"Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grand-children and others throughout the generations. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." --President Spencer W. Kimball

May 12, 2012

NZ

Because I was able to keep my job, and my flight benefits....my boys were able to go to New Zealand for Ova's Fangupo family reunion.  This had actually been a trip we'd all been planning as a whole family to take for a couple years now, but with baby coming home still on oxygen....I wasn't about to leave her with someone else, so I decided not to go.  Ova didn't really want to go without me, because we always go together....but I kept insisting that he go.  I knew that once he went he'd have an awesome time with his family, and he deserved a break after all the craziness of life in the hospital for the last half a year!  And besides that, we'd even moved Makai tracks in school at the beginning of the year just so he would be off track for this family vacation, and the boys were way excited to go.  After much talking he very reluctantly agreed to take the two boys and go without me.  Tala could have went with him, but I wouldn't do that to him....she's 2, very active...and a little bit of a monster sometimes, and a big mama's girl.....I wouldn't make him take her on a 14 hour flight around the world by himself...lol.  We decided that all the boys would go represent our family and us girls would stay at home and go have our own little vacation at my parent's house!

The last time Ova and I traveled to the Pacific, we went on Quantas straight to New Zealand....we had an awesome experience with them and so I wanted them to go that route again.  There was the option for them to go through Australia...which would have been cheaper because it's a Delta flight, but he didn't want to have to make a stop, so direct it was!  I booked the tickets for them....$814 round-trip for all three of them, direct from LAX to AKL was a pretty darn good deal!  Since this would be the first time for Ova to non-rev by himself, I flew with them to LAX to make sure they were all checked-in and that their bags and everything were set for the flight to New Zealand.  Ova's not a very good non-rev flyer....so he was nervous, and I was even more nervous for them!  Lol.  Usually when we go anywhere, he sits in the back while I do all the talking....this time he was on his own!  Everything turned out good though!

The flights to LAX were all full and I wasn't sure we'd all be able to make it, so we ended up taking the longer route to get there, which worked just fine.  We went from SLC to SFO....the flight was WIDE open and then from SFO to LAX.  That routing was perfect because there were plenty of seats on both flights for all of us to get on and to sit together!  We even had this awesome pilot who let my boys go up in the cockpit to take pictures.  We've non-reved a million times, and they've never had that opportunity, so they thought it was pretty neat!

Once in LAX, they had several hours to kill....we wanted to get there early enough to check them in for their flight (it's first come first serve) and still have time to get dinner before I had to catch my flight back home to the girls.  We landed there at about 3pm, and thankfully they let us check them in that early...even though their flight didn't leave until midnight.   Also, thankfully the flight had more than 80 seats open with only 12 people trying to fly standby, so there was no question that they would make it.  That was a lot of relief!  Once they were checked in, we just went and hung out in the food court.  It was a little quiet, I think we were all sad that we'd be apart for a whole week.  We ate together and then it was time for me to go catch my flight home.  They walked me down to my terminal and we said our good-byes....the boys were so emotional...especially Makai and Mone, they were crying.  I just hugged them big and told them to have fun and to make sure not to be shy when they met their family...and to always let their dad know where they were.  Ova and I said our good-byes and then I left.  We are a very close family and we pretty much always do everything together....my heart hurt when I left them because I already missed them so much.  Ova must have felt the same way because he kept texting me sad and crying faces.  Lol.  Love my boys.

I came back home and they caught their flight to the Land Down Under. 

Here's the part that Ova should write, because I wasn't there....but he took over 1000 pictures and told me a lot of stories, so I'll just sumarize what he told me....and add some of the pictures he took! :) 

The very first Fangupo family reunion was held in 2008.  Since then, we've had one every year.  It's been such an awesome opportunity for us to meet so much of Ova's family...not only here in the states, but also overseas.  One thing that I love about his family, is that even though they've just met for the first time ever, they act as if they've known each other forever.  Everyone is so friendly and outgoing and you can just feel the love when you're around them.  Every year since our first reunion in 2008, they have gotten bigger and bigger and we've been able to meet more and more family.  It's now to the point that the reunions can be held overseas and we can meet all the family on that side of the world.  (Thank goodness that the majority of us here in the states have flying bennies....or we probably wouldn't be able to go...lol)  This year, obviosuly, it was held in New Zealand.  Ova's first cousins out there have been planning it for over a year.....they did an amazing job!

They reserved a marae for the whole week so that the whole family could stay together.  It's a sacred maori place with cafeterias, restrooms, a entertainment room.....everything they needed to stay there for the whole week.  Ova said that part was awesome because all the family was together 24-7.  The women and children slept in one area and the men slept in another....but during the day, everyone was together.  I, on the other hand, was having some major withdrawls back here in the states because there was absolutely no internet, phones, cell service, wi-fi....NOTHING at the marae.  There was no way to get a hold of my boys, or for my boys to get a hold of me for that whole week.  Ugh, I was missing them so bad!  It's actually crazy, because nobody...I mean nobody was able to talk to anyone that was there, it was like they were in their own little world, like they'd fallen off the end of the world for that week.  Nobody got phone calls, facebook was dead...just nothing.  I was so happy they were having so much fun with their family...but so NOT feeling the lack of communication for so long.  Lol.  I need my boys :)

Everyday was planned with some fun activity or something fun for everyone to do together.  Every meal was eaten together at the marae.  Fish and chips galore....meat pies...sausages....tongan food.  Ova said they ate very well while they were out there! 

The Polyfest happened to be held in New Zealand that same week, so the reunion committee rented a bus to take everyone there to check it out.

They had a day at the beach...

They had a formal night...everyone went all out with their formals....especially the girls!...

But mostly, it was about family.  Learning and knowing your geneology and where you come from and spending time with the family.  Even though a lot of the reunion was planned, a lot of the time was left to just hang out, get to know each other and have fun!  That's what family reunions are for!  :)


Like I said, over 1000 pictures....lots of memories!  My boys had the time of their lives.  I'm glad that we're able to take our kids to these family reunions so they can meet their family and learn how imporant it is to know your heritage.  When I asked Mone what his favorite part of going to New Zealand was, he said the family and the chicken nibbles....lol....when I asked Makai, he said he loved everything about it, and even suggested that we move there....haha!  Another Fangupo Reunion for the history books....next one is set in 2014 in Australia!

5 comments:

Mauga Fam said...

That is so awesome! I have always wanted to go to NZ.

Dasl*it Photography said...

How fun.. One day I hope to visit there. Great pictures to help keep the memory alive..

Dianna Otukolo said...

Wow I wanna go to NZ now after looking at all those pics! That sounds soo dang fun! Now that's a family reunion!! :)

IONGI FAMILY said...

That is so AWESOME good for the boys love those flight benes

IONGI FAMILY said...

darn thing submit before I was done lol must be a hint, WHAT FUN, how lucky the boys were to go up front awesome