I believe that there is a lesson in literally everything if you are open enough to receiving it. Because of this belief, I couldn't help pondering what the big lesson the Lord wants me to learn from this trip. Ironically enough, a lesson I've learnt recently while preparing for this trip is that there is no big lesson. There are small, subtle lessons and in-your-face, blatantly-obvious lessons that are both essential to growth, whether we realise it or not. This is the lesson that manifested itself from that realisation:
I came across this old photo and damn, how much gratitude i have for where I'm at right now is too much to even try put into words.
This photo is at one of the onion fields I worked in last summer. My family has been clipping onions for as long as I remember and man, I really hate clipping onions with a passion. Long hot days of sitting in dirty as plantations, hours of driving away from home, those damn portaloos and having to work in rain or shine. I remember times when I couldn't tell if it was rain, sweat or tears on my face. Times when we'd clip until late hours in the night with only the headlights from our car to give us light to work. My dad, a 67 year old man, would clip tirelessly if it meant it made ends meet and he literally has the scars on his hands to prove it. The thing is though, each onion lane has 8 rows and my dad would always clip 5, leaving me with less to clip. Those plantation fields, away from all the city lights, had the best sunsets and the clearest night skies. I have some of my favourite memories with my siblings of us singing songs to ease the pain of working for so long. I'm really grateful for where I am right now but this isn't a sob story. It ain't even a come up story. That's because I know that I've experienced more joy/love/beauty breaking my back in an onion field than people living in mansions. I've been blessed enough to be given so many beautiful opportunities this year like this student exchange to Japan but next summer, I'm still gonna be clipping onions in the middle of nowhere. I seriously couldn't be less ashamed or embarrassed about it or the fact that by Western economic standards, I'm technically apart of the 9% of children living in child poverty. I really feel rich in so much even if it ain't money. Beauty is found in even the worst of circumstances. This ain't a sob story or a come up story, it's just a blog post about how the total erasure of struggle isn't an upgrade, but the amplification of beauty is. In turn, the total erasure of our pain isn't healing but the amplification of our joy is.
Man, they are being so damn amplified and for that I am grateful🌻✨
SHORT STORY LONG
Visiting Japan has always existed in my mind as a far away goal, a milestone of achievement to work towards and to be very honest something I always thought I'd have to move several economic classes and years up to attain. I've never been abroad to another country other than a trip to Samoa as a baby so travelling is quite literally a foreign concept to me. When I first heard about the Japanese Exchange, it felt like the heavens were telling me it was my chance (not the dramatic ones AHAHAHA) but it was one of those "if-not-now-when?" kinda things. So when the opportunity came, there was no doubt that I needed to at least try my best for it.
When I found out I make the cut, I couldn't believe it. I literally fell to the floor and screamed. It's such a surreal thing to be given the privilege of travelling to another country and it's definitely one I won't take for granted. There's a strong, fundamental belief I have that any success I have, by whatever means you want to measure success, is not a success that was attained by my own. It takes a village to raise a child. Things like this Japanese Exchange only strengthens my appreciation for the village that has raised me and continues to humble me because I really ain't nothing without them. I'm extremely grateful for every opportunity this exchange is giving me and the life lessons, life-long connections and life changing experiences waiting for me in Japan.
Thank you for coming to my TED Talk,
LONG STORY SHORT
Now you can look at my slideshow presentation of memes if you ain't bout that reading long paragraphs life:
Ayyy wassup fellow dudes and dudettes! My name is Aigagalefili a.k.a Fili, a Samoan bred, Southside bound kid who's gonna be travelling to Jishukan High School in Kanagawa, Japan. Follow the Chronicles of an International Ka'a if you down with it.