bad and fatty but I didn’t realize how many goodies it has in it till I started following this Coconut frenzy!!!
So if it’s so good lets try use it in more things .. here are some extra ideas for how we can use other than in those heavy sunday meals!!!!
1. SMOOTHIE!!! super easy 3 ingredient recipe found at wholeyum.com
2. MILKSHAKES! Another easy 3 ingredient recipe here on wearenotmartha.com
3. SOUPS A favourite of mine are Thai Chicken Soups just switch coconut milk for coconut cream! DELISH
4. PORRIDGE spice up your porridge recipe with some coconut cream. (p.s you don’t need to get this fancy!)
5.WHIP CREAM! Instead of normal cream use coconut cream for a healthier alternative!
What are some of your favourite ways you use coconut cream?? Or do you prefer the normal old school way? Share, comment below! Would love to hear your ideas.
How many of you were embarrassed by your parents growing up?… tell the truth… what your friends might think of them in their lavalava and jandals or hearing them talk in their fob accent. Going to a predominantly white primary school this was always my fear, especially when it came to parent interviews.! But now I can say I am loud and proud of their fobness. I’ve finally just learnt to embrace it after all these years! But just want to take a moment to share the wonderful lessons my fobby parents managed to teach a prideful self-centered teenager.
- Education – I learnt to value Education. My parents would say… “Ged a gud edugation” (in their accent) “If I went to school here I would already have a degree! See the kids on the island they all want to come here to go to university!” These phrases would be on repeat like a broken record. Education was always the topic when we had family meetings, dinner, or when we did something bad. Somehow everything was tied back to school whether it was doing the dishes or watching tv they would always manage to link it back to the topic of education.
- God – I learnt to trust a higher being. How many of you get annoyed your parents “force” you to go to church? You had a late night and they still kicking you out of bed to go to church! This was mine, but it was during those hard times when I couldn’t talk to my parents or friends I knew I could trust God. I knew He would understand me when no one didn’t. I could talk to him through prayer and He would communicate to me through the scriptures.
- Sacrifice – I learnt the importance of hard work. We all have stories of how our parents had to and still work long hours, at several different jobs. Dad had been a taxi driver, worked at a supermarket, also studied part-time, while mum worked graveyard shift in a factory! If this isn’t sacrifice I don’t know what is?
- Take Risks – I learnt to take calculated risks. Can you imagine leaving your family, friends, all that you knew to come to a country where you didn’t even speak the language, and you didn’t even feel welcomed. Moving from a kickback to a fast pace money driven economy. Talk about their worlds being flipped upside down. What if they never took this risk, where would I be? What are you doing to take it to the next level for your family and your future generations?
- Give Give Give – I learnt to give freely. So many times my parents gave away our clothes, money, time, our space to anyone and everybody who needed. I was always annoyed and frustrated because I was always being inconvenienced. I remember my 3bedroom house being occupied by 3different families. No matter how little they had they were always willing to give.
- Gratitude – Be grateful for whatever you have. There is always someone in the world who is worse off than you. We had so “little” in comparison to the kids in my school, we bought second hand clothes and only got new outfits for christmas. To my parents we were spoilt but to my friends I was poor. Gratitude is a perspective that you define. Choose to be grateful.
My Amazing Parents!
I am loud and proud of my parents and their achievements in their lifetime. It may not be deemed like much in the eyes of society but their works speak volumes and have paved the path for many generations to come.
What are some lessons that your “FOB” parents have taught you? Share, comment like!
Whether you are attracted to the sun kissed tan skin, tattoos or crazy fun personalities here are a few tips on attracting a good Polynesian Boy. (I also have quite a few friends looking for poly boys so I’ve written this out to help a sister out!!!) Here are a few tips and tricks…
- Feed Him – every island boy likes to eat and knows how to eat, even if it don’t taste good they will still eat!
- Feed yourself – island boys like a girl who knows how to eat who doesn’t just take a few bites and say I’m full… One he will get mad you wasted his money so then probably clean your plate off for you. So order more than just a salad.
- Love his Mum – most important women in their life you get on her good side you are set!
- Bring food to his family – food speaks to the heart of the whole family, they know you care if you bring the whole family food plus you are preparing yourself for the future family events that require your contributions!
- Stand in the kitchen – at family events be in the kitchen pretend to help cook even if you don’t know what you are doing!
- Sit with his sisters – sisters will make your life a misery or bliss get on their good side too they come second inline to their mum and will do anything for them so be prepared!
- Know how to mock and take mocks – our whole world revolves around mocking, you just need to learn to toughen up and take it or be crushed by all the uncles and brothers
- Dress like a Nun – no islander families want to see you rock up in your mini skirt to a family function dress appropriately so you don’t get all their evil eyes because you have stunning legs!
- Go to church with him – Going to church shows you are a good girl all island boys like a good girl in the long run and deep down even if they do play up big time!
- No Public Affection – Don’t be posting kissing photos on Facebook especially if you are friends with family, no one wants to see all that stuff, with our conservative island cultures you stay on the safe side and keep it between you two. Gossip always spreads like wildfire!
You have probably noticed majority of these tips are surrounded by food… its true you can never go wrong with this one! Share, comment or like!!!!
Photocredit: I Leelo Photography