Things I’m Grateful For Today

A few things I’m grateful for today.

The unexpected 15-minute nap after work.
This giant clam shell still intact.
The glow of sunlight through the windows in the studio.
The mangroves in the backyard lagoon.
The mist on the mountains.
The fleeting moments just after the sunset.
My home is my island.
Officer Scruffles watching me watching him.
The sound of the shutter on my camera.

What are you grateful for today?

Sunday Fun Day: Tidepools and Whale Watching

There isn’t much to do

on Sundays in American Samoa.

It’s usually a day reserved for church, big to’ona’i lunches, and rest across the island.

Some friends from our “American Samoa Adventure Crew” Facebook group got together for a morning at the Vatia Tidepools, at the bottom of the National Parks’ Lower Sauma trail. We were running a bit late–our friends had just gotten out of the water and the tide was coming in. Of course, Ian jumped in anyway… so I made a GIF of him below.

After Vatia Tidepools, I got right back in the water at home. No photos but I snorkeled for a couple of hours with two other girls. Ian was hanging out onshore and realized one of the girls was swimming further out than she should have been. He kept an eye on her for a while and when he lost sight of her, he grabbed the SUP and paddled out to check on her. I stood on the treehouse and tried to find her white fins. She was caught somewhere in the waves, but it was difficult to pinpoint her a quarter mile away from shore. Ian must’ve had an eye on her just then because he held his arms in the air signaling to her in the wash. He put his nose to the waves and charged in. Soon he was in the water and she was on the board. They paddled out of the foam and made their way back to shore. She was totally okay and was a complete champ about it! She didn’t panic like I probably would have, and described the situation as if she was in a washing machine–getting spit up by the waves and pulled back with the currents. I’m so glad Ian reacted so fast to the situation! Things might have turned out very differently if he wasn’t there.


We showered, stuffed our faces, and hung out for about an hour, then headed over to Dustin’s place at Lealā. It’s whale season in Tutuila and Dustin’s got front row seats to the migratory giants passing by. Alanna and I were on our way to the seawall with our cameras in hand when we heard Ian yelling “WHALE! In front of you!” I was looking out further in the horizon and finally realized it was literally right in front of us, about 100 feet away from shore. We oohed and aahed over 3 whales that showed off their pectoral and fluke slapping.

Dustin and his guy gang were experimenting on some all natural wood coals. The kiddos were running around the yard making mud cakes. The lovely Ma’i grilled up some grub, and we watched the sky’s mood change to a warm soft glow. 

Just another Sunday Fun Day in American Samoa.

We Painted the Fridge Blue

The only upside to waking up at 5:30am for work on a Saturday is that I got to watch this sunrise.

Went to the golf course to set up branding for a couple of hours at the Hope House Golf Tournament. Hope House is the only full care hospice in American Samoa, and the event is huge amongst businesses who attend to support and fundraise for the nonprofit.

Didn’t make any plans in particular but after a quick stop at Ace Hardware to grab some supplies, my day turned into a home improvement type of day.

Ian put his woodworking skills to use and cut up some plywood shelves, and a couple of frames for a project I’ve been wanting to do since I was a kid – paper recycling. My mom and dad donated their old blender and I’m putting together some screens to try it out next weekend!

Officer Scruffles dozing off on the palm plant while we worked on our balcony garden.

Fingers crossed the tomato, basil and lettuce seeds actually sprout!

Alsoooooo we decided to paint our fridge!!! The rust stains on the fridge were already there from when we moved in, and it never really bothered us too much but we figured a fresh coat of paint would do it some good. It was a pretty involved process – Ian sanded all the rust spots and applied corrosion deterrent, and then we painted it over twice and waited for it to dry.

Painting a fridge is actually pretty tough!

Some of the paint also peeled off because we put the magnets back on too early – bummer.



All these unplanned home improvement projects took up the entire afternoon – and by the end of it, I was pooped. We had to avoid opening and closing the fridge to stare at our lack of food. So we went out for the evening to grab groceries and Chinese takeout (which I DEVOURED) then bunkered down for the night.

Friday Feelings: SUP and a Confession

Haven’t had too many chances lately to go SUPing with the winter winds in American Samoa.

It calmed down just a little bit on Friday and the ebb tide was just high enough when I got home from work so I grabbed my board, paddled against the current, and realized later that I forgot my board leash.

Floated back to shore just before dark.

I was just so glad that it was the weekend.

After paddling, and Ian getting back from checking out the surf on the stretch, we sat down at Tradewinds to say our goodbyes to new friends who were leaving the island, and came back home for fun game night with the neighbors.


Before I went to bed that night, I had a mini break down because I suddenly felt a wave of sadness that the only thing I was looking forward to lately was the weekend. And when I say I had a mini break down, what I mean is that I was feeling a little frustrated with my day to day routine… and there’s nothing wrong with routine, but I was getting bored with just getting up for work, spending hours at a desk, eating (and not exercising), binge watching Netflix shows, and spending more late night hours behind a screen. There’s a smattering of other fun things that I usually do in between all the routine that keep me going, but like I mentioned in another post, I’m still learning to live slow. Doing more meaningful things that inspire me and keep me motivated instead of crossing things off a list just because. I always feel better with my camera in hand so this weekend I’m going to cherish the moments and take snaps that make me feel. I want to live consciously and live my life with care. I’m sorry for blabbing, but now that I’m over it I just wanted to share… it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes you gotta be the caterpillar in a cocoon, and eventually you’ll break free from the chrysalis and fly away.

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