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More ‘Postcards from Australia’

The 2012 Senior Oceania Wrestling Championships in Sydney Australia
courtesy photo

Dear Irene,

Well, we finally made it to Sydney. We waited to meet up with your cousin Sonny coming in from L.A. The Australian organizers picked us up at the airport and we headed to Coopers Lodge, which is a low cost youth hostel. I was worried that we were going to end up in a dump, but the Lord blessed us with a great place. The place is quite nice, especially for a youth hostel. Everyone was surprised with the accommodations. We were able to find this place for only $28 per person per night. We also hooked up with Carl and Travis and Travis Doctor Friend Haaheo who came in last night. Travis surprised me by also bringing down two other female wrestlers; Lia Mata’afa and Gazzy Parman. So now we have a total of 9 wrestlers representing American Samoa in this year’s Oceania Championships. I’ll write again tomorrow.

Miss you, Ethan

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Dear Malosi,

We made it safely to Australia. Still hasn’t quite sunk in that we are here. We have done a lot of walking and walking and walking. We went to practice with 4 other countries. There are two Scanlan brothers on the wrestling team. We are staying in the nicest youth hostel. Everything is brand new and clean. We are across the street from the training center and the mall. Not much to see in Australia until the competition is over. Our first night here we ate at McDonald’s of all places. It was the only place open. It is so exciting to see these young men and women going for their chance at the 2012 Olympic Games. I offered to do some acupuncture on any of the team that may have any injuries. So far only CJ (he mentioned that he won 4 Gold medals at these games last year) has expressed an interest. I miss you all. Please forward this to everyone if they would like to hear the update on my travels.

Love Mom (Haaheo)

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Dear Monika and Pat

So we finally made it here to Australia. Haaheo and I had a great flight and we are very excited to be here with everyone to represent Samoa in the Oceanic Games. Heo has taken good care of my arm since I got out of the hospital the swelling is going down little by little. Today at practice I took off my sweatshirt and some of the other wrestlers were like DAMMM that’s Gross ha ha ha — I said that’s life. Tomorrow we have an early practice, then one in the afternoon. So today CJ and I are walking to go find a steam room and we come up on all these birds in a tree and I say to CJ, I’m about tired of seeing pigeons. As we got closer I look at these birds whacking away on these tree branches then all the sudden they start flying all around us and they were parrots with some nasty beaks ha ha — it was funny. trippy but funny. So anyways things are great, we weigh in on Thursday then get down on Friday. I will keep you posted on a day to day basis on how things are going, so tell mom and dad and let them know my injuries are getting better and tell mom not to cry, Heo is here watching my arm and knee so I will be ok. Anyways I miss you guys and love you very much tell mom and dad the same and give the kids a hug for me. “Do today what feels good tomorrow” I love you, the journey has just begun.

Love Travis

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Dear Matai and Lalelei,

Arrived safely in Australia…I’m excited to be here and to be wrestling for American Samoa!  Haven’t seen any Koalas or kangaroos yet but thanks to a wrong turn while walking to a Bikram Yoga class I got to see a whole lot of Sydney today!! It’s also nice to be out here and not have to worry about cutting any weight. I was a little worried when I heard we were staying in a hostel but this place is actually really clean, all brand new stuff and is very centrally located. This was such an unexpected but awesome opportunity that came up, can’t believe I could actually have a shot at making the Olympics! I hope both of you continue to keep wrestling so that you can take advantage of opportunities like this and have a chance to travel all over the world too! Well give everyone at home a kiss from me.. 2 kisses for baby Boop! ;)

Love Lia

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To the Central wrestling team,

Hey guys! Your coaches finally made it to Australia and are ready to get things going. The gym we trained at today is pretty legit; I hope we can establish something like this in the near future. I hope you guys are training hard, and getting ready for the season opener. We’ve been running all over Sydney cutting weight, and it’s been extremely fun. I wish all you guys could be here. Just remember that hard work pays off; stay in the gym and stay in school.

Coach Caleb

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Dear Dad,

For the last 7 month I have been all over the world training trying to accomplish a goal of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics! Well the time is almost here — 2 more days til weigh ins for the first part of the Olympic Qualifier! Can’t make it to London without getting a gold here. Hakuna Matata!

Love CJ.

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Dear mom,

We have arrived in Sydney and have been training hard since we arrived. We also have had some time to explore Sydney. I cannot wait to get on the mat and wrestle I have been looking forward to it so much. I hope all is well at your end and the rest of the family is well too. Wish me luck in the coming days.

Love, sam

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Dear Mom and Dad,

I miss you both, so much. I wish you could see me now, what I am doing and the progress I’m making. Even though you aren’t here I think about you, your spirit, love and words, every day. It gives me strength to keep going. As you may or may not already know, I haven’t competed since 2008, and have just been coaching and teaching out of my own gym since then. Funny the way things happen in life. The opportunity to compete and qualify for the 2012 Olympics just fell into my lap and  I realize that this opportunity will only come once in a lifetime. The strongest part of me now is my heart and will, which is what gives me the biggest chance to do this and make it to the top. Win or lose, I now have a time in my life to be at my very best again. I haven’t felt this amazing feeling since 2008. This is all I live for and I thank God for giving me this path once again, he has heard my prayers. I love you both and think of you every day.

Your daughter,

Ghazaleh (AKA Gazzy)



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