A Letter to You, the Reader

A Letter to You, the Reader

Dear Reader,

Thank you. Whoever you are, wherever you may be. I am thankful for your presence here and the time you took out of your day to visit my blog. If you’re a real life friend of mine – YOU ROCK. And if we don’t know each other—you might have stumbled here accidentally through social media or were referred here by a mutual friend—I am STOKED to have you. Either way, it’s super cool to log in and see the views from people around the world.

I started this site back in 2016 as a way to transition from my emo/random Tumblr blogging to something that I can control in design and features, and create my own online identity. But I didn’t post much back then. In 2017, I made it an intention to post more. Had the privilege to travel more and post some of those stories. And now it’s 2018 and I am hoping to improve my content and engage more with you wonderful readers.

Now that I’m thinking about it – I myself don’t know if this site has a clear purpose that would even draw readers in.  My blogs are basically just me running around with my camera and writing things down when I feel like it. Oh well. C’est la vie!

I’m happy to write and blog for myself, but I am also interested to see what brought you here to my little space of the Internet! So leave a comment or call/text/message me and let me know how your day is going and whatnot. You’d be super awesome if you did (jk you already are)!

Journal 8/52: Influential Books

Journal 8/52: Influential Books

Journal #8: A book that has influenced your life

1. The Bible. The basis for my value system consisted of my asian parents, a mix of Samoan and Filipino culture, and the Holy Bible. I grew up going to church and attending a Christian school. So the Bible was really my go-to book, and I still turn to the Word for spiritual guidance.

2. The Alchemist.  I “borrowed” this book from a friend because I had heard good things about it. And it was food for my soul. I read it with elan and was raptured with Santiago’s Personal Legend. It felt like I was on that same journey. Still am. Not knowing where I’m going but following the star in my dreams to one day meet my destiny.

3. Field Guide to the Sāmoan Archipelago.  I know, random right? But there’s a back story to this. When I first started dating my boyfriend, he was (and still is) a huge fish nerd. We spent many evenings learning their scientific names, (along with eating college style spaghetti and playing card games) and thumbing through a big hardcover book containing pretty much all the fish species out there. So a few weeks into the relationship, I went to the National Park office and purchased this field guide written and illustrated by Meryl Rose Goldin. And I love it. It’s got a sentimental value for me.

Journal 7/52: What I’m Stressed About

Journal 7/52: What I’m Stressed About

Journal #7: Write down something you are stressed about

It’s the beginning of a New Year, so there are loads of pressures that come with change and a new chapter. But right now I’m actually not stressed about anything. That I can immediately think of. If I had to think hard enough, I’d probably say something along the lines of I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life. But even that, I’ve kind of let go of and I’m happy to “just keep swimming” as Dory from Finding Nemo would say.

Here’s me with my blessings:

Hulk truck. Ian’s motorbike. A brown bag of Samu’s snickers ice cream. Yasssss.

Life Lately: Ill & Will

Life Lately: Ill & Will

Hello humans!

It’s been a hot minute. It’s a brand spankin’ new year, it’s summertime in the islands, and I wanted to catch you up on my life. Read on.

I’m behind on blogging.

Such a bummer because I really want to be more consistent with my blogging. It’s kind of one of my new year resolutions. But I have a good reason.

I was really sick.

The most sick I’ve been in ages. I’m not sure what I had but it was like a mix of dengue (or chikungunya – I can’t really tell the difference) and the flu with allergies. The kind of funny part is that I was 50% sure it was the bends. I had just come back from scuba diving and did a solid car wash on the truck and was in the middle of trying to konmari (declutter) my wardrobe. I was exhausted but didn’t even think about it. I was about to head to the movies with friends but felt started to feel funky, and then suddenly a wave of body pains came over me. Ian got me an oxygen mask and was checking on my vitals. I was in bed for 3 days straight. Barely ate and couldn’t move except squirm around because I felt so uncomfortable. Anyway, it sucked. I didn’t go to the hospitable because I’m scared of that place. But thanks to my pseudo nurse Ian, Tylenol, and homemade soup from my parents, I finally feel better. It took a whole week to recover.

Other than that…

Scuba diving at Amalau.

I got to use my new BCD (thanks again, babe!) at a new dive site. It was righteous. We saw a huge humphead wrasse that I almost thought was a shark.

So much stuff.

I mentioned that I was trying to konmari my closet. I’ve been feeling weighed down by all the stuff I have. I’ve always known I was a bit of a hoarder but my goodness, there’s just too much stuff around here! So I’m slowly going through different parts of my apartment and asking myself the konmari golden question: Does this spark joy in my life? It’s a nice way to evaluate what stuff is essential and what’s just taking up space. Today I cleaned out my fridge and felt so good about it. Just sayin’.

Not much else.

It’s still early in the year and things are just ramping back up for me. I’m taking it easy, living slow, enjoying the Samoan summer.


Travel Diary: New Years in Samoa

Travel Diary: New Years in Samoa

Adulting is hard. I only got Christmas Day and New Years Day off, and I sorely miss the days when winter holidays meant 3 weeks of vacation. So to maximize the feel of vacation this time around, I started my New Year 2018 with…

A trip to Samoa

It was really my day 24 advent Christmas gift to Ian. Booked our tickets and planned it with our friends, Paolo and Mareike. It would be a surf trip for the boys, and a girls trip for the ladies.

30 DEC 2017


Landed at Fagali’i Airport and met up with Mareike and Paolo who were already there waiting for us. There’s nothing quite like seeing familiar faces when you’re traveling. We filled up on brunch at Home Cafè, topped up the gas on the Rav4 rental, and headed for the eastern coast to scout waves and find a beach fale to stay the night. We kept driving south until we found a spot that met our basic needs. A cheap beach fale accommodation called Sina PJs and nearby, waves for days.

High five brotha man!

The air was warm wet and completely still… great conditions for surf. The spot was called Salas (or Jaws – I’m not sure which is which). Ian and Paolo started paddling out from the beach and got lucky. A boat came out to pick them up and took them right up to the waves. A couple of hours later the tide receded into the evening and they stayed out just a little longer hoping for more waves. They were grinning ear to ear when they got back, even after the long paddle in, talking stories of getting tubed.

We grabbed a few beers at the shanty store down the road and hung out at the fale reading and swatting at mosquitoes. The book I’m reading is called “Jaguars Ripped My Flesh: Adventure is a Risky Business” by Tim Cahill, a founding editor of Outside Magazine. It seemed like an appropriate title for the trip.

Our hosts made us a delicious curry dinner which I devoured. Mareike wasn’t feeling too great, so the boys made another run to the store to pick up good ol’ Pepto Bismol. And we called it a night.

Remember that rainbow earlier on? It tricked us a little because later in the evening, the clouds got darker and we saw streaks of lightning in the cumulonimbus in the distance.

It rained hard that night, and our thatched roofs must have not been in use for a while because we woke up in the middle of the night to water droplets leaking all over. We had to move our mats and mosquito net to find a dry patch, and lightning and thunder were going off like crazy less than a mile away. It was a quite a wake up call. So needless to say we were pretty restless and slept in the next morning.

31 dec 2017


We woke up slow and enjoyed an egg on toast and koko rice breakfast from our hosts. It was New Years Eve so we decided to settle in at Matareva Beach Fales to ring in the New Year. The place was likely named after the fictional island of Matareva from the 1953 Return to Paradise film (my favorite oldie movie!!!). We swam and played cards. Drank piña coladas. The bartender convinced the guys to paddle out in the waves right there at Matareva. It was a short paddle but wasn’t that good since it was onshore and kept closing out before anyone could even take off on one. The name ‘Boneyard’ is suitable. The guys were bummed but being the awesome girlfriends that Mareike and I are, we fired their stoke and pushed them to try again back at Salas/Jaws which was a 20 minute drive away, and you’ll be happy to know it was worth it. The guys surfed until their arms gave out and Mareike and I went over to Coconuts for a little girl time and fancy drinks. The Tokelau Teaser drink was the perfect cool down.

Teaching them how to play Sweepie

We got back to Matareva just in time for a late dinner and I stuffed my face silly. Then the night began. It was New Years Eve after all. The host family invited their extended family and put on a traditional Fiafia Night, full of siva ma le pese.  My favorite was the siva afi, or fire dancing. They prefaced the performance with a lesson on making fires in a dried coconut husk, and explained how important it was for them to pass down this knowledge to their children. And then a little boy about 8 years old came out and gave a show stopping performance. It was so cool.

This kid’s face takes the cake!

The older guy shows the kid how it’s done, blue flames and all

who did it better?


The night closed off on a very grateful note. We gathered together in a “Circle of Love” and went around saying a few words to reflect back on the year and thank our hosts Tavita and Fia for their Samoan hospitality. And before we knew it, it was 10 seconds on the countdown! HAPPY NEW YEAR! We cheered, kissed and greeted each other. The moon was full and all were in good spirits. It was a good way to end the day. I took my first shower of 2018 and crawled under the mosquito net in our beach fale, and had the best sleep I’ve had in recent memory.

1 jan 2018


In the morning, music was blaring from an aiga bus that arrived chock full of day visitors. I was already awake, reading in bed while Ian snoozed on. We headed to the main fale for breakfast and played several rounds of cards. We decided that Matareva is the new Taufua so we were staying another night. The only problem was that with so many day visitors they planned to rent out the fales for the day, so we decided to pack our stuff back into the car and venture out for the day until the tide came in. 

Taking photos while Ian is passed out sleeping

Me – hanging out in the fale before breakfast

We barely spent any money except on our accommodations and a few Vailimas, so we went on a little spending spree (not really) and chowed down on some good food and ginger mojitos at Sinalei. We realized we were actually low on cash and were relieved to find out that Matareva accepted credit cards. There were no ATMs on Upolu south so this was really great news. We toasted – manuia– to good company and proceeded down to the pier. I’m not a big ‘jumper’ so I hung back (also because my bikini was back at the car; read as ‘excuse’) for a bit while everyone else kawabunga’d off over and over. We all read and napped for a bit and Ian finally got me to get up and jump off. I saw a video of myself jumping, and not gonna lie, I look like my 2 year old nephew does when he jumps into the pool. Kinda stoked but kinda terrified, hahah.

The tide was coming in so we went over to Coconuts next door and got chased out of the pool since we weren’t technically guests. Ian and Paolo went back to Salas/Jaws (can someone please clarify what the name is?!) and Mareike and I relished in another round of fancy drinks – no straw please. Tokelau Teaser again for me and Tahiti Tickler for Mareike. It’s so fun to gab about our lives over these pretty names for drinks. We lost track of time, and surprisingly the guys came back a little early. We drove back to Matareva, took photos on the beach with new friends, enjoyed dinner… and what did we do the rest of the night? We played cards like we hadn’t been playing all weekend long.

These taro fries were killaaaa

The smiling lady at the Coconuts bar. I was mostly eyeing the bananas.

New Year dips and kisses

^ Always a good idea to get jumpin’
And little Bill being the diva/rockstar he is >

2 JAN 2018


I woke up way too early. My alarm went off at 5am thinking it was a work day. Not yet. It’s our last day of vacation before we’re back to the grind tomorrow. But I didn’t go back to sleep. I meditated in the Samoan sunrise. Journaled for half an hour in the hammock under the coconut trees. And read while Ian snoozed on till breakfast. We settled our bill, packed the car back up for the last time, and said our ‘not goodbye, but see you laters’ to our hosts Tavita, Fia, and the boys Tom, Walter and Bill. On the way out, we took some film photos as souvenirs.

After about an hour of driving, we were back in town. We wanted to stop by the market and visit a couple of shops, but everything was closed. Apparently, lucky Samoa gets Jan 2 off. Only The Edge by the marina was open so we chilled out there, ordered lattes, lunch and milkshakes, and played sweepie for the last couple hours of our trip. Then it was back to the airport, crossed the international date line, and we were back at January 1 in American Samoa. Home sweet home.