In our last week in Samoa we stayed busy packing, sorting, and doing all the normal moving things. We never felt stressed, flustered, or worried. We felt really peaceful and excited about moving. We spent a morning with our good friends the Porters. Gregg Porter is a PA at LBJ Medical Center and was key in helping us make our decision. Ephraim had been shadowing him frequently in the last few months. Our kids get along great, and they have an awesome island-style water park in their front yard.
So on our last night in American Samoa we had a full house of friends coming by to pick up items they'd purchased from us. It made for a pleasant night of interesting, wonderful people. We went outside for glow sand and glow balloons. The glow balloons made some cool pictures.
Our last day in Samoa was June 19th. We began the day with a full house and ended it with an empty house. Everyone knows what immense, exhausting work it takes to get there. Need I say more?
A bunch of people came to pick stuff up, and most of them left with much more than they expected. The hero of the day was Ben Goodwin. He's been our home teacher, Ephraim's surf buddy, the husband of my amazing friend and paddling coach Lana, the first counselor in our bishopric, and an all-around awesome haole Laie boy. Ben came over around 11 to help us clean. He and Ephraim started at the back end of the house and moved forward cleaning every inch along the way. My job was to get all the stuff packed, given, or thrown away by the time they reached the front room. When the house was empty, I thought Ben would call it good and go home, but he didn't. He washed every louvre, swept, mopped, scrubbed, and then took out the trash. It was funny because Ephraim took the boys to run some errands, and then I got a phone call from my professor in Hawaii on my 80's corded phone, so I couldn't leave my 3' radius. So Ben totally finished cleaning the house by himself. Heaven bless that man!
Our final meal was at KokoBean with the Porters. It was great. They'd made leis for us, some lei's were made from things in their yard. We miss these guys.
Then it was off to the airport. Thanks to the Pili's we had a vehicle to drive since our car was sold already. Everytime we see a Yukon now we think of how kind Ali and Phil were to us, and we think of all their awesome Filipino family who drove us, and took care of the car. Good thing the car was big because we had 7 check-ins and 7 carry-ons.
We tried to be as calm as possible at the airport.
Just kidding, it was all party. This is just a small part of my American Samoan family:
I got a little teary when I saw the airplane come and realized that I'd seen so many airplanes like this come and go, and this one now was mine.
I almost stayed strong saying goodbye, but didn't quite make it without tears. I'm just so blessed to have known these great people, and I'm happy to know that I will be with my Samoan brothers and sisters again someday.
We literally skipped down the tarmac toward the plan and turned back to wave goodbye. We saw our family waving and shouting farewells back at us. When you board the plane it's like stepping onto Hawaiian ground, so it already felt different. The last friend I saw was Mitzi Semo, one of my closest friends in Samoa (and queen of Hawaiian Air) who came on board for one last hug and smile.
And then we were off. Thus ended the days of the Temple family in American Samoa.