Samoa – Not Everything Goes to Plan

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Things became very challenging for us in Samoa, mainly on the health front. I unfortunately got sick again in July which led this time to my doctor in Samoa saying “That’s it; I want you to go home and get well.” I said I was going home, in about two weeks. She said “No, that isn’t soon enough I want you to go home now, this weekend.”

What a scurry that led to changing flights, checking that the medical insurers for VSA would cover the costs and numerous other details. I emailed my own doctor in Wellington, New Zealand for an appointment the day after I arrived back and suddenly I was on my way. Now every cloud has a silver lining and Charles and I had received a complimentary upgrade on any Air New Zealand flight. We would have preferred to use it for a long NZ-Los Angeles leg but that wasn’t going to happen before it expired so I travelled Business Class from Apia to Auckland – what a treat and I confess I could easily get used to it!

Our friends who were looking after our house gathered together my warm winter clothing and lent me the car they had bought from us when we left. When they met me at the airport it was only 8C, when I left Apia it was 30C it was a real shock and I felt cold for much of the next two weeks while I started to adjust.

The next silver lining to this particular cloud was getting to meet our newest grandson for the first time. Patrick is 8 months old and while he still gives some challenges during the night with teething, he is a little ray of contented sunshine during the day. What a joy he is and of course the delight on my granddaughter Libby’s face as “Nainey” arrived home from her “toooo long holiday” was so warming.

Of course winter and children led to the next thing and I caught a nasty virus and sinus infection – I lost a whole week of my time home to just feeling miserable. However it did highlight that I had become very run down and this break away was a good thing. It just didn’t need to have it rammed home so forcefully.

Charles arrived back in NZ and spent a few days with our Samoa employers SAME, assisting them with the set up and launch of a permanent Trade Display of goods made in Samoa and available in NZ. This was very successful, he then came to Wellington and spent a few days with our son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren and, of course, me before he headed back to Apia a few days later.

He too was enchanted with his grandchildren and we had great fun taking them out to the local steam railway for a morning out. The children were such fun to be with and we had lunch with them – bless the well organised parents who provided everything they required. What a lovely day it was.

I ended up sitting in New Zealand feeling in limbo, I was home for three weeks and really wanted a bit more warmth from Samoa before finally settling back here. I had clearance to return to Samoa from two doctors but the Insurance Underwriters were reluctant to give their permission. They of course said I could travel if I wanted but if I got sick again they wouldn’t cover me – not a choice really. It came right down to the wire with permission to travel being given only a few hours before I would have had to cancel my tickets.

With only two months left to finish our assignment in Samoa these are fairly critical months when we trial whether our systems and processes will run without us managing them. On my return I worked largely from home in Apia to avoid catching any further infections if possible. I would like to set up Cloud storage for the office in Apia. However, I am concerned whether the disciplines of storing, filing, naming are fully cemented and there is a risk of causing more and more difficulties.

I hope to write my final article on Samoa just after I return to NZ and it will be focussed on the last two months, the wrap up, what we have learned and how we feel about leaving.

I missed something very important. Faith, our Office Administrator who was featured in an earlier article had a baby girl at the end of July. To my utter amazement Faith has named her daughter Eth. While the name is quite common in Samoa it is an honour for me, and my first cuddle was when wee Eth was only three days old. I then had another cuddle when I returned to Samoa and she was one month old.

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About Author

Eth Lloyd

Eth Lloyd, MNZM, worked for 30 years as a Personal Assistant. Her passion for administrative professionals and their value in the workplace is shown by her commitment to encouraging them to value themselves and their roles. In 2018 Eth was awarded the New Zealand Queen’s Birthday honour MNZM for her services to administrative professional development. Eth is the Chairman of the World Administrators Summit Advisory Council and author of The Executive Secretary Guide to Conference and Event Management, available now on Amazon. If you are interested in Eth training your assistants or speaking at your event, either virtually or in person, please visit our Speaker Bureau.

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