On a bright, full-house, pro-grandpa funeral Sunday, we just finished church and were getting ready to partake in the biggest meal of the week, when a car pulled up in front of our house. Out came a tall strawberry blonde woman, another blond man and my relative Rudy.Nauer. They chatted lightly with some of my uncles and aunts that were outside.
Usually, when we have visitors, they either come for the farm or a talk with my papa. I ran upstairs to change into toonai gear and grabbed a pen and paper. During this time I overheard the relatives talking about our German family, how they came to Samoa, my grandpa Norman who had just been laid to rest and sleeping in the ground. Quickly, I grabbed my camera because if my ears weren't fooling me, this was an opportunity not to be missed. I had real-life German cousins coming to find us!
I came outside and introduced myself. This was the first time I introduced myself as my great-grand mothers child, usually we say our parents' names. Kathrin Stalder, my third cousin was new to Samoa, who just happened to be on a family finding odyssey with her husband and had written out our family tree on a piece of paper.
They were warm and excited. My first question was : How did you find us? What made you get off your couch and come all the way to Samoa? She found us through the TV thank you note, that we sent out to thank all those who attended grandpa's funeral. When they heard 'Nauer' on TV, they quickly switched on and went to find the Nauers. They found Rudy and then Rudy brought them to us. I chuckled to myself and thought
'This grandfather of mine is some kind of funny, he dies and then gets his family to come ask about him'.
It was a walk down memory lane, talking about him and his brothers, his late mother Louisa.Pereira.Nauer to his niece and nephew from Germany. Kathrin decided that it was her mission to find her family in Samoa and saw the need to establish a bond with us because we came from Nauers and we still have a lot of family back in Germany that want to know us.
Like any inquisitive person, I wanted to know if they were indeed family. Kathrin's grandmother is my grandfather's first cousin. Our great-grand parents were siblings. She has family who are also named Adolf, Louisa,Hermine, Conrad,all good old traditional German names that go way back into our family history. We were all excited as my cousin Richard tried to do the same when he was playing rugby in the UK. On his big Euro trip, he went to Germany, swam in the river and tried to find his Nauer side, too bad there was no thank you note on the TV to guide him to them.
I was sad to discover that the girls were sent back to Germany because of the war and the boys stayed behind (Samoa) to preserve the family name? I don't know, whether their parents were wise in sending back the girls, I'm not sure. We had family that were in concentration camps and died during the holocaust. The greatgrand uncles that were send out married women from different nationalities and alas, we are all fruit salads!
Family is not just an important thing in the Samoan culture, they are everything. Whatever we do and wherever we are, if anyone in our family comes across a mishap or tragedy, there is an unbreakable bond that makes our eyes water. There is an invisible rope that tightens around our hearts at the thought of them. When they are excited, we laugh alongside them, when they cry we lament with them.
|From left-right: Peter, Kathrin Stalder (cousin), Conrad,Donna, Maria, Rosita,Cassandra , Richard, Enid (me), Rudy Nauer.|
|My family tree on paper|
Thank you Kathrin for coming to seek us out, we do hope we will have a great family get together in Germany in the near future.
In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.