A belated Happy New Year! The month of January has passed by quite quickly and today, 1st February 2015 (here in New Zealand), I have found a quiet moment to finally write the very first blog post for 2015.
I hope that 2015 has started well for you and your loved ones. Thank you for joining me on this blog for another year of creative talanoa. In response to a couple of emails that I have received regarding an anthology of poems that I have, “Flowers from many gardens”, I will share a couple more poems from that anthology later this month. I appreciate the stories that readers have shared via email with me. Thank you. Also, thank you to the readers who have sent emails regarding the use of my poems. I am grateful that my poems have moved you to share it with others within your field of work and within your community.
January 2015 was a month of celebration for my family and my circle of friends. At the beginning of January 2015, I flew to Sydney, Australia, to join family in celebrating my niece Angela Pale’s graduation. In a previous blog post I shared that Angela graduated from the University of Western Sydney with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) in April 2014. At the end of 2014, she passed the bar examination and was admitted to the Sydney Supreme Court as a lawyer. She is the first lawyer in our family. I was honoured and grateful to be invited by her Father to speak at the graduation celebration, and it was there that I shared two poems that were written by Angela for each of her parents, her late Mother Lata Arbeen Pale, and her Father, Stanley Tukia Pale. It was a truly heart-warming graduation celebration. We are extremely proud of Angela’s achievements thus far.
Upon my return to Auckland, New Zealand from Sydney, I had to prepare for Sapate Ako. Sapate Ako is an annual service that all Tongan Methodist Church’s host for children and youth as the new school year is about to begin. Guest speakers are invited to attend and share their experiences with the congregation with the aim to encourage children and youth to set goals, pursue their dreams, and to also keep their faith in God throughout the new year. I was honoured and grateful to be invited this year to be one of the three guest speakers for Sapate Ako at my church, the Onehunga Tongan Methodist Church. I acknowledged that my academic journey has not been an easy path to take but it was one that was definitely worthwhile. A close friend of mine Seini Taufa, and at least 10 other wonderful graduates within our church joined together in support of the Sapate Ako service. We were asked to wear our graduation regalia’s to the service as a way of encouraging the children and youth to strive for their best in the new school year ahead. It was an uplifting and heart-warming day.
Following on from Sapate Ako, I was involved with finalising the details for an academic scholarship that was launched last year in honour of my graduation from The University of Auckland on September 30th 2014. The scholarship is called the Hufangalupe Academic Scholarship. Hufangalupe (aka Vaini) is one of the villages in the Kingdom of Tonga that my family members were born and raised in. Although I was born and raised here in Auckland, New Zealand, I consider Hufangalupe and the Kingdom of Tonga as home. The scholarship seeks to financially support a student each year, from Hufangalupe and who currently resides in the Kingdom of Tonga, that has completed their final year of high school and are preparing to start tertiary studies. I am deeply honoured and content that I am able to help give back to the youth from Hufangalupe in the Kingdom of Tonga as a means of supporting their academic pursuits.
Shortly after the scholarship information was completed, my family members from the Kingdom of Tonga, Fiji, Australia, and Hawaii arrived one by one in Auckland, New Zealand in preparation for my 1st cousin Saia Misinale’s wedding. The wedding took place on January 22nd 2015. My family and I are grateful for the wonderful and hilarious memories that were created with the newly weds, Saia and Jacinta Misinale, and all the family members who were in attendance. The week that followed was spent with family members who travelled to Auckland, New Zealand from overseas, and more wonderful memories were created. I always enjoy quality time with family.
The events described above have brought me to this day, the first day of February 2015. And as I reflect on the month that was, I am grateful for the beautiful moments that I have been blessed to be a part of. When you realise how valuable your time is, your decision as to who and/or what and/or where you invest your time in becomes significant.
The academic and creative goals that I had set on January 1st 2015 have enabled me to stay focused on what I need to work towards while setting some time aside to be with my family and friends in celebration of the events that have transpired. I am looking forward to the new month ahead. I know that there are opportunities and experiences that are on the horizon but I also know that there is still work that needs to be done in order for me to reach my academic and creative goals for 2015. As a reminder, the achievement of your goals in the pursuit of your dreams will depend on how you allocate and utilise your time. So until my next blog post, take care and make each moment count.
New twitter account: @maryannepale