My first Thanksgiving was in 2010 where I was taken in by a Muslim family in Pennsylvania observing Eid.

The Yaqub Family

In 2011, I stayed with a dear friend in New Jersey where we prepared meals at a community centre.

Ryan With The Deltas & The Ques

This year, I spent some down time with my family in Florida.

Aunty Ata

When you go down there, you pay close attention to Dwayne and Ben!  You really need to be reminded of what positive adult male role models look like.  Those boys have worked hard all their lives – YOU THINK THEY ACT STUPID LIKE YOU?!

That’s my Mum going off at me over Skype for half an hour once she found out about what went down in Jamaica.  It seems that I’ve lost my way a little.  Lemme go back to my transition in starting over in Ohio.  We’re coming up to five months since I took the plunge in my new position.  Woah!  While I love my role in helping develop these young people, I often struggle with the slower pace and social renunciation that can come with working within a university in a small town.  I’ve gotten creative with keeping my mind stimulated though.  I’m only a few episodes away from getting through the entire seven seasons of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”!  Nah but Buffy aside, I’m reading a whole lot more and even writing pieces like this to keep me occupied.  After mulling it over with my Mum, we came to the conclusion that maybe I was sent to the Midwest for a reason and that’s to really settle down, reflect and learn how to bring some calmness into my life.

Ohio’s Tranquility

Well, that shit all flew out the window with my recent man down situation.  My Mum ripped my head off all the way from Porirua [Why is it I’m still scared of her?  I’m not scared of anyone in the universe except for her].  According to my mate’s analysis, what’s happening here is I’m a high energy person who’s not used to having this level of restraint on it so when I do get an opportunity to get out of Ohio and hang out with my old friends, I overcompensate and go 100% Beast Mode.

Beast Mode @ Lehigh-Lafayette

After having a full on weekend reuniting with everyone at Lehigh-Lafayette [with a self-enforced 30% Beast Mode limit], I flew down to Florida and took my Mum’s advice in really thinking about both Dwayne and Ben’s journeys.

Dwayne & Ben

If you’re Samoan then you’re related to ‘The Rock’.  EVERYONE claims to be connected to him somehow.  I remember telling a friend when I was 16 that our mothers were cousins but he laughed at me so I never told anyone after that.  It wasn’t until 2009 when I made a trip to Miami that I would actually meet him for the first time while visiting my Aunty Ata and my childhood friend Kali who I grew up with in Porirua [she’s an amazing dancer who moved here with a performance group].  I was quite shy and if you know me, that RARELY happens – it wasn’t because I was a fan but because he’s one of those people whose very presence is striking.

Krit & Dwayne

For a more detailed account of Dwayne’s achievements in football, wrestling and tv/movies, you only have to type his name in Google.  He’s killing the game at 40 with no signs of slowing down.  Dwayne’s prominence today really boils down to his attitude and his support network that features his Mum at the top.

Aunty Ata & Dwayne

Over the last few years, my interactions with Dwayne have been intermittent but they’ve always been pleasant experiences.  For me, that’s a reflection of his mother.  She’s an upbeat person who loves to entertain and always speaks words of encouragement.  Their relationship is one of a great love and respect which I liken to the relationship I have with my own mother.  That’s what I admire about him the most – he really takes great care of her.  Something the men in my family all have in common.  What I also really like about him is that you’ll never find him acting a fool in the magazines.  He always presents himself well in the public eye.  There’s so many athletes, politicians, artists and actors involved in all types of scandal and spreading negative energy – it’s refreshing to see a Samoan with such a high profile constantly reinforcing positive values.

Krit, Ben, Tone, Jacque & Pierre

Then we have Ben.  Ben and Dwayne are first cousins.  I first met Ben this year when my Mum, my Aunty Tree and my best friend from Porirua, Tone, came to Lehigh for my graduation before heading down to Florida for a Caribbean cruise [oh wait, that’s right, me and Tone got bounced from the cruise part of the trip!]


Ben was a Navy SEAL for over 10 years and clocked up a Purple Heart and two Bronze Star Medals during his service.  He’s been working closely with Dwayne and quickly building up his resume in the film industry.  Ben’s a very likable guy.  Witty but sensible.  Married with two bright children and two French Bulldogs [my Mum calls them my surrogate brothers], he too takes great care of his family.  When I looked at Ben this week, my Mum’s voice echoed in my head.  Yes, he’s a positive adult male role model who’s worked hard his whole life.  No, he doesn’t act stupid like me.  I’m always thankful for my family and the opportunities they’ve afforded me but my Mum made sure that this Thanksgiving, I gave more consideration to behaving like I am.  That means growing up and taking on more responsibility.

Aunty Tree, Krit & Mum @ Graduation
Aunty Ata & Krit – Student Life Leadership Awards @ Lehigh University
Aunty Ata, Mum, Tone & Krit

It’s been a big year for everyone in my Mum’s family.  My Grandma’s passing is still affecting us all a great deal.  I’ve also had to contend with some drama that resulted in severing a few ties for now but through it all, I’m blessed to have the continued support that I do.  Make sure you surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart otherwise you’re in for a draining existence.  That might mean cutting individuals out of your life.  Hopefully things blow over but if they don’t, it’s cool, you focus on the bonds that reaffirm what family and friends are about.  I’m lucky to have my Mum and the crew back in New Zealand and also to have my aunty here in the US who makes sure I know family’s never far.  THANKS!  I’ve got a renewed confidence that I’m gonna keep growing from my time out here so fingers crossed!  The challenge is on!

Dennis Rodman & Krit

Oh and I bumped into Dennis Rodman’s random ass at the bar.  Aye?

12 thoughts on “Thanks!

  1. Sssshhhh awesome stuff Krit! Make sure you add Melbourne to your list of Ozzy cities to visit 🙂 Otherwise see you in Aux at c-space like we used to hang last decade! haha. All the best and God’s blessings!

  2. Love this Kristian, never told you that your an inspiration and a role model towards alot of your old friends back home and where ever the rest maybe. You’ve inspired me to be on my own be independent and don’t be afraid to try something different that may be out of you comfort zone. don’t think i thanked you deeply on my visit to America such a shame i would of thought 2 weeks would be enough for an extravagant adventure but still i had enjoyed every moment hanging out with you and your friends even though my first experience of America was randomly visiting your friends house walking in a froze like a pea when seeing all your friends were black (lmao) but they ended up being the most outrages funny intelligent people that Ive ever met.
    Also cant forget Miami South beach memorial day haha O.M.G never been scared in my life, for those Islanders back home that quench on how tough and think they can walk head high above any other ethnicity around them try going down South beach memorial day full of gang bangers, Hispanics, African Americans, crazy as asians, crazy ass homeless people, (oh by the way some crazy ass black dude ate some homeless person face off one block where i was partying) more gang bangers your category wont even deliver to there standards haha but still i enjoyed the time of experience new culture, meeting all your friends, you definitely choose your friends wisely good bunch to hang out with especially there back ground with majority of them who are highly educated and have morals of becoming someone in the future i respect that very well.

    But enough of my American experience i also respect that you have the utmost respect for your family

    Well think that enough writing for today i could go on an on but think the rest would be just mocking you ass from A to B , but what im trying to say to you is that you are a good friend and im glad to be apart of that, keep in touch you better come and visit me in Australia i know you dont like it here but im not asking you to move here but bring you black ass here so we can party, and don’t say you don’t party like that any more ive seen your frantic nights outs on videos you stupid idiot hahaha peace

    1. SNAAAP! You’re bloody ridiculous. I’m pissing myself thinking back on our trip. I was too happy you could make it and that you and my mates could meet each other. Everyone hit it off like I knew you would!

      As always, thanks for the love and support baldy. We’ve shared a lot over the last 20 years. I don’t know if you realise it but you alone gave me huge confidence at school through our friendship. Glad we’ve had each other’s energy to feed off since forever even if all we do is constantly fight!

      Good to see you doing your thing! Keep it up! I’m gonna need you to stop being such a ka’a though. Can’t you just stay at home at least one weekend a month? I’ll definitely be over once I move back to New Zealand but yeah, don’t expect me to dress “styley” like your W friends. I don’t do skinny jeans, ho. Peace. X

  3. Nice read, as always.

    Your Mom is quite the rock in your life. Continue listening to her, she’s probably always right and will NOT lead you astray!

  4. Glad your mom made you reflect and realize that yes, everything does happen for a reason! Roll with it! And calm dat a** down! lol jk (kinda). Nice post, enjoyed reading it! And like Shana said, yes you’re a wild child, but you have accomplished a lot! Dennis doe? lol…

    1. Appreciate the kind words, Kris! We all have our own successes that can’t be compared to anyone else’s but I like to give praise where it’s called for.

      By the way, I still can’t believe how my rendition of Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work” went down. It was such a good idea until I heard myself. That mic was playing up.

      1. Aw aye did I say your australian Crew? I said your crew in Australia – learn to tell the difference and u and charlotte’s wet lips…

  5. Krit, one is not defined by his accomplishments (and not to take anything away from the hard work of your cousins) but you have done things young Samoan men your age can only dream of. What i mean to say one is that you have accomplished a lot and im proud to show off how well your doing too… Your mum is trying to tell you hurry up and come back home and treat her to all the finer things in life lol

    1. Mahalo for the ego boost! I’m just saying they’ve stepped up and look after their families and that’s something I try to do. It’s something I know you do too so yeah, when you treating me?

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