Monday, July 20, 2009

Aiono Family Reunion

July 2nd-5th marked the first Aiono family reunion...well, at least the down-sized version. The focus was Kuso's dad and his siblings. (WARNING: Names and Samoan words may be spelled wrong. I apologize from the start...) There were 5 brothers that were able to make it to the reunion. Voi from Samoa; Pailate from LA, California; Faafoi from St. George, Utah; Taaloga from Kearns, Utah; and Faioso from West Jordan, Utah. The inspiration to start the reunion came from Kuso's cousin Lisa. The last time everyone was together was 8 years ago at her mother's funeral. She had a dream to get everyone together again before the next funeral. She was in Utah last summer and the conversation started. From there it grew into reality.

Taaloga, Pailate, Voi, and Faioso

It started for our part of the family late June 30th. Nuga and Voi flew in from Samoa. I was able to spend time with them on July 1st, but Kuso was out of town working. He didn't get to be with them until the next day when the reunion officially started.

Thursday July 2nd we started with a dinner and meet-n-greet at the church park near Shelley and Apinati's house. We just had fun talking and catching up with cousins, uncles, aunties, etc. We went over the itinerary for the weekend and made sure everyone had a place to stay.

Kuso and his cousins

Friday July 3rd we went to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Open House. Voi used a wheel chair because it is difficult for him to walk that far. While we were waiting for the elevator that was stuck.... literally...we waited at least 10 minutes and there were others waiting before us....this older white lady asked what island they were from. She went on to explain that her grand daughter is half Samoan and that her grandparents are still in Samoa. We asked what her name was and she said it was Aiono. We told her we were Aiono's and asked her name. She said "Whitney." Whitney is Kuso's niece, his oldest brother's daughter. So how cool was that? BOTH of Whitney's grandma's were in the temple at the same time from completely different parts of the world.

Voi, Nuga, McCoy, Nati, and Shelley waiting to start the tour.

After the temple, we had lunch at the church by Nati's house. Again, we just visited with each other and caught up with what has been going on in each other's lives. After lunch, we cleaned the gym and got ready for the family dance.
Kuso, George, Alofa, Siaosi, and Deja.
This is Kuso's brother and 3 of his 5 kids.
We don't see them often, so it was great to see them.
His kids are SO adorable.

That night, everyone came back to the church for a dance. Each family contributed one taualuga. The money earned from that taualuga contributed to pay for food for the rest of the weekend. Everyone had a good time. Kuso's mom obviously loves to dance and spent a lot of time on the dance floor with a big smile on her face.

Kuso and his mom

Saturday July 4th started with Kuso marching with the Samoan band in the West Jordan parade. When he got home, we went back to the park near Nati's. The kids were playing water games. There was lunch and visiting for everyone. After several hours at the park, everyone got ready for the evening activities.

Originally, our plan was to go to Murray park and watch the big fireworks. We were told that everyone is going to Nati's and just doing fireworks on the street. So we bought some fireworks and went back to Nati's. We were kind of disappointed that we didn't get to go to Murray Park, but it was fun to watch the young kids get so excited over the simple things.

Sunday July 5th everyone (well, those who wanted to) went to Alofa's church. After church, we all met at Southridge (Kearns) Park for dinner. After dinner, we went to the Redwood Cemetery. Kuso's uncle, Tavita, is buried there. I believe I was told he passed away in 1992.
His wife is buried next to him. Faioso has a different mother than the rest of the siblings, and his mother is buried next to them as well.
While at the cemetery, we sang a couple songs and had a prayer as a family.

Later that evening, we all met back at the chapel for a family fireside. Each of the 5 brothers in attendance gave a little talk about what's going on in their family. A few others were able to tell some stories or give a little testimony. The evening ended with snacks and more talking.

Kuso's cousin Rita gathered pictures from all of us prior to the reunion, and took more during the weekend. She created a slide show and will be making copies for each of us. There are pictures from way back when all the grown up kids are little. Many are priceless. What a great blessing to be able to have access to those pictures.

It was a busy weekend, but it was SO fun to get to visit with Kuso's family. There is definitely going to be another reunion...although I'm not sure if it will be every year. I heard some talk about every 3 years. It's a little more realistic to get everyone together that often (especially for those of us that have to bring people in from out of state and the country.)


Leslie Uta'i said...

I guess we can see where Kuso gets his dancing skills!

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATION! wazz up cuz?this is SELINA TAIMALELAGI,aka,TAPAAU,aka,STSPA, o amai otau? ia o lea lava e taumafai e eli male malosi!measili o lena o loo lamolemole ma iila mai lava lau ata. o au lea e iinei i califonia,not too far from u guys,STILL SINGLE N STILL LOOKING FOR DAT VAE MUMU!nah,sei ou milionea ona fai loa lea ose kaa,ae send my regards to ur familia,alofa atu o STAPA, o lou tina o susi,remember now?

Anonymous said...

wazz up kuso? a palagi uh?way to go man!,u and my girl Dolly have something in common Tess,Faapisa,Apelu,the Danielson bros,Moore n Kueli already tie da knot n start building famiiles,good for them!IM wORKING HARD TO BUST SOME HEADS[literally]SO I CAN GET ENOUGH MONEY FOR MY SAMOAN LATINO WEDDING IN THE ISLAND!ia ga ua gau ae uma ifo ele nofomau le PAKA!not that Im a OVERSTAYER or anything,coz Im a HAWAIIAN BORN!BUT ele faavalevale vale foi nei fagau,e fai ai pepa ole au meaola!lol,anyway good luck and GOD bless!alofaaga mai ia TAPAAU TAIMALELAGI,ole tama a SUSI,niece of LAINE N ROPATI LAFAELE,TIVA N SALE,cousins of MARY,DAVID,PJ,TESS N LUALUA,KUELI N MOORE,TAVAE N FUALAAU. still gegefu? dont think so bro...

siaosi aiono said...

shelley and mcoy perform!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, may I know who's side of Aiono you guys are related too? The tuala, fina'i or suamatai'a side?? Do you guys have any connections with Aiono Tile and their family?

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Just want to know - where does your Aiono comes from? and which clan does it belongs to?[ Tuala, Fina'i or Suamamatai'a].