Meet Shirley Richards, who’s a first timer to the Oceania region.
The 54-year-old from England found herself travelling half way across the globe to Samoa’s shores because of her daughter, who is in love with a Samoan man.
“I came to Samoa because my daughter met her boyfriend, Leon, in New Zealand, he was playing rugby there, and then they fell in love,” Shirley said.
“Leon came to England for a little while, and then they came to Samoa, so whilst they are here, I thought I could come over and visit the islands.”
“My son was here, but he’s gone back home, he was here for a week. I’m here for three weeks and this is my second week.”
Mother Nature also gave her a slice of tropical life, with gusty winds and heavy downpour brought about by Tropical Cyclone Gita sending shivers down her spine.
“I was here during the cyclone and the experience was a little bit scary. The wind was mad and you know it’s a different way of life here compared to England.”
Nonetheless, Shirley finds Samoa “very beautiful” and a place quite similar to home.
“I live by the sea in England, in a little town in the South of England. It’s really pretty, beautiful coastlines, lovely walks but it’s really very cold.”
“But when I look out here, and it’s a bit more beautiful and you have lovely weather, despite the cyclone.”
She describes local Samoan people as friendly, and if one thing she’s in love with, it’s the Samoan print and clothes.
“Samoan people are really friendly people. I love the clothes, I like wearing the lavalava. I bought some fabrics and Leon’s aunty is going to make me a dress with it.”
“Leon’s family is amazing, they cook lovely food, but next week Sunday, we will have traditional Samoan food and I really look forward to that,” she explained while describing her Samoan family’s hospitality.
Shirley loves travelling and she finds herself trapped in Samoa’s beauty, and if there’s any other place she’d like to visit, it would be Fiji.
“I haven’t done anything adventurous so far because the weather has been bad, but today (yesterday) I’m planning to go around Apia, maybe try a little bit of food and drinks and have a taste of the island life.”
And because of this, you can bet on her return.